Friday, 27 August 2010

Friday Fun - Cake Platter Tutorials

image cake platter stand upcycled

I was recently reminded about how much I love creating new crockery by upcycling orphan pieces of crockery, so I thought I would share with you some fantastic tutorials about creating your very own upcycled cake stand.  the above, badly photographed, cake stand is one of my creations - I have made about four or five of these now and love to use them for serving mini cupcakes and muffins or other finger foods.  Of course, if you upcycle a very big plate, as I did for my sister-in-law's Christmas present last year, you will get a cake stand which is large enough for displaying and serving a whole cake!
The only thing I would stress is to make sure that the plate and the glass you use for the pedestal really balance well together or you could end up with an accident waiting to happen.  And don't forget to clean your pieces well before you start any gluing!  I always use acetone to remove any gummy residue or marker pen and then wash in warm, soapy water.  Let me know if you try out any of these tutorials, I would love to see your upcycled cake stands.   :)

image cakestands upcycled plates
Repurposed cake stands by Crafty Nest

image recycled cake stands
Recycled cake stands by design*sponge

image diy cake stands upcycled
DIY cake stands by Tangarang

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Versatile Blogger Award

I am a little embarrassed sharing this with all of you, but I will in thanks to the two lovely ladies who bestowed this fun award on my little blog.  Thank you so much to Verity of Joie de Tea and Samara of Maddabling who both awarded me with the Versatile blogger award!


Awardees (is that a word?) are asked to do the following:
1. Thank the giver and link their blog in your post.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Pass the award to 15 recently discovered blogs.
4. Contact the bloggers to let them know about the award

So, here are seven things about me which you may not know:
1. I completed two thirds of an Arts degree before deciding to follow my passion for science and take on a PhD instead (that was a little foolish in hindsight, but that's by the by).
2. I think it is fun to let the kids hop into bed with us when they get scared in the middle of the night (except if they kick me or poke me in the eye!)
3. I have no qualms about eating "lunch and dinner foods" for breakfast.
4. I have an eclectic taste in music and will listen to classical, jazz, pop and rock.  But I don't do country and western or techno.  Or death metal, LOL.
5. I sometimes treat my daughters like they are my dollies (yes, I am a bad mother aren't I?!)
6. I am very, very good at procrastinating.
7. Every now and then I toy with the idea of adopting a child, especially a special needs one.

Now, I am supposed to nominate 15 other bloggers for this award, but I have not been keeping up with my blog reading of late and I am bad at following these kinds of rules so here are just some of the blogs I love or have recently discovered.

One Red Robin
Anastasia Drawing and Dreaming
Calico and Co.
Crafty Missus D
Crafty Crackpot

If you want to find some more great blogs, check out Verity and Samara's posts, there are some lovely blogs they have nominated.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Art/Craft Exchange Project Part 2 and Some More Sneak Peeks

Some of you may remeber the sweet gifts I received as part of the art exchange project in which I participated recently.  Well, here are some more amazing items I received!


These gorgeous gift tags were sent by the charming Anastasia of Percival Road Designs.  They feature vintage illustrations of elegant ladies.  I am really looking forward to using these on gifts!


These cute note sheets were sent by Coco's Closet and say "I wish you happy days" in French - so cute!

I also received some gorgeous fabric-covered gift tags from Deb of Georgica Designs and a pretty scented drawer freshener from Dance in My Garden but I keep forgetting to photograph these pretty gifts.

And while I have been enjoying these gorgeous creations by others, I have also been working on some new art prints which will be appearing soon in a real bricks and mortar store!  I won't give anything away yet, but here are some sneak peeks of what I have created so far...


If you would like to order either of these prints for yourself, just send me an email and we can work something out.    ;)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Friday Finds - Mushrooms and Toadstools

I have been fascinated by mushrooms and toadstools in their myriad shapes, colours and sizes since I was a small child so today I wanted to share with you some beautiful fungi creations I have found.  Enjoy!
image mushroom toadstool ceramic etsy

image bear and toadstool art print pocketcarnival

image handcarved toadstool rubber stamp

Taylor Made Jewelry Collections Giveaway - Winner!

Thank you everyone for supporting Taylor and entering her beautiful giveaway!  The winner, as chosen by random.org is...


