My Favorite Color

A few days ago, or maybe it was even a few weeks, the daily prompt in my journaling app, Day One, was to write about your favorite color. I couldn’t think of what exactly to write at the time. Now, as I sit here and today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt stares at me, I just have to write.

Is my favorite color actually purple, you’d ask? Well, yes, it is one of my favorite colors and if I had to pick just one, it’d probably be this. I usually say I have multiple favorite colors, namely purple, blue and green. They all are represented in the six bottles of alcohol ink I ordered online earlier this week: three shades of blue, two shades of purple and a shade of greenish blue too.

Then again, with respect to clothes, I used to only wear black for many years. It was a statement, in my mind, but the statement never came across. I guess everyone thought it was just easier for me to match my clothing that way, being that I’m blind. And it was.

Now that I do wear colors, I have to say I don’t actually have anything purple in my wardrobe. I should really change that.

And I should get to crafting a purple unicorn ashtray for the male staff doing my one-on-one shifts once a week, who I overheard is leaving in October. Oh wait, he asked for a pink one. And polymer clay isn’t suitable for ashtrays anyway. But he’ll appreciate the humor.

The Wednesday HodgePodge (June 15, 2022)

Hi all! I am participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge once again. Here goes.

1. Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? Elaborate.
It really depends. I can either bottle up my feelings or blurt them out – there’s not much inbetween. I am not good at hiding my true feelings even when I try though.

2. A favorite love song?
I don’t tend to listen to love songs, so I’m naturally going with a parody: She’s My Girl by Tom Lehrer.

Tom Lehrer has many more parodies to different types of love songs and I love them all.

3. Do you consider yourself a trusting person? Explain.
No, not really. Like with wearing my heart on my sleeve, I tend to be quite black-or-white with this: I trust someone or I don’t. I also struggle to give people second chances when they’ve done something that feels as though it’s betraying my trust.

4. June 14th is National New Mexico Day…have you ever been to New Mexico (aka The Land of Enchantment)? Any desire to visit the state? Some of the top rated tourist attractions there are- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Park, The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, Bandelier National Monument, The Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Santa Fe Plaza, and the Petroglyph National Monument. Of the attractions listed which would be tops on your list?
I’ve never been to New Mexico and, if I have to believe Tom Lehrer’s song The Wild West Is Where I Want to Be, I don’t want to either. Of course, that song’s a parody too.

If I were to visit New Mexico though, one of the national parks would likely be on my list to go to. As a side note, is there a national day for each U.S. state?

5. What’s something you’ve found enchanting recently?
I try to find delight in the everyday, so really anything can be enchanting. An example that comes to mind right now is the music I listened to on Spotify recently. Back when I used to go to the day center, I’d go to the sensory room and lie on the waterbed while listening to a CD by Don Gibson’s Solitudes called Songbird Symphony. A few days ago, I discovered several other albums by that same group. Listening to them on my music pillow is pure bliss.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Speaking of enchantment, I’d like to mention an exercise I did a while ago in which I had to imagine my safe space in all its beautiful sensory detail. I tried to imagine being surrounded by unicorns, because most real-life places I’ve been carry some trigger one way or the other. I also love to imagine their beautiful colors in my mind’s eye, even though in real life I’m no longer able to see color. I know some blind people lose their memory of sight over time and I did to an extent too, but color remains with me at least to some degree, for which I’m forever grateful.

Temp Workers #WotW

Hi everyone. May I take the opportunity to join Raisie Bay’s Word of the Week Linky (a little late) to share about my experiences with temp workers this week? That’s my theme for the week for sure, as the week both started and ended with a temp worker doing my one-on-one shift.

Well, technically the one doing my shift this evening was self-employed, not employedd by the temping agency. However, my point is that neither had been oriented to my shift. The one doing my shift this evening, had had a few regular group shifts in my care home before, but still, she was really new.

On Monday, I lay in bed most of the morning, because this woman was just completely clueless as to what to do and also didn’t seem to show any interest in me at all. She paged through my information folder, but I was rather surprised if she got something right out of it. It didn’t help that the two staff working the regular shifts were also relatively new.

Today, I braced myself for another difficult shift. I had been told that the staff doing my one-on-one today had a lot of experience working in psychiatric hospitals, with which I don’t have the best of experiences. I mean, just because I’m a nutcase doesn’t mean I want to be treated like I’m just a nutcase. And I don’t mean this in the way you’d expect: I don’t want people to expect me to comport myself just like that because all I am is a mental patient who “knows better”. After all, in truth, sometimes I don’t know better.

