Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried something new.

Albert Einstein

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Blog, Weight Loss | 0 comments

Over the past few months, I have been thinking a lot about my weight. If you’ve known me for the last few years, then you know that about 2 1/2 years ago, I lost 50 lbs and got really close to my goal weight of 140. I think I ended up around 146. And then I got tired of dieting. So I let myself have a little more leeway on what I ate. And then a little more. And eventually just eating whatever and however much I wanted. And then I stopped exercising. And now I am here, back to where I was when I started my weight loss journey. Actually, a little bit heavier than that even. :(

For a while, I lived in denial that I was regaining all my weight. Then, when I couldn’t deny it anymore, I still didn’t really care. I am not sure why, but it didn’t really bother me. Then, my clothes started getting too tight. Then, I saw some candid pictures of myself, and, let me tell you, that was a wakeup call. For some reason, it’s easier to be in denial when you look in the mirror, but when you can see how other people see you, it’s really hard not to see how bad it’s gotten. This morning I weighed myself, and the scale said 201. I have never weighed over 200 lbs when I wasn’t pregnant. So, this is really the worst it’s ever been.

I am really annoyed with myself for being back in this position. It is like all that work I did before was just a waste. Now I have to do it all over again. And I know that if I think of it as a “diet” like I did before, then I am not going to succeed long term. This has to be a change that I make forever, not just until I reach my goal. Because if I go back to what I was doing when I gained all my weight, then guess what? I gain a bunch of weight. Duh.

Last time I decided that I wanted to lose weight, I wasn’t sure where to start. I did a fad diet because it promised results. Then I did Weight Watchers. Both were very effective, and I feel like they both taught me a lot about what works for me when I need to lose weight. One thing that I learned is that dieting is kind of like religion. There are all kinds of diets out there, and they all claim to be the best. They even have their own advocates who can get in pretty heated arguments about why theirs is the best. I think you just have to find what suits you best and go with it.

What Makes Me Gain Weight

  • Too many simple carbohydrates
  • Snacking frequently
  • Eating at restaurants
  • Indulging too frequently
  • Eating what Lex eats (or doesn’t eat)
  • Eating due to boredom

What Works for Me When Trying to Lose Weight

  • Avoiding foods high in carbs, especially sugar
  • Having sweet-tasting options, including fruit & diet soda
  • Being able to have indulgences now and then
  • Drinking more water
  • Eating lean meats and low-fat dairy
  • Portion and snack control

My sweet tooth is my downfall. I love sweets. And carbs. And especially sweet carbs. And it’s hard to control myself when I have them in the house or when they’re offered at a party or something. I feel deprived if I can’t have anything sweet, so when trying to decide what kind of diet to follow, I know that I need to be able to eat fruit and sugar free Jell-O and have sweet-tasting drinks.  I also don’t want to feel hungry, so I need to have something I can snack on guilt free. So, this time around, I am going to do Weight Watchers’ Simply Filling Technique. I am  not actually subscribing to WW, though, because this technique is easy enough to follow without joining. You only eat the foods on the list at whatever portion feels right to you. There is enough variety for me to be able to still eat most of the foods I love and typically cook. I will allow myself a (small) cheat probably once a week unless it becomes a problem.

In addition to the change in diet, I will also be exercising. My husband’s work has a gym that I can also use, and I am going to start taking him to work in the morning and using it. This morning I did 20 minutes on the elliptical machine and a little bit of machine weight lifting. Once I figure out an exercise routine, I will share it here. For now I think I’ll be focusing on cardio and throwing in some light weightlifting here and there. My goal for exercising is to do it at least 5 days a week. And when I can’t get to the gym, I will either run around the neighborhood or do a workout from YouTube.

My goal for now is going to be the same as it was last time, 140 lbs. I hope that at that weight I will be able to fit into size 10 pants. At that weight, I think I will feel comfortable in my own skin and really feel like my outside appearance will reflect the way I see myself. I want to lose about 2 lbs a week (which, I believe, is a healthy rate to lose), so it will be a while before I reach that goal, and that’s ok. Slow and steady wins the race.

So, here we go again with this whole weight loss thing. Hopefully this is the last time I have to try again.

Starting Weight: 201 lbs. *cringe*

Goal Weight: 140 lbs.

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West Kingdom Arts & Sciences Tournament Results

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in SCA | 0 comments

For the past couple of months, I have been working my butt off to get ready to enter four Kingdom A&S competitions at our Kingdom A&S Tournament, which took place yesterday. I have never entered so many in one go, so it was a lot more work than I have done in a while, but it was still a lot of fun because I got to learn a bunch of stuff.

I want to make a separate post for each of my entries to tell you more about them. I use blogs a lot as jumping off points for my own projects, so I hope it will help someone else out there in the future. But for now, I will go ahead and share my scores. The entries are judged by three judges out of 50 possible points and then all three are added up to get a total.

1. Instrumental: Hoboekentanz on Recorder

  • 36 + 33 + 34.5 = 103.5/150

2. Calligraphy: Recreation of a 13th century English quitclaim

  • 31 + 38 + 39 = 108/150

3. Cosmetics: Galenus Cold Cream

  • 45 + 39 + 44 = 128/150

4. Fermented Foods: Brazzatelle of Milk & Sugar

  • 34 + 32 + 45.5 = 111.5/150

I did not win any of the categories, and that’s ok. I totally wasn’t expecting to because I’ve only been doing the SCA for a year and a half, and I only started doing competitions this year (though I did do 1 in my old kingdom). Many of my competitors have been doing SCA for 5, 10, 20+ years, and I am always blown away by the other entries. There are some seriously talented people around here! And usually they are happy to share what they know, which is AWESOME.

