Monday, 8 February 2016

Happy Chinese New Year!

Indeed yes, a happy Chinese new year to you all!  The Cheeky Monkeys family has already kicked off celebrations with a small family get together yesterday and plans to attend other functions such as our church's semi-annual Chinese new year bring and share dinner and some local festivities held by our local council.

While I don't follow the superstitions that traditionally come with Chinese new year and its celebrations, I still think it's fun to wish you all a happy year of the Monkey especially to those of you who are Monkeys!  If you're wondering if you are a Monkey or not, those turning a multiple of 12 this year are all considered to have been born in "the year of the Monkey".  So a happy year of the Monkey from the Two Cheeky Monkeys family!

Image source: Smallest monkey sculpture - gbtimes

Friday, 5 February 2016

DIY Roundup: Faux Agate or Geode Slices From Polymer Clay

Geodes, semiprecious stones, dyed agate slices - it seems that this love for all things from the bowels of the earth, be they naturally or otherwise coloured is still on trend!  And here at Two Cheeky Monkeys HQ, we are having a tonne of fun trying our hand at making our own faux agate and geode slices out of polymer clay.  The beauty of making your own faux stone is that you can make it any range of colours and sizes to suit your needs.  Here are some of my favourite tutorials, enjoy.

image tutorial diy faux agate slice geode semiprecious stone polymer clay

2. Vikalph

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Sweet Vintage Ear Studs

image vintage rhinestone earrings ear studs emerald green two cheeky monkeys teardrop

Today I am introducing what may possibly be my absolute favourite addition of all time to Two Cheeky Monkeys!  These cute little teardrop studs are pieces I have been wanting to include in my Glam It Up vintage rhinestone range since day one, but have kept putting off in favour of other designs.

image vintage rhinestone earrings ear studs emerald green two cheeky monkeys teardrop handmade crystal sapphire blue

Well,  finally got my wish to create these sweeties over the school summer break and I am loving them so much that I want one of very colour!  These earrings currently come in sapphire blue, emerald green and crystal clear, but I will hopefully add other colours and shapes to the range in the near future.  What do you think?

image vintage rhinestone earrings ear studs crystal clear handmade two cheeky monkeys teardrop

Monday, 1 February 2016

Stash Busting Drink Bottle Carriers

So the other week I rashly promised to make the Cheeky Monkeys a little drink bottle carrier each.  It was sparked by end of school holidays nostalgia (am I the only parent who revels in the school holidays lack of routine and chores???) and a long grocery shopping trip where they carried large backpacks simply so they wouldn't have to carry their drink bottles in their hands.

image drink bottle bag carrier tote star wars fabric red spotty fabric

Anyway, I remembered that there was a cute bottle carrier pattern in my Tilda book, Sew Sunny Homestyle and I set to work after the Monkeys chose their fabrics from my stash (this project is easily made with a few fat quarters).  I decided to alter the pattern a little to strengthen the bottle carrier, though this actually added headaches to the bag construction and sizing, and also led to headaches, a lot of unpicking and a lot of head to sewing table banging.

image drink bottle bag carrier tote star wars fabric red spotty fabric

However, I survived the process, and my Monkeys are very happy with their new (slightly wonky) drink bottle bags!  What do you think?  Do you love their fabric choices?  I forgot to take a photo of the lining fabrics, but they both chose (with my help) some sweet fabric which nicely complemented the outer designs.  Perhaps now that I know what I'm doing, I'll have to make one for myself...

Friday, 29 January 2016

Tote bags from bed sheets

image voltron tote bag bed sheet linen upcycled

A very quick post today whilst I am revelling in the back to school freedom (I say freedom, but really, I spend all my time washing uniforms and making lunches now; it's easier in many ways not to have the Monkeys at school).  A little while back I received a commission to create tote bags out of vintage Voltron bedlinen, a challenge I found intriguing and accepted.  These are now finished and are about to head off to my friend and customer, a mad keen Voltron fan.  She will be then sending these off as thank you gifts to those who have been reviewing her Voltron fan fiction writings.  What a fun idea!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Literary Elegance

image jane eyre necklace asymmetrical glass pearls white cream two cheeky monkeys

I've been reading a lot lately about creating cohesive collections when running jewellery or homewares or clothing,etc stores and this was an idea which really stuck with me.  It's been something I've been thinking about for a while, so to see it stressed to me in several different ways was great for my summer holiday-addled brain.

image jane eyre necklace asymmetrical swarovski crystal pearls burgundy two cheeky monkeys

Something I've really been thinking about is creating more statement pieces for my literature jewellery range.  I have the floral and bedazzled cuff bangles which draw a lot of attention online and at markets, but I wanted something more.  So, while enjoying the Australian Open tennis tournament in the comfort of my home, I've been slowly re-stocking my (until now) sold out asymmetrical cameo necklace range.

image mr darcy necklace jane austen asymmetrical moonstone beads beaded two cheeky monkeys

I've gone with the perennial favourites of Jane Eyre and Mr Darcy for character names, but will hopefully add other characters to the range, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Shirley and Atticus Finch.  I think these necklaces are perfect for a wedding or a more formal night out on the town, although I think some of the customers who bought previous versions of these necklaces are planning to wear them whenever they want to!  What do you think?  Are these more for elegant functions, or would you wear them on the school run, grocery shopping or at a casual brunch out with the girls?

Monday, 25 January 2016

School Holiday Experiments - Colouring Celery Stalks

Although the summer school holidays always seem to fly by, they are kind of long with a whopping six weeks of no school (for those of us who can't afford private school education).  So after all of our various Christmas and new year functions are done and dusted, I start organising the various activities which will entertain the Cheeky Monkeys.

image food colouring and celery overnight soak

One very successful and entertaining activity has been the tried and true experiment of attempting to dye flowers and vegetables with food dye.  Not only is this a fun activity for kids of all ages because they get to play with water and food dye, but it is a great visual demonstration of how watering our plants (and contaminating their water source) affects them.

So, what do you do?  It's all very simple and only needs a few supplies and ingredients.

- large drinking glasses or medium-large jam jars
- food safe dye
- celery stalks with leaves (I recommend using the younger stalks closer to the centre of a celery bunch as the leaves are lighter in colour and will give better colour results)

image food colouring and celery

1. Grab your drinking glasses or jam jars and fill them about half way with water.
2. Decide what colour(s) you are going to use to dye your celery.  If you're using regular food dye from the supermarket (like we did), I would recommend adding 5-10 drops of dye to your water (we had about 200ml water).  Mix colour in well.
3. Cut your celery stalk cleanly; to reduce the risk of toppling your jar or drinking glass, make sure not to leave too long a section of stem.  Put the celery stalk into the coloured water and leave on your kitchen bench or dining table.

image food colouring and celery 4-5 hour soak
After 4-6 hours, the tinge of colour in the celery leaves is very noticeable.

4. This is the part that requires PATIENCE.  You won't see any noticeable change for at least an hour, maybe more if your dye concentration is quite weak.
If you briefly remove the stalk from the water, you should start to notice the base of the celery stem starting to colour as the water is drawn up into the stalk.
After a few hours you should definitely notice the celery leaves starting to take on a coloured tinge.
If you leave your celery stalks overnight, as we did, you will wake up in the morning to find brightly-coloured leaves in shades you don't normally find in celery!  Not only that, you should definitely see streaks of colour on the edges of the stalk and smaller celery stems.

image food colouring and celery overnight soak
Leave your celery in the coloured water overnight and you will see very bright results the next morning!
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