The Wednesday HodgePodge (June 15, 2022)

Hi all! I am participating in the Wednesday HodgePodge once again. Here goes.

1. Do you wear your heart on your sleeve? Elaborate.
It really depends. I can either bottle up my feelings or blurt them out – there’s not much inbetween. I am not good at hiding my true feelings even when I try though.

2. A favorite love song?
I don’t tend to listen to love songs, so I’m naturally going with a parody: She’s My Girl by Tom Lehrer.

Tom Lehrer has many more parodies to different types of love songs and I love them all.

3. Do you consider yourself a trusting person? Explain.
No, not really. Like with wearing my heart on my sleeve, I tend to be quite black-or-white with this: I trust someone or I don’t. I also struggle to give people second chances when they’ve done something that feels as though it’s betraying my trust.

4. June 14th is National New Mexico Day…have you ever been to New Mexico (aka The Land of Enchantment)? Any desire to visit the state? Some of the top rated tourist attractions there are- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Park, The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, Bandelier National Monument, The Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Santa Fe Plaza, and the Petroglyph National Monument. Of the attractions listed which would be tops on your list?
I’ve never been to New Mexico and, if I have to believe Tom Lehrer’s song The Wild West Is Where I Want to Be, I don’t want to either. Of course, that song’s a parody too.

If I were to visit New Mexico though, one of the national parks would likely be on my list to go to. As a side note, is there a national day for each U.S. state?

5. What’s something you’ve found enchanting recently?
I try to find delight in the everyday, so really anything can be enchanting. An example that comes to mind right now is the music I listened to on Spotify recently. Back when I used to go to the day center, I’d go to the sensory room and lie on the waterbed while listening to a CD by Don Gibson’s Solitudes called Songbird Symphony. A few days ago, I discovered several other albums by that same group. Listening to them on my music pillow is pure bliss.

6. Insert your own random thought here.
Speaking of enchantment, I’d like to mention an exercise I did a while ago in which I had to imagine my safe space in all its beautiful sensory detail. I tried to imagine being surrounded by unicorns, because most real-life places I’ve been carry some trigger one way or the other. I also love to imagine their beautiful colors in my mind’s eye, even though in real life I’m no longer able to see color. I know some blind people lose their memory of sight over time and I did to an extent too, but color remains with me at least to some degree, for which I’m forever grateful.

Reading Wrap-Up (May 23, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. I have been trying to get back into reading again. Let me share what I’ve read recently. Here goes. As usual, I’m joining in with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR).

What I’m Currently Reading

I finally picked up Thrive by Kenneth Oppel again a few weeks ago and no, I still haven’t finished it. It sounds like this book is more character-driven than the prequels and I’m not sure I love or hate that.

I’ve also been reading Unleashed by Emily Kimelman, an intriguing mystery. In nonfiction, I am reading 999 – My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service by Dan Farnworth.

Finally, I recently learned that Bookshare, the service I use for downloading accessible eBooks, now also does audiobooks. I didn’t try them, but this did get me inspired to check out Apple’s audiobook collection. There’s this collection of free classics on the Apple books app. I initially wanted to get Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but the reviews said that its narrator was almost worse than the first version of Siri, as monotonous as he spoke. So I decided to go for something much more light-hearted, in a way, and pick Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I can now see why other people with dissociative identity disorder find it offensive or triggering.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I am known for starting a ton of books and rarely finishing them, unless I really, really love them. Or unless they’re really short. This was the case with the early chapter book Bo’s Magical New Friend by Rebecca Elliott. I love love love unicorns and had heard about the Branches Books before, so I really wanted to try if I (and my inner child parts) liked them. Despite it being a really quick read (for me, of course), the plot was quite intriguing and I’m sure any newly-independent readers who love unicorns will love this one. I must say that, due to the illustrations, some of the text got muddled in the Bookshare book.