Comment number 16 was Susie.  Taylor will be contacting Susie for her details very soon!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

My Science-Themed Op Shop Find

As my Australian readers may know, this week is National Science Week in Australia.  Once upon a time I would have spent this week listening to special talks and seminars and helping out at the Peter Mac science week stand at the Melbourne Museum.  Those days are past, but I thought I would share with you a science (okay, technically a medical) find from my local op shop!

image vintage nurse's medical dictionary bailliere's

Because of my vintage book obsession which I blogged about here, and my growing art print range, the book section is often the first place I head to in any op shop I visit.  On a recent visit I found this cute little book in the dictionary/encyclopaedia section.  It is entitled "Bailliere's Nurses' Medical Dictionary" and was printed in 1950.  Some of the material in this little dictionary took me aback (the antibiotics section was an eye opener!) and there were loads of medical terms of which I have never heard, or ever plan to, for that matter.  Inside I also found medical illustrations, tables of tests one can run to diagnose various diseases and quaint old-fashioned advertisements such as the ones below. 

image vintage chlorodyne advertisement j collis browne

vintage advertisement bengue's balsam

According to the dictionary's definition, chlorodyne is "A proprietary sedative mixture of choloroform, cannabis, indica, etc.  Used for pain and flatulence."  Erm...right.  My limited experience in the science and medical worlds makes me very glad that I live now in the 21st century rather than back in 1950, a mere 60 years ago, when chloroform and cannabis were administered so freely in combination!  I actually did a quick Google search for chlorodyne and found out that it apparently contained such high levels of opiates that it became addictive and caused deaths due to overdose (eek).  Needless to say, it is no longer a commonly used medication!

So there you are, my little nod to my "past life" and to National Science Week.  If you are doing, or have done, anything interesting for national science week, feel free to share it here, I am sure I can't be the only science geek who reads my blog, LOL!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

My Craft Gossip-inspired Etsy Wishlist

This week's wishlist features some amazing and fun creations I have been in love with for quite some time.  And no, they're not all for me, which is why this collection is so eclectic!

image musical butterfly print by kathy panton
Musical Butterfly Print by Kathy Panton

image maths geek tshirt
Be Rational Tshirt by Signature Tshirts

image south sea shell earings by realisation creations
Rococo Earrings by Realisation Creations

image strawberry loop hair clips by lilprincessbow
Strawberry Bow Clips by Lilprincessbow

Pretty Hair Bows by Blended Bunch Goodies

Paper Roses by MissIsa

Most of these items are gifts I would love to give to my family members in thanks of their support for me and my little business.  Craft Gossip is offering bloggers a chance to win $100 worth of Etsy goodies such as my choices, so I may yet be able to deliver!  If you are interested, you can find the competition details here.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Feature Friday and Giveaway - Taylor Made Jewelry Collections

This week's featured seller is Taylor of Taylor Made Jewelry Collections.  Taylor is a fellow member of the Etsy CAST team and sells some beautiful creations.   :)  Let's find out a little about Taylor, and don't forget to read all the way to the end to see the gorgeous giveaway prize she is offering!


Tell us a little about yourself.
"Hello bloggers, I am Taylor Jenkins. I am 24 and I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia, where I have been living for the past 5 years.  I grew up overseas as a Military brat moving every 3-4 years; I LOVED it though!  My dayjob right now consists of exploring my artistic flare!  It is definetly true what they say, "running your own business is the hardest you will ever work!" I am finding that out, every day!"

Can you describe yourself in five words?
Unique, creative, shy, adventurous, exploring.

image skipping stones necklace large genuine turquoise by taymaree on etsy

When and how did you first start creating?
For as long as I can remember I have always been cutting, glueing, and tearing up stuff to make it the way I wanted.  I dabbled in origami and interior decor until I found jewelry.  It was not until my aunt showed me her jewelry that my interest in the craft was sparked.  It was so fun and such a big stress relief.  When I learned how to make jewelry, I was at a job that would give me non stop migraines.  I needed a healthy outlet so I turned to creating; and the rest is history!

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?I create wearable art, jewelry!  I really do not have favorite materials.  I like all types of beads, gems, stones, rocks, and whatever else I can find to throw in there!

image caramel chandelier crystal earrings swarovski topaz

When and how did you start selling online?
I only started selling online less than a year ago, so I am still a rookie at all of this.  I started selling stuff on Facebook first until my friend, Elisabeth of Arona Designs, convinced me to try ETSY.

Describe your store in five words.
New, handmade, wearable art, jewelry, unique.

Who or what are the influences behind your creations? Well all of my jewelry are pieces that I would personally wear on a daily basis.  Sometimes something as simple as a song or a picture, fabric or an already made outfit will inspire a design or creation that I hope to create.  So, needless to say, my inspiration book is full!

image double stranded necklace of garnet amber gemstone

Where can we find you online?

