Sunday, 27 February 2011

How to... Make an ELEPHANT!

This week I discovered Seam Star UK and was so excited I had to buy some fabric right away. And here it is:

Isn't it pretty? I absolutely LOVE it. And because it's so pretty I just couldn't wait to start making something with it...  This week I sold Lellie the Ellie in my store on Etsy. My other half had kind of got used to having Lellie sitting in the living room and brightening things up, so my first project had to be a new pachyderm to make him smile again. (but will probably also be listed...mwah-ha-ha!)

So here he is: a patchwork fabric ELEPHANT!

Isn't he cute? I think he is definitely a good (albeit temporary) substitute for the original Lellie, who, incidentally, got renamed Winston upon his sale. Is this new one a he or a she? And what should it's name be? I am turning it over to you to give him a name - and if I like your choice then that is what it will become known as... 

In addition to making an elephant, I thought it was about time I did a 'how - to' post. So here it is:

Step 1:
Draw a pattern. It's really easy- you just draw an elephant and then a 'base' - this just needs to be a basic rectangle with 4 squares added at the corners - a bit like a stumpy H shape. The squares are the elephant's legs so they need to be the same size as your elephants' and the length of the rectangle needs to be the length of your elephant from the front of his front leg to the back of his back leg. 
You will also need a template for ears - look at the size of your elephant before you make them!

Step 2: 
Cut your material into strips of equal length - it really doesn't matter how wide you make them, that is your choice. Sew two pieces of fabric together end to end and right side of fabric facing each other. Then fold over diagonally to make a square. Cut the fabric there.
Put a new strip of fabric to one end of the fabric, again right sides facing, and sew along the edge again. Do this 5 or 6 times.
Make about 5 strips or as many as you think you will need.

Step 3:
Sew the long edges of your strips together - make sure you like the arrangement of colours  first - I played around a few times before I got something I liked.
Cut off the excess leaving just enough seam not to fray - a few mm is sufficient. It makes it MUCH easier when you come to turning things inside out.

Step 4: 
Fold your material in half, right sides facing each other. Now place your elephant template over it, pin and cut out. This way you'll have 2 elephant pieces when you open it out. You only need one base piece so material doesn't need to be folded over for this bit. I opened my material out so that I would have enough space for the base template.
You will also need 4 ear pieces - either do this by using folder material or cut out individually - but remember there are fronts and backs to the ears

Step 5: 
Put 2 of the ear pieces face to face and sew around the shape - leave the edge that will connect to the elephant's head open. 
Turn the ear inside out and stuff it.
Cut a slit in your elephant pieces the same length as the side of it's ear at the point where you want it to be.
Then push the ear through the slit, fold the material over itself and sew together. Leave as little seam as possible as you don't want Ellie to be bunched up, but you will need to go a little further than the ear as otherwise there may be holes leftover.
If you want button or embroidered eyes, do them now.

Step 6
Pin one side of the base material to one piece of the elephant's legs - make sure that the right sides of the material are facing each other.  (I made the wrong shaped template initially - don't be put off by the large triangle I have on the end of mine - it was meant to be an extra part of the trunk)
Sew from the top of the elephant's legs, around and all the way to the top of the elephant's other leg. Make sure not to go over halfway on the base as otherwise you will get a crooked Ellie!!

Step 7:
Do the same with the other side - pin the other side of the base material to the other piece of elephant material. You will have to keep one side of the material at an angle to sew this but it isn't hard. 

Step 8: 
Now sew the two big pieces of elephant together leaving a large gap by it's rump (so you can turn it inside out and stuff it)

Step 9:
Turn Ellie right way round - you may need a blunt object to get the legs and trunk fully out.
Stuff him paying special attention to the legs as he will need enough stuffing to stand with.

Step 10:
Use 'invisible stitch' to sew the last bits together. Start from inside, sew to the inside of the other side, move your needle across inside the material and then sew from that side to the other. Pull tight so you can't see the stitch and continue until you have sewn the whole gap. 

Step 11: 
Crochet a basic chain about 10 chains long. At the end of the chain cast off and cut a short length. Use 4 bits of yarn about 6cm long, fold them then push the half-way mark slightly through the last chain. Pull the ends through the loop you have created and pull tight (like making a tassle on a scarf) and cut to the length you want.
Sew the tail on the elephants behind.
Attach some googly eyes. 