What I Think I’ll Read Next

I started another chapter book series, besides the one I mentioned above, on unicorns a while back. It’s the Unicorn University series and the chapters are longer. I saw that the author, Daisy Sunshine, recently added another book to the series. I’ll definitely have to read more of those books.

I also saw that Casey Watson has a new foster care memoir out. However, Apple Books is acting up, in that sometimes at the end of a paragraph or page words are missing in VoiceOver (Apple’s built-in screen reader). For this reason, I’m hesitant to buy books off Apple Books.

What have you been reading lately?

Practice Makes Perfect?: How I Deal With Perfectionism As a Creative #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter P post in the #AtoZChallenge on creativity. Like I’ve said a couple of times before, I can be quite a bit of a perfectionist. Today, I want to talk about that.

Of course people say that practice makes perfect. I disagree. Even after a lot of practice making unicorns out of polymer clay, I still make mistakes. You see, here’s my most recent unicorn.

As you can see, one of its ears is slightly bent backwards and its horn is slightly crooked. You may or may not be able to see this, but the heart-shaped platform on which it stands is also slightly curved.

Sometimes, when my creation is really off and I don’t find out until after I’ve baked it, I throw it straight into the trash. That rarely happens now. In this sense, I’m not that much of a perfectionist, in that I do let less-than-perfect creations remain and even share them online.

When I still work on a project though, I try my best to perfect it. I don’t accept a mediocre result from myself when there’s still room for me to improve on it.

It does, however, feel slightly discouraging knowing that, even after months of practising, I still can’t create the perfect unicorn. I’d like to move on to something else, but if I’m still not able to craft this sculpture exactly as I want it, how can I move on?

Of course, I can, and I do craft other things besides unicorns. But doing a different design for a unicorn would feel like giving up on this particular design. And I have just a little too much experience having to give up on a technique or an entire craft.

Do I seriously not believe that practice makes perfect? Maybe I do believe it, but not in my own case. And maybe that’s a thing of low self-esteem and it needs to change. After all, maybe just practising sculpting the same unicorns using the same techniques a thousand times won’t make me perfect, but I could still ask advice from other polymer clay artists on how they’ve prevented their slabs, for example, from going curved. That way, maybe my next unicorn will be another step closer to perfect.

#WeekendCoffeeShare (March 11, 2022)

Hi everyone on this late Friday evening. It’s too late for coffee for my liking, but I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare regardless. I’m pretty sure there are still some soft drinks in the fridge, so if you’d like a drink, you can have one of those. Or you can just have water. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you about your weather. The weather here has been truly beautiful all week. Yesterday, the temperature rose to about 16°C. Today, it was slightly cooler, but still about 14°C and mostly sunny. Over the weekend, we’re supposed to get slightly cloudier weather and we may get rain on Monday and Tuesday. Oh well, I guess that’s a welcome change for the farmers.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you all about the new creative projects I’ve been busy with lately. First, early in the week, I finished yet another polymer clay unicorn. This one, for those who can’t see, is teal with purple legs, tail, mane and ears. The purple color is the color I’d been mixing myself a few weeks ago. Its horn is Pacific blue and the unicorn stands on a heart-shaped surface of the same color as its horn.

I’ve also been creating a mobile for my sister’s new baby. The baby isn’t due until May, but I don’t want to put myself under pressure.

Finally, I’ve had a bunch of ideas in my head. I got a lot of rings similar to the one I put my polymer clay owl on. One is for the mobile, but I want to use one for an Easter bunny too and maybe I can think of others too. I also thought of combining a slice of wood from a tree with polymer clay and my staff gave me a slice. I really look forward to crafting with all of this material!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve also been loving experimenting with photography and photo editing. Of course, my staff does most of the work in this case, but I tell them what I want them to do and I suggest ways of improving the pictures based on the tips I get on photography blogs. For example, when I took Wednesday’s flower pic, I didn’t realize it might look burned out due to excess sunlight. Then when I went out to take some more pictures on Thursday, I made sure to take them later in the day and to make shade with my body while my staff took the picture.

