Thursday, 30 June 2011

A Bit of Blog Lovin'

This is the first of what I hope to become a monthly feature...

The Wug's Backyard BlogSpot
Every month Creating Trouble looks around at some of the blogs that I read and follow and chooses one to say a big hello to and recommend to everyone else. 
This month I'd like to give some Blog-Lovin' to the wonderful Wuglyees. Debbie, who is the lovely lady behind it sells on Etsy, tweets regularly and blogs every day. I follow all three! I want to shout her out a bit because she has been super-supportive of Creating Trouble - I know she's a regular reader because she always leaves me a lovely comment and that makes my day! Not only that, but she writes a really good blog (I wouldn't read it otherwise) - there is always something interesting to see and read at The Wug's Backyard BlogSpot. Aaaannnddd... Debbie's a poet too! How cool is that? 
So if you haven't already heard of Poetess Wug, follow one of the links in this post and look her up!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Kidz In Da House!

I wasn't expecting to be able to write any blog posts this week. I'm meant to be staying with the children in my class at the residential centre we go to every year. I've been looking forward to it all year - the kids get to do loads of really fun activities such as orienteering, archery, camping skills, cycling etc etc and it's so good for their independence & maturity as well as being a great way for them to end their primary school years. I am absolutely gutted that I'm not there.  Damn you bike accident!

The main house where the children and teachers stay,
have meals and hide when it 's raining

As it is, I had to forego the fun and have been left at school covering other classes. I don't really mind as it's always nice to spend time with other children too, and its quite nice to remember where your kids have come from and how they've grown up. Today I was with year 3 (7-8) and they were so lovely I had a great day.

I haven't totally missed out though; not all the children go every year - there are always a few who don't go for various reasons. For those who don't go, we try to make sure that their week at school is really fun (I think they've had ice-creams and free play quite a bit this week!) And we make a day trip to visit as well. We all piled into minibuses yesterday and hoped it wouldn't rain. The minibus was exciting enough - they got to listen to the radio! (small pleasures!) But once we had arrived it was clear what an amazing place it is and how lucky our school is to be able to go there.The children who were there had grown in confidence over the space of one day and had matured overnight. They were so excited to show their friends around and share their experiences. A number of those who had come for the day trip asked if they could stay and said they hadn't realised how much fun it was going to be. Thought I'd share some pictures. For obvious reasons there are no children in any of the pictures - I waited until they had all gone on a walk together before I took any. Just imagine it all swarming with kids playing!

You can see the sandpit and table tennis behind the tree
- there's also an adventure playground, football pitch and basketball court.

What the children were most fascinated by: redcurrants, blueberries, gooseberries and raspberries in the gardens - and all just turning ripe now! Lots of red-stained hands and mouths!

One of the activities is pond-dipping and another is camping skills
- hence a large pond and tents.
The archery hall. Yesterday they were looking at this in awe: what's it for?! 

We're a bit early for apples but the orchard is loaded.
Inner-city children finally getting to see where food comes from.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Granny Mad!

While I would never attempt the 'granny-a-day' that many fellow bloggers have been doing (look at Craftyminx's blog for inspiration!) I thought that as I am now able to do some crafty things I would start making some granny squares in different designs. Not sure what they will end up being - or even if I will stick to similar colours but this week I have been using SmoothFox's Lemony Lime Citrus Square pattern - it's free if you click on the link. Here's what they look like:

So over a week I have managed to make three squares...fellow crocheters will be shocked at how slowly I work! In my defense I'm going to state that I rarely follow patterns and am finding it quite hard to do so - especially as you have to work out whether you are using British or American crochet terms - I went with assuming they were British and think I did it all correctly. I also had to unpick a few times when I made a mistake... the nice thing about crochet is that you CAN do that and not have issues, unlike knitting. And also I'm still having to rest a lot along the way when my shoulder aches... and generally life gets in the way doesn't it?  I'm going to try a new pattern this week - and probably some new colours too. As I said, I'm not sure quite what I'm making at present, but I'll keep you up-to-date with progress!!

Friday, 24 June 2011

That Friday Feeling...

