Thursday, 31 January 2013

What's New - Necklaces and Cake Buntings

I've survived the school holidays and the two cheeky monkeys are back into the school routine (with youngest monkey starting primary school this year)!  I am hoping all of this means that you will see a lot more of me here on the blog, I've had lots of blog post ideas over the holidays but just haven't had the time to work on them.  But although I haven't been able to blog much, I have managed to find some time here and there to work on new creations for my stores.  So what's new?  Let me show you!!!
image doily cake buntings mini wedding bridal birthday white pink yellow
The first new range I've developed is my range of mini doily cake buntings.  I know cake buntings have been around for a while, but I thought I would put a twist on the design by using mini doilies as the bunting "flags".  A natural progression to make from my regular doily buntings, don't you think?
image precious metal bar necklaces aurum niobium titanium vanadium blue silver gold purple
My second new range for the summer is the Precious Metals necklace range.  I have had these gorgeously sparkly beads sitting around for several months and was loath to part with them, but I think these beads take my bar necklace range to another level!
image filigree and cab necklaces brass copper silver orange blue turquoise yellow vintage
Lastly, I also worked on a filigree and cabochon necklace range.  I've made a few of these for my stores in the past, and I decided they were popular enough to create a larger range of necklaces.  So what do you think?  Do you love everything you see or do you have colour suggestions for me?  All three of my new ranges are available in both my Etsy and Madeit stores - just follow the links on the sidebar!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Hanging With Animals

image melbourne zoo montage butterfly major mitchell cockatoo long necked turtle seal zebra jabiru giant tortoise koala emu

Last week I finally took the two cheeky monkeys to have some fun at the Melbourne Zoo as I'd promised.  I've never made such a long trip with them on my own before (we spent pretty much the entire day at the zoo), but we all survived!  And even better, we had our friends from Chibi Run come along with us for the day too.  I love visiting zoos, I think it's the scientist in me, and the monkeys did have lots of fun when they weren't bickering with each other or asking me if I had any more food in my bag (the joys of parenthood).
The cheeky monkeys have only visited two major zoos in their short lives, and they still like Singapore Zoo the best (except for the humidity!), but I think this year might be the year we make the effort to visit the other two main zoos in our home state, the Werribee Zoo and Healseville Sanctuary.  Do you have a favourite zoo near to your home?

Friday, 25 January 2013

Happy Australia Day!

To all my Australian readers and friends, I wish you all a happy Australia Day for tomorrow!  I know having a national holiday occur on a weekend is a bit anti-climactic for many, but I am really looking forward to having a few child-free days (got to love my mum!) as well as generally enjoying a long weekend right before the craziness of the school year begins.  So in honour of our national day, I thought I would share some Aussie-made creations featuring some of my favourite Australian fauna.  How will you be celebrating this year?
image platypus plushie softie toy
image rainbow lorikeet photograph photo print
image wombat purse zipper

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Things I Love

image monogram fabric french knots yellow grey white retro fourteen countess
Although I do not tackle embroidery patterns very often, and can be known to moan and whinge throughout an embroidery project, I am a keen admirer of other people's embroidery work.  I stumbled across this amazing creation by Fourteen Countess the other day and wow, I am astonished at the number of French knots used!  And I'm not just astounded by the fact that every stitch used is a French knot, but also by the fact that the monogram stitching has been done in a colourway which beautifully mimcs the background fabric.  I can't even begin to imagine how much effort this piece would have taken to create, but maybe, just maybe, one day I might get the courage to try something similar...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Learning To Sew

With another one and a half weeks still to go of school holidays, I have been busily thinking up ways to entertain the two cheeky monkeys.  Amdist a flurry of outings and playdates, there are times when one child or other doesn't have anything organised and ends up at home (and bored) with mum.  This was the case for cheeky monkey #1 last week, so I decided to finally honour my promise to teach her how to sew with my sewing machine.
She was a little nervous about getting stabbed by the machine's needle (which was not helped by my exclamation of pain when I accidentally stabbed myself with the quilting pins), but she was eager to tackle the very simple sleeping bag design I devised for her.  And when I say simple, I mean simple!  We sewed two rectangles of fabric together, turned the whole thing right sides out, ironed it, folded one end two thirds of the way up, then simply top stitched around the edges to create the bag shape.  And voila, I had one very happy little girl and a favourite soft toy had somewhere to sleep.  Really, the only problem we had with the whole exercise was that, once monkey #1 got over her fear of being stabbed by a needle, she was a bit of a lead foot with the sewing machine pedal.  Better warn Mr Cheeky Monkeys about that lead foot tendency before he has to teach her how to drive!!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Introducing a New Stockist - The Bower Bird Project

I realised the other day that with the flurry of Christmas preparations and various end of year concerts and parties, I completely forgot to tell you all about a wonderful new stockist of Domum Vindemia and Two Cheeky Monkeys products!  So without further ado, let me introduce you to The Bower Bird Project.

