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

First Steps With Polymer Clay

Hi everyone. I’ve been pretty busy lately, but in a good way. My day activities staff ordered some packages of Fimo soft polymer clay, which arrived in the mail Tuesday afternoon. We went round for a trip to Action that afternoon too to get some other supplies. I was pleasantly surprised at how little they cost, as once again of course I bought far more than I had on my grocery list.

That evening, I set out to work with my one-on-one staff. I wanted to create a pink (the color of Fimo soft is 22 “Raspberry”) flower with a green (color 53 “Tropical Green”) center. So I rolled out my Fimo. Of course, not having checked all the beginner’s instructions for polymer clay, I used a wooden roller pin. Ah well, having used it once can’t hurt, I hope and my acrylic roller should arrive tomorrow.

Then I cut out the flower shape with a cookie cutter that was in my Christmas present from day activities last year. I can’t remember how many times I had to try before I was relatively satisfied with how even it turned out. Later, I learned about burnishing your clay before baking.

I randomly formed the green ball center and put it on top of the flower. To make it sit in the flower itself, I later learned, you need a ball stylus. Mine should arrive on Friday.

When I was inspired to do polymer clay by this post by Ann, I read that Ann used a straw to cut a hole in the polymer clay. That would make the hole a little too large for my liking and, besides, I don’t have plastic straws. Instead, I used a Rainbow loom needle that came in the surprise beading package I got for my birthday last month. To be honest, it turned out okay, though of course the pros on Facebook tell me I shouldn’t have made the hole before baking.

Then I baked the clay. I did read up instructions on not baking it for too short a time, so I baked my clay for about 35 minutes. It was a bit of a struggle finding the right equipement to bake it in, since I didn’t want the clay to fly around the oven or get too close to the heating element. Eventually, it worked though.

After I posted the hardened product on Facebook, I got a lot of tips on how to handle it better before baking. Ah, oops. Better luck next time.

I had decided beforehand that I was going to experiment with decorating my ornament like Ann had. The first products I came across at Action, were glitter and metallic markers rather than glitter glue pens. I found glitter glue later though and decided to buy both. This ornament is decorated using one of the glitter markers. I did the circling of the green center myself, so you may see a slight spotting on the edge of the actual center itself. After this mishap, I asked my staff to accentuate the edge for me.

What do you think of my first attempt at using polymer clay?

Linking up with the Creatively Crafty Link Party and Party in Your PJ’s.

Online Window Shopping #WotW

Hi again everyone. Today I’m joining Word of the Week. The idea is to sum up your week in a word or phrase. Today’s phrase of the week is: online window shopping.

You see, like I mentioned last week, I had resolved not to spend any more unnecessary money until my benefits arrived on the 23rd (last Friday). I actually kept this promise to myself and didn’t buy anything, but over the week, I did have a lot of ideas of what I wanted to buy once my benefits arrived. Then when they did, it was almost the weekend, so I decided not to spend my money yet because my packages wouldn’t be sent out till after the weekend anyway.

Most of my online window shopping involved crafty stuff. Like I mentioned yesterday, I got it in my head that I wanted to try latch hooking again. Thankfully, my day activities staff remembered that a client at my pre-COVID group at the day center used to do this but no longer did. She went looking for the supplies and, on Thursday, I had a bit of canvas, a latch hook and a whole lot of yarn. The yarn was cut too short for me to work with right now, but I had some yarn and lace in my room too. Learning the craft again was hard, but I eventually managed to make some knots.

I also found a really cool polymer clay ornament while browsing some other blogs and this got me thinking of restarting polymer clay. Like jewelry-making and latch hooking, I did this in the past but threw my supplies away because I couldn’t manage the craft fully independently. Now that I let go of that ambition and actually have the one-on-one support I need, I am really thinking of restarting the craft. This blogger used an embossing folder and glitter glue to decorate her ornament, which had me looking at card making stores again too. I’m pretty sure that’s the only craft I’ll never pick up again.

