Aug 31

When it comes to accidental or unintentional weight loss, there are many different ways of going about it.  When I mean accidental or unintentional, I mean when you aren’t in the work-out “mode” like you are at the gym.

Throughout my normal day, I like to make any and all steps I take count.

Yes, this is one way, but this isn’t quite what I meant by counting.  I mean making each step I take work harder for me.

A while back, I bought a pair of ankle weights.  I wanted something that didn’t add too much weight to my legs, and I wanted something that wasn’t in neon colors.  What I wanted was something not too bulky and black so I could wear every day, all day, and even to work.  Black ones are easier to hide beneath work clothes and are way less noticeable when you move about.

Now you see them…

…and now you don’t.

And the Friday through Sunday version – Now you see them…

…and now you don’t.

These babies only weigh a pound each, but you would not believe the extra effort it takes to swing an additional pound with each and every step – all day long.  By the end of the day, my legs are quite tired and I am so addicted to them that I feel naked without them.  It’s the same with my pedometer.  I forgot to wear it one day a couple of weeks ago, and It. Felt. Odd. 

I do not wear the weights to the gym because I figure I’m getting enough of a work out without them.  And taking stairs while wearing them both at home and at the office means an ever greater incidental workout.

So, with each step I take, I make that step count as much as I can.

What do you do to sneakingly burn additional calories?

Aug 29

Saturday was an awesome day!  Sandy and I met for breakfast at 9:30, asked God to bless our day, and at 10:00 we were setting up our table at the front of the Dress Barn Store in Castleton.

The main table with socks, onesies, scrunchies, text book covers, shoe laces, hats and head bands.

Rack with shirts, tank tops, aprons and skirts that we were selling on a consignment basis.  Several of the skirts include panels made with the tie-dye fabric we made for the maker of the skirts, and they turned out so cute!

Stand with hats, bags and more shoe laces.

And Sandy and I want to introduce you our third and newest partner.  Please meet Lucy!

She’s a Model 1939, Size 8 dress form and she was given to us for free!  Sandy named her Lucy for the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (fitting for those selling tie-dye, don’t you think?) and we had lots of fun dressing her up with merchandise.

Of course, Sandy and I had to pose with our new partner.

And I’m just tickled that I’m no longer the shortest member of the team.

Dress Barn bent over backwards helping us get set up for the day.  They talked to customers about what we were doing, helped us with ideas of business and charities to contact who might be interested in custom tie-dyed items, and Sandy and I passed out I don’t know how many business cards.  We are really hoping that we will receive requests for custom tie-dyed items.  We did sell a few things, but we were there primarily to promote what we do.

Thank you Dress Barn for hosting us.  And thank you for the discount we had that day.  Both Sandy and I went home with some new clothes for the fall.  And get this!  The pants and skirt I bought are all size 10’s!!!  Woohoo!!!!  I am so excited!

Aug 26

Don’t forget to join Sandy and I (and Dyed in the Wool) at the Dress Barn in Castleton tomorrow starting at 10:00 AM.  We’ll have all of our tied-dyed merchandise there as well as a few surprises that haven’t been seen before.  Dress Barn is located on the northeast side of Indianapolis on 82nd Street, just west of Allisonville Road and is next to Panera. 

Come out and support a local, women-run business and take advantage of the sales at Dress barn while you are there. We’d love to see you and talk with you about your custom tie-dye needs.  Just think how cool your family reunion would be with everyone wearing matching tie-dyed shirts?  Or your kid’s soccer team with shirts and socks tie-dyed.  Have a walk-a-thon you are doing?  Think of matching tie-dyed shirts for your team!  There are so many ways tie-dyed clothing and accessories can be used to add color and uniqueness to life.  If you need 2 or 200 shirts, Dyed in the Wool can make your plans a reality.

Aug 25

This is what I get for trying to get dressed in a room that isn’t very well lit on dark mornings.  When I got to the office, I needed to change into my walking shoes, and when I took my work shoes off, I noticed I had on one blue sock and one black sock – and I have on black pants, so that blue sock really showed up.

