Friday, 30 December 2011

That Friday Feeling...30/12/11

It's New Year's Eve eve... So this week's Friday Feeling is a welcome to 2012, the year of the Dragon. Here are just a few things that I found on Etsy this week. 

New Year's Banner by CowCountryCreations
Great sentiment quote from TheBestCaseScenario

LOVE these cute little dinosaurs by vilnone
Do you have any New Year's Resolutions? I generally make only one or sometimes two resolutions and I invariably last about 2 weeks before I break them. But hey, ho if I write them on here then maybe I'll manage to keep some of them this year! 

So... my 2012 resolutions are: 

  • To read more than 50 books
  • To do more exercise
  • To have a stall at a craft fair.
I'm hoping those are all fairly achievable... 

Anyway, thought I'd throw in the usual random facts as well:

  • January is named for Janus  - a Roman god who had 2 faces. It's the month at the start of the year because Janus was able to look behind at the old year and forward towards the new one.
  • In old New Year's tradition, people would wait for dark haired visitors to come through the door soon after midnight carrying coal (symbolising warmth), bread (symbolising enough to eat), money (symbolising, surprisingly enough, money) and greenery ( symbolising long life). The visitor would take a pan of dust and ashes out with them symbolising taking away the remnants of the old year.
  • January is often the coldest month in the year and in London between 1608 and 1815 the Thames occasionally froze over. When this happened Londoners held 'Frost Fairs' - fairs that were actually held on the frozen over Thames. The last one was in 1815 and only lasted 4 days. 
  • In Japan, Buddhist temples strike a gong 108 times at midnight of 31st December symbolising that 108 weaknesses of man are being expelled.
  • In Spain there is a tradition to eat 12 grapes at midnight symbolising 12 months of prosperity in the coming year.
  • Resolutions have been made by all nationalities for centuries - apparently this tradition may go as far back as the Babylonians who made resolutions at the start of the New Year. Early Christians thought the new year was a good time to reflect on the mistakes of the past year and resolve to do better in the upcoming one.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Salt Dough Decorations

(OK it's a few days late...)

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas with family, friends and loved ones around you. I had a really lovely Christmas and thought I would share some of the preparations with you. I'd been thinking about the whole 'wrapping' conundrum for a while now and had come to the conclusion that actually I am not a fan of wrapping paper - it only gets used once and is often flimsy and, dare I say it, a bit tacky.

So this year I decided it was brown paper and pretty ribbon for all of my presents. I was wondering how to spice it up a bit more and that's when I came across the Make It And Mend It website. Oh wow: I've a new obsession. There are so many things on there that I want to make now, now, now... so I guess you can predict some of the things you'll be seeing here for the next few months! I did, for the moment, limit myself to salt dough.

That's a lot of painting I had to do...!! But what do you think of the results? Despite the terrible white balance of the photo (sorry used my phone!) I think they are fabulous, even if I do say so myself...

I especially liked the gold and silver stars - I think I'll be making more of those in future! Anyway, they added a nice touch to this year's presents, along with some candy canes to set off the whole thing. I liked the idea that the wrapping was all part of the present too - everyone now has a number of salt dough decorations that they can use on their tree next year (if they want!) 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Yesterday was definitely the beginnings of festivities at our flat. My flatmate and I were having friends over for dinner so to start with we had all the ingredients for a roast dinner. Being close to Christmas, I decided I would make stuffing as well. I've never made stuffing before. And I didn't have a recipe. But I think it all worked itself out and I was pleased with the results.

Here's what I put in:

6 'happy' sausages (outdoor reared ones)
salt & pepper.

Apart from the sausages, I have no idea about the quantities - although there were lots more walnuts than apricots and there were more apricots than cranberries. That's about as exact as I can be I'm afraid. Anyway, I mashed the whole mixture up and then rolled them into balls before roasting in a separate pan for about 45 minutes.

In addition, my flatmate has been talking about chocolate covered pretzels a bit recently: she was given some by one of her clients at work. Well, thought I, that can't be too difficult to sort out. So with the rest of my shopping, I bought some pretzels and milk chocolate and basically just dunked the pretzels in before chilling to dry the chocolate. Mmmmm

This was them before they dried properly. I put them on greaseproof paper and they lifted off really easily. Nom-nom-nom!

