Monday, 30 January 2012

A Bit of Blog Lovin'

There are so many amazing blogs out there that I have found since I joined the blogging world myself. This month I would like to direct you towards Dana at I love her blog. It's an eclectic mix of crafts, fashion, living life to the fullest, aspirations, tutorials and inspiration. A fabulous all-round blog that always has something new to read and get interested in. I've been impressed by Dana's 'Granny-A-Day' series and have used her blog as a starting point for a lot of the grannie squares I've made myself over the past few months (although I could never actually make a granny a day!) I also like some of the other regular photo round-ups and features that Dana has regularly - What I wore and Happiness Is... are two that I look forward to seeing and I'm constantly impressed with how much Dana manages to make out of every week. She is always discovering new things, creating, making perceptive insights and just generally being a really interesting person. I look forward to seeing CraftyMinx's new blogposts - so go on, go and see what I mean. Fabulous blog and thank you Dana!

Friday, 27 January 2012

That Friday Feeling...27/01/12

Did you know that January 27th was Lewis Carroll's birthday? Well, now you do! Makes it easy for today's Friday Feeling theme - clearly I have been looking at Alice in Wonderland inspired works. I wasn't expecting 13 pages of items! I very definitely looked for British items this week; Alice is nothing if not quintessentially British. I'm occasionally a little jealous of Alice - wouldn't it be kind of great to visit Wonderland? Mad, but great all the same...

How cute is this teapot ring? by LunarraStar

And some great vintage-style notecards by craftypagan

  • The original Alice in Wonderland cartoon was released in the UK on 26th July 1951. It was released 2 days later in the US.
  • Lewis Carroll was actually Charles Ludwige Dodgson - he never publicly acknowledged it but did admit that he was Lewis Carroll to his pen friends.
  • Apparently, after reading 'Alice in Wonderland', Queen Victoria wrote to Dodgson asking to read more of his work - and was surprised to receive his latest publication on Mathematics. Dodgson denied this as urban myth so it probably never happened- but is amusing anyway!
  • Alice was based on Alice Liddell, whose family did own two cats, Dinah and Villikins. 
  • And the Dodo is allegedly a reference to Dodgson himself - he had a stammer and occasioanally said 'Do-do-dodgson'
  • Dodgson was primarily a mathematician at Christ Church College, Oxford. He was also a logician, Anglican Deacon and photographer. Must have been a very busy man!!
Thought I'd leave you with some Alice scenes... 

This is the original trailer for the 1951 cartoon: 

And this is the more recent Tim Burton trailer. Interesting how film advertising has changed...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Busy bee

Exciting news! I'm going to hopefully achieve one of my New Year's Resolutions in the next few weeks. I'm going to do my first craft fair. I've been making mosaics for 2 years now, have been on Etsy for a year... it's about time I pulled my socks up and actually went properly out into the wide world and did a fair (or two). So, if you are in South London on Sunday 25th March, then come along to the Balham Bowls Club where I will be along with a number of other artisans showcasing their work. You can find more details here:

Anyway, obviously the fact that the fair is happening fairly soon means that I have been as busy as a bee for the past week or so trying to get some things ready to sell. I've been mostly concentrating on mosaic pendants recently - my fingers are now shredded to pieces with tiny (and not so tiny) cuts. I thought I'd share some of my designs with you - hopefully some of you will give me some feedback! 

Oh, and if you particularly like one (or more) of these, then just let me know and I can list them in my Etsy shop for you.

Friday, 20 January 2012

That Friday Feeling...20/01/12

It always seems to be Friday before I am quite ready for it. And today I have only really just realised it's Friday and... what it's nearly midnight? How did that happen?

Anyway, it's been a busy busy busy week at Trouble HQ. I've been busy making mosaics all week - I'll try and take some photos so you can see some of the new designs I've made. But in the meantime... it's that Friday Feeling time. As I'm sure most of you know, it is Chinese New Year on Monday, so I thought that this week I would look for some Chinese New Year items on Etsy. Here are a few that took my fancy...

