Jewelry-Making #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone. Welcome to my letter J post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I want to share about one of my crafty hobbies once again, because I thought it’d be an interesting distraction from the more philosophical musings. Besides, I just didn’t have another topic for this letter, ha.

I made my first pieces of jewelry back in the psych hospital in like 2014 or 2015. Back then, I bought quite expensive beads, such as gemstone beads, even though I could only make basic necklaces and bracelets. That is, I did make one necklace with three different wires, but I needed a lot of help with it.

Then, after a while, I stopped making jewelry, because I just needed too much help with it and couldn’t really produce the quality I liked. I restarted about a year ago. This time, the first beads I bought, were simple acrylic beads that weren’t too expensive or precious. I did try to go for shapes I liked, such as butterflies. I also at one point bought a collection of 90 silver-colored, plastic charms for €5,95.

For my birthday last year, I got a surprise package of jewelry-making supplies from a store local to my parents. In this package were a lot of glass beads, which I loved. Thus came back my love of creating glass and actual metal jewelry.

Because most of my glass beads are irregularly shaped, I at first struggled to get each side of the necklace, with the charm or pendant in the middle, equally long. To solve this, I got myself a beading board to be able to count out the length of each side of the necklace. My best glass beaded necklace is one I created about two months ago using this board as a guide.

I also like to make my own beads and jewelry out of polymer clay. I created one pair of earrings back in the early days of my polymer clay journey, but glued the earring posts to the polymer clay using generic jewelry glue. Now some people do use E6000, but even that’s generally recommended against for polymer clay. The best way to attach polymer clay earrings to their posts is to cover the posts in an additional layer of polymer clay. If you want or need to use glue anyway, choose a brand of superglue gel, such as Gorilla or Loctite. I had my staff glue the below brooch to its pin using Gorilla superglue.

Goals I Have in the Area of My Creativity #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone! Welcome to my letter G post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I want to talk about goals I have related to my creative process. Here goes.

First, I obviously want to improve my skill and learn new techniques. With respect to polymer clay, I would really like to learn to make jewelry, such as earrings or beaded projects. I would also love to improve my color mixing skills.

I also may want to learn macrame, although I’m not 100% sure about that yet, as there’s still so much I can learn with respect to polymer clay and I’ve discovered I may not have reached my full potential after all.

With respect to my writing, I want to learn to write poetry that doesn’t look like a teen on drugs wrote it. I would also like to learn more about fiction writing. Of course, practice makes perfect, so I’ll really need to write more.

Secondly, my goal is to share my projects, when appropriate, more than I do now. I may really want to work on creating an Instagram profile. Either that, or I should share my projects on this blog or my personal Facebook profile more often.

I would also someday like to exchange my knowledge and skills with other crafters or writers. Of course, I do so online already, in Facebook groups, but I’d love to join a writing or crafting club or something. I’m not sure I’ll ever fit in with the polymer clay guild, as I need too much support with my craft. However, maybe I’ll someday be able to join in with some crafting workshops either online or in real life. I heard the American Council of the Blind organizes them online. Not for polymer clay specifically, but for crafting in general.

Lastly, I hope to continue enjoying the polymer clay art. This may seem obvious, but it can be quite the challenge, because due to my combination of perfectionism and impatience, I often give up when I don’t move forward in a craft quickly enough for my liking. I also dabble in quite many hobbies at once. Now, I really need to stick to just a few.

Yet Another Goodbye

One of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop prompts this week is to show your readers your most recent photo and to let it inspire your blog post. This might not be an easy prompt for other people to be doing without cheating, but I rarely take random pictures. As such, I do have a clear story behind my most recent picture.

This picture shows a necklace I made this morning for a staff who’s leaving. Yes, yet another staff is leaving my care home. It’s the fifth or so within the past four or five months. At least as many people have looked around at my home to see if they might want to work here, but none do. Thankfully though, my care home has managed to attract a few new staff from internships and the other care homes that are part of my care facility. Overall, it all still makes me intensely sad.

This staff who’s leaving now had only been working here for six months, but I did kind of trust her already. Some staff say this means I can build trust in new staff too, seeing that I could develop a kind of attachment to this staff within six months. The reality is though, I don’t think I want to build trust in another staff, knowing that the reality of the current employment climate is they can leave when they feel like it and no-one can guarantee me they won’t leave within a certain timeframe. After all, originally this staff planned on working here for at least several years too.

I did feel kind of like I had to make something for this staff, so I made this necklace. The round-looking beads are actually hearts. The story behind the beads is also interesting: another staff found them while clearing out a fellow client’s cupboard and had no idea whose they are. They most likely aren’t hers or at least she isn’t able to use them because the holes in the beads are far too narrow. Ultimately, the staff decided to give them to me. I at one point thought I might be able to use them for macrame, but the holes are far too narrow for that too.

