Tag Archives: Crafts

If Social Media Dies, Make Soap

Gosh, over a week has passed and I didn’t write. It’s not because I didn’t feel inspired as much. After all, July is National Journal Writing MOnth. So are January, April and October, but I hadn’t heard about NaJoWriMo until late April. This month, I’ve had a prompt delivered to my inbox everyday, but I didn’t feel like writing. The reason is that I am in the midst of a new perseveration. Yeah, you guessed it right, I’ve jumped head first into the soap making craft. On Mama’s Losin’ It, one of the writing prompts this week asks what hobby you’d pick up if social media died tomorrow. This is what I’d do.

I have been making various different kinds of soaps. I do melt and pour soaping, so of course I didn’t technically make the soap myself, but I have tried various kinds of soap for the craft. So far, I like the cheapest kind best, but that supplier takes three to six business days to deliver and I’d run out of soap last Friday. That, plus the SLES that’s in that soap, made me decide to get all-natural soap at another store. I especially don’t like this soap’s pre-melted texture, but once melted, it’s easy to work with. The vendor warned that it may not be the best soap to work with layers with, but I made a layered soap that turned out quite good. One of the colors is supposed to be gold but it turned out yellowish white because I hadn’t shaken up the colorant enough before use. I will look into how to get it to look better.

Layered Soap

I have also tried my hand at body lotion making. The instructions I posted last week, weren’t correct. I made body lotions using a recipe I found online and almost everything went wrong that could’ve gone wrong. Like, I didn’t know that I had to heat the water phase, so I didn’t do this. This meant no or little emusification. The site I got the recipe from is also into all-natural stuff, so they probably deliberately skipped the preservative. Since I made a lotion out of mint tea, that meant it’d gone off within a day. I have decided not to spend any money on this hobby for a month, since I already spent way too much on it so far, so I cannot buy the preservative until then. No lotion making for a while then.

I do, however, greatly enjoy this craft. One of the good parts about it is, of course, sharing my work. I do this on Facebook, so if that died tomorrow, I might not enjoy it as much. Then again, if no-one used social media anymore because it died, maybe I’d connect with other soapers through other venues. Forums and E-mail lists aren’t social media, right?

Speaking of Facebook, however, I did connect with a woman who doesn’t live too far from the tiny village and who is willing to soap with me at home. She’ll first visit me next week. I don’t know whether I could make real connections with people if any online connection for social purposes died. After all, I met all my long-time acquaintances online as well as my husband.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy the soaping craft at all. Maybe there’d actually not be as much pressure if social media didn’t exist, because I wouldn’t know what great soaps other people make. I currently make the majority of my soaps for people I know in real life, too. They’re staff and fellow patients at my institution, so I do sometimes wonder whether I’ll still enjoy this craft when I just have my husband and our tiny circle of acquaintances. We’ll just have to see.

Mama’s Losin’ It

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

My Summer Bucket List

The Memorial Day week-end is often seen as the official start ot summer in the United States. Now I have no clue why they celebrate the official start of summer in late May, as to my knowledge summer doesn’t start till June 21 and the weather isn’t very summerlike either. That is, here, we’ve only had two days that the temperature has risen above 20_C. I want warm weather! So, in case I can influence the weather with my thoughts, here is my summer bucket list.


  1. Go swimming. Ideally at a lake, but I so want to go swimming at an outdoor swimming pool too!

  2. Wear a skirt and short-sleeved shirt. Maybe it’s good that summer hasn’t come yet, as I only have one skirt that still fits (ouch!). I so want to wear it though.

  3. Have a barbecue. We usually go barbecueing at my psych unit in the summer. While I don’t like the DJ who comes to play music and the disinhibited singing of my fellow patients, the food is great.

  4. Eat redcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, you name it. My parents grow them in their garden and it’s a tradition that they bring me a bin of mostly redcurrants at my birthday in late June.

  5. Sit in the garden. I’d love to visit my parents and sit in their garden sometime this summer. The unit’s garden is quite small, but I’d like to sit in there too.

  6. Sunbathe on the grass. When I still resided on the acute ward in like 2008, my husband and I would often go to a nearby park where I’d lie in the grass. In my memory, that particular summer and spring were quite warm. Oh, how I’d love to lie on the grass again! But it’s too wet.

  7. Take some nature walks. My husband and I already wandered the countryside around our town’s castle a few days ago. I’d love to enjoy more of these walks.

  8. Pick up crafting again, particularly with a summerlike theme. Christmas-themed crafting is good, but I also love butterflies. What time is better to make butterfly crafts than summer? I also love bright colors and they don’t go well on a Christmas craft.

  9. Do lots of reading. With summertime being the time when most therapists go on vacation, so there are fewer day activities, I’ll have time to enjoy a good book or a few.

  10. Write. I love writing all year round, so not particularly something for on my summer bucket list, but so what?


So what is on your summer bucket list? I’m linking up with #TuesdayTen and the Spin Cycle, both of which have “Kicking of summer” as their theme. Enjoy!