Back in the spring when we were having all those weeks of torrential rains and flooding, I had brought some black socks to work to change into should I get to work with wet feet.  Luckily for me, I never took those extra pairs home.  At least now my socks match and match my pants.


Have a great day!!

Aug 24
Weigh-In Wednesday
icon1 basicallybenita | icon2 Diet and Fitness | icon4 08 24th, 2011| icon32 Comments »

I have not fallen off the face of the earth, I’m just trying to get my life back into some sort of normal schedule after all the extra items from the past couple of weeks.  Oh, I still have extra stuff, like the Dress Barn truck show this weekend with our tie-dyed stuff and the weaving workshop I’ll be teaching Labor Day weekend, but this is a lot less that what has been in my schedule the last couple of months.

Since this is supposed to be a Weigh-In Wednesday, I‘ll just give you a brief recap on what is happening and where I stand.  I’m still bouncing around in the upper 150’s, but this week my walking partner has been able to go back to walking with me in the mornings (she had been involved is a serious car accident (she was T-boned by someone running a stop) and after months of healing and rehab, she has been released to begin walking again).  With this additional ½ hour of exercise and the addition of about 4,000 steps per day, I should see that plateau fade away and see the number on the scales begin to drop.

Also, now that the heat of summer and the state fair are all in the past, I am being extra diligent on my eating, cutting out all sugars (again) as well as breads and most meats.  I’ve been leaning toward a more vegetarian diet for quite a while now, and, with the exception of a few special occasions, I am not eating any red meat and only chicken a couple of times a week.  I get plenty of protein with my morning scrambled egg, Greek yogurt and the cheese I put on my salads along with grain and legume combinations.

And I have come to an interesting realization – the smaller the meals, the less likely I am to get hungry soon afterwards.  For some reason, eating a large meal makes me want to eat even more.  Small meals don’t seem to do this to me.  Go figure.

So, we’ll see what the scales say this time next week.

Aug 19

Now for the post you’ve all been waiting for!

One by one, the teams turned in their scarves.  The first scarf, the purple one in the picture above, and the second one, the red and blue one, were turned in seconds apart at the 3 hour and 53 minute mark.

The last scarf was turned in at the 3 hour and 56 minute mark – 4 minutes to spare and only three minutes after the first two. 

At this point, the spotlight was on Mindy and I as we grabbed our points sheets and began evaluating them in the order they were give to us.  I had handed my camera to Andrew Fraser, the oldest son of my dear friend, Sheri, and the oldest brother to two of the contenstants, although on different teams – Ryan was a Pirate (Bootstrap Bill) and Sarah was on the Legends of the Loom team.

The first thing Mindy and I checked was to make sure the scarves came within the length and width parameters.  It had to be between 62 and 64 inches long, not counting the fringe, and 8 to 10 inches wide.  All came within the width parameters, but two of them were off on the length – one was an inch and a half too short and one was an inch too long.

Trying on each scarf and seeing how it felt and fit when worn was another part of the judging.

The Pirates scarf had one of the best hands to it and felt great when scrunched up around the neck.

The Majestics’ scarf, on the other hand, had been beaten in too hard, and while it made a nicer shawl, as a scarf it was a bit too thick and bunchy. 

Not only was the weaving judged, the carding, spinning and plying were judged as well. 

How well was the scarf finished?  Did both ends match?  Was the fringe even on both ends?  There were several items to take into consideration on each scarf.

The same Andrew manning my camera offered to do the tallying up for us.  He’s a Biochemical Engineer major at IUPUI (Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis) and if anyone would be good at math, it would be him.  Thank you Andrew!!!  You really helped speed things up.

Then came the summing up and presenting of the prizes.  While we talked about the scarves and how they were judged, we had them on the table.  When we started awarding ribbons, they were whisked out of site until needed.

