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Blog Archive December 2012
29th January 2013: Running the second share to win draw on Mayastar Facebook tonight (www.facebook.com/mayastaracademy) - very exciting! And this month due to the special offer for the good fortune/prosperity spell intensive a number of Maya Magickal clients have taken Attraction Reiki to speed up results of my magickal work...this is always exciting because when the client is consciously aligning with the outcome of the spell, it is able to manifest more quickly and more fully...so big changes on the horizon and a lot of a happy customers!
This has had an added benefit for me this month too - perhaps because of the focus on Attraction work...I've had four small lottery wins in a month! What are the chances of that happening? I think it is because I have been so busy focusing on explaining to others that it is important to keep an open mind as to the channels through with changes initiated by magick will manifest, I've opened my mind to prosperity anew. Everyone's a winner :D
In addition I have completed work on two new ritual/magickal options available through Maya Magickal - the Valkyrie Warrior Heart Dance of Power & Protection; and the Magickal Novena to the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady. Information about these new workings can be found on www.mayamagickal.net
And I have just set up a very exciting special offer that will be ready to go on Wednesday night with the newsletter...I'm not saying anything yet but it will be an unprecedented offer! I am sure I'll have some very happy students!
Other than Mayastar work and Temple work...I've been enjoying quite a bit of Shakespeare recently...I think I have exhausted my Anime library! And I've been doing some artwork with Wolf...and have some modelling projects lined up with him. Maniac and Aurora are on standby and we're hoping to get some work done when the mornings brighten up...so fingers crossed on the weather. But I am sorting out an alternative for this year because last year was quite literally a wash out so am setting up a studio at home that Wolf and Maniac can use. And I have some great ideas for themes. And lots of great designers' work to model too (Puimond, Ophelia's Folly, Gothic Burlesque, Alina Ionescu Design, Fantasia Couture, Morgana Femme Couture & Sequoia in particular...and also some great items from MinkyShop's collection!).
My spare Nova's are on their way from Grishko in Russia...I was a bit late ordering as I was deciding on the best size still...(nothing goes to waste...any that aren't suitable for dancing will still be suitable for modelling!) so at the moment I'm wearing 2007s. And I didn't realise before I tried the Nova, that the shape of the box really emphasizes the bony part of my foot in the 2007 and it looks as if I'm sickling my feet when I'm not - they just look off centre. They are definitely not as comfortable as the Nova's. And it seems after testing them a pair of Novas lasts about 2 months before the demi-pointe is too soft for me, and that is the same length of time 2007s lasted me. After 2 months dancing they would still be good for a couple of photoshoots too.
My corset training is going pretty well...though I still haven't mastered sleeping in a corset. I always wake up overheated after a few hours no matter which corset I wear...and it seems I just can't make the heating cool enough. Puimond's corsets are much lighter than others I wear and I plan to get a couple of special ones made by him specifically for bed :)
That is all the news I think...oh music...mostly I have been listening to Goreki, Skeeter Davis & Field's of the Nephilim lately. And check out this fantastic track by Tom Waits!
21st January: I've been having a fantastic week...in and out of the temple :D Ritual work has been at a reasonable pace post full moon and the change over from one Killing Moon to another didn't clash with a period of intensive work this month...there isn't much I can do when it does clash but at least I know ahead of time so I can prepare for it. So this month, temple work is well paced. This morning I got up very early for an intensive meditation session working with the Avalonian Alignment Sequence & Star of Avalon Ascension Mantras.
I am also extremely pleased to announce, my first set of made to measure waist training corsets from Puimond are on their way! Beautiful german rose cotton coutil fabrics. I can't wait!
Now I have stopped trying to waist train in off the rack corsets. I have done quite a bit of research and found that with many styles of off the rack corsets, waist training (which involves rib compression) is just not possible for me...and not just for me but most women will have more of a naturally contoured body than off the rack corsets seem to cater to.
A company called Punk69 used to make corsets for a number of retailers including Corsets UK & Corset Deals among others. Some years back this company split and now Punk69 is the name that one of the partners still trades under and he sells corsets through Corsets Queen (among others). He makes different styles and lengths but apart from some I had made with a shorter busk and higher hip, the designs put enormous pressure on my hip bones and didn't cinch my waist at all. The other partner of Punk69 makes different patterns and a much greater variety of styles and as well as selling corsets through Corsets UK (which are made with their standard taffeta and brocade finishes), they also provide personalised and bespoke corsets.