At the suggestion of one of my staff, I also downloaded an app that is really cool for collage making and such.

If we were having coffee, I’d share that I had a haircut this morning. I had my hair cut in layers, so that my wavy hair comes out even more than it normally does.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d tell you that the dietitian came by this morning too. We did an exercise in mindful eating. It was really quite interesting. We got a slice of a tangerine and had to listen to a story and, midway through, we had to look at the slice (my staff at least) and describe it without saying what it was. Then we could feel it, smell it, lay it on our lips and finally take a tiny bite, all the while describing the sensations without mentioning what we were eating. We then chewed onto the tiny bite as long as we could and then, once we’d swallowed it, had to wait until the taste disappeared. The idea is that, if I want a treat, such as a piece of licorice, I can do the same (well, except for taking tiny bites) and not take another one until the taste has truly left my mouth. I have been trying with licorice, but not been successful yet.

How have you been?

Reading Wrap-Up (January 10, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. The year has been off to a good start in the reading department. Like I said when sharing my hopes for 2022, I fully intend on getting back into the reading groove. So far, it all seems to be going magical. Let me share what I’ve been reading recently. As usual, I’m linking up with #IMWAYR.

What I’m Currently Reading

First, somehow, I can’t remember exactly how but I believe it was through Goodreads, I stumbled upon A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. The endings of the two Picoult books I’ve read before, My Sister’s Keeper and Handle With Care, were horribly disappointing, but I still loved her writing style enough that I want more. A Spark of Light is also a shorter read compared to her other books still on my TBR shelf, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Then, on Thursday, Maggie Hartley’s latest foster care memoir, Behind Closed Doors, came out as an eBook. I immediately bought it on Apple Books and am 81% done with it now. That’s pretty far considering I haven’t been totally engrossed in it.

Finally, yesterday, in response to #JusJoJan, I saw a post talking about a book on unicorns. It immediately inspired me to want to read a children’s book on unicorns too. I chose a book suited for slightly older children than this blogger’s granddaughter’s read, although I may read My Secret Unicorn at some point too. I decided to read the first installment in the Unicorn University series by Daisy Sunshine. This book is called Twilight, Say Cheese!. I am not yet done with the book, but am hoping to finish it later tonight.

What I Recently Finished Reading

Nothing. The most recent book I finished was Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor just before Christmas. I finished that book in one sitting, but only because it was such a short read. I enjoyed it and was intrigued by it, but I didn’t think it was as amazing as other people had said it was. I blame that on the fact that I’m not that much of a literary critic.

I still have a number of books I’m currently reading that I started way back in the first half of 2021, like After the Cure by Deirdre Gould. However, I’m quite likely not finishing those.

What I think I’ll Read Next

I am planning on reading some more chapter books on magical creatures. I currently have the first book in the Mermicorn Island series by Jason June, forgot its title, downloaded off Bookshare and am probably going to read that as soon as I finish the Daisy Sunshine chapter book. Either that or the next installment in her series.

I feel a little weird for reading mostly chapter books right now, but I’m trying to counter that with the argument that I’m not a literary critic after all. For this reason, reading doesn’t have to be a chore. Rather, I read for pleasure and that’s what matters.

Crafting Unicorns!

Hi everyone. I came up with today’s prompt for #JusJoJan and it’s “Unicorn”.

I love love love unicorns! I have two unicorn soft toys. One, I got when I left the first day center with my current care agency back in early August of 2018. The other, I got in my Christmas hamper at the next day center that year.

Other than soft toys, I also have a number of unicorns I crafted out of polymer clay. Today, I am going to show you a few of my recent creations.

First up is a white unicorn charm. It is mostly two-dimensional, which I don’t really like, because it means its horn sticks out up rather than forward. It has a rose on top of its head. That one took me about half an hour to craft, because my Fimo Soft polymer clay was just a little too soft for my liking. For the rose, I used the color Cherry Red and I used Tropical Green for the leaves. The horn is done using Metallic Gold Fimo Effect.