After fourth, third and second place scarves were announced and discussed, we presented the first place scarf.  The Traveling Gypsies out did themselves with their scarf.  The pattern in the light green stripes reversed in the middle of the scarf and went the opposite direction in the second half.  Their center point, where the reversing took place was within a half inch from being dead on center.  That surprised and amazed both Mindy and I.  Also, their hemstitching was spot on perfect, and lastly, they opted for an asymmetrical fringe that when you put the scarf on and let it hang down in front of you, the fringe came to a point in the center.  Absolutely lovely designing there, ladies!

And here we are.  Mindy is passing out the ribbons to the winning team.  Every team received ribbons, but the Traveling Gypsies earned that coveted purple Grand Champion ribbon.

And here they are, the whole team holding up their scarf and showing off their rosettes.  Don’t they look proud of their achievement?

And here are all four scarves with their ribbons.  From left to right are:

The Pirates of the Treadle – Third Place.  Theirs was an inch and a half too short, which cost them enough points to knock them into third place.  I think those issues with the broken warp threads hurt them, and there were treadling errors in the weaving,  but they overcame them and did a great job.

The Majestic Spinners – Fourth Place.  The length and width of their scarf was spot on.  What cost them was the stiffness of the resulting cloth as well as the fact that the pattern was hard to distinguish because of the colors chosen.

The Traveling Gypsies – First Place.  Really, this was a most professional scarf.  If their display had been nicer and the fact that the scarf was an inch too long had been remedied, they would have had a nearly perfect score.  The yarn they spun for this scarf was a nice and lofty one which just brought out the best qualities of the Corriedale fleece and made it soft and supple.  It was hard not to gush over this scarf and I hope it brings in lots of money at the auction later.

The Legends of the Loom – Second Place.  This was a lovely scarf and the weaver did a remarkable job with it.  The spinning could have been better, and both Mindy and I thought that the use of a darker weft would have made the pattern more visible.  It had a wonderful hand to it and the hem stitching was perfect on both ends.  And I love the fact that they naturally dyed their warp using logwood, brazilwood and madder.

The proud Pirates showing off their scarf.  They were a fun team, and I’ll never forget hearing them sing pirate songs while working.  The weaver is the smiling young man in the center.  He is 12-years old.  How he handled himself when that first warp thread broke impressed me.  He just reached down to where the warp was tied onto the apron bar and selected a longish warp thread of the right color hanging there, cut it off, pinned it into place and was off again.  Sue Payne the textile coordinator assisted him a bit, too.

And there you are folks.  The conclusion of the 2011 Indiana State Fair Sheep to Shawl competition.  All of the teams did fantastic jobs.  Both Mindy and I mentioned that we would enjoy being judges again next year if they wanted us back.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed because it was so much fun and watching these teams create magic in just 4 hours was a pleasure to behold.

Aug 18

As I have already mentioned before, Conner Prairie Museum stepped forward and offered to host the Sheep to Shawl competition since the State Fair was closed on Sunday.  They gave us the Featherston barn, and all four of the youth team showed up in full, with only the adult team opting out. 

The event was to start at 11:00, only one hour later than it was to have started at the state fair.  I have to hand it to the kids and their textile coordinator, Sue Payne.  Sue had gotten the call at 1:00 AM that the state fair would be closed on Sunday, and was on the phone to everyone at 7:00 telling them to go to Conner Prairie instead.  I found out about it when I had gotten home from going to the fairgrounds, only to be turned away by locked gates.  I immediately got back in my car and headed to Conner Prairie.  The other Judge, Mindy McCain, managed to pick up the rosettes from the state fair staff, and brought them with her.  That was very lucky and we were all very thankful to Mindy for doing this.

Mindy used to compete in the Sheep to Shawl years ago when it was first formed and she wore her costume that day as a nod to all those teams who had come in between.  Isn’t she cute?  Mindy is a professional weaver and has 40 years experience behind the loom.

Let me introduce you to all four teams before we get started.  Part of our scoring for each team included their ID, presentation board/table, and their costumes.  I began on one side of the room, and Mindly on the other as soon as the teams were allowed to start.  The first team I came to were the Pirates of the Treadle.  You might remember this team from last year, but there have been some member changes as some had graduated and new ones were admitted in their place.

