My Crazy Confessions – Extremes of Stress and Anxiety

Hello Again!

Another week, another blog. Another chance to get stuff off my chest.

I was to splurge out some things that happen to me when my stress, anxiety, and depression are at their worst.

One of so many reasons mental illnesses like these go un-diagnosed for so long is because many symptoms seem like personality traits.

“You’re always multi-tasking and on the go!” – that’s because I constantly feel I should be doing something.

“You know so much, you’re so intelligent!” – that’s because even when I finally do sit and relax and watch TV it’s always a documentary or a quiz show so I’m always learning something.

“You do so much for charity!” – that’s because even when I had next to nothing I still had something more than others and not to give would be selfish of me

 

Now, I do want to do all these things and more often than not I enjoy the hell out of them. I love me a good history documentary, and charity is a duty (I feel anyway ha) however there gets to a point where these things aren’t done for enjoyment, they’re done out of fear or shame. The fear I should know more about the degree I completed 7 years ago – you have a degree in it so you should know EVERYTHING. The panic that if I have free time, you don’t actually have free time. There’s always something you should be doing (cleaning, reading, sewing, etc.) so if you’re sitting you should be utilising the time. If I have £10 in my account, that person in the doorway has nothing – you’ll only spend it on a Costa coffee or a Cardigan.

These actions are beautiful things, great things I’m proud of. However, if you take these traits and turn them up to 11 they become damaging. Multi Tasking becomes never resting. Giving to charity means putting yourself at risk of debt. Never switching off leads to exhaustion.

Then this happens…

“HOW can you be tired? You slept for 9+ hrs last night!”

“You’ve been in PJs ALL day?! You’re so lazy”

“You backed out last time! You’re so flakey”

“You complain all the time, think positively!”

“You’ve changed. You’re not the person you used to be. You’re so selfish now!”

 

The thing is, I never used to complain. Or back out of plans. Or sleep all the time. Or put myself first, for anything really. I didn’t complain about my life even when my home was leaking water through electrical sockets and was dangerous. I was anxious that I had a roof so it would be selfish of me to complain to others so convinced myself it was all fine as some people would beg for a home, even a leaky one. Even when I was in an abusive relationship, I was anxious that there were people dying at the hands of their partners. He only hit me every now and then, and I was sure him telling me about how everyone only valued my body and only he valued my mind was just him looking out for me. So I convinced myself everything  was fine because I was ashamed to be seen complaining when so many others had it worse. Now the thing is, for now, someone will always have it worse. This is a sick result of austerity, global politics, sexism, homophobia, greed, and so many other factors. We’re taught to feel grateful for what we have because we could have it worse. So, many people tolerate violence, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and other abuses because “it could be worse”.

I’m not standing for this anymore, and I implore you not to stand for it either. If selfish means putting my health before other people’s convenience then print me a T Shirt:

I’M SELFISH.

You can only give if you have something to give. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I’ll always be there if I can – always. If I have something to give, it’s yours. Just let me develop something to give.

I’m terribly sorry if my disability is an inconvenience for you, but I don’t want to ever feel like I did back then. I don’t want to be so exhausted by just waking I want roll back over asleep and never wake up. I don’t want to rather be asleep because I can’t bear to simply exist. I want to be able to go to work, make money, come home, enjoy life, to love and BE loved.

So sue me for wanting to live, and not just exist as a means to your end.

We’re all mad here. You are worthy.

Katie B x

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

 

Treading Water – my attempt to explain my mental health

You know when you go swimming with school and there’s that lesson where you have to swim with pyjamas on? The lesson where you learn to tread water and not die until help comes in case you fall in a canal or something? Picture this…

I feel like I’m constantly treading water. I mean life is a bit like that anyway isn’t it? Always a bit of effort. Though, where some people are in boats, I’m in the water. Always. Now if the water is calm, it’s fine. Takes minimal effort to keep my head above water, and feel the sun and interact with other people swimming or in boats.

Then storms hit. You can’t see anyone else, or the boats, or the sun, or anything. All you’re aware of is you and the fight you have. Riptides drag you around, pull you under, waves crash down on top of you and you struggle for breathe. To stay alive you constantly exert effort, kicking, fighting, just to to the same things you’ve been doing for weeks. Forget trying to do anything else. All your energy just goes on surviving.

