Friday, 27 February 2015

Creating Custom Fabric Cuffs

I recently had the honour of being asked to create several shabby chic fabric cuffs for a customer.  She loved the fabric bracelet cuffs I create for my Two Cheeky Monkeys stores and wanted something similar to wear over a medical sensor on her arm.

image two cheeky monkeys fabric cuff handmade blue ombre vintage cabochons linen cream buttons lace

Multiple emails and photos later, and we have settled on three designs which match her outfits and aesthetic.  The ombre blue cuff above is the first one I've made and has been embellished with the sweetest vintage glass flowers as well as retro lace, ribbons and buttons.  I can't wait to get started on the other two cuffs once all the required supplies arrive, I love sewing fabric jewellery!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

New Thomas The Tank Engine Buntings!

image thomas the tank engine bunting domum vindemia etsy madeit thomas goes fishing children party decor

It's been a while since I sat down and made new Thomas the Tank Engine buntings.  But after a lovely customer bought most of my existing stock for her son's birthday party, I thought it was time to re-stock my stores.

image thomas the tank engine bunting domum vindemia thomas down the mine trains boys children etsy madeit for sale

Here are a few of the new buntings I am adding to Domum Vindemia - they aren't just stories about Thomas, but include other favourite engines too, such as James, Edward and Toby.  And for those of you who wondered how I got into creating Thomas buntings, the idea came from a good friend of mine whose young son loves anything and everything Thomas-related!  Do your children love Thomas the tank engine?

image thomas the tank engine bunting james and the troublesome trucks domum vindemia for sale etsy madeit children lime green boys

Monday, 23 February 2015

Simple Ways to Care For Handmade Jewellery

As a maker of vintage-inspired jewellery, I find myself reminding customers that handmade costume jewellery needs as much, if not more, care than the 9K or sterling silver pieces one buys from regular jewellery stores.  Here are three tips which will help you to ensure that your lovingly created handmade item enthrals you for many years to come.

image purple perfume bottle diy caring for jewellery

1. Avoid exposure to chemicals such as perfumes, deoderants and household cleaning products.
Chemicals can damage precious metals and gemstones, so just imagine what they could do to your silver- or gold-plated piece or your vintage rhinestone pretty!  To avoid damaging your handmade jewellery, apply perfumes or cosmetics before putting on jewellery, and always remove your jewellery before going for a swim in a chlorinated pool or embarking on a massive household cleaning day.

2. It is also best to avoid exposing your jewellery to excessive moisture or high heat.
Handmade creations which utilise adhesive in some or all of their construction (such as Two Cheeky Monkeys' cabochon jewellery) are particularly susceptible to this kind of damage.  Moisture and heat are enemies of all but the most resilient types of glue (such as military or construction grade).  So don't forget to take off your handmade pieces before showering or heading to the gym.

3. Invest in good storage solutions for your handmade jewellery, both at home and when you're travelling.
Keeping necklaces and bracelets organised on hangers or laid out flat separately is the best way for preventing them from getting all tangled up with each other.  Delicate pieces, such as glass, Swarovski or real pearls need to be kept away from anything which might scratch the beautiful surface of your beaded item.  An added benefit of storing your jewellery carefully is that you will never again spend hours rummaging through a confused mess of pieces looking for that ONE earring you're missing or that ring that would perfectly match the day's outfit.

Taking care to follow these three tips as best as you can should hopefully mean that you can enjoy your handmade jewellery purchases for many years, having a unique look which can't be found with mass produced pieces.  Enjoy!

Image Source:

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Happy Chinese New Year!

Today I want to wish you all a very happy Chinese New Year!  It is the "year of the goat" this year, which means that for those of you who are turning a multiple of 12 this year, IT'S YOUR YEAR!
I hope all my Chinese readers have a fun time celebrating with friends and family.  The Two Cheeky Monkeys family are having a relatively quiet affair with family and close friends as well as a TONNE of delicious Chinese food.

Monday, 16 February 2015

The Split Rock Plant

image split rock plant pleiospilos nelii

Allow me to introduce you to "Nelly", the newest addition to the Two Cheeky Monkeys garden!  Nelly is a "split rock" plant, otherwise known by the scientific name of Pleiospilos nelii.  I am a big fan of succulent plants, and my parents had several of these weird plants when I was growing up.  So when the opportunity arose to have one in our garden, I jumped on it immediately.  Do you have any weird or wonderful plants growing in your garden?

