Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Bit of Blog Lovin'

This month's Blog Lovin' goes to Baban Cat - a fellow Etsian who I discovered through the British Sellers on Etsy team. I've been following her blog since she started her July 'Take One a Day' challenge: every day Cat made a new creative item for her Etsy and Folksy storefronts and I was seriously impressed with her dedication - especially as she makes such pretty things! This month Cat has been looking at Pantone colours and has produced some beautiful treasuries and blog posts using different colours as her themes. I love that idea and may have to steal it! I like the clean, fresh look of her blog and I'm sure you will enjoy finding out more about her and her work. Oh and she also nominated me for a Versatile Blogger award so I am very grateful for her support! Go and check out BabanCat's blog!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

San Diego Sunshine!

I'm back! Well many of you already know that as I've been tweeting and blogging again. We actually got back on Thursday afternoon but are still suffering from the inevitable jetlag. And you know what we tried to do? We tried to go to Reading Festival on Saturday... which was a mistake! First of all, I'm still on crutches, second it was raining, third it was incredibly muddy and the little stool we'd brought for me to sit on would have been swallowed in the mire. So we reconsidered and came back to London where we vegged out and watched Battlestar Galactica. Which is my new favourite programme even though they finished ages ago. In case you haven't seen it before, I thought I'd add a video clip to get you interested... We're presently coming to the end of Season 3 and I was in floods of tears earlier at one of the episodes.

Anyway, back to the main reason for today's blog post...

I'm sure some of you would like to know how it all went in San Diego at my friend's wedding. It was GRRRRRREAT! Spent the days running up to the wedding running around with James doing last minute shopping, errands, making place cards etc while also being entertained, and entertaining, various family members and friends. Andy and I have now been 'adopted' by James' mum and dad who are great and her aunt Mary is an absolute gem of a character. We really enjoyed the trip.

The bride and me... in our usual poses!

I discovered on the Monday before the wedding that it is traditional in the U.S for Maids of Honour to give a speech.... WHAT??? That was total news to me so I inevitably stressed and pondered and stressed some more before finally writing a few notes at 6 am on the Saturday morning. I think it went OK although having nothing to go by I don't really know. I did a whole play on the British/ American language thing and ended by making everyone toast the Queen... I mean, the happy couple. 'Twas amusing for me at least. The wedding itself was a huge success - we had lots of fun, danced, ate AMAZING food and enjoyed ourselves immensely. There was possibly the best steak I have ever eaten...mmmm. We got back to our hostel and collapsed, and were then up the next morning for brunch with lots of the wedding guests again in an old lighthouse on the bay. Gorgeous setting, eat all you want buffet which had so much food I couldn't even begin to think what I should try next! But oysters featured...

Jade (another bridesmaid), James (bride) and myself at brunch the next day

As for San Diego, I can officially say that I have been to many many shops but not a single tourist attraction. We did go to the beach on Monday after most of the guests had left which was pretty nice and I managed to burn in small patches despite wearing factor 75 suncream and sitting in the shade for the most part... damn that fair skin of mine!

Coronado beach was a huge, beautiful, white sandy beach on Coronado Island. We had to go over a crazy curved bridge in order to get there - apparently there used to be a subsidy if bridges were over a certain length so the architects made the bridge longer just so they could get the subsidy. It's quite cool (and featured in my last San Diego post here.) Once at the beach I was determined to swim, even though I was warned how cold it would be. What I really liked was that in the water, the sand sparkled and looked almost like flecks of gold. It was pretty cold in but once you got used to it, was quite pleasant really. Amazing waves but then I guess it is the Pacific coast, right? We ate huge icecreams with random toppings - Andy tried Apple Pie flavoured ice-cream which scarily did taste like apple pie... weird!

