Thursday, 25 July 2013


It’s now been 7 months since I switched to a Paleo/Primal lifestyle – I’m not going to call it a diet, because it’s not about dieting, it’s about changing how you live.

The story pretty much starts back in 2005, when peri-menopause started for me. I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, migraines started, my weight increased, I started having increasing problems with my joints, plantar faciatis struck, and I seemed to be constantly ill and depressed. It was as though my immune system had crashed.

I followed the recommended advice – lots of grains, particularly whole grains, 5+ fruit and veges a day, cut down on the fat, lean meat ... all that stuff. And my blood glucose control didn’t improve. My health didn’t improve ... if anything, it seemed worse! And then panic attacks started happening more and more often ... 

Then I saw a story on TV with a dietician talking about food intolerances, and the symptoms that displayed ... hey – that sounded like me, and a visit to this dietician ensued.

Wow – what a difference that made, cutting out all the FODMAPS food. But I was STILL sick! And then somehow I found out about Paleo ... and then Primal ... In the beginning, it was just about the FODMAPS; then I recognised the Gluten/Lactose intolerance; then the Nightshade intolerance. I was experimenting on myself – N=1 – me, as the text subject. And the more things I cut out of my diet, the better I was feeling.

Now I’m having to accept that I need to follow a full-blown Immune Protocol.

There are now a huge number of foods on the ‘no go’ list, and my body is getting far more decisive when I eat something I shouldn’t. Responses to various foods varies.

Onions were one of the first to go – vomiting within minutes of consumption. 

Rice and potato cause severe stomach cramps, nausea, and incredible joint pain – and I mean, joints so inflamed they won’t move.

Egg white went on the list about 1 month ago, and now yolks have joined them. Last night I had about 1 teaspoon of aioli – which I learned is a glorified mayonnaise, and contains egg. Within 1 hour I had chest pains, and about 30 minutes later the choking sensation started.

I now have to bite the bullet, and stop drinking coffee – at least for a few months. That’s going to be pretty hard.

Because of the Type II diabetes, I have regular blood tests, and I got the results of Monday’s draw today. An interesting pattern is emerging – and the following table is as much for my own future reference as anything else!

I’ve had low level lymphocytosis (as in a raised white blood count, and its little friends) which indicates “... a viral infection or some other cause. Some of the monocytes show reactive features.”
21/11/201114/02/20124/10/201222/07/2013Reference Range
White Blood Count8.511.813.811.44.0-11.0

That ‘reactive features’ bit means they’ve become larger as a result of antigen stimulation, which is what happens when your immune system is responding to some sort of attack. As you can see in the table above, from the beginning of 2012 thru to October last year, there’s been quite a leap in the number of WBC doing battle in my system. Now they’ve dropped back to pre-February 2012 levels (although they’re still above the reference range). N=1 = cause and effect. Remove what’s attacking your system, and it starts to heal.

In addition to the lymphocytes, other measurements are shifting as well:

21/11/201114/02/20124/10/201222/07/2013Reference Range
Renal Function (eGFR)70626779less than 90
Albumin/Creatinine Ratio (ACR) than 3.5
HbA1C55756165less than 41
Ferritin (Iron)61599420-380
Cholesterol/HDL ratio3.94.0less than 4.5
Cholesterol3.55.0Less than 5.0
Triglycerides2.72.2less than 2.0
HDL0.901.24greater than 1.00
LDL1.42.8less than 3.4

So, things that should be increasing/improving, and are: Renal function (my Kidneys are working properly!); ACR (again, kidneys); Iron, Triglycerides (don’t eat carbs no more). Oh, and my thyroid is working well too!

While my HbA1c isn’t fantastic, it’s a work in progress – being addicted to sugar makes it tough. Cholesterol I’m not worried about – the whole Cholesterol myth means I’m not going to take statin’s, especially since meta-data shows we women, especially as we approach menopause, need more cholesterol in our bodies, and we make our own anyway.

Immune Protocol is where I’m headed now. I know mentally and physically I’m healing. The data above proves it.

I’m in a much better head-space than I was at the beginning of this year. I no longer suffer from depression, but need to keep taking the happy pills to prevent panic attacks, which are caused/triggered by the Metformin I take to enhance insulin activity.

It feels good to feel good.

Friday is Mental Health Day

Oh, and I feel no guilt about taking Friday off as a 'Mental Health Day' while Care move into my workshop. After 5 years working on my own, alone, I'm quite happy to admit that I've felt increasingly anxious today as the moving process starts, and tomorrow will be worse.

I will deal with Monday when it comes.

I will paint, take the dogs for a walk, do some Greek study, and some Christian Formation study. And I will go 10 Pin Bowling in the evening. Not something I could have contemplated today.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Adventures in Gelli Plate Printing, Part 2 - da Jelly is in da house!

