Friday, 29 May 2015

A little fingernail fun

I was a little bored the other day, as well as a little excited about my birthday and super excited about some happy mail, so I did something I don't do very often, I fancied up my fingernails.  It was only a slapdash effort, but it was fun trying out my new Smudged Polish purchase!  Of course, I also did the on trend thing of creating a feature nail.  If you look closely, you'll see two flittering butterflies on my ring fingers, care of Js Utopia.  So tell me, do you love to do your fingernails?  Or do you never bother with the fuss?  Or somewhere in between (like me)?

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Choose Your Own Literature Design

image two cheeky monkeys literature locket necklace silver wing charm character name fictional

It has been a long time in development, but I have finally opened the Two Cheeky Monkeys doors to customers who wish to customise or personalise their piece of Literature Jewellery.  While I have been accepting custom Literature Jewellery orders for some time, my wonderful customers can now choose from a small range of customisable pieces without having to first approach me for a special listing.

image two cheeky monkeys literature locket necklace silver wing charm character name fictional Mr Darcy

And the newest in this range of literature pieces are the ever popular literature locket necklaces.  You can now choose not only your choice of bead colour for your necklace, but you will also be able to choose which literary character you wish to celebrate in your locket as well as whether you would like to add on an alphabet charm.  Which character, bead colour and alphabet letter would you choose?

Monday, 25 May 2015

Customised Jane Eyre Magnets

I was recently commissioned to make a special set of Jane Eyre magnets by a customer who was playing the role of Jane in a theatrical adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's beloved novel.  The play's run was coming to a close and she wanted to give each cast member a magnet featuring their character's name as an end of production gift.

image domum vindemia jane eyre magnets charlotte bronte grace poole mrs fairfax blanche ingram bertha mason Adele

I thought this was such a clever gift idea and was quietly pleased to be able to make magnets of characters which, while essential to the story, are not the main or popular characters which customers usually request.  I enjoyed putting this set together and hope that the magnets will be a fun reminder of each actor's time in the production!

Friday, 22 May 2015

New Funky Cocktail Napkins

moustache fabric napkin set mo stache riley blake ombre aquamarine aqua blue domum vindemia eco reusable

The vintage bed linen cocktail napkin range has been pretty popular not just with customers who love picnics and entertaining, but also with eco-conscious customers who prefer to wash and re-use their napkins rather than constantly buying disposable ones.

image reusable fabric cocktail napkins set domum vindemia alexander henry brown tea beige black tan ombre moustache handlebar mo stache

In acknowledgement of this range's popularity, I have started adding new designs, but this time made from 100% cotton fabric rather than upcycled bed linen.  At the moment I have added a few more "masculine" sets to my stores featuring the ever popular "mo".  These aren't just for men, but are for anyone who loves something a little quirky or different in their napery.

image domum vindemia fabric cocktail napkins reusable 100% cotton la vie en rose pastel blue purple green floral flowers paris france vintage style

For those who loved the vintage look of the original range, never fear, I have something new for you too.  While still made from brand new 100% cotton fabric, the floral Paris set features large English-style rose blossoms in purple on a palest blue background with "watermarks" of French postal stamps and various Parisien monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and L'arc De Triomphe.
So what do you think?  Would you entertain with "stache" napkins, or are you a more traditional, floral/vintage-style type?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

All New: Floral Chain Literature Charm Bracelets!

image two cheeky monkeys literature charm bracelet chunky printed chain blue and white jewellery atticus finch to kill a mockingbird

Today I am so excited to tell you all about the newest additions to my literature bracelet range, which I am launching in honour of my upcoming birthday!  I have been loving this porcelain-look chunky blue and white chain for a while and just knew that I had to create a bracelet of some sort with it.

image two cheeky monkeys literature charm bracelet chunky printed chain blue and white jewellery mr darcy pride and prejudice jane austen
And what better kind of bracelet to create than a boho-looking charm bracelet featuring a customer's choice of her favourite literary character.  Each bracelet consists of the gorgeous chunky chain teamed with a narrower, but still chunky, chain adorned with three charms and a character name dangle.  I am offering a variety of character names - find them now in both my Etsy and Madeit stores.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Easy lunchbox fillers: Spinach and feta muffins

If your children, grandkids or nieces/nephews are anything like the Two Cheeky Monkeys, then variety is the spice of life when it comes to the contents of their school lunchboxes.  While I'm happy to try and give them something different most days, my life is made much easier by having easy lunches already made and stored in my freezer.

image recipe tutorial spinach and feta muffins

So today I am sharing a savoury muffin recipe, adapted from a recipe in the Woolworths Fresh magazine, which is easy to prepare, freezes quite well, and will feed your hungry little hordes.

- 2 cups wholemeal plain flour (all purpose flour)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2-1 tsp sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 40ml (2 Tb) olive oil
- 20-40 ml (1-2 Tb) wholegrain mustard
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 100-150g crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 60g baby spinach (or frozen spinach), roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180 C.  Line a 12-hole muffin pan with muffin cases/patty pans.
2. Lightly whisk eggs, oil and mustard in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in buttermilk, then fold in cheeses and spinach.
3. Sift in flour, salt and baking powder.  Gently fold into mixture until just combined.
4. Divide mixture among muffin cases.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

And there you have it - a lunch you can keep in the freezer for those days when you're running late, want a fun treat or feel like going on a picnic at your local park!

