Friday, 31 October 2014

Tickle The Imagination Ambassador

Today, I have some very exciting news to share with you.  Last week, I found out that I have been accepted as a Tickle The Imagination ambassador!  For those of you who haven't heard of TTI, it is a quarterly magazine which seeks to "celebrate the handmade and creative community in Australia".  The magazine is available online and in paper copies and is truly a visual delight of all things handmade.

I'm kicking off my new role as an ambassador for 'tickle the imagination' magazine by sharing a sweet offer with you! Subscribe to tickle, and mention TWO CHEEKY MONKEYS in the 'notes to seller', and you will receive a geo-inspired 'three words' necklace, valued at $25.  This offer ends Nov 30, 2014. Subscribe at and don't forget to mention Two Cheeky Monkeys to receive your special offer necklace.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

I Just Can't Get Enough

image book bunting the twelve days of christmas domum vindemia illustrated seasonal

Yes, I have been at it again, sourcing battered old books to turn into fun buntings for little (and big) kids alike!  This week's fun offerings are very traditional with a retro version of the classic Snow White and a Christmas-themed bunting.  I loved the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song as a child, so this latest bunting is certainly making me feel nostalgic.  What do you think?

image domum vindemia snow white bunting disney princess seven dwarves dwarfs

Monday, 27 October 2014

Girls Off The Streets

Most long term readers of my blog will know that as a Christian who has the privilege of living in a "developed" nation where I can easily access everything I need or want, I feel very strongly about giving back some of my handmade business profits to those in need.  I am definitely not a superhero; I do it because of God's call to help the needy and downtrodden.  And I blog about it to thank all of my supporters and customers for helping me to help others.  (And hopefully you will be spurred on to find aid organisations and charities you can help out too.)

This year I have decided to suport the Girls Off The Streets project being run by SIM Australia.  This project seeks to protect, care for and rehabilitate girls who have been rescued from trafficking and sex slavery in India and Bangladesh.  As a mother of young daughters, and as a female who grew up in a very safe environment, I am horrified at the traumas inflicted on these poor girls, some barely older than my own children.  My hope in supporting this aid project is that in my own small way, I can help to put a stop to this vile trade and help those caught up in it to escape and learn to lead a safe and normal life which so many of us take for granted.
So thank you again to all of you out there who so loyally support Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia and in so doing, also help those who are in dire need.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Same Same, But Not

image earrings jewellery jewelry wuthering heights catherine earnshaw heathcliff romance love bronte two cheeky monkeys yellow literature

I finally had the chance to sit down and work on some new literature earrings for Two Cheeky Monkeys!  These earrings sets have been popular in my Madeit store and I am madly trying to re-stock before the Christmas rush.

image pride and prejudice earrings jewellery jewelry jane austen mr darcy elizabeth bennet pink two cheeky monkeys literature

Like the previous literature earrings I had made, these earrings all feature a famous couple from classic literature, such as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth, or Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff.  But, unlike the previous sets, these are all made with silver-plated findings, which means they will nicely match the literature hair clips available in-store.

image jane eyre earrings turquoise miss eyre mr rochester bronte literature two cheeky monkeys silver plated

So what do you think?  Do you love the slight asymmetry of the earrings?  And do you prefer the silver-plated finish as opposed to the antiqued brass I had previously used?  I think I am preferring the silver-plated look, and in fact, a friend has already snapped up two pairs of these earrings as Christmas gifts - she has some lucky family and friends!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

My Market Experience

image the handmade show market domum vindemia

Today's post is a reflection on my recent market experience with what I hope is a carefully thought out response to my less than enjoyable experience and a reminder to other art and craft market sellers to be more careful before signing up and spending money needlessly on less than stellar markets.

As you probably have realised by the negative tone of this post, my recent market experience left me seriously underwhelmed.  Not only have I never attended a market with so few shoppers turning up (the majority of visitors were family and friends of stallholders and the number of attendees had not reached even 100 by the middle of the market), but I was also severely disappointed to discover that the "large hall" the market was run in was actually one large room and one very small room and that my stall had been relegated to one of four in the very small room.