What else? Well.... My flatmate discovered a Christmas Tree made out of books on yesterday morning and that became our inspiration. I have been looking for a tree that is nice but not out of my budget range and had been despairing that I would never find one. But our tree is MUCH more inspired than a normal Christmas tree...  And we have a mutual favourite book at the top of it too (It's Bulgakov's Master & Margarita if you are wondering)

And then I got all excited about it being nearly a Christmas dinner... so we had crackers, chocolate coins and candy canes in all the places at the table...

And there you have it: our flat now looks a little more festive, I can make up recipes ad lib (Masterchef here I come) and we had a great evening with just a bit of Christmas cheer. I absolutely love our slightly wonky and squat pile of books that make up our tree and keep walking into the living room thinking 'ahhh'.

Monday, 5 December 2011

It's Christmas Time...

We're trying to teach the kids at school the Band Aid song. So far it's hilarious...

Anyway, getting into the Christmas spirit I finally made an advent calendar. I'm not actually very happy with it as I think it's a wee bit too red, but hey, it's the first advent calendar I've made so I shall be learning from my mistakes, right? I do actually like all the material on this one, but I shouldn't have had red gingham as the backdrop colour - it's made it a little too busy and red. I think the next one will be a night time scene with a gingerbread house as the focal point. Watch this space for updates... (you never know, by next year I may have made hundreds of these...!)

My new advent calendar is now loaded up with chocolates and sweeties for my flatmate and I to open each day. There are different presents in different pouches so it won't always be the same. I like the idea of having an advent calendar that you can get out every year and have as part of your Christmas decorations. And I'm sure it's better for the environment instead of those shop-bought cardboard, plastic and chocolate ones! Anyway, I've been enjoying my chocolate treats every morning but am wondering when I'll get my first Lindt truffle? (I KNOW there are some in there!!)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Chocoholics Anonymous...

Last weekend I went down to Cardiff to see one of my old friends (she's not actually old, but I have known her since we were 4-5 years old so officially she's my oldest friend) As she's down in Wales and I'm in London, we don't actually get to see each other that often and we decided we would have an early Christmas. And what was my Christmas present? A chocolate making course! What a fabulous idea!

So on Sunday we went off to Blaenavon, about an hour out of Cardiff for our 3 hour chocolate making course. First of all, the setting was gorgeous (see tomorrow's Silent Sunday for a photo of the view from outside the chocolate shop) with steep cobbled streets and stunning views of the mountains around. We sent my friend's other half off to climb a mountain while we went inside the lovely Chocs Away.

Our class was run by Pam, an ex-teacher who has been doing chocolate courses there for the past 5 years. She runs Chocs Away with her husband John and they specialise in courses. They cater for hen parties, children's chocolate workshops, courses in the shop and even make chocolates for wedding favours and special events. You can go on to their website here:

Over the next few hours we were introduced to the world of chocolate: making chocolates in a mould, enrobing vanilla and strawberry creams, making our own truffles, making chocolate ganache and finally filling cases with orange chocolate, rasperry chocolate and lemon chocolate. MMMMMMMMM!!!!

We left having eaten LOADS of chocolate ourselves, with some gorgeous gift boxes of chocolates to either eat ourselves or give away. These are the ones that I took with me - I'm afraid I was taking photos from my phone so they aren't the world's greatest, but still. They look impressive, no?

What a great day I had on Sunday. I came back to London wishing I lived closer to Wales so that I could take advantage of this lovely little place more often - great for gift experience ideas methinks!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Cute Quilt Project

I found some really cute material a while back which was perfect for a quilt. So what have I been up to? Making a baby quilt of course. This one was much quicker and easier than the last crazy City Quilt.  But isn't the material the cutest? I love it - and not sure I want to give this one away!!! The material is from fabric designer Dan Stiles' Marine collection. It was released earlier this year and I bought it in May. However, when I realised I needed some more blue bits I had a real issue trying to find some more - it's apparently a limited edition. It's backed in a turquoise lightweight cotton and padded with Heirloom cotton wadding.  I kept the actual quilting fairly simple as I wanted it to be all about the material as opposed to all about the quilting stitching... and I haven't mastered exciting swirls as yet! This quilt is truly One of A Kind as I can't get the material again! 