Drowning is a slow death, apparently. A dragged out period of pure panic, with seemingly no way out, until eventually your body can’t take it anymore. So when I say I feel like I’m drowning, this is what I mean. I’m filled with panic, and dread, and can’t see a way out. A terrifying experience that I really don’t know if I’m going to survive. The fact I’ve survived previous times is little comfort, this is going to be the time. I’m exhausted.

Then for no reason the storm stops. You take what you think it going to be your final breathe and…you’re able to take another, and another.  You survived. God knows how but you did.

And just that like you’re pretty much fine again. Bit bruised and battered, most likely, but overall fine. Then over time you start to forget exactly how the storm felt. It’s not so much you forget about the storms, you’re just surprised every time they hit. Every. Single. Time. Similar to storms, they can come with little to no warning. Little hints here and there of the oncoming front,  but can often be missed, or mistaken as something else. Unlike storms, however, these aren’t quick intense flashes in the pan. They can last for weeks.

So that’s how it feel for me.

Remember, you’re worth the effort. We’re all mad here.

Katie B x

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

KB is back in town!

Hey everyone!

Well a big fresh start is coming soon! I thought that a new start most certainly should include a new look so keep an eye out for the New and Improved Katie Betty Blog. A new section will soon be added, too, to the blog so keep your eyes  peeled for that as well!

Soon I’ll have a post for the Crochet Diaries but in the mean time, here’s my most recent make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. I used this as an opportunity to try out a new seam binding technique as I felt that that’s where my sewing skills were lacking. I think it went well but I want to know what you think!

Craft or Glory, Gang!

The Soon to be All New Katie B

My First Full Cosplay – McCalls 7217

Hey guys!

I know I’ve been a bit quiet for a while but wowee have I got some lovely makes to share. I’ve got my Sew my Suitcase round up, and a whopper of a post to go in the Crochet Diaries, as well as some lovely Minerva Blogger Network makes. First, however, I have my pride and joy to share! My first full cosplay.

I decided (in my infinite wisdom) to go for one of the sexiest women in Hollywood as one of the most dangerous Femme Fatales, The Black Widow!

No pressure then! It’s quite a simple cosplay, in that it’s a number of basic features brought together to make one amazing outfit. This is how it turned out…

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…and this is how I did it! I broke the cosplay down is down as follows;

  • Bodysuit
  • S.H.I.E.L.D. logos for arms
  • Ammo Bracelets
  • Fingerless Gloves
  • Belt and Logo Buckle
  • Weapons belt
    • Weapons
  • Boots
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Keeping the street of Blackpool safe with Goku!

Starting at the bottom and working up, I already had black boots I could wear. For the weapons, they’re spray painted water pistols! Not high tech, but boy did they do the job! The weapons belt is Polypropylene Wedding, and Luggage Strap Buckles.

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For the waistband and  I used 40 mm webbing with a 40 mm Buckle. The straight straps and leg straps were 20 mm webbing with  20 mm buckles to secure the leg straps around my thighs. As you can see it’s a pretty straight forward make up and was really easy to size. I just measured around my waist for the 40 mm, and for the 20 mm I measured around my thighs and how low I’d want them to sit and rounded up for wiggle room. I made each loop adjustable for comfort so I ended up rounding up by about a metre. The only thing that had set sizes were the long straps down the side and the small loops I made with left over 40 mm webbing for the pistols to sit in.

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Meeting Doctor #1…sort of ha

An interesting stylistic point is that the left leg a) has two leg straps and b) sits lower than the right.

Casually getting beaten up by The Crimson Bolt!
Casually getting beaten up by The Crimson Bolt!

For the belt I also used 40 mm strapping and a 40 mm buckle. I used a silver marker to draw on a minimalistic logo, but I’m definitely investing in a full buckle for the future!

My fingerless gloves are some cheap motocross gloves I bought ages ago when I started motorcycling again. Cut the fingers off and spray painted them black! The padding and such made them look really good.

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The ammo bracelets are made from bendy hair rollers with the wire removed, cut, and glued to a loop of thick black elastic. My original idea was to use toy ammo belts spray painted back but I’ d have to get them online and I left it a bit late 😉

I made the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo with T-Shirt transfer paper and Calico. The rough texture of the Calico made the patch look more embroidered.

Now onto the pride of my costume, the bodysuit!

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I used McCalls 7217, designed by Cosplayer Yaya Han. Using View D (with the 22″ black zip in the front instead of a back) I omitted the contrasts using Black Scuba Fabric throughout. I also didn’t use the stirrups at the base of the legs, which worked out well for me in this case but if I made it again I think I’d definitely lengthen the legs and use them! The pattern also had a high neck collar, which is perfect for the look I was going for.