Of all the displays, theirs was my favorite.  Each team member had “assumed” the identity of one of the characters from the Pirates of the Carribean movie, which made it even more fun.  One of the team members is the son of a very good friend of mine, and he “played” Bootstrap Bill. 

And here are the pirates themselves all working hard.

These pirates even brought their own version of rum to help give them the stanima to make it all the way through.

The second team, I came to was The Traveling Gypsies.

I’ll admit that theirs was my least favorite display.  I had hoped that, being gypsies, theirs would have been very colorful and flambouant.  But I do like the addition of the peacock feathers.

And the Gypsies in their colorful costumes getting started.

The third team was The Legends of the Loom.

Theirs was a definite old Greek theme and the girls gave themselves names from Greek mythology and history.  And, yes, the weaver was Penelope.

Check out Penelope’s lovely costume.  They all had toga-like dresses on and they looked like they could have stepped out of a temple painting.

And the fourth team was The Majestic Spinners.

If you will look to the left of their display, you will see they included an audio/visual display of what all the teams did to prepare for the competition. 

Also, Mindy and I decided that if we were to be a part of any team, it would have been this one because they had the coolest costumes, all being dressed as princesses.  I mean, the pirates’ costumes were awesome, but, as females, we wouldn’t have been able to join their team anyway.  (Although I think I would have made a cool lady pirate – Yarrrggghhhh!!!)

Also, on each table, were two “practice” scarves woven by each team as they prepared for the big day.  These scarves were being sold via silent auction, and I got beat out at the last moment on the one I liked, woven by the Legends of the Loom.

Here is what all four teams looked like from above.  The barn had a upper floors and a couple of us were given permission to go up and get pictures from above.

This one was taken looking straight down at the Majestics’ team.  As you can see, they were working hard on their scarf.

This is Bootstrap Bill proving that sailing the open seas is only one of his talents.  One of the most fun parts of the Pirates team was the fact that at one point they were softly singing pirate songs as they worked.  I absolutely loved that!

And the Pirates’ scarf as it was being woven.  If you look closely at it, you will realize that the pattern is very reminencent of the skull and crossbones in the pirate flag.  Also, they dyed their handspun warp using indigo and cochineal which made the dark Shetland weft really pop against it.  I loved their pattern.

Nearing the end, the weavers had gotten into their zone and were paying little attention to the crowds of people wandering around them.  These next pictures were taken at the 3 hour mark, and they knew that have only an hour left to finish their scarves and get them presented to the judges.  The one above is the Gypsies scarf, and this really shows off their pattern very well.

The Legends of the Loom coming in at their 3rd hour of weaving.

And the Majestic Spinners. 

Each of these teams stayed focused and worked hard to get their scarves done.

The Pirates were the first ones to cut their scarf from the loom, but they had had troubles with broken warp threads and they needed the extra time to fix these.  When I took this picture, it reminded me of surgeons starting to work on a patient, and I asked a parent standing near me if he “thought it would live.”  The parent got a big laugh at that because that is what it looked like.  The patent survived.

The Legends of the Loom with their scarf cut off and onto the finishing table.

The Majestic Spinners with their scarf done and on the finishing table.  These young ladies were moving so fast that this is the clearest picture I could take of them as they worked.

And last, the Gypsies cutting theirs off their loom…

…and onto the finishing table.

Each team worked hard to make their scarf as presentable as they could.  The Gypsies even experimented with placing peacock feathers in theirs, but abandoned the idea and opted for their scarf to speak for itself with no added embellishments.

With the scarves off the looms and being prepared for the judges, I will stop here and tell you about the judging and name the winners tomorrow.  I am so proud of these young people and how hard thay had worked preparing for this day.  Also, how they didn’t let the change of venue rattle them.  Til tomorrow, then!

Aug 16

My second and last day at the Indiana State Fair was Saturday.  I picked Sandy up at her house at 8:00 and we headed out for a fun day. 

The first place we stopped was the Poultry building.  I wanted to show her the “bad hair” chicken I had seen the day before, and she wanted to see the bunnies and chickens for herself.  As soon as you walk in, there are the bunnies.

