Tag Archives: Crafting

New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 (Plus Looking Back at 2015)

Happy 2016! I just returned from spending new year’s at my parents’ and am quite tired. I had fun but also felt pretty easily overloaded while there, so much so that the turn of the year went by in a bit of a blur. So it’s 2016. I keep typing 2015, then when I try to correct myself I type 2017. It’s not because I don’t know what year it is, but simply that my fingers are not used to typing the year 2016 yet.

During 2015, I made new year’s resolutions at the start of the year and set monthly goals at various times of the year. I rarely followed through and hardly ever looked back. Today, however, I am going to look back at my 2015 new year’s goals and also discuss my goals for the new year.

1. Blogging. I resolved to blog at least twice a week in 2015. This was mostly a success. When illness or stress got in the way, I blogged less often, but when I felt well, I often blogged more. I also participated in two month-long blog challenges: #AtoZChallenge in April and #Write31Days in October. For 2016, I will continue to attempt to blog twice a week when physical and mental health permit it. I will give blog challenges some more thought, as they were fun in 2015 but not as rewarding as I’d imagined they’d be. I can’t wait to discover and connect with new bloggers this year.

There wasn’t a year that I started and dropped more blog-related projects than in 2015. I mostly messed with three or four versions of my Dutch blog, but also had the Recovery Bloggers Network running for a week or so when I got the flu and gave up. In 2016, I hope to give blog-related projects more thought before starting them and then giving up.

2. Writing. I resolved to journal more, possibly offline. This has not been a success. I tried several journaling solutions, including good ol’ Notepad, EverNote and various pieces of journaling software. However, the problem seemed to be I couldn’t make a commitment to journaling offline regularly. This may be because of my drive to overshare everything I create. I will give journaling some more priority in 2016, but it might just be online.

3. Crafting. I resolved to improve my polymer clay modeling skills and invest in an art journal. The art journal idea is still on my mind, but it’s been for several years and, like the offline journal, never got off the ground. I did work some more with polymer clay, but can’t say I quite improved. I learned a few bead-making skills, but didn’t really put a lot of effort into it. I also tried several other crafts, like loom knitting and crochet, but quit pretty soon. For 2016, I resolve to find a craft I can commit to practising regularly.

4. Reading. In 2015, I resolved to finish some books I’d started reading in 2014. This goal can be ticked off. I also resolved to focus my reading more on juvenile fiction and autobiographies rather than more academic non-fiction. This did indeed happen. For 2016, I hope to continue this trend.

5. Fitness. This was a massive fail. I resolved to lose five to ten kilograms but instead gained a few. I also resolved to lessen my binge eating, which I also failed at miserably. I did start exercising again, but not regularly enough. For 2016, I am still hoping I can lessen the binges. I plan to get into a more regular exercise routine. I hope to get my BMI under 30 at least, which requires me to lose about five kilograms.

6. Mental health. In 2015, I hoped to find a PRN medication or other way of averting crises that are inevitable. About a month ago, my psychiatrist said that my current PRN medication is the best choice for me, because the only thing that works better in most people are benzodiazepines. Since I have both personal and familial history of benzo addiction/dependence, my psychiatrist is not willing to put me on a benzodiazepine. I unfortunately have not been able to find any other strategies either, although it seems as though my crises have become significantly less frequent. For 2016, I’m just hoping I can stay relatively stable amidst the stress of moving in with my husband. I am resolving to get my crisis prevention plan updated for the home situation.

7. Housing. In 2015, I resolved to find out where I would be living after discharge from the institution. I have decided to go live with my husband, but I’ve not yet found out whether I’ll truly be able to make that transition. I am pretty sure that regardless I’ll be discharged this year, so I’m resolving to make the transition go smoothly.

8. Relationships. I didn’t have any real goals other than continuing to love and stay married to my husband. I’ll tick that off as a success, obviously and make the same resolution for 2016.

Mr and Mrs T Plus Three

Gratitude List Once Again

A few days ago, I came across Corinne Rodrigues’ post on The Gratitude Diaries. She wrote this post for her monthly Gratitude Circle and included a gratitude list. Now I know I already did a gratitude list last week, but there’s much more to be grateful for. In this post, I am going to share both things I am grateful for this week and things I’ve been grateful for in general./P>

This week has been pretty good. I didn’t have a lot of energy and have had some health symptoms once again, but other than that, I enjoyed the week. Here are some things I’ve been gratefulf or this week.


