Friday, 30 January 2015

Woodland Hair Fun

image woodland scrunchie hair bunny ears dena designs michael miller hopscotch tanya whelan sugar hill

With the Two Cheeky Monkeys back at school this week there was much discussion in our household about hair accessories.  At the moment I am happily reliving my childhood in the form of hair scrunchies, an accessory I loved back in the 80s and which my Monkeys now love too.

image bunny ear hair scrunchies

Of course, the Two Cheeky Monkeys being who they are, they couldn't just have any old scrunchies, they asked if I would make them some bunny-inspired ones.  So, after they dug through my stash of designer fabrics (and chose Michael Miller, Tanya Whelan and Dena Designs fabrics), I made some "bunny ear" scrunchies inspired by this tutorial.  What do you think? I think these scrunchies are kind of cute, though the stiffer cottons held the upright "bunny ears" better than the softer cottons.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Beatrix Potter Buntings

It has been quite a few months since I first made a Beatrix Potter bunting, and as much as the Two Cheeky Monkeys family love her stories, I was surprised at how popular that first bunting proved to be.  During my long summer break I managed to find several old copies of Potter's more famous stories.  And I've even managed to turn a few of them into new buntings for Domum Vindemia.

image bunting domum vindemia beatrix potter the tale of tom kitten

I started with two of the most classic Beatrix Potter stories, The Tale of Tom Kitten and The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Hopefully I'll be adding some Benjamin Bunny and Jemima Puddleduck buntings soon too.  Which is your favourite Beatrix Potter tale?

image peter rabbit bunting beatrix potter the tale of peter rabbit domum vindemia

Monday, 26 January 2015

We Are Australian

Happy Australia Day 2015 to all my Aussie readers!  In honour of our national day, I have put together a collection of sweet handmade items found on Madeit.  Each item reflects our national colours, green and gold, and is made by Australian-based artisans and crafters extraordinnaire.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Jelly Slice Recipe

When I asked the two Cheeky Monkeys what they wanted to do during their long summer holidays, they asked to be taught how to make a variety of their favourite treats, including jelly slice.  Ahh, jelly slice, that humble, yet much-loved dessert purportedly invented in Australia.  How could I say no?  So today I am sharing my recipe for jelly slice, which is a mashup of various recipes (including the one taught to me by my mum).  I apologise for the lack of step-by-step images, it was too hard to take photos while teaching kiddies to cook!

image jelly slice recipe tutorial diy kitchen dessert

250g plain sweet biscuits (such as Marie, but you could use any un-iced sweet biscuits)
- 175g butter, melted
- 1/8-1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
- 395g condensed milk
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice
- 3/4 cup of boiling water
- 4-6 tsp of edible gelatine powder
- 85g packet of jelly crystals (whichever flavour tickles your fancy)

1. Clear a large, flat space in your refridgerator to easily fit a large slice pan or Pyrex dish.  This is very important because you don't want to be juggling a tray of wobbly slice and find that there is no space in your fridge (take it from me)!

2. Grease and line a 20x30cm slice pan (or a large oblong Pyrex baking dish).

3. Process biscuits in a food processor to fine crumbs.  Or, if you have had a particularly trying day, release some stress by bashing those biscuits into fine crumbs with a wooden rolling pin.
Add melted butter and spices (if using) and process again to mix.  Press biscuit misture into the base of the prepared pan.  Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or until firm and set.

4. Combine condensed milk and lemon juice in a medium-sized bowl.

5. Mix the boiling water and 2-3 tsp of gelatine in a small jug.  Stir until completely dissolved then thoroughly mix into the condensed milk.  Pour over the biscuit base and chill in the fridge for one hour, or until firm and set.

6. Meanwhile, make up the jelly following the packet's instructions, BUT add 2-3 tsp extra gelatine and reduce the amount of cold water required by 100ml (both these steps help to give you an extra firm jelly which won't melt or squish everywhere when you serve your slice).  Leave the jelly to cool to room temperature.

7. Pour jelly over set condensed milk filling.  Chill your slice in the fridge until fully set.

8. Once the slice is fully set, remove it from the pan and slice to serve.  Enjoy (and try not to eat it all at once)!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Necklace Sneak Peek

Today I a sharing a sneak peek of a new necklace style which will be coming to Two Cheeky Monkeys stores this coming southern hemi Autumn/Winter!  I have long admired layered necklaces, even though I'm not the kind of person who can wear them (who knew a large neck could wreak such havoc on a simple necklace).

image layered necklace two cheeky monkeys literature jewellery mr darcy jane austen personalised personalized

My layered necklaces will have a Two Cheeky Monkeys spin on them, featuring literature pendants of your favourite character(s).  They will also be personalisable (is that even a word?) with your choice of initial for the monogram charm as well as bead colour.  So what do you think?  Are you a layered necklace wearer, or know ladies who are?  Let me know!

