Sunday, 31 July 2011

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Being a Grown-Up Crafter...

Do you consider yourself a 'grown-up'? I've been a teacher for nearly 9 years in total and yet I still don't think of myself as an adult. When kids say 'miss' it's fine, when they say 'Miss Phillips' I get a little freaked out. But I am beginning to come to terms with being a proper grown-up and have taken some steps into adulthood: I now have my own business cards! Yes, I know most people have had them for, like, ever but I've always thought of them as being what proper adults have and I have never really thought that I am a proper adult. But as my craft sales are beginning to take off and my printer doesn't like me very much, it seemed about time to get some. Actually I didn't - the lovely Andy designed and bought them for me. THANK YOU!
I was soooo excited when I opened these for the first time I nearly clapped my hands like a little girl (see I TOLD you I haven't grown up yet!) Aren't they great?

Now that I've got my business cards, I guess I really should start getting busy for a craft fair or some more Etsy sales. Please feel free to look at my etsy store and take your pick!  

But before I can prepare for a craft fair there is something I need to get on with first. Remember all that material I bought? Well it's been going to good use here at Creating Trouble HQ... It's time to reveal part II of the grand project. This bit is looking a little more complete and I guess that some of it is beginning to take shape. Can you guess what the whole piece is going to be yet? 

Friday, 29 July 2011

That Friday Feeling...29/07/11

As I'm sure most of you have worked out by now, the reason you haven't seen much of my work on here recently is because I'm working on a grand project. A quilt! It's not actually taking me as long as I thought it might do - the last one I attempted took the better part of a year. This is it by the way:

The colours really didn't come out - it's a wine red, fairly royal blue and bottle green!

Thanks to now owning a sewing machine, the present attempt has been moving fairly quickly... well it's only been a month so far! I thought that as I'm about to reveal part of the design (yes watch out for tomorrow's post) today's Friday Feeling would be dedicated to quilts.

Recycle your denim with this great quilt by Original Cloth

How great to have a scrabble quilt? Brilliant idea from BarbMalm

And I really like this quilt bag by Hoganfe too.
There's a totally unfounded myth that quilts were used on the Underground Railroad as signals for slaves escaping from the south to the north in the U.S. It's a myth. 

Hand-sewn quilts are considered more durable and better quality by professional quilters. I can see why - they take HOURS to make by hand!!

Quilting started to be considered as an art form from about the 1960s when abstract art came into fashion.

Quilts were important to those in the early American colonies as fabric was expensive so scraps were saved, sewn together into larger bits (blocks) and eventually into quilts. 

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A Bit of Blog Lovin'

This month's blog loving goes to 'It's Always Something' headed up by the lovely Marci. Not only does she have a great blog, but she is also on twitter (immarci) and sells on Etsy too. Her blog is varied - from Music Monday's to the In Your Eyes photography collaboration via some cute little plushies and more. I really enjoy reading Marci's blog and I recommend you go and have a browse. Thank you Marci for being a great tweep to chat to, an interesting blogger to read and a lovely creator.

Monday, 25 July 2011

And the Winner is...

So the Twitter Giveaway ended last night and it's time for me to reveal who the winner is. First of all though, thank you to everyone who entered and who wrote lovely comments on my blog. As I'm not the world's most techy person I had to use the good old 'pick-a-name' method. I've just spent about an hour going through Twitter and everyone's names etc and writing each one on a separate slip of paper.

Having put all the pieces into a box I asked Andy to pick one out of the box for me. Which after attempting to throw them all on the floor he finally did, and so I can now reveal the Twitter Winner:

Congratulations Dannie! 
Send me a DM or e-mail with your address on it and I'll send you your card straightaway.

Thank you to everyone who participated and who spread the word - it was really nice to get such good participation for my first ever giveaway. And look out - once this blog hits 100 followers there'll be a new giveaway....!

Friday, 22 July 2011

That Friday Feeling...22/07/2011

Today is the beginning of the Summer Holidays for me - and it's being marked by a weekend wedding in France.  The original plan was to get the ferry over with our bikes and then start our massive cycle from north to south, but since I am not able to cycle at the moment (waaaah!) we are going over for just the weekend. We get the overnight ferry to Saint Malo and arrive tomorrow morning, get a second ferry to Dinard and go to the wedding and then return by ferry on Sunday. So, as there are lots of boats involved this weekend, I figured a nautical theme was only fitting for today's Etsy shout out.