What else? We went for sushi, drank lots of American beer, remembered why we don't drink coca-cola in the U.S but did manage to get Mexi-Cokes (Mexican Coca-Cola) which was better if not quite right. I really don't understand the need to use corn syrup instead of real sugar. And after everything had quietened down, James and I went shopping... I usually hate shopping but having someone like her around is great: she just picks out all my clothes for me and persuades me to try on things I would never dream of! I will have to do a 'fashion show' post at some point!! Mostly it was just great to catch up with our friends, meet some new people and relax. Definitely a much needed holiday!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Artist's Feature...MWL Designs

Wow, another month has passed already, and Creating Trouble HQ nearly ran out of time to feature this month's artist! But luckily we returned from sunny California just in time to introduce Katherine of MWL Designs. In case you are wondering, MWL stands for Made With Love and Katherine makes beautiful handmade cards and card-making kits for all you wannabe crafters out there. Clearly a girl after my own heart as Creating Trouble started from cards too! Please go and look at her website and Folksy shop as there are some pretty cute designs on there and they are incredibly reasonably priced too! Anyway, without further ado, I shall hand you over to Katherine.

First up, who are you and what do you do? 
I'm Katherine Brookes and I make and sell handmade greetings cards. I've been making cards since 2007. I've also just launched my brand new venture which is card making kits - looking to increase the handmade community!!

What got you interested in your craft and what inspires you further? 
I re-located from Bristol and couldn't find a job and was watching lots of QVC and crafty type shows and thought I'd quite like to have a go at cardmaking myself. I bought loads of stuff, most of which I didn't use. I still have some of the very first cards I made - I've come a long way in 4 years!! I still watch Create and Craft and love seeing what other people produce which gives me the inspiration I need.

Any artists / crafters / special people who you admire or who have helped you along the way? 
I love Dawn Bibby, she's a lancashire girl like me so she's a big inspiration to me. There are so many talented crafters out there - too many to mention!

Is there anyone else you want to shout out to? 

My husband for being supportive along the way. I'm now officially running my card making hobby as a business - don't think either of us would have thought I'd stick at it but here I am and my empire is growing!! 

Lots of artsy-craftsy folk juggle many different things in order to have time to spend on their chosen paths - how do you manage? 

Luckily we don't have any children so I make time for my business. I obviously still have to do housework and the usual home making tasks but there's always time for crafting! At the moment I work full-time in a day job - hoping to phase out the day job soon.
Do you have an online shop / blog etc where people can find you? If so, please let us know! 
I have just launched my brand new website which is I also sell cards on Folksy but having my own website just seems easier somehow! The card making kits are only on folksy at the moment

Thank you so much Katherine for taking the time to introduce yourself to us - and everyone else: go and look at some of Katherine's work, it's great!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Blogger Winner!!

Well a little later than I previously hoped, I have finally got around to the results of the blog giveaway. In case you have forgotten, the prize is a fabulous blue lotsa bunnies tote bag and you can see it here. Anyway, as I am not a very technical bunny my method of finding a winner is the old-fashioned write everyone's names down and pick them out of a hat... or in this case a bowl. Are you excited yet? Shall I reveal who won?

All the names were put into a bowl - in today's case it was our ultra heavy mortar... hmmm wonder where the pestle has got to?

I put my hand in, closed my eyes and picked out a piece of paper which for some reason I felt the need to put on the floor beside the bowl and take a photo of before I opened it...

But then of course I did open it... and the lucky winner is:

Congratulations Shannon! 

A bunny bag will be hopping its way over to you just as soon as you have sent me an e-mail with your address on it. I hope you like it! 

For those of you who didn't get the bunny bag - bunny bags are available in my Etsy store and I'm sure I'll be doing another giveaway at some point in the near enough future. What should the next goal be? 500 facebook followers? 1000 tweeps? 200 GFC followers? hmmmm - what do you think? 

Friday, 26 August 2011

That Friday Feeling...26/08/11

It's Friday again and that means one thing here on Creating Trouble - Etsy shout out time! This week I'm being a bit lazy - mainly because I am sleep deprived after our recent trip, so have gone for a fairly easy theme: hearts. There are LOADS of them on Etsy but here are a few from members of the British Sellers on Etsy team.

sequinned wedding ornaments by AndiaCreations - cute.

Everyone loves cake - shout it out with a necklace from UrbanCookie

Love this patchwork cushion from TheCandyTree

Did you know...

