Friday, 29 March 2013

Happy Easter

image cross easter jesus christian

I'm taking a little break from my usual blog posts to wish you all a happy Easter.  I know it may seem a little odd to wish everyone a good time while we're commemorating someone's death, but this is the time of year when we Christians especially remember that Jesus died for our sins and was also resurrected.  So it's not all sad - there is LOTS to celebrate.  I hope that the next few days of holidays will be relaxing ones for you where you can catch up with friends and loved ones and also reflect on the meaning of the Easter holiday.
 
Photo source: First Baptist Church

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Granny Chic Jewellery

image granny square necklace red ombre embroidery floss chic jewellery jewelry

Although I haven't been able to create much post surgery (I'm still on enough pain meds to make me drowsy and incapable of doing anything too complex!), I did manage to make quite a few things in the days leading up to my surgery.  One of my fun creations was this ombre granny sqaure necklace.  For those of you who know how to crochet the ubiquitous granny square, all you need to do to make your own necklace is whip up a teeny granny square (I used a 2mm hook and 6-stranded embroidery floss) then attach it to a chain with a jump ring.  You could even make a crocheted necklace chain and crochet it directly to the granny square if you are wanting a completely yarn-based piece of jewellery!  This project is easily completed in an afternoon; I think my problem is going to be stopping at just making one...

Monday, 25 March 2013

My Right Foot


Yes my lovely readers, this is the sight that greets me every morning when I wake up and look at my injured right foot.  The surgery to remove the needle from my foot went ahead as planned and I have been (as far as I can tell) making a good recovery.  Except for in the hours directly following surgery, I have felt very little pain in my foot and am generally finding the whole thing a bit of an inconvenience!  I am so thankful that everything seems to be going well and want to thank everyone who has been praying for me, asking about how I'm doing or offering to help in whatever way you can.  I'll have this post-surgery shoe on my foot until after Easter, so there's still a good week and a bit that I'll be forced to hobble around my home when I'm not resting with my foot up on the couch.  Perhaps I'll spend some of my resting time working on future blog posts!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Flying Bach

image red bull flying bach flying steps breakdance programme baroque

Last weekend Mr Cheeky Monkeys and I had the opportunity to attend the Red Bull Flying Bach dance performance (yay for babysitters).  I first saw advertising for this dance tour back in early December 2012 and was immediately drawn to it because of my love of Bach's music and my love of various styles of dance.  To many, the concept of combining classical Baroque music with very contemporary breakdancing might seem a bit odd, but the performers pulled it off!  I'll have to admit there were a few moments I found a little surreal (like watching a bunch of B-boys doing headspins and handglides while a real live harpsichord was being played), but I am very glad I got the chance to see this performance, injured foot and all.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

If You Haven't Got Your Health...


For those of you who don't know, about a week and a half ago I stupidly stepped on a sewing needle that had somehow been dropped on my carpet.  Now I step on things all the time because I love to go around barefoot, but this time, I stomped pretty hard on the needle and have had a foot infection and a fair amount of pain since my accident.  I've had multiple appointments with my wonderful general practitioner and my orthopaedic surgeon as well as ultrasounds, MRI and X-rays done on the foot.  And yes, as you may have guessed, there is still a piece of needle embedded in my foot and causing problems.


So, this lovely (not) injury I have caused to myself needs to be operated on and the needle removed ASAP.  Which means that, as of Thursday, I will be in a special protective, post-surgery boot unable to run, drive or even walk.  This also means that the virtual doors of Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia will be shut until I feel up to packaging orders and getting poor Mr Cheeky Monkeys to go to the post office for me.  And although I don't hold to the "if you haven't got your health, you haven't go anything" philosphy of Count Rugen, The Princess Bride is a movie that never fails to crack me up when I watch it.  Perhaps I'll spend my recuperation time watching The Princess Bride and other favourite movies, and hopefully it's onwards and upwards from here, footwise!

