A prompt I came across asked us to sum up our year in a phrase, but I’m choosing a word. Creative. When choosing a word for 2014, I chose “self-care”. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to follow along with this theme much this year. I gained more weight (I’m obese), had a really hard time sticking to my exercise routine (or non-routine), and any attempts to start adoptig a healthier lifestyle ended in a few days. I also haven’t made much progress in therapy. Having been diagnosed with BPD in 2013, I had hoped 2014 could be the year of finally finding appropriate treatment. It wasn’t. My antipsychotic medicaiton was upped in late 2013, but unfortunately it had to be upped last week again.
But the year was positive in some other ways, and those things are what causes me to choose “creative” as my word for the year. Early in the year, I chose not to invest much in my old hobby of cardmaking anymore. I am still part of a few cardmaking groups, but had to let go of my commitments on all group sometime this year.
However, I did pick up several new hobbies, including jewlry-making and polymer clay. I did recently start up cardmaking again.
Creative day activities also started to take a place in my week this year. I stopped going to one of the crafty day activity places in late 2013 because the stress of having to wait for the car to pick me up and drive me there and the shortage of staffing made it too hard for me. Fortunately, the day activity room attached to the long-term adult units in my institution (on which I reside) opened its doors in late 2013 too and activities took full effect early this year. I have sometimes had a hard time going there, but I have persevered. As a result, I’ve been able to create quite a few nice things. Below is a picture of a necklace I recently made.
I’m still thinking, but I might just choose “creative” as my intended theme for 2015 too.
I’ve contracted the loom band virus. Looming, for those who don’t know, is a way of making jewelry and accessories out of rubber bands. I’ve so far only managed to be able to use the most basic technique, but am loving it and trying out new techniques that I basically think out myself. I can’t access loom band tutorials as they are mostly videos. YouTube is still blocked on my computer to save on bandwidth, and if it weren’t, I’d have to watch a ton of videos to find out which have enough verbal content that I can follow along.
Fortunately, I’ve been helped by a few lovely people in Facebook looming groups. The fellow patient who taught me the most basic technique also offered to lend me her loom band book, so that I can scan (part of) it and see if just the text is enough. Another person offered to type out the verbal content of video instructions or send me a PDF file of the book. The PDF file is an image and the file size is over 100MB, so even though I could convert the image to text using OCR software if I were able to download it, I cannot currently download the file. Yet another person is still thinking of ways she could help me figure stuff out.
Unfortunately, as with any crafting hobby, I’ve gotten the occasional comment that looming probably isn’t suitable for the blind. I do not know this yet, as I have so far only mastered the most basic technique and have gotten stuck on some other crafts too if I tried to go more advanced. I don’t like instant adoration when I disclose in a crafting group that I am blind, either. When people haven’t seen my work, they cannot know whether it is poor, fair or good by non-disabled standards or by their standatds of what a blind person should be able to accomplish. Because of this, I do understand the curious group member’s question whether a craft isn’t too hard for a blind person. Probably I take it too personally when I see it as discouragement.
It may be kind of odd in this respect that I take gentle criticism better than instant adoration or questions about my competency before I’ve shown my work. I remember in early 2013 I sent out a totally rubbish card in a swap, and the recipient happened to be the swap group owner. She sent me a private message explaining that my card was not of sufficient quality for a swap, but also offering to give me tips on how to make better cards. That was a lot easier to handle than the message I received from another member, who said before she’d seen any of my cards that she would never make cards again if she went blind.
Generally, it seems to be that the more substance criticism or compliments have, the better I handle them. For example, I received a message on a stamping group from a person who explained in detail why stamping most likely wouldn’t be suitable for a blind person and offering feedback on the stamped images I’d sent to the group. That helped me make the choice to give up stamping before I’d bought tons of supplies. I myself used a similar approach when a blind friend of mine wantedd to start making jewelry. I explained what is needed to make jewelry and which parts of it she could likely do herself and which she’d probably need sighted help with. I offered to send her some supplies to play with, which I still need to do. She can decide for herself whether jewelry-making is suitable for her, but I can help her with feedback.
It’s been a while since I posted craft projects. It’s not because I haven’t made anything, but because the entire cardmaking blogosphere is on Blogspot and I’m obviously on WP. There are DIY bloggers on WordPress or self-hosted blogs too. One of them, Paige, inspired me to make button art. Unfortunately, my first project turned out so bad that my husband had a hard time making out which shapes I’d made and therefore I didn’t want to ask him to take a picture. I want to make button art again, but not now.