The staff who is leaving is the staff who got me Indonesian takeaway food, the best Asian food I’d ever had, last week. She said that, on Monday, when it’s her last shift here, she’s bringing me another meal. I think that’s really kind of her.

Mama’s Losin’ It

#WeekendCoffeeShare (February 19, 2022)

Hi everyone on this gloomy Saturday evening. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare today. I’m right between my dinner and my evening coffee and I cannot offer you a drink other than water right now, as my staff is busy and I don’t want to leave my room. I’ll get to that bit later. So, can I get you a drink of water? Otherwise you’ll have to wait until my staff returns. Anyway, let’s have a chat.

If we were having coffee (or water, in this case), I’d share that we’re quarantining right now, as four or five of my fellow clients are positive for COVID. Four are confirmed and the fifth one can’t be tested but is treated as having COVID too. I took a lateral flow test right after dinner this evening and so far I’m still negative, as are the four other clients supported by the same staff as me outside of my one-on-one hours.

This is the reason the staff are busy, with the staff who care for the COVID-positive clients having to wear PPE and the other staff having to remain out of these clients’ way. It is all rather chaotic.

If we were having coffee, I’d share some of my new clay creations with you too. Like I think I said yesterday, I finally created a cactus on Monday evening.

Polymer Clay Cactus

Then on Wednesday, I created my second-ever polymer clay cane. This one I did using a heart-shaped cutter for the image. I managed to do the reducing all by myself! Then I had my staff cut it into slices, which we then made into beads.

I also created several possible charms to go with these beads. One is a heart which I do kind of like. The other was a unicorn, but I threw that one away. I now only need to make more beads, because, even though I have more than just the four beads shown in the picture above, I don’t have enough for a necklace.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that, this afternoon, I have been experimenting with photo editing and meme making again. I didn’t have any success, of course. I mean, I found a photo editing app called Snapseed, which is relatively accessible with VoiceOver, but the one thing I wanted to do, ie. add text to an image, was not. That is, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to enter the text I wanted to add onto the image.

The result of all my experimenting is that now I have eight apps in my Photography folder on my iPhone rather than the four I used to have. And those four already seemed excessive, being that, besides the camera and default photos app, I only use one out of the two image recognition apps I have. Oh well.

If we were having coffee, I’d share about my nurse practitioner’s appointment on Thursday. I am so thankful we were still allowed to leave the home back then, because the appt was really productive. With respect to my new medication, the pregabalin, my nurse practitioner recommended I wait and see another two weeks before concluding it’s ineffective for my anxiety. We discussed my anxiety in a little more depth and also for the first time in a long while went into my diagnosis. He actually said he believes my diagnosis is DID (dissociative identity disorder) or at least some variation of it (ie. other specified dissociative disorder). I quickly talked over it saying it doesn’t really matter, as I know firstly he can’t diagnose me (but then again the psychiatrist can) and secondly I still haven’t had the extensive assessment required for a DID diagnosis in most places here in the Netherlands. That being said, it felt so good to be validated like this! My nurse practitioner also finally will make room for us to discuss my flashbacks at a later appt. He said the reason he didn’t go into it right then was the limited time left in our appt, but he’d definitely like to discuss it with me. That feels kind of weird, but in a good way.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’m so glad the storms are finally over. Last Wednesday night, I hardly slept at all due to the high winds. Thankfully, last night and the night before that were better. My husband’s and my house did suffer some damage to the roof though. Hopefully insurance will be able to cover the cost of getting it repaired.

How have you been?

Artistic As Always #WotW

Hi everyone this Christmas Eve. How are you all doing? I’m doing pretty well. I’m joining Word of the Week again with a phrase (as almost always) and (again as almost always) my phrase of the week is related to my creative endeavors. I’m trying to come up with original phrases to say I’ve been crafting and creating a lot again. Today my phrase of the week is: Artistic As Always.

Truly, I don’t think a single day went by that I didn’t do any creative activity. I mean, I haven’t been blogging as often as I’d like to, but I did a lot of polymer clay work. I created several charms, including a planet, a flower and a rainbow, which is currently in the oven.

I also created my first polymer clay cane. A cane is a log of clay with a design on the inside, which you can then cut into slices to use as beads or to decorate a vase or whatever. I decided to do a flower cane and to make the slices into beads.

I will combine them, some yellow beads I made today that are also in the oven and a flower charm I made last week into a necklace for a woman who lives in the care home downstairs from mine, who is obsessed with necklaces. I still need to create lots of yellow beads, but the woman won’t have her birthday till the end of January.

I also got some crafty supplies in my Christmas hamper from the day center. They are two silicone molds. When I saw them, I did worry they’re a bit too shallow and detailed to use with polymer clay, as they’re officially for chocolate I think. I created a butterfly with one of the molds, which is now in the oven too.