The front. 

The back

What's next? I've got some lovely red and green materials... I'm thinking something Christmassy... 

Friday, 18 November 2011

That Friday Feeling...18/11/2011

I always find this time of year a little magical... the fast approach of Christmas, the turn from Autumn into Winter, the days where you go home in the dark and it's only 4pm. So this week's shout out is a fairytale shout out. Just in case a handsome prince is around to rescue us from those long winter months!

Love this print by HidenSeek

woodland necklace by Shalotte. Very magical...

Cute little wooden blocks by SparrowPrimitives

What fun bits of information shall I add today? 

  • Cinderella's Glass Slipper was probably made out of squirrel fur not glass - somewhere along the line there was a mistranslation and the glass slipper sounded more romantic.
  • The Brother's Grimm wrote some really dark and horrible fairytales - I couldn't believe them when I finally read them: as a child we think that fairytales all end happily ever after but not in Grimm's tales! As they were originally adult tales there were a lot of sexual and violent references. Grimm took our most of the sexual references, often replacing with violence, while the Victorian Era is what really toned fairytales down to the child friendly versions we have today
  • The oldest known fairytales come from Egypt around 1300 BC, but the origin of fairytales is fairly obscure as they were traditionally told orally rather than written down.
  • The numbers 3 and 7 are prominent in fairytales as numbers that have particular magical properties.
  • In the original story, Pinocchio saves Gepetto from the belly of a shark - Disney thought that was a little too violent so changed it to a whale. 
  • Snow White wasn't quite so lovely as she is in the version we know - the evil queen traditionally falls off a cliff for us, but oh no: Snow actually made her put on red hot iron shoes and dance as punishment until she fell down dead in the original. And Sleeping Beauty? Well her prince didn't tell his parents about their marriage until they'd had 2 children - because his mother was an ogress who liked eating kiddies for breakfast!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Reading a Little...November

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Wow, wow, wow... a beautiful, magical feat of a novel that had me wishing I lived in a magical time and totally wanting to visit and be a part of the Night Circus. At the heart of the novel are two central characters: Marco and Celia. One is the daughter of a 'manipulator' the other an orphan, adopted by another 'manipulator' in order to challenge the first. They are bound into a magical challenge, where the rules are uncertain, the outcome blurry and the people who started it all distant. Both protagonists need to find their own way and means of surviving the challenge but come across various obstacles in the process. And the most beautiful and wonderful part of the challenge is the Night Circus. A collection of tents held together by the magical threads that Marco and Celia employ to enthrall and captivate each other. I loved the imagery of the Wishing Tent, the Pool of Tears, the Labyrinth and many others. But mostly I was transfixed by the huge clock that stands at the entrance and it's amazing properties. A fantastic read and I can't recommend it enough.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Another whirlwind of a novel but very different from The Night Circus. While with that I felt the touch of magic and beauty, this is far rougher and more of the boisterous adventure-type novel. Claire Beauchamp, married to a respectable Oxford Don is taking a break in the Highlands with her husband, Frank. Frank is trying to find out more about his six-times grandfather Jonathon Randall, although Claire thinks little of his preoccupations with the past. Until she somehow finds herself caught in a time warp in the 1700s, face to face with Randall himself and trying to convince him that she isn't actually wandering around in her underwear (1940s dresses being not considered appropriate in the 1700s...) A fast paced adventure story but be forewarned - it gets incredibly steamy in places!! Especially after Claire somehow finds herself marrying a Scottish Clansman... I really enjoyed this book and is another great read. For those of you who are British though - it's known as Crosstitch here in the UK.