  • Women's hearts beat faster than mens - but are significantly smaller.
  • Your heart beats about 70 times a minute, 100,000 times a day and on average 2.5 billion times in a lifetime. 
  • The reason we associate hearts with love and emotion is because the Ancient Egyptians believed that intelligence and emotion stemmed from the heart. The Chinese also believed that the heart was the source of happiness.
  • Another interesting Ancient Egyptian belief: when a person died their heart would be weighed on a balance with the feather of truth of the goddess Ma'at: if it was successful, then the person's soul would pass into the Underworld although rather oddly, no one ever said whether the heart had to be equally balanced, heavier or lighter than the feather...
  • Where the symbol we commonly use for hearts comes from is quite open to discussion - one of the more interesting ones I came across was that it resembles the seed of the Silphium plant, which used to be used as a herbal contraceptive in medieval times. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Mmmm-nom-nom Easy Felafel

If you saw my Goals post recently you will know that one of my goals is to try new recipes more regularly (original post here). I have to admit this isn't a new recipe - I discovered how to make felafel a few months ago and it's become a bit of a regular in our household. But I thought I'd share the recipe with you - it's so quick and easy and is SO tasty I think you'd be missing out if you didn't try it! So here you are - easy falafel:

Felafel Recipe
Serves 4
Takes about 40 mins beginning to end

2 x 400g tins chick peas drained
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground chilli
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (flat leaf)
1 egg beaten
75g / plate of wholemeal flour
vegetable oil for shallow frying

1) Put the chick peas in a liquidizer and reduce to a coarse paste. Put the paste into a mixing bowl.
2) Add the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli, caraway, salt & pepper and parsley and mix them all together well.
3) Make the mixture into small balls and then flatten them to make small flat cakes.
4) Heat some oil (make sure it's REALLY hot)
5) Dip the felafel patties into the beaten egg and then coat with wholemeal flour.
6) Shallow fry the felafel for about 5 minutes until crisp and brown.
7) Drain on absorbant kitchen roll and serve with pitta bread, salad and natural yoghurt. (I usually make tzatziki with ours - mint, cucumber, yoghurt, lemon juice, plenty of salt & pepper mixed)

Et voila! C'est trĂ©s facile... not to mention scrumptious!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Not a very Silent Sunday

There's no Silent Sunday post from me today because... I'm in San Diego! We're here for a week - and how organised am I that I had all my blog posts ready and scheduled for this week? Anyway, as I'm actually writing this before I go, I can't really say what I'm up to but I thought I'd make you jealous with a few piccies I found on the internet... Jealous? Obviously I'll let you know all about our trip when we get back and hopefully share some photos with you too. For now though - hope you're having a great weekend!

Friday, 19 August 2011

That Friday Feeling...19/08/11

As you probably know by now, I'm in San Diego - it's my friend Jamie's wedding tomorrow! I'm super excited because a) I've never been to an American wedding and am not sure what it'll be like and b) I'm Maid-of-Honour! How cool is that? Anyway, I'm sure I'll be blogging about the wedding when I get back to the UK and have some gorgeous pictures, but for today I thought I would do an Etsy shout out based around weddings. Obviously that's a fairly huge theme so I have narrowed it down a little...

Love the idea of lace candle cups from KoalitaCraft

These magnets by KitzieG would be cute favours, wouldn't they?

Cute personalised ceramic favours by TaitGallery

Love the idea of crochet flower garlands instead of bunting by Baban 
Only a few fun facts for you today - I'm distracted with wedding fever!!

  • The longest wedding train on a dress recorded was 515 feet and was made in Germany
  • In 1992 in Seoul, 21,000 couples got married on the same day. 
  • In Hindu tradition it is considered lucky to rain on your wedding day... I'm going to remember that next time it rains at a wedding I'm at!
  • Princess Mary, one of Henry VIII's daughters was presented with an engagement ring at the ripe old age of 2. Yes, 2.
  • Valentine's Day and New Year's Day are the 2 busiest days for weddings in Las Vegas. And apparently approximately 7,000 weddings happen every day in the US...
  • According to English folklore Saturday is the most unlucky day to get married - and yet it is the most popular. Weird.
  • The custom of tiered cakes comes from a game where the bride and groom had to try to kiss over the top of ever taller cakes. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Reading A Little ... August

This month I don't seem to have been reading as much for some reason - probably because I've been working so maniacally on the quilt! But I have a few recommendations that I read this month for you...

 The Virgin Suicides - Jeffery Eugenides
A fairly bleak novel about a family with 5 daughters who over the space of a year all commit suicide. It is written from the viewpoint of the neighbourhood boys and speaks of how they struggle to understand the motivation behind the deaths while also coming to terms with the tragedies happening within their neighbourhood. Set in 1970s Michigan, this is a very disturbing, dark but gripping novel that had me hooked. The narration is quite matter-of-fact and upbeat considering the material it deals with and there was enough detachment to be able to brush it off. I found it intriguing and enjoyed it.