New Year's card by Lovingpaperdesigns

These butterflies by aboundingtreasures are made from paper with dragons on them. 
And I really like this T-shirt by happyfamily

I'm sure you all know plenty about the Lunar New Year (as it should be called), but here are some things that may interest you:
  • Chinese New Year is a 15 day long celebration starting on the first day of the new moon.
  • This year is the year of the dragon. There are 12 animals in the Chinese calendar: rat, ox, tiger, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog & pig. I was born in the year of the Monkey. Interestingly enough it was also one of the first things my mum called me ('You little monkey' - apparently the nurse was quite upset with my mum for calling me that) 
  • There are lots of different stories about why the years are named after those particular animals. The version I know is that the Jade Emperor called all the animals to a race to swim across the river. Only 12 animals managed to get across (some of them by cheating it should be noted). First was the rat, then the ox and tiger etc. 
  • In China, at the end of the year, people burn a paper image of the Kitchen God - the Kitchen God will go and report to the Jade Emperor upon the family's behaviour over the past year and decide whether they deserve good fortune in the upcoming year.
  • Fireworks are let off to scare away the old year. Doors and windows are also left open so that the old year has a way to exit. 
  • Different foods symbolise different things - for example bamboo is eaten to symbolise wealth, peanuts signify long life, tangerines mean luck. Fresh tofu is NOT eaten at New Year as it's white colour signifies death and misfortune.
  • As it's the year of the dragon I thought I'd include a dragon themed video. I was going to put in the song 'Puff the Magic Dragon' but it is possibly the most irritating song I've heard all week so instead you get the trailer to 'How to Train Your Dragon' - I really like the film. If you haven't seen it, it's quite cute. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Reading a Little...January

For some reason I haven't given any book recommendations for a while. I guess I had better remedy that and get back into my monthly round-ups. I have read lots of books recently that I wouldn't necessarily recommend to anyone, but among the less exciting ones, I have found a few good reads for you...

Heart Burn - Nora Ephron
A short novel based (very transparently) on the writer's own personal experiences of divorce and breaking up. I'm not usually into these 'girly' reads, but actually this was a humourous take on what is essentially a really awful emotional roller-coaster. I enjoyed it; it's a very quick read and is a definite recommended read for those who have been through a break-up recently. Ephron manages to capture the sense of sadness, anger, upset, disbelief, incomprehension and all the other emotions that newly-singles feel with such a great touch of humour and cynicism that I was laughing for the most part.

The Black Dahlia - James Ellroy

I'm not really sure how to review this - it is incredibly violent, quite graphic and very bleak. A True Crime novel based on the real 'Black Dahlia' - Elizabeth Short whose body was found mutilated in Los Angeles in January 1947.  In reality the killer was never found, and is still a mystery - every time it is mentioned, people come forward claiming they were the murderer. The novel  revolves around the LAPD and two officers' quests to find the killer. Both are ex-boxers, both in love with the same girl, both horribly affected by the killing. It's a well-written novel that did have me wanting to read, but I found the subject matter really disturbing and I would not recommend it as bedtime reading. I can't say I enjoyed or disliked it - I found the writing good and there were a number of unsuspected twists and turns in the plot - most of which I totally did not expect, some of which had clues planted much earlier that were half forgotten. However, I'm not really into graphic violence and found it a little too much to cope with.

Eragon - Christopher Paolini

Much easier to review! I really enjoyed this. It may be something to do with the fact that there were dragons and magic, and you may have picked up that I quite like my fantasy books. Eragon lives in Alagaesia, a land ruled by Galbatorix - a king who believes more in subjecting his people to his whims than in their well-being. As Eragon is hunting he comes across a bright blue stone - which turns out to be a dragon's egg. What ensues is the pursuit of Eragon by the King's henchmen, narrow escapes, quick paced adventures and friendships made (and lost). Eragon grows in both maturity and skills as he makes his way and tries to determine his fate, although in reality his fate is determined the day that Saphira, his dragon, breaks out of her egg. It is the first of 4 novels about Alagaesia by Paolini and I will definitely be reading the next ones.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

That Friday Feeling... (on Saturday)

The Christmas period is definitely over. Actually tonight is Old Russian New Year and there are still a few fireworks going off outside, but for most of us we're back at work, nose to the grindstone.
I was wondering what this week's theme should be when I read that the first six miles of the London Underground was opened this week in 1863. I love the art you see on the underground so thought that I'd see what Etsy had to offer... 

Fabulous badge by ChloeLeeCarson

I could probably do with one of these - a tube map cushion by HuntedandStuffed
And this tube blanket by Verdurebydesign is super cute too!

Well, there's a wealth of information about the Underground - or Tube as we prefer to call it. Here are a few:

  • Only two tube stations have all 5 vowels in them - took me forever to work them out, but they are: Mansion House and South Ealing. 
  • The phrase 'Mind the Gap' was first used on the Northern Line
  • The first section of the Tube was part of what is now the Hammersmith & City line - the section between Paddington and Farringdon.
  • From Mile End station you can get anywhere in London with only one line change.
  • There are 270 stations - but only 29 of them are South of the River Thames, and there are 402 escalators.
  • Only one person has been born on the tube - in 1924. Her name was apparently Thelma Ursula Beatrice Eleanor (look at the initials)
  • Tube stations were used as bomb shelters during the Blitz.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The week so far...