Friday, 13 February 2015

Do buntings have a front and back?

image little golden book bunting bunnies counting 1 2 3 domum vindemia

As a creator of "atypical" handmade buntings, I sometimes get asked if my buntings have a right and wrong side, or a front and a back.  So for those of you who have been wondering the same thing, here is my not so short answer.

image domum vindemia vintage doily bunting lilac purple shabby chic

For the doily buntings available at Domum Vindemia, I say "yes", there is a definite front and back to each bunting because all doilies and napkins are made with defined right and wrong sides to them.  Although this is not very noticeable in the vintage doilies I use, it would be noticeable enough to bother the more observant if a bunting is hung with the "wrong" side facing outwards.

image domum vindemia peter rabbit bunting beatrix potter book

When it comes to my book page/literature buntings, I usually say hang them however you like, there is no right or wrong side!  Most of the battered old books I use for the book buntings have pages which feature sweet illustrations and text on both sides.  And while I tend to orient the pages based on the storyline of each book, what I end up creating is a double-sided bunting with an "A" and a "B" side.  Both sides are lovely, and it's up to each customer which side of the bunting they want facing outwards.  Or, do as one of my lovely customers did and hang a book bunting across a playroom so that little ones can appreciate both sides.

image vintage doily bunting domum vindemia fuchsia pink shabby chic wedding bridal doilies

So as you can see, not a particularly short answer.  But hopefully that helps all those of you who have been wondering about the best way to hang your Domum Vindemia buntings.  And please do continue to spread the word about my buntings - I love hearing from customers who have given or received my buntings as gifts!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Sis Boom Collective Market Showcase

image sis boom collective market showcase when i love i love jennifer paganelli

This week I have an exciting event I'm taking part in which I have been busily sewing for over the last few days.  I have decided to take part in my first ever Sis Boom Collective Market Showcase!  The showcase is a regular online market which aims to showcase items made using Sis Boom fabrics.  The items showcased in each market are available for sale online to the general public and are also made to fit with the month's theme.  And, of course, this month's market theme is "love".

image key to my heart ornament pincushion pin cushion sis boom collective market showcase jennifer paganelli circa beauty queen vintage luggage key domum vindemia

While many of this month's contributors are going with a red and pink colour scheme to fit in with the "love" theme, I decided that my "key to my heart" range of designs was a perfect fit for the theme of love.  I have made three heart ornaments (or you could use them as pincushions) in a patchwork of Circa and Beauty Queen fabrics and have also incorporated my usual snippets of vintage embroidery and handdyed doilies.

image key to my heart ornament pincushion pin cushion sis boom collective market showcase jennifer paganelli circa beauty queen vintage luggage key domum vindemia

This month's showcase officially opens at 12pm Feb 13 (AEDST), or 8pm Feb 12 (Eastern time) for those of you who go by US timezones.  So come along and support not just me, but a variety of international sellers who have created a range of gorgeous clothing, toys and home accessories in beautiful Jennifer Paganelli fabric!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Art I Love

If you have been reading my blog for some time you will know that whenever I travel, I like to look out for art galleries exhibiting and/or selling works by local artists.  So on our recent trip to Daylesford, I had a fun-filled afternoon wandering through various local art galleries while Mr Cheeky Monkeys entertained the two Cheeky Monkeys.

At the Red Pepper Gallery, I was captivated by the works of artist and gallery owner Michael Parker.  In particular, his "resin series" of artworks caught my eye and had me wanting to touch them to see if they felt as smooth and beautifully shiny as they looked!  His resin series of art consists of canvases covered in marbling, fractal and nature-inspired swirls of coloured resin resulting in what looks a lot like a glass artwork.  I was pretty keen to bring one of these edgy abstract pieces of art home, but at two metres in length and a cost of almost $5000, Mr Cheeky Monkeys (quite understandably) vetoed my desire to bring some local artwork home with us!

Those of you who don't have impending overseas trips (or other financial committments) constraining your budgets can find Michael Parker's intriguing creations at his Red Pepper gallery in Daylesford as well as the Seaview Gallery in Queenscliff.

