Friday, 31 July 2015

Music I Love

Some of you may know that having grown up in a musically diverse home and having been trained as a classical musician, I have a rather eclectic taste in music and musical styles.  Today I am sharing one of my current "alternative" favourites, Owl City, whose music has been described as electronica and synth pop.  This song, "My Everything", is one I love for both its musical style and the lyrics based on singer/songwriter Adam Young's Christian faith.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A Mr Darcy Work In Progress

Today's post is a sneaky peek at a new necklace I have started working on but won't be finishing until the rest of my supplies arrive.  This new necklace combines my love for literature jewellery, vintage supplies and double-sided necklaces.

image two cheeky monkeys mr darcy spinner necklace brass man woman cameo

The double-sided part of this necklace is, in my mind, the most fun part!  The pendant is a vintage spinner pendant which I am adorning with a vintage cameo of a man and woman on one side, and a snippet of text reading "Mr Darcy" on the other.  Why do I love two-sided necklaces so much?  Because no matter how your necklace sits, it will always be right side up.  And you can easily flip this necklace round to change up the look whenever you want.  What do you think?

Monday, 27 July 2015

Crochet and doily blanket reveal - finally!

Those of you who were here with me in August last year may remember my excitement about starting a new crochet blanket.  I was hoping to have the blanket finished by the end of the year, but here I am, almost a year later only just having finished it now!

image crazy crochet patchwork blanket with vintage doilies multicoloured two cheeky monkeys blog

I'm pretty happy with the result, except for the first column where I accidentally added an extra row of stitches on a few of my squares.  Of course, I didn't notice the problem until the blanket was all stitched together and I had one column of squares which was too long.  Unstitching that error was rather ugly and now that column looks wonky.  But, oh well, at least I have a lovely warm blanket for snuggling under for the rest of our very cold Melbourne winter!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Baking, baking, baking

There has been a lot of baking going on in the last few weeks as I try out new recipes and prepare for Monkey #2's upcoming birthday.  The Two Cheeky Monkeys family are all big fans of bread, so I am always on the lookout for healthier recipes which contain whole wheat or grains.  And last week I tried out Silvia Colloca's no knead spelt loaf recipe and was pretty pleased with the results.  I just need to tweak the recipe a little to achieve the bread flavour we like and I think this recipe's going to be a keeper!

image no knead wholemeal spelt and oatmeal loaf

Since Mr Cheeky Monkeys bought a massive bag of rolled oats to sprinkle over my spelt loaf, I decided I had to find some other recipes to use them (there's only so much you can put on a loaf of bread).  Being the "health conscious" mum that I am, I decided to try out Martha Stewart's oatmeal and raisin cookies recipe.  These biscuits smell delicious while they are cooking and are also a great way of getting whole wheat into your kids without them knowing (not that I have that problem with the Monkeys).  And best of all, not only do they taste great, they are very quick and easy to make.

image oatmeal and sultana cookie biscuit healthy wholemeal two cheeky monkeys blog

Finally, I'm also showing off the cupcakes I made for Monkey #2 to share with her classmates at school.  They're made from a black forest cake recipe (just the chocolate cake part), then topped with vanilla icing and blue and pink popping candy.  I'm not a fan of popping candy, but Monkey #2 and her friends all are, so that's what matters, I guess.

image chocolate cupcakes vanilla icing and popping candy

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The bunting train continues

These past few weeks it feels like all I have been doing is sewing, sewing and more sewing of Little Golden book buntings.  Not that I am complaining, I love to sew my book buntings!  And this week I've got a few more to show off as well as several others in the works.

The first one is a Snow White bunting, one of my favourite fairytales when I was a little girl!  And to really cater for the "girly girls" out there, this bunting has been made with neon pink ribbon to add a splash of summer colour.  I was always a little scared of the wicked stepmother when I was little, but loved the seven Dwarves!

image domum vindemia little golden book bunting mother goose nursery rhymes for children hey diddle diddle little miss muffet little boy blue humpty dumpty

The second one is another childhood favourite, a bunting made out of an old Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes book.  It contains a lot of classic rhymes such as Hey Diddle Diddle, Little Boy Blue, Little Miss Muffet and many more.  Did you have any favourite nursery rhymes?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Things I Love: Klein Bottles

Today the science lover in me is coming out with a collection of very cool (okay, maybe slightly geeky) creations inspired by the klein bottle.  For those of you wondering what a klein bottle is, in mathematics it is what is known as a non-orientable surface.  Or more simply put, it is a surface which has no edge, but is a continuous surface of only one side (similar to the Mobius loop, a continuous loop with only one surface and side).  But before we all (except for Mr Cheeky Monkeys the master mathematician) get too confused in all the maths, I hope you'll enjoy today's finds.

image klein bottle creations earrings poster glowing dr who mug 3d printed klein bottle