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This month has been a remarkable month for reading. I have had this sat on various shelves for the past year and have been meaning and meaning to read it. But for some reason something else has always come up - a Book of the Month for a reading group, not enough time, an amazing recommendation that has pushed it aside... I started this the other day and was hooked from the first page. Why on earth has it taken me so long to get around to it? The print is tiny, and even if it were of a normal size this would be quite a hefty read, but the style of writing is friendly, accessible and direct and, as such, makes this an absolute gem of a read. It tells the story of 3 characters in Nigeria during the 1960s. Olanna and Ugwu are both Igbo - Ugwu comes from a small village and is sent to work at a political professor's house. Soon after, Olanna, daughter of a rich businessman, moves in with her lover, the professor. And then there is Richard - a British man involved with Olanna's twin sister, in love with Igbo art and trying to write a book. This tells the story of the troubles during the sixties, when Biafra declared its independence from Nigeria, and the ensuing problems, trials and despair that the characters then encounter. This is definitely worthy of being on the 1001 Books You Must Read list: it is poignant, heart-felt and stunningly well-written.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Artist's Feature...Katiedidonline

The Artist's Feature is back! It's been a while... But this month I'm quite excited about introducing Katie from Katiedidonline - she makes amazing upcycled aprons, pot holders and other accessories, and we're not talking about your average run-of-the-mill stuff: her aprons are works of art! I would quite happily spend the day wearing one of her aprons and, what with Christmas coming up... well there are a few people I can imagine wearing one of her amazing creations, and I believe we have no pot-holders in our kitchen so if anyone is thinking about what to get me...! Anyway, Katie was kind enough to answer a few of my questions so I shall hand you over to her.

Tell us a little about yourself...
My name is Katie and I am an American living in the beautiful border county of Herefordshire with my wonderful British husband. I have food intolerances, allergies and sensitivities. The list of foods I avoid is a long one, which forced me to learn to cook and bake from scratch all over again with new ingredients. I fell in love with food, with flavors and combinations. I love experimenting, coming up with new recipes, and trying different cuisines. I also love to sew- my mom taught me at a young age and I’ve been sewing ever since. When I’m not crafting, I work in costumes and wardrobe on film and theater projects.

What is Katiedidonline?
Katiedidonline- my website, blog, and online store- is a combination of my love for sewing, cooking and baking, and desire to be eco friendly. For my shop I make upcycled fabric goods for women who also love to entertain, bake or cook.  From aprons made from old skirts, to grocery bags made from old curtains, to pot holders made from scraps - I make eco-friendly textiles for dinning, parties, and the kitchen. I have also started making scrap kits of leftover fabrics, buttons, and more for other crafters.

Where do you get your inspiration from and what inspires you further?
I find inspiration in the “every day”. Be it through other crafters, blogs, pinterest, and even tv shows. I’m always finding new color combos, recipes to try to adapt, and crafting ideas to make my own.  When it comes to my upcycled products- I am always inspired by the material itself!
Each piece in my shop is made without a pattern, but based instead on the shape of the fabric, or the pattern or color. I broke down the year into “ranges”; each range has a theme, color palate, and it’s own feel. Once I’ve gathered enough pieces (from skirts to curtains) from charity shops, I start making the next ranges. I typically start with a few aprons and bags, as they take up the most fabric. Then I usually cut out bibs and coasters, and then make pot holders and scrap packs from what’s left over. I’m constantly going back out to find something that will help ‘finish’ off a piece I’m working on, and coming up with new ideas even when the range is already finished.

Lots of artsy-craftsy fold juggle many different things in order to have time to spend on their chosen paths - how do you manage? 
I owe a lot to my husband, my family (especially my brother), and friends for being encouraging, supporting, my sounding board for new ideas, inspirations for new ranges, and being some of my best customers!

How can we find you? 

My blog can be found at,
I also have a shop on etsy:

I am forever collecting ideas on pinterest:
And have a facebook fan page I update with blog entries, new ranges, sales, and great tips and advice:

Thank you so much for introducing yourself to us Katie - I'm looking forward to seeing your new range when it comes out and will be following your blog for interesting recipes etc. Please make sure you visit Katie's website and Etsy store. 

