Wednesday, 31 July 2013

$15 or Less - the Domum Vindemia Spring Clean

The remarkable thing about my method of scheduling blog posts a week in advance is that, when I wrote Monday's post, I didn't realise that when the post was live, I would be in the throes of a rather nasty sinus infection.  And even as I write this post, partially recovered from my illness, I wonder how I managed to get so much creating done last week!

image domum vindemia cecily cupcake stand dessert floral flowers roses pink red gold white party favour wedding

Anyway, sitting in my messier than usual home got me thinking that I really needed to start my Spring cleaning a little early this year.  Therefore, I have decided to hold a quick sale on Domum Vindemia cupcake and dessert stands!  Discounted items are $15 or less, so if you have been wanting some vintage fun for your parties, now is the time to act.  You could also be super organised and purchase birthday and Christmas presents for the rest of the year!  And for those of you who haven't heard, new postage conditions mean that all cupcake and dessert stands mailed within Australia will now be trackable, meaning that you should always know when to expect your Domum Vindemia delivery.  Sweet!

image domum vindemia cupcake stand dessert retro blue green 70s white avocado party favour wedding

Monday, 29 July 2013

Immersed in the Classics

image mr darcy locket necklace brass oval pride and prejudice jane austen glass pearl ivory cream red green vintage bead

Things were pretty crazy last week at the house of Two Cheeky Monkeys care of both monkeys getting sick follwed by Mr Cheeky Monkeys and I both falling ill (yes, we like to do things in numbers).  This has meant that there hasn't been much time to work on creations, but I did manage to work on several new literature jewellery pieces.

image mr darcy locekt necklace silver bridal necklace jane austen pride and prejudice glass pearls pink navy blue orange flower

I made what felt like a flood of Mr Darcy necklaces, as well as a few brooches and I have also started on some literature earrings.  I feel like I have practically re-read all the English classics I use because I can't resist reading through each passage I'm about to cut up!

image two cheeky monkeys mr darcy brooch bridal wedding bouquet pin yellow pink lemon rosaline czech glass bead silver

But it hasn't just been about the classics this past week.  I did manage to put together a few women's ring sets - a new venture I embarked upon due to the popularity of the children's ring sets I make.  Of course the adults' ring sets are more "sophisticated" and elegant than the ones for the littlies (who prefer cutesy and sweet) and I'm playing around with more colour combinations than I would for small children.

image women's ring sets two cheeky monkeys filigree brass silver adjustable flowers floral red turquoise blue purple lilac peach pink white vintage proljece turquesa vermell napolitana hortensia

Friday, 26 July 2013

Things I Love - Yevgenia

I stumbled across this BEAUTIFUL artwares store when I was browsing through Etsy the other day, and I had to share my finds with all of my readers!  Yevgenia is an amazing store full of handpainted artwares ranging from travel mugs to wine glasses and teapots.  Yevgenia's creations are all botanically-inspired, and I especially love the mushroom and floral ranges.  Sadly, postage costs make these items prohibitively expensive for me, but maybe next time I'm in New York (where Yevgenia is based - a girl can dream, right?), I'll be able to purchase one of her pretty pieces for myself.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A Handmade Butterfly Birthday

party favour bags butterflies kaisercraft

Today I am finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that my baby girl has turned six!  I know I already showed off some of the handmade elements I was making for the party, but couldn't resist sharing a few more photos.  The Cheeky Monkeys loved the rice paper butterflies I used to decorate the cupcakes, but it was a lot of work cutting each one out by hand.  Next time I order rice paper embellishments for my desserts, I'll be double checking that they are pre-cut by the seller!  As for the party favours, several of the little guests were hard pressed to refrain from opening them before they had gotten into their parents' cars, ha ha ha.

birthday cupcakes butterflies domum vindemia doily cake bunting

Monday, 22 July 2013

DIY Necklace Refashion

image tutorial diy necklace remake refashion before and after

Have you ever had a picture of something you wanted in your mind but not been able to find anything like it anywhere?  I have been wanting a mini bunting style of necklace for some time now but was unable to find exactly what I wanted.  I spotted a potential necklace while browsing online stores the other week (a hazardous pasttime!), but it still wasn't quite right.  BUT, since the necklace was hugely discounted, I bought it anyway and decided to refashion it into the necklace I had in mind.  So today I am sharing a brief tutorial for refashioning any old or "not quite right" necklaces into the spectacular, fun or quirky piece that suits your current style!

