Crafting Lately: Polymer Clay and a Bracelet

Hi all! It’s Friday evening and it’s been thundering a bit outside. I’m scared of thunderstorms. Thankfully, they’re not too bad. To get my mind off the weather, I’m sharing some of my recent crafting endeavors with you all.

I bought a whole lot of new polymer clay supplies earlier in the week. Among them are a bead roller, which I have yet to try out, bead piercing pins to put holes in the beads I create with the bead roller, and brooch pins.

I also bought both transparent and gold Fimo Liquid. I haven’t yet decided what to do with the transparent one other than to use it to soften crumbly clay.

The gold-colored kind though, I intend to use to color in my letters that I’ve been stamping into my polymer clay pieces lately. I think I didn’t even share those pieces with you yet. I got the stamping kit a few weeks ago and love it! Below is a not-yet-colored piece.

I tried to color it with the gold Fimo Liquid this evening. First, I was unsuccessful trying it on my own, but when my staff guided my hand, it worked. Here’s the finished piece.

I also got a new pasta machine. Probably needn’t have bought it after all. I mean, I thought the old one was shredding my clay but with these particular clays, the new one was doing the same. However, I’m still grateful I got it.

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a few color recipes from Polymer Clay Loves. I didn’t have any of the four colors of Fimo Soft needed for mixing those colors, but I bought those too. Thing is, I just bought the small, two-ounce packets for three of the four colors and will likely need at least one of those for another project (which is still a secret) due to my other clay being too crumbly. You can totally see I’m still learning, eh? However, I definitely enjoy my craft!

In other crafts, I’ve also been enjoying basic beading again. The day center reopened this week and so I met some people from other homes for the first time in a long while. The staff told me one of them wore a lot of bracelets, so I immediately decided I’d make her a bracelet to add to her collection. Here it is!

As you can see, it is a simple threaded bracelet made with wooden beads on elastic wire. I personally don’t like wooden beads, as they connote child’s play beads to me, but these look pretty grown-up or so I’m told.

Have you been doing any crafting lately?

PoCoLo

Mid-Year Reflections

Hi all. How can it be the middle of July already? It’s amazing how time flies. This week, one of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop writing prompts is to look back at your new year’s resolutions for 2021. As I do each year, this year I called them hopes rather than resolutions as a way of lessening the pressure. As I look back though, I seem to be doing pretty well.

My first hope was to eat a somewhat healthier diet. Indeed, I am making sure to eat enough fruit and veg each day, unlike apparently during the last few months of 2020. I however still struggle to make healthier breakfast and lunch choices.

In the exercise department, I’ve not been as inventive as I’d hoped. I blame COVID, as, even though gyms reopened to the public a while back, I haven’t felt comfortable to go.

With respect to getting stable mentally, this is a work in progress. I’ve only actually noticed some seemingly significant improvement over the past month or so, after first falling deep into crisis in mid-June. I cannot say for sure the one-on-one support is helping me get mentally stable, but I do know for sure that I certainly don’t want to go back to the situation before the extra care hours were approved.

Faith-wise, I am still on my journey with God. I pray everyday, read the Bible everyday and am learning to put Jesus first. I am however still struggling. I really want to get baptized, but have no idea where to start, as I don’t currently even go to a physical church. More importantly though, I am still regularly tempted to think that, since God is in charge, I shouldn’t even bother with wanting to be saved.

On the leisurely side of things, I’m doing pretty amazing if I can say so myself. I have kept up a pretty good blogging routine and actually love jewelry-making and bath and body product making again. I am glad I didn’t resolve to be able to do these activities independently, as that’d be an unrealistic goal.

The only area I’m not that satisfied with myself about, is my reading. I did a separate post on bookish resolutions for 2021. I guess I should have called those hopes too, as to be honest, I haven’t really met a single of my goals as of yet.

How did you do on your new year’s resolutions so far?