Discount: Taylor is kindly offering a 10% discount to readers.  Just send her an Etsy convo with a link to this blog post and she will arrange your discount for you!

 
 Giveaway alert: Taylor is also offering the very pretty Roll With the Waves bracelet to one Two Cheeky Monkeys reader!

Mandatory entry: Visit Taylor Made Jewelry Collections and tell me the piece you like the best and why you like it.

Extra entries:
1. Become a follower of Taylor's blog.
2. Follow Taylor on Twitter.
3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a link in your comment.
4. Become a follower of the Two Cheeky Monkeys blog.

Entry is open WORLDWIDE.  Please leave each entry as a SEPARATE COMMENT and also leave me a way of contacting you if you are the winner.
The winner will be chosen by Random.org on Thursday, 19th of August. 

PFD Original Artworks Giveaway Winner

The winner of the gift voucher to PFD Original Artworks is:


Comment number 17 was Kippy of Kippys So Mature.  Phyllis will be contacting Kippy soon.  In the mean time, be on the lookout for my feature Friday post later today with a brand new giveaway!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Wishlist Wednesday - Stationery

Yes, I know, it's Thursday and I'm posting a wishlist Wednesday.  Can you tell what kind of week I have had?!?!  Anyway, I did a spot of online window shopping to distract myself and have come up with a list of stationery items I adore from some of my favourite Australian sellers.  I will be adding these finds to my Christmas wishlist should any of my family members ask...hint, hint to all family members who read this blog.    ;)

image regency handmade blank journal notebook by redeem designs
Regency Handmade Journal by Re:deem Designs

image handmade midnight pencils by missisa on etsy
Midnight Pencils by MissIsa

image floral fabric tape set by percival road designs on etsy
Floral Fabric Tape by Percival Road Designs

image poppy bookplates letterpress bookplates by ruby victoria printmakin on etsy
Poppy Bookplates by Ruby Victoria Printmaking and Letterpress

Monday, 9 August 2010

My Latest Creation - a Jewellery Pliers Storage Solution

As some of you may know, I often struggle with tidiness and with keeping my bead supplies and findings organised in a neat and orderly manner.  I have periods of attempting to remedy this fault in my nature, but it is a constant battle!  I realised the other day that my disorganisation was getting out of hand once again and had to agree with my husband's verdict that I needed more storage space and containers.
While becoming more tidy and organised will entail much shopping for cupboards and storage boxes (and hey, I am not complaining!), I decided that I would make a start by sewing a fabric roll with which to store my multiple pairs of jewellery pliers (and it will be so much easier to carry  my pliers with me to craft classes or craft get-togethers).  I recently purchased Meet Me at Mike's: 25 Fun and Crafty Projects which includes a nifty little pattern for a fabric storage pouch/roll, which I knew I just had to try out.

The pattern was very easy to follow and took me an afternoon to complete (it would have been a lot faster if I hadn't spent ages searching for my supplies and if I had not paused every now and then to prepare dinner and pass my husband tools from his toolbox which he needed in the back yard).

image fabric roll and vintage doily

Most of you will know that I have an inherent inability to follow recipes or patterns exactly, preferring instead to modify the instructions to the supplies I have on hand, and this project was no different.  The pattern recommended that a heavy fabric such as denim be used for the outside of the roll but I used a thick stretch fabric in a gorgeous dark grey which came from a skirt I found at my local op shop (thrift store).  I lined this fabric with interfacing to give it extra strength and decorated it with a sweet doily I found at another local op shop.  I have to add that I am really pleased with my doily adornment!  I love doilies as embellishments, but I was worried about whether my limited sewing skills would be up to attaching such a delicate, and slightly stretchy, decoration to my fabric.  As you can see, I did manage, but this was only by employing lots of pins and going very slowly with my sewing machine, ha ha.

fabric roll jewellery pliers moda rouenneries by french general fabric

I had originally planned to use fabric from a thrifted pillowcase for the lining of my fabric roll (I really liked the idea of a completely upcycled creation), but I changed my mind when I rifled through my Rouenneries by French General layer cake pack and found the gorgeous antique and red tournesal fabric.  I thought that the round paisley-like pattern beautifully matched the lace doily on the outside of the roll and, being a pre-cut 10" x 10" size, it was almost exactly the size I needed too, which meant less cutting for me!

completed fabric roll lace doily red ribbon

I really enjoyed sewing this fabric roll and have already started thinking about which of my family members or friends could really use one as a birthday present, LOL.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Feature Friday and Giveaway - pfd Original Artworks

My featured artist this week is Phyllis of pfd Original Artworks, a beautiful store full of sweet art works.  I first "met" Phyllis on one of the Etsy sellers' forums but have gotten to know her better through our involvement in the Etsy CAST team.  So let's find out a little about Phyllis and her store...

