Friday, 29 April 2011

As there have been a few bank holidays going on recently, we decided to go on a long bike ride to Oxford last weekend. We cycled down to Waterloo where we got a train over to Richmond and started along the number 4 national cycle route. It was a gorgeous day and we had an amazing time. I took a few photos and thought I'd let them speak for themselves...


Can you spot Windsor castle?

Most of the route was really pretty like this country lane...

...and the bluebell woods were stunning! They didn't really come out on camera...

Sadly those were all the photos I got. I finished the journey by air ambulance as an incredibly steep hill near Ipsden saw me fall off head first. 30 stitches in my face, broken collar bone and nose and stitches in elbow, knee and thumb... I may be silent on here for a while as I can't really write (only have the use of half a hand) so please excuse me!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Etsy weekend

    This weekend has been quite fun - British Sellers on Etsy hosted a BNR - that is, a 'Buy aNd Replace'. The general idea is that you buy something from someone in the treasury and once you post your transaction, one of your items from your shop is picked to replace it. I actually didn't have to buy into this one - I was already featured as I joined right at the very end of an old BNR and was rolled over. Here is what the preview of the BNR looked like:
My round glass pendant necklace is featured in this!

You don't have to buy one of the items featured in the treasury - you can get anything from one of the shops. The whole idea is to generate some sales, meet some new designers / makers and you can also join in the discussion / chat. I was bought out on Saturday - someone bought my red polka dot card - hurray!

As we didn't manage to go on our long bike ride this weekend, I ended up spending an awful lot of time chatting on the BNR page and getting tempted by all the goodies. Eventually I gave up resisting and bought a pendant from which I think I am going to give as a gift to someone... (who's now wondering if they are that person?!) And of course, that meant that I was back in the BNR... 

And guess what? I had another sale! I listed this blue bunny bag on Etsy but said I could make it in other colours as well - and it was bought with a note requesting it to be in green. So guess what I am doing today? Yup, I'm making a green bunny bag... 

It's a bit of bunny mania here because I am also making a new pink bunny bag as that ALSO got sold this weekend - how good is that? I am actually really excited by all these sales. I think it's because I had just started getting disheartened by everything - fortune has looked down on me and decided to make me feel better! All my sold items have been re-listed as I either have more in stock but hadn't listed or am all excited about making new ones!! You can look through some of my items that are for sale here: or if you see something on my blog that you like the look of, please just contact me through the 'Contact Creating Trouble' e-mail form.

This month's Artist's Feature has been slightly delayed due to my artist moving house - you can take a sneak preview at her work on her website though: and hopefully there will be her feature up in the next few days...

And please don't forget that I am giving away a mosaic pendant when Creating Trouble's blog reaches 100 followers... so spread the word! 

Friday, 15 April 2011

Bags bags bags

This week I have mainly been making bags... (I feel a little like that character from the Fast Show played by Paul Whitehouse: 'this week I shall mainly be eating....carrots)

My first one I actually started ages ago - one of my sisters gave me some funky wool for Christmas or a birthday or something and I decided to knit a bag with it... It took forever as the wool was fairly hard to knit with and kept getting tangled in knots. When it came to the straps I decided enough was enough and crocheted with some turquoise wool I've had since we went to Argentina. The whole bag is lined and nearly finished... but I think it needs some big wooden buttons on the fold over flap and have had absolutely no success in finding any recently. If you know anywhere in London (preferably in the East End / Islington area) where I could find some, please let me know!!

The Crazy-Wool bag...

I bought a lino cutter a week ago so that I could design a stamp for my jewellery boxes. Cut a design I was pretty happy with, spent ages on it and printed... only to realise I had forgotten that you need to reverse it on the cut because, of course, it is the reflection you see when you print. So my C and T for Creating Trouble were back to front! Anyway, I decided to do something a little more cutesy with my lino for my next project. As it's Easter quite soon, I figured rabbits would be appropriate... so an Easter Tote Bag was conceived. Did a quick sketch or two and then got straight into cutting up some lino bunnies. 

I have printed onto fabric before - but the last time I did it was for my Art GCSE exam piece and I couldn't remember what medium I needed to use. It took a few phone calls to my arty friends, a few tweets and a conversation in my local art shop before I had what I was looking for. Apparently acrylic is OK as long as you mix it with a medium for fabrics. 

The Bunny Bag is actually up-cycled - an old duvet cover washed, ironed and  lined with interfacing and then another layer put inside. I'm feeling very virtuous with all this up-cycling I'm doing at the moment... 

Anyway, here is bag number two - lino print with fabric pen detail. 

Lino Bunny Bag

And my third project? I am NEVER going near denim bags again... I still had some of that old pair of jeans left over from my pencil case project and thought it would be kind of cool to make a bag using the back pockets as features. In fact when I cut the pencil case I was quite careful not to use that part as I already had the idea of a denim handbag. Before I started I actually went to the trouble of getting some denim needles for my sewing machine... but I still broke one trying to go over too many hems. Actually that wasn't the worst thing. I used a press fastener at the top so that you can close the bag - but while I was hammering it in place, I actually managed to hammer the tip of my thumb. OWWWWWW!!! I would have given up at that point but decided I wouldn't be beaten by a bit of denim so I finished it... amid much 'grrrrs' and 'I HATE denim' and some things that probably shouldn't be repeated on my blog! 