Now I don't want to spend this post ranting and raving about everything the organisers of this market did wrongly by the sellers or just wrong in general, but here are a few points to help other prospective market sellers.  These are points which I would normally have thought through, but didn't because I knew the organisers of the market and trusted them.

1. So my first point is, always check out a market you want to sell at as a shopper first.  Even if you know the organisers and are friends with them.  In fact, the fact that I knew the organisers probably made my experience even worse.  Just because you know someone, doesn't mean they actually know how to run a market well and doesn't mean they will remember to disclose all market information to you.  So if you want to sell at a market, go and visit it, check out the market "vibe" and see how many shoppers attend and whether they are actually shoppers or just there for a fun day out.

2. Secondly, make sure you receive full disclosure of market layouts and stall position allocations before you apply and/or pay for your market spot.  Let me tell you from experience (not just mine, but others' too) that markets where there are one or more smaller rooms off the larger room are not a good option if you are allocated to the smaller room.  Shoppers will generally stay in the much larger room and do their shopping there, only going into the smaller rooms as maybe an afterthought because if they can find everything they want in the larger room, why go out of their way to the other rooms?

3. CHECK market dates thoroughly to make sure that there are no other significant competing events being held on the same day/time.  This was a big mistake I made, not realising that the market I had booked into was being held the same day as the Caulfield Cup Races (which were actually very close to the market) as well as a much bigger and better publicised (and better attended market which I would normally choose to attend as a shopper over this smaller market I sold at) art/craft market.

4. Think carefully about the time of year for your market attendance.  While I thought mid-October would be prime shopping time for people thinking about Christmas presents, apparently most people are not as organised or plan ahead as much as I normally do.  Also remember that markets in January or February, where people are often still reeling from over-spending at Christmas, may not be as financially productive for stall holders.

5. Related to point one, besides checking out a market to see if organisers are well organised or not or to see if there are many shoppers, also check what kind of shoppers are attending.  Unfortunately for me and many other stallholders, the few "shoppers" who turned up to the market I attended were elderly folk who were not looking to buy items for children or teens or interested in buying anything edgy, funky, contemporary or "arty farty".  You need to make sure that the shoppers at a market are looking for the kind of wares you are selling.  If customers at a market are going for a farmers' market kind of vibe and you don't sell anything fitting that description, then that market is probably not for you if you don't want to spend your day sitting miserably as shoppers completely ignore your stall.

6. Don't be afraid to ask a fair price for your handiwork.  I am constantly saddened to see art/craft being sold online and in markets at ridiculously low prices which barely cover the cost of supplies because "Oh, this is just my hobby." or "People don't want to pay such high prices."  Reducing your prices not only undermines the value of what you do and the time and effort you have put in, but it also undermines the worth of other people's creations and gives the average non-crafter the erroneous belief that "handmade is cheap".

This is not a definitive list of things to consider before attending a craft market, but it should help you to avoid making my mistakes before you attend your next market.  Learn from somebody who wasted their time and money attending an unproductive market (and no, "any publicity is good publicity" doesn't apply when you attend a market where there are few or no real shoppers and market attendees are not interested in taking your business card other than just as a pretty souvenir).  I hope I haven't come across sounding as a bitter harpy, but as someone who wants to spare others heartache and wants to learn from their mistakes.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Things I Love - Geekery

With Mr Cheeky Monkeys' birthday just around the corner, I have been trawling the world of handmade geekery in search of gifts for him.  Here are just a few of my favourites; maybe your favourite science/sci-fi geek will love them too.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Handmade Show

the handmade show glen huntly image

I am excited, and a little nervous, to announce that I will be setting up shop with Domum Vindemia goodies at The Handmade Show this Saturday, October 18th!  You will find a range of handmade lovelies (and some great food available too) at this boutique craft market as well as entertainment and fun for the entire family.  So if you're in Melbourne (Australia, not Florida!), then please come along, say hi to me and support local handmade.  :)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Shabby Chic Weddings

image shabby chic ring bearer pillow wedding ring butterfly flowers embroidery vintage doily linen domum vindemia

