FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Monday, 3 April 2017

Make Do and Mend

These days we are often told that we can't fix things ourselves, that we will break things or void our warranty etc if we open them up. I guess I am a manufacturers worst nightmare, for I am a serial tinkerer. I have taken apart pistols, Xbox 360's, rifles and last year you may remember that I dismantled our Dyson. I can't help myself, I subscribe to the idea that if something is broken already then there can't be any harm in trying to fix it, after all you can't break it if it's already broken!

USB memory stick
One of the USB sticks that we use for embroidery designs stopped working, and I reckoned it would take me at least an hour to trawl through the laptop and load all of the designs I needed back on to one of the other sticks, so I thought it might be quicker to see if I could fix it myself.

Dismantled USB Stick
Now I have never taken apart a USB stick before so I had no idea what might be wrong with "the insides" but thought it couldn't do any harm to take a peak. Once it was opened I could see that the connection between the circuit board and the end of the stick had broken. I used our pyrography pen as a soldering iron to hit the solder with a bit of heat and it melted the four contacts back to how they should be. As soon as I got it back together and plugged it in to the laptop it worked like a charm again. Just goes to show you that if you have no idea what you're doing and just wing it anyway you can still get positive results!

Repairing the USB stick with a makeshift soldering iron
Whilst we're on the subject of making and mending, we're experimenting with this 8L bottle as a mini greenhouse for our sunflower seeds to see how it goes, its great to teach the kids about growing and recycling where they can.

Mini greenhouse for the kids sunflower seeds
We also made some plant pots from recycled bottles...

...and of course we made our chicken feeder from drinks bottles too :)

DIY Chicken Feeder made from Drinks Bottles

One last thing I'd like to share with you is a little something I made for Carly.
 For her Birthday she wanted a new tattoo so whilst she was back in the UK the other week we paid for her to have a sternum tattoo. I didn't want her to have nothing on the day, but the tattoo cost quite a lot of money so it didn't leave much scope for additional presents.
Lack of funding always seems to bring out my creative side, so I made this windchime from bamboo that grows locally in our mountains and put it together with some thin brass wire and a handful of blue crystals that I had been hoarding for a while. Considering I've never made anything like this before I think the result didn't come out too bad!

Bamboo, Brass and Crystal Handmade Windchime
We do have a Make do and mend patch in our Etsy store so if you have a jacket or bag etc that has a hole or rip in then one of these patches could be the ideal thing to give it a new lease of life. We can do them in different colour schemes too if you would prefer something different



  1. You always amaze me with your ability to create, mend and reuse things. My favourite has to be the bamboo windchime. Just beautiful. X

  2. You are such a great inventor! Especially I love what you have made out of plastic bottles - kids & chicken happy! Have a nice week!

  3. Cool, I never thought of repairing a USB stick. I might post mine out to you :-) I do mend clothes and Richard fixes just about anything else in and around the house. It is very satisfactory. You are very sweet, making Carly a wind chime for her birthday. Hope you don't mind me saying that.

  4. I hoped you backed up your USB onto another stick, just in case......

  5. You are such a cool Dad! You make some pretty amazing things! And the lessons you're teaching your kiddos are invaluable. ;)

  6. You definitely have some of old grandad fred's inventive skills lol... next windchime you make can be for my birthday xx

  7. Hi, you asked me the name of the pink flower I posted in my blog.. that is most probably Mediterranean pink rockrose..

  8. It is so good to be able to fix something yourself or make it into something else isn't it! A good skill to have and very useful for those around you too. Happy Birthday to Carly!

  9. Next time I break a usb I am going to take it apart, I have only broke one before and that was used for transferring embroidery designs, we dont have many bottles now any I have had have been made into scoops for animal feed.

  10. I'm impressed that you fixed a memory stick.


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