This morning, I learned that said staff also has a lot of creative talent. My morning one-on-one thought she might be able to teach me macrame. This scared me a little, much as I’d really love someone who knows what they do in terms of creative work. After all, they also know bad crafting when they see it. As it turned out, indeed, the staff was able to talk me out of pursuing macrame any further. She did admire my polymer clay creations though and said I could sell them. This tells me she doesn’t know clay, but I was back in my comfort zone again where I’m the “expert”. I showed her how to blend a color (that I later realized I already have in my collection, but oh well).

I did through both temp worker shifts, notice that my assigned staff made several mistakes in my daily schedule. For example, today at 3:15PM, the afternoon staff came by my room with coffee even though I’d already had coffee at 2:15PM. As it turned out, both times are listed as coffee breaks. I don’t really mind usually, although if the staff who comes on at 4PM also forgets my water, it means I’ll have lots of coffee in me and not enough plain water. I know reports vary on the hydrating effect of coffee and most say you retain at least two-thirds of the water. I try not to make a big deal out of it, but it does get confusing.

Speaking of coffee, I did play today’s staff a little. She was making coffee at 7PM because the regular staff had forgotten. She got the can labeled “regular coffee” and started putting it into the machine. I could’ve said then that, per the home’s rules, we drink decaf at 7PM, but didn’t. We both had a little laugh when I did eventually tell her once she’d already turned the coffee maker on.

Word of the Week linky

Sensory Experiences That Influence My Creativity #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone. Today is day 19 in the #AtoZChallenge and it’s time for my letter S post. I was initially feeling a bit uninspired, so looked to The Year of You for Creatives again. In it were several prompts about sounds and sights influencing your creative work. I decided to expand on the prompts and write about sensory experiences in general.

Most times, I prefer to work on my polymer clay in relative silence. That is, I do speak with my staff, but only about the polymer clay project we’re working on. I also don’t have music on in the background. To be honest, I haven’t even actually tried it. It may be relaxing.

I sometimes do have an essential oil blend in my diffuser. Smells can inspire me, as they give off a relaxing or energizing vibe, which I can then translate into the colors I use for my polymer clay projects.

I also find that I’m inspired by sights. I mean, I cannot actually see colors anymore, but imagining a particular color in my mind’s eye does inspire me.

When I write, I do occasionally have music or a soundscape on in the background and I often have an essential oil blend in my diffuser. Right now, I have a playlist of rainforest sounds on Spotify on. My oil diffuser currently diffuses a blend of bergamot, orange, spearmint and ylang ylang essential oils.

I find that music, soundscapes, colors and smells inspire my writing, particularly my poetry and freewrites. I have a journal in the diary app Day One specifically for freewrites and I love to write stream-of-consciousness style based on a snippet from a song or a sound. I haven’t yet included the songs themselves into my journal, as that works only with Apple Music and I don’t use that.

What sensory experiences inspire your creativity?

Gratitude List (April 16, 2022) #TToT

Hi all on this Saturday before Easter Sunday. I have no idea whether English-speaking people have a word for this Saturday. In Dutch, it’s called “silent Saturday”. I’m having a relatively good day. I thought I’d do a gratitude post once again. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for physical therapy. The physical therapist came by twice this week. Once for my back, which had been planned already. The second time, she came by for bad pain in my right calf. It had been going on for a few days, so really I could’ve told her the first time, but it wasn’t so bad then. Thankfully, after some massaging and a bit of exercising, the pain is almost completely gone now.

2. I am grateful for a good nurse practitioner’s appt on Monday. It was really validating.

3. I am grateful for some distractions from anxiety in the form of polymer clay color mixing. I created some really cool colors.

4. I am grateful my day activities staff ordered the true colors six-pack of Fimo Professional polymer clay, which includes a color mixing chart, as well as large packs of white, Indian red and brilliant blue Fimo Soft polymer clay. (With white, Indian red, brilliant blue and sunflower yellow, which I already had, you can create the colors from the recipes I bought.) The best part is, the day center actually pays for it!

5. I am grateful the Fimo Professional isn’t as crumbly as it was when I last used it. It was actually a bit on the soft side, but still useable.

