Thursday, 24 August 2017

Same, but not

image music bracelet sheet musician musical handmade two cheeky monkeys etsy

One of the things that I love about handmade items is that no two creations are exactly identical when created by hand.  The differences may only be small, but it's beautiful to know that each handmade item I own is unique in its own little way and not something hundreds or thousands of others will own.

image music bracelet sheet musician musical handmade two cheeky monkeys etsy

And the same can be said for each of Two Cheeky Monkeys' book and music-inspired creations.  While each music bracelet purchased may have treble and bass clefs and musical notes, each one is uniquely individual because the musical notes chosen aren't identical and the clefs come from different parts of the the musical score, reflecting different key signatures and so on.

image music bracelet sheet musician musical handmade two cheeky monkeys etsy

So in this vein of thought, let me ask you, what is your favourite thing about handmade items?

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

More Avengers!

image thor bunting avengers asgard domum vindemia for children superhero etsy

About a month ago I announced that there was to be a new superhero range of buntings added to Domum Vindemia, and showcased an Avengers bunting.  Well, today I am excited to show off three new additions to the range!

image bunting the incredible hulk avengers domum vindemia for children superhero etsy

I've decided to create buntings with both scallop shaped and pointed shield/pennant shaped flags, though the majority of the superhero range will feature the pennant-shaped flags.  The new additions focus on the stories of the incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor.

image bunting avengers captain america domum vindemia for children superhero etsy

The original Avengers bunting has, excitingly, gone to a new forever home.  So I'm now on the hunt for more battered old copies of the story to recreate that bunting as well as hoping to find some superheroine/superwoman stories too.  Which of the new buntings do you love best?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Father's Day Gift Guide

Things have been pretty hectic here at Two Cheeky Monkeys HQ, so I was a little shocked to realise that Father's Day (for us Aussies) is fast approaching!  I love giving Mr Monkeys appropriately geeky gifts, but today I'm sharing a roundup of gift ideas to suit a range of dads, not just the geeky ones.

father's day gift guide

1. This patchwork R2D2 quilt is perfect for the Star Wars fan.
2. Bake up a batch of Papa Smurf cookies for dad.
3. Something for the old school dad who still prefers to put pen to paper.
4. Help dad to bling up with a pair of cuff links in his favourite colour.
5. Librarian dads can rock a library-themed tie at work!
6. A leather phone case will help dad protect his phone in style.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Calling all bookworms

image just one more chapter bookmark domum vindemia etsy

I realised the other day that I have been creating book-inspired bookmarks for Domum Vindemia for over four years now, and I am so thankful for how well they've been received by everybody!  Today I'm unveiling a new line of bookmarks, perfect for those who don't have a favourite author or literary quote or for gifting to bookworms if you don't know their favourite author.

image quote bookmark so many books so little time domum vindemia handmade

The first bookmark is for all those who have found themselves still reading a gripping book at 2AM after thinking to themself, "Just one more chapter..."!  The second bookmark is for the bibliophile who despairs of ever having enough time to read all of the books on their "must read" list.  Which one of these bookworms are you?  And which bookmark do you love best?

Thursday, 10 August 2017

In my creative space: Swarovski crystals

I recently had the pleasure of designing and creating a lusciously sparkly pair of earrings for my sister's birthday and I can finally show them off to the world!  This simple, but eye-catching pair of earrings was created to match my sister's Pandora bracelet and features ruby-coloured Swarovski crystal chatons.  At 8mm in size, these earstuds are no shrinking violets, but can still comfortably be worn without fear of catching on anything or pulling earlobes until they're sore.

image earrings ear stud earstud swarovski crystal ruby handmade silver two cheeky monkeys pink red

Although I make a lot of vintage and antiqued brass Swarovski earstuds for Two Cheeky Monkeys, this is the first time I've made something similar in silver.  So my question for all of you is: Who would like me to add silver-plated versions of the Swarovski earstud range to the store?  And what colours would you like to see in-store?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Marshmallow rice bubble slice

image marshmallow rice bubble bar slice sweet treat dessert recipe two cheeky monkeys

My Cheeky Monkeys are huge fans of Rice Bubbles for some strange reason, probably because we don't usually purchase it (yes, we're those terrible parents who insist on high fibre cereals).  So when it came to making a fun treat for youngest Monkey to share with her classmates on her birthday, making a rice bubble-inspired treat was the obvious choice.

image marshmallow rice bubble bar slice sweet treat dessert recipe two cheeky monkeys

These sweet treats are ridiculously easy to make; the Monkeys made them on their own with me only intervening when the plastic wrap covering the bowl in the microwave had a minor burst (thankfully no melted marshmallow escaped the bowl!!!) and when they didn't press down the mix evenly enough.  Today I am sharing our super simple recipe with you - have fun creating sweet treats with your little ones!