Gothic Burlesque & Ophelia's Folly have bespoke corsets made in different patterns but primarily with silk or teastained cotton fabrics which are exclusive to those shops. The quality of the shell fabric is gorgeous and although some people who have corsets made in these styles advertise them as suitable for waist training, GB & OF don't make make such claims. The manufacturers often do claim that their corsets are suitable for tight lacing and waist training by virtue of the number of bones in their corsets...but a corset suitable for either waist training or tight lacing is not defined by the number of bones...the fabric of the corset is more important; as is the integrity of the busk and flat steels...as well as the number of grommets used for the laces.
A corset maker I highly esteem did a review of two of corsets from Corsets Uk/Corset Deals on one of her youtube reviews...over the course of which she mentioned that she had also tried the 'candy' style and had, had to remove it quickly because of the pain it caused. Of those she reviewed the problems were very much along the lines of the problems I have encountered with the 'long candy' pattern which I bought for waist training but soon found it was not going to be possible...
From my own experience, the problems I encountered with this style were mostly based on the shape but it is worth noting that this manufacturer lines their corsets with a cotton drill...a waist training corset needs to be coutil lined otherwise it simply wouldn't be strong enough. They are also very bulky (in a good corset, the outside waist measurement is about .75"-1" bigger than the internal waist size...but in these corsets it is 1.5"...very bulky!).
After wearing the corset for a few hours, the waist had stretched by almost an inch - this wouldn't happen in a corset with a sufficient strength layer and waist tape. I have three of these corsets and only two of them have ever been worn. But on both of them, the busks warped and bent outwards from my body; which means they bowed in at the bottom of my sternum and put pressure on there. This isn't normal for a corset in any circumstances and means this kind of corset could cause bruising or nerve damage if it were worn 23/7 as a waist training corset. The pressure a corset puts on the body should be as evenly distributed as possible for waist training otherwise it can cause more than just discomfort.
One of the Corsets UK/Corset Deals patterns that Lucy reviewed had problems with the fabric coming away from one of the eyelets at the back as well. And both had the same problem with the busk that I experienced...in fact on one of them the busk bowed outwards but also buckled so that it didn't close properly at the front!
Lucy is very experienced with corsets and has reviewed many of them; and as a corsetiere herself, she knows what to look for.
At one point I asked the retailer of the corsets from this manufacturer to check the measurements of the underbust and hip on the 20" and 22" long candy pattern. The measurements showed clearly what the main problem is; the hip to waist measurement leaves no space for someone with hips (it is a very narrow ratio) so if you try to cinch the waist in, you are pulling the 'high hip' level in painfully across the hipbones. This caused numbness in my hips and thighs and so the corsets were wearable only for short periods. As a fashion corset or for an evening out and occasional wear they could work for people who are not naturally very curvy. But my natural waist is 11"-12" smaller than my hips and the corset pattern doesn't cater to an hourglass or pear shape. This difference between the waist measurement and the bottom of the corset ('high hip') measurement is called the 'hip spring'.
In properly contoured corsets with a wide hip spring (so for example a 20" or 22" corset made for modelling by someone who tightlaces, would be made with the high hip measurement about 32"), I can tightlace to 20" with no problem (my waist is 24"-26" naturally depending on the time of day/month etc). But in the long candy off the rack style (which I have to say was the best shape of all the off the rack corsets I had tried), I couldn't get any kind of cinch on my waist without putting lots of pressure on my hips. Laced so that it wouldn't cause pain/numbness, it barely fitted to my natural waist at all. So that style would not be effective for waist training in someone with hips. If you are looking to buy a corset 'off the rack' for waist training, contact the retailer first and check the dimension of the corset are suitable for you and the materials are suitable for waist training.
The corset shell for 23/7 wear should be hard wearing; coutil is best for this.
The corset should have at least one 'strength' layer in its construction (a coutil liner for example),
Check the underbust measurement, waist and hip, as well as the waist to underbust and waist to bottom middle and bottom side - to see if the corset is of a length that you can actually sit down in! Remember for even compression a corset should lace with a relatively even gap (or close completely) on the back. If the corset closes at the top but is open at the hip the pressure the lacing puts on the busk is uneven and this will reduce the lifespan of the corset considerably.
