Five Things I’m Glad I Bought #5Things

Today’s topic for #5Things is things you’re happy about having bought. I have bought a lot of things that I later regretted buying, most recently my Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. Thankfully, after a long ordeal with the vendor, I got my money back. Hence, here are five things I’m actually happy about having bought.

1. my iPhone. I’m currently on my second one, having used the previous model for nearly three years. The current one, I’ve had for two years tomorrow I think. It’s an iPhone SE 2020. My previous one was the original SE. I am still debating with myself whether I want to get the SE 2022 or wait if they’re going to release a 14 Mini in the fall. I originally got an iPhone because of its more advanced accessibility features compared to phones running Android. Even though iOS has been causing some more or less serious bugs with each major update since I got my original iPhone except for iOS 12, I still agree iPhone’s the best.

2. My laptop. I got my first laptop when I was eleven and got my current screen reader, JAWS, when I was fifteen. In fact, yesterday marked twenty years online for me. I had to buy my own laptops from age twenty on. I use a Windows laptop and yes, I’ve tried a Mac but no, that one’s not for me. Oh wait, I didn’t actually buy my current laptop, since my mother-in-law paid for it in exchange for my Mac. Never mind.

3. My current headphones. Okay, they’re only three weeks old, so I’m still waiting for them to bite the bullet as my Bose ones did. However, those crashed within just over two weeks, so the current ones have already surpassed those. Besides, the Bose headphones cost €240, while these cost €50. They’re a Chinese brand, which is why I can’t for the life of me remember the brand name, but my husband Googled it and said it’s a good-enough Chinese brand.

4. Lots of polymer clay and crafting supplies. I mean, of course there are a couple of things I don’t really use, but most things I bought myself, I do actually love. Most recently, I bought a hand drill and a huge set of small drill bits, to drill holes into my earring pieces etc. I had some trouble figuring the thing out and for a bit thought I shouldn’t have bought the things, but now that I know how to use the drill, it’s fab.

5. Books. I don’t normally buy books, as I get most of them on Bookshare. That being the case, when I do buy a book, it’s usually one I won’t regret having bought. Most recently, I bought the latest Casey Watson foster care memoir and, while I feared the Apple Books app would have trouble with it, it didn’t.

What is one of your happiest purchases?

Xenos, Action, Fimo-Shop, Etc.: Shopping for Craft Supplies #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter X post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I want to talk about shopping for supplies related to my creative hobbies. I am cheating a little as, while Xenos is a store that does sell craft supplies among other things, I haven’t ordered anything there in years and the last thing I bought there wasn’t craft-related. It was a wax melt burner. So, that’s all I’ll say about Xenos for this post, but I needed something for the letter X. I guess a lot of people cheat with this letter, so it’s okay. And even if it isn’t, I don’t care.

Action, much like Xenos, is another store that sells lots of things. Also like Xenos, its prices are usually lower than those in other stores, as Action usually sells imitation premium brand products. I did in fact buy a lot of my crafting supplies there. I refuse to buy polymer clay at Action, but I did buy my acrylic paints, my glitters, my brushes that I use for applying the acrylic paints or glitters or Fimo liquid, etc., and many other supplies there.

My polymer clay, I usually buy online. There is a craft store here in town, but they only sell like five different colors of Fimo at a time. One of my favorite shops is Fimo-Shop.nl. That store usually has the entire Fimo collection in stock.

Sculpey and Cernit are brands of polymer clay that aren’t that commonplace in the Netherlands. I haven’t used their clay, but if I need something from that brand (such as one day I needed a Sculpey glaze), I order from HappyThings.eu.

I buy my color recipes on Etsy. So far, I’ve ordered from DewDropInc and PolymerClayLoves.

I order from other stores too, but these are the ones I’m happiest about. For example, I once ordered my polymer clay letter stamp set from an online art store that happens to sell polymer clay supplies too (won’t name the store because this’d be a negative review) and, not only did the description of the stamp set not match what I got (it was fine, but still), the polymer clay I’d also ordered was extremely hard and crumbly. This is one reason I usually order my clay at specialized polymer clay stores now.

