Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Pre-Christmas Giveaway

image wildflower bobby pin set hair pink yellow purple two cheeky monkeys

As October draws to an end and Christmas approaches,  I thought it would be a good time to run another quick giveaway.  I'm offering the cute Wildflower bobby pin set; three pretty bobby pins adorned with chrysanthemum cabochons.  To be in the draw for these hair accessories, all you have to do is be a Two Cheeky Monkeys newsletter subscriber.  Easy, right?  If you aren't already a subscriber, you can sign up over on the right sidebar or by following this link:  I will draw a winner at the end of November, which should leave plenty of time for the winner to receive their hair clips for Christmas!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Crochet Covered Stones: A New Distraction

image crochet covered stones pebbles doily rock stone cosy cozy

Today's post is all about my new distraction...erm, "skill I have learned".  I have admired the quirkiness of crochet-covered stones and pebbles for some time, but put off making any of my own until I could find the "perfect" stone.  Of course, it would have been faster and easier to go to the store and buy some (which I did in the end), but I loved the idea of finding a beautifully sea-smoothed stone.
I did find one beautiful stone on our recent holiday to Port Macquarie (the bottom left one in the photo), and have covered that one following Margaret Oomen's great tutorial over at The Purl Bee.  The designs on the other stones were adapted from tutorials I found at flax & twine and Let's Yarnify.  Once you understand the technique of crocheting a stone cosy, it is fairly easy to adapt any doily or round type patterns for covering your stones.  I am thinking these would make great gifts as paperweights or whimsical home decor.  And I'm even toying with the idea of creating my own designs for selling in Domum Vindemia.  What do you think?

Friday, 25 October 2013

Chocolate Mud Cake

image dark chocolate mudcake mud cake

This week, we celebrated Mr Cheeky Monkeys' birthday with our usual dinner and cake chosen by the birthday person.  When I asked the little Cheeky Monkeys what cake I should make for daddy, they both responded, "Something chocolate, of course!"  They know their dad well, because the birthday boy's request was for a real chocolate mud cake, if I could manage that (I'd never made one before).  So off I went and found what looked like a fail safe recipe, hoping that it would produce a decadent mud cake.  And the Cheeky Monkeys' verdict?  The cake tasted great (though it didn't look very pretty), but it wasn't quite "muddy" (i.e. dense and stick to your ribs rich!) enough.  I'm very happy with my attempt, but if you have a really MUDDY mudcake recipe, let me know please!

image dark chocolate mudcake mud cake

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Holiday Art Class

image osmosis children's art and craft glasshouse gallery port macquarie kidspot

As you may have noticed from my previous posts about artists I had discovered, I really enjoyed visiting the Glasshouse gallery during my recent trip to Port Macquarie.  But it wasn't just me who had fun there, not only did the entire Cheeky Monkeys family have a great lunch at their cafe, the little Cheeky Monkeys also enjoyed a free, one hour art and craft class designed for primary school-aged kids.

image osmosis children's art and craft glasshouse gallery port macquarie kidspot

The class we attended had a simple, but eye-catching project to complete, a wall hanging based on the water-themed "Osmosis" exhibit at the gallery.  The Cheeky Monkeys had a lot of fun tying crepe paper, cellophane and curling ribbons to their creations, and they especially loved attaching the shiny diamantes and acrylic rhinestones to the dangling ribbons.  I was a little worried about how we were going to get such delicate creations safely home to Melbourne, but they survived the trip and now decorate my house in rather inconvenient locations!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Re-Fashioning Adventures: From a Man's Shirt to a Summer Top

image man's short sleeved shirt red and yellow check button up refashion

Being the avid upcycler that I am, I love to find books and magazines full of ideas for turning old and unwanted items into new and useful ones.  So when I saw Amanda McKittrick's Recycled Chic at my local library, I had to borrow it!  I was particuarly taken by the man's shirt refashion project because I love a comfy summer top (and have been known to wear my summer tops in winter too).  So off I sped to my local op shop to find an unloved, but interesting man's shirt.  Not only did I find this light red and yellow checked wonder (I can't resist red!), but I also found some sweet cambric which I decided to add to my new top.

image man's short sleeved shirt red and yellow check button up refashion woman's summer top sleeveless

Now the project instructions seemed straightforward: cut off the sleeves, cut off the top of the shirt, sew up your seams, make a casing at the top for ribbon, then add the ribbon and, voila, you have a woman's top to wear!  However, due to my rather dumpy and out of shape figure (which I'm working on improving!), and the fact that men's shirts vary from one to the other as much as women's figures do, I really didn't like the way the top sat on me when I first put it on.  After half a day of adjusting various parts of the pattern, unpicking unwanted seams, yelping when I poked myself with pins and general tantrum throwing (can you tell I am NOT a seamstress?), I finally managed to produce the top you see in the above photo.  It's not going to win any fashionista awards, but I like it (as do the Cheeky Monkeys) and it is fitting much better than it first did.  It's still not 100% to my liking, but I'm rather impressed with my (somewhat dubious) efforts.  And when you consider that it only cost me $3.50 in materials (and a day of gnashing my teeth in frustration), I really can't complain too much.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Art I Love - Naomi Ullman

Today I am sharing the work of another Australian artist I discovered on my recent roadtrip, and that is the work of Naomi Ullman.  When I first saw her quirky snow dome creations, I wasn't sure what to make of them.  But then I looked a little closer and realised that the little building within each snow dome was constructed from old credit and store cards!