  1. I bought two lovely shower gels online. One has a vanilla/coconut smell and the other has a vanilla/honey smell. Can you tell I love vanilla? I have been enjoying using both.
  2. Speaking of showers, I finally got used to the shower at my husband’s and my apartment. We have a thermostat in the institution but don’t in our apartment, so getting the temperature of the water right is a pain. I think I finally figured it out though. I still much prefer a thermostat and haven’t gotten the idea that I want one for our apartment out of my head yet.

  3. When I bought the shower gels, I also bought a fruity facial mask. I haven’t yet used it, because I have yet to ask someone to read the instructions for me.

  4. I found out about FutureLearn by the UK’s Open University and have enjoyed looking at all the free courses they have available. I signed up for one about the science of nutrition, but haven’t yet come far in it.

  5. I have been crocheting at art therapy this week. I used very thick yarn and a huge needle, which helped me feel my way through the project. I created a a flowery type of thing.

  6. I finally got down to buying some new nightwear on Friday. My husband joked that I must like one of the nightgowns, which has “I LOVE SLEEPING” on its front.

  7. I went to our apartment Friday till Saturday. Because I was not feeling very well, my husband went grocery shopping alone. This was the first time that I’d been alone in the apartment since we rented it in 2012. I was fine. Grocery shopping took just over half an hour only, but it’s a start.

  8. Barry, one of our cats, who is quite a bit of a loner, was showing affection to me on Friday. He tolerates being petted by and shows affection towards my husband, but he rarely did so to me. It was so cute!

  9. I had a good meeting with my psychologist on Wendesday. Though not much came from it yet, she’s trying to get informed about my options for outpatient treatment for once I go live with my husband.

This list signifies many things that I’m grateful for in general. For example, I am grateful for our two cats, Harry and Barry, who are way cute (though they can be annoying at times).

I am grateful for the things I can do as well. I’ve been quite productive in the blogging department lately and plan on participatng in an 31-day blogging challenge in October. I am grateful for my ability to be creative, for example my relative success at crocheting in art therapy.

Lastly, I’m just grateful for life in general. I have a great husband, a nice circle of relatives, good staff and a nice apartment. Despite some financial disappointments lately, I’ve been able to make ends meet this month too.

What Katy Said

All the Light I Cannot See: Adjusting with Blindness

This month, it’s two years ago that I had my last eye surgery, an attempt at removing a cataract from myleft eye. It was hoped that I’d see a little again – before then, I only had a tiny bit of light perception. Though the surgery was a partial technical success, I gained only very minimal functional improvement. I am still classified as having light perception only.

The adjustment process to my blindness is ongoing. I remember ten years ago when I was at the blindness rehabilitation center, my psychologist, herself blind from birth, telling me I just had to accept the fact that I am blind. I didn’t see myself as low vision anymore – hadn’t fo ryears -, but I still had trouble accepting the fact that i’m essentially completely funcitonally blind.

For those who are coming here from a linky and don’t know my story, I was born three months prematurely in 1986 and developed an eye condition common in preemies. It left me legally blind all my life, but until I was around eight, I had considerable vision that I used everyday. I had some vision beyond light perception until I was seventeen.

Even though I’ve been (almost) totally blind for over ten years now, it’s still hard to accept. I don’t miss the loss of independence as much, as I was never all that independent to begin with. Also, though I lost some independence over the years, it’s more to do with my increasing executive dysfunction than with my blindness. What I miss most, is the loss of appreciation. For example, when I craft, I can no longer see what colors I’m using.

I don’t know for sure that I ever had the abilities that I wish I had. For example, it frustrates me that I cannot add pictures to my blog posts without help, because the requirement of having an image go with every blog post is one of the most 101’ish lessons in blogging. Blogs didn’t exist when I still had considerable vision, so I cannot be sure I was ever able to work pics in blog posts. I do appreciate the help kindly offered to me by some fellow bloggers in checking images for me to make sure they go well with my posts. It is a nuisance though having to constantly ask for help. In this sense, I cannot say I miss the loss of independence, but rather the lack thereof.