Tell us a bit about yourself.
In my dreams I am a full time artist but in reality I work in Human Resources; however, I do love my job and the people I work with. But being a full time painter would be awesome! Or maybe a full time writer – I may even prefer that.

image painted mama and baby sheep notecard

Describe yourself in 5 words.
 Creative… I got stuck after creative so this is what my husband says: artsy, insightful, workaholic, proud grandma.

When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
Years ago I started working for a florist. Then a friend and I started doing silk & dry flower home parties, craft shows and weddings. Somewhere along the line we got burnt out and I began working a “regular” job. My creativity dwindled quickly. After a decade or so I was quite stressed by a job I was working and took up beading as my stress reliever. Loved it but worried that my pieces may break if I sold them and I could not deal with that. We moved to Minnesota and I watched all those TV home decorating shows. They always painted big focal point pictures. I figured if they could do that, I could. So I took some watercolor classes (about 3 years ago) and started painting. Never did that big focal point picture but love to paint! My cards started as gifts to my family for Mothers’ Day and it went from there.

image painted purple flowers note cards

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
I primarily do watercolor paintings but I also dabble with ink. I love how the watercolor paints flow and I love drawing little pictures so the ink drawings are fun for me.
My other passion is writing. At some point I hope to combine the two. Time is my enemy… the challenges of life do not give me much free time. [Edit: Let me add that Phyllis writes some great and encouraging blog posts for the CAST team blog!]

When and how did you start selling online?
I started selling my cards to independent boutiques and galleries. One suggested Etsy and I looked it up online and decided to give it a try.

Describe your store in 5 words
I like to think of it as peaceful, relaxing, charming, original and practical!

Who or what are the influences behind your creations?
No doubt about it… God and His beautiful nature! I am constantly awestruck by the wonders of His creation!

image snowman christmas card

Where can we find you online?
Only on Etsy… Currently, I have no time for expanding my online presence. And I write for the CAST Team blog that is posted every Monday. http://castteametsy.blogspot.com/

[Edit: this giveaway is now closed!  Thank you to all of the entrants.]
Giveaway alert: Phyllis is kindly offering a giveaway for a $10 voucher for her store.

To enter:
Mandatory - Tell me what you would choose from Phyllis' store if you were the winner of the giveaway.

Extra entries:
1. Heart pfd original artworks on Etsy.
2. Become a public fan of my blog.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!!!  The giveaway is open worldwide and will run until Thursday 12 August 2010.  The winner will be chosen by random.org

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Wishlist Wednesday - One for the Geeks!

Today's wishlist Wednesday was put together in honour of my beloved husband Malcolm.  He is a maths, computer and theology geek, which is very helpful at times, and these are items I would love to give to my geek boy, he he.




Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Works in Progress and Store Sneak Peeks

Things have been pretty busy in the Two Cheeky Monkeys world of late, so I have been struggling to find enough time to work on new designs and creations.  Those of you who are my Facebook fans or friends will know that I have been slowly working on some new headband and bracelet designs.  So...here are some photos of my works in progress and a sneak peek of a new bracelet style which will be hitting the stores in the next week or two.

image of crochet flower button and ribbon headband

The first item is a ribbon and flower headband I made for myself.  I find this style of headband to be more comfortable for my oddly-shaped head.  I bought some cute crochet flowers from Beadles and Pins and they are just perfect for fun accessories such as this headband.  And, since I am feeling uncomfortable looking so closely at my ear, let's move on to the next photo...

image of double flower headband crochet flowers buttons

This is another flower and ribbon headband and the flowers were also from Beadles and Pins.  This headband is going to my older niece (actually, Malcolm's niece) and is made in colours which really suit her fair colouring.  I have had a lot of fun raiding my button stash for these two headbands, but being slightly OCD, I am thinking that I really should have chosen matching buttons for the flowers.
I really, really love this style of headband and am looking to add them as a new range to my Etsy and Madeit stores, but using vintage and beaded appliques as the adornment instead of crocheted flowers.

image of beaded bar bracelet black silver jewellery jewelry Two Cheeky Monkeys firepolish

Finally, this cute little bracelet is going to be a new addition to my bar jewellery range.  I have enjoyed making my bar necklaces and I thought it was time to expand the range into bracelets too.  For the moment I have only used firepolish beads for the bracelets, but I plan to start creating these fun bracelets with other beads (such as freshwater pearls) too.
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