The Bower Bird Project is a New South Wales-based, bricks and mortar store full of upcycled and vintage-styled creations by various artists and craftspeople.  It is run by Leanne, a lovely online friend I met through the Aussie DUST team on Etsy, who is herself a very talented creator of hand-dyed wearables and accessories.
The Bower Bird Project is currently stocking my dictionary page prints, buntings and P&P buttons, so if you're anywhere near Long Jetty, NSW, drop in for a visit and enjoy the host of amazing creations instore.  Leanne is also working on setting up an online version of The Bower Bird Project, so keep watching the store's Facebook page for updates.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Organising a Craft Mess

image ikea cube shelves shelving craft storage solution

Thankfully, most of you have never seen my messy (or well-used as I think of it) craft desk and storage areas.  It really isn't a pretty sight and the messiness probably hampers my creativity and slows me down.  I have been slowly trying to rectify this problem, but with unsuitable storage space, my darling husband finally put his foot down and bought me a large cubbyhole-type bookcase from Ikea.

image vintage wardrobe brown doors

I won't go into the amount of effort (and complaining on my part) it took us to get my vintage storage wardrobe emptied of craft supplies and out of our house, but it was worth it to get all that free space for my new shelving!  I haven't perfectly organised all my fabric, bead supplies and vintage crockery into my new shelves as yet, but the temporary arrangement shown above is already working much better than my previous system (or lack thereof).  Plus the two cheeky monkeys and I had a load of fun printing out labels for my craft boxes with our Brother P-touch labeller.
On a side note, if anyone is in the Melbourne area and would love to have this old wardrobe to upcycle, please contact me and it could be yours free of charge!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Where in the world?

image map of the world countries i've sold to

Over the past Christmas and new year period I was pleased to find that my stores were reaching new customers from countries to which I have never sent my handmade creations (or visited for that matter).  This got me thinking about the various countries I've sent my items to in my three years of selling my handmade creations, and of course, I just had to map it out after that!
As expected, I have had a lot of Australian customers - thank you for shopping local my lovely Aussie fans!  I have also, not unexpectedly, had a lot of US customers due to the fact that Etsy is a US-based site.  But I have also had customers from Asia, Africa and Europe, including customers from locales I have been longing to visit (for example, Paris).
It is lovely to think about Domum Vindemia and Two Cheeky Monkeys creations dotted around the world and know that my creations have gone to beautiful places I may never get to visit myself!  Have you ever had a blog reader or handmade customer from a fascinating country or city?

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bias, Bias and More Bias...Tape That Is!

image bias tape polka dot blue white make your own

Do you remember this post all the way back from last year (he he he) when I said that I was going to challenge my sewing skills this summer?  Well, I was pretty keen to get started on the bias tape making, and now that I've started, it's getting hard to stop!  So far I have made bias tapes from both modern and vintage fabric, I've used cotton and polycotton fabrics and I've made bias tapes cut on the bias and along the grain of the fabric (which is fine for sewing in straight lines or corners, but is it technically bias tape?)

image make your own bias tape vintage bed sheet linent green rose lime white

These first two bias tapes are destined to be turned into doily and book page buntings for Domum Vindemia, although I am also toying with the idea of offering several meteres of bias tape in a blog giveaway.  What do you think?  The bias tape below was made to complement the faux bois fabrics I chose for my fabric envelope (see below for a sneak peek).

image bias tape aqua white floral dais aqua pretty little things by Dena Designs Free Spirit

The only real problem I have had with my bias tape making is the tendency to forget to measure accurately and properly before cutting into the fabric.  The first lot of bias tape I made was mis-measured because I wasn't paying attention.  This meant that the inner folds of the bias tape ended up very narrow, making the tape kind of hard to use!  But I'm glad to have finally learned this very useful sewing technique - I think it's going to add a new level to my creative pursuits.

image fabric envelope faux bois fabric black and white turquoise and brown

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My Creative Space

image vinyl tubing bangle bracelet jewellery jewelry glitter beads
The cheeky monkeys and I have been madly compiling crafting ideas to keep us occupied for the entire 6-7 weeks of school summer holidays and I promise I will try to share our successes (or failures) as we go.  This week we made glitter and bead bangles inspired by similar bangles I used to wear when I was growing up in the 1980s.
I am sure there are lots of blog tutorials and DIY posts out there showing one how to make one of these bangles, but I wasn't 100 percent happy with the one I found (all items made for my cheeky monkeys need to be SUPER sturdy), so I will hopefully share a tutorial with you in the next week or so.  What do you think?  Do these vinyl bangles bring back fond childhood memories?