Anyone for tea? Cute teacosy by Harlechcottagecrafts

What great buttons by Emmamount

LOVE this beach bag by LifeCovers
As usual, I thought I would tell you some quirky facts you may or may not already know about boats, sailing and life at sea...

  • There is a theory that the word POSH comes from Colonnial and East India Trading Company days - the best cabins on boats to India were those which caught the afternoon sun. On the way out these were on the Port side of the boat while on the return it was those on the Starboard side. POSH stands for Port - Out, Starboard - Home and as these were the most expensive cabins the word posh came to symbolise someone with a lot of money. Actually there is no foundations for this theory but I like the idea of it!
  • British sailors got the nickname 'Limeys' due to the cargo of lime juice they would carry on board. Scurvy was a fairly common disease that afflicted all sailors in those days and the vitamin C that limes provide was a good preventative. Lime was more readily available than lemons at the time because the British Navy had colonies in the Caribbean. Lemon later became the juice of choice when sailors realised that limes didn't actually have enough vitamin C in them after all. 
  • The most famous Ferryman is probably Charon - a character from Greek mythology who carried dead souls across the river Styx to the Underworld.
  • The busiest seaway in the world is the English Channel (or La Manche if you speak French) that connects Great Britain to France. At the narrowest point (between Dover and Calais) it is only 34km  although at it's widest it is about 240 km. 
  • To dream of sailing can represent how you are coping with your path through life - smooth sailing means that you are in control whereas a rough sail can mean that you are able to overcome life's difficulties. 
  • The difference between a boat and a ship is technically that a boat is some kind of vessel small enough to be carried aboard another vessel (a ship) or be lifted out of the water. So: boats are small, ships are big and ferries... well they are for transporting people across shortish passages of water.
So there you are - possibly not the most informative facts about boats, sailing and the like but the ones I thought I would share with you. Enjoy your weekend! 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Artist's Feature: Chanelled Creations

This month's Artist is Ana Gonçalves, the face behind Chanelled Creations. She has been following Creating Trouble and writing lovely comments for a while now so it seems right to be meeting the person behind the name! Ana can be found on both Etsy and Folksy, where she sells some of her work. You can also find her on twitter and facebook too. I like the use of colour and theme in her work. Anyway, she's better at talking about herself than I could possibly be - so here you are: Ana Gonçalves of Chanelled Creations.

Who are you and what do you make? 

My name is Ana Gonçalves, and I am an intuitive and visionary Artist. My work represents the different cycles and experiences in my life, and it is this that I freely express on paper. I am inspired by existence, the universe and nature. My artwork is used in a mixture of sustainable paper crafts, such as eco greeting cards, bookmarks and postcards. I also sell original works.

What got you interested and what inspires you further?

My passion for creativity started since I could put crayon to paper. I have been crafting since a very young age, and have always believed that expression is a channel that mediates how one feels on the inside. My love for crafting starting in writing stories, drawing and painting and it grew with each experience encountered. I am inspired to continue to share my art in hope that it inspires others to connect with who they are and their feelings, and that it brings healing and nurture to the soul.

Are there any other artists who have inspired or helped you with your work?

Chrissy Foreman Cranitch, a very special friend and Artist whom I met via blogging continues to inspire and motivate me on my creative path. We have very similar ethics and interests in our love for nature, art and life, and the desire to go deeper in bringing awareness forward through our work.
Please feel free to browse her work:

I would also like to say a big Thank you to all the individuals at Etsy and Folksy who are helping in the set up and continuous promotion of artisan seller shops. I think it's great all that you do, and I love the way in which everyone forms a community around it. Thank you to you also creative trouble for providing us with the platform to share who we are, and what we make.

Where do you work, and if you had an unlimited budget, how would you improve your workspace?

I work in a separate small room in the house, which is a multi-purposeful space suiting as a reading, creative and printing area. I've just re-organized my creative space and so am feeling much better about the location of where I store my art and create. Its a lot lighter and meaningful.

Where can we find you and your work? 