Mama’s Losin’ It

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 9, 2021)

Hi everyone on this partly sunny and warm Friday evening. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I’m afraid it isn’t time for our evening coffee for another hour yet, but I can offer you a glass of water or of course make you a Senseo coffee in my own coffee maker. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d share about the topiramate. Yay, I finally started it and yay for no side effects! That being said, I’m not noticing any positive effects either as of yet and my nurse practitioner said it’ll be four to six weeks before we’ll increase my dosage. That disappointed me a bit, given that the max dosage for PTSD symptoms is six times what I take now, so it’ll take at least six months to get to that level and then if we decide this medication isn’t for me after all, six more months to get back off. Maybe I’m wrong here, since I’ve never had a medication not work on me at all before. I’ll discuss all this with my nurse practitioner when I next see him. Of course, here’s hoping the medication will start working in a few weeks.

Next, if we were having coffee, I’d share that I’ve experienced an increase in motivation lately. This has been going on for a few weeks already, but I’m noticing it might stick around longer now. Usually, it only lasts for a week or so and then diminishes again.

I have not been as crafty this past week as I was last week, but still I’ve not been disappointed with my level of activity.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I talked with the care facility’s behavior specialist yesterday. We decided to let the moving care homes issue rest for a bit, but get back to it in about two months’ time. I really do hope we can work on making my life in my current care facility better, as she’s right that every place has its positive and negative sides.

If we were having coffee, I’d moan about the rapid increase in COVID cases here in the Netherlands. We’re due to get another press conference from the prime minister at 7PM. I’m not expecting any measures that will affect me directly, but still, it sucks.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I’ve been spending quite a bit of money on my hobbies lately. I ordered several new essential oils, including the Roman chamomile I mentioned on Wednesday, as well as a full liter bottle of sweet almond oil. I also ordered a kitchen scale. Not a talking one, as they’re too expensive for my liking. I’m hoping all my supplies will arrive either tomorrow or next Monday.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you I’m loving looking at sites for bath and body recipes. I already created a pink grapefruit and lemon massage oil. Since both essential oils are phototoxic, I took extra care to dilute them properly and so far, so good. I used the oil on my hands yesterday and am absolutely fine despite the sunshine now.

How have you been?

My Hopes for 2021

Hi everyone and a happy new year! Last year was, well, quite eventful for most of us. I really hope this year brings some peace and quiet to all of you. Most of all though, I hope you all stay as healthy as can be.

Like I’ve done for a couple of years now, I’m going to share what I hope to achieve in the new year. I hate the word “resolution” and don’t really want to call them goals either, because that’d be pressuring myself too much. I’ve actually noticed that if I call them hopes, I somehow achieve more of the things I want to achieve. Here are my hopes for 2021.

1. Eat a somewhat healthier diet. I don’t really want to be eating just lettuce and carrots so to speak, but I do really want to make healthier food choices. Like, I want to eat 2-3 servings of fruit each day, like I did in the fall of 2020 too. I also want to choose healthir snacks and maybe I can really get into the habit of eating bread rather than cereal some days. Lastly, I really need to make sure I get in at least two liters of fluid each day. Ideally, these actions combined will lead to some weight loss. I’d like to lose about 5kg, but any weight loss is good.

2. Find other ways of exercising besides walking. COVID permitting, I’d still like to join a gym or go swimming again. I don’t need to get moving more, as I already get in my recommended 10K steps at least half of the time and I don’t think it’s realistic to want to reach the goal more often.

3. Keep up my blogging routine. I did really well over 2020 in writing regularly and really want to keep it this way for 2021.

4. Get stable mentally. In 2020, I experienced crises a lot due to a combination of factors related to my mental health and adjusting to living in a facility. Like I said on Wednesday, the extra care hours got approved for a year. Hopefully by the end of this year, we’ll be able to conclude that they’ve helped me become significantly more stable.

5. Find more enjoyable hobbies and activities. I don’t need to be able to do them independently. Like, I’d really like to explore crafting and beauty product making more, but I know I’ll need help with those. I guess my hope is that I’ll find joy in more activities even if I can’t do them all by myself.

6. Deepen my faith. I didn’t even mention having become a Christian in 2020 when I reviewed the year on Wednesday. I however really hope to strengthen my relationship with Jesus and my faith in God.