Reading through the exhibit explanation, I was fascinated to learn that these snow domes were created as a poignant, if not offbeat, commentary on the Australian "home owners' dream".  Not being the kind of person who makes social commentary via art, I was quite taken by this "think outside the box" method of doing so.  Who would have thought to combine the iconic snow dome with old credit cards to make a statement about social excess and ecological conservation!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Little Golden Books and a Short Hiatus

image little golden book bunting bunnies' ABC alphabet rabbits crocodile animals

You may notice this week that there are fewer blog posts than usual.  No, I am not ignoring my lovely readers, and no, I do not have "blogger's block".  I am just taking some time off from life after pushing my back a little too hard this past weekend (note to self: never spend a day wearing high heels after going for a hard run).  I think the proverbial straw that broke my back was my rather unorthodox method of sitting/semi crouching on the floor while pinning buntings together.  However, such foolish behaviour did result in the completion of four new Golden Book buntings for Domum Vindemia!  I'll be adding these to my store as soon as my back has made a full recovery, and I will also hopefully be fit enough to sew up some more buntings in a week or so.  In the mean time, it's lots of stretching and bed rest for me as well as the occasional therapeutic massage from Mr Cheeky Monkeys.

image golden book bunting i can fly little girl animals

Friday, 11 October 2013

Art I Love - Kendal Murray

kendal murray flights of fancy teapot glasshouse

When I was researching holiday activities for our recent Two Cheeky Monkeys roadtrip, I was delighted to find that Port Macquarie was home to a small, regional gallery/theatre/concert hall named the Glasshouse.  I eagerly enrolled the little Cheeky Monkeys in a free art and craft class, which they enjoyed enormously, and had a fun morning looking through the Glasshouse's small, but fascinating art exhibits.

kendal murray flights of fancy teapot tea cup tree forest

Some of the works which appealed to me the most were by Sydney artist, Kendal Murray.  It's no surprise that I was enchanted by her work really, because her "Flights of Fancy" exhibition contained artistic creations made from glass teapots and tea cups!  Each teapot housed a miniature landscape or social setting designed to capture a viewer's attention by its surreal representation of scenarios with which many would be familiar.  I would love to own one or more of her whimsical pieces, if only I could find a way to display them without the risk of them being broken by the Cheeky Monkeys!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

My Holiday Creative Space

image two cheeky monkeys hand sewn embroidery blog header lace shabby chic

Some of you may have already noticed the new blog header that has been gracing my blog for the last few days.  For those who haven't, now here's your chance!  This little shabby chic creation (it measures just 13cm by 6cm) was one of the simple craft projects I brought along with me on my recent getaway.  I was inspired to create this simply embroidered piece by the lovely images in one of my favourite craft books, granny chic.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out (though I've really struggled to photograph it well).  I may even have to sew up some more similar creations to use as luggage tags, book labels or shabby chic wall art and Christmas ornaments!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Fair Trade Souvenirs

image community projects worldwide fair trade telephone wire basket kisii stone hearts blue turqouise aqua

With the two cheeky monkeys back at school today, I have had to well and truly come to terms with the fact that my long awaited holiday is now very much in the past.  However, I have been enjoying myself going through our holiday happy snaps and editing the interesting ones for our online album.  We also have several souvenirs to remind us of our roadtrip, including these beauties from Community Projects Worldwide.  This store, which has outlets in Eumundi and Port Macquarie, sells handmade goods sourced from disadvantaged communities and individual artists, most of whom are based in Africa or South America.  I fell in love with the woven telephone wire baskets while the cheeky monkeys adored the kisii stone hearts on sight!  My new basket is now proudly sitting on one of my craft shelves waiting to hold whatever crafty supplies I decide to put into it.  The two kisii stone hearts are in the middle of being varnished so that their beautiful appearance will survive the harsh conditions of living in the monkeys' "fairy garden" (my herb garden).  And for those of you who don't live anywhere near the brick and mortar store locations, follow the link above to find CPW's online store!  ;)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Handmade Goodies For Little Boys

Having two little girls means that I have never taken too much notice of the cute handmade items available for little boys.  But now that I have several nephews, I find myself paying more attention to such things!  Here are some of my current favourites online:

Bow Tie by Me and Matilda

Reversible Waistcoat by Bebe Bouton

Shoes by Ruby & Sam

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The New South Wales Coast

We are almost at the end of our much needed holiday, and the Two Cheeky Monkeys family is sad that our time away is coming to an end.  We have spent a lot of time swimming in the pool and in the ocean, sight seeing at the various attractions in the area and I have managed to visit some fun op shops.  I am sad our time away is ending, but I am grateful that we could do it!

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