Excitement: Things I Enjoy About My Creative Work #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter E post in the #AtoZChallenge. There are many E words related to creativity, but I decided to share the things I enjoy about being creative. I chose the word “Excitement” for my post title, because that was the title of the prompt in The Year of You for Creatives that inspired this idea. Now, of course, I can no longer cheat and use another “Ex” word for the letter X, but I try to avoid that at all cost anyway. Tomorrow, if I don’t make up my mind before then, I’m going to share about my creativity-related frustrations.

The first thing I enjoy about being a creative, is learning about other artists’ creative process. I love watching and reading tutorials on the various crafts I enjoy and they truly inspire me. This is more of a recent development, since doing soap making in 2016. Before then, I’d just create what I wanted without any sort of tutorial. This, however, often led to disastrous results.

Another thing I love about my creative work, is shopping for new supplies. Either that or just looking for supplies online without actually buying them. I have a huge wishlist of things I want to buy someday. About a month ago, I decided to put some of them on my online birthday wishlist rather than buying them myself. My birthday isn’t until the end of June, so this is quite the exercise in patience.

A thing I especially love about all of my creative endeavors, is being able to share them online. I am in groups on Facebook for pretty much every craft I dabble in currently (and maybe even some I don’t anymore). I cannot really imagine being creative without sharing my work at all.

Lastly, something I am currently very excited about is finding new techniques to try with my crafts. For instance, today I tried to mix a color with polymer clay using my precision kitchen scale (yay, I finally bought one!). Knowing it turned out as I wanted to (for which, in the case of a color, I of course rely on my staff) is pure delight.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 18, 2022)

Hi everyone. I’ve been neglecting my blog a bit as other creative passions take over. I really need to remedy that. Today, I’m once again late writing a post, as it’s nearly 9PM. At least I’m writing something. I’m joining in with #WeekendCoffeeShare. As you can imagine, it’s rather late for coffee for my liking, but I bet we still got soft drinks in the fridge. I allowed myself a Dubbelfrisss this evening. I normally skip them, as they’re not 100% sugar-free and I’d rather have an extra piece of candy than this. Today though, I gave myself permission for both some licorice and the Dubbelfrisss. Anyway, Dubbelfrisss is only slightly carbonated, but we might have coke too or even alcohol-free beer (alcohol isn’t allowed here). Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a good appt with my psychiatric nurse practitioner on Monday. Last week Friday, I had had a panic attack. It was related to the war in Ukraine and fear of what might happen, which I realized at my appt is different from a flashback to a traumatic experience I really did go through in the past. Not that it really mattered in that moment, as the feeling was just as overwhelming.

I also linked the panic attack to the staff who had triggered me and, since this staff is new, I felt really anxious about the whole situation of allowing him to work with me one-on-one. Thankfully, once it got to this point, we were able to talk through the issue and let it go that way. And indeed, this staff’s first time working one-on-one with me went pretty well if you ask me.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that, on Wednesday, I cooked the best chicken pilav! I did most of the cutting of the vegetables myself (the chicken was pre-cut) and also most of the cooking. We had my favorite rice with the pilav too!

Chicken Pilav

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I’ve been taking more flower photos. I finally started actually snapping the pictures myself most of the time rather than letting my staff do most of the actual photographing. Of course, my staff still have to tell me where to point the camera. It’s cool that I can make use of my knowledge of photography, gathered from photography blogs of course, to help the staff figure out ways to help me take better pictures.

I’ve also been running a few of my photos through a plant identification app called PictureThis. The one below is a Chaenomeles Japonica.

Chaenomeles Japonica

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that yesterday, I decided semi-impulsively to go to Action to try to find macrame cords. Obviously, experienced macrame artists would say I should get high-quality cords, but I’m just trying to get a hang on the knots. The lark’s head knot, square knot and spiral knot are relatively doable after some practice, but I keep getting stuck on the half hitch knot (and don’t even get me started on its variations). I mean, when I saw a beginner tutorial with pictures, it sounded a lot easier than I thought it should be. That tutorial was doing the half hitch knot with just two cords, which all other tutorials show isn’t possible. I’m pretty sure I spent some significant time tying just plain ordinary “old bitch knots”, as my husband would likely call them.