I also did some online window shopping that didn’t involve crafts. Like, on Thursday I found out that NVDA, a free screen reader I occasionally use on my PC, now works with the Vocalizer voices I’m used to with JAWS and VoiceOver (my regular PC and iPhone screen readers). I immediately downloaded the add-on, only to realize that of course I’ll need a license. I mean, NVDA may be free, but the Vocalizer voices are not. A license costs €99. I’m still undecided as to whether I want to invest in it or wait for JAWS to fix the one major bug that leads me to using NVDA, that is, the inability to use the WordPress block editor with it.

Lastly, on Friday, I got talking to my assigned home staff about stim toys. Specifically, chewable jewelry. I initially thought that only U.S.-based sites sold them, but it turns out several of my fellow clients use them. I looked up chewable jewelry and found several online stores in the Netherlands that sell them. Of course, they’re marketing them mostly for children, so I may need one for heavier chewers. I haven’t yet decided on buying it though.

How would you sum up your week?

Word of the Week linky

Gratitude List (July 18, 2021) #TToT

Hi all on this beautiful Sunday. I used to have this rule that I had to write my gratitude posts on Friday or they didn’t “count”. Then I would allow myself to post on Saturdays too. Now it’s Sunday. I think it shows I’m pretty rigid with my rules of what is the “right time” for a certain post. I mean, the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) linky is open till Tuesday and even if it wasn’t, that wouldn’t be a reason not to publish a gratitude post. Gratitude is always useful, so…

1. I am grateful my family and friends are still healthy and haven’t contracted COVID. Many are fully vaccinated by now too.

2. I am grateful I don’t live in the flooded area of the country, let alone in Germany or Belgium, where the flooding has been much worse. There’s been a lot of outrage at the way the Dutch handle the flood, but I think they’re handling it as well as they can. I am grateful we’ve not had any deaths due to it so far.

3. I am grateful for a sunny day here. Several, in fact. Since last Friday, the rain is pretty much gone out of this area of the country and we’re having warm summer weather.

4. I am grateful my GP took my abdominal issues seriously. Like I mentioned on Friday, I am back on a higher dose of magnesium. Here’s hoping this will work.

5. I am grateful I am still pretty motivated for creative endeavors. I’ve been making some jewelry, lip balm, as well as a melt and pour soap this evening.

6. I am grateful for the ability to online window shop without actually buying anything. I have so much I want to buy once my benefits arrive, but I’m glad I’ve restrained myself from spending any more money until then at least.

7. I am grateful for grilled hamburgers with cheddar cheese. We had those for lunch on Thursday.

8. I am grateful for a short chat with a woman from the care home a few doors next to mine. I mentioned her before, we used to talk a lot at day activities and she’s even had coffee in my room one time. Now due to COVID, we can only meet outside. I am however grateful I got to chat to her again and she’s well.

9. I am grateful my husband came by today. I hadn’t seen him in two weeks, as he had to work last week Saturday. Today, we went to Subway to have lunch.

10. I am grateful I found the Bible reading plan I’m currently following. It’s called “Hope Heals in the Midst of Suffering”. I can totally relate to the plan’s author’s experiences and they are so validating!

What are you grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (July 17, 2021)

Hi all, I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare, even though I already had my evening coffee and my soft drink for today. I think I’m going to just have some water with my late evening medications soon and that’s it for today. However, like I’ve said before, I can always make you a Senseo coffee. I’m afraid we no longer have green tea, so if you’d like tea, you’ll have to pick regular or some variety of fruit-flavored tea. Anyway, let’s have a drink of medicine water for me and coffee, tea or a soft drink for you and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I’m still relatively stable mentally. I have been slightly in flight mode, ie. distracting myself from my feelings by keeping busy. That’s okay though if it doesn’t last too long. Yesterday, it had maybe lasted too long and I had a meltdown over a necklace I’d made that snapped just as I’d finished it. I was able to get myself back together though.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the shopping spree I went on at Action, a budget store. I bought another hair clip and some scrunchies, socks, a coat hanger and some other things. In total, I spent less than €10. I also went to HEMA, another large store, because I wanted silicone straws. You know how plastic straws have been banned in the EU? Well, I have never tried drinking from a paper straw, but I’m not intending on trying either. The straws were quite expensive compared to all that I’d bought at Action: €4 for four straws and a cleaner brush.