image diy tutorial necklace refashion bunting

- one necklace (or more if you like various parts of multiple necklaces)
- jewellery pliers
- extra beads, chain and findings to match your necklace (although you should be able to re-use at least some of these from your old necklace)
- tiger tail or beading thread (again, you may be able to re-use the stringing material from your necklace)
- gel superglue

image diy tutorial bunting necklace refashion

1. Okay, the obvious part.  Carefully pull apart the old necklace(s) and set aside the components you plan to re-use for the new necklace.

image diy tutorial bunting necklace refashion

2. Lay out your new design using a mix of the old and new beads and findings.  Rearrange until you are happy with the design.  I kept five of the nine triangles for my new bunting necklace and replaced the gold-plated tube beads with small, gold-plated metal beads.  String your beads and findings onto your stringing material of choice (I re-used the gold-coloured tiger tail wire from the original necklace).  Please note, although I say "your choice", I highly recommend using specialty beading wire or beading thread rather than cheaper (and less reliable) stringing materials such as nylon fishing line!

image tutorial diy bunting necklace refashion attach calotte and crimps

3. Pick up one end of the necklace and thread on a calotte/end crimp followed by a round bead crimp.  Pull both of these as close to your beads as possible and securely squash the bead crimp onto the tiger tail wire.  Cut off excess tiger tail, leaving approximately 1-2mm overhang, add a dab of superglue to the inside of the calotte, and crimp shut the calotte making sure the bead crimp and tiger tail end are completely and securely enclosed.  Repeat for the other end of your necklace.

image diy tutorial bunting necklace refashion

4. Open up a jump ring and attach a length of chain to one calotte.  Repeat on the other calotte.  Measure your necklace to make sure it is the correct length.  If it is too short, add some more chain to both ends of the necklace.  If it is too long, remove some chain from both ends of the necklace.

image tutorial diy bunting necklace refashion

5. Attach the salvaged necklace clasp to the ends of your necklace and you're done.  Now wear your new necklace with pride!

Friday, 19 July 2013

My Creative Space

cake bunting doily vintage doilies white yellow

It's that time of year again at our household, birthday time, and this is the year we let the Cheeky Monkeys host birthday parties for their little friends.  As per my usual craziness, there will be at least some handmade elements to the parties.  My youngest is having her birthday party this weekend and I've made little rings for each guest as well as decorated each party favour bag with a die cut butterfly from the Kaisercraft Tigerlilly range (to tie in with the butterfly-themed birthday cake).  Now all that's left to do is make the doily cake bunting and cut out all the rice paper butterflies for the cake...

glitter heart rings children's rings

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Crocheting For a Cause - Part 2

image crochet shawl blanket rainbow licorice allsorts hamlin fistula ethipio addis ababa crochet for a cause
Do you remember this post from two weeks ago?  Well, after almost two weeks of what felt like constant crocheting (amazing how much "free" time one has when one is recovering from foot surgery!), I finally finished the crocheted shawl destined for the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.  There were a few moments of angst when I thought the project would never end (have I mentioned before that I am a bad finisher of things???), but I made it and am proud to say that my count of large crocheted items has now risen to two, he he he.
 image crochet shawl blanket rainbow licorice allsorts hamlin fistula ethipio addis ababa crochet for a cause

If I decide to make another shawl for the hospital next year (shawl collection happens twice a year so that they can be shipped to Ethiopia in bulk), I think I might find a pattern which can keep me a little more interested while I make it.  (Having lots of old NCIS episodes to watch, as well as watching the 100th Tour de France with Mr Cheeky Monkeys helped too!)  But in the mean time, I hope you will all sit back and enjoy the photos of my "Licorice Allsorts" shawl with me.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Madeit Launch Party

Hello dear readers - I am back in blogland after a week off working on my crocheted shawl and finally having the stitches removed from my foot.  I'm itching to get back into blogging and have lots of ideas buzzing around!


Today's exciting news on the blog is that Madeit have finally completed their site revamp and are having a launch party to celebrate with giveaways, discounts and lots of other fun activities.  I am participating by offering discounts in both of my stores.  There will be 10% OFF at Two Cheeky Monkeys when you use the above coupon code at checkout (including 10% off already discounted items) and 15% OFF at Domum Vindemia when you use the coupon code below.