The next unicorn I’m going to show you is my favorite so far. It was done using Pastel Lilac Fimo Effect. I did the mane and tail in Metallic Gold and Metallic Silver and used Metallic Gold for its horn. I added some purple glitters to its legs and ears for some extra sparkle.

Then last Thursday, I tried to create the perfect unicorn. I originally wanted to create the same unicorn as above but put it onto a green, flower-shaped slab. Eventually, I ended up choosing a different color, Fimo Soft Lavender, for this unicorn’s body. I did create the mane and tail using Metallic Silver and Metallic Gold again. Again, I added glitters, gold this time, though just to its legs.

Unfortunately, I forgot to blend the unicorn’s horn into the head and/or secure it with liquid clay. Rather, I secured it using wire only. This means the horn is a bit loose, which I’m told isn’t really visible but it does bother me. This is the reason I don’t think this is my best unicorn so far.

What do you think of these? Do you like unicorns?

Polymer Clay #WotW

Hi all on this gloomy Saturday. I thought I’d join Word of the Week once again and my word for this week is “polymer clay”. After all, I’ve been working with this medium all week. Well, except for Thursday, when I had to get my mammogram and the whole day went chaotic as a result. And except for yesterday, when I was sick with some type of hopefully short-lived stomach bug.

Like I told you all already, I crafted a white polymer clay unicorn late last week. I don’t think I posted the picture to my blog so far yet, so here it is.

White Polymer Clay Unicorn

The creator whose YouTube tutorial I used, didn’t use a ball of tinfoil for the inside of the unicorn, so neither did I. This did mean I used up a lot of my white Fimo. Today, I wanted to make a snowman and didn’t have enough white clay even when using tinfoil for its insides.

Back to unicorns. I made another one on Monday, but threw it in the trash after baking because its horn drooped and it was cross-eyed. I did want to make another one though, so went back to the table on Tuesday to create one. This one, I did without even watching the YouTube video. This one’s made of Fimo in the colors Sunflower Yellow, Tangerine and Apple Green. I nicknamed it Sunnycorn even though its horn is green.

Sunnycorn

By late Tuesday, I was fully obsessed with creating polymer clay unicorns, but I had also thrown out most of my Fimo, because it was too crumbly to work with. The only colors suitable for a unicorn I had left, were Indian Red, Sunflower Yellow and Brilliant Blue. I don’t like the combination of red and blue, but red and yellow do look good together. I joked that they’re the colors of the nearest top league football club. Now it happens that one of my staff is a fan of that club and she had her birthday yesterday, so I decided to create a football unicorn in red and yellow for her.

Football Unicorn

For this one, I made use of some tips I’d gotten from people online and used a little wire to put in its horn to keep it from drooping. If you were to look at the unicorn from underneath it, you’d see that the wire stuck out a tiny bit. I guess I’ll have to figure out a way to prevent this, but for now, it’s okay.

On Wednesday, I finally gave in and ordered some new colors of Fimo Soft polymer clay. In fact, I ordered twelve (!) new colors, including four shades of blue. I already had Brilliant Blue and now I also have Pacific Blue, Blue Ice Quartz, Blue Agate and Pastel Aqua. I am tempted to create a completely blue unicorn now. Or a whale. I also ordered several shades of purple, Pastel Vanilla, Lime, Metallic Gold and Pastel Peach. My staff also went out to buy me some Fimo at the local craft store, where it’s more expensive but she saved on shipping. She bought me Emerald, Cherry Red and some new Tangerine, because I did know I’d almost used that one up. And now that I want to create a snowman, I realize I’m nearly out of white. Ugh.

I also ordered a mold for creating butterflies. This one is useful for both polymer clay and soap, though of course once I’ve used the mold for Fimo I can no longer use this exact one for soap.

