Friday, 29 June 2012

A Pretty day of pictures

Thank you for all your love and support with my last post.  Today the MS Nurse came to visit, and taught me how to give myself daily injections.  I did ok.  Managed to do it, no problems.  Then I cried because it made it feel so real.  Anyway, I want to end the week with pretty pictures that make me feel happy.  I hope you like them too.

Wouldn't it be nice to wake up in Paris and have breakfast on the balcony.

Go for a walk through the lavender

Find out what's on the other side of the gate

Source: via Stylish on Pinterest

Have lunch with the girls

Receive flowers from somebody special

Watch your favourite movie

Relax and unwind,

Source: via Stylish on Pinterest

before popping off to bed.

Source: via Stylish on Pinterest

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

It's Official. I'm one of the 0.1%

This is a really hard post for me.  Some of you will know I had an MRI back at Easter, and nervously spent my time pinning while I waited for the results.  Yesterday I went to a new neurologist for a review and second opinion.  She confirmed my diagnosis.  I have Multiple Sclorosis (MS).

What is MS?
When I was told by the first neurologist that he thought it was MS, he asked if I knew what it was?  Apart from doing the MS read-a-thon as a kid I really didn't have a clue. 
MS is an auto-immune degenerative disease.  Your own immune system attackes the myelin sheath (the fatty lining) around your central nervous system (your brain and spine).  The lining is a bit like the plastic coating around electrical wires, when it is damaged the wires (or in my case nerves) are exposed and don't work properly.  The messages get disrupted or don't get through.

Who gets MS?
About 1 in 1,000 people in Australia have MS (the other 99.9% don't).  According to MS Australia, twice as many women as men have MS, with the onset of symptoms occurring most often between the ages of 20 and 40.  It is often referred to as a young person's disease.  I'm 42.  My neurologist said to me it is quite possible that I have been living with the condition for years but the symptoms have been mild.  In hindsight, I can now see some of those symptoms that I dismissed as being 'normal' or 'nothing to worry about'.

Cause & Cure
This is the bad bit.  Researchers still don't know what causes MS and there is no cure.  Around the world, there is much research being done.  They're getting close but they're not quite there yet.

To tell or not to tell?
I really struggled to know whether to 'go public' with this. I'm pretty much a wear your heart on your sleeve kind of girl, so late last night I published a photo on instagram, and then it was done. It was out there, and I didn't feel any pressure to keep this 'big secret'. I hope that by sharing this, I have helped to spread some awareness of the condition.

Now what?
Yesterday I went to the pharmacy with my first prescription for a drug that I must inject myself with everyday, much like diabetics (another auto-immune disease) have to inject themselves with insulin everyday.  The medicine won't cure the MS, but it helps.  Much like a diabetic, I now need to take control of my diet and lifestyle so that I can lead a happy and fulfilling life.  I don't mean just eat an apple, I mean I really have to overhaul my whole diet and lifestyle - eat really well, exercise, control stress and simplify my life.

I believe:
You are what you eat
You are what you think
and you are what you live.

Some Changes to my Blog
I am a home decor girl.  It's in my blood.  I will go into a homewares/vintage shop and be in my own little world.   Touching and feeling things.  Imagining where it would fit in my home.  You ladies can relate to that, it's just the way we are.  So my blog will still have posts about making over furniture, creating a stylish home, and fun craft and DIY projects.  But ... one of the biggest challenges I have faced lately is how to eat really healthy delicious food that is low in saturated fat and dairy-free.  I've had the good fortune to meet half a dozen ladies with MS in the past few weeks, and we are all in the same boat. Asking each other "how do you mash your potatoes without butter and milk?  So over the coming weeks I will be adding a page to the top of my blog called 'The MS Foodie', to share the food I've found.  That doesn't mean you have to have MS to eat the food - it's just really healthy, tasty food - best enjoyed in a stylish setting!

Love and big virtual hugs to you all.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Hello Birdy

It's the last week of school for my two kids and it is crazy busy this week, so I'm going to cheat and share something with you that doesn't involve me having to clean my daughter's room and photograph it.  Cleaning her room will probably take all holidays to complete!  Recently, little Miss Stylish and I went shopping for new bed linen and found this.

It's so pretty.  It features applique and crochet birds on branches, with flowers and berries.  So sweet.  There is a row of pom poms across the bottom.  Can you imagine how much time and effort it would take to make something like this?  I know, because I made her birdy bed curtains.

The birds on the bed linen and the curtains are very similar.  How lucky?

The new bed linen works so well with the bed curtains, and if her room is ever tidy again I might actually photograph it, but with 3 weeks of school holidays upon us, don't hold your breath!  Happy school holidays everyone.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Stripping Back My Blog and Showing more of myself

With everything that has been going on in my life lately, I really needed to have a re-think about blogging.  I still enjoy blogging.  It's good therapy for me, but I decided I needed to strip my blog back to just what I needed it to be, so I gave it a little makeover.

I created a new header.  I am no photo editing genius, I just used Picasa and followed the instructions at Blissfully Domestic.

I realise everybody has a different way of following blogs.  Over the past year my reading list in Blogger had become so large that I was missing posts from some of my favourite blogs.  I did a bit of pruning to my reading list (sorry) and made sure I put most of my favourites on the blog roll down the right hand side of my page, so I don't loose them.

I kept different ways for other people to follow this blog if they want to - Google Friend Connect, Blog Lovin', email, and rss feeds.  (I had no idea how many people use email to follow.  I found my email subscribers by going to my account - Hello!  I didn't realise you were there.) 
Following is a funny thing.
I love reading other people's blogs and I hope that people like some of my posts.  If you want to follow - great, if not that's fine too.  I blog because it makes me feel good.  In fact what I wrote in my first post, still stands true.  Whenever I'm feeling a little down about my home, I look back on the blog posts I've written in the past 12 months and I can see how far I've come.  I'm grateful for that and I've made some lovely blog friends along the way.