And voila! One homemade elephant... ENJOY!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Thursday is Productive Day!

Hurray a productive day! I guess having had only about 4 hours sleep has thrown me into overdrive because I have done far more today than I have all week!
Maybe it is all down to the amazing Granola bars I made earlier... 

Camilla Saulsbury have some recipes online on how to make great uncooked granola. Apparently they are similar to Lara bars - but having never heard of Lara bars before yesterday that means nothing to me. These are the first granola bars I have ever made. To be honest, it's not just Lara bars I hadn't heard of - I only know what a granola bar is because my friend Shannon introduced me to them this weekend. Anyway, I adapted the recipe from Enlightened Cooking and used mixed berries with pistachio,almond + walnut  (mostly pistachio). They taste awesome! And now I am going to have to head straight back to Sainsburys to go and buy some more nuts and berries... thinking that almond and cranberry could be good. And should I try adding in a bit of chocolate too? Mmmmm....

Anyway, all that yummy granola has made me super energetic so today, whilst doing all the usual chores, I have also had time to buy some black paint and paint around the edges and backs of my mosaic drinks coasters. 

And I've also done some grouting. The round pendant has been waiting a LONG time to be grouted but I wanted to wait until I had a few more bits to do. These other pendants have all been made using some of the fabulous glass I bought on Tuesday. I actually made these on Tuesday too but couldn't grout them until today as I had to wait for the adhesive to dry and then last night I had friends over for dinner. 

So there you go, that's what I've been up to today. The pendants and coasters will all be listed in my Etsy store -Creating Trouble on Etsy so if you like them - please go over and take a proper look!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Breaking Glass

Do you ever feel like it's got to the evening and you haven't really done anything? I've been up since 6 a.m. as I took my friend to the airport (sob - I'll miss here) and yet, I feel like I have wasted most of today... I haven't achieved anything near what I would have liked to. Worst of all, even taking pictures today was a disaster as I'd forgotten to charge my batteries so ended up having to wait until there was no natural light before I could actually take any. I was going to list a few things on Etsy... but that will have to wait until tomorrow now.

However, I have managed one thing. Returning from the airport I went straight up to Camden to visit the glass shop, Lead and Light. I love their selection of glass and I must have spent about an hour in there this morning. I FINALLY made a few choices.

These are the blue and green bits that I bought - because the light in here isn't natural, the greens haven't really come out properly - one is a really vibrant grass green while the other is much more of a bottle green colour.

And I also got some reds! The one in the middle is absolutely beautiful and can be used either side- it's mirrored on one side and has a red-purple-orange swirling pattern on the other - I love it! 

Sorry you can see my arms in the mirrored red one - and in fact all of the pictures - it's exceptionally hard getting a decent shot in our flat as our lighting is weird. I do like how the photo came out looking a little like a sunset though. The effects of mirrors and lights... fabulous!

I have of course set to work and have been happily cutting strips and arranging them. I made a few pendants but I am not going to put them up until I have grouted them tomorrow. For now, I shall leave you hanging...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Secret London

It's so good having friends to stay - today we have spent the day exploring London, partly as tourists but also trying to discover more of the mosaic space invaders I brought to Shan's attention a few months back. I knew where this one was: 

It's by the Old Truman Brewery which now houses the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane.

But what I hadn't realised was that there are 2 more in the very close vicinity. 

First of all there is this large white and black invader on the way from Spitalfields market to Brick Lane just opposite the Sunday Upmarket. It's huge so I don't think it really counts as a space invader - in fact I think it is a copy of another one somewhere else in London. However, I think the reason I haven't noticed this before is because normally the RouteMaster restaurant is usually parked there. 

But turning around, what did we see? But ANOTHER space invader - and this one a genuine one! Sadly because he was so high up and I only had my iPhone with me so I didn't get a particularly good picture, but still - I know where it is now so I will have to go back soon...

Hurray! So after that we decided we'd try and track some more invaders down... A little bit of research told us there were about 75 of these cute little guys around and about  - lots around the East End. So we went on a bit of a search. We have been doing lots of other things as well so we didn't have a huge amount of time to go looking. However, after a bit of searching we did come across this little guy on Curtain Road. We thought we'd find another by Hoxton Square but to no avail - lots of cool street graffitti but no invaders. Apparently there are some around Covent Garden so we might have to go looking around there tomorrow...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Cool Coasters...

