Thursday, 28 September 2017

Atticus Finch

Here at Two Cheeky Monkeys I like to update our jewellery ranges every season, adding or removing certain styles and lines to keep our product range streamlined and on trend with what customers are asking us to create.  But, I am usually happy to re-create out of stock lines for customers who want variations of the original pieces they purchased, or who missed out when the range was originally stocked.

to kill a mockingbird necklace two strand atticus finch personalised personalized two cheeky monkeys etsy

Which is what I found myself doing this week after a customer approached me to re-create one of our multi-strand chain necklaces for a friend who was a huge To Kill a Mockingbird fan.  I haven't made one of these necklaces in about six months, having decided to end the line when the last of our stock sold out, so I really enjoyed working on this one off creation for my customer.  If this necklace had been made for you, which literary character would you have chosen to feature in the pendant?

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Fairy Bread Inspired Cake

image fairy bread cake birthday

I've been told that fairy bread is one of those distinctly Australian things which originated in Australia as a way to please children at parties and is now loved the world over.  I don't really know if such claims are true, but my Cheeky Monkeys certainly love fairy bread at parties!  So much so that oldest Monkey requested a fairy bread-inspired cake for her most recent birthday.

two layer fairy bread cake recipe

I'm not normally one to share decorated cake recipes, but I decided to share my recipe because of the amount of excitement this cake inspired in the party guests and their parents.  I went for a two layered fairy bread/jam sandwich concoction because I thought that a cake made to look like a slice of bread was too thin, and because my Monkeys ADORE jam sandwiches.  And I also chose to make a simple quick mix vanilla butter cake for the "bread", though you could go all out and make a white cake to mimic the white bread traditionally used in fairy bread.

For One Cake (make two)
- 165g butter
- 1 cup milk
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 Tb vanilla essence
- 1 1/3 cups castor sugar
- 2 cups self-raising flour

Buttercream Icing and Decorations
- 125g unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
- 1 Tb milk
- 100s and 1000s/sprinkles/jimmies/whatever you call nonpareils in your part of the world
- strawberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C.  Grease and line a 23-25 cm square cake tin.

2. Combine butter and milk in saucepan; stir constantly over heat until butter is melted.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

3. Beat eggs and vanilla essence in a bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating until dissolved between each addition.

4. Stir in half the sifted flour and half the butter mixture, then stir in remaining flour and butter mixture.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

5. Stand cake in tin for two minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool.  Repeat steps 1-5 to make the second cake.

6. When the cakes are cold, slice the top off each cake to level out the cake and give a "bread slice" appearance.

7. To make the buttercream, beat the butter in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes).  Gradually add icing sugar, beating until well combined.  Beat in milk to loosen icing slightly.

8. Place first cake on your serving tray.  Generously spread strawberry jam over the top of the first cake, as you would when making a sandwich or jam on toast.

two layer fairy bread cake recipe diy

9. Top the first cake with the second cake, making sure that the cake is facing sliced side up to look like "bread".  Spread the buttercream icing over the top of the cake, leaving some space around the edges so the "bread" shows.  Sprinkle with nonpareils of your choice and wait for everyone's squeals of delight!

 image fairy bread cake birthday

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Lego DIY Roundup

With the Spring school holidays rapidly approaching, I have been researching ways to entertain the Cheeky Monkeys and keep my sanity!  They are huge fans of Lego (as is Mr Monkeys), so today I've put together a roundup of fun Lego DIY ideas for young and old.

image lego diy craft ideas tutorial candy dispenser maze charging station picture puzzle chess set keyring keychain

1. Build and re-build challenging mazes out of Lego!
2. Older Lego fans can use their childhood toys to create a charging station.
3. Lego picture puzzles celebrate a little one AND Lego.
4. Turn your favourite Lego character into a keyring.
5. No kid will be able to resist a Lego candy dispenser!
6. Chess geeks can also enjoy Lego while playing in a chess tournament.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Etsy Made Local Melbourne