I got rid of some stuff on my blog.  I don't need to know what my ranking is on Blog Top Sites etc...  I blog for me.  I don't have a shop or etsy store.  I don't have sponsors or advertisers.  I'm not a nuff nang blogger, nor do I run competitions or giveaways.  There is NOTHING wrong with any of this.  Some bloggers work really hard and deserve financial reward, and I LOVE some of the online shops and etsy stores run by bloggers.  It's just that my blog's just for fun so I don't want to look at statistics.

What I do love to do is pin.  It was the perfect distraction for me when I was waiting for my MRI results.  So I added a pinterest rss feed to the right side margin so you can see what my latest pinning phase is. If you hover over the pictures, they get bigger so you can see them properly.  To add a pinterest feed to your blog, follow the instructions at Code It Pretty.  If you scroll down through the comments you'll see I was a bit of a wally and couldn't work out how to do it!

I also added an Instagram feed.  This is part of where the getting naked comes into it.  I am a pretty down to earth kinda girl, but I'm one of those people who likes things to look nice ... a little bit stylish.  My kids always say - 'Mum you're a little bit posh'.  That's where the name Stylish Settings came from.   I guess it might sound a little bit stuck up.  Anyway what I like about instagram is that it's photos of your 'real' life.  I've gotten to know other people better by seeing their instagram photos and I thought if I braved it and shared some of my real world, you might get to know me a little better too.

To add the instagram feed, Beth from A Welsh Girl In Australia wrote a good post and then helped me add the follow me button.  Thanks Beth.
OK - as for these two.  I set them up a while ago, and I'll leave them as they are.  They are synced to my blog so new posts appear.  If you follow blogs by one of these methods you'll see mine right at the bottom of the side bar.  I tried following people on Facebook but when you have a blog facebook account it's hard to 'like' things and comment - or at least blondie here couldn't work it out?  As for twitter - I got so sick of reading tweets for giveaways and promotions that I stopped reading them.  Maybe I'll work out a way around that?

Finally I added a Print It button to the bottom of the page.  You can see how to do that at Print Friendly.  I hate it when you want to print up some step by step instructions or a recipe and you have to print pages of ads and comments.

So that's it.  My longest ever blog post, and a fresh new look.
Now if anybody knows how to turn off the Google Friend Counter so it shows nothing rather than the number of followers, I'd be grateful if you could tell me how to do it.

Finally here I am - not hiding behind sunglasses!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Gift Wrapping

I have a lot of birthdays in June, and I've started buying and wrapping presents.

I love beautifully wrapped presents, and I thought I'd share some photos of wrapping I like.

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Happy birthday to all you geminis.

All photos and credits can be found at the pinterest board - Gifts All Wrapped Up
(I've tried using pinterest embed function to give you the link to each photo but I can never align all the photos properly)

Friday, 8 June 2012


I am one of the many people that have an IKEA Expedit bookcase. 
Mine is about 10 years old and is 5 x 5, giving 25 pigeon holes.

The 7 square baskets are also from IKEA.  Again, these are about 10 years old.  The baskets IKEA sell now have hinges so they can fold flat.  My baskets are wicker on timber frames.  Over the years the baskets have gone from holding baby toys, to Lego and now DVD's.

Where the other pigeon holes were once filled with toys and games, they are now filled with simple items I have collected over the years.

In fact, I have collected a lot of bits and pieces.

The seagull bird is from The Tenby Store in Queenscliff, Victoria.  The white birdhouse is from the Wooloongabba Antiques Centre.  The heart tray and birds were from a lovely little homewares shop in Mildura, Victoria.  The white pedestal bowl was from Blue Illusion.  The little timber bowls with lids were hand carved by my dad and step-grandfather.  They were both talented woodworkers.  The other finds came from discount shops, Target, Loot and Spotlight.

So that is my Expedit.  It fits perfectly along the wall in our back loungeroom. 

I miss you Dad.  It's been 5 years yesterday since you passed away.

Sharing at Miss Mustard Seed

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Vintage Style Ribbon Spools

Recently I shared with you my creative space area.  I'm really happy with it, but I didn't like the way my ribbons were stored.

Quite some time ago I saw these vintage style ribbon spools made by Beth at Home Stories AtoZ.

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I loved them, so I though I'd give them a go.  I bought some dowel and some mdf circles and followed Beth's instructions.  I also bought some plain timber sewing thread reels for smaller pieces of ribbon.

I used a darker varnish than Beth, otherwise it's the same.  I drilled holes into the ends and used rubber stamps to decorate the circles.

I changed this end of my shelf to display all my black, white, and silver ribbons.

To secure the ribbon around the reel I used normal dressmakers pins and glued a silver faceted bead to the head.

I removed the big cardboard rings from the rolls of grosgrain ribbon and stacked them on top of each other.

Made some more ribbon spools for my coloured ribbons,

and displayed them at the other end of the shelf.

Now I'm happy.

Friday, 1 June 2012

My New Sewing Box

Just a quick bit of sorting and organising today.
I fianlly bought myself a new sewing box.  My trusty Lincraft plastic box has served me well over the years, but the new one is so much prettier and even the small simple things can also be a little stylish right?

In an age when we throw clothes away rather the mend a small hole or sew on a new button, I've decided to try and make do and mend what I can.  Having a sewing kit all set up and ready makes the job easier.

Of course if I was a real sewer, I would really like one of these.

Love the combination of modern technology and vintage aethetics.
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