This little fellow was so cute!!!  He’s a Dwarf Netherland and he weighed about 2 pounds if memory serves me correctly.

Sandy and I decided this guy had a rather “sheepy” look to his face.  I do like lops.

Then we went around to check out the chickens. 

These two fellows had taken a violent dislike to one another and were trying to get at each other through their cages. 

From there we went on to the Family Art building, the Exposition Hall, through the cattle and horse barns (no horses at all, so disappointing) then to the sheep.

This ewe wanted to check out my camera and after I took this shot, I found myself nose to nose with her.  She was so friendly and sweet!

Did I ever mention how much I love Shetlands and their fiber?  I would have lived to dig my fingers into her fleece.

This ewe was getting groomed for the show ring, and her face over the stand just looked so funny.  She was totally nonchalant about the whole thing, too.

One building I did not have time to go to on Friday was the Swine barn to see the pigs.  The World’s largest Boar was this fellow:

His name was Reggie and he weighed in at 1305 pounds.  He was a huge guy, and completely oblivious to the crowds of people staring at him.

This sow had 14 piglets in the pen with her.  She was a very busy mama.

At 2:00, we went into the Pioneer Our Land Pavilion to begin our 4-hour stint at demonstrating spinning.  Two other ladies were with us, and we had a great time showing people what we did and what was done with the yarns.  We talked fiber quality to those who thought all wool is itchy – all wool has its use, and not all wool is meant to be sweaters.  Some is meant to be coats and others to be rugs and carpets.  The “itchy” sweaters were because clothing manufacturers bought rug wool and made sweaters out of it because it is cheaper for them to buy than really nice wool like merino.  I let people place a sample of the merino I was spinning against their necks to show them how soft and unitchy it was.  If I teach people at the fair nothing else, I want to make them understand that not all wool is created equally.

Aug 14

Yesterday was another lovely day at the Indiana State Fair.  It was warmer than Friday – 91 at one point.

As Sandy and I were leaving a little after 6:00 last night, we passed people coming in to go to the Sugarland concert that was to take place.  Some were dressed in cute little sun dresses, some in cowboy hats and boots and all were obviously looking forward to the show.

Also, at that time, the weather had begin to cloud up and there was a prediction of a possible storm coming.  I made it home with enough time to spare to take a shower and print out the judging forms for the Sheep to Shawl competition before the storm arrived and we had to shut down and unplug everything.  As Scott and I were getting ready for bed a bit after 9:00, a hard gust of wind hit our house and made it shudder.  Scott looked at me and said, “I didn’t like the feel of that,” so we turned on the weather radio and listened to the report.  A wind gust of 70 miles per hour had hit Fortville (the town nearest us) and that is what we felt.  What we did not know was that a wind gust of that same speed hit the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  What that wind gust did was horrific. Please click on the previous sentence to see a report on the tradegy that hit the Indiana State Fairgrounds last night.

Today the fairgrounds were closed.   Sandy and I did not know this until we arrived at the fairgrounds at 8:30 to begin setting up for Sheep to Shawl.  We were going to be able to set up a booth selling our tie-dyed merchandise for Sandy to man while I spent the 5 hours monitoring and judging the competition.  Needless to say, we turned around and went home.  I dropped Sandy off and I came home, just planning to spend the day washing fleeces and proof-reading on the graphic novel.

When I arrived home, Scott said that I had gotten a call to go to Conner Prairie Museum because the museum had generously offered to host the Sheep to Shawl competition for the state fairgrounds.  I’ll tell you more about the S2S tomorrow.  Right now, my heart is really very heavy about what happened last night at the fairgrounds.  Please say a few prayers for the victims and their families.  What should have been a fun night of music and entertainment turned into an evening of nightmares come true.

Aug 12

I woke up to a cloudless sky and lovely cool temperatures this morning and could hardly wait to get started.  I arrived at the fair and stowed away my spinning wheel in the Spinners and Weavers booth in the Pioneer Our Land Pavilion by 9:00 and headed out to see the sites.