What do you hope to achieve this year?

Truthful Tuesday: Hobbies Other Than Blogging

I discovered Truthful Tuesday a few weeks ago already, but never participated before. Today I am joining in though. The idea behind Truthful Tuesday is to answer Frank’s weekly question(s) as truthfully as possible.

This week there is just one question:
With the exception of blogging (assuming it’s a hobby and not your profession), do you have any unique hobbies or pastimes?

Indeed, blogging is my main hobby. I at one point listed my old blog as my place of employment on Facebook, since I am unemployed. I however never intend on making any money from blogging.

So what are my other hobbies and pastimes? Here goes.

1. Walking. I go for two or three, sometimes four walks a day. They aren’t long walks – 20-30 minutes or so – and the scenery isn’t too interesting. I just enjoy the ability to move my body and clear my mind.

2. Essential oils. I love to research different diffuser blends. I need help actually counting the number of drops that go into my diffuser, but I try to come up with my own blends. In the near future, I’d also like to make my own aromatherapeutic massage oil.

3. Soap and bath and body product making. I am not as active with it as I used to be, but I like to make a melt and pour soap every once in a while.

4. Collecting books related to my other hobbies, such as journaling prompt collections or books on aromatherapy.

5. Reading. I haven’t been reading much lately, but usually it’s a main pastime of mine. I mostly read memoirs and young adult fiction about real issues, with the occasional thriller, romance novel or SciFi book thrown in.

This is it I think. There are many other things I have an interest in. In fact, my interests change a lot. However, these are my current main hobbies.

Five Things I Do For Fun

Good evening all! I’m having tons of thoughts and feelings right now, but they’re not to be shared on the blog as of yet. Instead, I am joining Mama Kat and sharing five things I do for fun. Maybe listing things I enjoy doing will distract me.

1. Reading. I used to hate reading as a child. As a teen, I developed an interest in Caja Cazemier’s young adult fiction, but none of it was suited for school beyond the eighth grade. I hated all the classics we had to read in school.

Then when I started university as a linguistics major, I was sent a book we were supposed to read before classes started. It was probably sent out to all humanities majors, as at least in our classes, it was never mentioned.

I’m not in college or school now though and can do what I want. So I read. I started with non-fiction and memoirs, but now I read fiction too.

2. Cooking. That is, simple food prep. I got a smoothie maker from one of the staff last Monday and have been loving making my own smoothies. I also love to make salads and other relatively simple lunches. I need some help with it, but the smoothie I made yesterday, I did almost entirely independently.

3. Crafting. Particularly soap and bath and body product making. I haven’t gotten down to that much lately, but I love it.

I also love trying out other crafts, though I usually need considerable help with those. I have tried many crafts in the past and still would love to try some again.

4. Researching my most recent special interests. Right now, they are smoothie recipes, so I combine this with #2 above. I can totally get a mood booster from reading up online on some topic that interests me.

5. Blogging. Yes, I still blog for fun! I sometimes get caught up in negativity if my stats are down, but most of the time, I truly blog for the fun of it.

What do you enjoy doing for fun?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Hobbies and Interests: Finding Your Passion(s) #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter H post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I have another lighthearted topic for you. I am going to talk about finding your passions, your hobbies and interests.

I looked over my A to Z posts of last year a few days ago. I found that one of the major goals I set myself in my letter G post was to find a hobby other than blogging that I can do independently. I probably meant a craft, but I feel that other hobbies and interests can become a passion too.

Anything can really be a hobby. You also don’t need to stick to one or two hobbies for life. I mean, of course it can be problematic if you spend lots of money on a hobby that you don’t really like. For example, I spent probably over €1000 on card making supplies over the years, even though it never became a real passion. I probably have spent at least half of that on soaping supplies so far too, but at least I still like that hobby. I’m not great with it and never will be, but oh well.

You don’t need to be talented to find pleasure in a hobby. That being said, feeling you’re good at something and/or getting positive feedback from others, can help you stay motivated.