- 5 1/2 cups Rice Bubbles
- 200g marshmallows (purists might like to only use white marshmallows, but I say use whatever you've got)
- 100g butter, chopped
- hundreds and thousands (we used Monster 5s sprinkles)

1. Grease a 23x27 cm slice or lamington pan.  Line with baking paper, making sure the paper extends a few centimetres past each edge.  Don't worry if your pan is a little smaller, you'll just have a thicker slice to eat!

2. Place the Rice Bubbles into a large bowl and set aside.  Place the marshmallows and butter into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high (100%) in 30 second bursts, stirring after each round until mixture is smooth.  This should take 1-2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.

3. Add the marshmallow mixture to the Rice Bubbles and stir well.  Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan, making sure to spread the mixture as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle the Rice Bubble slice with the hundreds and thousands (or whichever sprinkles you're using).  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

4. Cut the set slice into bite-sized squares or bars and serve on a fun dessert pedestal or place in patty pans to delight little ones!

recipe marshmallow rice bubble slice

- It is not necessary to use the Kellogg's brand of Rice Bubbles for this recipe; using an alternative brand (such as Nestle's Rice Pops) should not affect the taste or consistency of the slice
I highly recommend using a good brand of marshallows (e.g. Pascall brand) as this does affect the taste of the rice bubble slice
- You can decorate your rice bubble slice with anything fun: think drizzled chocolate, silver cachous or any other sprinkles you can find in the cake decorating aisle at your supermarket

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Hey fellow musicians

image hair pins accessories bobby pins music sheet musician two cheeky monkeys etsy

A very quick post today to show off a veritable slew of hair pins (is there a correct collective noun for hair pins???) I've been creating for a special customer.  One of my cousins is a music teacher and regularly commissions music-themed pieces to give to her students as little prizes and gifts for the end of the teaching year or when they reach particular milestones.  As a musician myself, I LOOOOOVVE this idea and think it's so sweet of her to do this with her students.
How many of my lovely readers are musicians too?  Or do you have absolutely no musical skill but have friends who are ridiculously talented?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

DIY geode slice necklace

Many people wonder how a molecular biologist got into creating and selling jewellery, but it's really not that much of a leap when you know that I've always been fond of gemstones, rocks, beads and jewellery (yes, I was one of those kids with the ever-growing rock and mineral collection that no one was allowed to touch).

In honour of my lifelong fascination with such things, today I'm sharing a DIY for an on trend necklace design featuring a funky blue agate slice.  This necklace is the perfect way to show off your favourite geode slice and only requires basic to intermediate jewellery-making skills.

- one large geode slice (I used a top-drilled 85x25 mm blue agate slice)
- 10 x 4mm Czech firepolish round beads in crystal AB
- 12 x 3x6mm Czech firepolish flat rondelle beads
- 22 x silver-plated eyepins
- 5cm 18-20 gauge silver-plated beading wire
- 2-3mm width silver-plated chain
- 10mm jump ring
- 4mm jump ring
- lobster claw clasp
- jewellery pliers

1. If you have a geode slice with a bail already attached, skip ahead to step 2.  If you're using a top-drilled geode like I did, make a necklace bail for the geode with the beading wire.  Thread the wire through the hole and pull both ends to the top of the geode, ensuring that one end is much shorter than the other, reaching only 3-4 mm above the geode slice.

2. Bend the longer end of wire at a 90 degree angle roughly at the height that the shorter end of wire reaches on the longer end.

3. Using the longer end of wire, create a loop with your round-nosed pliers so that it sits at the tip of the shorter end of wire.

4. Wrap the loose, longer end of wire around itself and the shorter end, completely covering the wire till you reach the top of the geode slice.  Snip off any excess wire and flatten down the end with the flat-nosed pliers.

5. Place a rondelle bead on one of the eyepins.  Snip off excess pin, leaving 6mm of pin to create a second loop/eye.  Create a string of beads by alternating rondelle beads and round beads until you have a string of 11 beads.  Repeat with the remaining beads to create a second string of beads.

6. Attach both strings of beads to the loop at the top of the geode slice.  If you know exactly how long you want your necklace to be, measure the bead strings and then cut the appropriate length of chains you require to make a full length necklace.  If you're not sure how long you want your necklace to be, hold the half-completed necklace against yourself and have a look in a mirror while you adjust the necklace up and down till you're happy with where the geode sits.

7. Cut two chain lengths from the main length of jewellery chain (mine were approximately 12 cm long).  Attach one chain to the free end of each bead string.

9. Test the necklace length on yourself again.  If you're not happy with the length, now is the time to adjust your chain lengths.  If you're happy with your necklace length, attach the 10mm jump ring to one chain end, and the attach the lobster clasp to the other chain end with the 4mm jump ring.

10. Now put your necklace on, admire yourself in the mirror, and be prepared to say, "I made it myself!" every time someone compliments you on your gorgeous statement piece!!!

Feel free to share your photos with me when you've made a gorgeous geode necklace for yourself!
Please do not use any photos or share any parts of this tutorial unless you have permission from me.