6. I am grateful for a good Easter lunch yesterday (or should I say Good Friday lunch then?) at the day center.

7. I am grateful for sunshine today and most of the week. Only yesterday was a bit of a cold and cloudy day.

8. I am grateful my computer accepts USB sticks and external hard drives again for now. It for a long while would crash when I fed it a USB stick or hard drive through the USB port. Now, I was able to put both my external hard drive and a USB stick into the USB port without problems. Unfortunately, my wedding pictures aren’t on my external hard drive, like I’d hoped, but I was able to locate some old documents and transfer them into my OneDrive.

9. I am grateful for renewed energy. I decided to have a nap this afternoon and feel so refreshed.

10. I am grateful I won’t be kicked out of the care facility. I’m horribly scared of this again after some recent events, but my staff reassured me.

11. Bonus thankful: I am so grateful for Jesus! It is Easter tomorrow, so I can’t leave this post without mentioning Christ.

What are you grateful for?

Lessons I Learned While Working With Polymer Clay #AtoZChallenge

Hi and welcome to the letter L post in my #AtoZChallenge on creative self-discovery and self-expression. Today, I want to talk about things I learned along the way during my creative process. I am going to limit myself to polymer clay this time, as there’s so much I’ve learned.

My very first polymer clay creation was done after a blog post I’d found, but the blogger wasn’t specifically focused on polymer clay or even crafting in general. Maybe because of that, her skill level was quite basic. This was good for me, as I could easily follow the steps to creating my first project. It was a flower that I’d rolled out using a wooden rolling pin, cut out using a cookie cutter and then stuck a blob of clay onto as its center. I stuck a thick crochet needle through it to make a hole. When it was baked, I colored around the edges of the center with a sharpie.

There are so many things I did wrong with that one. First, I used a wooden rolling pin. I quite quickly found out that wood absorbs some components of polymer clay and, for this reason, wooden tools shouldn’t be used. I should have used an acrylic roller. Or, better yet, a pasta machine. Honestly, even though I do still have an acrylic roller, I hardly ever use it for rolling out sheets of clay now.

Then, the blob of clay. My flower center was raised and I had no way of preventing that at the time. Now, I can roll out my clay on a thin setting on my pasta machine, then cut out the desired shape for the center and put it onto the flower and, if I want to, give it a roll with my acrylic roller. To be honest, I haven’t tested that process recently.

Then, the hole. I eventually decided to buy bead piercing pins to be able to pierce thinner holes into polymer clay pieces that needed holes. Getting the holes in without distortion was quite the learning curve and I still honestly cannot do it myself. I can instruct my staff, but they have to do the actual twisting of the bead piercing pin.

Finally, the sharpie. Sharpie ink reacts with polymer clay or so I’ve heard. My piece is fine so far (I still have it because it was my first creation), but I did eventually decide not to use sharpies on polymer clay anymore.

After this one project came many more failed projects from which I learned one or more lessons. For example, I at one point used cheap glitter glue to cover my baked polymer clay piece. Well, that wouldn’t stick. Instead, I now add glitter to the raw clay just before baking my piece. Please note that you cannot run polymer clay that you’ve added glitter or mica or anything to through your pasta machine. At best, it will create a mess and at worst, it will ruin your pasta machine.

Finally, of course, I’m currently learning about colors and color mixing. Just yesterday, I downloaded a book off Bookshare about color mixing specifically for polymer clay artists. I think I’ll love it!

#WeekendCoffeeShare (April 10, 2022)

Hi everyone! I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I just had a soft drink and a glass of water, but if you’d like a cup of coffee or tea, I’m pretty sure my staff can make you one too. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that a fellow client passed away on Wednesday. He had had COVID back in February, like most of us, but he didn’t fully recover. This client had been hospitalized several times during December and January because of seizures, but these finally seemed to be well under control. Unfortunately, COVID was the last straw. He had been on a feeding pump ever since he’d had COVID, but because he became increasingly uncomfortable and unresponsive, the doctor and staff decided to discontinue his feedings on Monday. I last saw him alive Monday evening. He actually lifted up his body, smiled and squealed with delight upon hearing my voice. I made the conscious decision, having already been informed that he’d be dying soon, to keep this memory as my last memory of him while alive.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I finally managed to craft another butterfly with the silicone mold I’d gotten for Christmas last December. I badly wanted to create a butterfly to go with the fellow client’s coffin, but wasn’t sure whether I could use the mold. However, other tutorials seemed even more complicated, so I eventually decided to give it a try. I did the wings in Fimo Effect color blue ice quartz. The body is pacific blue and the antennae are black.