Anything can be a hobby. It doesn’t have to be art or crafts. It doesn’t have to be music or sports. These are all hobbies that you may enjoy more if you’re good at them. Reading, listening to music or watching movies can be hobbies too and they are things almost everyone can do.

Besides hobbies, your passions can also be interests. Again, anything goes. I have said before that I at one point had an unusual fascination for calendar calculation.

Most people do not find their passions in isolation. They strive to share their hobbies and interests with other people. No, that doesn’t just mean blogging or vlogging about them. (I know I’ve said that I do practically everything I do at least partly with the purpose of blogging about it.) It can also mean sharing with friends. Note that no passion is so weird there’s no-one out there who shares it or is interested in it at least. I mean, calendar calculation is a rather odd interest that no-one in my family or circle of friends shared, but I did enjoy surprising people with my ability. Besides, now, with the Internet, you can be sure to find people who do share your passion online.

Feel free to inspire me and share your passions in the comments.

Writer’s Workshop: Collections

This week, one of the Writer’s Workshop prompts over at Mama’s Losin’ It is about things you collect. It definitely appealed to me, as at least as a child an teen, I used to collect a lot. Now I seem to collect things you can use and that I actually intended to use when buying them, but then I end up rarely using them. Does that count as collecting?

As a child, I, like most other children, had a large collection of stuffed animals. I also had a lot of Barbie dolls and such. In particular though, I had lots of PlayMobil® figures and stuff for them. When I was about eleven, I was even gifted a large box of PlayMobil® by someone on a garage sale. I had previously visited the garage sale and bought some of his stuff and by this time he probably wanted to get rid of it all so bad. That plus seeing how much I enjoyed it and came back each time to buy more stuff, probably convinced him to give it all to me. I however did play with it a lot until I was about fourteen. I particularly remember the games I played with some Native American-looking PlayMobil® figures whom I called Ingassa and Maranna. I had no idea at the time what were real Native American names (still don’t to be honest). I would always say these figures came from Costa Rica.

Later, I collected gemstones and crystals. I had some interest in their presumed healing properties, but mostly just liked looking at the colors and feeling their shapes. I had a lot of quartz crystals, including amethyst, rose quartz and citrine. I also loved calcites and had both the green and honey-colored ones. I at age twelve did a large research project on mineralogy. I however had no idea one of my stones was a form of asbestos. When I found out what it was while living on my own in 2007, I almost landed in crisis thinking I or one of my parents would develop cancer from it.

By the time I came to college age, I didn’t really collect anything anymore. I don’t even know where my crystals are, even though I know I had them at my student apartment. I can’t see the colors now anyway, although I at least used to have a file in which I wrote which one was which so may be able to experience some joy from them anyway.

When I was about 25 though, I developed an interest in crafting and started buying craft supplies. For some stupid reason, I started with card making, which is a pretty inaccessible craft for someone who is totally blind. I probably spent over €1000 on supplies before finally giving it up. Then came jewelry-making, polymer clay, rainbow loom and some others, all hard for someone with my disabilities. I finally settled on melt and pour soap making, although I haven’t done this since coming to the care facility. The good part is though, even if my soaps don’t turn out aesthetically well, I can still use them, so I don’t just collect soap stuff for the sake of it.

More recently, I started collecting all kinds of scented stuff. I have a large collection of essential oils at my husband’s and my home. I also have wax melts and of course the fragrance oils I use for soap making. I love those. Still, my diffuser is probably still packed from the move. I need to ask my husband where it is, so I can bring it to the facility.

When I collect something, I’m usually more interested in researching the stuff I collect than actually using it. I loved learning about lotion making when I first started soap making, but I rarely actually made any lotions. I also have a ton of books on aromatherapy (most thankfully free or through my Bookshare subscription), but rarely make any blends. Of course, the reason is partly that I cannot tell how many drops of a particular oil I put into the blend. I would love to ask my staff for some help with this, so that I can make diffuser blends or even massage oils. But first, I need to find my oils and my diffuser, as I don’t want this to end like my card making obsession, where I spend another €1000 (that this time I don’t have) before realizing this isn’t for me.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Soap: The Fun of Bath and Body Product Making #AtoZChallenge

The First Soap I Made

Welcome to day 19 in the #AtoZChallenge. I’m so excited to share today’s topic, as for today, I will be talking about a special interest of mine.