It is unfortunate but as much as I have searched, I have not found any off the rack options that are suitable for people who are waist training...and for tightlacing, I've seen none with very good shapes (the best shaped off the rack ones I found were on What Katy Did but these are meant for occasional wear and should be worn for up to 8 hours...not suitable for waist training). Most styles sold by retailers of off the rack corsets are quite 'barrel-shaped' - and this shape would not be flattering on anyone at all - but on someone who was lacing below 24", the hip bones would usually be a problem and they would find they couldn't lace down in these kinds of corsets. The only exception may be if they were particularly tall and the corset was a short length and didn't reach the hip bones! But I still can't find any examples that were a good shape.
So, based on my own experience and research, my own conclusion and advice would be that anyone who wanted to wear corsets for waist training, it would be much more effective (and cheaper in the long run) to have one good corset made to measure by a proper corsetiere rather than waste their money on cheaper off the rack alternatives.
If you think of it this way, 'off the rack' is pretty much is suggesting that 'one size fits all' - but this is not possible even with a pair of jeans (a size 10 in one shop is an 8 in another). So if you do want to attempt to buy off the rack...make sure you get the measurements of the corset. And I recommend watching Lucy's information videos as well as her reviews so you know what to look for and have defined your goals so you are getting the right kind of corset for your body and the way you intend to wear it.
So...the result of all this trying and testing and research is that I can now confidently begin an effective and safe waist training regime with realistic goals and more comfort!
Originally my main waist training corsets were to be made by Orchid Corsetry. Unfortunately they are having some problems at the moment and they have had to put orders on hold while things are sorted out. However, because they knew I had planned to begin my waist training in January they were kind enough to offer me a full refund rather than keeping me waiting for an indefinite period for to be able to make my corsets.
I was torn because Beth's work is brilliant! I have a gorgeous bespoke Edwardian style waist training corset in pale pink and ivory and made to measure...so it is very comfortable! I also have a number of spectacular sample corsets (corsets made for displays or made to be modelled - so worn once or twice for a matter of hours and then sold) too.
And this is where the REALLY great news comes in! It turns out the MOST (not all) corsetieres that are making corsets to be modelled, make them in an 18", 20" or 22". I can wear any of those sizes :) And the high hip for most corset models that are modelling a 20" or 22" is 32". Perfect!
So I have been able to pick up a collection of corsets from highly respected corsetieres (Valkyrie Corsets, Serinde, Morgana Femme Couture, Orchid Corsetry, Crikey Aphrodite) for very low prices!
The especial benefit of this to me is the fact that I get to buy some fancy designs that I wouldn't have necessarily chosen if I had been selecting fabrics! For example, an amazing shot taffeta pink/copper overbust from Serinde with detatchable steampunk charms around the waist; a black lace over dark pink underbust from Morgana Femme Couture; a midnight blue taffeta with white cotton lace trim and swarovski detail on the busk from Orchid Corsetry.
Lots of different styles for occasions, daywear and...of course...for modelling! A real range of designs that opens up lots of opportunities for different looks. And because this year I intend to work with Maniac & Aurora, Wolf and InterSomnia on themed shoots, to have a number of options for my corsets at my fingertips is great. So I am BRIMMING with ideas at the moment!
I can't wait to get Puimond's corsets. I am having a selection of Victorian over/demi busts and underbusts in coutil...with a 19" waist (because I do like the laces to show at the back as a personal preference...though I intend to lace to 20"). Puimond's work is considered some of the best. His attention to detail is incredible. And his corsets are always coutil lined and with the shell fabric fused with a strong cotton backing for additional rigidity. Also, instead of placing the bones on the seams as some corsetieres do, in order to keep the shape and tension level spread out evenly for the most flattering look (and most comfortable) for waist training, his designs space the bones evenly - so no pressure points and corsets that keep their shape!