My Twitter profile:
My Crafts link Profile:

Thank you Ana for letting us know about your work and about yourself. Make sure you go and look at some of Ana's other work - her work is very reasonably priced on both Etsy and Folksy, so you could become an owner of some of her work! 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Granny Mad...part deux

What have you been up to recently? I've been working mostly on the quilt project, but will show you more of that soon... (just trying to keep you all on your toes!) Today's post though is dedicated to Grannies. Well granny crochet squares that is. You can dedicate this post to your granny as well if you like, but it's not obligatory. 

I've said before I'm not sure what I'm making with these grannies - I think I'm just playing around and seeing if I can make interesting designs. I'm definitely not being very speedy with them! The pattern for these could be really easy but I'm not good at following patterns and I got this one wrong about a million times over! But anyway - these are the grannies I made this week.

The pattern was designed by Chris Simon from Yarn Crazy and you can find it here. I love the flowers! I think they have turned out really prettily in the end - so lots of hard work but definitely worth it!

Friday, 15 July 2011

That Friday Feeling...15/07/11

Fancy a cuppa? It's about tea time and that is exactly what I want right now. And I mean a proper 'English' cup of tea - not one of those weak varieties that taste of warm water with milk splashed in it. I may be uncouth but I much prefer builders tea to any other (for those of you who don't know what builders tea is - it's the standard British tea you get in the supermarkets - like PG Tips) and it doesn't taste the same in different places. The water is different so the tea tastes different. Even Yorkshire Tea doesn't taste right outside of Yorkshire! So today's Friday Feeling is all about the tea - because I want a cup.

Think this pendant from BookishCharm about sums up
what I feel right now!

FabThomson makes cute felt brooches like this cupcake
Great combination in this Liquorice AllSorts Tea Cosy
 by Twinkknits
Thought I would share some Tea Facts with you...

  •  Tea is the second most widely drunk drink in the world - the most widely drunk beverage being water.
  • Tea normally grows in tropical or sub-tropical places - but it's been known to grow in Pembrokeshire, England and Washington, USA
  • It takes between 4- 12 years for a tea plant to grow seeds.
  • If you leave a tea plant alone it can grow to about 16 metres - but most are cut to be about waist height so that it's easier to pick the uppermost leaves.
  •  Tea came over to Europe in the 16th Century and was brought over to Great Britain around 1660
  •  Tea can help (slightly) with memory - but this is very minimal and not entirely certain...
  •  Milk isn't the only thing added to tea - weaker black tea is good with lemon and I had the shock of my life when I was served tea with jam in Russia...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Twitter Giveaway!

Hooray! I said I'd do a giveaway once I'd got to 500 followers and... well it's time for a giveaway now! As this is my first one, I'm starting small... so it's your chance to win one of my unique designed cards. The material for this card came from India and there's hardly any left - which means that actually this really is a unique card as there won't be many more of these! If you'd prefer a different card, stop by my Etsy store and take your pick (let me know in a comment below) So... here's what you do:

If you want to enter, just leave me a note with your twitter username either here or on twitter (

For extra entries (1 extra entry each)

1) Follow this blog and let me know you are following

2) Follow my facebook page and tell me you entered.

3) Go past my Etsy shop and let me know what your favourite item is.

Let me know that you have done each of these though - either with a mention on twitter or a comment below.
You have until Sunday 24th July and I will be announcing a winner on Monday 25th.

Good Luck!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sweet Chilli Prawns Recipe

Mmm nom nom! I made a great dinner last night even if I do say so myself. Sweet Chilli Prawns. They were absolutely yummy so I thought I would share the recipe with you. The recipe came from a book called Bowl Food that my sister gave me a number of years ago. It's my favourite cookbook and some of my favourite recipes come from there (Yakiudon and Jambalaya being some of my favourite - I might share them with you sometime too...). I haven't made this recipe before as I'd been put off by the length of ingredients, But while considering what to eat this week as I was doing the weekly shopping list, I came across this and realised that most of the ingredients are already in my store cupboard / fridge and I'd bookmarked it ages ago to try out. So I decided to give it a go tonight and it was REALLY easy!  Seriously, if you can get hold of the ingredients and you like prawns you should give it a go. 