A few weeks ago, the activity staff at my ward introduced me to felt flowers she’d bought at Action. These were readymade, but you can also easily cut them out of felt yourself. Make sure you have three different sizes. Each flower should have a hole in it. You’ll also need a button and some ribbon.
Thread the button through to the middle of the ribbon. Add the flowers, starting small to large. Tie a knot and you’re done. In the picture below, my activity staff tied the flower to a chair./PP>
Last week, I was thinking about making a card but hadn’t brought my supplies and was tired of die-cut images. The activity staff suggested I use a felt flower for my card too. Because we didn’t use the ribbon, she sewed it together for me and then we glued it onto the card. I wonder what it’d look like with the ribbon on. Instead, I glued a ribbon to the card border.
Today the Daily Post’s prompt is Express Yourself. I find this a fascinating prompt, and could write on and on about expressiveness and the way I express myself. I write, mostly. Writing has been a hobby of mine since elementary school. Back then, I wrote mostly fiction. I have a few kind of weird tales and a lot of autobiographical fiction. Unfortunatley, as I got older, my skill didn’t get better, so by age eighteen or so, I quit fiction writing.
I trid poetry for a while. Last Thursday during art therapy, the therapist asked whether I wrote poetry and whether she could read one of my poems. They’re not great. In fact, with the exception of a few recent ones, my poems lack metre or rhyme. My older poems are so bad that I’m actually sort of proud of the acrostic I wrote a few months ago.
In addition to writing, I craft. I have tried my hand at art journaling, but have not succeeded. My cards and jewelry are pretty down-to-earth in their design I’d say. In fact, I’m not sure I’m all that imaginative in any of my expressive modalities. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a rich imagination. I’m just finding it hard to express it.
One thing that holds me back is the fact that the more imaginative works aren’t necessaarily the more beautiful ones for me. As I said, my poems, which usually express my authentic feelings, lack metre or rhyme and are little more than emotional diarrhea jotted on paper. Not something I’d like to post on my blog. And something I’ve noticed lately, is that I have a very hard time not sharing something I create. I even have a hard time keeping a private journal and, not havng found a suitable desktop application for it, I ended up with a protected WordPress blog which I ended up giving a few people access to anyway. Maybe I need to relearn that some things belong to me and are not to be expressed to anyone outside of me.
One of my goals for this year was to spend more time on my hobbies, which include blogging and crafting. As you can see, I’ve been fairly active in the blogging department. I’ve also spent quite some time crafting. Last week, the idea of taking on new crafty challnges set out in my mind. While I stuck with cardmaking, I did try a new technique and finally got to use the orca brads that have been lying in my stash forever. I hope this is indeed the right image as I keep forgetting to give my cards descriptive file names.
The card base is off white and 10×10 cm (around 4×4 inch). I got it from a cardstock pack I found at the local supermarket a while back. On top is a layer of blue cardstock thaat’s 8×8 cm and came from the same pack. The top layer is stuck on the base with 3D foam squares, so it is a bit raised. I stuck the brads into the top layer, which was really hard and with which I needed tsome help. I don’t know what color the brads are. In the four corners of the base are blue pearls.
Then this week the activity staff who came around on Monday brought some die-cut images. I had never worked with die-cut images except when someone sent me readymade ones, but I was excited to try them out. They are to be punched out, which I did on my own. I got help positioning the parts of the image correctly. The card I used was readymade. I am really looking forward to going to the store these images were bought at so that I can buy some myself someday.
It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S., but today, I have a hard time feeling thankful. Yet I want to turn my disappointments into opportunities. Like, I got kicked out of the comment exchange group that’s gotten me most traffic to this blog in the past couple of days. I don’t know why and the onwer didn’t bother to send me a message. Like, I had been accused of posting negative comments, but had apologized because I was unaware that most people want positivity only, not just on their blog posts but on the prodducts/recipes/etc. they are writing about. I don’t see why I can’t say that a recipe that’s loaded with cheese is not for me, but well. Anyway, turning this into an opportunity means I can again blog about what I want without needing to take into account readers whose only reason for checking out my blog is that they have to.
I’m also thankful in a similarly twisted way for having dropped out of a Chrismtas cardmaking challenge a few weeks ago. This was costing me a lot of energy and leading me to create quick cards that should’ve landed in the bin right after posting them to the chalenge group. (The other members don’t judge my cards because they know I’m blind, which I’m not sure what I think of it.) Now I have more time and energy to devote to making better cards, and honestly I’m pretty satisfied with this one. Of course it’s not as good as a card made by someone who can see, is not as clumsy as I am, and has been making cards longer, but this one is okay with me.