Friday, 17 July 2015

Voltron: A Little Creative Fun "Outside The Box"

I know that many of my lovely readers have been fans of my literature jewellery range since it was first introduced back in 2010.  And since then, I have also had variations of these designs commissioned by customers who wanted something a little different, perhaps a different novel, character name or quote.  Today I am sharing two custom necklaces (and a surprise magnet set) which take the variations a step further away from the original design and totally captivated me in the process - two Voltron-inspired pieces.

image custom order by two cheeky monkeys voltron fan art keith and allura pocketwatch necklace locket necklace bronze silver domum vindemia magnet set

For those not in the know, Voltron is an outer space-themed animated TV series which first aired back in the mid-1980s.  I remember watching several episodes as a small child (I was a big fan of Battle of the Planets back then) but I don't really know the full storyline.  Anyway, a sweet Twitter friend, who is a HUGE fangirl of all things Voltron (find the fan site here), asked me to create locket and pocketwatch necklaces for her, using commissioned Voltron artwork.  I had so much fun insetting copies of her beautiful artworks into the necklaces, and am extremely pleased with the results.  So what do you think?  Would you wear your favourite TV characters in your jewellery?  And who would you choose?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Hansel and Gretel, Peter Pan, and Other Childhood Favourites

image hansel and gretel bunting domum vindemia little golden book children's buntings

I managed to get some sewing done during the school holidays (while the two cheeky monkeys were building cubby houses out of my dining chairs and crocheted blankets) and have been happily working on more storybook buntings for Domum Vindemia.  This round of buntings are full of my favourite childhood stories, such as Hansel and Gretel, Peter Pan and Snow White.

image storybook bunting peter pan and wendy captain hook domum vindemia children's decor baby shower

Along with the newcomer of Hansel and Gretel, there will also be for the first time: Mother Goose nursery rhymes, The Three Little Pigs and Jungle Book buntings!  I am, of course, quite drawn to my old favourites.  But I do want to include other people's favourites too, if possible.  So let me ask you: which were your favourite nursery rhymes and childhood stories?

Monday, 13 July 2015

Things I Love: Lego

After a semi-disastrous viewing of The Lego Movie with the two cheeky monkeys this weekend past (the Lego violence and scary moments were, given the monkeys' overtired state, not a good idea), there has been a lot of Lego creating going on in the TCM household.  Actually, there is usually a lot of Lego creating going on here as the little monkeys and Mr Cheeky Monkeys are all avid Lego fans (unlike me who was only ever adept at building simple houses and walls...).

image lego-themed handmade creations roundup

Anyway, it got me searching for cool Lego-inspired creations on Etsy and Madeit (my two favourite handmade sites).  And this is what I found, a host of fun, quirky and sweet Lego-themed creations.  Which ones tickle your fancy?

1. Shelbyville's cute Lego man brooches
2. Lego man soap by Soap Buddies
3. Wear a Lego hair clip by Since I Met U
4. Soul Trend has FUN leggings!
5. Purple Smoothie has a phone case for the kawaii and Lego fan
6. Edible Lego bricks by Cute Icing are too cute to eat!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Anthro-Inspired Necklaces

image anthropologie-inspired party animal necklaces plastic animals jewellery two cheeky monkeys

I am mourning the last day of the winter school holidays with a post about our most favourite creative project this holidays, our Anthro-inspired Party Animal necklaces.  I found DIYs on the Flamingo Toes and My So Called Crafty Life blogs which the two cheeky monkeys and I used as inspiration for our own variations.  If you're keen to make some of these for yourself, I highly recommend those two blogs for their tutorials (though you definitely want to go with My So Called Crafty Life's use of tiny eye hooks screwed into each animal's back; this is the more secure option in my opinion).

image anthro inspired party animal necklace jewellery two cheeky monkeys

The little monkeys are big fans of sequins and beaded trim and decided to adorn their plastic animals with a combination of those trims.  They were considering adding little "jewelled crowns" to their animals, but their animal choices did not allow for that look.  But they did manage to add more colour to their necklaces by opting for coloured chain instead of my more sedate choice of silver-plated chain.

image two cheeky monkeys anthropologie inspired party animal necklace leopard jewellery

I was allocated the plastic hippopotamus which, I hate to admit, kind of represents my figure and shape (but I do love, love, love hippopotami).  Like Mrs Hippo, I am short and have a whole bunch of womanly curves (aka excess baby fat/flab I haven't been able to lose since the monkeys were born).  And since we curvy girls don't want to emphasise areas such as waists and necks with overly chunky belts and collars, I opted to adorn my hippopotamus with a simple ribbon sash and a "crown" made from a rhinestone rondelle teamed with a jade bead.  I am thinking of adding a little more bling to Mrs Hippo, maybe by adding some rhinestone chain along her back and tail, or maybe down her snout.  What do you think?

image anthro-inspired party animal necklace hippopotamus two cheeky monkeys jewellery