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday Feeling: Remembrance Day

It's November the 11th. At 11am on the 11th November 1918, the First World War was finally brought to an end. Today is Armistice Day - a day on which we remember those who have lost their lives in service to their countries. It is not only the UK that marks Armistice Day: many other countries will also be holding services, parades and celebrations in memory of their brave soldiers who have given their lives for their country. In the UK we have Remembrance Sunday, which will be celebrated this Sunday in churches and other places of worship throughout the UK. Traditionally we wear a poppy to remind us of the poppy fields that sprang up in Flanders over the fields where thousands of men lost their lives. At 11am today we will hold a 2-minute silence in memory. Remembrance Day is not only about remembering those who fell in the First World War - it is a day to remember those who have fallen in previous and subsequent wars. I am sure that many of us know someone, be that a relative, close friend or distant family member who has lost their life in active service and for all of those people who have died, today is a day to remember you. To thank you for the services you gave, for protecting your loved ones and your country and for ultimately giving your life for us to keep us safe. Every soldier who has seen any form of active service - on whichever side they are fighting - has seen more than any of the rest of us will ever be able to imagine and as such is a hero. So today is for those brave men, and women, whose job is essentially about looking after their fellow countrymen. Thank you.

Lest we Forget brooch by CoppertopdesignsUK

Poppy Days painting by Itsawhimsy

Saturday, 5 November 2011

That Friday Feeling...First Saturday of November

It's about time that Creating Trouble got itself back on its feet - starting with an Etsy shout out. I haven't done one of these for nearly 2 months now for which I apologise sincerely. This weekend is a double celebration here in London - not only is it Guy Fawkes today but tomorrow it is Eid as well. That means double fireworks in my part of town. Usually there is a huge firework display in Victoria Park which is always really impressive, but in recent years it has grown out of control and this year they have decided to put on smaller shows in various different venues. So, as there is no huge firework display near me this weekend, this week's shout out is going to be a Firework celebration. 

It's getting cold and these fingerless firework gloves are great. Created by RainbowDreamKnits

Make your own celebratory cards with one of DrumChickDesigns rubber stamps

Love the colours in this dichroic glass fusion pendant by MakitaloGlass
Remember, remember the fifth of November
For gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder and treason
Should ever be forgot.

As always... a few facts about Guy Fawkes/ Bonfire Night. 

  • Guy Fawkes (or Guido as he preferred) was not actually born a Catholic - he converted when he was about 16 to Catholicism.
  • Bonfire night is celebrated on 5th November as that was the day that Guy Fawkes was arrested. For decades it was an annual anti-Catholic event although since the 1850s has been much more toned down and has lost its religious significance. .
  • It is rumoured that the gunpowder under the Houses of Parliament had actually gone off and wouldn't have managed to blow up anything anyway... although this is unprovable and can't be called a fact as such.
  • None of the members of the Gunpowder plot were actually thrown on a bonfire or burnt: they were hung, drawn and quartered. It is only the effigy of Guy Fawkes that is burnt.
  • The word 'guy' referring to a man was originally an insult referring to an ugly or repulsive person, presumably as a reference to Guy Fawkes. 
  • Lewes, on the Sussex coast near Brighton, is the Bonfire capital of the world due to the celebrations it holds annually on 5th November. These include parades, ceremonial burning of the guy and spectacular fireworks. I haven't been to one of them but am now planning a trip next year!
Happy Bonfire Night all!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Samphire and Clam Risotto

Wow look at this! Samphire and Clam Risotto and believe me it tasted much better than it looks! When I get internet and manage to unearth the cookbook I got this recipe from, I'll post the recipe for you but for the moment I'm just looking through photos thinking...mmmmm I'm hungry!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

In an English Country ... Garrrrr-den

I've had a bit of a rough time over the past few weeks - culminating in moving flat yesterday and now having to sort through all my things again, sort out an internet connection for the new place, change address with about a million and one different companies etc etc. I'm so appreciative of everyone who has continued to come and visit Creating Trouble even though I haven't blogged for about two weeks now. A huge thank you! I suspect it will be a while before I manage a proper blog post with new projects etc etc or even one of my weekly shout-out posts as I don't have internet at the new place, but please bear with me and I'll get there eventually!
Anyway, last weekend I was definitely in need of some TLC so I took a break at my parents' house - a gorgeous Queen Anne cottage (actually 2 cottages converted into one) which I love. Thought I'd share a photo or two with you so you can see why it's such a great place too!

The garage - but the roses are beautiful beside it!!!