Sweet Chilli Prawns (Serves 4)

What You Need:

1 kg raw prawns (I used 2 packets)
2 tbsp peanut / groundnut oil
large chunk of ginger cut into thin strips
2 cloves garlic crushed / chopped finely
5 spring onions cut diagonally
1/3 cup (80ml) chilli garlic sauce
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp dry sherry or Chinese rice wine if you can get it (I used sherry)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1/2 cup (125 ml) water

What to Do

  1. Peel / devein the prawns if you need to. Heat a wok til it is very hot, add the oil and swirl to coat.
  2. When the oil is smoking, quickly throw in the ginger, garlic and spring onion.
  3. Stir fry for a minute and then add the prawns. Stir fry for 2 minutes until the prawns start to turn pink.
  4. Remove the prawns and set aside for the next bit...
  5. Put the chilli garlic sauce, tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, sherry, soy sauce and cornflour mix into a bowl and whisk it together. 
  6. Put the mixture into the wok and heat, stirring until it begins to thicken. 
  7. Add the prawns and cook for another minute or two until they are cooked and heated through. 
  8. Serve with noodles or rice  and enjoy! 

Oh and if you ever see it in the shops or online, you should try out Bowl Food - I've tried lots of the recipes in it by now and I have not yet had anything which wasn't absolutely delicious. As I said, jambalaya and yakiudon are among my favourites, but Pad Thai, Paella, Sri Lankan Chicken Curry and Cauliflower soup are pretty awesome too...

Find it on Amazon here

Monday, 11 July 2011

Love the Weekend

It's been a good weekend - well apart from the fact that I haven't left the flat in days and am going a little crazy... But I was really excited on Friday when I checked my e-mail and discovered that I had sold 2 (yes, 2) mosaic necklaces! How great is that? So a massive thank you to Julia from MyApplique who bought them (check out her Folksy shop - it's cute!) Part of me is a little sad to see them go - the mosaic one is one of the very first necklaces I made, and the Red Reflection one is my favourite design. But I'm glad they're going to such a nice person. Just in case you've forgotten what they look like - here are the two necklaces in their boxes about to be put in the post:

Posting these turned out to be harder than expected. I don't have business cards yet (because that would make me feel like a grown-up) so up to now I've been printing off a small card with the Creating Trouble logo on it and using it instead. Except for last night my printer decided it just didn't like me. At all. After about an hour or so messing around with it, Andy decided to try printing with the same printer from his Mac. And of course, it liked him. Admittedly we only managed to get one piece of paper out of it in full colour, and normally my cards are a LOT smaller than half an A4 sheet, but at least we managed to get something!

It was such a palaver (love that word!) Andy decided to design and order me some business cards. They should be arriving on Wednesday or Thursday and I'm really excited to see them!

AND... I follow quite a few other blogs and tend to comment when I see something I like or get asked a question. This weekend Kate from Scientific Culture posted a picture of one of her yetis and asked what people were up to this weekend. Apparently my comment was the most interesting response (it involved turning into a Yeti to be able to move) and she's sending me one of her cute badges! How cool is that?

Go & check out Scientific Culture on Etsy - really cute badges & more!
I'm getting a Yeti Thumbs Up badge... it's so cute! And in fact has quite a lot of character so I think he deserves a name... Any suggestions? Thank you Kate for deciding to send me a badge :-D

Friday, 8 July 2011

That Friday Feeling...08/07/11

I love penguins. I think they may be my favourite animal - from the cute but totally silly waddling on land to the grace and ease with which they move in water. My favourite kind of penguin has always been Rockhoppers because anything that has such a great tuft of hair must be pretty cool, right? 

Because I like penguins, I am totally cold towards seals - yes they have cute eyes, but they EAT my favourite animal, and therefore they must just be evil. So today's Friday Feeling is dedicated to my favourite animal... there are LOADS of penguins over at Etsy so you should probably go and check them out. But for the moment here are few of my favourites:

Not technically possible but I love it anyway  Iotaillustration! Hitching a Ride print 

Awww! If I had a baby it would be wearing this penguin babygrow by NoahandMole

And isn't this crocheted penguin hat the cutest? Great pattern from  MicahMakes
I love all of these - but I have to admit I did initially have about 10 penguins in my shortlist of items to feature this week. Maybe I'm just a sucker for the little critturs. Thought I'd share some penguin facts with you too...