I do worry that the butterfly will be some kind of omen though. You see, a fellow client went into hospital with recurring seizures yesterday and I’m worried sick that he’ll die. Please all pray that he’ll recover.

In addition to creating art itself, I’ve also been busy exploring the artistic community online. I joined several Facebook groups for neurodivergent creators and artists. For those not aware, the term “neurodivergent” refers to people with a neurological or mental health condition, such as autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc. I initially worried the term “artist” or even “creative” was meant to include those creating visual artworks such as paintings or drawings only. Thankfully, I quickly found out the groups I am part of are inclusive of all creative outlets.

Lastly, inspired by a conversation in one of the FB groups, I decided to buy the books The Artist’s Way and The Artist’s Way Workbook. I haven’t yet been able to do anything in them, because I read books on my iPhone and using my Braille display only and, since the latest iOS update, these don’t work well together. That is, several times a day, seemingly at random, my Braille display will get stuck and the only way to get it unstuck is to reboot my iPhone. Not ideal when in the middle of a sentence in a book.

Overall, I’ve been really artistic over the past week. It’s been an intense week on other fronts too, but I may share more about that in a separate post.

Word of the Week linky

Hobbies I Could Turn Into Christmas Gifts

Hi everyone. As regular readers of this blog know, I have a lot of eBooks on journaling. One of them is a collection of 31 Christmas-related journaling prompts and one of its prompts is about turning hobbies into Christmas gifts. The prompt asks us to think of ten hobbies that could be turned into Christmas presents. They don’t have to be physical presents. In fact, the explanation behind the prompt was about a little boy coming to greet Jesus and, rather than bringing riches like gold or myrrh, he brought his drums and played little Jesus a song. Today, I am going to share some of my passions that I could turn into Christmas gifts. I am pretty sure I won’t make it to ten, but that’s okay.

1. Storytelling. Some kind words can mean the world to someone. I am not too much of a wordsmith in terms of poetry or fiction, but I can definitely share some of my positive thoughts with someone I care about this holiday season.

2. Soap making. Okay, I can’t find my Christmas tree mold as I write this, but I could still create a soap in festive colors. After all, I do have gold and red mica powders.

3. Aromatherapy. Related to the above one, I could obviously add a Christmassy scent to my soap or other DIY bath and body care product. I have a ton of seasonal essential oils, including white fir, cinnamon and orange. I also am pretty sure I have a Christmas tree fragrance oil.

4. Polymer clay. Of course. I recently created a polymer clay Christmas tree and am going to buy white Fimo soon so that I can create a snowman too. I have a few Christmas-related cutters, but I prefer creating sculptures.

5. Jewelry-making. I don’t have that many Christmas-colored jewelry-making supplies on hand right now, but if I wanted to, I could purchase them. I can definitely make a holiday-themed keychain or bracelet. If I am going to use my polymer clay to make jewelry with, I do have Christmassy colors.

6. Reading. I could read my fellow clients a Christmas-related children’s story.

7. Baking and cooking. I am not a great cook or baker, but I could with some help from the staff definitely whip up some seasonal treat. I love looking up recipes.

Well, I can’t think of anything else right now, but I am pretty content with how I did on this list.

How could you turn a hobby of yours into a Christmas gift?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 25, 2021)

Hi everyone on this cloudy but warm Saturday afternoon. We’re supposed to get temperatures to rise to as high as 25°C tomorrow. I remember once, I think it was in 1999, writing in my diary in late September that I wished for this high a temperature for once that year still. Three or four years ago, it even got to 27°C one day in mid-October.

Anyway, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. It’s 2:30PM, so I just had my afternoon coffee, but the other clients are still having theirs. Yesterday, the late shift actually came to my room with another cup of coffee at 3:15PM, because apparently the other clients had been late having theirs and she erroneously thought this meant I still needed to have coffee too. I didn’t mind, of course. Anyway, let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I managed to get my corona pass ready in time for this requirement in restaurants and indoor events today. Not that I’m likely to go eat out at a restaurant or go to the theater anytime soon. In fact, I’m feeling a bit off about this requirement, even though, as a fully vaccinated person, I’m good to go. Getting the CoronaCheck app, on which you need to create your pass, to work, was a bit of a hassle, because for some stupid reason the “Next” button to get beyond the introductory screen wasn’t easy to locate with VoiceOver. I eventually asked one of my staff to click that button for me and from there could do everything myself.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I celebrated two years in the care facility earlier this week. I made a cheesecake with my favorite large cookies, ie. stroopwafels.

