#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 19, 2021)

Hi all on this late Sunday evening! Boy, am I late joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I’ve had all my coffee for the day and even had my last soft drink. If you’d like one, I’m sure I can still pass you one through the Internet though. Let’s have a cup of coffee or another drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the weather is still pretty good for September here. Temperatures rose to roughly 20°C in the afternoon and it’s been mostly dry with some sunshine and some clouds. Today while in the car being taken back to the care facility from Lobith, my husband even said I had to wear sunglasses. Now sadly the sunlight wasn’t particularly bright to my (almost) totally blind eyes, but yesterday I’d gotten a headache from what might’ve been exposure to bright sunlight that I wasn’t consciously detecting.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that my husband and I had our tenth wedding anniversary today. We celebrated it yesterday with a large Domino’s pizza. We each had a milkshake too, but it was far too thick for my liking. I couldn’t finish drinking it, whether I tried the paper straw that came with it or my own silicone straw.

If we were having coffee, I would finally show you the picture of the present I gave my husband for our anniversary. It’s a polymer clay heart with the text “Assie houdt van je” stamped into it. Assie is my nickname (and no, in Dutch, there is no connotation to asses) and “houdt van je” is Dutch for “loves you”. There is magnetic tape at the back so that my husband could hang it on the fridge.

Polymer Clay Heart for My Husband

My husband really appreciated the gift.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rest of my week was okay. I was a little sad and grieving the loss of my eyesight, as well as worrying about my upcoming care plan review. The review won’t be until September 30 and of course it doesn’t involve judgment and it isn’t a test.

However, I have been increasingly aware of my inner fight regarding my wish to stay here in Raalte and yet my feeling that I ought to be looking for another care facility or working towards living with my husband. In my paragraph about the bright sunshine, I almost wrote I was taken “home to the care facility” rather than “back”, as if our house in Lobith is less of a home to me than the care facility. My support staff would consider this progress, in that I’m beginning to feel safe here at the care facility. However, there’s an inner voice that tells me that this is betraying my husband. I know he supports me staying here for now, but I also know he struggles with the distance. Ugh, this is so hard.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’m very curious about iOS 15, which will be out tomorrow. Like almost every year, there is one critic on the Dutch VoiceOver E-mail group who warns all of us to wait because it’ll be drama. This year though, the accessibility bugs seem not as serious as last year and especially the year before. Still, I’ll probably wait at least a couple of weeks until at least some of the other members of the group have actually installed the official release. I am really curious about live text in photos and improved VoiceOver image recognition though.

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

#WeekendCoffeeShare (September 4, 2021)

Oh my, it’s September already! I at first was going to type “July” in this post’s title, then thought that it was August, only to realize that month too has passed. The weather is still pretty nice for late summer/early fall: sunny and about 20°C.

Today, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I already had all my coffee for the day, so a soft drink or water will have to do. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that this week has been a true rollercoaster emotionally. It started with my vision screening by the blindness agency. I really want to share more about my feelings of grief and denial about having lost all my vision. In fact, I still always want to put in a caveat about that tiny bit of light perception I still have left whenever I’m saying I’m now totally blind. But I guess that’s what I am: totally blind.

Then again, I don’t want to wallow in my sadness and would quickly move on to demonstrate VoiceOver Recognition and celebrate the powers of technology.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share that the day center is reopening on Monday after eighteen months of being more or less closed due to COVID. My day activities will largely remain in the home with my own one-on-one staff though.

That being said, I did hyperfocus a lot on the details of my activity program and the times staff aren’t directly available for me. This caused some major distress, but I eventually managed to put things into perspective.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I finally surpassed my Mom with respect to step count in the Fitbit app. For a while, I myself had been last among my Fitbit friends. I however did get in over 10K steps two days this past week. That’s a big win, considering I struggled to even get to 5K most days last week.

If we were having coffee, I would vent my frustration about my pasta machine, which I use for polymer clay, not working correctly. The thing I use to attach it to the table, won’t work. Thankfully though, the staff who gave the machine to me has a son who may be able to fix it.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you that I’ve been doing a lot of inner work lately relating to my life as a dissociative (multiple personality) system. After some conversations with my assigned home staff, I finally decided to do a system mapping again. Like I mentioned on Thursday, I used to have a list of all of us here on the blog, but removed that as it was less relevant. My staff though do find it useful.

I also downloaded an app called Simply Plural, in which systems can keep track of who’s “in front” (the alter you see on the outside) and can do system polls on decisions too. I will probably write the developer about some bugs in its usability with VoiceOver and some suggestions, but so far, it seems quite cool.

I also finally decided to download some more books exploring trauma and stuff from Bookshare. I might explore the subject more, be it in my personal journal or here.

How have you been?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 29, 2021)

Hi everyone, how are you? I’m a bit late joining #WeekendCoffeeShare, as it’s already Sunday. I just had my afternoon coffee and, like I said last week, my Senseo is with my husband now. Now I’m assuming he won’t use it much, as not only is he more of a freshly-brewed coffee person, but he’s trying to cut back on his caffeine intake. That’s his decision though. Let’s have a cup of coffee (or pretend to) and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a good week overall. The weather’s been okay. Not as warm as I’d like it and a little windy for my liking too, but at least it’s been mostly dry.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I decided not to join Steptember, the annual cerebral palsy fundraiser, this year. I participated last year, but the pressure of having to get in 10K steps each day (or as many as I could) and raise money, was a bit too much for me.