It's Wimbledon fortnight - did you see Federer thrash Mannarino? Or Murray beat it out with Kamke? And who else was absolutely stunned when unseeded Lisicki beat number 3 seed Li in the women's second round? I have to say, I've missed loads of Wimbledon this year because in schools it's the dreaded report time: I've been up to my eyeballs in writing about literacy and numeracy skills, let alone all the other subjects. And I'm still biting my fingernails waiting for the SATS results...
But anyway, back to Wimbledon. In celebration, this week's Etsy shout out is tennis themed. I'm not being original: the lovely Debbie of Wuglyees fame posted her favourite items earlier in the week (catch her post here). But I liked the idea so much that I thought it would be apt for this week's post. Sorry Debbie for using your theme, but thank you for the idea!

Just in case we all get a bit over-excited ,
 PosterPop have something to calm you down here

Cute cufflinks by ClassicCufflinks
Item linkerd here

And a lovely charm for the ladies here from Juzii

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Artist's Feature: CinLynn Boutique

I'm really happy about featuring this month's artist. I've not met Cindy as she lives about a million miles away from me (over in Michigan) but she has been really supportive of my work over the past few months. She's been encouraging me when I've nearly thrown the towel in and I'm really happy to say thank you by giving her this month's feature. So thank you Cindy, and ...over to you! 

My name is Cindy and I make jewelry and as of late, tote bags too. 

What got you interested and what inspires you further?
I've always had an interest in art, but never really found my niche until one day when my daughter-in-law gave me the tools to start making jewelry.  It didn't take me long to realize that I found my new love or, I guess you could say, obsession.  I get my inspirations by looking at beading magazines, looking at other jewelry designs (I don't copy), and by paying attention to what other women are wearing.

Do you have a favourite item? Does it have a story behind it?                 
I would like to say I have a favorite item, but I don't!  You see, my true favorites have either sold or I've kept them.  But I love everything I make or I wouldn't list them in the first place.  I'd tear them apart and re-make until I do.  I have a lot of items in my expired listings on Etsy right now just waiting for their re-make!

How would you describe your style?
I think my style is best described as eclectic.  I do a little of everything.  I love the simple classic styles, the beachy styles, etc.

Lots of artsy-craftsy folk juggle many different things in order to have time to spend on their chosen paths - how do you manage?
As far as juggling my life, yes, it IS a juggle!  I'm in the full time ministry as one of Jehovah's Witnesses and so I'm gone everyday for a few hours.  Then with my family to care for,  my house to keep up with, babysitting my grandchildren every other Friday, I have to MAKE time to make jewelry.  But so many of my friends have been such a great encouragement (because they love my jewelry), I continue to fit it in and I love it!  There has also been a lot of encouragement from fellow etsians;  I appreciate that too!

Are there any artists or crafters whom you admire or who have helped you along the way?
I do want to send a shout out to Deb of the Wuglyees shop on Etsy.  She has been such an encouragement to me that I can't even put in words just how much I appreciate her!  She's like my cheering squad!  :)

Do you have an online shop / blog / twitter / facebook page etc where people can find you? If so, please let us know
You can find Cindy in LOTS of places... I hope I've managed to remember them all!

Be sure to visit Cindy at one of her many sites and Cindy - a big thank you for allowing me to feature you! 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Blogs of Note

Every Friday I do a bit of an Etsy shout-out, featuring a few photos of different shops where I've seen some cute items. But I've realised that they aren't the only people who might want shouting out - you, my fellow bloggers, might too! So many bloggers have been inspirational, supportive and brilliant over the past few months, and it's you who I would most like to thank.

So here's the deal - every month I'll pop round to someone's blog that I read and enjoy and let you know that I'm putting a link to your blog on Creating Trouble. If it's OK with you, I'll post a photo from your blog and put up a link with a very short bio / reason as to why I think everyone should follow you and that's it. What do you think?

If you want to get ahead on the shout-outs, then leave me a comment and I'll try to make sure I go and look at your blogs first!!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

That Friday Feeling...on Saturday

Firtly, sorry that this is actually late this week. Don't quite know what happened to the time yesterday but I had every intention of getting home from work, creating a blog post and then going to a friend's for dinner. Somehow that period of time at home got lost: I ended up going straight to dinner from work as I was late.
Anyway, my keyboard is playing up today and certain keys won't work until I punch them in. So today's post is hoping to get my keyboard letters back...

