Monday, 31 December 2012

Summer Sewing Challenge

image matryoshka babushka doll paper pieced quilt block

This summer I have decided to challenge my, somewhat dubious, sewing skills by attempting to learn two new sewing techniques.  The first, and possibly hardest, technique I want to learn is paper piecing.  Now, until I was given a few cute paper piecing patterns from Bubble Stitch (including the sweetie matryoshka above), I had always thought of paper piecing as a method used only by quilters wanting to make super intricate star or geometric shapes for their quilt blocks.  Of course, I have since discovered that paper piecing can be used to create all sorts of delightful sewn images of objects, including flowers, teacups and animals!

image faux bois fabric black white turquoise sepia

The next technique I am planning to learn is bias tape making.  I have had a handy dandy bias tape maker sitting in my craft area for at least six months now, just waiting for me to build up the courage, and find the time, to try making some of my very own bias tape.  I've finally decided to make my own bias tape because I bought some gorgeous faux bois fabric to make a little fabric envelope/tote for carrying my craft WIPs (see photo below).  And the design of my chosen fabrics is such that I thought a little homemade bias tape would add some character to the envelope!

image fabric envelope stripe

 Don't you think a strip of floral turquoise fabric would beautifully complement the black and white and turquoise faux bois fabrics I've chosen?  So let me ask you, have you got any tips for paper piecing or bias tape making?  And do you have any creative techniques you've been wanting to attempt but just need a little bit of time and courage?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Holiday Free Shipping

image tuscany earrings jade green fuchsia pink sparkle vintage
Well, all the official celebrating has been done here at Two Cheeky Monkeys, and, despite my best efforts, I ate too much good food.  Although all the Christmas parties are over, we're still in holiday mode for another five weeks, with my cheeky monkeys not starting the new school year till the very end of January.  But don't worry, I will still be blogging on occasion and both Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia will be open to customers as usual.  And because I won't be able to post purchases as speedily as usual over the Christmas/new year holiday period, I am offering FREE SHIPPING to my lovely, loyal customers!
image red riding hood set two cheeky monkeys girls' rings set trio owl flower cabochon
Free shipping terms:
Two Cheeky Monkeys on Etsy or Madeit - Australian purchases over $60 and international purchases over $100 will receive free regular shipping.  Tell me FREESHIPPING in the message to seller to receive a refund on your shipping.
Domum Vindemia on Etsy or Madeit - Australian purchases over $75 and international purchases over $125 will receive free regular shipping. Tell me FREESHIPPING in the message to seller to receive a refund on your shipping.
image retro cupcake stand vintage green blue 60s domum vindemia

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!

image nativity scene christmas quilt angels jesus mary joseph shepherds
Well, another year is almost over and I am glad to report that 2012 has been less tumultuous for us here at Two Cheeky Monkeys than our previous year.  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for supporting and encouraging me this year.  To everyone who has commented on the blog, made purchases, recommended my stores to friends and family or been a shoulder to cry on or a sounding board, thank you so much.  I wish all of my wonderful friends, family and readers a joyful and wonderful Christmas and a blessed 2013 ahead!
"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21 (NIV)
Image source: Grandma Hen

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A DUSTy Kris Kringle

image inner earth soaps candy cane vanilla sugar scrub
You should all know by now that I love to take part each year in the DUST team kris kringle/Christmas craft swap.  For those of you who can't remember, each of our participating members is assigned a recipient for whom they should make a surprise Christmas gift.  This usually involves some (or a lot) of sneaking around to find out a recipient's likes and dislikes and is generally a lot of creative fun and great for team end of year spirits.
image cupcake stand vintage colclough saucer yellow roses full bloom
This year, my recipient was Donna of Donna Duncombe Designs.  Donna creates the cutest crochet hooks with polymer clay handles, as well as digital stamps and scrapbooking sets.  It didn't take much snooping to discover that Donna loves colour, and lots of it, so I started firstly with creating a bright and cheery cupcake/jewellery stand.  The saucer part of the stand dates to the 1950s and 60s and I love the golden yellow of the rose design.
image craft tool pouch pliers paint brushes crochet hooks polka dot blue white black
Because Donna is not just a creator of crochet hooks, but a crocheter herself, I also made her a craft tool pouch for storing her hooks.  And of course, I just had to use polka dot fabric to spruce up the sturdy, but plain, outer fabric of the tool pouch.
image craft tool pouch polka dot rainbow white black red green yellow blue crochet hooks jewellery pliers
I couldn't leave the outside of the pouch plain, so I added some giant polka dots in rainbow spot fabric.  I had a lot of fun making this pouch for Donna and am seriously considering making some with reclaimed vintage fabrics/denims and doilies for Domum Vindemia - what do you think?
And has the delightful image of soaps at the top of this post got you wondering?  Well, that was my lovely gift from Erin of Inner Earth Soaps.  I have long been a fan and user of her products and she very thoughtfully sent me a package of some of my favourite scents - thanks Erin!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Pantone 2013 Colour Trends