This is why I have chosen for my main corsets for 23/7 corsetry to be Puimond's work...and I will update my blog as I go. I am currently sitting at about 10lbs over my optimal weight...that is not good for ballet and not good for waist training...so I shall be stepping up my cardio and cutting my carbs to make sure I settle back to my normal size! And I'll be monitoring my mid ribs measurement as well as my waist. The rib re-contouring part of waist training is what allows you to reduce the waist without getting that 'cut in half' look...but it relies on you wearing the corset for long hours and over months (years). What happens is that as the cells of the bones (bone is living tissue so these are constantly being replaced) are renewed, they conform to the shape of the corset...as they reform, you can tighten the corset a little and they will grow conforming to the corset. A bit like wearing braces for straightening teeth.
In fact, that is a good analogy because in some people, when the braces for their teeth are removed, they go back to the way they were before. And people with braces, often wear a retainer after the braces are removed to keep their teeth in alignment. The same goes for your ribs...once you have laced down to the level you want you can only consider that result semi-permanent because if you stopped corseting altogether, the ribs would move outwards again over time. So a level of 'maintenance' corseting would be needed to keep things in place.
Waist training is a form of body modification...and many people seem to react quite negatively to this (though strangely they don't have the same aversion to unnaturally straight teeth, or high heeled shoes...hmmm. Go figure!).
I will brighten up this blog with some images of beautifully contoured corsets! The images above are of pieces by Orchid Corsetry...those pictured at the bottom of this blog are the designs from Puimond on their way to me right now! :D <3
13th January: I haven't been online for 10 days!! (Well, in the office...I do most of my work from my mobile and pad now...but somehow I still find an archaic handwritten diary best for organising myself as far as spells and attunements go!) :D Anyway...it's a great way to work as it means I have more flexibility than I used to and people get much faster responses to emails for enquiries or student support than when I relied solely on the main computer. Though it does mean website updates can be a little slow during busy times so the New Year special offers are just being updated now!
The current options for discounted courses/spells for newsletter subscribers will apply to Archangelic Flames Initiation, Lemurian Indigo Connections & as a very special offer, I am going to do a double working of the Killing Moon working for February and so this option will be made available to newsletter subscribers with a 25% discount. I can accept up to 8 people on the Killing Moon for a double working month.
So I've just brought all the certificates and student records up to date. And the closest to the deadline I've ever left it, I've submitted my tax return online (I don't know why I didn't do it when I did the accounts in April...the online part only takes about 20 minutes!). So I am feeling very pleased as l look back over the past 12 months and see how things have developed for Mayastar & Maya Magickal...reflecting on the changes I implemented to make things run more smoothly and for faster responses to people too...everything has worked out perfectly. I am able to do a lot more ritual work with the flexibility of Orb of Life/Chi Ball attunements too which works well for everyone.
I am also pleased with how things are developing for New Pre-Raphaelites (www.facebook.com/newpreraph) and my modelling work (www.facebook.com/annalouisemay.muse) - more creative projects planned for 2013 and this year focused very much on artistic projects with themes too. So I will really enjoy that I'm sure! I can't wait until the weather changes because I want to do most on location to keep the natural backgrounds and light because I think they complement my style more...I think the studio shoots look too contrived. Perhaps because of my corsets and my pointe shoes...I already look quite posed so if you stick me in a fake background it just looks a bit too fake. Though I will make contingency plans this year in case the weather doesn't brighten up again! And as I am not going to be modelling any fashion shoots specifically, I'll be able to promote a wider range of artists and designers through my creative projects too...so that works well for everyone.
I am particularly looking forward to showing off some new corset shapes. And I'm stepping up my work waist training. I think I've reached a point beyond which off the rack can't reach (I have read other articles saying that once you get below 24", off the rack corsets have a tendency to crush the hip bones and upper ribs). I've found this to be the case because in the right corsets I can lace down to 21" (from 24-26 natural waist)...whereas in off the rack, because they are made so differently, I haven't found any I can get below 23" in - and none of them are comfortable enough for wearing in bed so that seriously slows down progress. I am stunned by how comfortable properly made corsets are! It's going to be much easier now :) I have some great corsets coming from Puimond (www.puimond.com) and I have a nice collection of bespoke designs from Orchid Corsetry too. And I think this better defined shape...along with the better shape and fit of my ballet shoes...means this year shoots will be a lot more flexible and a lot more enjoyable. I have to admit some of the corsets I've worn in previous shoots have been downright uncomfortable...some so bad I wouldn't have wanted to wear them for more than a few hours because of the pressure on my hipbones!