Monday, 18 March 2013

My Jogging Playlist


It's been over a week now since I have gone for a run or done any kind of exercise due to my self-inflicted foot injury and I have been really missing the exercise my body needs as well as the upbeat music I listen to while I run.  So today I'm sharing with you some of the eclectic range of songs currently on my jogging playlist (including Karmin's "Broken Hearted" above).  And I'd also like to know: do you exercise?  And if you do, what kind of music do you listen to to help you get "in the zone"?

Jogging Top 5:
1. Broken Hearted - Karmin
2. Uprising - Muse
3. Locked Out of Heaven - Bruno Mars
4. Lights - Ellie Goulding
5. I Don't Wanna Be in Love - Good Charlotte

Friday, 15 March 2013

Vintage-inspired ribbon bookmark DIY

image diy tutorial vintage inspired ribbon bookmark flower cabochon yellow book thong

As I mentioned last week, I am on a bit of a roll with bookmark tutorials due to the fact that I had to make some the other week.  This week I'm showing you how to make your very own ribbon bookmark with a bit of vintage inspiration.
 
Supplies
- 25cm length of 15-25mm wide ribbon (or length to fit your usual book size)
- a pair of ribbon end crimps
- jump rings
- a cabochon to match the ribbon
- a metal setting to fit the cabochon
- headpins
- metal charms
- beads to match the ribbon or cabochon
- superglue and/or fabric glue
- jewellery pliers
 
 
1. Apply some superglue (or you could use E6000 or two part epoxy resin) to the cabochon setting and carefully place the cabochon into the setting.  Make sure not to use too much glue to avoid squeeze out of excess glue.  If the cabochon you are using has an orientation, make sure you have attached it the right way up!  Set aside the cabochon and setting to let the glue dry.
 
image diy tutorial vintage inspired ribbon bookmark attach ribbon end crimps to the ends of the ribbon
 
2. Put a thin stripe of superglue or fabric glue along the inside edge of a ribbon clamp.  Insert one end of the ribbon, making sure it is as centred as possible, then squeeze the clamp shut with the jewellery pliers.  Repeat for the other end of the ribbon.
 
image diy tutorial vintage inspired ribbon bookmark make bead loops with beads and headpins
 
3. If you are adding beads to your bookmark, turn each bead into a dangle by putting it onto a headpin.  Cut off the excess pin, leaving 6-7mm above the bead.  Bend the headpin at a 90 degree angle to the bead.
 
image diy tutorial vintage inspired ribbon bookmark make bead dangles with beads and headpins
 
4. Curve the headpin end into a loop to complete your bead dangle.
 
image diy tutorial vintage inspired ribbon bookmark add bead dangles and charms to jump ring
 
5. Add a bead dangle and a charm to a jump ring and attach it to one end of the ribbon.  You can simply attach a charm or a bead dangle (or a cluster of charms and beads if you wish) to the ribbon end - whatever tickles your fancy!
 
image diy tutorial vintage inspired ribbon bookmark attach beads and cabochons to ribbon ends
 
6. Attach the cabochon and its setting to the other end of the ribbon and there you have it, a completed ribbon bookmark!  The beauty of this bookmark is that you can make it as modern or as vintage-inspired as you like, depending on the beads, charms and cabochons you use.  Let me know if you make one, I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

My creative space

image zipper flowers red white pastel blue navy purple hairbands accessories

It's that time of year again when all the creative parents at the two cheeky monkeys' school are asked to help out with creating handmade goodies for the school fete craft stall.  As I mentioned last week, this year I am making zipper flower accessories for the craft stall.  I was planning on making brooches, but the monkeys insisted that hair accessories would be more popular, at least for little girls.  So here are just some of the hairbands I have made so far.  As you can see, I've made a variety of zipper flower designs to hopefully suit a range of tastes.  Hopefully in a few weeks' time I can report back about how well they sold!  In the mean time, I'd like to know: if you have children (or grandchildren), have you ever made anything to be sold at their school fete? 

