Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! I had a relatively normal day (aside from getting up at the crack of dawn to get oldest Monkey off to school camp), but supremely enjoyed devouring my Triple Choc Nutella Cake with various Cheeky Monkeys family members. And the roses from Mr Cheeky Monkeys, as well as the pretty orchids which the little Cheeky Monkeys bought for me with their pocket money (aww!) are still going strong and gracing my dining table with their beauty. As you may have guessed by the multiple layers of chocolate and icing on my cake, I have been doing a lot of running and walking this week to work off my sweet birthday treat!
Monday, 30 May 2016
Friday, 27 May 2016
Regular readers of my blog will know that I recently celebrated my birthday. Birthday cakes are a bit of a "thing" here at Two Cheeky Monkeys HQ, though I am not the best cake maker by any standards. So, in the lead up to my birthday, I madly researched cakes to make for myself which looked delicious and weren't too hard to make. This list of six are ones which, although they require a bit more effort than a plain old chocolate cake with buttercream, aren't too taxing on those who know how to bake and also look decadent and luscious. Perfect for a grown up birthday!
Wednesday, 25 May 2016
I recently had the pleasure of creating a romantic locket necklace for a customer who, along with her husband, was very fond of Cathy Earnshaw's heartfelt "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same" in Wuthering Heights. Although I found Emily Bronte's novel to be rather dark, mournful and depressing, I know that many around the world adore this same quote.
I quite like how this custom locket necklace fits in so well with all the other lockets in-store and am thinking of adding it to our regular range of necklaces. What do you think? Do you love this quote? Or do you have another classic favourite?
Monday, 23 May 2016
As much as I hate admitting that I'm getting older (but not necessarily acting older!), today I am announcing that it's my birthday and I'm celebrating it with a 24 hour sale.
For TODAY ONLY, receive 20% off purchases over $30 in either Two Cheeky Monkeys or Domum Vindemia. The discount is not valid for special custom orders and is only valid when purchases are made in one transaction. To receive your 20% discount, use the coupon code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at the Etsy checkout. Why don't you spoil yourself with a birthday gift or two? Or stock up on gifts for loved ones!
Friday, 20 May 2016
In between all the custom work I've been creating and getting oldest Monkey ready to head off to school camp, I have been busily working away at new literature creations for both Domum Vindemia and Two Cheeky Monkeys. A busy workload seems to fuel my creative juices, so I'm pretty happy to be able to sit down and spend at least some time turning my ideas into reality!
The first of my new creations was inspired by customers' requests for chunkier bracelets. I have pretty tiny wrists (when you can look past the chubby flab!) and love more delicate bracelets, so I tend to forget that others have different arm party needs. This was partially rectified with the introduction of my chunky chain literature bracelet which I introduced about a year ago. But now ladies who love chunky bling are more fully catered for with the addition of glass pearl quote bracelets! These bracelets come in a choice of five pearl colours, and six different literary quotes, ranging from Jane Eyre to The Princess Bride to Mary Poppins.
My second lot of new creations are these quirky cupcake toppers decked out with scalloped hearts hand punched from battered copies of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Each heart is double-sided and features names of characters or locations in the book, including our favourite couple Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy. These will be available in the "cake bunting" section of Domum Vindemia and I think they're perfect for a wedding, bridal shower or perhaps even an English teacher's birthday party. What do you think?
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
I have been so humbled in the last month or so to have been approached by a veritable stream of customers requesting custom variations of my usual creations. And although custom work often takes more time and energy, I am always happy to take it on and amazed that there are so many people who trust me to turn their vision into a reality!
Today I'm sharing two recent custom works, and they're as different from each other as are the proverbial chalk and cheese, but still exciting for me to be able to do both. The first items were a custom order from my lovely Twitter friend Cubbie, who is a mad keen Voltron fan. She commissioned several bookmarks with an illustration which I had previously used to create Voltron jewellery.
The second creations are a pair of matching doily buntings, created for a bride-to-be's big day in July. The brief was to make two white/off white doily buntings, one larger and one smaller, to be hung as decorations on the special day. My favourite part of making these doily buntings is always sorting through my doily stash to see which ones fit my customer's colour and style requirements! Of course, sending off the finished product to its new home is very satisfying too. What do you think of my latest custom makes?
Monday, 16 May 2016
So after my mega week of sewing dinner-sized napkins for a custom order, I got to thinking about fun ways to fold napkins for dinner parties and weddings. Here are seven of my favourites, some are easy whilst others take a little practise. Which do you like?