The Time Machine - H.G. Wells
I only discovered Wells' work fairly recently when I read War of the Worlds but really enjoyed it so was looking forward to this. I wasn't disappointed. The Time Machine is the tale of the nameless Time Traveller, who after inventing a time machine takes it into the future. He sees the decay and destruction of humanity and it is a terrifying view of the future. It's mostly terrifying because you could actually imagine some of the scenes happening... I like Wells' writing style: informative but allowing enough for the imagination and very easy to get into. Another good read and I'm now looking forward to The Island of Doctor Moreau!

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See
I think this was my favourite book this month. I felt it was a good mix falling somewhere between Memoirs of A Geisha and Wild Swans. This historical fiction is set in the 1800s in a remote province of China. Snow Flower and Lily are two girls bound together through ritual as 'One Sames' - they go through all the major milestones at the same time, including having their feet bound and converse for many years through their secret writing. It's a beautiful story of friendship, trust, loyalty, deceit and hardship. I really enjoyed this and have been recommending it all over the place - definitely worth a read!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Blogger Giveaway!

Well well well, I promised a giveaway when this blog had 100 followers... and now it does! Hurray! Thank you so much to everyone who has supported Creating Trouble getting to where it presently is - I really appreciate your comments, advice, participation and the fact that you take time out to read some of my ramblings! So, in recognition of that, I'm really happy to announce this giveaway!

Its... a..... BUNNY BAG! And this one has not been seen anywhere else - it's a new variation on the original design. So, if you would like to have a chance to win this great blue lotsa-bunnies bag, here's what to do:

Follow this blog and write a comment below this post (along the lines of 'enter me!' or sth!)
For extra entries you can also:

1) Follow me on twitter,
 2) LIKE my facebook page
3) Go to my etsy store and leave me a comment what your favourite item is.

Make sure you write a comment for each of the entries here under this post as I'm only a bunny of very little brain and am liable to get confused unless comments are here on the post. I'll announce a winner on my return from San Diego on Thursday 25th August. You have 10 days...

Friday, 12 August 2011

That Friday Feeling...12/08/11

This week's theme is ELEPHANTS! Another great animal that I love. One of my most memorable experiences was visiting an elephant sanctuary in Kerala, India about 5 years ago and it really stuck with me. The highlight of the day had been washing the elephants in the river and then helping to lead them all back to their various homes. We didn't get the opportunity to ride them - they were sanctuary elephants that had been used for work but had either been mistreated or were too old for further work. There were a few baby elephants though and they were SO cute! I've seen a few elephants over on Etsy so thought they would make an interesting theme. So here are today's shout out pieces - enjoy!

You have to love these little ellie brooches by CLScraftcreations. They are so adorable!

Elephant pouches by SugarCane. I like the blue one best... 

Cute little magnet from Fabthomson

And a gorgeous elephant print by CarolineRoseArt
As always you get a few snippets of information about elephants...

  • Did you know that female elephants are pregnant for 2 YEARS - that's a very long time to be pregnant for...! 
  • Once a baby elephant has been born, all the female elephants in the herd help to raise the baby - elephants are very community-spirited. If the offspring whimpers or is upset the other elephants will go over to caress and touch it. Isn't that such a lovely thing to know?
  • Elephants can live to about 70 years old and reach maturity when they are about 14
  • Trunks are not used for drinking with - water is sucked into them and then squirted into the elephant's mouth.
  • Elephants are covered in stiff hairs - it was quite weird touching and washing elephants as I had always assumed they have smooth skin. They don't - it's really rough and the hairs are really tough and inflexible.
  • Asian elephants are more closely related to the extinct mammoth than they are to African elephants. 
  • Because they are so large, adult African elephants have no predators other than man, elephant calves however can fall victim to lions and crocodiles. 
  • In many countries, elephants are viewed as a symbol of wisdom. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A flurry of a weekend with Etsy

Hurray! This weekend was another Etsy BNR by the British Sellers on Etsy Team. I curated twice for this one as I enjoyed curating last time and, being still fairly house-bound, didn't have much else to do. As I'd volunteered to curate fairly early on, I was featured in the initial line up which was great and I did say to myself I wasn't going to go mad and buy lots of things... 

