The next step on my journey


Although I didn’t expect to learn much through doing my fibro awareness posts, I have. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in contact and chatted to other sufferers and it’s been a bit of an eye opener. It’s made to realise and come to terms with the fact that part of the reason I always feel so rushed, panicked and like nothing is getting done properly is because I’m trying to live a life which would be very busy without any illnesses, let alone someone with CFS and fibromyalgia. It’s not giving up to admit that and neither is tailoring my life so I’m not stuck in a cycle of depravation- always over-doing it, paying the costs and then being frustrated because I can never sustain a schedule.

Things have got to change. Part of that was actually writing down my “ideal” schedule- exactly what I would want to achieve everyday or every week- it was ridiculous so I’ve put some stuff on the backburner for now instead of trying to do everything at once. In honesty, that wasn’t enough, even after I cut out as much as possible, it was still obvious that I would still be doing too much. I had to make some tough decisions in reducing my work load in EVERY area of my life, including this blog. I have never been able to post as much as I always planned to on this blog and by rushing posts, I have sometimes compromised quality (if I’m honest)- re-reading some of my earlier posts made that obvious to me. I am, therefore, cutting back the features on this blog to what I think are the best parts and you may be seeing a few less posts on here but I promise to make them really good. I really hope my readership doesn’t go down as a result of these choices, I love each and every comment and subscription. It is a great moment in every bloggers life when someone signs up to be notified when a new post is published. It’s even greater to look back over the first year of blogging and realise how much more successful your blog is than you’d hoped and how it has grown.

Part of being a good blogger/writer is knowing what works and what doesn’t so I won’t be posting any more film reviews or sports time posts regularly, I will, however, be leaving the pages up so you can access old posts and I won’t completely close the door on the possibility of the occasional post in these areas.

And, I will be adding a new feature- inspiration of the month. Every month I will be choosing a person who inspires me and I’ll write a post on them and why they inspire me. If you know someone inspirational who deserves to be honoured then please contact me on the email address below- I am open to all submissions.

As you read in an earlier post, I launched my own small business this summer (eek!) called Pandora’s Box. In brief, Pandora’s Box grew out of the home-made posts on this blog. More and more I’ve realised my passion for vintage/retro items and remaking old things into new is something I want to share. Vintage shops and markets can be really expensive and so can handmade products so part of what I do is making sure all my products are really affordable, meaning that my products are cheap but I don’t make a huge profit but I’m ok with that for now. I love individual things but my flat is small and I can’t fit it all in so I’m happy to pass on vintage finds and home-made treats to happy customers. You can find out more about it and view items on the page here. I will post updates here on my blog for you to see and if there is anything which you love in a home-made post but for whatever reason don’t make yourself, you can request me to make it for you in the comments section on the post or on the Pandora’s Box page.

Related to this, as part of the Etsy community, I come across other great and very talented sellers- look out for posts for my favourite Etsy finds.

Most of all, I’d really like to take on guest posts, I welcome any and every proposal so whatever you feel you might want to put on screen and have published here, you can get in touch with me by email: kate.bennett@live.com

Thank you loyal readers,

Katie x

HOMEMADE: Pretty Paper Mobile


Sorry today’s post is a little late in the day- all of my days post exams are either filled with recovering or making the most of responsibility free time! Anyway, on to today’s project. Check out this cool paper mobile from Folksy (a website similar to Etsy). The project doesn’t say to use recycled papers but I think brightly coloured packaging or old magazines would make a funky mobile, as well as being environmentally friendly. Have fun making lots of different types, I know I will. If you don’t fancy making them yourself but love the look then keep an eye on my Etsy shop, you’ll see them on there very soon- requests for colour, pattern or paper used are welcome!

Side note: thanks for bearing with me with the blog updates, I promise they’ll be coming along soon it’s just taking a while for me to get back on my feet post exams.

HOMEMADE: Folded paper flowers


This week’s home-made post comes from a blog I’ve only just found called Metal and Mud. I think these flowers look terrific as well being a great way to recycle papers. They’ll make a pretty decoration or centre piece.  Why not put them inside dressed up jars (find that project here). I can’t wait to try making them with lots of different patterned papers and in different sizes.

All you’ll need is: paper, glue, wire and some clips. Find the instructions here.

HOME-MADE: Pretty crockery turned into even prettier things


Turn me into something pretty

Today’s Home-made post is more than just one project so there’s loads of options requiring different skills and time so there should be something to suit you. Your primary material is crockery, lot of bright colours and patterns- ask your friends or family for any bits knocking around they don’t want or visit a charity shop, you’re likely to get some great vintage patterns for great prices (for more on buying craft materials from charity shops click here). I found these projects on allaboutyou.com which is the website for several different magazines all compiled together, it’s a big site with loads of great resources. Go forth and have fun! Feel free to share your own ideas or improvements on the projects.