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bumped into Rita Repulsa! Where are the Power Rangers when you need them?!

Had so much fun making this costume up, and it’s certainly a work in progress for Halloween!  People at work are expecting me to wear this work…o dear!

Met the man, now the machine!

 So that was my first big Cosplay. I entered the competition but had to leave before they announced the winner. Looking at some of the entrants I highly doubt I would have placed, let alone won! I’m nor even mad, though, because I’m really proud of my make, and my partner thought I looked “Amazing” so that’s good enough for me ^_^

I’ll be back soon with a Minerva make, but until then…

Keep Crafting!

Katie B xo

The Zadar Maxi – New Look 6774 – Sew my Suitcase

Hey guys!

As I announced in my recent post for the Minerva Blogger Network, I have set a challenge for myself to Sew my Suitcase for my holibobs. At least 90% of the clothing in my suitcase that I take to Budapest in August will be handmade by little old me. I’m being whisked away to Croatia in 3 weeks time so I thought it would be a good chance to get in some practice! So, this is my Zadar Dress.

I decided that at 25 yrs of age I needed a maxi dress in my life. Ready to wear maxis have failed me in the past as I’m a pretty big chested girl, so an elasticated boob-tube affairs just don’t cut it, and being only 5ft 2″ ALL maxis are huge and make me look shorter than I am. So sewing one was the only option and New Look 6774 seemed the best way to go as you can pick and choose which combo you wanted. There are 9 different bodices to choose from, and 2 different skirt lengths so you really can pick what’s right for you. I went for a nice simple bodice and the floor length skirt. Whilst on the subject of the skirt, I had to take 5 inches off the bottom of the pattern. FIVE WHOLE INCHES! I am not a tall person ha.

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As you can see the bodice is a bit baggy around the arms. I feel I should maybe place in darts, but this is really hard to do as I don’t have a tailors dummy, and I’d be pining to myself with the dress on. It doesn’t look too bad, and I quite like the movement to be honest. We’ll just see how it goes!

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The bodice is lined, making it so very comfy! I wasn’t keen on lining it and nearly missed this out but the pattern called for interfacing, so I followed the instructions like a good girl and boy am I glad I did! RTW maxis tend not to be interfaced at the top creating that oh so unflattering uni boob where your chest is squished like you’re having a mammogram! The interfacing holds the bodice correctly which also means the skirt can drape properly from the waist. I’m always going to look for this in the future. I wore the dress to work and didn’t have to adjust it once!

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I had to take the dress in by almost an inch at the top. Not 100% sure as to why, unless I lost weight between measuring and cutting! I have a feeling it’s something to do with New Look have a different seam allowance. Has anyone else found this?

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Another thing to look for in my dress are the random joins in my pattern pieces! I’ve had this fabric for a while. It’s a piece of discontinued fabric that a customer returned. I snapped it up before it could be put back into stock (perks of the job ;D) as it was so soft and the floral pattern was so interesting! Due to this, I only had so much (2 metes I think) and the pattern called for 2.3 or something like that so I had to be strategic with my pattern piece placement. Because I wanted straps and not the sleeveless bodice I ended up doing this in two pieces as I didn’t have a clear length of fabric long enough once the skirt pieces had been placed and I’d already cut down the 1.5″ hem allowance down. I joined the pieces together on the diagonal so the join is almost un-noticeable (people at work could only see it when I pointed it out).

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I had to do the same for the back bodice piece near the zip as this idiot completely forgot to cut this piece out and had to jigsaw it together from the off cuts! I used the same diagonal join trick and though slightly more noticeable that the front join, the pattern of the fabric hides it well.

I really like the value aspect of this pattern, but due to the fact there are a lot of different pieces it makes it rather fiddly to cut. You really need a notebook handy to write down which pieces you need and to tick them off once you’ve cut them out (and tick again once you’ve pinned them in my case). I think the value aspect of this pattern wins my heart in the end, though. I’m a sucker for a bargain!

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I really hope you like the dress, I really enjoy wearing it! Though working with a floaty jersey is really making me want an overlocker!

So this is Garment #2 of the Sew my Suitcase challenge! Check out my first garment here on the Minerva Blogger Network and keep your eyes peeled for more!

Craft or Glory!

Katie B x

The long awaited Katie Betty Sewing Bee Sewathon Leather Jacket!