Gelli/Glycerin plate #1 has gone in the bin. Yes, I know I could have recycled it, but quite frankly, it’s level of disgustingness had not reduced. It had left a gritty, slimy puddle on the glass, and slid into the rubbish bag with a disgusting plop.

But as for Gelliplate #2 – ah, now that is delicious. It has a lovely ‘hand’ – cool and dry, not gritty or slimy or disgusting. Oh, remember those red prints from yesterday – they STILL feel wet! Ew EW ew.

Now, because I used a smaller container – a ‘brownie’ pan, I had to change the quantities in the standard recipe below, to those in brackets. The pan is 10½ x 7”, and probably holds a total of 5 cups of liquid. The plate turned out about 1” thick.

Of course, working out how much water the pan would hold included spilling water all over the bench, and then gelatine all over the floor transferring it from bench to pantry. (As explained earlier, anything left on the bench is fair game to cats and dogs – their opinion, not ours! Kama has decided that gelatine tastes ok)

Standard Gelli Plate:
Gelatine            12 TB (90G)
Water (cold)      3 cups (2 cups)
Water (boiling)  3 cups (2 cups)

This plate is a thing of nommy beauty. I made it last night while watching Fiddler on the Roof (I really don’t remember if I’ve seen the movie before, but I really enjoyed it – Becca only managed the first half!) So, hubble, bubble, toil and trouble – and stir it all around.

Sunday morning was church – so the gelli plate only received longing looks prior to departure ... and although the building was bitterly cold (SDA’s don’t believe in heating!!!) worship was good - wrapped up in an old crocheted blanket my English nana had made .... oooh 53 years ago!!! - (with a new song about Daniel in the Lion’s Den), and then a lesson from Aaron on Spiritual Warfare – coo, she said!

Home again, home again, tiddly pom, to banana pikelets for lunch ...


Again, as yesterday, problems with getting the paint to stick. I decided to try the same paints, to keep the results of the experiment similar.

But then once the plate warmed up/cooled down ... whatever it did ... voila!

The main difference today was using a stencil cut from 2mm clear plastic, rather than the texture plates of yesterday. (and mind you, this had been a real b*&^h to cut) ... But look at the goodness that resulted:

I’m really really happy with these prints.

Da jellybaby is in da fridge – with a canvas board protecting it!


Projects for the week ahead:

Purchased fun foam sheets and shapes (Spotlight) rollers, speed brushes and carpet tape (Mitre 10 Mega), baby wipes (the woman in the supermarket was a bit surprised when I said I was using them for my art, lol) during the week.

Projects this coming week are to make some more texture plates using the fun foam, some continuous rollers, and maybe cut out some stencils. There's also a image transfer method using clear packing tape I want to try ... maybe next weekend.

I’m going to take Tuesday off work to have a ‘girl’s day out’ with some girlfriends and Becca (since it’s school holidays), so maybe I can get some stuff done then.

Darn - I wish I didn't have to go to work tomorrow! I've got far too much art to do.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Adventures in Gelatine Plate Printing

I spent a few days investigating purchasing a Gelli Arts Printing Plate. I discovered it would cost between NZ$55-65 to get one from Australia or the US. I wonder if I can get one here in NZ??? Well, in theory, I can - in fact I’ve ordered one on-line from Zigzag (a NZ company) but they still haven’t replied to my email, and might never do so – I understand the owner is very ill.

Well, I thought, in the ‘olden days’ they used to make plates from ... gelatine (or gelatin for my American readers). How hard can it be????

Quality time on-line found me a couple of recipes, many interesting anecdotes, all sorts of ‘how-to’s’ and some awesome looking prints.
A trip to the Asian supermarket secured agar agar and a large packet of gelatine; a fossick thru the pantry found some more, slightly ... ‘older’ gelatine (evidently the stuff doesn’t go off); googling found a NZ supplier of Glycerin.

Wah-hoo-hay, as the Wiggles would say.

So, rock on Friday evening – I had less than an hour before going out again ...

I’d decided to make what, in theory, is a ‘non-degrading’, ‘plasticised’ jelly-plate, or Hectograph (yep, it’s a real thing – check this link!) 


Water (boiling)

I doubled this to fill the container I’d chosen – a plastic drawer, 12 ½ x 9 inches. I wanted something I could move easily, without splashing it everywhere. Also, I was concerned that while we were out, the animals might have a light snack! The plate is about 1cm/1” thick.

The theory is that the glycerin is meant to ‘plasticise’ the mixture, making it stronger and more durable. I stirred and stirred, making sure it was all mixed well, then left it to solidify while we were out. By the time we came home about 2130, it was nice and firm, but I was too tired to play.