Every year PANTONE, the self-confessed world authority on colour and colour systems, puts out a prediction for the year's hottest colour and colour trends.  And, 2013 is no different, with emerald (PANTONE colour 17-5641) being touted as the next big thing in the colour world.

image mr darcy emerald bracelet vintage glass stone pride and prejudice jane austen upcycled book text pantone

But in case emerald isn't really your colour of choice, PANTONE has also released their colour palette prediction for the northern hemisphere Spring.  This ten colour palette is sure to have something for everyone with a mixture of pastels, summer and winter colours.

image pastelles ring set trio girls children lilac mauve peach apricot pastel blue turquoise grayed jade african violet pantone
Grayed jade, African violet and nectarine - Pastelles ring set

image ibiza earrings lemon yellow lemon zest dusk blue turquoise vintage glass stone brass
Dusk blue and lemon zest - Ibiza earrings

image printemps doily scarf hand dyed vintage tender shoots green lime lemon zest yellow dusk blue aqua pastel linen pink cream beige
Tender shoots, dusk blue, lemon zest and linen - Printemps scarf

image sunset margarita necklace poppy red black ribbon bright faceted

image domestika ring adjustable monaco blue navy white moroccan vintage east german cabochon acrylic dome
Monaco blue - Domestika ring

So what do you think of PANTONE's colour predictions?  Do they catch your fancy, or will you just stick to the colours you love best?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Oh Christmas Tree

image christmas tree ornament tutorial cinnamon buttons diy

 As you all probably know by now, I have a thing for making Christmas ornaments for my secondhand and slightly lopsided Christmas tree!  This year has been no different, though our creative theme was mostly shrinky art ornaments (see here), which may not appeal to everyone (though I can't see why not, LOL).  So I thought I would share a tutorial which I wrote for the Creative Collective blog (which sadly no longer exists) last year; this one will appeal to those who love more "rustic" ornaments.
- one packet of dried cinnamon sticks
- a handful of small buttons in your favourite Christmas colours (I went with the traditional red and green)
- one yellow or star-shaped button
- one eye pin or 3cm length of beading wire
-  20cm length of cord or thin ribbon to match your buttons
- your handy dandy hot glue gun (or other quick-setting craft glue)
- heavy duty scissors or kitchen shears
image diy cinnamon stick christmas tree ornament tutorial
1. Lay out your cinnamon sticks and choose the most uniform and similar ones for this project.  Leaving one full length stick to use as the trunk of your tree, create stylised "branches" for your tree by cutting the other cinnamon sticks to size with the kitchen shears.
image diy cinnamon stick christmas tree ornament tutorial
2. Once you have all your pieces cut to size, start gluing the shorter cinnamon sticks across the "trunk" piece so that they look like the branches of a Christmas tree.  You should now have a stylised, triangular Christmas tree shape.
image diy cinnamon stick christmas tree ornament tutorial add buttons
3. Place your buttons onto the "tree" to determine where you want the mini "ornaments" to sit, then glue them in place when you are satisfied with your arrangement.  If you have a suitable star or angel button, you could use that for the top of the tree, but I have opted to use a bright yellow button instead.
image diy cinnamon stick christmas tree ornament tutorial insert beading wire for hanging
4. Next, twist the beading wire to create a small loop for the hanging cord, making sure to leave at least 1cm of extra wire beneath the loop to attach it to the ornament.  Securely glue the wire loop into a crack in the top of the cinnamon stick "trunk" (as you can see, I went a bit crazy with my hot glue).  If you are using an eye pin for the hanger, shorten it to approximately 1.5cm long before gluing it to the cinnamon trunk.
image diy cinnamon stick christmas tree ornament tutorial thread the eye pin hanger with cord or ribbon
5. Thread the cord or ribbon through the wire loop and knot the ends to secure.  And there you have it, a beautiful-smelling mini Christmas tree to hang on your real tree or use as a present topper!