With respect to my shopping spree at Action, I also ended up buying a lot of felt stickers that I now don’t know what to use them for, a new organizing box that I may not even be able to use yet, deodorant, butterscotch candies and probably more. I spent less than €10, but that’s also because my staff paid for the macrame cord and the felt stickers from day center budget.

How have you been?

Lovin’ Lately (February 11, 2022)

Hi everyone on this cold Friday evening. It’s near freezing point here, but it’s also been sunny out today. Today, I’m going to share some things I’ve loved lately. Here goes.

1. Chalk pastels. I really wanted to buy these at Action (the budget store) last week when going there with my staff, but they didn’t have them. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been good quality either, so I eventually decided to buy a set of 36 chalk pastels off Bol.com. The below heart, I did with polymer clay and colored with red and purple chalk pastels.

2. Paint brushes. I did get those at Action and they’re pretty good. I can use them for applying acrylic paint (which I also bought), Fimo liquid, varnish, etc. to my polymer clay.

3. New colors of polymer clay. I ordered five packets of polymer clay at my favorite Fimo shop, three of which I already had a little of. The new-to-me colors were Chocolate and Jade. I particularly think I love the color Jade. Of course, being that I am totally blind now, I may remember the color all wrong from the days I owned a piece of jade and the color of polymer clay may not look like the gemstone at all. However, I like to let my imagination run wild.

4. Tuna. Last week, my husband couldn’t visit me due to the storm. This meant we wouldn’t be going to Subway to get lunch either. To give me something to make up for it, my assigned staff ordered canned tuna from the supermarket to be delivered on Tuesday. I ate half the can on my bread on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday. At first, I thought I was going way overboard with my food plan, but the dietitian today reassured me that I wasn’t especially since it was tuna in water, not olive oil or the like.

5. Quick and hassle-free delivery of all my recent orders. I ordered the chalk pastels on Saturday and, thanks to being a Select member to Bol.com, got free next-day delivery, including on Sundays. I ordered the polymer clays on Monday late afternoon and received them Tuesday. I also ordered a varnish for my polymer clay with a new-to-me store, which also delivered the next day.

One thing I’m still waiting for, is a CD I ordered for my father’s birthday back last month. It had to come out of the UK and I just got confirmation yesterday that it’d arrived in the Netherlands, but I had to pay a customs clearance fee. Thankfully, the process of paying this fee was very doable via the postal service website.

What are some things you’ve loved lately?

I’m linking up with Link-Up on the Edge #282.

Gratitude List (February 5, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone on this Saturday evening. I’m doing a gratitude list again. I don’t promise I’ll have time for another post for #Write28Days, but I’ll try. As usual, with this post, I am joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for a good psychiatrist’s appt on Tuesday. I went to the mental health outpatient clinic to meet my nurse practitioner face-to-face and we talked to the psychiatrist via the eHealth system, as she was working from home. I got a new medication, which should hopefully help reduce my anxiety.

2. I am grateful I got a license code for the latest JAWS, my screen reader. I don’t know how the screen reader company managed to arrange for it so quickly, as I haven’t seen the bill in my health insurance app yet, but oh well.

3. I am grateful WordPress still provides the classic editor as an option. The latest JAWS does work with the block editor, so I tried that for a few days, but I kept accidentally deleting random paragraph blocks and overall, I consider it still quite a cumbersome editor.

4. I am grateful I have been able to be crafty again. My flower fairy or whatever it was, didn’t turn out as good as I’d liked. Besides, in the tutorial, they did the body in light flesh color, same as the head, so it looks like the thingy is naked. For this reason, I’m not going to show it on my blog in case I offend anyone.

I did create a Disney princess figurine out of polymer clay on Thursday. Most staff immediately guessed correctly who it was when looking at her: Elsa from Frozen. Since it’s quite small (only about 3cm high), I wasn’t able to refine her facial features or whatever. That’s okay though.