Today, since I was out of white and couldn’t do a snowman, I decided to create a Christmas tree instead. I got cutters for St. Nicholas last week, so I cut out a Christmas tree out of Emerald Fimo and put little balls of Indian Red onto it. Then I had my staff put a hole into the top of the tree to put a ribbon through. Once it’s baked, I’m probably going to decorate the tree with gold Fimo Liquid.

This evening, I was originally going to try out the mold I’d ordered on Wednesday, but I got distressed over dinner and then didn’t want to do any more crafting. However, by 7PM, my distress had subsided and I did try a small butterfly in Brilliant Blue. I must say it turned out okay for my first attempt.

How was your week?

Word of the Week linky

An Unexpectedly Productive Monday

Today, I’m feeling better than I was expecting when I woke up this morning. I mean, I didn’t sleep well last night. I was ruminating a lot into the wee hours of the night and then kept being woken by a fellow client’s screams. This client can’t speak or use any form of alternative augmentative communication. The staff think he was in pain, but they couldn’t figure out what was bothering him. Thankfully, he seems calmer now. I hope he actually is.

I had a pretty productive day today. In the morning, I went to my GP. I had to discuss how I’m doing with respect to my abdominal discomfort now that I’m on one magnesium tablet a day. Together, we decided to leave it at this for now. I’m not totally well, but I’m as well as possible.

I also asked him to do a breast exam, because I’ve been feeling some discomfort. I felt okay with a male examining my breasts, after all he’s a doctor. Thankfully, he found no abnormalities, but he referred me for a mammogram just in case anyway. It’s been scheduled for this coming Thursday, which I consider really early given the state of healthcare and the pandemic and all.

In the afternoon, I decided to sort through my polymer clay stash to throw out the clay I can no longer work with. I mean, I know all clay can be made workable if conditioned enough, but I just feel that it’s too much work for me given how totally crumbly some of them are and how some of them literally get shredded by my pasta machine.

In the evening, I went for a walk, made another polymer clay unicorn and decorated my room for Christmas. Yes, I’m early for someone from the Netherlands, as most people don’t start decorating until after St. Nicholas, but I won’t be celebrating that anyway.

How was your day?

Saying Goodbye at Day Activities

Today was my last day at my now old day activities. It was a good day. My assigned support worker wasn’t on my group today but she was in the building. Yesterday already, another support worker I like came for a cup of coffee on her day off so she could still say goodbye to me, as she doesn’t work Fridays either.

First, I had a cup of hot chocolate. I usually drink coffee but wanted a treat. Don’t tell me it’s summer and hot chocolate isn’t a summer drink, because I just loved the sweetness. Then, like most mornings, I went for a walk with one of the staff. It was lovely walking by the river.

As the other clients arrived, we had coffee and fruit. The people on my group are all profoundly intellectually disabled, so they probably don’t understand that I’m leaving. As such, I didn’t make a big deal out of it at my group.

I had decided to go make ham and cheese sandwiches at the group my assigned support worker worked at today. They make ham and cheese sandwiches each Friday and I’ve participated a few times before. First, however, I gave each of the staff at day activities a tiny handmade soap that’s shaped like an apple.

When we were making the sandwiches, the people from the industrial group that I originally started day activities at, came over. They handed me a card and a Winnie the Pooh coloring page that a woman I’m close with had colored. Unlike the people at my group, they and particularly this woman did understand that I was leaving.

Then, they gave me some gifts the staff had bought for me. I got a smoothie cup with a straw, because I love making smoothies and milkshakes. I also got a lovely unicorn soft toy. It is white with a lilac tail and rainbow-colored hair. I sleep with like six stuffed animals in my bed and have two more in my favorite chair in the living room. Now the unicorn has joined those two. I challenge my readers to think up a name for her.

Lastly, I got a lovely set of body care products. They are a body scrub, a body butter and body mist. I have a huge collection of body care products already, but these truly smell awesome!

Leave-taking is bittersweet, but I truly hope to have a good time at my new day activities and to not have to say goodbye there within at least a couple years.