Keep up to date with all the fun by checking the Madeit Facebook page, which will be regularly updated with news, discounts and giveaways.  Come and celebrate with us and support Aussie crafters, creators and artisans!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Yarn Bombing, Kid Style

image yarn bombing word yarn fonts tutorial diy craft home decor
If, like me, you are in the middle of school holidays and starting to run out of ideas for entertaining your small people, then today's post may fill a hole in that gap for you!  As you know, I recently finished crocheting a blanket for myself and am in the middle of crocheting one for the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.  So, as you can imagine, there are a lot of balls of yarn rolling around my home right now!  The Cheeky Monkeys have a lot of fun playing with the yarn, but they were really excited when I showed them this "yarn fonts" idea over at bloesem kids.  This is a great idea for using up yarn remnants in your stash and you or your munchkins can easily make up initials or even entire words in an afternoon.  The only problem now?  Getting my Monkeys to stop at just one initial...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Crocheting For A Cause

Since I finally learned to crochet more than a basic chain of stitches last year, I have been gradually increasing my skills by trying out various crocheted projects.  My projects have been increasing in difficulty and physical size, with my largest and most ambitious project to date being my crocheted blanket.  Because crochet is a suitable pasttime for me while recuperating from foot surgery, I have several projects lined up for my period of convalescence, including a small crochet blanket/shawl.

This second blanket, however, is not for me or anyone I know, but is a project destined for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.  For those of you who haven't heard about this organisation, I encourage you to look through their website and do some research into obstetric fistulae.  Just briefly, an obstetric fistula is a medical condition which can occur when a woman goes through traumatic childbirth without proper medical care or intervention.  This condition is easily prevented in developed nations, but can still commonly occur in developing nations and is especially prevalent in many African countries.

Hamlin Fistuala Ethiopia supports the work of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, the only hospital to exclusively treat and to help women recover from this debilitating condition.  The hospital not only treats women suffering from obstetric fistulae, but also has a midwifery training college which trains up competent birth attendants who can greatly help to improve the medical situation for pregnant women in Africa.

As a woman who received impeccable medical care during my pregnancies and labours, I am horrified that many women are not so fortunate.  I wanted to help and was pleased to find that I could help in a crafty, creative way.  So after my very long ramble, let me explain how crochet can help!  Not only does the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital treat the medical conditions of the women who come to them, but the hospital also provides each patient with gowns and shoes to wear during their hospital stay and a knitted or crocheted shawl to keep and take home with them.  Those of you who knit or crochet, can whip up a special shawl (or small blanket) for these needy women to show them that someone on the other side of the world cares.  There are specific requirements for the shawls (because these women can't afford much, let alone a washing machine), so please look through the various websites listed below for information.  If you can't knit or crochet, there are other ways to help out too, just look through their website.

To Addis with love (a Facebook group for those wishing to make a shawl).

Monday, 1 July 2013

Kangaroos in my garden

image wild kangarros grey kangaroo melbourne australia victoria suburbs

I may have mentioned this before, but as someone who was born (and lived for a while) in the bustling country of Singapore, I am very much the proverbial "city mouse".  I refuse all invitations to go on camping holidays (I must have my own toilet and bathroom which I don't have to dig myself!), I can't comprehend stores not being open on weekends or even after 5pm on week days, and I have been known to flummox grocery store staff in small towns by asking if they stock whatever "exotic" foodstuff I am seeking (pancetta and prosciutto apparently fall into the "exotic" category in some places).
So I have to admit that when I was first told about the wild kangaroos that had moved to my leafy (and admittedly rural-like) suburb of Melbourne, I was intrigued, disbelieving and a little shocked all at the same time.  After many reported sightings (including a few from Mr Cheeky Monkeys) I finally did see the kangaroos!  And I finally got some photos of them too!!!  The photo above was taken while I was helping my mum get the Cheeky Monkeys into her car (she's been bringing them to school for me while I recover from foot surgery).  I think the lovely, but cold, winter morning made for relatively good photography lighting.  And I hope nobody knows my surgeon, I'm not supposed to be walking around, let alone running back into a house to grab a camera to take photos!