Kiahla earrings giveaway

image glam it up kiahla earrings montana blue hyacinth orange

I know I didn't think I would have time to run another giveaway before Christmas, but since my Kiahla earrings giveaway (back in May) was so popular, I thought I would give away another pair of these pretties!  Just head over to my Facebook page, be a liker and share the giveaway post on your personal profile - it's that simple.  And it ends tonight so get in quick!   :)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

My Creative Space

image felt food cookies jam iced frosting biscuit macarons teabags

After what seemed like a frantic week of sewing, I finally finished my order of felt food toy sets and have one very happy customer!  The small set I made consisted of biscuits (cookies), macarons and teabags, while the larger set had a range of the tea time treats we all know and love.
image felt play food desserts swiss rolls cucpakes macarons iced biscuits frosting jam cookies teabags
I also managed to find some time to sew up a few new buntings for Domum Vindemia before our family weekend away.  I am currently a little obsessed with adding cute trims to my doily buntings - what do you think?
image vintage doily buntings lime green sunshine yellow orange neon pom pom
Greta, Serenity and Arianna buntings

Monday, 10 December 2012

In The Press

image homespun magazine december 2012 issue 13 pride and prejudice jewellery jane austen
Several months ago I was approached by Homespun magazine asking if they could include a photo of one of my Pride and Prejudice pieces in their Jane Austen-themed "window shopping" guide for the December issue of the magazine.  As you can imagine, I didn't hesitate to say YES, and have been patiently waiting ever since for the release of this issue!
Well, D-day (as it were) has finally arrived, and I was thrilled to receive a complementary copy of the magazine in the mail and see that several of my pieces have been included (see #11, top right).  And having had a bit of a read through the magazine, I am impressed by the range of projects the magazine covers, especially the ADORABLE felt toadstool house.
Now the Homespun editors tell me that that at least 50% of readers indicated that they made purchases or enquiries about products featured in the Homespun window shopping guide each issue.  So tell me, is your Christmas or birthday shopping inspired by gift guides you see in your favourite magazines or blogs?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas Creating Revisited

image christmas bauble ball edible lollies candy gift
I don't know about you, but I am still a little shell-shocked that it is December!  I have so much on at the moment, including lots of creating for a new stockist (details to come soon) as well as preparing end of year gifts for the monkeys' teachers and friends.  It can get pretty stressful coming up with new gift ideas, so I thought I would revisit a quick gift idea which I shared last year.  For those of you who don't remember it, I made several of these giant edible Christmas baubles as thank you gifts and to give to neighbours.  They are really very easy to put together, you only need to know how to use glue!  So head over to this post to find out how to make your own edible Christmas decorations.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Shopping

As the end of the year draws rapidly nearer, I thought I'd take the opportunity to remind everyone that if you're intending on buying Christmas presents from my stores, you need to take shipping times into account!
Because many of the items in Domum Vindemia are sent via parcel post (which generally takes longer), the shipping cut off dates are 14th December for Australian customers and 4th December for international customers.  While purchases made after these dates may still arrive in time for Christmas giving, you would do better to get in early and save yourself some stress!
The cut off dates for Two Cheeky Monkeys purchases are 16th December for Aussies and 7th December for international customers.  But again, it really is better to be organised, especially if you are shopping online.  And if you're still wracking your brain for gift ideas, here are a few suggestions:
image gold locket necklace navy pearl mr darcy jane austen pride and prejudice
For the bookworm or literature buff: Mr Darcy locket necklace
image neon yellow bracelet vintage stones mr darcy pride and prejudice jane austen two cheeky monkeys
For the fashion conscious person who follows each season's colour trends: Mr Darcy neon bracelet
image vintage glam it up earrings kiahla montana blue hyacinth orange
For the party girl: Kiahla earrings
image vintage dictionary page art print camera kodak black and white
For the art lover or hard to buy for male: Dictionary page art prints
image eleanor cake stand vintage upcycled purple flowers
For the hostess extraordinaire: Eleanor cake stand
image fraulein bunting vintage book page german pink
Teacher appreciation gift: Fraulein bunting

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Afternoon Tea, Anyone?

image felt food toys macarons pink green yellow purple
Strawberry, pistachio, blueberry and lemon macarons!