Polymer Clay Elsa from Frozen

5. I am grateful for a trip to Action, a budget store, in a town about a 20-minute drive away on Friday. We do have an Action here in Raalte too, but the one in that town was larger or so my staff said. I bought acrylic paint to paint details like eyes on my polymer clay creations, thin paintbrushes to use with the acrylic paint or with glitters or Fimo liquid, a utility knife and some other things. I was looking for soft pastels too, since the site said they sell them, but apparently this particular store didn’t have them in stock.

6. I am grateful for decent sleep most nights this week. I slept really poorly on Wednesday, but the other nights, I slept okay.

7. I am grateful to have been accepted into some lovely Christian E-mail groups. I am grateful for the kind people on there and for the fact that they don’t judge me for not living with my husband, which I know isn’t a traditional Christian marriage setup.

8. I am grateful I have been able to blog consistently for a few days now. I am not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it up, but we’ll just have to see.

9. I am grateful I am able to make relatively healthy food choices on days even when I did have a “bad” food for lunch for example. I mean, I don’t do “cheat days” where I ditch the food plan altogether and that’s good. Every healthy food choice I make contributes to my ultimate goal of a healthier lifestyle.

10. I am grateful for no side effects from the new medication so far. I was supposed to get it at 5PM this evening, but due to some mistake the pharmacy made, it got in the system for 8AM. The staff gave it to me this morning and I took it without concern. I am so glad we found out before the evening staff gave me an extra dose.

What are you grateful for?

A Good Enough Tuesday

Today is November 2. It’s a Tuesday. A good enough Tuesday, mind you. I didn’t dwell too much on it being the anniversary of my crisis in 2007.

I didn’t really get stressed out about the prime minister delivering another press conference, one in which he’d be announcing new COVID-related restrictions, either. If I’m correct, the press conference is happening right now or has just finished. When I passed by the living room, where the television is, I heard the prime minister say something about “strongly recommending” us to social distance again. Well, whatever. If it’s just a “strong recommendation”, it’s a suggestion, so no-one will do it. Masks are similarly “strongly recommended”.

I didn’t do too much today. Had my blood pressure taken this morning, which was within the normal range (112 over 77) even though I had already been up for a bit. I normally ask that staff check my blood pressure first thing in the morning, because it’s usually up a little when I’ve been active. Not this time though.

I also went to Action, a budget store, to buy some Christmas decorations. I won’t be putting them up till early December, but I wanted to be early buying them to make sure I still had a wide selection to choose from.

I have been wanting to craft too, but that will have to wait till tomorrow. After all, then one of my more creative one-on-one staff will be there for my day activities shift. I will finish the polymer clay owl I’ve been working on.

I did struggle a bit with attachment issues and emotional flashbacks today, but both were manageable. Overall, like I said, it was a good enough day. And that’s totally okay.

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 (August 14, 2021)

Hi everyone on this beautiful Saturday! The weather is much better than I’d expected yesterday that it’d be. It’s partly cloudy but warm and dry. I like it.

Today, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare again. I just had my afternoon coffee, as seems common when I write these posts. However, I’m pretty sure there’s still some coffee left. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, firstly I’d share that I finally went to Lobith last weekend. It was good being there. As I mentioned yesterday, we got pizza (takeout). Other than that, we just chillaxed. Is that even a word?

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I texted my sister on Monday. She’d called me last week because her daughter had been referred to the orthopedic doctor for a leg length difference (her left leg is shorter than her right leg). Apparently, my niece also used her left leg less than her right. My sister wanted to know about the reasons I wear (or should wear) an AFO. I explained about the fact that I had a brain bleed and it’s from that, without mentioning cerebral palsy of course as my parents never mentioned that to me even though I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s called.