My mum is an absolute whizz in the garden - how beautiful are the roses? She also grows tomatoes, courgettes, beans, cabbage, various herbs, potatoes and goodness knows what else (it's different every year)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Reading a Little.. October

The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood

Since reading The Handmaid's Tale I have loved Atwood's work - her writing is gripping and she paints a very bleak picture of the future. I really enjoyed The Year of the Flood- it isn't a sequel to Oryx and Crake, rather it works alongside it. There are a number of character overlaps between the two books and I found the ending of this quite poignant when compared to the ending of Oryx. A disturbing vision of Earth in the future where cloning and DNA mutations have become out of control - people can literally renew bits they don't like, hair transplants are so common it is like going to the hairdressers and the splicing of various animals has led to some freaky and downright weird combinations. Forget Ligers - I wouldn't want to be caught anywhere near a Liobam or one of the humanised pigs that feature in this. A group of people have become disillusioned with the way things are and in a peaceful protest refuse to eat anything meat related, scavenge for useful bits thrown out in the trash and are totally self-reliant - they grow their own food, make their own clothes and recycle what they can. This tells the stories of Ren and Toby - two of 'God's Gardeners' and the people who's lives have intertwined with theirs along the way. As always, Atwood managed to keep me wanting to 'just read the next page' until I found I was still up at 2am having to get up for work at 6... very enjoyable and has made me want to go back to revisit Oryx and Crake.

Arthur and George - Julian Barnes

I read something else by Julian Barnes about ten years ago and hated it so hadn't read anything else by him since. But I was intrigued when someone suggested this as a biography I should try. It is really a historical novel and while there are clearly a lot of embellishments, there were places that I really wasn't sure how much had been made up. It tells the combined stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji - one a rising star in the literary world, keen to make a noise and get recognised for what he did, the other a quiet solicitor who gets wrongly accused of the Wyrley Outrages due to prejudice and incompetence by the Staffordshire police. The events are based on facts: Conan Doyle did become a champion of injustice and stepped in to help prove George's innocence although the home office never totally cleared him of all charges. Having read Nevermore earlier this year I found it quite strange coming across all sorts of cross overs- especially in the spiritual and relationship parts. I enjoyed reading this but more because I was interested in the subject than because I was attached to the characters or the writing style. 

 The Red Tent - Anita Diamant

This had me gripped right from the very first pages. It is the story of Dinah, daughter of Jacob and Leah, sister of Joseph and his brothers and how her destiny was formed. The Red Tent is the story of the women, of the secrets and rituals they held and the pleasures and tragedies each lived. Dinah is the only daughter mothered by Jacob's four wives and because of that, she is petted and adored by all her mothers. She learns the way of midwifery from her mother Rachel and the guidance of Inna - a midwife who joins Jacob's train. This is a tragedy and there were definitely places where I just could not believe what I was reading, but it still held me wanting to read more. It gives a believable idea of what life could have been like for the women of the era, how, before Judaism and the other major religions were properly formed, different people and tribes accepted and embraced other gods, or certainly lived in respect of other's beliefs. Dinah's fate is that of a girl who is forced to grow up too quickly in a cruel world, where her greatest love becomes the root of misery for many. Beautifully written, engaging characters and evoking a huge amount of sympathy from the reader, I highly recommend this novel.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Quick Tuna and Cannellini bean recipe

Ever have that feeling that you just cannot be bothered to cook? I do all the time - or rather I do when it's just me around on my own. I usually end up eating a piece of toast or, if I'm very lucky, an omelette. But last night I decided to do something majorly simple but a bit more adventurous. OK not very adventurous at all, but at least it was quick and required minimum effort and, more to the point, tasted great.

Quick Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad

Serves 2


1 tin of cannellini beans, drained 
1 small tin of tuna (ethically sourced of course)
4 tbsp red onion finely chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped finely
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the cannellini beans in some salted water until soft enough to eat. Drain them and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile combine the onion, parsley, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a jug / bowl / whatever you usually make dressing in.
When the beans are at room temperature, flake the tuna on top and then drizzle the dressing over it. 