Wowee readers, you would not believe the past few months. It’s been emotional. That’s all I can say. My trusty sewing machine has been there by my side the whole step of the way and together we’ve created something beautiful! I’m very proud to present my very 80’s faux leather bomber jacket!

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I kicked off with my new favourite fabric, FAUX LEATHER! It’s been a revelation, so thank you GBSB! The sleeves are made from a pre-quilted faux leather. I’ve been eyeing up this stuff for a while and I never knew what on earth you’d do with it! Except maybe a bag or something, but then Sales Director, Vicki, at work did a quick write up on a post she’d seen by A Stitching Odyssey, “Violet is a Bad Girl“. The use of one of our quilted fabrics (a quilted jersey to be precise, with a wine fleck jersey we’re all cooing over in the offices) really inspired me! I was on a mission to use one of them. My partner in crafty crime Becki and I were giggling away about all sorts of silly projects but one soon stopped us laughing as we released it could actually be really good, if done right! A White and Pink faux leather jacket and jodhpur combo. So crazy it just might work! And if I do say myself, I think it really has!

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I used McCalls 7100 and inspired by the antics of the sewing bee I decided to use leather instead of the recommended jersey. This soft PVC leather is really supple so it’s surprisingly easy to ease around curves and such. I even managed to get away with using a Universal needle! Though if I did it again I’d definitely use a leather needle. I really used the “finished garment size” information with this project, something I learnt from Nicole Needles in one of her Minerva Blogger Network posts. I didn’t want it too baggy and sewing to my measurements would have made a big bomber and that wasn’t quite what I wanted. I ended up sewing about 2 sizes down in the end.

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Complete with welt pockets- A real GBSB challenge piece! As you can see the front side panel is also in the pink leather. I had originally intended just to have the sleeves in the pink as I was worried about the colour being too much but mummy Betty reassured me it would be just enough and of course she was right. The cuffing for the sleeves, waistband and the neck are from my go to brand Prym and are pre-made cuffing. You can get waistband and sleeve cuffs, but we were out of stock of the colour I needed (SCANDAL I KNOW!) so I bought two packs of the waistband cuffing which worked out well as It meant I had enough to do the neck which I’d omitted from my original calculations – yet another scandal!. You wouldn’t imagine that was my job, would you?! (I’m good at my job,honest!)

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I used a tartan anti pil polar fleece for the pockets and….

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…THE LINING! Yes, that’s right! I drafted my own lining! I’m so proud of myself. I did a bit of research for creating your own lining and in as much as it’s more than just cutting a copy of the pieces you want to line, as I only wanted to add an insulating layer I didn’t have to be as careful as I would have been had I have been lining a dress, for example. The trick is to ensure the jacket you’re lining has facings which gives you something to actually attach the lining to. I sewed the full front length to the facing, around the front of the arm hole and the top neckline and it sits lovely and is so warm!

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All in all, a bit of a success!

This kind of marks the end of my winter sewing as my up and coming projects are all summer summer summer!

I’ve decided to set myself another challenge. I think I did okay (ish) at my sewathon so my new challenge is… *drum roll*

Sew my Suitcase!

now I don’t mean sewing an actual suitcase, but sewing what’s inside! My dearest other half and I are going away to Budapest this summer for Sziget festival. 10 days of sun, city and music! The last time I went abroad was to Australia and my stuff was wholly practical with a few nice pieces I picked up at K-Mart but as this is more of a holiday than an adventure (and I’m staying in an apartment not a hostel!) and taking inspiration from people sewing their own wardrobe I thought it would be great if at least 90% of my holiday wardrobe was hand sewn by yours truly! Not content with just this,but it all has to fit into a carry on D: so the game is truly on! I have some great projects in the pipe line so stay tuned for some firsts and frugality!

Craft or Glory my friends!

Katie B xo

The Wedding Dress

Now don’t worry, it’s not my actual wedding dress. It’s a dress I made to wear to a wedding but “the dress I’m making for Lauren’s wedding” wasn’t quick enough to say when I was talking about it to people! So the Wedding Dress became its name.

https://www.minervacrafts.com/blogger-network/post/the-wedding-dress

This is my March Make for Minerva, a lovely taffeta dress using the By Hand London pattern ‘Elisalex’.

Best part is, the fabric I used, and many other taffeta fabrics, are in our sale at work! Mix this with the fact that Vogue Sewing Patterns are all half price, there’s no reason NOT to be sewing this Spring!

