Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday Fun and the Start of School Holidays

image upcycled book paper flower folded button

Yes, it is almost that time of year holidays!  While many parents might dread the two weeks of entertaining bored and increasingly irritable small people, I quite enjoy the luxury of being able to sleep in and not having to worry about clean uniforms or lunch boxes.  School holidays are also the time when I let my cheeky monkeys try out all the craft projects or other activities which they have been eyeing eagerly during the term time.
Of course we won't have as much time to craft this holidays as the monkeys will be attending our church's annual winter holidays program during the first week of the holidays.  But, we have already made a start at some interesting crafty tutorials since monkey #2 officially started her holidays yesterday afternoon.

image folded paper flower button accordion upcycled book vintage
Monkey #2's attempt at a folded flower.

I have been wanting to make folded paper flowers for some time, but I only finally did it after reading this post over on the Striving to be More blog.  These flowers were really, really easy to make and monkey #2 even managed to make one by herself; the only help I gave her was to work the glue gun and remind her to pay attention so the folds didn't go (too) wonky.  In fact, I didn't even bother to score the paper prior to folding, although that step might be necessary if you are using thick scrapbooking paper.  So now that I have started making folded paper flowers, I think I will be making a stack more using various papers.  I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet, most likely they will end up as embellishments on hand made cards or as gift toppers.  Happy school holidays!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Fun With Trims

I've had some fun adding sewing trims to some of my creations this week, with several new doily buntings getting a splash of colour via pretty, vintage rick rack and bias tape, and a few of my locket necklaces gaining a little more cuteness with the addition of lace bows.  And if you thought locket necklaces couldn't get any sweeter, these have been inset with a snippet of Pride and Prejudice bearing Mr Darcy's name.  I had a lot of fun making the locket necklaces and can't wait to make some more for my stores!  What have you been making this week?

1. Mr Darcy locket
2. Lucille bunting
3. Annabelle bunting
4. Edith bunting

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Things I Love...Old Typewriters

I know it might seem strange for someone who loves technology and is highly attached to her computers to be obssessed with vintage typewriters, but I am and I can trace this to my mum.  I grew up playing with mum's old typewriter (I can't remember it's make or model, it may have been a Sears) which she had bought with some of her first pay packet back in the late '60s.  I loved clunking away on the heavy keys, writing all sorts of notes and stories to myself and other family members.  And now I dream of owning my very own glossy, vintage typewriter - I can just see myself typing out customer addresses to jazz up my packaging!


Monday, 25 June 2012

A Grieving Heart - One Year On

A year ago, my life, and the lives of my family, were turned upside down in a way which left us reeling.  You see, a year ago, my dad somewhat unexpectedly lost his battle with cancer, leaving us all bereft of this humble and godly man's presence in our lives.  It is a loss with which I am still coming to terms; one which will probably take many years to deal with and comprehend. 
But even though I don't understand why my dad was taken from us so soon, I am thankful for everyone who tried to comfort us in our time of need.  And I am especially thankful that I have God in my life, as well as the wider church family.  I know my despair would have been even greater had it not been for God's presence in my life.
How can I say this?  Because I truly believe the Bible's assertion that God "comforts us in all our troubles" and that "through Christ our comfort overflows" (2 Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 4-5).  Even though I miss my dad every day and am reminded of him in so many little ways, and even though I sometimes struggle with the knowledge that I may never find out the reason for my pain (at least not in this lifetime), I still know God's comfort, be it either through what the Bible has to say or simply through the various people he has put in my life who actively seek to comfort and encourage me or my family in whatever way they can.  I also know that my dad is now in a better place, where he is at peace forever, and I'll take our loss for him to have that gain.
So thank you to all of you who have prayed for us, commented on posts, sent emails/cards/gifts, cooked meals or simply been a friend.  You have touched me with your compassion for my suffering, and I thank God for each and every one of you.

Friday, 22 June 2012

A Little Inspiration...Rick Rack

With winter well and truly making itself felt in Melbourne, the two cheeky monkeys seem to be stuck in an ongoing cycle of illness (caught from their caring sharing friends at school and kindergarten).  Mr Cheeky Monkeys and I are currently seriously sleep-deprived after two nights of constantly waking up to help monkey #2, who has caught a flu-like virus that is exacerbating her asthma.  Of course, caring for a sick little one, trying to keep the other little one healthy and trying to function with little sleep has meant that my creating efforts this week have been seriously derailed.  All I have managed in the last few days is to drool over gorgeous supplies for sale and dream of the creations I can make with them.  And at the moment I am highly enamoured of rick rack; it's such a cute embellishment for any sewing project and comes in a great range of colours, sizes and designs.  Do you love rick rack?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My Creative Space

image secret keeper rings locket vintage cabochon flower leaf Two Cheeky Monkeys

I've had a lot of fun making my range of Secret Keeper rings for Two Cheeky Monkeys; so much fun that I made one each for myself and the two cheeky monkeys!  My monkeys had a lot of fun choosing which teeny vintage cabochon they wanted on their ring and I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the vintage brass of the miniature lockets complemented the aged copper patina of the ring bands on their rings.  My ring is the one in the middle, made to match a headband I made for myself a while ago.  So what do you think?  Do you love the cuteness of the tiny lockets combined with the mini cabochons?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Monday Inspiration

image bouquet flowers floral buttons vintage brooches collage

The weather has been pretty dreary and cold in Melbourne (with the beautiful exception of last Saturday), so today's post is a little collage of prettiness to add some cheer to your day.  Enjoy!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Street Art Two Cheeky Monkeys Style