Owww! The painful denim bag

So there you have it - my weekly projects. I'm off to go and print some more lino bunnies...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Caymans + Mosaics = Turtles

I'm having a bit of a sad day today. My sister and her husband left London early this morning on a flight for the Cayman Islands. Fabulous holiday destination, except that they haven't gone on holiday. That wouldn't make me sad - just green with envy! No, they have moved there. Packed up all their things, said their goodbyes and gone. While I know that they'll be back to visit soon, I am still really sad because, as well as being my sister, I consider her to be one of my best friends and I think I'm going to find it hard not just picking up the phone to tell her random things. 

Although I am looking forward to my next holiday...

Can't wait for my next holiday...

Having seen photos of their new place, and the view from their house, I am extremely envious and am already looking up flights for the Christmas holidays... I wish we could go this summer but unfortunately it is already booked up.

Not actually their view from their flat but it is something similar...

Anyway, while moping around feeling sad and lonely now that big sis and brother-in-law have gone, I started thinking about the Cayman Islands and all the things I am going to like about it when I finally go and visit (apart from my family that is) and was thinking about how cool it will be to see real sea turtles. And then I had a great idea for my next mosaic project: sea turtles in the sea! 

I have been thinking about doing a sea mosaic as I want to experiment more with lines and textures and the sea is really good for that sort of thing. However, I'd been wondering how to make it a little more interesting as just a big blue/white/green mosaic is probably going to be a wee bit boring. Turtles would be a great focal point. 

After my great brainwave, which I admit is not particularly original and has probably been done many a time, I  sketched out a few designs. I'm not a great artist when it comes to drawing, so please excuse the lack of proportion / rough quality / scribbles, but I could do with some feedback as to which one I should go for... helpful advice would be much appreciated!

This was my first design:

One Turtle

And this is my second; I decided that one turtle may be a little too big and would distract from the sea more than I wanted. However, two turtles may take a LONG time and I will only have 4 weeks to get it done in...

Two Turtles

Which one do you think I should go for? I think I am more inclined to go for the second one, but as I am almost certainly going to do it indirectly (I would like more experience with casting and the indirect method), I suspect I will be bringing it home from the course a lot and trying to do a lot of it at home! 

As it is, I shouldn't really be thinking of my next mosaic project because...

...yup. I STILL haven't finished this one that I have been working on for what seems like forever. I think it is only actually since September and there have definitely been a lot of months when I haven't done anything, but I need to get a wriggle on if I want the mosaic part finished before my course starts. If I'm quiet on here for a while you know what I'm up to....

One last thing for today: if you are interested in being one of my featured artists in my monthly Artist's Feature please could you drop me an e-mail via the Contact Creating Trouble page? Much appreciated! 

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Mezze Feast

...but which country is it all from? Clearly I am not a traditionalist; dinner tonight was a mish-mash of mezze dishes from lots of different countries.

I decided I wanted to try out some new dishes. I found vine leaves in our local corner shop so have been meaning to try out stuffed vine leaves for ages. And as they are traditionally a part of a mezze (meze?) I figured it made more sense if I made it with other mezze dishes.

Obviously the first thing you think of when you think mezze is hummous (hummus...however it's meant to be spelt!) I could have just bought some from a supermarket, but I was intrigued to know how to make it so home-made hummous it was. I know how to make tzatziki and it's very quick and easy so that became dish number three.

Dish number four was tabbouleh - except for some reason I couldn't find bulgar wheat so I used cous-cous instead... I don't think it harmed the dish but it wasn't quite as authentic as it should have been. And the last dish was Turkish Kofte (spicy lamb meatballs).

I served the whole thing up with some warm pitta bread and it was quite yummy, even if I do say so myself! There was no particular event today to warrant making such an elaborate dinner - and two hours of preparation for ten minutes of scoffing our faces meant it probably wasn't really worth the effort. But we enjoyed it and, just in case you fancy making some of it, I thought I'd share it with you.

The domades (vine leaves) were one of Delia's recipes:

The Kofte came from the BBC website - it's a Rick Stein recipe:

Both of these were adapted - mainly because I didn't realise the Delia recipe was actually served in a tomato sauce and as I got to that point of the recipe I decided to stop and just put them in the fridge instead. With the Rick Stein recipe I just made the Kofte - not the yoghurt sauce or carrot salad.

And here is the ultra-simple hummous recipe for you:


1 can of chick peas, drained
150ml tahini
3 garlic cloves - roughly chopped / crushed
juice of 1-2 lemons (I used one and a half)
salt and pepper

Put the chick peas and all the other ingredients in a food processor with a splash or two of water and whizz it up until it makes a smooth paste. I needed to add a little more water than I initially thought so keep checking - if it looks a little dry add a little and try again. I think it's very much a trial and error process.

And voila!!!

Mmm-nom-nom-nom happy chomping!


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