I sold one of my cards on Etsy! Woooooohoooooo!!! Very excited that things are finally taking off. 

Today I have done a bit of grouting. These were made a while ago but for some reason I just hadn't got round to grouting them. Actually this isn't what they will eventually look like - the grout is much lighter so when it dries you will have a better idea. Although now that I can see them with the darker shade, I quite like them... maybe the other two will be grouted darker. I have a few more bits to grout this weekend but I didn't mix up enough just now and we have our dinner in the oven waiting for me to attend to it. So for now, this is it. I have a friend here at the moment so haven't been around and blogging so much - will be back next week!!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Productive Sundays

Another week gone - where does it all go? This week has been quite exciting in that I was nominated for an award by the lovely Abbi of Bramble And Burdock and have had some really nice comments on my blog from lots of you. Thank you to everyone!  Then there's been the first of the Artist's Features which I am also quite excited about. If you are interested in being next month's Artist, please just contact me via the 'Contact Creating Trouble' page...

 And what about today? Well, today has been fairly productive for a number of reasons. First of all, I have been doing some mosaics - but for once I am not going to get over-excited and post photos before they are grouted - otherwise I'll just end up posting the same pictures twice! Instead, I shall wait until I have grouted them tomorrow and can see how they have really turned out. I think the rainbows may be a little too bright but we shall have to see...

Then, I put up 2 new listings on Etsy which you can see here: & I would be soooo ecstatic if I woke up tomorrow morning and found that someone had bought them overnight.

And lastly I did something selfless... On Friday afternoon I tried to teach some of the girls in my class how to crochet - actually 2 of the boys wanted to join in too as the girls were saying how hard it was and the boys wanted to prove that it was easy... mwah-ha-ha how they were proved wrong! Anyway, they all complained that it was far too difficult but having seen one of my crochet hearts ALL of them wanted one... I eventually agreed that I would make some hearts over the weekend for the children who wanted a heart. So I spent an few hours today rapidly crocheting hearts in some turquoise wool. My camera is seriously playing up today- probably due to the lack of any natural lighting, so they have come out a bit odd looking in the pictures but here are a few of them for you to see...

On a different note, because tomorrow is Valentine's Day and my boyfriend and I won't be seeing each other (sob!) he decided to make me an amazing meal tonight. We started with oysters... and moved on to some amazing steak with hand made chips and asparagus and a fabulous steak sauce and I am in food heaven! What a great day!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Artist's Feature: Sowmya

Welcome to the first Creating Trouble 'Artist's Feature' - and I'm happy to be introducing you to Sowmya.

Sowmya is the artist behind The Green Groovy and can  be found in lots of places, including:  Etsy,  Facebook and Blogger (all of these link to Sowmya's pages). Based in LA, Sowmya works mainly in eco-friendly jute and cotton, painting and creating accessories such as handbags, wine bags, clutches, note cards, portfolios, and the like. Items are all created using non-toxic materials and, because they are made of jute and burlap, are totally recyclable.

Not only does The Green Groovy create items ready-made for sale on Etsy, but Sowmya is also happy to make custom orders, items for specific occasions and wedding / party favours.

Handpainted Peacock Inspired Yellow Jute Clutch/Purse

Sowmya is passionate about Art and Fashion, likes to combine elegance with functionality and creates pieces that really do stand out from the crowd. Flora and Fauna are particularly inspirational, but an Oriental influence is also clearly visible. Not just a bag or portfolio, but something that art-lovers will love, and fashionistas will find irresistible.

I asked a few leading questions in order to get an idea of who Sowmya is, and think it is only fitting to use the original responses... so, are you interested in learning more? Then read on....

Handpainted cream and blue jute lunch bag

What got you interested and what inspires you further? 

 I wanted to share and do what I enjoy most- my art. Self-made entrepreneurs, bloggers, artists, and nature inspires me.

Are there any artists, crafters or special people who you admire or who have helped along the way? 

Many Etsy artists who are super friendly and willing to share their secrets.
And my husband who is always supportive and a great pleasure to discuss new ideas with.

Handpainted Red Jute Wine/Bottle Bag

Is there anyone you want to shout out to? 
Yes -  An etsy artist- Elaine @EverythingElaine -Thanks for the care and advice! (You can find Elaine here: EverythingElaine)

How do you manage to manage to fit your artistic life around everything else? 
I try and split my day in two, trying to focus on new work, listings, networking, etc till evening and then switch off to my MBA study and domestic work, with regular email logins so I know what's going on. It can be challenging on most days but if you love doing what you are doing, then an inner energy takes you further.