Monday, 11 March 2013

Blast from the past - Golden book buntings

image golden book bunting paper tootle train engine vintage domum vindemia black

Yes, the upcycling is continuing in force here at chez Two Cheeky Monkeys!  This past week I have been working on creating my new range of Golden book buntings.  At the moment I have Tootle, The Shy Little Kitten, Scuffy the Tugboat and The Poky Little Puppy buntings made up, but there will be other title coming soon too.  What do you think?  What was your favourite Golden book story when you were a child?

image golden book bunting vintage the shy little kitten domum vindemia children

image golden book bunting vintage scuffy the tugboat domum vindemia children

Friday, 8 March 2013

DIY Beaded Leather Book Thong

image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong red blue turquoise

I recently took part in a handmade bookmark swap which resulted in me making two different styles of beaded bookmarks which I have not previously tried.  Both are very quick to put together, providing you have all the needed supplies, and today I thought I'd share a tutorial for one of them, the beaded book thong.
 
Supplies
- 25cm length of thin (2-3mm) leather cord (or length to fit your books)
- two jewellery end crimps
- headpins
- two 5mm jump rings
- beads of your choice
- superglue
- jewellery pliers
 
image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong glue end crimps onto the leather cord
 
1. Add a dab of superglue to the inside of the end crimps then carefully place the end of the leather cord in the crimp before squeezing it shut with the pliers.  Repeat for the other end of the leather cord.  Gently wipe away any excess glue.
 
image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong place beads on headpins and curve the ends to make dangles
 
2. While waiting for the glue to dry, thread each bead onto a separate headpin.  Cut the end, leaving you a 6-7mm length, then bend the pin to start creating a loop.
 
image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong place beads on headpins and curve the ends to make dangles

3. Using the round nose pliers, curve the headpin end to create a loop at the top of the bead.

image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong red blue turquoise sort the bead loops

4. Repeat step 3 for every bead until you have a nice cluster of beads for each end of the book thong.  The more beads in the cluster the merrier, but try to have at least five beads per cluster so your cluster doesn't look too sparse.
 
image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong red blue turquoise open jump ring and thread on bead loops to create a cluster
 
5. Gently open one jump ring and thread the bead dangles for one cluster onto the jump ring before attaching the jump ring to the end of one of the end crimps on the leather cord.
 
image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong red blue turquoise open jump ring and thread on bead loops to create a cluster
 
6. Repeat step 5 to create the other bead cluster and attach that to the other end of the leather cord.
 
image diy tutorial beaded leather book thong red blue turquoise
 
And there you have it, one beaded book thong to stop you losing your place the next time you have to put that gripping book down and be responsible (apparently being caught up in a good book is not a valid excuse for forgetting to cook dinner!)  These are so quick to put together you could easily make a stack of them in a variety of colours.  You could also add little charms to your bead clusters to add further bling to your book thong.  If you're a big fan of ribbon or lace, stay tuned for a beaded ribbon bookmark tutorial coming to the blog next week!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to upcycle I go!

image handpunched shapes scalloped circle atlas victoria melbourne australia broome hobart tasmania
 
Yes, I have been busily upcycling pre-loved items this week in the hopes of turning them into desirable pretties for my Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia stores!  This week has seen me cutting up vintage atlases and sheet music to create hand-punched scrapbooking shapes (I currently have scalloped circles, hearts, squares and ovals) as well as cutting up very battered copies of classic books Jane Eyre and, of course, Pride and Prejudice.
 
image jane eyre brooches brass brown glass pearl pink white charlotte bronte jewellery accessories two cheeky monkeys
 
Although I still cringe every time I have to cut into a book (hands up who was taught the adage, "Books are our friends, treat them well."), I have had a lot of fun with my creating this week.  And I'm also about to start cutting up vintage zippers to turn them into zipper flower brooches for the fundraising craft stall at my monkeys' upcoming school fete.  Have you been doing any upcycling this week?  Or do you love vintage items too much to turn them into something else?
 
mage handpunched shapes scalloped oval sheet music vintage domum vindemia organ


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