Sometimes, I wish I were partially sighted again, even though I cannot even know what I’d be able to do that I cannot now with low vision. After all, like I said, blogs didn’t exist back then and I didn’t do many crafts. IN this sense, I wonder whether I truly wish for myself to be the old, partially sighted me, or for myself to be able to compete on equal footing with sighted people.

This post was inspired by the one-word blog challenge. The choices of words for this week were “shame” and “light”.

Everyday Gyaan

Goal-Setting: July 2015

It’s July 1, so let me look back on the month of June and the goals I had for it. I will also create new goals for this month.

My first goal was to start my health psychology course and study for at least a few hours each week. Didn’t reach that goal as I am a terrible procrastinator and didn’t get to go to the educational department until mid-June. Then on my first time going there, my digital talking book player wouldn’t work, so I had to go back to the ward. I’ve been studying some last week but am not progressing nearly as fast as I’d like to.

Then I had some health goals. I did an okay job on these. I didn’t do yoga as often as I’d planned but did work out on the elliptical trainer. My husband didn’t give me weights for my birthday as he thought I wasn’t going to use them anyway. Need to buy some this month, because I did get some exercises which I can do with weights. I started physical therapy for getting fitter and have been practising quite a bit inbetween sessions.

As for my weight, I did lose almost 2kg, but it wasn’t in a healthy way. I’ve started to slip back into disordered eating behaviors, mostly purging. I did write a pro/con list on my eating disorder, but found way more pros than cons. Like, I know purging isn’t good for your health in the long run, but well, who cares? Well, yeah, I do, kind of. I don’t know for sure that the purging caused my weight loss, as I’ve paradoxically been bingeing less too. That’s kind of a blessing in disguise.

Lastly, my goals were to read more inspiring writing and to nurture my creativity. I’ve accomplished both of these goals. I didn’t nurture my writing spirit, but I did craft a lot, mostly jewelry-making. I got a lot of beads for my birthday and am loving creating with them.

Now, let me set some July goals.


  1. Lose 1kg in a healthy way.

  2. Stop purging.

  3. Work out three times each week.

  4. Buy weights and learn to use them.

  5. Study for at least three hours each week.

  6. Nurture my writing spirit.

  7. Read a lot.


Overall, I hope July will be a better month in the goal-reaching department than June was. Have a great month!

Gratitude List (Birthday Edition)

It’s been over a week since I posted. This past week has been pretty rough, but there have also been good moments. Time for a gratitude list once again! I am going to cheat a little and include some items from the previous week.


  1. I spent the week-end at my parents’ for an early birthday celebration for me. It’s a tradition that my parents give me redcurrants and strawberries for my birthday. However, the redcurrants had not ripened yet and the strawberries had been eaten by my parents’ chickens. My mother bought some on the market though, which were much better than the ones I had bought at the supermarket a week or so before.

  2. My husband helped me figure out how to copy music from CDs onto my computer. I copied some of my parents’ music. Also, one of my parents’ acquaintances, who is a singer/songwriter, invited me to her album presentation this coming September. I’ve not yet made up my mind whether I’m going, but it was cool to get an invite.

  3. I got some lovely beads from my parents. They were plastic beads, whic I don’t normally use. I usually use glass beads. However, I was able to create a nice bracelet with some of these beads.

  4. Getting these beads from my parents inspired me to look for acrylic beads in funny shapes and colors to make a memory wire bracelet of. Memory wire bracelets get quite heavy if you use glass beads, so I was happy to find acrylic beads in heart, square, disc, round and even butterfly shapes. I just finished the memory wire bracelet a few hours ago, but don’t have a picture yet.

  5. I have been able to get into a nice exercise routine with the help of my husband’s MP3 player (which he gave to me). It helps me get an idea of how long I spend on the elleptical trainer or stationary bike.

  6. I have discovered a new kind of candy at the institution town’s store. I know, not exactly healthy, but so yummy! I managed to keep from bingeing this week even though I did buy the candy.

  7. Institution meals are notorious for lacking taste. Furthermore, because of a new meal-providing company, we no longer get to choose our meals from a menu each for ourselves. Instead, the nurses choose and we just have to go with whatever is being served. This makes me extra grateful that tomorrow is my birthday and I got to select a birthday meal. It’s still provided by the same company, but the meal I selected (noodles with beef and some kind of peas) is quite good. I got to eat it today as I’m at my husband’s tomorrow.