In the last few weeks my creative space has been inundated with doilies, vintage embroidery and vintage fabric piled willy nilly on any available space.  This is because I have been stocking up Domum Vindemia for my bridal customers who are looking for something to add a little "shabby chic" or "rustic" to their wedding day.  My current favourite creation is this ring bearer pillow, a perfect way to add a little rustic handmade to a wedding without going overboard.  Plus, when the big day is over, this sweet pillow can be used as a cushion or decoration around the home!
So what do you think?  Are you a fan of the current trend for shabby chic and rustic wedding decor?  Did you have a page boy carry your wedding rings in your ceremony?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Charming May Gibbs

image may gibbs counting book bunting gumnut babies fairies domum vindemia nursery children

Hands up how many of you read May Gibbs' cute Gumnut Babies stories as a child?  And how many of you have entertained your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews with stories of Snugglepot, Cuddlepie or Little Ragged Blossom?  For those of you who haven't discovered these charming stories yet, May Gibbs was an English-born Australian author and illustrator who created multiple books for children as well as cartoons and comic strips.

image may gibbs alphabet book bunting gumnut babies fairies domum vindemia nursery children baby shower

Her sweet stories filled with characters such as the Gumnut babies and the big bad Banksia men have charmed many in Australia for almost a century.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was to find a few battered copies of her beautifully illustrated books for sale.  My two Cheeky Monkeys already have several of Gibbs' books, so the two little tomes I found were turned into sweet storybook buntings for Domum Vindemia.  There is a counting bunting and an alphabet bunting available - which do you prefer?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sparkles Abound

image swarvoski crystal bangle cuff aqua blue pat bravo fabric rapture vivacious marvel orange

I had a bit of fun creating for myself during the school holidays just past with two rather sparkly creations gracing my craft table (and wrists!).  The above bangle was something a little different for me, being the first time I have used fabric in a jewellery creation.  I teamed the fun chevron-style Pat Bravo fabric (from the Rapture range) with beautifully sparkly Swarovski crystal sew-ons leftover from another project.  This bangle has garnered A LOT of compliments and I'm thinking I might make another one in a different design.

image wedding bracelet pearls baroque cream vintage rhinestone button stretch bracelet two cheeky monkeys

This second bracelet was created especially for me to wear to my friends' wedding reception.  It looks very fancy, but was ridiculously easy to put together!  The focal bead is actually a vintage rhinestone button which was given to me by a friend (along with a host of other great vintage buttons).  The glass pearls have simply been strung on elastic beading thread and secured to the button's shank, making this a very easy bracelet to put on or take off.  What do you think?  Do you ever make items for special occasions you attend?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Things I Love - Vintage Crockery

You should all know by now how much I love vintage crockery and ceramics.  And if you didn't, then be warned, today's post is full of cute, kitsch and/or useful vintage ceramics for your home.  Now if only I could justify the postage costs to mail these darlings to me...

image vintage retro 1970 strawberry jam sugar caddy pot ceramic
I love strawberries, and a strawberry sugar pot is just too cute!

image vintage porcelain ceramic telephone trinket box old fashioned
I think a telephone trinket box is appropriate for a chatterbox like me.

image vintage cermaic porcelain miniature pitchers jugs pouring
One can never have too many small pitchers/jugs.

image vintage villeroy and boch ramekins blue retro flower floral design
There is also no such thing as too many ramekins. (They are Villeroy and Boch after all!)

image vintage royal doulton serving bowl
Vintage Royal Doulton - need I say more?

image vintage soup cups bowls plates paragon floral flower blue
It is hard to go wrong with soup cups.