Postage stamp letter by Stamposaurus. What a great design idea!

Everyone needs an alphabet charm at some point... thanks to BaWStampedDesign 

Cute S Brooch by ismay

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Cool Pinboards Online

Paper robot - from  
Have you heard of Pinterest? I've only discovered it very recently but it is my new favourite site on the internet. Basically it is like having a pinboard of all the different cool things that you find on the internet. In some ways it is a little like - a way of keeping a hold of the sites that you are interested in. But the fun twist to pinterest is that you pin the site and it will hold a picture of what it is you have pinned. You can arrange your pins into boards - which are basically categories - of your choice. As a crafter-on-hold I have had to put a lot of projects on hold. So of course one of my boads on pinterest is 'future projects'. You can go and look at my boards here. At present pinterest is still quite new so you still need to be invited to it - however it is quite easy to get an invite: you just click on the 'request invite' button. What I really like about pinterest is that you can look at other people's boards and discover more new things - and if you like it you can pin things you find to your own boards from there. It isn't just a pinboard for artsy-craftsy tweeps; you can pin whatever you like on it - they even have boards ready for you to pin up interesting reads, places you'd like to go etc etc. Just thought I'd share it with you...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

How to... Make a NEEDLEBOOK

Since I broke my collar bone and have been totally incapable of making things for the past two months, this month's how to is again a fairly easy one: how to make a needlebook. I lose needles all the time - whenever I need one I have to hunt for about 15 minutes in all the different places I keep my sewing bits before I can find one so this project is going to come in useful. It's not very hard - I guess it will take you about an hour tops really unless you want to go over the top and make your book super decorative. Obviously what you put on yours and what your design is, is up to you. I have just received some lovely fabric from so I decided to use some of it for this. I have to admit though - the REALLY cool patterned material I just got from MyFabricHouse I've kept aside for a different project... but you'll see that another time!

What you need:
A sewing machine
Two small rectangles of felt (folded should make a small page)
Some material of your choice.
Pinking shears
A button
Trimmings / Sequins / Decorative bits...

Step 1:
Decide what size you want your needlebook to be. Fold 2 pieces of coloured felt and cut them to the same size. These will make a double page each. Cut around the edges of these with pinking shears to give them a zigzag edge.

Step 2:
As I decided to have a bit of a patchwork design, I cut strips of material and sewed them together - obviously if you don't want to have a multi-materialed cover then you just need one single piece of material cut to size.
Don't forget to leave a few millimetres on each side for hems. You need another piece of the same size for the inside cover.

Step 3: 
Place the front and back covers together with the right sides facing each other and the inside of the material facing out. Pin them / tack them together and sew around the 2 long sides and 1 short side leaving a couple of millimetres seam allowance.
I always 'hem' the edges of my seams - use a zigzag stitch along the edges to prevent fraying and to strengthen the seam.

Step 4:
Cut the corners diagonally so that you don't have bunched up bulky bits in the corners and then turn inside-out  (thus making it the right way round if that makes sense!)

Step 5:
Place your button about halfway down the sewn short side of your cover on the 'front' cover. Sew it on.

I did this in the wrong order so please
excuse that I haven't put my button hook
inside my cover!
Step 6:
Use either a bit of ribbon or some plaited wool as a button pull. Cut to size and then place between the two pieces of unsewn material. Fold the material in and pin/tack so that you have a smooth edge encasing the button thread into it. Sew along this edge.

Step 7:
Add any extra decorations you want - I had some pretty lacy ribbon that I decided to sew all along the edges by literally holding in place and sewing a straight line along it.

Step 8:
Pin the felt pages into the cover - make sure that the halfway line of the pages meets the middle of the cover. Use a sewing machine to sew down the middle line - reinforce by doing this twice.

Step 9:
Fold in half with the outer cover on the outside, do your button up and then check it works. And then start putting your needles in it because you're done!