  8. The weather has been quite good yesterday and today. Today, I wore one of the skirts I bought a few weeks ago again.

  9. My husband took me out to lunch at the restaurant near the institution town railroad station today. I ate a delicious tuna salad roll.

  10. My sister and her boyfriend will be coming over tomorrow and my in-laws will be visiting on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it!


What are you grateful for this week?

Linking up with Reasons to Be Cheerful.

June 2015 Goals

Several bloggers I’ve come across lately list their monthly goals on their blogs. Listing your goals for the month was also the first prompt in the 30 days of writing prompts for June on The SITS Girls. I won’t promise that I will write down my goals each month, but for June, I thought I’d give it a go.

1. Start my health psychology course and study for at least a few hours each week. I enrolled in this Open University course in May, but haven’t heard back from the institution’s educational department on getting me a place to study. This should not be an excuse, since I do have the textbooks, so I can study in my room too. I am resolving to study for at least a couple of hours each week during the month of June.

2. Practise yoga on at least three days each week. In May, I learned to do the sun salutation yoga series and I have been practising it regularly, but not as regularly as I’d like. Some weeks, I’ve practised for five days, but others, I didn’t practise at all. This needs to change. I can always practise more, but I need to practise at least three times each week.

3. Learn to use weights. I asked my husband for weights as a birthday present and he said he’ll buy me some provided I go to the fitness department and learn how to use them. I also want to practise using weights for a bit before I get my husband to buy them for me. If for no other reason, then it’s just to figure out what weight I need and to make sure I won’t give up within five minutes.

4. Lose at least 1kg. I was surprised when I went onto the scale today to find out that I hadn’t gained any weight in the past few weeks despite lots of French fries and candies and pizza and little exercise. Still, I still need to lose almost 15kg for a healthy BMI and have lost only a little over 2kg since being at my heaviest last March. I am starting in a weight loss challenge on a Dutch Facebook group today and hope this will motivate me to actually lose a bit of weight.

5. Nurture my creativity. This is a vague one, I know. I have felt a lot of inspiration for writing and art, but I have not put fingers to keyboard or started creating crafts or art much. I want to change this. Having started reading a book of poetry from a fellow survivor, I think I too can do this. What is holding me back is the fear of not being good enough, but who cares?

6. Read some inspirational writings. I have been browsing Kobo for inspiring books to download, but other than said book of poetry (which was free), I’ve hardly gotten to read anything. I plan on reading some inspirational books and may discover some inspiring blogs too. I plan on reflecting on what I read too.

Mami 2 Five

Word for the Year: Nurture

My word for 2014 was “self-care”. Didn’t do too well on that one. I meant to be saying goodbye to my self-destructive tendencies, including eating disorder issues. Didn’t work out. In fact, my binge eating spiraled even more out of control than it already was and I had some bad self-harming episodes. On the up side, however, I did start art therapy, which has been a good experience. Let’s hope for an even better one this year.

This year, I’m choosing a similar but broader theme for the year, which is “nurture”. It refers to both better self-care and nurturing my creativity. I do hope art therapy proves to be a good medium for this. My first art therapy session this year, yesterday, wasn’t too great, but my creative endeavors in recreational therapy have been fruitful. I plan on carrying one of the media I use there, polymer clay, over to art therapy next week. Below I finally show you the polymer clay frog I made a few weeks ago. I’ve made many more things out of polymer clay and hope to keep up the work.

Polymer Clay Frog

In addition, I hope the year will be one where I can nurture my relaltionship with God. I hope my faith will both be strengthened and strengthen me this year. I have made a good start by joining a Bible journaling community on Facebook, and plan on writing more faith-based posts here on the blog. Of course, I know some of my relatives and readers hold different beliefs to mine, and that’s okay.

Besides “nurture”, I have several other words spinning through my head that might be additional themes for the year. “Perspective” comes to mind, as I do hope to finally gain some perspective on where and how I’m going to live after leaving the psychiatric institution. It is, however, also important to keep having a perspective when nurturing myself. I didn’t have one back last year. Now, at least in the eating department, I have the goal of losing weight, and I have a target weight in mind. I am not too good with setting such targets in the creatvity department, but this goal is hope-motivated too.