Friday, 6 February 2015

"Girly Tests", Anaemia and Health Issues

I originally conceived of today's post as an encouragement to my fellow women to go and have regular pap tests after having a Twitter conversation with several other women who were thinking about the same issue.  So my apologies to all my male readers who are squirming right now (but you should really remind your wife or girlfriend to have her regular tests too.)

As someone who had a grandmother who was diagnosed with and successfully treated for cervical cancer because of regular pap tests, this is something close to my heart.  But, more than that, with a wonderfully wide-thinking general practitioner (GP) like mine, my regular pap test was also a chance for my GP to send me for blood tests to check up on my general health.

And when you think about it, if you're going to put up with the mild discomfort of a pap test, what's a blood test or two to make sure that all of you is healthy?  And I am very thankful that my GP sent me for those blood tests because, as it turns out, all the tiredness I had been experiencing last year was not due to old age and the Cheeky Monkeys having too many after school activities (though that didn't help), but was due to the fact that I am very anaemic.

Of course, I am now being treated for my anaemia and am hopeful that my energy levels will be back to what I used to enjoy.  And in the mean time, I am also undergoing a few other tests to determine exactly why I am anaemic, a health issue I have never experienced in my life.  So while I wait for more test results and answers, I can't help but think of this event as how a pap test showed me that I had other health issues!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Paypal Here Tips For Novice Users

Today's post shares a few tricks I learned while using Paypal Here to accept credit card payments at markets.  I have been meaning to write this post since I attended the Kingston Makers Market back in early December, but have only gotten round to doing it!  Let me state that this is not meant to be a comprehensive post about using Paypal Here at markets.  Instead, I am sharing a few tips learned from my experience of using Paypal Here on an android smartphone which I did not find in Paypal's "how to" guide for using this technology, and which I know have confused many users.

Problem 1:
My first tip is one which Paypal had not addressed when I was first learning to use Paypal Here.  The app allows users to sign into Paypal using a simple PIN rather than their secure, but lengthy password.  This was a very handy addition to the app because you really don't want to be typing in your 25 character password at a market every time a customer asks to pay via credit card.  However, many users, including myself, found that even though they had set a secure PIN with Paypal, the app did not allow them to sign in with their PIN.

Tip 1:
The solution to this problem is a little odd, but very simple.  Through lots of online searches I discovered that you can only use a PIN to sign into Paypal Here when your phone is set to your country's language.  So, for a seller like me in Australia, I had to change my phone's language settings to "English (Australia)" to use my Paypal PIN.  This can present a problem for those whose smartphones do not have their country of origin's language setting (I know some android phones do not have the English (Australia) option).  But for everyone else, changing your language setting should resolve the PIN issue.

Problem 2:
The very first time I used Paypal Here at a market, the app had a minor meltdown and would not allow me to process payments because I had not set my GPS location on my phone (I routinely turn off GPS tracking on my phone).  While not a major problem, it was a little embarrassing in the middle of a transaction, and my poor customer had to wait for me to resolve the GPS issue before I could process their sale.
Tip 2:
The Paypal Here app requires your physical location for transactions as it includes this information in your transaction receipt (which is helpful for record keeping for both you and your customer).  The solution to this is, of course, very simple.  If you don't have GPS turned on on your phone, just remember to turn it on along with your Bluetooth and mobile data settings when you arrive at your market.

So there are my two very simple, but absolutely essential, tips for using Paypal Here on your android phone at markets.  I hope this helps new users before you attend a market.

Monday, 2 February 2015

The one where I leave a trail of paper scraps everywhere I go...

image ice cream cone iris folding happy birthday card
 Kids won't say no to ice cream!

If you are a diehard crafter/creator like me, you probably find yourself making some or all of the gifts you give to friends and loved ones during the year.  While I don't always make gifts for others, I do like to sit down at the start of each year and make as many birthday cards as I can.

image iris folding greeting card pineapple flower quilt block
The pineapple blossom quilt block pattern is eye-catching as an iris fold pattern.

This year I have gone for an iris folding theme for my handmade cards, with fun ones being made for children's birthdays and a few quilt block-styled ones for adults.  I'm even thinking I might make a love-themed iris folded card for my cousin's upcoming nuptials!  So tell me, do you love to give the gift of handmade (even just a card)?  And have you tried iris folding before?

image iris folding heart frame card picture photo corner fold fancy fold
This WIP will eventually become a mother's day card with the addition of a photo in the centre of the heart frame.