Monday, 19 January 2015

In My Garden


While the Two Cheeky Monkeys and I try to make the most of their last few weeks of the summer school holidays, we have been enjoying the fresh produce Mr Cheeky Monkeys has been growing in our garden.

As usual, we are growing a tonne of different herbs (rosemary, four types of mint, basil, three types of thyme, oregano and marjoram), cherry tomatoes, capsicums and butter beans, as well as our usual chillis, lemons, limes and apples.  I would have loved to have grown zucchinis this year too, but we ran out of time and energy.  Do you grow fruit and vegetables in your garden?

Friday, 16 January 2015

My latest literature jewellery excitement

So for those of you who saw Monday's post about my holiday creating and wondered where all the new Two Cheeky Monkeys' creations were, this post is for you.  I have been happily playing around with literature jewellery design ideas for the past few weeks and here are just a few of my newest creations.

image atticus finch watch necklace pendant silver white crystal glass pearls two cheeky monkeys to kill a mockingbird

Inspired by the popularity of the To Kill a Mockingbird pocketwatch necklaces, I made up a watch necklace with a dangly Atticus Finch charm.  This one is for the ladies who prefer to wear silver jewellery as all previous pocketwatches I have made have featured an antiqued brass finish.

image jane eyre cuff bangle two cheeky monkeys vintage rhinestones floral cabochons pink purple green copper

I have also been expanding my range of copper-coloured jewellery and have finished two cuff bangles which were inspired by similar bangles I stocked in my stores all the way back in 2013.  This time I've decided to "glam up" the bangles a bit more with the addition of sparkling rhinestones amongst the posy of vintage and contemporary flower cabochons.  So what do you think?

image mr darcy cuff bangle pride and prejudice jane austen two cheeky monkeys white blue sky ombre rhinestone flowers copper

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Daylesford Fun

I can't believe it's already been a week since the Two Cheeky Monkeys family returned from our little getaway to the town of Daylesford, a few hours' drive from our home in Melbourne!  In spite of the sometimes extreme heat we experienced while up there, we had a fun time exploring our surrounds and visiting what felt like every single gift/handmade/antiques store, market or bazaar in the area.

For those interested in visiting Daylesford, there is definitely more to see and do than the oft-advertised spas and beauty treatments (of which there are so many different practitioners that it can be a little overwhelming choosing which one to use).  We managed a few scenic walks, especially around Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Lake Daylesford and the various designated mineral springs areas (but I wouldn't recommend drinking the springwater, even though it's perfectly safe, as it tastes pretty awful).  If we had been brave enough, we could also have swum in the lake or chosen to go out in paddle boats.  Just out of Daylesford in the nearby smaller towns there are also lots of great walks and activities, such as Lavandula (a Swiss-Italian lavender farm) and the Chocolate Mill (a drool-worthy chocolate factory).

Daylesford is also the home of several antiques/secondhand markets and bazaars; The Mill Markets are the largest and best known, followed by the smaller (but more manageable) Daylesford Bazaar and Brick Lane Bazaar.  We had fun at the weekly Daylesford Sunday market and there are also monthly farmers and handmade markets if you visit at the right time of the month.  Daylesford is the home to plenty of small art galleries and specialty food and gift stores too.  There are lots of eating out options (I think Bocconcini will always hold a special place in our hearts just for its name alone, though the food and service are great) as well as two supermarkets should you wish to cook your own meals.

Monday, 12 January 2015

All new literature bookmarks

Hello all!  Yes, I'm back from my little getaway with the Two Cheeky Monkeys family and raring to get 2015 off to a good start (while wishing we were still on holiday, he he).  I know my time away was meant for rest and relaxation, but I did find some time to get working on new creations for my stores.

image domum vindemia bookmarks literature literary to kill a mockingbird jane eyre

Some of my favourite new additions coming to Domum Vindemia this year are an expansion of the literature bookmark range.  Not only have I re-stocked items which sold out in the Christmas rush, I have also started adding bookmarks featuring favourite literary quotes.  The Lord of the Rings and To Kill a Mockingbird bookmarks are my favourite.  Do you have any favourite quotes?