Monday, 29 March 2010

Natural weight

Had a real lovely time at the beach with D yesterday. While there, we hung out at a cafe having a late brunch and reading the Sunday papers and I came across a rather interesting article exploring whether we all have a "natural" weight.

You know how some people just seem to stay skinny no matter how much they eat? And then those who can't seem to diet successfully?

In a recent documentary for BBC2’s Horizon, 10 “naturally slim” volunteers ate almost double their usual kilojoules (14,651 for women, 20,930 for men) for four weeks.

Eight gained weight but two were physically unable to eat that amount of kilojoules, and one of them even lost weight over the month.

Most interestingly, they all reverted to their previous weight within weeks of the trial ending, without dieting.

Dr Susan Roberts, author of The Instinct Diet (Workman), has found similar results.

“I have conducted food trials where we have enlisted ‘naturally skinny’ volunteers to increase their kilojoule intake and they really struggled to overeat at every meal.

Left to their own devices, their instincts were to skip a meal or go light on supper to balance out their intake.”

So your annoyingly “naturally skinny” friend will in fact be unconsciously eating less and regulating her meals.

I'm not sure just how accurate or how true the results are, considering we've all been struggling to find out the secret behind being slim and successful dieting for as long as I can remember, but I have to admit that there is some truth behind this study.

It's interesting that it's no longer about metabolism, but simply about our natural tendency towards something.

Ironical also because I had such a big meal at brunch, I ended up only eating one meal yesterday.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Angua boots

I wrote about the bag that I was going to put these in a while ago, but never actually wrote about the actual project since I wanted the owner to see it first. Now that she has, I can talk about these socks/boots things.

I love them!

I knitted them with two strands of 8-ply yarn, so it's really chunky and gives it a rugged kind of look. They were originally meant for a stage production so that they looked like boots without the chunkiness or clunkiness of boots and I think they would have served quite well.

But I think they serve very well as house socks on a cold winter's night too.

Wonder when I'll make a pair for myself...

Thursday, 25 March 2010


So I was leafing through this magazine in the library and found this gorgeous pattern for a stuffed bunny. In the photoshoot for the magazine, the bunny looked really cute and since Easter is approaching, I thought he might be a great sewing project.

Instead of stuffing him with stuffed toy-stuffing, I stuffed him with rice, with plans to use him as a heat pack. I was given some free scrap fabric months ago from Freecycle and so decided to simply use whatever fabric that I could scrounge.

I'm not sure if it's such a good idea because instead of gorgeous, perfect bunny, I ended up with Munty.

He's my munted bunny.

He can't sit up straight, he's not particularly stuffed and well, he's just not finished professionally. People would probably laugh in my face if I even tried to sell him. But you know what? He's so ridiculously looking he makes me smile. So I think he's served his purpose.

Now we'll find out if he'll serve as a nice heat pack come winter.

Monday, 22 March 2010

June lady sweater

10 months. That's how long it took for me to knit up this sweater.

Sure, there were loads of other projects in between, but this sweater definitely needed stamina and patience. There were times when I really wanted to simply give up. I'm used to knitting up quick stuff that take at the most a month to complete. I'd never attempted something so big and so cumbersome for such a long time.

There were times when I simply wanted to give up. And most of all, there were times when I just wasn't sure if what I was doing was right and that the sweater would either fit or even look like a sweater.

But well, in a grand story of perseverance, stubbornness and perhaps sheer stupidity, I've completed my June lady sweater! (It's called the February lady sweater, but I started it in June last year, so well...)

It's not that hard a design actually. It just needed concentration at some parts sleeves, increases, etc. The lace repeats were really easy and I had them memorised soon enough.

The sleeves are alternated black and orange not solely because of design - I just didn't have enough orange yarn for the whole sleeve. I had initially wanted the sleeves to be super-long, but well, a lack of yarn meant it stayed 3/4 long. I don't think it looks half bad though.

And because I just cannot have things looking too normal, I decided to alternate the colours of the buttons too.

And just in time for autumn!

Now, what grand project will I embark on next?

Pattern here.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Purple headband

Today has been a great day. Yesterday, I finished knitting a jacket that I have been working on for the last 10 months (yes, 10) and this morning? Sewed up a headband for myself.

I've actually sewed this before for friends but liked it so much I decided I needed one for myself too.

Having done this before has made it much easier to sew up again and I think it looks much better the third time round too!

The jacket is currently being blocked and will need buttons sewed on, so when that's done, you'll be seeing pics, as well as my Easter sewing project that is halfway done!

Friday, 19 March 2010

On the case of Etsy.

I have once heralded the wonders of Etsy, but I feel an urge to talk about it and the principles behind it once again.

It's true that the prices of the products sold in Etsy may seem a little dearer, but in actual fact, it's the price we would all pay for products if it weren't for big corporations and their dodgy practices.

Why are the prices low for products?

1. Mass production - it's the same premise as when you buy things in bulk. The more you buy, the cheaper it gets. The more you produce/can sell, the cheaper it is. The downside of this is that everyone ends up looking like clones of everyone else because there are so many of the same things out there.

2. Sweatshop labour - I'm not saying that all corporations adhere to this, but more often than not, products are cheap because labour is cheap. How do you get labour to be cheap? Easy. Ensure people don't get paid minimum wage so they can barely make ends meet with what they're earning. Make them work long hours without breaks (even toilet ones) and remove whatever benefits they have. In some rare cases, employ children. Do we want to be responsible for the suffering of another human being?