If we were having coffee, I would also tell you that I have finally given in to the polymer clay color mixing thing and bought a precision kitchen scale. That plus a collection of 60 Fimo soft color recipes. Of course, I haven’t tried Fimo professional yet, but if I have to believe my staff, the colors I’ve mixed so far turn out gorgeous despite not being done with the true primary colors.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the nationwide cerebral palsy day I went to yesterday. Of course, because the ParaTransit taxi had arrived at 8AM and we didn’t have to pick up any other passengers along the way, I was in Apeldoorn, where the day would be held, by 9AM. Thankfully, I had called my mother-in-law when I entered the taxi and she’d made sure to be there on time too.

The day started with a live-streamed lecture by Erik Scherder, a neuroscientist from Amsterdam. The message was quite similar to the one he’d conveyed in 2018 when I’d attended the cerebral palsy day too: that exerting yourself physically is needed to stimulate your overall neurological wellbeing. In 2018, the lecture had mostly been geared towards (young) adults, while yesterday it was more focused on children and their parents.

I attended two workshops during the day. One was on aging with cerebral palsy, mostly geared towards those age 40+, so I was a little outside of the scope, but I could relate (sad as it may be) to some of the increasing discomfort that older adults with CP face. The other was a yoga class.

As regular readers of my blog might know, I am not 100% sure I even have cerebral palsy, in that my parents never told me and, by the time I was an adult, things got so overshadowed with other diagnoses it’s unclear. For this reason, I felt validated knowing that I appeared not to be the most mildly affected person, strange as this may seem. In fact, during the yoga class, we had to loosen up our muscles and my mother-in-law told me to loosen up. Someone else half-joked: “That’s about the hardest thing to tell a spastic.” That made me feel good.

How have you been?

Happiest When…: My Creativity-Related Happy List #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter H post in the #AtoZChallenge. Sorry for my being late to post. I am also a bit tired, because I had a rather intense day, so I may not elaborate as much as I normally would. For my letter H post, I once again looked to The Year of You for Creatives. One of the prompts asked us to complete the following sentence ten times: “I am happiest when I…” I decided to tweak it to: “I feel happiest when…” Of course, I am going to answer this with things related to my creativity. In my letter E post, I shared general things that give me joy about my creative work. Today, I am going to try to be more specific. I am going to try to list some things about my crafting as well as my writing. I am aiming for ten things, but if I can think of more, I won’t stop there.

1. I feel happiest when I am watching a YouTube video of a polymer clay tutorial that I think I’ll be able to follow. I have a few favorite YouTubers who provide good voiceover and/or easy-to-follow tutorials.

2. I feel happiest when I find I’m almost perfect at something after a lot of practice, such as doing the twisted mane of a unicorn.

3. I feel happiest when a difficult polymer clay project comes out of the oven better than expected.

4. I feel happiest when online window shopping for new supplies for my crafts, even if I don’t end up buying anything. I feel particularly happy when I find new shops. I recently discovered Etsy. Though I haven’t ordered physical products there because of shipping and possibly customs clearance costs, I did order some digital products there.

5. I feel happiest when I’ve decided on the perfect colors (whether they are based on a color mixing recipe or not) for a project.

6. I feel happiest when a color I’m mixing comes out of the pasta machine blending process exactly as it should.

7. I feel happiest when finally, after a lot of work, a polymer clay slab comes out of the pasta machine without air bubbles or other imperfections.

8. I feel happiest when I’ve been able to take a good photo mostly by myself rather than someone else basically snapping it for me.

9. I feel happiest when I get nice comments on Facebook when sharing my creative projects.

10. I feel happiest when I get a lot of nice comments on a blog post I’m also content about.

11. I feel happiest when showing my staff my new creations or ideas, be it my new folder of color mixing recipes, my latest polymer clay creation or a YouTube video I’d discovered and want to base a new project on.

12. I feel happiest when I can make someone else smile by giving them a handmade gift. Last Monday, I gave a fellow client at the day center a handmade necklace and matching bracelet. Granted, I’d created them a while ago and they weren’t my style, which is why I wanted to get rid of them, but she was over the moon about them.