Here’s the link

HOMEMADE: DIY Fabric Gift Tags


Creature Comforts' DIY Fabric Gift Tags

This quick little project is perfect for a rainy day this summer, or easy to sit in the sun doing. It come from one of my favourite websites- Creature Comforts. Enjoy recycling all those scraps you, your, mum or your grandma have lying around into cute vintage-style gift tags. You don’t need to limit yourself to only using fabric, get creative, pull out tissue paper, used wrapping paper, or magazines- the possibilities are endless!

You can find this project here.

 

HOME-MADE: Mother’s day gift flower


Here is the promised mother’s day gift. All you need is:

  • Small pot or bucket, I bought mine from Hobby Craft for only 59p, any craft shop should have something similar. If you don’t have either then you could use a yogurt pot or ice cream tub and cut it to size. Wrap some gift wrap around it
  • Gravel, sand, or something which will anchor the flower in place
  • Lollypop sticks (good excuse for eating an ice lolly) and some green paint, or a straw or pipecleaner
  • Patterned paper and card, or patterned card
    • Bottle top or button
  • Pritt stick or PVA glue
  • Glue gun or super glue
  • Small piece of card to write message on and sticky tape (optional)

Begin by painting the lollypop stick green on both sides. While it is drying, draw a flower shape on some card and cut it out. Using Pritt stick, stuck the patterned paper on to both sides of the card flower. Then, heat up and load the glue gun as instructed by manufacturer and stick the bottle top/button into the centre of the flower on one side.

When both the lollypop stick and flower are dry, glue the stick onto the back of the flower. If you want to, write a message on a small piece of card and stick it onto the flowerpot/bucket. And, to finish, fill the pot with gravel and push in the flower, ensuring that it will stay up. Quick and easy, and I am sure your mum will love having the flower at her desk in work. Alternatively, you could make the flower and stick it onto a card, or go to town and make several flowers of different sizes to make a flower box or bunch.

Happy mother’s day!

Let me know if your mummy liked it.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair


On Sunday, Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair came to my Student’s Union. I was really, really excited about this so I took a lot of my student loan out of the cash-point and arrived at opening time. I had a strategic plan, quick look around the whole fair, picking out cheap items or things which I would be gutted if I didn’t get, and then back around once more when I had decided on my items. I meant to take pictures of the fair, but I went into a shopper’s frenzy as soon as I left my flat. Poor Paulie (my boyfriend) was dragged around the fair several times for almost two hours, and bless him, he did not moan.

I like to divide my shopping into categories, part of my desire to organize everything. So firstly, here is one item I picked up on the first round of looking around the fair. I was trying my hardest not to spend an absolute fortune, so it was a toss up between cigarette case and a reel of old ticket stubs. My instinct was that it would be more difficult to find the ticket stubs so that’s what I went with.

I also picked up a lot of £1 and 50p items which I intend to turn into other things. You’ll probably be seeing these things sometime soon in Home-made.

But my bargain of the day was this vintage real leather clutch purse. I could not have put it back down on the table when the stall owner told me I could have it for £3.

I have saved the best ’til last. This was my most expensive item, a new hand-made handbag. I bought this from Fennella for £15. Fenella sells lots of different handbags, each unique and at very affordable prices. It took me a long while to decide which one to get. This is exactly the sort of hand-made items I like, taking used clothes, curtains, rugs, belts, pretty much anything used, and then make them into something completely new. The strap is a leather belt, the main bag is made from an old tapestry-type curtain, the front red part is leather cut from something else, probably clothes, and then vintage pictures, text, sketches, magazine cuttings, etc covered in varnish and then sewn on as embellishments. Even the lining has been made from material salvaged from something else. I imagine part of the reason why Fennella can sell bags at cheap prices is because all the whole product is made from recycled/reused items. I have been meaning for so long to get to grips with learning how to use a sewing machine so I can do projects using the same idea as Fennella, but, for the meantime, I will settle for buying instead of making.

And even with buying all of that, there were so many items that I exercised restraint, and did not buy. There is one stall where lots of old “junk” is turned in to charms and pendants. You pick out whatever you want from the boxes, pick out a vintage chain,  and then the jeweler at the stand and the buyer discuss and design exactly how and what you want the “junk” to be made into. There was also a lot more jewelery that I really wanted to get, an absolute abundance, and loads of clothes too. And then, like my ticket stub, there are vintage items that are incredibly hard to find like glasses, french magazines, even flying goggles, and Judy does not lie, the whole fair was very affordable.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair travels- so far they have been to 22 cities and 6 major festivals in the UK. On the website you can find out when the fair is next coming to a city near you or sign up to their email list so you have a reminder.