The Golden Spoons

List of Things I Love #TuesdayTen

Today on Tuesday Ten and this week on the Spin Cycle, “love” is the theme. Not romantic love, as both hosts felt this was too cliche. The theme is rather simply listing things you love.

I need some positive vibes at this momemnt, because I’m frustrated. My psychologist is on maternity leave and this essentially means no therapy for four months. The psychiatric resident who is now my treatment provider, focuses on distraction. This isn’t great when I’ve been doing it for months (because I got this psychologist only a while ago and she didn’t want to start working on stuff till she’s back from leave). Then again, for now it might just help me to focus on things that make life positive. Therefore, I’m going to parttake in this challenge and list ten things I love.

1. Country music. Particularly, I like German country, such as Tom Astor and Truck Stop. I just had 14 Tage auf dem Brenner by Tom Astor on repeat on YouTube (only a few times or it’d cost me too much data), and am now listening to the rest of his music on my computer. I just happen to like the YouTube version of 14 Tage auf dem Brenner more than the one on my computer.

2. Juvenile fiction. The last book I finished is A Different Me by Deborah Blumenthal (see my review). To my surprise, Blumenthal saw my review without me having notified her, and she appreciated it. I have two more eBooks in the teen fiction category on my reading list, one of which I unfortunately still can’t load (and the Kobo contact form sucks). The other sounds like something I will probably love.

3. My lavender-scented shower gel. I bought it at a discount supermarket so there’s probably not a trace of lavender in it, but I love the smell.

4. Black liquorice. For those Dutch people who know me, I don’t need to say more. I unfortunately have never been able to convey my love for the taste to someone outside of the Netherlands. Like, when I went to Russia in 2000, I brought a bag of liquorice and other typically-Dutch candy for the family I’d be staying with, and I was the one eating it. Worse yet, I don’t even see black liquorice in supermarkets in Germany. It’s a shame! I particularly love the sweet kind. Don’t care for the salty kind that much.

5. Pepperoni pizza. Now that we’re talking food anyway, this has to be my favorite pizza. I love it even more when it’s homemade. My father used to make great pizza when my sister and I were little. Of course, we got to top our pizza slices ourselves.

6. My stuffed animals. I have a stufed whale that I’ve had since I came home from the neonatal unit, and a stuffed cat that I got for my high school graduation. I can’t find the whale right now, but the cat oversees my pillow.

7. The real life, flesh-and-blood cats. My husband has two cats at his apartment, Harry and Barry. Though they can be a bit annoying at times (and that’s a huge understatement), they are still lovely. I actually have thought about doing some cat posts here on the blog, but I don’t have any pictures of the cats and honestly wouldn’t know what to write about them.

8. My AromaStream essential oil diffuser. Probably mentioned this one in another Tuesday Ten post or something, but I truly love it. I am not too big of a believer in aromatherapy, though I believe in it a bit. Then again, even just having a nice scent in the room can be comforting.

9. Coffee. I have been drinking coffee since I was about six. For a special treat, I particularly love cinnamon coffee. Simply add a sniff of ground cinnamon to the ground coffee (one teaspoon for twelve cups of coffee) in the basket of an automatic drip coffeemaker. To make it extra special, you can serve the cinnamon coffee with a cinnamon stick and whipped cream sprinkled lightly with ground cinnamon. If you just serve the cinnamon coffee as is, the cinnamon taste isn’t overpowering.

10. All my craft supplies. I haven’t used them in a while, but still love looking through my stash. Yeah, I’m a bit of a hoarder.

The Golden Spoons

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.

Creativity #WotW

Sorry for not having written much over the past week. I’ve been really tired and also worrying about the future of my care. I for some reason haven’t been able to put these thoughts into words.

Summing up this week in one word though, I will go with something positive, which is the creative juices I’ve had flowing lately. So, “creativity” will be my word for the week.

Last week Friday (yeah, I’m cheating a bit, LOL), I made some nice earrings. No picture yet, but I do have a pic of a necklace I made earlier that week. It is only a very basic necklace with blue beads and a blue/silver pendant. I like it though, and got many positive reactions to it.

Blue Necklace with Flower Pendant

I started looking for new crafty Facebook groups to join on Monday. Usually, I find a Facebook group first and then I start a hobby, rather than the other way around. I learned about bead weaving that way. I bought some seed beads, a few beading needles, cord and wire and figured I would be able to do bead weaving that way. I wasn’t. I have both a regular weaving loom and a wooden bead loom. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find instructions that I could follow without help, but on Wednesday, I got my activity staff to look at a tutorial I found – thankfully, we have a compute rin the activity room now. I then found out that a metal bead loom, which they used in the tutorial, is better than a wooden one. I’d unsuccessfully tried weaving with the wooden one before and the staff had not been able to figure it out for me either. I decided to buy the metal bead loom since it was only E11,95. I’m now waiting on it to come through the mail.

On Thursday, my art therapist also taught me loom knitting. I’d done this once before but had forgotten how to do it. She’d only done it once before herself, but together, we figured it out. I do think I’m going to bring my Rainbow Loom needle next week, because the regular crochet needles we used this time are either too big or the thread falls off the hook.