  • Penguins and Polar Bears don't mix: penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere while Polar Bears are Northern bound.
  • While we all know penguins live in Antarctica, they actually live in much warmer climes too... the Galapagos breed live close to the equator and they are not alone: lots of penguins live in more temperate zones.
  • The largest penguins are Emperor Penguins - they grow to the heady heights of about 1.1 metres and weigh around 35kg. I remember being quite shocked by how small they were when I first saw one!
  • Penguins and puffins are NOT related. It's like saying a bagel and a doughnut are the same. Yes there are similarities but they are totally different species.
  • The penguin got it's name from Auks (pingouin) but there seems to be a lot of dispute about why penguins kept the name - some people think it was a case of mistaken identity: a penguin was mistaken for an Auk chick! Whether it's penguin because the word 'pinguis' meant fat is possible but improbable.
  • There are about 20 different species of penguin - and some of them are pretty small.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Oooh oooh ooh!

I've been really bad and ordered a whole load of fabrics and felts recently... and they all arrived today! How excited am I? Ridiculously so. So I thought I would show you why I'm so excited:

First up - felt from Lupin on Etsy - I've got 30 squares in my own choice of colours! I think I forgot to get brown which was a bit of an oversight on my part, but looking forwards to some Christmassy felt projects (and other top secret ideas too...!) Hooray! 

Love the batik effect of these blue and purple fabrics from ForgetMeNot Fabrics. And can I just point out that they have FANTASTIC customer service: I had also ordered a blue bundle which they had sadly run out of - they went out of their way to try and get it back in from their supplier and refunded immediately (including changing postage costs) when they weren't able to. Thank you!

And finally I went back to Seamstar for a new red fabric bundle and found this cute blue daisy bundle too. Hooray!

So I guess I need to reveal why i need so much fabric? Well.... here's the beginning of it:

I can't really reveal the rest of this yet but I'm sure you can see what it is the beginnings of. For those of you on Twitter - these are the 'project #' s I've been tweeting about. It's recently had a huge design upheaval but I'll reveal more when I have done more of it...

Monday, 4 July 2011

Reading A Little ... July

Thought I'd share a few more good books with you. I was hoping to do a few reading posts last month but didn't quite get round to it. Will keep you posted if I find any new ones. For the moment, here are some really great books that I recommend to you. Happy Reading!

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly 

I can't remember whether someone recommended this to me or whether I just found it randomly at the bookshop but this is an absolutely FANTASTIC read. A boy mourns the death of his mother and becomes more and more drawn into his books. So much so that one day he manages to transport into another, part fictional world, where fairytales become horrible nightmares, where the Seven Dwarves are communist labourers and Snow White is far from her fairytale image. An adventure of bravery, courage, despair and hope, all overlooked by 'the Crooked Man'. This is a great read and I really recommend it to you.

Nevermore by William Hjortsburg

I'm not usually into murder mysteries, but this is an exception. The story is based around Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is set in the U.S during prohibition. Sir Arthur is doing a series of lectures about spiritism and his belief in the ability to contact spirits. Houdini on the other hand is a vocal disbeliever, going to lengths to prove that those who believe in seances are being duped by fraudsters. And then a series of murders start occuring, all with similarities to Edgar Allen Poe's mysteries. Conan Doyle meets Poe's ghost and embarks upon solving the mysteries, while Houdini gets mixed up with the mysterious Isis reincarnated. The narrator shifts in person; it is written in the third person but from different perspectives, including those of journalists and various detectives / police officers. By creating an atmosphere of curiosity Hjortsberg manages to weave a spell that will keep you reading: you're never quite sure what the next twist will be.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

The book that inspired the West End production (which I now REALLY want to go and see). War Horse is the story of Joey, a half-thoroughbred bought on a whim as a young colt. He comes to love his owner's son Arthur but the First World War comes along and he is sold to the British Army. And so begins the tale of life as a war horse. Although this is written for young adults, and many of the children in my class have read and enjoyed it, this has a great appeal for adults too. It touches on a number of fundamental human themes (bravery, determination, friendship and loyalty to name a few) and gives a harrowing account of what life in the trenches would have been like, albeit watered down for the younger audience. An excellent read and despite seeing through a horse's eyes, the characters were very vivid and well-rounded. Another good recommendation.


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