If we were having coffee, I’d also moan about my AFO. Yes, it’s been a while, but if you’d thought that no news is good news, you would be wrong. My AFO had been with the orthopedic instrument maker, whom I’ll call AFO guy, for a few weeks, but upon return, we found out that it’s still not working well in combination with my orthopedic shoes. Now AFO guy and shoe guy were both contacted by the physical therapist and it’s up to them to figure out how to solve the issue.

If we were having coffee, I’d also whine a little about my foot pain. The physical therapist hasn’t gotten back to me about that, so I’m not sure what’s causing it. Could be my shoes, since they’re really old (the non-adaptive ones I now wear). Please pray AFO guy and shoe guy will figure out the issue with my adaptive footwear soon.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you to pray for my niece. I didn’t ask my sister permission to share her hip dysplasia diagnosis last time, which I think now is wrong, so I won’t be sharing any more details. However, she is definitely in need of continued prayers.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that I’ve been really crafty over the past week again. I created some lovely polymer clay ornaments, as well as a hand cream and keychain for one of my fellow clients, who had his birthday on Wednesday. Yesterday, I encountered a lot of frustration with one of my Fimo Professional clays being very crumbly and hard. I eventually managed to restore it to health though.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (August 27, 2021) #TToT

Hi all! Can you believe August is almost over with already? I certainly can’t. Today I thought I’d do a gratitude list. I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT), as well as Thankful Thursday (a day late) again.

1. I am grateful for French fries. On Sunday, the staff decided to get those delivered to the care home. Of course, I had a very spicy snack called mexicano with it.

2. I am grateful the volunteer handymen came over to my room on Monday to put together the new desk I bought at Ikea two weeks ago. At first, it was a little too high (the legs are adjustable in length), but the handymen had been struggling to get the legs to cooperate. For this reason, I was hesitant to ask them to adjust them. However, once they’d figured out how to work the mechanism, it was pretty easy. I am so grateful to have my new desk now.

3. I am grateful both my assigned day activities staff and home staff are back from vacation as of this week.

4. I am grateful my CPN is back from vacation. I am glad I had a good discussion with her on Wednesday.

5. I am grateful to be making progress in my creative endeavors. I am quite perfectionistic, so have thrown a few of my polymer clay pieces in the bin, but without failing, one doesn’t learn, right? I am also grateful for all the constructive feedback I receiv in Facebook groups.

6. I am grateful my polymer clay alphabet stamping set arrived. I had had it on my wishlist for a while, ordered it on Monday and it arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, a part of it was missing. One of my staff went after it and the store just replied that they’ll send the part that is missing.

7. I am grateful for summer fruit. My day activities staff, who lives near the supermarket my care facility normally buys from, was asked to get some stuff (buttermilk, I think, yikes!) on Thursday and she asked me what else I wanted her to buy now that she was going to go get groceries for us anyway. She bought peaches and strawberries and they were delicious!

8. I am grateful to be able to put a smile onto people’s face with my handmade gifts. Like I may have mentioned, my day activities staff got a present from me. So did a fellow client, who had his birthday on Wednesday. He had the hugest smile on his face when I gave him his hand cream.

9. I am grateful to live in a free, developed country. All the news about the Taliban having taken over Afghanistan makes me so grateful that I’m not and have never been in a war zone.

10. I am grateful the government are so far not putting the country into lockdown or tightening any measures despite COVID case numbers being on the rise again.

What are you grateful for?

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.

Crafty Endeavors #WotW

This week was a mixed bag emotionally. I haven’t been as motivated as I was before, but, like I said yesterday, haven’t been depressed either. I have also been quite crafty over the past week. In fact, I have been exploring more creative outlets in a single week than I’ve done in a long while. For this reason, I’m choosing “crafty endeavors” as my word of the week.

Early in the week, I created the polymer clay tricolor “rainbow” pendant I showed you on Wednesday. Like I said, at first it wouldn’t cure in the oven, but eventually it did.

I also created the multicolor, layered heart I posted yesterday. Since my mother-in-law brought me a packet of sanding papers, I have been trying to sand this one a little. I only used grits 120 and 400 to get rid of the worst unevenness, since with it being multilayered, I don’t know how to sand the top two layers.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, I have been busy with soap and skincare product making. I made a lavender and clary sage massage oil. Unfortunately, I used up all my lavender essential oil, so I’ve put that on my wishlist to buy when I feel I am allowed to spend money again.

I also created a lavender and rose hand cream and melt and pour soap. In the soap, I used real dried lavender and rose petals.

Lavender and Rose Melt and Pour Soap

I found the recipe here and, though I felt the use of crushed almonds was a bit strange, I just skipped that step. I really liked the soap.