Super simple, easy and pretty tasty too. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Getting back to normal

Some of you may remember that back in April I got into a bit of a bike was pretty serious and has resulted in me going backwards and forwards from hospitals since. But on Friday my physio said I could get back on my bike...YEEEEHAAAAA!!! I am so excited about being able to finally do some exercise again after such a long period of sitting around doing nothing at all. So I arranged to pick up my slightly sad bike from my sister's (who has been amazing, both throughout and since and has kindly been keeping my bike safe at hers while I was recuperating). I had seen it since so it wasn't a shock seeing my bike again, I already knew what the external damage was:

I had totally torn through one of the handlebars, with enough force to severely scratch the metal underneath the padding as well. And I suspected that I had damaged the front fork as well. Knowing how I looked after the crash, I doubted my bike would have fared much better. Sure enough, there was definitely something wrong with it when you tried to move it - it kept veering off to the right and was very much weighted on one side. I wasn't about to ride it without it getting checked out anyway so we went straight to the bike shop. 

And today I picked it up! 

I had to replace the handlebars completely but otherwise my lovely lovely bike is totally fine :D I'm so excited to have it home again! So excited, I took my first (baby) bike ride - admittedly I only went through the park from the station back to ours but I just felt really glad to be back on my bike again. It may be a while before I attempt to ride to work or think about a hill but I am definitely happy to feel that I am beginning to get my normal life back again. HURRAY! 

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Project Update

I bet you're all wondering whether I actually still do anything crafty these days - I haven't blogged about my own craft projects for a while but that's not to say I haven't been doing anything... honest! Admittedly, I haven't done as much recently as I would normally have done, partly because it's a new school year and things are a bit hectic and partly because I have had loads of inspiration but no motivation. What is it that Einstein (Eddison?) said? Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration? Well I'm lacking in the 99% bit at present!

I have, however, been doing some things of late...

I know a number of you who read this know me from Twitter as well and may well have noticed that I've been mentioning penguins the last few days. Some of you may also have seen said penguins. I broke a very old keyring the other day but while the charm bit had fallen off, I still had the actual ring. Coupled with a whole load of felt I've had hanging around looking at me for a while now, I got to thinking... I needed a new keyring charm. I can't say I went through a whole load of designs before I got to this one - one of my favourite animals is a penguin and it seemed quite natural to make a penguin. So this is what I made:

Well, I couldn't leave him all lonely, could I? On Tuesday I went to the local hardware store next to work and bought some key rings. So what have I been doing this evening? Yup, I've made some more. The penguin family is now at 5. I have plans for green, red and turquiose ones but at present haven't got any suitable ribbon for them. The red ribbon I have doesn't sit right with my red felt and, when put with the green felt, is a bit too Christmassy. So I need to get some pretty ribbon... I know just the place. I have a question for you: do you prefer the penguins with the white stitching or the ones where the stitching is a near match to the felt? I thought I'd prefer the stitching to be the same but I'm not sure...

What else? Well back in April I wrote a post about bags (you can see it here). The first bag I showed you was the crazy crazy wool bag. I had finished the main part of it and most of the lining but couldn't find any buttons suitable. Do you know how hard it is to find really large wooden buttons? Oh my, it's been a nightmare! BUT... I have finished the crazy wool bag, and in fact have used it a number of times too. I've realised I made the strap a little too long so I am going to pin it and sew it a bit shorter but otherwise I am quite happy with it. Do you like the buttons?

I"m not done yet!!! I have also made a few new mosaic pendant designs! There should be one more but I managed to break it while trying to grout it this evening so I need to take it to pieces and start again. It was my favourite design but the one I knew was the most precarious due to the millefiori I had used in it.

Sadly I've only just taken the photos of these and as it's quite dark in the flat the photos haven't totally come out. The paler one is light green and orange porcelain - totally upcycled materials as they used to be plates belonging to a friend of mine. I couldn't get a close up shot without it all going blurry but once I have the right light I will try to. Of the larger shots, the top one is a repeated red, purple and turquoise mirror design while the lower one has become known as the Google pendant because it's colours match Google's.

Just to let you know - once I have managed to take some decent shots, the key-rings and pendants will be going into my Etsy store - or if you would like one and can't wait for me to take pictures and list them, get in contact with me via the contact section of this blog and I can let you know prices / payment arrangements etc.


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