Today I'm finally sharing some exciting news - Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia will be heading to a handmade market this November!!!  With the success of the Etsy made local markets the last few years, I am so excited to have been accepted to the upcoming November market in Melbourne!

etsy made local melbourne market november 2017 two cheeky monkeys domum vindemia

The market will run on November 25th, from 10am to 5pm, at the Batman Market site in Coburg.  So if you're Melbourne based and have been eyeing off Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia creations, then save the date and come along and get your Christmas shopping done before the December shopping madness descends.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Count your blessings

Today I'm sharing a special custom order I recently created, which was inspired by the design of our bridesmaid locket necklaces.  As much as I love creating locket necklaces with special quotes, there is no possible way for Two Cheeky Monkeys to stock every single inspirational quote customers could want.

necklace locket quote typography two cheeky monkeys when i count my blessings i count you twice jewellery jewelry custom made

Which is why whenever customers ask for a bespoke quote piece, I am usually more than happy to find an existing design which will fit their chosen quote nicely as well as suit the recipient of the locket.  This custom locket includes the beautiful quote, "When I count my blessings, I count you twice."  I really loved making it and am thinking of including it as part of our normal range.  Who else loves this quote too?

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

It's always story time

If your little ones are anything like the Two Cheeky Monkeys, they probably love story time before they have to head to bed, especially if you "do the voices" for each character!  And even though it's kind of frustrating when we find them still awake and reading books under the bedcovers with their torches, I still love the idea of decorating their rooms with book-themed decorations.

outer space planets bunting domum vindemia handmade astronaut solar system banner garland etsy children

And because I know that many of my customers love to do the same, I've been busy adding new storybook buntings to Domum Vindemia.  I've been wanting to add some space and astronaut-themed buntings to the store for a while now, and I finally found an old Golden Book about the planets (back in the days when we still counted Pluto).  I think this bunting is PERFECT for all the budding space explorers out there and can't wait to create more!

the jungle book bunting banner garland domum vindemia etsy mowgli shere khan nursery bedroom children

I have also been busy re-stocking the popular Jungle Book buntings, with this offering now available in-store.  I'm hoping to add more of these buntings with a different choice of bunting ribbon, so keep an eye out for new additions as they fly out the door very quickly.  So before I got, let me ask you, which of these two buntings is your favourite?

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Obstinate, headstrong girl!

locket necklace jane austen quote pride and prejudice obstinate headstrong girl elizabeth bennet lady catherine de bourgh two cheeky monkeys

Fans of Jane Austen's most beloved piece will recognise this quote immediately!  Although Lady Catherine de Bourgh meant it as a reproof and an insult to Elizabeth Bennet, Elizabeth owns the title and doesn't hesitate to put Lady Catherine in her place.

locket necklace jane austen quote pride and prejudice obstinate headstrong girl elizabeth bennet lady catherine de bourgh two cheeky monkeys

This short quote gets me every time I read it, so, inspired by the many Janeite fans of my creations, I have set it into a locket necklace.  This necklace is the perfect gift for Austen fans, especially the ones who are bold and courageous in the face of obstacles!

locket necklace jane austen quote pride and prejudice obstinate headstrong girl elizabeth bennet lady catherine de bourgh two cheeky monkeys

It is now available in-store either as a simple locket necklace, or with your choice of Czech glass bead or glass pearl.  Would you wear this cheeky locket, or give it to a fellow Jane fan?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Mothers and Daughters

As I've mentioned before, Grandma Monkeys and I have a great relationship and I love my now not so little Cheeky Monkeys dearly.  And it was these relationships that inspired the mother-daughter necklace sets which have been so popular in Two Cheeky Monkeys.

mother daughter keyring set keychain quote family domum vindemia

And now, due to popular demand, the mother and daughter quotes seen in the necklace sets are now available as keychains!  You will have the choice of ordering individual mother or daughter keychains, or a set including both a mother and a daughter keychain, perfect for gifting to your special mum or daughter.  Would you purchase an individual keyring or a matching set for you and your mum/daughter?