Also, I can't believe the increase in interest over the past 12 months...reflected in the rapidly growing newsletter subscriptions but also shown on the Mayastar Facebook page www.facebook.com/mayastaracademy
I also plan to resume my syllabus work in ballet. That sort of fell by the wayside after an injury between grades...I went up en pointe shortly after it and so I didn't begin the syllabus work as I needed to work on my strength and build up the hours (back from 6 to 9 hours a week). And now that I have I think I can safely dedicate a lesson to my next classical ballet dance medal (BATD Blue Riband) and my next grade (BATD Classical Ballet Grade 5). I'll probably work on the dance medal first because it includes a dance from Grade 4 so it makes sense to do that one first before I forget the choreography!
Other than that...well, the last ten days really I've been working a lot - most nights I have had spell work to do and some nights had two spells to work plus the Killing Moon. But this is usual for when the dark moon and new moon fall on auspicious days so I had kept myself as freed up as possible for these nights. That's the good thing about the flexibility with attunements...I can easily do this without ending up working stupidly long hours on certain days and then having nothing on others. Now I can organise my diary for a good balance and allow myself personal time for my own projects, dance classes and so on.
All in all, feeling very pleased right now! X
3rd January 2013: HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope everyone had a great Christmas/New Year however they were celebrating :)
The period around the solstice meant temple work was intensive before Christmas; the full moon meant it was intensive before New Year. And so now I have just managed to catch up all of the attunements (usually I will work for up to an hour on attunements after any ritual work I've completed but some nights I had to split the ritual work up into 3 sessions and there wasn't any time for attunements!). It was only to be expected for the 2012 Solstice so I was as organised as I could be before hand and things ran very smoothly. A few delays but nothing too bad.
I'll be getting some help with Mayastar for 2013 because at the moment with regard to the administrative side, even with my streamlining in 2012, I am still running at capacity and it's meant a number of magickal options are on hold and new courses haven't been typed up. Other projects associated with Mayastar & Maya Magickal are on hold. I will always continue to do all of the practical work with regard to the spells and attunements and responding to students and clients by email...but will have help with some of the other areas so that things can continue to expand. The person I'll be working with is a High Priest (trained in a different tradition to myself but certainly we cross over in many areas of our work) and a Reiki Master. He's familiar with my work and we seem to work very well together (...well...that is to say, he seems more efficient than I am! That's no mean feat!).
Dec/Jan so far have been very odd with prospective creative projects. I will be working with Wolfie and probably working with him in other areas than I have done with personal projects before. Maniac and Aurora are keen to continue and like the idea of more themed and less fashion shoots. I also have been in communication with a fashionista in Japan...and I may do some modelling work for them. I don't feel I can commit to that at the moment until I know how things will run for Mayastar/Maya Magickal with help. But we'll see :)
I've also been contacted by a photographic artist. UK based (and pretty local too) art student who is currently setting up her own business (very slowly as she has several years study ahead of her). I've seen some examples of her work and it's brilliant...and she is keen to work with me on themed projects too. So quite a bit going on, on the creative front. As I want to do more pointe work on location I think I will need to up my studio time to increase my strength. And I think really I should try working some of the time in a corset. That sounds insane to anyone else I'm sure, but when you're en pointe all of your muscles except the arms have to be locked or you risk serious injury. When you wear a corset, your centre of balance is different and you can't lock the abs in the same way...they are already held in by the corset. Now that's been easy for previous shoots. I wear a 20" corset but usually it is laced to 24" for a shoot - so it's not very tight. But the thing it is, is rigid. And the torso shouldn't move at all en pointe but when you're training of course it does, to build up strength for proper stability (very important...a bad sprain or broken ankle could stop you dancing for good!). So now I'm doing a lot of pointe work in the centre and increasing one-footed and turns. All of which would look great and add more possibilities for modelling...but only if they are safe in a corset. And a studio floor is flat and hard and safe to work on...you rarely find that on location! If the weather continues as 2012's, I'll have to do studio shoots anyway but I will always prefer natural back drops that echo that Pre-Raph vibe so much better.