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Party Styling: Host and Hostess Gifts With a Difference

With summer officially declared in the northern hemisphere I have been seeing cruelly tantalising blog posts about summer entertaining and activities while I trudge through a cold and dreary Melbourne winter.  But just because it is the middle of winter here in the southern hemisphere doesn't mean that we can't enjoy a good dinner party or weekend entertaining session with friends and loved ones!  So today I am sharing some of my ideas for sweet and thoughtful gift ideas to bring along to your next dinner do or function  (should you not be the host).

image bring and share domum vindemia upcycled cake stand ceramic bowl handmade fused glass platter laser engraved bread board

Next time you're invited to a bring and share function, why not bring your contribution in a bowl, platter, dessert stand or wooden board which you can leave for your hostess to enjoy after the party's over.

image family fun items to bring as host hostess gifts for kids children two cheeky monkeys girls' rings felt fruit play food colour in softie toy tool set fabric

Attending a kid-friendly function?  Help out your hosts by bringing along party favours and entertainment for the little ones; there's something for everyone with toy tool sets, colour-in softies, rings for girls and tweens, and felt play food.

image high tea gift ideas chocolate coconut tea patchwork tea cosy fabric reusable cocktail napkins scented candle domum vindemia

I've left my favourite entertainment function till last, the ladies' high tea!  Spend a relaxing afternoon with your favourite female friends and thank your hostess with handmade gourmet tea, re-usable fabric napkins, an eye-catching tea cosy, or a deliciously scented candle.

Monday, 6 July 2015

School holiday crafting

image button rings typography earrings hope and faith religious christian two cheeky monkeys

I was recently the lucky winner of a large pack of jewellery supplies from Jackobindi and the two cheeky monkeys and I were ecstatic.  Really, who wouldn't be thrilled about receiving a stash of crafty supplies for the school holidays?  We haven't made much yet, but the little monkeys have already raided my extensive button stash to make button rings for themselves.  And I happily made some typography-inspired dictionary ear studs for myself, with the words "hope" and "faith" to represent my Christian faith and hope.  What do you think?  Would you love to see some typography-inspired ear studs in my Two Cheeky Monkeys stores?

Friday, 3 July 2015

Crochet Covered Stones Revisited

Some of you my lovely readers may remember back to this time last year when I launched the crochet-covered pebble magnet range.  And some of you may even remember when I first got hooked on covering stones and pebbles in crochet.  (It's gotten to the point where the TCM family think I would cover anything in crochet if they let me have the chance!)

image crochet covered stones crochet cozy cosy domum vindemia

Well, I have finally decided to expand my crochet covered stone range to include larger stones.  These larger covered stones make for great paper weights and are also great ornaments for placing in decorative bowls, or just in a fun pattern on your favourite side table.  I have added an initial range of designs to both my Etsy and Madeit stores, and I am also taking custom orders for specific designs and/or colours.  My most favourite part about these stones is that each one is unique, no two stones have the exact same shape and colouring - what do you think?

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

DIY Personalised Vintage-Look Earrings

I must admit that I'm not the kind of person who is mad keen on jewellery/accessories personalised with my initials or name, but being a mum to my two cheeky monkeys, I do quite like to wear pieces with their initials.  So when I saw some vintage marcasite alphabet dangles for sale, I knew I had to make something with them!  I decided to make myself a pair of Mummy Earrings, as I call them, and I am sharing the super easy tutorial with you today.

- vintage alphabet dangles (these are vintage glass and marcasite cabochons set into raw brass settings)
- two French ear hooks
- two eye pins
- 2 x 6mm freshwater pearls

1. Gather all your supplies as well as your favourite jewellery pliers (I like to use a round nose and a flat nose pair).

2. Put one pearl onto an eye pin.  Cut off excess pin, leaving 8-10mm for making a loop.  Turn the cut end of the eye pin into a loop to make a bead connector with your pearl.  Repeat with the remaining pearl.

3. Open one loop on a bead connector, attach the alphabet dangle to it, and close the loop again.  Repeat with the other side.

4. Open the loop at the bottom of an earhook and attach the hook to the freshwater pearl.  Repeat for the other earring and voila, you're done!  You now have an elegantly simple pair of earrings commemorating your favourite person/people and great for fancying up a casual outfit or complementing a more dressy outfit.

If you're after a more symmetrical look, use the same initial for both earrings.
- Change up the look of these earrings by using typewriter key charms or alphabet charms instead of the vintage marcasite dangles.
- Not a pearl kind of person?  Use whatever favourite bead you love, just make sure that the size of the bead balances the size of the alphabet dangle.  Create even more of an asymmetrical look by teaming each initial with a bead in the colour of that person's/child's initial!
- These earrings don't have to dangle from French ear hooks.  Use stud ear posts, leverback hooks, clip on hoops, etc; the choice is yours!
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