Sometimes you have a fabulous few days. This week has mostly featured those so far...

First of all, the lovely Katie of Katiedidonline featured me as her 'Meet the Maker' Artist which I am thrilled to bits about. You can view her post here.

And at work things have definitely been quite good too - as many of you know I am a full-time teacher so all my crafts and projects are done after-hours. But there are definitely perks to my job - on Monday we got to go ice-skating... yes 60 total beginners aged 10 on slippery ice. It was a lot of fun and the kids loved it (I always love ice-skating: it's one of my favourite sports!)

But it doesn't stop there... today we went on another trip. You may remember that, a few months back, one of the books I recommended was War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (you can see the post here). And that book has recently been made into a film... which doesn't open at cinemas across the UK until this Friday. But guess who got to take their class to Leicester Square this morning to have a viewing? Yup, we did. And even better - Michael Morpurgo himself was there to answer questions about the book and being a writer afterwards, as was Jeremy Irvine, the actor who plays Albert, one of the lead characters in the book. I can't say it was amazing - I'm not really into war films and there were definitely bits that I wasn't that keen on, but I did enjoy it, and more importantly the kids loved it. As one of them said afterwards 'That was bear cool Miss, that was, like, the sickest trip we've ever been on.' (Bear & Sick both mean awesome/cool/brilliant/great)

Anyway, obviously we were in a darkened room, I only had my phone camera, they were quite far away from us... but here are a few photos I managed to take.

 I hope the rest of the week goes as well as the first few days have!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Did you get any crafty gifts this Christmas? I did incredibly well - not only did I get a few dress patterns (one of my '30 goals for 30 years' goals about to be achieved), but I received not one, not two, but THREE Cath Kidston books. And even more amazingly - they are all different!

So now I am the proud owner of:


Woohooo! Well I guess you know what I have been up to for the past few days...?

Of course you can. I've been starting on Cath Kidston projects. Each of these books comes with a starter project ready to get to work on - so naturally I started with those. I haven't got hold of any bondaweb as yet for the MAKE! craft applique project but what do you think of the other two bags I've made this week?

The blue floral one is now my 'work in progress' knitting bag and the patchwork one is my flatmate's one - so we both have something to put our evening projects in - happy days! It was quite satisfying to see that I make bunny bags correctly - they have the same pattern as the great Cath's patchwork bag! I'm quite looking forward to getting some bondaweb so that I can try out some applique next...

Friday, 6 January 2012

That Friday Feeling...06/01/12

It's the First Friday of 2012! And, as well as being the birthday of two very good friends (who sadly tend to celebrate on the same day and I'm always torn between the two), it is also 12th Night - the final day of the Christmas season, the day all the decorations need to be taken down and the day that the 3 Kings allegedly arrived at the stable. So, in order to brush away those winter blues, today's Friday Feeling is... a demure celebration - we're still recovering from Christmas and New Year for all-out partying so here are some pretty 'celebration' items I've found. I've probably done this theme before, but you know what I love about Etsy? All the work there changes regularly so these are still new items!

Something I should remember every day! Eye Exam by Thegoofymuse

Like the feel of this photo by Maddenphotography

And I want cupcakes served in these holders please! By welldressedcupcakes

On This Day...

  • Nigella Lawson, Rowan Atkinson and Joan of Arc were all born on 6th January (obviously not in the same year)
  • Maria Montessori opened her first school in Rome in 1907.
  • Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves.
  • Harold Godwinson was crowned King of England - shame he didn't last long as King though...
  • Pink Floyd were at Number 1 with 'Another Brick in the Wall' on January 6th 1980. (It's the year I was born, not just a random year) I thought I'd add the video of it because... well just because!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Using up the last of the Turkey...

Anyone STILL trying to eat up all their leftover turkey? If you are - I'm so sorry, you must be totally sick of it by now! But not to fear; I have a solution for you...

Jamie Oliver's Asian-Inspired Turkey Salad is absolutely DEEEE-licious!  I saw one of his Christmas shows and this recipe really took my fancy. As I'm in the fortunate position not to have cooked the turkey or have weeks of leftovers, I used chicken thigh fillets instead - I just cooked them first before starting the recipe. Anyway, I'll stop waffling - try it, try it, try it! It's absolutely fabulous. Oh and just in case you can't work it out from the picture, the recipe is here: Jamie's Asian-Inspired Turkey Salad

My new favourite recipe - it has loads of yummy flavours in it and I could just drink the dressing!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Etsy Treasury

I made a new treasury on Etsy this week -  I haven't made one in a while so thought it was about time I did. I love the idea of nail varnish socks and really liked the little house pendant. Click on the photo to go to the original treasury and be able to click on any of the items or see any of the shops listed. 


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