If we were having coffee, I’d also share I’ve resolved not to make any more unnecessary purchases until my benefits arrive on the 23rd. You see, the €10 at Action and €4 at HEMA were the least of my expenses recently and, though I’m by no means broke, I do want to make sure I stay financially secure.

If we were having coffee, I’d proudly tell you that I made a lip balm for a fellow client. He has Down Syndrome and this apparently goes with chronically dry lips. Last week, I had told one of my staff that I had been making lip balms for myself but would be throwing them out in a while, as they won’t last me till winter and I don’t tend to use lip balms in summertime. This staff suggested I give the lip balms to said client, but I had touched them with my fingers. For this reason, I decided to make a new batch of lip balm while making sure to work hygienically. Thankfully, we have a huge stash of gloves at the facility.

The lip balm still was a bit of an experiment, since I used coconut oil this time rather than sweet almond oil. Other than that, I used the same ingredients I had for my own product: beeswax, cocoa butter and a drop of flavor oil.

As it turned out, the man was really pleased with it. The staff tell me he keeps asking for “his” lip balm rather than the standard store-bought one that he used to wear. I’m pretty sure this little pot will last him several months, but I’m already thinking of buying lip balm tubes so that the lip balm will be easier to apply.

If we were having coffee, I’d share how grateful I am not to live in an area of the country affected by the flood of the past few days. In the southern province of Limburg, as well as in Belgium and western Germany, heavy rainfall led to a lot of flooding. I don’t know the details, but it does kind of worry me. I mean, I was taught in school that climate is something that’s relatively stable over a period of about 30 years. Over the past five years or so, I seem to have heard of more and more extreme weather though.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d share that the rise in COVID cases also really worries me. Today, there were over 11,000 new cases in a single day. People try to reassure me that they’re all partying youth, but I’m so worried about who else those partying youth might’ve infected. I am not really worried for my own health, as neither a partying youth nor a vulnerable elderly person. I am, however, worried for another lockdown.

Sorry for ending this post on a negative note. I really hope you all have been doing well.

Shark!

Stuffed Shark

So my husband came over today. I had originally planned on visiting him for the week-end, but then I’d have to go home to the care facility by ParaTransit taxi again. You get only 700 km at a reduced rate each year and the one-way drive from my husband to here is 72 km. This means that I can’t go each week for the rest of the year. So my husband proposed to come over for a visit.

We went to IKEA in the nearby city of Zwolle. I was looking for an office chair to use in my corner of our house. The way IKEA is constructed, you need to walk past a lot of other stuff before you can get to the desks and office chairs. This meant we could also check out the lounge chairs. I took my lounge chair (well it was originally my husband’s family’s but I used to sit in it all the time) to the care facility with me and would like a lounge chair at my husband’s house too. We couldn’t buy one right away, but we did see some good, some bad and some really rubbish ones.

At one point, we came across the soft toy aisle. My husband showed me a giant stuffed elephant and then an equally large stuffed shark. The littles were totally in awe! He asked us whether we wanted to buy the shark and we shouted “Yes!”. So we now have a stuffed shark. We took most of our stuffies to the care facility with us, so we’re very happy to have a soft toy at home with our husband too. We joked that of course we have our husband, but well, that’s different.

We also got some nice candy. Some of us were upset because we couldn’t have Swedish meatballs. Not that our husband said so – he didn’t explicitly say they were on offer, but he knew we knew about them -, but we had already had pancakes for lunch and figured it wasn’t healthy to have two meals. Everyone was content again when we got the candy.

We also ate out at a nice Indian restaurant. The food was delicious!