I’ve also tried to pick up regular weaving again, but am not too inspired in that area. I heard from the admin of a Dutch weaving group on Facebook that there is a weaving group for people with disabilities in my area, but I’ve yet to hear back from the person in charge of this.

Lastly, many blogging topics have floated around in my head. Unfortunately, none became formed enough to draft a blog post out of it, except for the Halloween/St. Martin’s post I wrote on Wednesday. I hope to be able to write more next week.

The Reading Residence
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Week of July 28 to August 3, 2014 #Mumslist

While looking at blogs I might want to subscribe to, I came across the lovely Mums’ Days by Hannah, and her fabulous linky Mums’ List. The linky is about all kinds of lists, but especially a list detailing your week both in real life and in blogging/social media. I love linkies and lists, so I badly wanted to participate, but wasn’t sure I could since I’m not a Mom. I left a comment aking this, but then saw the rules and figured out the answer by myself. So here goes

Real Life


  1. Spent a lot of time and energy on my computer, both working on it and trying to get it to work. My husband fixed some of the problems, but not all. Left a few calls with the screen reader company, because that appears to be the problem.

  2. Enjoyed time in the garden and outside in general. It’s been sunny all week. Had a BBQ on Thursday for my ward. It was crowdy and noisy as a DJ came to play music and a lot of people sang along. Not my favorite pastime, though the food was good.

  3. Made a lovely loom bracelt. Yes, I mentioned this on Friday, too, but I mention it again because my husband was able to snap the picture today and I really want to show it off. Made an attempt at starting another loom bracelet for a nurse over coffee today, but I’d better just spend my time drinking coffee or looming than both at the same time.

  4. Finally went to the gym again after skipping it for two weeks. Had quite a nice work-out.

  5. Managed to buy a lot less candy than I usually do, but got a bag of liquorice in exchange for another bracelet so still probably ate as much as I normally do (which is too much). We also had fries tonight, but the little step I’ve taken is finally being able to eat a normal size portion.

Loom Bracelet

Blogging and Social Media


  1. Not been blogging much this week. I really had to bribe myself to write.

  2. Discovered the lovely Headspace Perspective, a blog about premature birth, birth trauma and baby loss. Since I am the oldest surviving child of a mother pregnant several times before delivering me, and I’m a preemie, I felt a kind of connectedness even though I haven’t been in Leigh’s shoes.

  3. Got a lot of compliments on my bracelet in Facebook groups.

  4. Not looked at my blog or Twitter stats (I don’t have a Facebook page or Pinterest or whathaveyou). My blog stats are probably misleading as I had around ten spam comments from what appear to be different spammers yesterday and last night. I’ve enabled comment moderation for new commenters now.

Goals for the Upcoming Week


  1. Make two loom bracelets.

  2. Buy candy only once. Go to the gym once too.

  3. Study 100 pages of intro to psychology textbook.

  4. Write at least three blog posts.

Mums' Days

Patience #WotW

It’s been a long week. The week-end was a bit boring, as on Friday night, my computer suddenly caught a bug or one that had been there all along was activated. The startup screen suddenly wouldn’t work anymore, the screen would first turn purple and then black, and the computer wouldn’t shut down properly. My husband came around on Saturday to try to fix it. This is the newest of three semi-working laptops I own. The oldest still has Windows XP on it and has a broken Enter key. The middle one, I spilled tea over two weeks ago, destroying the keyboard and making the computer essentially useless. My husband has already ordered a new keyboard via eBay at his go-to laptop keyboard shop in Hong Kong, and I’m hoping that in a few weeks, I can use this laptop at least as a spare laptop again. The newest, this one, he could fix only partly. I now have most things I’ll need on a regular basis on my desktop, and the shutdown issue is solved. The screen still turns purple and black, and my husband found out it happened whenever my screen reader starts. Someone from Freedom Scientific, the screen reader company, will have a look on Tuesday.

In the meantime, my other hobby besides the computer that I can do mostly independently is looming. Unfortunately, I broke my loom last week Friday and, though I ordered a new one immediately, the stupid people at the online store first forgot to package it along with the other supplies I ordered, which I therefore did receive. Then, when I sent them an extremely formal E-mail asking them to send the loom, they replied with an E-mail almost in text speak, saying they’d resend it. Yesterday, I got an E-mail that they’d sent it to the wrong address and the recipient would forward it to me. The store has too cute supplies not to order there again.

With all this waiting, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I choose “patience” as my word for the week. It’s only been as of yesterday that I can almost fully use my computer. On Tuesday, I ordered a cheap loom along with some lovely looming beads at one of my favorite online jewelry-making stores. It arrived this morning, and I’m so glad. After a little bit of experimenting with this loom, I figured out how to make a fishtail bracelet with beads on it. I chose butterflies and letter beads to form my name. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture, but I must say the result is quite good. I am having a fulfilling day at last. Patience does pay off.

The Reading Residence
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