For the flower, I used Nellie Snellen dies. I embossed the side strip with a Cuttlebug embossing folder. The yellow and pink cardstock I used for the flower and side strip come from a large Bazzill cardstock pack. The purple base comes from a pack I bought at the local supermarket.
I am extremely tired due to a combination of a lengthy eye doctor visit – it consisted mostly of waiting -, physical pain, and overload due to a very hectic fire drill. I might write about the eye doc visit tomorrow or some other time, or I might not, but right now I just have time for a quickie. As promised, therefore, here is my colored sand card. It is a simple Christmas tree, which I cut out of double-sided sticky foil using the smaller one of the lovely Marianne Design dies. I used gold-colored Sandy Art sand. The stars that fly over the Christmas tree are from my stash. The green cardstock base comes from a pack I bought at the supermarket for much less than it’d cost at the craft store.
Thanks lovely readers for all the nice coments on yesterday’s post and thanks for the follows. If you’ve only visited yesterday’s post, I want you to know this is more of a general blog with an assortment of posts, some of which can get pretty involved. However, I’m loving craft blogging again so here are a couple more cards. Both of these have a 3D effect to them. The first was done using die cuts from a die cut pack, and the second was done using a lovely set of Christmas tree dies by Marianne Design. I am not able to use regular cut-outs, but these were simple enough so that I could build up the image.
Edit: oops, discovered I already posted that first card earlier. Sorry for anyone who’s seen it twice.
I used to have a crafting blog that I posted regularly to. However, as time progressed and my cardmaking did not, I lost interest in posting pretty simple, childish-looking cards. I still made at least one per week for a Christmas card challenge, but only so that I wouldn’t be kicked out of the group that ran it. Since I moved to my current institution in June, also, my individual art therapy sotpped, and the group I attend is pretty demanding of independence. I want to transfer to a less demanding group, but have not yet been able to speak to my named nurse on this.
I’ve been looking for crafts that didn’t require sight, and on a Facebook group for crafters with chronic illness, someone mentioned quilling. So I bought a quilling starter kit a few weeks ago and have been playing with it. First, I designed – or rather, didn’t design – a random pattern. I didn’t take note of or get feedback on the colors or shapes.
I decided not to finish the random pattern because it really felt like a waste of paper. Last Tuesday, it popped into my mind to make an actual design, and the simplest would be to make a card border. I used purple, pink, green and blue quilling paper. I only found out as I was finishing the project yesterday how to make the holes in the coils smaller. I use the needle tool because I can’t manage to put the paper into the slot of the slotted tool. I’m not sure how to make the holes as small as they are on the few ovals that one of my staff made using the slotted tool, but overall, I’m quite content with this card. The cardstock and the center flower are from my stash.
I have been trying out a few other crafts, like polymer clay, with which I made a number of jelly roll beads. I have not yet been able to make them into a bracelet or necklace, because some essential jewelry-making supplies have not yet arrived.
I also just today made a card using colored sand, but I’ll have to wait to show that one till my husband can take a pic, because I don’t want to damage the surface of my scanner with the sand.
I didn’t go to sleep till 4:00 AM last night and awoke at 8:30 this morning. Have been blog surfing for just a bit too long. I’m loving the new blogs I discover. Mostly, they’re Mommy blogs. Seems a bit strange given that I’m childless by choice, but I actually love them.
There’s a blog hop over at Looking for Blue Sky, one of the parent blogs I discovered, on reasons to be cheerful, and I’m going to try to participate if I may. If I’m not allowed to cause of not being a Mom, I apologize.
I have a lot of things to be cheerful about that I don’t always think of. Today, the relatively new activities staff person will come to my ward, and she’s really nice. As a result, I will be able to make some pretty cards this afternoon. Cardmaking can be frustrating, but when I’m successful, it really cheers me up. I have a Christmas design in mind which I hope will satisfy me for once. Last week, I was also very cheerful over a Christmas card I made.
In related news, my jewelry making supplies will likely arrive in the mail today. I try simple jewelry making as something to complement my paper crafting when I need something more tactile. Right now, I have some wonderful handmade polymer clay beads waiting to be stringed on a wire. I made them in green and gold glittery Fimo, which I’ve heard is quite a rare color combination. I chose it myself.
Then there is the lovely blogosphere which I’m part of again. I know, I’ve been blogging off and on for years, and a few posts are no guarantee that I’ll stick to this blog, but I really plan to.
Lasly, the weather is beautiful. It’s in the 70s here, which is good for late August. There is some rain now and then, but it’s also sunny at times. Have a great day!