Stroopwafel Cheesecake

I did worry at first whether the other clients could eat it, as most are at higher risk of choking. However, apparently the staff were able to sufficiently blend the cake so that it was edible by everyone.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week was quite a good one in the walking department. I got in over 10K steps almost everyday. That one day that I didn’t reach my goal, I really should have looked at my Fitbit, since I needed only like 100 more steps to reach it.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, at the recommendation of one of the community psychiatric nurses at the mental health team, I’ve been taking my phone with me whenever I go on walks. We were discussing my grief about my vision loss and the wonders of technology and she suggested I take more pictures on my walks. Last Tuesday, I took a picture of the cows in a nearby field.

Cows in a Field

If we were having coffee, lastly I would share that I sadly haven’t been too creative lately. I tried to create a necklace this morning, but found out midway through it that I didn’t have enough of a certain kind of beads that I needed for it. I didn’t want to start redesigning it all over again, so will do that at some later point.

Overall, this week wasn’t too intense, other than Wednesday. It was a pretty good week.

How have you been?

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

My Very First Polymer Clay Earrings

Oh my, I’m really losing my blogging mojo or so it seems. Thankfully, I’m finding other creative outlets, like polymer clay.

Yesterday, I was watching a YouTube video in which the creator made some polymer clay earrings with the image of daisies on them. I wanted to recreate those, but really was pretty much clueless.

Like her, I started out with blue (well, Fimo Soft #39, “peppermint”, the closest to blue polymer clay I have). I then added little yellow dots. I still don’t have white, so used porcelain for the petals. The YouTuber hadn’t created individual petals, so neither did I. Rather, I extruded a strand of clay to go around the little dots. That was hard enough. I didn’t flatten my slab, because I feared I’d distort the design if I did. I also really liked the texture in my design.

Unfortunately, when I baked these, they stuck to the tile and got a hole in them when I pulled them off. I threw them straight into the bin, so no pics of these.

Yesterday evening though, I did create some earring pieces that were more or less a success. I used purple as the background color this time and again, yellow dots and white strands to go around them for the daisies. This time, I tried to flatten my slab using my acrylic roller, but that didn’t create an even surface. Then, I ran my slab through the pasta machine, which of course distorted the design a little. Or a lot.

I decided to bake my earring pieces anyway. I had four of them and this morning, had my staff pick the best two to be glued to the earring posts. That worked surprisingly well considering I didn’t use super glue. I had to let them dry for about three to four hours and they look and feel pretty sturdy now.

Polymer Clay “Daisy” Earstuds

VoiceOver Recognition does say they look like boiled eggs rather than daisies. I guess it has a point.

For the photo, I attached them to a piece of blue cardstock. That will do okay as an earring card for keeping my earstuds safe while waiting for me to actually get my ears pierced.

What do you think of these?

Linking up with Party in Your PJ’s.

Polymer Clay Fantasy Tricolor “Rainbow” Pendant

I haven’t written a blog post or anything at all in the past few days. I haven’t been too inspired. It looks like my elated mood of the past few weeks is diminishing a little. That being said, I still find my creative juices haven’t dried up completely, far from it in fact. Over the past couple of days, I have finished several things. I don’t really call them “projects”, as they’re relatively simple, but that’s beside the point. One such crafty thing I finished is my polymer clay fantasy tricolor “rainbow” pendant.

Over the weekend, I had been looking at making polymer clay earrings. I am not yet good enough with plain slabs to make those, but one of the ideas I saw was a rainbow. I checked my colors and found that I have some clay at least remotely resembling each color except for indigo. I might be able to mix indigo myself, but then again making an actual, seven-color rainbow would use up so much clay and what if it was a massive fail? For this reason, I decided to make a tricolor “rainbow”.

Polymer Clay Fantasy Tricolor “Rainbow” Pendant

I also shied away from mixing my own colors, because I have none of the classic primaries. I mean, I do have a shade of red, yellow and blue, but I didn’t know what these shades would do together. So I asked my staff for feedback on colors that looked good together and that’s how I came up with the three colors of clay I used for the “rainbow”: Fimo Professional #6 (purple), Fimo Soft #42 (tangerine) and Fimo Soft #39 (peppermint).

I made the three layers of the “rainbow” using a half-round disc in my extruder. Oh, I haven’t even told you all yet that the same staff who brought me a pasta machine a few weeks back, brought me an extruder last Saturday. I’m so totally over the moon about it!

I also decided at the last minute to try to insert the eyepin. That way, I will be able to make a pendant out of this. With this particular piece, my staff did the actual inserting of the eye pin. However, I have been practising doing this myself and can now do this too.

I baked my piece on a tile yesterday. Unfortunately, since I’d used a glass oven dish lid to cover the piece, the first time it wouldn’t cure. The second time around, I decided not to cover my piece and it turned out pretty nice. It is slightly shiny at the back, but well, that’s okay. And best of all, the eye pin didn’t fall out!

What do you think of this piece?

Linking up with Party in Your PJ’s.