My first stop was the Home and Family Arts building, commonly referred to as the Women’s building even thought there are lots of exhibits and activities by men in there as well.  I looked around for the spinning, knitting and weaving exhibits to see what my friends had won.

These barely scratch the surface on the beautiful items created.  There were many, many knitted exhibits, and in everyone one I saw names I recognized.  Everyone outdid themselves this year.

I really enjoyed the scene in this next picture.

This young lady was doing a very intricate image one this piece of leather and she was concentrating hard as she worked.  At least here in Indiana, the old arts and crafts are in no danger of dying out.  There were young people everywhere trying the hands at skills such as these and it made me very happy.

From there I went to the Poultry building and wondered around looking at the chickens.  I won’t show you all the pictures I took of the chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, and bunnies, but I did want to show you what a bad feather day looks like in a chicken.

I mean, seriously, folks, this is one ugly chicken.  It’s feathers were all growing every which way and it looked like it had been caught in a really strong wind and forgot to comb its feathers afterwards.

The same farm where Sandy and I bought the Reserve Champion fleece from last year earned two championships this year.  I am so happy for Alison and Ruth for the sheep they raise.

Over in the pioneer village, there were all kinds of activity going on.  The weather could not have been more perfect, and everyone was out in force to see everything.  Pottery, blacksmithing, coppersmithing, corn grinding using a steam engine, wheelwrights working, coopers making barrels, a man making brooms, another chipping flints with a bone tool, beeswax candle making, cooking on old-fashioned wood stoves, spinning, tatting, quilting, rug hooking, wood carving… you name it, and it was going on.

I stood and watched this man play old-time music and he plays just like my dad used to when I was growing up.  I don’t remember a time in my youth when we did not have a piano in our house, and Dad would play several evenings a week and always on Sunday morning while the rest of us were getting ready for church (he always was dressed before the rest of us so he’d have some time to play).

Because of Dad’s playing, I am familiar with old-time music, old gospel, rag time, old country, and bluegrass.  Dad was self-taught, and never learned to read music, but he has always had a marvelous ear for songs and figured them out.  One of my favorite songs he’d play for me was Beer Barrel Polka.  When I watched the man above playing and saw how he played, I asked if he knew Beer Barrel Polka, and he immediately launched into it.  Man, did that bring back memories, and I wasn’t the only one who appreciated it.  A lady behind me was singing along, and an older couple to my right was dancing to it.  I video taped him playing it and if I can figure out how to upload it I will so you can see and hear him, too.

Indianapolis is building a monument to 9-11 and this is one of the steel beams forged from the steel from the twin towers that will be part of that memorial.  It made me very sad to think of where that beam came from, but proud that Indianapolis is doing its part to make sure we never forget about it.

Of course, I went through the animal buildings and saw cows, horses and lots of sheep.  I even bought a nice fleece of Border Cheviot for the Fiber Binder Club as well as talk with breeders about obtaining more fleeces.

Finally, it was time to go to work demonstrating spinning.  I was spinning on some lovely merino top in various colors.  Also, next to me was a table top loom threaded for visitors to try their hand at and I and another lady took turns showing people how to weave and letting them get a taste of how fun it is.  Lots of people stopped by to talk and ask questions, and they were a more informed crowd that we used to get.  A good majority of the people knew we were “making thread” or even “spinning yarn.”  There were two of us at wheels, me spinning singles and another lady plying, another person on a supported spindle and a weaver, so we got to show them several steps in the process of clothing manufacture.  You could tell it fascinated people.

Tomorrow, Sandy and I will be going back to the fair bright and early, and in the afternoon, from 2 until 6, we will be spinning in the Pioneer Our Land Pavilion again.  Then on Sunday is Sheep to Shawl in the Opry House, which is a big red barn on the back side of the Pioneer Village next to the blacksmithing area.  If you are there on Sunday, come by at about 10:00 and watch as several teams compete in carding, spinning, plying and weaving scarves or shawls in 4 hours.  There will be an auction of these items after the judging, too.

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