I was bought out on Friday night when someone bought a bunny bag from me, and in total I made 4 sales in the BNR - a pink and a blue bunny bag, a wedding card and my green and blue mosaic pendant all went over the course of the weekend. My etsy store is now looking quite empty! 

 As always it was a great weekend and I really enjoyed chatting to fellow Etsians and browsing through their shops. Of course I bought back in (how else did I get so many sales?) Want to see some of the goodies that I'm looking forward to receiving? Well you get to see them anyway!

Love Altered Eras's steampunk hair clips - and she's making special ones for me! Yay!

House of Hampton are throwing in an extra set of Wine Charms for me as one of the special offers. Thank you! 

How gorgeous is this seaglass necklace by RainbowsOnTheBeach? Love!

Thought I would post photos of what I sold as well - just in case you've all forgotten what kind of things are available in my Etsy store...!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Silent Sunday ... on Tuesday (again!)

Sorry, I was away this weekend so I couldn't get my Silent Sunday post up. Here's what it would have been...

Friday, 5 August 2011

That Friday Feeling...05/08/2011

Today's theme is: RAINBOWS! It's been a bit of a weird week weatherwise - from getting sunburnt in my flat to sitting under a blanket shivering I think we've had it all since last Friday. And what happens when you get sunshine and rain? Rainbows of course. This week's Etsy shout outs are rainbow-coloured inspired and aren't they so cute? LOVE!

Rainbow sock-monkey is so cool! From Sunsetgirl

Who does not want a rainbow ninja? Super cute from Lilley

  • In order to see a rainbow you need to have your back to the sun - it's the effect of light being split through drops of water making the waves of light bounce off in different directions. You can only see a rainbow if your eye, the sun and the centre of the rainbow's arc are aligned. 
  • Rainbow was one of my favourite TV shows when I was a child - I liked Zippy best.
  • In Greek mythology the rainbow was used as a path between the Gods and Earth by the messenger Iris. In Norse mythology the rainbow is said to connect the two worlds of Humans and Gods. 
  • I have never understood the song 'I can sing a rainbow' - for a start the colours are in the wrong order but also how do you listen with your eyes? Just doesn't make sense to me...
  • A simple way to remember the colours of the rainbow is this mnemonic Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) You can also say: ROY G BIV 
  • It's possible to see a double rainbow - the colours of the outer rainbow will appear reversed. These are actually quite common but we don't look out for them most of the time. If you do see a double rainbow, promise me you won't have the reaction that the guy in this video does... Every time I see a rainbow now I think: 'What does this mean? It's so bright!' (I don't make the noises though!!)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

How to...Make GIFT-TAGS

This is a bit of a cheat How To... I was doing a bit of a sort out and came across a whole load of stickers I'd got from CraftCreations ages ago. It was a selection pack and to be honest I don't really like most of the stickers I'd got in the pack - they are a bit bright and gaudy for me as a rule. But then I got to thinking that actually I could use them on some quick gift tags. And having just come across some bits of card from years ago as well I thought I would combine them. So here is a very quick and easy (we're talking less than 5 mins) how to for you. 

Coloured card
Peel-Off Stickers
Hole punch
Corner punch

1) Use a craft knife to cut your card into a size that works for you (I didn't measure mine - but using the squares on my craft board they're about 7 squares by 5)

 2) Hole punch in one corner of the card piece. (Looking very easy so far, right?)
 3) I've got an embossing corner punch (that I NEVER use!) and used it to punch in each of the corners of my gift-tag making a softer, fancier edge.

4) Place the hole-punched corner into the top left and then put some stickers around the bottom and right-hand edge. The great thing about these stickers is that you can take them off without leaving marks so if you make a mistake or don't like it, you can re-do them!

 5) Thread some ribbon through the hold in the corner making sure you have enough to make a bow and have threads left over. Tie as if you are doing your shoelaces up.

6) Hold the bow together and pull the ends down so that you make a tight bow that has long ends. And voila! Your gift tags are done!

Obviously I didn't stop at one - as these take so little time, I made a few... Sorry the photos are a bit blurry - the light had gone by the time I got round to taking photos of them!


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