I had grand plans to work on new additions to my Pride and Prejudice and Glam It Up ranges of jewellery for Two Cheeky Monkeys, but that all changed when my new supplies didn't arrive and my lovely little sister asked me if I would accept a commission to make a few sets of felt food toys.

image felt food toys tea teabags bags
Tea bags all ready to be sewn and stuffed.

She really wanted sets of afternoon tea and dessert-themed food toys to give to some of the little girls she knew and after some discussion we agreed on a set of items which should hopefully please any little girl.  There will be macarons, jam and iced biscuits (or cookies to my north American friends), tea bags (of course) and a range of cupcakes and swiss rolls.

image felt food toys biscuits cookies iced jam
The icing and jam parts are sewn on first by hand before I finish sewing and stuffing the felt biscuits/cookies.

Of course, the two cheeky monkeys have been eyeing the progress of the felt toys with great interest and have commented that, "You haven't made us any felt macarons!  Can we have some please???"  So can you guess what I'll be making after I finish this lot of felt food toys for my sister?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Things I Love - Christmas-Themed Desserts

Well, you all probably know me well enough by now to know that I LOVE to celebrate Christmas - what Christian wouldn't, right?  But I also do love the effort people put into making cute Christmas treats and desserts to give to their friends and family.  Here are just a few I am loving today.
image christmas tree cupcake green red yellow star
image angel cookie biscuit christmas
image macaron holly christmas
image christmas tree cake ruffle green white
image christmas tree cake ruffle inside surprise bauble red green

Friday, 23 November 2012

Customising Creations

One of the hardest things I find about creating handmade items is deciding which colours and styles to focus on for my stores.  Because, while I would love to make each item in a rainbow of colours or make matching earrings for every necklace I create (or vice versa), it is just not practical for me to do so.  Which is why I love it when customers ask me to create something I might not have otherwise had a chance to make!
image trephina necklace black red pink green two cheeky monkeys
A pink and green variation of the Trephina necklace.
Sometimes a custom order is very simply a colour variation of a pre-existing design.  I love these kinds of custom orders because I often get to use colour combinations I might not ordinarily stock.
image chantal glass pearl earrings and bracelet set gold rhinestone rondelles bridal
A bride-to-be requested a matching bracelet to go with the Chantal earrings she purchased for her bridesmaid.
Another favourite kind of custom order is when I am asked to make a piece of jewellery to match a creation a customer has previously purchased from me.  These kinds of orders often allow me to work on an idea which was already in my head or they can force me to think outside the box a little (such as the time a customer asked me to make non-dangly earrings to match a chunky ribbon and onyx necklace).
image pride and prejudice rings mr darcy mr wickham jane austen upcycled book page
A Mr Darcy ring inspired by a Mr Wickham ring!
And while many of my creations are of a limited edition or one of a kind nature, there is always the possibility for a customer to request a bespoke item inspired by something instore or an item which has already sold.  In this way, customers can obtain a creation which suits them and their needs even better than the original piece might have, due to the extensive discussions I have with them.
image vintage dictionary page art print grand piano vintage sheet music print violin
A sheet music and violin art print inspired by the grand piano dictionary page print.
Of course, my dictionary page prints are the items most commonly requested as custom creations!  Bespoke requests can range from simple requests for specific word definitions on the dictionary page to using sheet music or other vintage papers to adding images of a customer's favourite animal, instrument, vehicle, etc.  I have even had a customer request a quote to be added to the image design!
So let me ask you, when you see an amazing handmade creation which has already sold or isn't in your required colour scheme, do you discuss a custom order with its creator?  Or do you keep looking in other stores in the hopes of finding what you want somewhere else?  I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.   :)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Scent of a Kitchen

image vintage powder box candle vanilla roses red yellow maude

I recently spent a day turning my stash of vintage teacups and powder boxes into container candles for Domum Vindemia.  I haven't finished filling all of my teacups yet, but my house has been smelling delightfully of vanilla ever since.  I loooove the scent of vanilla, but then I also loooove desserts and cakes, ha ha ha.

image teacup candle vintage loretta domum vindemia pink flowers

Each candle is made from standard, vanilla-scented candle wax and I am so in love with every single one - I don't want to sell them!  I stock candles in both my Etsy and Madeit stores, so you can shop at whichever site you prefer.  I only make vanilla-scented candles at the moment, but may one day branch out to other scents.  What are your favourite candle scents?

image teacup candle vintage-style willow-style blue and white ede

image vintage handmade powder box red roses candle vanilla scented
Beryl Candle