What makes you feel happiest, creativity-related or otherwise?

Color Mixing Recipes!

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week asks us to write about something we collect or used to collect. Another asks us to write about something we’ve been working on this week. Yet another asks us to make one superficial wish. I am going to combine all of these and talk about color mixing recipes for polymer clay.

As regular readers of my blog will know, I am totally blind, but I did have a bit of useable vision growing up. As a result, I do still have a concept of color due to my memory of sight and also due to my synesthesia (in my case, ability to see Braille letters in color when I touch them).

As regular readers also know, my main creative hobby recently, besides blogging, is polymer clay. I love the fact that polymer clay comes in so many varieties of colors and that you can also color it with alcohol inks (which I’ve never used so far), soft pastels, acrylic paint, etc.

However, a few months ago, I discovered color mixing recipes. The vendor I impulsively bought a small collection of five recipes from, builds its recipes on four basic colors of Fimo soft: white, sunflower yellow, Indian red and brilliant blue. I immediately bought all four colors, but didn’t yet have a precision kitchen scale to be able to weigh out 0.25g, for example.

This past Sunday, I bought such a scale and also bought another collection, this time of 60 color recipes. Even though I can’t yet say I actually collect polymer clay color recipes, I would really like to.

That brings me to my superficial wish: an endless supply of free Fimo color recipes. There is an app that provides color recipes based on the colors in photos, but it’s available only on Android. Besides, one of my staff tried it yesterday and it constantly crashed. It also uses Fimo professional. Now I don’t mind that, since the advantage of Fimo professional is it actually comes in the true primary colors, such as true yellow, true magenta, etc. I would really love to be able to try to mix those colors too, as I’ve heard mixing actual true primaries creates more vivid colors than mixing fake primaries such as sunflower yellow and Indian red.

By the way, here is a blob of polymer clay in the first color I created using my new collection of color mixing recipes and my precision scale: moss green.

Of coursse, since I didn’t create anything with this color yet, it looks a bit weird, but I’ll be using it in a fall-inspired craft project I have in mind.

Since then, I’ve created two more colors, both for the fall-inspired project too: camel and burnt sienna. I have also been oohing and aahing at a ton of color recipes I would like to buy someday still. But they’re better if they don’t cost me money. So, if Mama Kat’s friendly genie would please pop by me and grant me that endless supply of free Fimo color mixing recipes, I could create all the colors I want.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Childhood Creative Endeavors #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter C post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I initially wanted to write about cardmaking, but I don’t feel like that now. Instead, I’m going to talk about my creative endeavors as a child.

As a young child, I had a bit of useable vision that allowed me to use colors sort of appropriately (that is, as appropriately as a sighted child my age could). I loved learning about the names of unusual colors. I remember, in particular, learning that the sixth color of the rainbow is indigo, which I was fascinated by.

I could do some basic drawing too. In Kindergarten, I went to mainstream school with hardly any accommodations. I remember having to color inside the lines of a piece of paper, giving each little shape within the drawing a different color and not leaving any white. When, several years later, I looked at it, I saw considerable white. I have no idea how I compared to the other kids though.

By the age of eight, I’d lost the ability to tell most shades of green and blue apart, but I continued to love drawing until I was about age twelve. Then, I realized I’d lost so much vision that it’d make no sense. Even so, before then, my drawings up till that age remained comparable to a Kindergartner’s in quality.

When I went to special education, I was taught other creative activities. I remember making at least a dozen origami frogs in second grade. However, my teacher did at one point write on my report card that she wished she were two teachers so that she could teach together. In other words, I required so much attention that she’d really need to split herself in half to be able to teach the class too.

My parents bought a pottery kiln when I was about eleven, so I also tried my hand at ceramics. I wasn’t too good at it, leaving fingerprints on my work all the time, but at least I enjoyed the process.

Writing also was a lifelong passion of mine. I can’t, in fact, remember a time when I didn’t enjoy writing. At first, I’d make up stories to go along with my drawings. As a tween and teen, I wrote stories that were somewhat or very much related to my real life. My greatest achievement is a work in progress, a young adult novel by the working title of “The Black Queen” about a teen whose mother has multiple sclerosis. This story, though it had autobiographical elements, was inspired by a conversation I overheard about a classmate.

Did you love creative activities as a child?