Tag Archives: Jewelry Making

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.

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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Is Crafting Suitable for the Blind?

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.

Expressing Myself

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.

Bracelet for a Nurse

When I showed my first handmade bracelet to the staff on my ward, several nurses requested I make one for them. It took me severl weeks to get this one finished, and so far this one nurse is the only one who’s given me specific directions on what to make for her.

Bracelet for a Nurse

The beads are made of two colors of polymer clay selected by the nurse from my stash. They are ultramarine Fimo Classic and pastel mint Fimo Effect. The mint may look a bit blueish and I at one point thought I might’ve confused it with the blue ice quartz. As with another bracelet I’ve previously posted, I rolled the two colors of clay into a jelly roll. I really need to learn to make canes, but will get to that later. I got very uneven beads from my first try so made some more and chose the best I had. They’re still each more different than the ones on the other polymer clay bracelet I’ve made, but they’re okay. As usual, I strung the beads onto elastic wire. I fear the bracelet is a little too tigght, but we’ll see. Forgot to take it back to the ward when my husband had photographed it, so the nurse will need to wait to get it.

Necklace for My Sister

I’ve not made much jewelry lately. In fact, this piece is over a month old, but I never got down to posting it. It is intended as a Christmas present for my sister, and I want to make another one (with different beads, but I’ve yet to decide what I want besides rose quartz) for my mother.

Necklace

The green beads are aventurine and the brown ones are jasper. I didn’t know there’s brown jasper until I foudn these. I bought them at a lovely shop that sells all kinds of gemstone beads. I can’t remember what the dolphin is made of. Since my husband photographed it, I don’t know what side of the dolphin is visible. It is blue on one side and metallic (I’m thinking silver) on the other.

Two Bracelets

Lately I’ve been enjoying polymer clay and particularly have been making beads out of it. I also have bought a number of jewelry-making supplies, such as gemstone and glass beads, charms and wire. Here are my first two bracelets.

This one my husband nicknaemd the Ado The Hague bracelet after a Dutch football club. I think the football club’s colors are yellow and green, while the bracelet truly has golden glitters in it, but I’m not sure that it shows on the picture. I used green and golden glitter Fimo Effect and rolled two rolls into what I believe to be a jelly roll. Then I cut beads out of that, then had them lie around forever after baking before I strung them together on elastic wire. I am soon going to make a similar one in different colors for a nurse here.

This one got nicknamed the Christmass bracelet for its green stars. They are made out of turquoise I believe. The golden beads are glass beads. I strung these onto a metal wire and attached the clasp. I got some help with that bit, but must say I can do it mostly independently now.

Crafty Endeavors

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.

Reasons to Be Cheerful

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!