Friday, 10 June 2011

That Friday Feeling...

This week's Friday Feeling is hair clips. I still can't wash my hair independently (grrr) so have to go and get it done at the local hair salon. And my wash and 'rough' dry seems to have transformed over the past few weeks into a wash and 'straighten your hair but not charge you any extra cos we like you'- type thing. Which I am totally happy about! And what with my nice straight hair, and the fact that I CAN get my arm high enough to put hairclips in, I've been wearing a number of clips recently. You already saw the cute clips I bought from Imynda (click here to see the post) the other day, but here are some others which I've noticed over on Etsy. As usual the links on the names will take you to the person's shop. 

I bought a change purse from Greengrass2, but she also makes cute hairclips too. 

I bought 2 cream roses from OneTenZeroSeven last weekend. This week I have mainly been wearing these!

What a great idea! Using buttons as the basis for cool hair clips. These are made by  Wychbury

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Reading A Little ... June

 Animal Farm - George Orwell
I didn't like 1984. I've read it a number of times and every time I manage to forget it. It's only about halfway through when I think everything is a little too predictable when I remember I've read it before. For this reason, I approached Animal Farm with slight trepidation: I thought it was Orwell's writing that I didn't like. I was pleasantly surprised. While I wouldn't put this in my list of favourite books, I also should have read this much earlier. Animal Farm recalls how the animals of Manor Farm stage a revolution and take over from the humans. A thinly disguised satire of Stalinist communism, this is an effective novel with some fairly hard-hitting themes. I really felt for some of the characters and my disgust at the short-sighted leaders increased as the book progressed. I would recommend it as one of those books you 'should' read.

Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
I read Water for Elephants as one of my book group reads on Shelfari and after a number of recommendations. It is an absolutely fantastic read and I now know why I had so many people say I should read it. While essentially it is a love story, it captures the mood of the Great Depression and prohibition brilliantly. A number of themes are dealt with brilliantly- love, loyalty, bravery, kindness, cruelty... the list could go on. Jacob Jankowski is the son of Jewish Polish settlers. After a tragic accident, Jacob joins a circus and we get a brilliant description of what life with a travelling circus during the 1930s would have been like. The portrayal of characters is deep and well-rounded and you feel total sympathy for their feelings and moods. I loved this book and it's now one of my favourites! If you'd like to see my shelfari review click here:

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
I read this years and years ago while still at school. But it's one of those books that I HAD to read, and therefore I disliked, and promptly forgot. It probably didn't help that we had about 3 teachers that term so we didn't get a 'whole' picture. In fact I'm not even sure we finished it. Anyway, I decided after reading lots of people raving about it, that I had to re-read it. And I'm very glad I did. It is written from the viewpoint of Scout Finch, the daughter of a lawyer living in Alabama in 1936. I don't think it needs much explaining here as it is incredibly well-known for it's themes of racism, tolerance, prejudice and community-spirit. It is brilliantly written, has lively characters and dialogue and I can absolutely see now why it has influenced so many people so profoundly. An excellent read.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Another Weekend of Etsy

Well after some terrible nerves, I finally curated a BNR on Etsy this weekend. I took it over at 16 sales and it was mostly red and black. Two hours later,  I left it mostly blue and at 22 sales. I'm proud of myself! It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be - I just made sure I had a piece of paper next to me to keep track of what people were buying / selling etc.

BNR's are a great place to get your work seen, appreciated and sold: because buyers want to get a slot they are happy to buy you out. This time around I sold four items - 3 cards and a bunny bag.

I also managed to pick up some super cute items too. Some cute hair clips from Imynda and a coin purse from Greengrass2 (both sell on Etsy and the links will take you to their shops.


I also discovered this weekend that I can actually sew - and am happily back at my sewing machine again. HURRAY! I have a whole load of ideas for future craft projects but sadly I'm going to have to wait until I'm fully better for those... meanwhile there's a 'how to' coming up, I'm hoping for a giveaway (not many more followers needed...!) am wondering about whether I'm ready to start going to a craft night up in Tottenham or whether I will just hurt myself, and of course, this Month''s Artist has yet to be revealed! 


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