Friday, 15 May 2015

I love cake!!!

image magic chocolate custard cake white on rice couple recipe

Last weekend was Mother's Day in Australia (and multiple countries around the world) and Mr Cheeky Monkeys and I invited our mothers to come and have lunch with the Two Cheeky Monkeys family.  For dessert I baked up a guaranteed favourite in the TCM family, White on Rice Couple's magic chocolate custard cake.  They also have a vanilla version which is just as popular with our family and friends.  These recipes are super easy so go on, try them out, and you can thank me later.  :)

image magic custard cake vanilla white on rice couple recipe

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Easy cumquat (or any other citrus) cake

The Two Cheeky Monkeys family were recently given a LARGE lot of homegrown cumquats when we visited friends (all the kids had fun picking them off the tree).  Faced with a large bowl of slightly squashed cumquats which had to be used up quickly (this is what happens when you let small people pick fruit unsupervised, LOL), I decided to bake a simple cumquat cake (or two).
This recipe is very basic, requiring only a food processor to prepare the cake batter.  It is a recipe I adapted from an orange cake recipe and you can pretty much substitute any citrus fruit you happen to have on hand.

image cumquat cake food processor citrus recipe

- 200-250g fresh cumquats (or equivalent to a medium-large orange)
- 3 eggs
- 8oz/230g butter or margerine (if using butter, leave it at room temperature to soften)
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- 1 1/2 cups caster sugar
- 2-3 tsp vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven to 170C (340F).  Line a large cake tin with baking paper.
2. Wash the cumquats and de-seed and de-stem if necessary.  Then blend them in a large food processor until pulpy.
3. Add all the other ingredients to the food processor and blend together until mixed through evenly.
4. Pour cake batter into prepared cake tin and bake for about an hour, or until cooked through and golden.  Remove cake from tin and leave on a baking rack to cool to room temperature.
5. Serve your cumquat cake as is, or dusted with a little icing sugar to further cut through the bitter/sour cumquat flavours.  To be super decadent, you could serve this cake with a dollop of cream on the side!

1. As I mentioned, you can pretty much make this cake with any citrus fruit you have on hand (I have successfully baked this cake with oranges, lemons and cumquats).  If you are using sweet citrus, such as oranges or mandarins, cut back the sugar to one cup so you don't end up with an overly sweet cake.
2. If you don't have a food processor or only have a mini one, you can blend up the fruit in a blender or in your mini processor.  Remove some of the fruit pulp to a large mixing bowl, then add the softened butter and blend with the remaining pulp.  Whisk the eggs and remaining ingredients together by hand with the fruit pulp and butter mix, then bake as instructed.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Custom Bridal Party Creations

Today I am finally showing off a custom set of bridal party creations which I was most honoured to make for a friend's wedding. She has long been an admirer of Two Cheeky Monkeys' pieces and decided that she just had to add some TCM fun to her wedding.

image two cheeky monkeys jewellery custom bridal party necklaces and earrings amethyst purple literature the princess bride north and south emma the jungle doctor

For the females in the bridal party, I created literature earrings and matching necklaces featuring each girl's favourite literary couple and a favourite quote from the novel they loved.  So there were Westley and Buttercup from William Goldman's The Princess Bride, Emma Woodhouse and Mr Knightley from Jane Austen's Emma, Margaret Hale and John Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, and Simba and Perisi from Paul White's The Jungle Doctor.

image two cheeky monkeys cufflinks set rally car automobile racing text words

For the boys in the bridal party, it was all about cars, cars, cars.  Not surprising given that the groom is a rally car chaplain and sometimes participant!  Each guy's cufflink set features car- or racing-related words taken from an old rally car manual.  Fun, right?  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend my friend's wedding, but I cannot wait to see their wedding photos when they return from their honeymoon.  :)

Friday, 8 May 2015

Things I Love: Macaron Cakes

Yes, there's no denying it, I am still a massive fan of the delightful macaron.  Although I still haven't successfully made macarons which look pretty and store bought, I harbour dreams of making (or even better, having made for me) a macaron cake or two.  Here is a roundup of some of my favourites, enjoy.

image macaron cake recipe tutorial

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Sew Mama Sew May Giveaway Day 2015

Hello to old and new readers alike!  Today is the day many of us have been looking forward to, the bi-annual Sew Mama Sew giveaway day.  It is a fun day (actually, five days to give you all time to find gorgeous new blogs) of visiting old favourite blogs and discovering delightful new ones while enjoying a worldwide synchronised giveaway of various handmade or craft supply goodies.

Head on over to my giveaway post where I am offering one lucky reader the latest issue of tickle the imagination magazine. Enjoy your blog finding week!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Personalised Mother's Day Cards

Shh...don't tell my mum or mother-in-law, but I have been madly working on their Mother's Day cards this past week! These designs are intended to melt grandma's and nanna's hearts and were relatively simple to put together. The paper heart frame is care of an iris/corner folding tutorial I found and the photo is from our recent trip to Japan. 

If I had thought ahead enough, I would have gotten the photos professionally printed, but I've kind of been preoccupied (you'll find out why next week) and had to print the photos at home.  That wouldn't normally be a problem but my printer was having issues with my photo quality paper, so I had to resort to printing at high res on normal paper (cringe).
For those of you who have no time to make a card but want something a little different, why not buy a dictionary page card for your mum/mother-in-law/mother figure?

Friday, 1 May 2015

Domum Vindemia - Mother's Day Finds

Following on from Wednesday's Mother's day gift guide post, today I am sharing a Domum Vindemia-based gift guide.  For those needing Express Post shipping or for your purchase to be shipped direct to your beloved mum, I am more than happy to offer those services to you, just let me know.

image domum vindemia mother's day gift guide shabby chic vintage-inspired upcycled scarves home decor buntings napkins

1. Let mum know she will always have the key to your heart.
2. Something for the bookworm mum.
3. For the mum who loves fun ways of serving food.
4. Surprise mum with family-themed magnets.
5. For the picnic/party-loving mother.
6. For the shabby chic mum.
7. Container candles smell delicious while looking pretty too.
8. For the mum who can't get enough of buntings.
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