Hope you all like it!

Katie B

The long anticipated Great British Sewing Bee makes! – The Walkway

Well, 6 projects in 6 weeks didn’t exactly go to plan. I made a project for each episode but wasn’t able to finish them in time to post alongside each episode. I did, however, do write ups for the Minerva Blog so you can get my insight into the competition there, along with some insider knowledge courtesy of myself and Vicki, the Minerva Sales Director.

So lets start where I left off, episode three! This tied together my two passions; Sewing and Vintage! The really interesting thing about the Walkway dress is that it was so popular Butterick actually stopped production of ALL other patterns and solely printed this to keep up with demand. I can tell you know, I’m pretty sure they did it again because the demand for this pattern was phenomenal! We had to get stock Air Freighted from the States to keep up with demand!

So here’s my effort

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I went for a lovely Lemon yellow for my dress to try and channel the sunshine we weren’t getting in Lancashire at the time. I rocked a Lemon Yellow Polycotton for the front apron with a Lemon Yellow Crinkle Seersucker Polycotton for the rear back and skirt. I would definitely go for a poplin for the front apron next time as it would hold the weight of the rear portion of the dress better as that isn’t a paneled skirt, it’s a full circle! I also had to strengthen the bust darts with interfacing as they popped open! Luckily that happened in the fitting stage and not in Media City, Salford!

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I made up a side 14 as the measurement suggested, but I ended up having to take the back darts in my about 1 cm each to help the shoulders fit correctly. I also did ties instead of buttons to fasten the apron at the back so I can wear it through various stages of weight loss or gain!

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I really enjoyed making up the dress, but it’s tricky to wear! The front apron of the dress is only fasten around the back at the waist to the front raises up your legs like crazy, you HAVE to wear a slip with it. I’m going to experiment with weighting the bottom with some chain. I’ll let you know how it goes!

I’ve got another project to tweak for episode 4, Structure! That will be a great write up and is really shows what can go wrong when you rush!

Keep Crafting!

Katie Betty x

KATIE BETTY SEWING BEE SEWATHON #2

It’s episode 2 time! This week the team tackled children’s clothing so I decided to make a little something for the newest tiny person in my life, my friend’s niece Harriet Florence Merlot! She’s tiny and of course adorable, and a great inspiration for this weeks Sewing Bee project. Taking full advantage of the sale we have at work at the moment (including McCalls and New Look Patterns, a BAGILLION fabrics and other such joy!) I used McCalls 7038 which includes two tops, a pinafore dress and my make, Dungarees! The baby staple. I used our Plain Indigo Stretch Denim fabric to give Harriet some literal wiggle room, and at just £3.99 per metre it would be rude not to use it, really.

I hadn’t anticipated just how many pieces would go into constructing a pair of dungarees, or how much top stitching was involved! The pattern instructed you where to top stitch so you didn’t have to guess and it gives it a really professional finish. Also, with baby clothes a spontaneous motif can hide a multitude of sins and not look out of place! I wanted to make the colouring neutral, so I opted for Gutermann Sew All Col. 1pearl buttons and snap fasteners to make them a bit special.

TOP TIP! – something I learnt from reading a jeans tutorial by Jo from Three Stories High is that using the long stitch setting on your machine gives a professional look to your top stitching. I think it does, but you can obviously judge my top stitching for yourselves 😀

The thing I found interesting about making baba clothing is the practicality of it all. For example, on the pinafore dress there are, basically, sewn in knickers with poppers on the gusset so baby can crawl away and not flash everyone their nappy but also gives parents an easier time when changing bottoms! The crotch of the Dungarees also has poppers for for this instance and as interesting as it is, the sheer AMOUNT of poppers is time consuming, but definitely worth it!

I also got to tackle bias binding, which is a first for me. I learnt a bit about it from last week’s GBSB but I turned to Vicki and Annette for some hands on advice. Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? Most definitely! As you can see from the photos, I think it really works well.

The press studs were fun, as I got to whack stuff with a hammer! So bizarre that such force goes into something that will be worn by something so delicate.

I cannot tell you how many times I tried and failed at the button holes! Thank goodness there’s a stitch on my machine for this, I very nearly replaced them with velcro or snap fasteners!

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So what do you think?! Please do leave comments, and I’ll be sure to upload some pictures of Harriet sporting them!

Next week the gang are tackling Vintage! This theme was tailor made for me 😉

Craft or Glory!

Katie B