In the summer of 2016, I discovered soap making. An online friend of mine, who is also blind, had been doing it for years, but I hadn’t given it much thought. Then I decided to buy a starter kit. It contained melt and pour soap base, colorants, fragrance oils, a mold and other supplies you would need. I went about making my first soaps and they turned out okay. I need to say here that I’d tried a ton of other crafting hobbies before, including card making, polymer clay and jewelry making. Though my jewelry turned out okay’ish too, all my other craft projects turned out rubbish. I didn’t notice it at first, so I had some reservations re my soap making too.

The good thing about soap making, is that the result, even if it isn’t visually appealing, can be used. I have several soaps that were too bad for gifting, but I use them in my bathroom.

I cannot make soap completely independently (yet). I have tried, but then my kitchen became a huge mess. However, my soaps usually turn out pretty good if I get some help.

Besides soap, I’ve made body butters and lip balms. I like making those too, but they’re more work. I’ve also tried my hand at body lotions, but they never turned out good. I still would love to make those someday, as their visual appearance isn’t as important as with soaps.

The friend I mentioned above doesn’t use colorants in her soaps. I am still figuring out how to work this thing out, as white soaps don’t appeal as much to sighted people, but with colorants, you have to be careful to match the color and fragrance. I’ve made a few big mistakes in this respect, including a purple soap with coffee fragrance.

Pineapple

Last week, I discovered a writing prompt on a blog that asked us to share our favorite recipes incorporating pineapple. Now I really cannot cook that well, so other than a pineapple and banana smoothie, I have no idea. However, something else came to mind.

One of my main hobbies is soap making. I started this hobby in 2016 after having tried out many other creative hobbies unsuccessfully before, including card making, jewelry making and polymer clay. It’s so frustrating to be blind and extremely clumsy sometimes. As a result of this, I often need a lot of help on any of my creative endeavors except for writing. That includes soap making.

Earlier last week, I’d been thinking of a way to pick up the soaping craft again. I’d not been doing it much for over a year due to not having the support system to help me. Before that, I’d made soap at my old day activities in the institution, but my new place couldn’t help me with this.

I started looking for a soaping buddy. No luck. Then I thought maybe I could try soaping independenty after all. After all, it’s not more dangeorus than cooking and, though I just said I cannot cook, I in fact did cook independetnly many yeas ago. Making a simple melt and pour soap requires less preparation than cooking a meal.

So last week when my husband was at work, I went to business. I deliberately chose to soap when my husband was at work rather than when he was home, so that I couldn’t take out my frustrations on him. As it turned out, the soaping went pretty well. I decided to make a simple soap with just one colorant and one fragrance oil and no additional ingredients. That fragrance oil was pineapple. So here you have our favorite recipe incorporating pineapple.

Yellow soap with pineapple fragrance oil

You just need three ingredients:


  • White melt and pour soap base

  • Yellow water-soluble colorant

  • Pineapple fragrance oil


First, I cut the soap base into small cubes. Guessing how much soap I’d need, didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I’d expected. Then I melted the soap base in the microwave. This is not ideal, as the heat may not be evenly distributed through the soap, but I didn’t want to add complexity by melting my soap base in a double boiler. It worked fine for me. Once the soap was melted (which takes only about 30 seconds in the microwave), I added in a few drops of colorant and fragrance oil. The colorant and fragrance oil bottles I used have a dropper, but I just guessed how much I’d need, as you can never be sure the dropper works properly. Then I stirred quickly and poured the soap into the mold. You only have a few minutes from taking the soap out of the microwave to pouring it into the mold. If you see or suspect bubbles in your soap, you can spray alcohol over them, but I didn’t do that this time, as I cannot actually see where the soap bubbles are. I then left my soap to harden for about 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good.