The tournament also featured 61 classes(!), and I was able to attend five , which is the most I’ve ever done at one event. My step kids are here for the summer so they kept Lex occupied for the most part. :) I learned about the Elizabethan plaited braid stitch (complicated!), Viking wire weaving, how to plan a period feast, sculpting the human head (yay clay!) and another type of Viking wire weaving used for trim and fabric decoration (also complicated!). Vincent got to go to a few classes as well including shoemaking (where he learned how to make thread and needle using boar bristle), pewter casting and making leather bags. Even Ophelia, the youngest of my step kids, went to some classes including a cooking class or two and to a demonstration of a foot peddle powered lathe. Arts & Sciences are one of my favorite parts of the SCA, so I was very happy to be surrounded by other historical makers this weekend. It was very inspiring. It was also great to get to sit around the fire with our friends and getting to meet new folks from all over the kingdom. The kids got to chase geese, feed ducks, roast marshmallows and run around with other children. It was just a great time for all.

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Wee Castle & Knights Play Set

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Blog, Crochet, Feature | 0 comments

A couple of years ago, I saw this great wooden castle dollhouse type thing at Michaels in the same area where they carry the wooden dollhouse kits that I used for the spooky dollhouse and Ophelia’s fairy cottage. I immediately wanted to get one for Lex since it was like a dollhouse but for boys. :) It cost $20, which I thought was a bit pricey, but with a 40% off coupon, it wasn’t too bad. I started working on it and meant to get it done in time to give to Lex for Christmas 2012, but that did not happen.

On one of my regular trips to the thrift store down the road, I found another one just like it for only $7, so you know I snatched that baby up. It was mostly unpainted still, but it had been painted a bit. It just needed a facelift. I figured since I already had one, I would paint the other and put it in the upcoming silent auction that our province is having our next event this weekend. Plus I could finish Lex’s castle at the same time. I am so happy with how it came out. I almost don’t want to give it away!

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I also made some cork knights to protect the castle. The pattern for them can be found here. Here’s a closeup.

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To create the effect of bricks, I painted the whole thing black, inside and out, and then used a sponge cut into small rectangles and dipped into gray paint to paint each one. Protip: start with the windows and doors and then do the rest, working from the top down.

Now let’s look inside.

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I decoupaged some scraps of mulberry paper onto the walls. I thought it would be easier than trying to paint each room without getting anything on the floors or ceilings. Looking back, I’m not sure that it was easier. Either way would have been tricky, especially in the rooms with stairs. The stairs make everything difficult.

I like using the mulberry paper because the Mod Podge soaks through it easily and it doesn’t bubble and wrinkle like thicker paper. Plus the overlapping doesn’t look bad because it’s kind of hidden by the texture. It also looks really cool.

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The castle comes with a little box that fits into one of the rooms which is very handy for storing the soldiers when it’s time to pack up.

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Lex’s castle, unfortunately, is still in pieces, but I have made some progress. I really want to get it done soon because he keeps referring to this one as his castle.

This wee castle with its knights will be in the Southern Shores silent auction this Saturday at Newcomers, so if you’re in the Bay Area, please come and maybe place a bid. :)

 

 

 

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My First Scroll in the West

Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Blog, Feature, SCA | 2 comments

In the SCA, when someone receives an important award, they are usually given a scroll. What we call a scroll is usually a piece of paper with a description of the award written in medieval calligraphy by hand and decorated with medieval illumination. Just Google “SCA scroll” and you’ll see what I mean. I started learning how to do calligraphy and illumination back in Arkansas, and I did one scroll that I turned in to be handed out. It was pretty simple, but the Celtic knots were fun to do.

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I’d been wanting to do something more ornate, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Our new group, Southern Shores, has a monthly Art & Shop Night, which we started attending. At one of those nights, I didn’t have a project, and the lady who hosts the Art & Shop Night, Eliska, asked if I’d like to help with a scroll on whose illumination she was about to start on. I gladly agreed. She chose the motif and began tracing it out, and I finished the tracing and then painted it with liquid watercolors and gouache. The calligraphy was already there and is not mine. I was really nervous that I would ruin it or the recipient would hate it, but I’m really happy with the end result (and hope the recipient is, too!).

First West Scroll

 

Detail Illuminated Letter

 

Detail Flower Illumination

 

Detail Coat of Arms

Eliska is a Laurel in calligraphy, and she gave me advice on choosing colors and how to do the whitework details. Almost all the art was traced using a light box with a few free handed details added, specifically under the coat of arms.

Eliska was very encouraging and said I did a great job. She also got me added to the College of Scribes, so I can start getting scroll assignments. Then she helped me find a medieval example of something I’d like to do for my next one and even got me set up with some supplies. Thanks, Eliska! :)

I have always enjoyed doing art– painting, drawing, etc.– but I couldn’t always think of things to draw or paint. Or I’d be frustrated that I couldn’t draw as well as I’d like to, so I just wouldn’t do it. With illumination, there’s no shame in tracing (it was commonly done in the Middle Ages), and there are plenty of historical examples and a wide variety of subject matter to choose from. I’m looking forward to improving my workmanship and hopefully, eventually, getting to level of the amazing scribes whose work I’ve seen in the SCA so far.

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