As it turns out, my niece has mild hip dysplasia and will be seen by a child orthopedic specialist in Amsterdam someday. Please all pray that the wait won’t be too long. My niece is nearly two-years-old, so it’s pretty late for corrective wear or so I’ve been told.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve been doing quite well over the past week. I have mostly felt able to cope with my current situation okay. On Thursday, a fellow client was screaming for almost an hour on end. She does this every once in a while, yet for the first time I didn’t have an impulse to run away. I did get a little threatening towards the client, but the staff were able to calm me down.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I have been rather crafty of late again. I didn’t finish many projects, but I did practise polymer clay a lot. I also did make a melt and pour soap and massage oil for my friend who lives a few care homes down the road from me. It was her birthday yesterday. I came by at around 10:30AM to give her her presents and was invited to sit down in her garden for coffee and apple crumble. This was really nice.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that tomorrow, I’m going to Ikea with my one-on-one to buy some new furniture for my room. My dining/crafting table is rather wobbly on its legs, so I want a new one. I also want a new second chair for my staff. My staff currently sit on a very clunky office chair with armrests, which for this reason can’t be pushed under the table. I want one similar to my own chair. I’m pretty sure I’ll be successful at finding both a desk or table and a chair. I’m also going to look at a mini fridge, as you may remember I wanted to buy one for in my room too. I don’t intend on actually buying it at Ikea, but I want to take a look at what it’s like so that I know if I have the right picture in my mind. Then I want to order it online next month when I get some extra money with my benefits.

How have you been?

Hyper #WotW

Hi everyone! I haven’t felt like writing over the past few days because I’ve been perseverating on polymer clay. Today, I thought I’d write a post after all to sum up my week and my word for this week is “Hyper”. After all, I’ve not just been perseverating on a special interest, but it’s been costing me my sleep too. I was almost going to choose “Manic”, but that would be appropriating the bipolar community, as I doubt my episodes are bad enough to qualify even as hypomanic. They’re more like autistic or ADHD (not that I have that last diagnosis either) hyperfocus. So yeah, hyper.

I’ve been literally working with polymer clay for hours everyday except today for the past week. I’m improving, but not as fast as I’d like.

And it’s not even that I’ve created anything worth mentioning really. I mean, yesterday I decided to bake a project, but it didn’t turn out as good as I’d hoped.

Multi-Layered Polymer Clay Star

Okay, I did create a purple cat on Wednesday, because my husband had been asking for it everyday for a week. Purple because it’s the least ugly color for a cat out of the ones I currently own. My husband said it was pretty well-proportioned except for its whiskers, but then again that’d be practically impossible to do with actual polymer clay. I didn’t bake this figurine though.

Purple Polymer Clay Cat

Yesterday, like I said, I did bake something, but I was quite disappointed in its outcome. For this reason, I was up late ruminating about how to prevent it from getting ugly again. As you might see, it is a multi-layered star, so I figured if I baked the bottom layer first and then attached the unbaked second layer, baked again and so forth, it should work. I also figured I’d create my piece directly on the baking surface as to not have to move it too much. Well, there I made a mistake, because the baking surface I normally use is an oven dish normally also used for food. I until now figured it wouldn’t be a problem since I lay parchment paper under my polymer clay. Until today, that is. So now I promised my staff a new oven dish.

After this happened, I decided to give up polymer clay until I can go to the hardware store to get myself a tile to bake on.

In addition to hyperfocusing, I’ve also been spending more money than may be considered sensible. I mean, like I said a few times before, I won’t go broke anytime soon with my current spending habits, but with the fact that my special interests tend to be short-lived, it may not have been wise. On Thursday, I ordered some cookie cutters and an alphabet clay stamp set at an online store, only to be told yesterday that not everything is in stock and hence my order would probably be processed a week later. Then in the evening, I impulsively bought a whole lot of polymer clay supplies, including cookie cutters, from someone on Facebook. It seems to have gone alright, both the paying and the actual supplies being on their way. I decided to cancel my store order that evening. I might order the stamp set separately later.

Overall, though my perseverating might be a little worrisome, I’m trying to reason that I’m not getting into trouble yet and won’t in the foreseeable future even if my state of hyperfocus continues for a while. And it most likely won’t. The only thing I can hope for is that I won’t give up on the craft entirely then.

Word of the Week linky