“Hope” iis another possible theme. Most of my goals for this year are worded in a way to formulate what I want to reach, not what I want to avoid. This is much more positive than last year’s acrostic, which started out by naming all the negatives in which I wasn’t caring for myself. I truly hope to make this year a year with a positive outlook.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Goals for 2015

Yesterday on my Dutch blog, I wrote a list of goals and resolutions for the year 2015. Then today, I came across a wrting prompt on The SITS Girls which asked pretty much the same question – what are your goals for 2015? The prompt however suggested several categories, and I’m going to go along with this model for this blog’s post on goals for 2015. That is, I don’t have goals in every category they list and I do have other categories.

1. Blogging. I would like to write more this year. I challenged myself to write every single day on my Dutch blog this year. This is already proving hard today, so no such a strict goal for this blog. I hope to write at least two posts each week though. I also hope to grow my blog interaction by participating in more link-ups, discovering new blogs, and hopefully more people will discover my blog too.

2. Writing. I would like to journal more often, possibly offline. I also saw a couple of good writing courses, at least one of which I hope to enroll in this year. I don’t plan on professionalizing my writing, but just for the fun of it I’d like some guidance in my writing process.

3. Crafting. I would like to improve my polymer clay modeling skills. I would also like to invest in an art journal or something similar. I’ve got a mixed media workshop day in June which I’m planning on going to.

4. Reading. I want to finish some books I started reading in 2014 but didn’t finish. I also hope to discover lots of new books. I hope to focus my reading primarily on (juvenile) fiction and autobiographies rather than non-fiction.

5. Fitness. I hope to lose five to ten kilograms during the year. I hope to lessen my binge eating and exercise more. I asked my named nurse to inquire about me going swimming at the institution pool. I also am thinking about starting yoga lessons again.

6. Mental health. I hope to find a way to cope with my severe mood swings, anxiety and paranoid thoughts. I hope to discover a PRN medication or other method of averting any crisis states that will undoubtedly continue to arise.

7. Housing. I hope to finally get a clear idea of where I’ll be going to live out of the psychiatric institution: at my husband’s, in supported housing and if so where, in a workhome, etc. Ideally, I’d move out of the institution this year, but I’ve almost given up on this hope with the lack of idea of where I’m going at this point.

8. Relationships. Don’t really have any goals other than cotinuing to love and stay married to my husband.

The List
Personal Goals 2015

The Year in a Word

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.

Necklace

I’m still thinking, but I might just choose “creative” as my intended theme for 2015 too.

Christmas 2014

It’s Christmas time 2014. Merry Christmas! I hope you all are having a great day. I really would like to look back on the year today, but I’m having an extremely hard time thinking up things to write about. Therefore, I’m sharing just some thoughts on my Christmas.

I was lucky that the day activity room was open all week except today and tomorrow. If I have to say one thing about this past year anyway, it’s that it’s been a creative one. So was this week. I made some nice cards and some polymer clay animal figures. NO pics yet as I haven’t scanned the cards and haven’t seen my husband yet since making the polymer clay figures. Besides, he may not yet have found his camera.

I went to church yesterday night. A catholic pastor was preaching and my beliefs lean towards protestantism, but it wasn’t a problem. I like that everyone in my institution who follows Jesus, or even who finds his message inspriing, can come to church. There was a great gospel choir too. I didn’t have money to buy their CD or I would have. In the sermon, the preacher talked about both our personal lives as patients or families of patients in the institution, and about the bigger world news. Of course, the MH17 disaster was mentioned. I did find it a little frustrating that I couldn’t remember the words to any of the songs we sang, even though they were well-known for being sung at Christmas and I recognized most.

There was another church service this morning which I’d planned on going to, but I was too tired. Instead, I spent much time in bed or sitting in the front room drinking coffee and eating Christmassy snacks. I didn’t end up going to my in-laws today. Instead, I’ll be visiting them tomorrow. We had a pretty good institution supper for a ready-made meal. In fact, one of the nurses oven-baked the potatoes.

I’m having a little difficulty with the lack of ordinary structure these two days (today and tomorrow). Thankfully it’s only two days and then next week Thursday which is new year’s. The staff will be making snacks for a few days prior to new year’s because they sell them for extra money for the ward. I don’t like the crowdiness it brings on but I can go to the day activity room then at least.