Saturday morning – 1030 (ish) (after a nice sleep-in, with the help of pain-killers)

The plate (and I’m going to call it that, just letting you know), came out quite easily, after running a knife round the edges of the plastic to break the air seal. I placed it on a sheet of glass (left over from the last time I broke the lid of the fish tank). We tried wrapping it in plastic wrap, but there were too many wrinkles.

IT FELT DISGUSTING! OMG! Slimy, slippery, clammy, cold ... got any more good descriptive adjectives here? EWWWWWWWW!

Paper. Paint. Brayer. Texture plates, ‘stencils’.

Oh, texture plates – made some last night – got out my Cuttlebug and embossing plates, cut up some sheets of plastic (the sort you put on the front of bound documents), and wacked them thru – ooooh – such goodness!

   Artworks Violet (cheap, nasty) – didn’t stick to the plate, but sure stuck to the brayer. Added some Pebeo Rose and Vert – they stuck to the plate a bit better. Added some texture plates. Yeah. Well. Disappointing to say the least.

Kaibo Yellow (cheap, nasty – see Artworks) – again, didn’t stick to the plate. Chroma A2 Cadmium Scarlet and Plaid Folkart Cobalt (didn’t stick).

The first picture is the ‘front’, and the second is what was left on the brayer – the ‘wipe-off’. This still feels sticky and horrid about 10 hours later, as tho it has gelatine/glycerine attached as well as paint.

Sullivans Periwinkle + Plaid Folkart Engine Red – neither stayed on the plate, and the red was a bit solid.

Plaid Folkart Night Sky + Americana Fluro Yellow

You get the idea ... cheap and nasty paints don’t stick at all. Sullivans, Plaid Folkart and Americana were less worse. The Pebeo’s were ... ok. 

The best so far was the Chroma A2 Cadmium Scarlet.

The plate is already showing wear and tear after ... less than 10 prints maybe? 

Placing texture plates really didn’t work; however, using them with the paint onto plain paper worked well. The two stencils – star punchinella and holey cardboard, were much more effective.

Overall, I’m rather disappointed. Tomorrow I’ll try my Golden fluid acrylics, but I suspect they’re too ‘fluid’ to leave an imprint.

Tonight, I’m going to make a smaller, plain gelatine plate – which will need to be kept in the fridge. After church tomorrow, I’ll have a play.

What else have I been doing today - we attended the Bat Mitzvah of one of our best friends' daughters. Bethany Brown's coming of age.

Bethany and Alistair:

Such a privilege and honour to be present for this. And the food! Oh my goodness - Julia has been baking for days (or is it weeks?), so much beautiful, colourful wonderfulness.

And tonight, Becca and I are watching Fiddler on the Roof - girls night in - she's drawing, I'm typing, and the dogs are wuffing.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Busy, Arty Weekend

Altered book: 
gesso, acrylic paints, image transfers, stencils, paper flowers and gold fibre.

ATC's: Happy and Kiwi Summer

ATC: Vintage Flowers
Freesia and pansy blossoms

Taking Friday afternoon 5 July off was a good idea. Spent quality time tidying my studio, and finding all sorts of treasures. I've got some new shelves, and moved some other stuff out into the spare room. Also tidied all my "how-to's" that I've printed out over the year(s) into one folder, so they should be easier to find (yeah, right!)

Had a huge sleep in, then spent quality time on Saturday finishing off some ATC's to send to a friend, Jo Buck, and finished off an Altered Book for a swap - sent it off to Pennsylvania on Monday. Brunch was grilled bacon and shrimps!

I also set up a 'recording booth' so I could record videos that I can't download - works really well, so far. My laptop goes into the white desk on the right, while my camera sits on the tripod in the centre. The black table on the left, and the board at the back are to cut down the amount of light hitting the screen. Not flashy, but it seems to work.

Sunday wasn't nearly as productive (well, except for the sleep-in again!), and another wonderful brunch. Spent most of the day reading! And a wee bit of studying Greek.

I did put a few more layers of paint on 'Red: Pushing Thru' - I'd put moulding paste thru a 'forest' stencil, and painted over the red curtain and wolf. I like how it's looking now, tho I might tutu with it a wee bit more.

Red: Pushing Thru
Acrylic inks and paint

I've done some serious research on gelatine printing. I'd wanted one of those Gelli Arts plates, but the cost to get one from Dick Blick or Australia is ridiculous. While I've put an order thru a local NZ company, I understand the owner is very ill, and since she didn't reply the last time I tried to buy anything, she's unlikely to  this time as well. $50 for a 10x12 plate, which is less than getting one from overseas :(

I've decided I'm going to make a gelatine or agar plasticised plate instead. David's picking up some glycerin for me on Friday, and I've got agar and gelatine.  Pictures and recipes to follow!

It should look something like this:

This could be messy fun!

Oh, and coz I can:

Becca, Kama and Tara