My Goodness Sowmya - I am seriously impressed! Am MBA course, home and crafts? I don't think I could juggle all that!!!

Handpainted Jute/Burlap Portfolio/File Folder-Office Ecofashion

And most importantly, where can we find you? 

Thank you for volunteering to be the first Artist featured here on Creating Trouble - and to everyone who reads this: I hope you go and look at some of Sowmya's work!!! 

Friday, 11 February 2011

A Fabulous Friday Feeling

First of all, HAPPY FRIDAY! I hope you have all had a good week and your creative streaks have been used to their full potential. It's been a bit of a non-week for me in terms of crafting but a wee bit busy in terms of socialising - haven't been at home enough to do anything really!

BUT.... Woohoo I sold another of my mosaic pendants today! I still haven't managed to list them on Etsy - mainly because I was waiting for some silver chains to arrive. However, now I think I am going to have to get mosaicing and listing soon as these little things seem to be in demand! I am very excited about the whole thing...

My new Artist's Feature should be up either tomorrow or Sunday so watch this space to see who it is... Thanks to those who have expressed an interest, and if you would like to take part then please contact me through the 'Contact Creating Trouble' page.

Meanwhile, enjoy your Friday evening, and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

Thank you to Abbi from Bramble And Burdock who has nominated me for a Stylish Blog Award! Apparently as a nominee I must now do 4 things:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award:
I just did that... thank you for nominating - I really like your blog and your Etsy store too! Knight's Tour have been really supportive of me and I appreciate it greatly. I also think some of her designs are super cute - like these bunnies with sparkly bottoms! 

Blog: Bramble And Burdock

Etsy store: The Knights Tour

2. Share 7 things about yourself:
* I hate this sort of thing.... 
* I love doing anything crafty - crochet, mosaics, card-making etc
* I spent 4 years living and working in Russia (and yes, speak Russian)
* My very first crochet project was to make a blanket...I'm nothing if not ambitious!
* I cycle everywhere
* I don't like ice-cream
* I read lots and spend as much time on Shelfari as I do on Twitter...

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers:
I have a horrible feeling I will nominate people who have been nominated before here... OK here goes, and in absolutely no order whatsoever: 

* Loves2crochet
* AfroTasTique 
* Glittering Shards
* The Wug's Backyard 
* Art by Lee Ann Petropoulis
* Oooh Yum
* Mosaic Art Now
* Sophie Junction
* Viv Smith
* Dottie Designs
* Ana Paula's Amigurimi 
* The Supply Stop
* Catch a Dragonfly
* Unopened Envelopes

4. Tell everyone who you have nominated: Tick. 

Well there, it wasn't so hard.... 

Monday, 7 February 2011

Jewellery Sales!

Well I haven't been particularly crafty the past few days - I feel that this weekend was a bit of a write-off in terms of getting things done. But the good news is: I sold a pendant! I didn't even manage to get as far as listing it on Etsy before it had gone.
I went to work on Friday and wore the longer of the two rainbow pendants on an old silver chain. Really I just wanted to check that the grout was dry and that it would all stick together. Got loads of comments on how pretty it was and when some of my colleagues found out that I had made it myself they were calling for me to bring them all in for them to choose one! I managed to buy a silver chain this weekend (my ONLY achievement) and this pendant was bought. Hurray! I really hope that the person who receives it (it's a gift) enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.

In other news, I've said it before: I think my blog is a little too narcissistic. So... I'm going to start an Artist's Feature. If you want to be featured, then I have just added a page and you can message me directly through the form. Look forward to getting to know you all better!!!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Mosaic Pendants

My grout arrived! I'm still fairly new to Mosaics so I was a little worried about mixing up grout myself - last time I tried to mix up some grout I managed to make a watery mess. So with a little trepidation I found myself a pot and poured in some of my anthracite (dark grey!) unsanded grout and started adding the water...

And it worked! Hurray!

So then I let myself loose on the pendants. I still find the sound of scraping over glass more than I can really cope with - the sound is like nails down a chalkboard. But it luckily didn't last too long and, once they had been shined up a bit I think they have turned out alright. In fact, I quite like my pendants... now I need to find some decent silver chains to go with them.


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