Then yesterday, I showed it in a melt and pour soap making group on Facebook and was told by all of the commenters that most dried herbs and flowers will mold in melt and pour soap. I seriously had no idea! In fact, just a few days earlier, I’d seen another blogger post a recipe for calendula soap. That one is the one herb that won’t mold, but this blogger also included lemongrass. I’ve also seen tons of recipes for melt and pour soap that do include all kinds of dried herbs and flowers, so my next question obviously is how to sift through all the information out there online. In any case, some of the commenters on Facebook said I’m now officially a soaper for having made the same mistake 99% of melt and pour soapers make.

Then on to polymer clay again. On Friday evening, I made a flower. Then I saw an interesting video on YouTube on making polymer clay earrings and wanted to try it. Unfortunately, one of the colors of Fimo I used was way too brittle for in my extruder, so I decided to mix up the two colors. I’d used blossom rose and porcelain. The shade I got was a very light pink which was lovely. Unfortunately, I only had a tiny bit of it.

This evening, I may try more polymer clay, as I haven’t baked the flower yet and want it baked by tomorrow, but I don’t want to run the oven for just one piece.

Overall, despite this week not feeling as good as the past few weeks, I’ve done really well.

How would you sum up your week?

Word of the Week linky

#WeekendCoffeeShare (August 20, 2021)

Hi everyone! Today is a mixed bag weather-wise. We’ve had some rain and some sunshine and the temperature rose to 20°C. It’s okay given that I’ve resigned to the idea that summer is over already.

Today I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. Of course, being that it’s past 8PM, I’ve already had all my coffee for the day. My Senseo coffee maker’s loose parts are also in the dishwasher and I won’t be able to make you a Senseo anymore from now on. More on that later. The staff will probably make you one if you ask though.

If we were having coffee (or any other drink), I’d share that indeed, like I shared earlier, my mood seems to have deflated a little, but I can’t quite say I’m depressed or sad. I just feel a little less inspired and motivated and a little more irritable and anxious than I was over the past couple of weeks. It’s okay though. I’m pretty sure that even this little low won’t mean all my elation over the past month or so was for nothing.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve still managed to be quite creative over the past week. Early in the week and today, I did some polymer clay. I created the “rainbow” pendant I showed you all on Wednesday, as well as a pretty useless layered heart.

Layered, Multicolor Polymer Clay Heart

I say it is useless because it has neither a hole for a jumpring or ribbon in it, nor an eyepin attached. It is also too large for an earring. I might be able to make a brooch out of it someday.

I have also been doing some soap and skincare product making over the past few days.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that yesterday when making some soap, the microwave I normally use for melting my soap and other skincare ingredients, malfunctioned. This microwave used to be used by the sleeping shift, who had their room next to the entrance to my care home. However, they no longer use this, so the microwave won’t be replaced.

I’ve had a microwave for my room on my wishlist for several months, but was going to delay actually buying one for a while still. Until this one failed, that is. My husband tried talking me out of buying a microwave and that’s where the Senseo comes in. He said I don’t have space for a microwave in my room, but I will if I do away with the coffee maker. So he proposed he give me the microwave from Lobith, since he hardly uses it, and I give him my Senseo. I’m fine with that, since I rarely if ever actually use the Senseo. In fact, I just discovered that the unopened packet of coffee pods I had in my kitchen drawer had an expiration date of July 2020. I hereby apologize for having virtually poisoned all my Coffee Share guests with moldy coffee. The Senseo, I’m hoping, is still in pretty good condition.

How have you been?

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.

Things I’m Proud Of Myself For This Week

This week was a struggle in some ways, but it was also good. I have been dealing with a lot of fear of joy again. I also find it hard to take credit for things I do well in case it means people expect me to always do as well. To turn these negative convictions around and focus on the positive, I am listing some things I am proud of myself for this week. I am joining today’s Word of the Day Challenge, because the word happens to be “Proud”. Okay, that was what inspired me, so I need to give the creators of the challenge credit here. I am also joining in with #LifeThisWeek.

1. I am proud of the progress I am making with polymer clay. I have been practising making layered cookie cutter shapes and can now do them on pasta machine setting three at least with Fimo Professional pretty successfully. I am still learning with Fimo Soft, as that’s a bit too sticky for my liking.

2. I am proud of myself for having been relatively physically active despite some pain. I am not giving in to every little ache, but I’m not overdoing it either.

3. I am proud of myself for not having run away or become actually aggressive when a fellow client was screaming at full volume for like an hour last Thursday. I mean, like I mentioned before, I did become a little threatening, but I didn’t hurt her, the staff or myself.

4. I am proud of myself for having survived today’s trip to Ikea, with most things we needed being very hard to find or out of stock, without getting very distressed. I managed to get a dustbin as well as a desk, or rather, separate legs and a top. When we got to the storage department, we couldn’t find the desk top but there was another, very similar one in its place. I wasn’t sure we’d got the right one, but we asked the shopping assistant and it was the one we needed.

5. I am proud of myself for having lost the weight I’d gained last month again this month. I stepped onto the scales again this morning and am exactly 72kg now. Of course, my weight has been fluctuating anyway, but it’s not gone up significantly at least.

What are you proud of yourself for?