These are the two main reasons why I try to avoid purchasing things on a whim. It may seem pretty, it may seem nice, it may seem cheap, but really, what kind of other prices are you paying in order to satisfy a short-term desire?

What can we do about this?

1. Cut down buying - do you really have to have something?

2. Go op-shopping/buy secondhand - I'd be the first to admit it's not easy. I've been looking for a pair of lightweight travel/casual trousers for a while now and have not had much success. But when you do find something, remember that you're helping to reduce your impact on the world because you've bought something that would have otherwise gone into the bin. And there are success stories. I've also bought numerous other great stuff at a fraction of their price.

3. Support handmade - and this is where Etsy comes in. Etsy supports people who do not mass-produce, people who do not have sweatshop labour practices. The people who sell the products are the people who make it themselves. Best of all, the products are either unique or are produced in a very small quantity, which means you will never run the risk of bumping into someone with the exact same thing as you.

4. Make it yourself - it takes time and I know not many people are into this. But believe me when I say there is great satisfaction in producing something yourself.

The prices in Etsy are seemingly high only because we have become used to the low prices of a sweatshop economy. In actual fact, Etsy prices are fair because they actually help people earn a living, not simply an existence.

And perhaps in conclusion, the question to ask is, "If you can't afford its real price, do you really have to have it?"

Monday, 15 March 2010

Celebrate what's right with the world

This video has been doing its rounds but it's such a positive and beautiful clip that I had to share just in case someone hasn't seen it.

It really resonates with me not because of its message, but also because Dewitt Jones, the presenter, is a National Geographic photographer.

I have never thought of being a photographer for Nat Geo (although I do have a keen interest in photography) but I have always dreamed of writing for Nat Geo or producing docos for them. I really wanted it so much that I even did an internship with them one summer. I really enjoyed the experience and would still jump at the chance if it ever came.

But anyway, the philosophy of the clip, that we need to focus on the positive (the glass is half full attitude) is amazing and presented in such an attractive way.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Sleep your way to the top

I guess what caught my eye about this story in the first place was the fact that it was a seemingly inconsequential kind of news about Singapore that was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Throughout my career, I have been taught (and also teach others) that news is only news when it is relevant to the local population that the paper is based in. News about the extramarital affairs of a Singaporean director in Singapore really seemed irrelevant to Sydneysiders who would probably be more interested to find out if say, Baz Luhrmann or Hugh Jackman had an affair, or if the Sydney Harbour Bridge is going to get airlifted into Brisbane and placed there as a permanent fixture.

But the story of a Singapore director who is virtually unknown in Australia? Even news of director based in Singapore who was born in Sydney was probably more relevant! However, it made the news, and so I decided to read on.

Turns out Mr “I am Singapore’s Tiger Woods” had been having affairs with young, nubile actresses/models by promising them juicy roles in his future films and a certain dose of fame and fortune. And that is what I find rather sad.

I suppose it’s a rather common occurrence. I mean, we even joke about it. That in order to be successful, one basically had to sleep their way to the top. But to know that it’s actually happening? I cannot understand it.

What drives people to be so desperate for stardom that a 20-year-old would even agree to sleep with someone at the virile age of 50 and nowhere near attractive? And to even believe that his assurance of fame are not simply empty promises?

Maybe I’m just a born cynic. I don’t trust people until they have proven without a doubt to me that they can be trusted. So what seems like a flimsy promise of “sleep with me and I’ll make you famous” just doesn’t add up to me. I might consider it if it were “I’ll make you famous first then you have to sleep with me,” but even then, I’d shudder if the person making the proposition were Mr Neo.

What is it that drives these people? Have they no other hope of making something of their lives accept to bargain moral activities with a married man? It isn’t so much that Mr Neo is older and unattractive. It is the fact that he is married and obviously making sleezy offers.

It would have to take someone rather desperate or na├»ve (let’s not forget his mistresses start from the ripe old age of 16) to take Mr Neo up on his offer.

And that is my point. Be it the desire of success or of becoming a celebrity, such need to be at the top (pardon the pun) that blinds people to making rather shady moral and ethical decisions is something that needs to be addressed. We are raised in a society that teaches us that we have to be the best in whatever we do, and we should stop at nothing to be the best, or otherwise we are worth nothing.


Is it really worth it?

I’d like to think not because at the end of the day, when you’re lying in bed in the dark, you still have yourself to live with.

Give me a happy, fulfilling life without the opulence of monetary success any day.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Rainbow elf socks

I'm beginning to realise that blogging takes time. I'm a slow learner, I know.

The problem with changing jobs and no longer having internet access at home is that I find myself having less time to blog while at work, and when I'm at home and have the time to think and reflect upon things, I don't actually have an internet access to blog about it.

The upside is that I'm loving my new job and I'm getting a data plan on my new phone, which can act as a modem for my laptop, which means I may be back more frequently. Don't hold your breath though.

Anyhoo, I'm still knitting. And the latest commissioned project is...a pair of rainbow elf socks!

I think they're really cute, if I may say so myself :)

They're actually my first completed pair of socks. I tried knitting socks for myself before, but the thin yarn just got too finnicky for my liking. Give me big, chunky yarn any day.

But these were baby-sized and so were actually quite fun and quick to knit up! I didn't plan for the colours of both socks to match up, it just turned out that way (I was using self-striping yarn).
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