Just a quick post today as it's been a bit of a nightmare week chez Two Cheeky Monkeys, with all sorts of comings and goings and minor dramas to manage.  Even though it has been a tough week for me, I have had a little smile every time I saw my monkeys' "street art" in our backyard (until the rain washed it away last night).  I grew up a little enthralled, but wary, of chalk because my parents hated the mess we made with it and only allowed its use outside (and not very often even then seeing as I spent my first seven years living in an apartment complex so there wasn't an "outside" on which we could draw).
But since having my own children, I have found that chalk is a great way of entertaining them and getting them outside into the sunshine, especially once they're past the stage where the desire to eat the chalk is stronger than the desire to use it!  My cheeky monkeys love drawing, and being allowed to draw on a non-standard "canvas" is super exciting to them.  In fact, I often have to stop them from getting too carried away and "decorating" the outside walls as well!  So tell me, do the little people you know love to draw with chalk?  Do they come up with the most fantastical and amusing drawings?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

My Creative Space

image shirred short sleeve top blouse Tanya Whelan pattern Paisley Garden fabric Secret Garden by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller
Cheeky monkey #2 being a monster while posing - don't you love her over-use of "layering" in her outfits? LOL.

I know I mentioned it way back in March, but I finally found the time to blog about the shirred tops I made for the two cheeky monkeys (and, cough cough, it might have taken me almost two months to cut out the pattern pieces and finish sewing them together).  This is the first time I've tried making anything other than simple gathered skirts for the girls and I was a little nervous.  Firstly, this was quality cotton fabric I was using for their tops and I didn't want to waste it!  And secondly, I've never sewn a top for anyone (unless you count the pyjama top I made way back in high school art class with the teacher's supervision), much less sewn a top requiring shirring!

image shirred short sleeve top blouse Tanya Whelan pattern Cynthia in Blue fabric Dena Designs for Free Spirit
Cheeky monkey #1 only agreed to pose for me if I promised not to put the photo on Facebook, LOL.  And then she proceeded to show me how she sits and smiles at school, oh dear!

I think I did an okay job of the tops, although I did have a few issues with the pattern I used (specifically, the pattern pieces not fitting on the fabric the way the pattern instructed and a few odd seams in the pattern).  Anyway, I just kind of fudged my way around the pattern issues and the girls are pretty pleased with their new tops.  In fact, monkey #2 was so pleased with hers that she insisted on wearing it to kindergarten!  What have you been making this week?  Have you tried anything new?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Creating For Oneself

image vintage doily scarf hand dyed purple teal turquoise lime green mauve blue

"I don't often make things for myself, I'm always creating for my store or for friends and family." is a statement I often hear from my creative friends.  It's a trap that I sometimes fall into, although I have been rectifying that quite frequently of late!  But this latest creation has been a long time in the coming.  Although I've been selling vintage doily scarves in my Domum Vindemia stores for about a year now, I haven't made one for myself until this week.  Now that the winter weather is here to stay in Melbourne, I thought that I really needed something to "lift" my usually dark and/or winter-palette wardrobe.
So here I am attempting to model my new scarf while taking a self-portrait, pitiful, right?  LOL.  I am really loving the combination of purples, lime green and turquoises/teals this year and this scarf should match most of my outfits (with the exception of my red outfits).  I haven't got a name for my scarf yet, but am thinking something along the lines of "Vineyard" or "Evening Jewels".  What do you think?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Work in Progress - Pride and Prejudice

image faceted glass chandelier teardrops pride and prejudice mr darcy Elizabeth Bennet vintage book text

It appears that we haven't become fully immune to all the current cold viruses floating around Melbourne since both cheeky monkeys were sick again last week with sniffly colds.  This has meant that creative time was severely reduced last week while "enforcing rest and recovery" time increased (because my children scoff at the medical belief that rest aids in recovery).  I did manage to get a new line of creations started, as you can see above.  No, your eyesight isn't going, the text does look warped and fractured!  Why?  Because I've been playing with faceted chandelier-style glass drops and my trusty vintage copies of Pride and Prejudice.  Can you guess what I'm going to make with these glass drops? 

Friday, 1 June 2012

Lace Headband Tutorial

image lace ribbon headband pastel blue

I have been wanting to post more craft tutorials on my blog and decided to add a few simple tutorials which would be easy enough to try with either children or those who don't think they're very "crafty" or "creative".  This tutorial is really, really simple and can be used to turn lace ribbon, sewing trim or your favourite fabric ribbon into a headband in about twenty minutes.  And there is even a "no sew" option for those of you who are afraid of needles!

Lace ribbon (you could also use sewing trim or ribbon)
Elastic hair band
Thread to match the lace
Sewing needle or sewing machine
Fabric glue (for those who are fond of the "no sew" options)

image lace ribbon floral thread hair elastic

1. Cut a length of lace to fit around your head; this will allow you enough lace to fold and neaten the edges over the hair elastic.

image sewing lace ribbon on to a hair elastic using a sewing machine

2. Fold one end of your lace to hide the raw edge and then carefully loop the neatened end over your hair elastic and sew down to secure.  You can use your sewing machine or hand sew the end in place, which ever works best for you.  If you are really averse to sewing, you can glue the end down with fabric glue.

image attaching lace ribbon to a hair elastic to make a headband

3. Next, fold over the other end of the lace ribbon in the same way and pin it in place around the hair elastic.  VERY CAREFULLY put the headband on (don't pin yourself!) to determine if the length is correct.  You will probably find that the headband is a little loose due to the elasticity of the hair band.  Now CAREFULLY remove the headband and adjust the length as required.  Test for fit, then sew the loose end in place.

image lace ribbon headband pastel blue hair elastic accessories

4. And there you have it, one lace headband which will pretty up those "bad hair" days as well as adding a touch of femininity to your overall look for the day.