1. Simple but classic fan shape.
2. Beautiful bow.
3. Another classic - cutlery server.
4. An elegant option, the fleur de lis.
5. A napkin bouquet is perfect for a girls only high tea.
6. Go a little more complicated with a chef's hat.
Friday, 13 May 2016
There has been a flurry of sewing happening here at Two Cheeky Monkeys HQ with some of my favourite fabrics and colours pretty much living on the sewing table (aka the dining room table) this week! Why? All because a lovely customer, who ordered a stack of the pineapple and moustache cocktail napkins, got in contact with me to order lunch-sized napkins so she could have matching napery.
Both of these pretty fabrics are out of print now, unfortunately, but I did manage to find some last remnants from a variety of sources. Even better, there is enough leftover fabric for me to make a few more cocktail napkin sets for Domum Vindemia! Are you a fan of the current fruit print trend? Or are you more a quirky mo/moustache kind of decorator?
Wednesday, 11 May 2016
I've been so blessed the last couple of months to have a steady stream of custom work as well as having my creative juices flowing happily to devise new creations. This week I have been merrily expanding on the mandala accessories range on Domum Vindemia, with the addition of several stitch marker sets in colourful mandala designs.
I have also been working on customising an existing Anne of Green Gables necklace design to suit the preferences of a customer. As much as I enjoy creating one of a kind jewellery pieces, I do love my ranges which have the flexibility to be customised and/or personalised! Are you a "one of a kind" jewellery type of person, or are you happy with standard designs which can be customised to suit you?
Monday, 9 May 2016
It's no secret that I love to bake, and in recent months I have been returning to my love of bread making (spawned in part by my parents' mild obsession with baking all types of bread in their bread machine when I was in my teens). As a big fan of consuming more complex carbohydrates rather than feeding my family low nutrition carbs, I am always on the lookout for wholemeal, rye, spelt or multigrain bread recipes.
In my searches for a spelt-inspired pastry dough, I hit the motherload of amazing bread recipes at the site Artisan Breads 1...2...3... I love their range of tried and tested recipes, as well as the fact that these are no knead recipes! As a rather small woman with questionable upper body strength, not having to knead bread dough by hand (or pull out my bulky bread making machine) is always a plus. The loaf pictured above is a wholemeal/whole wheat one which had an amazing smell and taste thanks to the addition of a little molasses. Are you an avid bread maker too?
Friday, 6 May 2016
With many around the world celebrating Mother's Day this Sunday, I know that there will be some of you who left it a little late to get something for your beloved mother or mother-in-law. Never fear, I have gathered some quick and easy tutorials to please a range of different personality types!
And for those of you who are mourning the loss of your mother, or wishing that you could be a mother but can't, I'm sending out condolences and hugs.
1. Marbled mugs for the interior decorator mother who loves her on trend homewares.
2. This yoghurt and blood orange cake is sure to bring a smile to the face of foodie mothers who just love having meals prepared for them!
3.Something for the green thumb mother - succulents in mason jars.
4. Encourage mum to take some time out relaxing in the bath with these bath fizzies.
5. Mothers and grandmothers love to display photos of their sweet darlings!
6. For the mum who loves to bring the outdoors inside - vase centrepiece.
7. Don't forget to create mum a heartfelt card!
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
I love my mum very much, even more so now that my dad has passed away, and I know that many of my friends have close relationships with their mothers too. And now I'm a mum myself and get to experience the joy (and frustrations) of motherhood every day. Which is what inspired me to create a jewellery set which celebrates the best of mother-daughter relationships.
Each set includes a locket necklace for a mother and for a daughter, inset with sweet quotes about each respective person in that relationship. The necklaces come with a choice of bead colours because we're not all the same and all love different colours from each other. I am also playing around with "grandmother" ideas after being inspired by a good friend. Do you love these quotes as much as I do?
Monday, 2 May 2016
I know I've been posting about wine glass charms a lot in recent times, and that's because of the positive response I have received. I really am having a lot of fun creating these charms for my customers, and keep coming up with new ideas every week!
This week I'm showing off a few new designs featuring the on trend mandala. While the mandala has its origins in Hinduism, modern versions of this circular symbol have been embraced by many around the world. Mandala designs are beautiful, regardless of whether you hold to the Hindu or Buddhist beliefs behind the symbol, and I think the wine glass charm fans are going to love these. Which do you love most?
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