So we'll see. I have one old corset sorted out for this (pointe is sweaty business so I will only use corsets that are about to be replaced).
Unfortunate news from Orchid Corsetry...in November I placed an order with Bethan for waist training corsets which were to be made in January (long wait list). But the timing was too optimistic and they won't be ready in that time frame. The first shoot with Maniac we were hoping to do whenever dawn get's early enough for me so I had considered that allowed time for my order anyway. I will find out how long a delay is expected but I might realistically have to consider alternatives for these shoots. I have a good collection by different designers so I'm so I have alternatives...I'll have to do some rethinking of the 'costumes'. I have some great organza sets from Gothic Burlesque which look amazing and suit the theme I have in mind for the first project perfectly. Antique lace and silk from Ophelia's Folly (as seen in the Green Fairy shoot) which will suit very well for another project. Stunning designs by Alina Ionescu & Jane Arden for another theme. But it is a disappointment that Orchid Corsetry are having problems and I hope they are able to sort them out.
I am trying to decide whether for shoots with coloured shoes I will order coloured shoes direct from Grishko or dye my own. This sounds like a stupid question...but Grishko only make certain models that they will customise with different colour satin...the 2007 is one. It is a good shoe and the shoe that I started in and still wear for shoots because to keep my feet warm enough to stay up, I wear addition gel and lambs wool for insulation. So the shoes fit well but not well enough that you'd be able to dance in them. My ex dance shoes are fine for shoots in the summer of course and then I can wear a narrower shoe with a good demi pointe fit and less insulation! But the 2007 box is made in such a way that I have to buy a wider shoe than needed because of my bony toes...one bit sticks out and catches on the ridge of the box if the shoe is narrow enough...so they are no good at all for dancing because I would need to fill them up with gel and stuff to get the right fit. But the Nova is a perfect fit and the box construction much more flattering for my foot - because even the wide 2007 (when broken in) gives the impression I'm sickling...a very bad ballet fault (v dangerous one too) when I'm not. It's just very unflattering and looks like I don't know ballet at all! But Grishko don't make the Nova in coloured satin...so do I buy spare Novas and dye them myself...or as it's for modelling and not studio work, go with the 2007??? I need to do some tests and look at the photos of me in different shoes to see which creates the better line.
And while I'm at it...perfectionist that I am...I'll do the same with the corsets...see which creates the better line. Ophelia's Folly waist training corsets are really good in shoots. Really good because they create a very long line due to a very long busk but because they are an underbust they really create the most flattering look. And when I'm en pointe, I'm adding a good six inches to my height...and when I do, it means corsets with a busk that comes down about 5/6" below my waist can look a bit too short and make me look like my legs are stupidly long. The OF ones have a victorian shape so they come down to a point at the front and that point in the middle is 8" long...which creates the illusion of a longer torso. Very flattering but also, it definitely looks proportionately better than other shorter busked corsets I have when I'm up. So...need to road test different styles and different shoes...hmmm. Perhaps I'm too much of a perfectionist. I blame Wolfie. People with art degrees...they seem more obsessed with the line than I am as a ballet dancer. Though it is handy because if you work with someone who knows lines it is easy to explain ballet and they know how to correct you if you model for them. If people don't know ballet, they can't see faults. I've seen some models try to wear pointe shoes - I mean, standing holding onto things because they don't have the balance or strength to be en pointe at all - and because they have no ballet training they have horrendous technique and bad form - no turn out...no strength...knees not locked. To be honest such a thing is insane. It takes a minimum of 4 years training before you are strong enough to go up en pointe - and that means doing a lot of ballet lesson every week consistently. People who buy pointe shoes online and never get fitted properly risk bunions, broken toes, black nails...which are risks for any dancer. But with no genuine strength and no technique they also risk sprained and broken ankles...or one of the most common breaks is the shin breaking clean in two...eek. Doesn't bear thinking about.
Still...I do like working with Wolfie because even if he is obsessive...I am obsessive about ballet too and detail is all important when it comes to art and ballet :)
Ok. That's enough whittering on about my current projects. I only came on to bring things up to date with the certificates!!! Then I have the Killing Moon to work for tonight and time for a very long bubble bath and a read <3
Happy days! I hope everyone is well! <3