Friday, 29 October 2010

It's a Two Cheeky Monkeys Giveaway!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

Some of you may remember that earlier this month I hit the 100 post mark for this blog (see here).  At the time, I promised that I would be running a giveway for a Two Cheeky Monkeys creation in the near future.  Well, almost three weeks later, I am finally having my giveaway!

 What can you win?  This striking set of bobby pins which I have tentatively named "Night Garden".   The set consists of a bright red vintage-style lotus rose bobby, a jet black dahlia bobby and a forest green vintage leaf bobby.  How do you enter the giveaway to win this set?  By doing one or all of the following:

Mandatory entry:
Visit either my Etsy or my Madeit store and  tell me what you like and why and/or tell me which of my ranges you think I should expand.

Extra entries:
a) Heart my Etsy store or your favourite item (and leave me your Etsy username)
b) Follow my blog publicly (or tell me if you already do)
c) Follow me on Twitter and leave me your Twitter username
d) Blog, Tweet or share on Facebook about this giveaway and leave me the link
e) Make a purchase in either of my stores during the duration of the giveaway and leave me a link to the transaction

Note: I would love if you would become a "like" on my Facebook fanpage, but I can't offer this as an extra entry since it is against Facebook rules.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry and also a way to contact you should you be the winner.
This giveaway will run until 3pm on the 4th of November 2010 (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings time) and is open to WORLDWIDE entries.
I will choose a winner using random.org

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

New Gift Wrapping Options


With Christmas getting ever closer, and after reading all your helpful votes, thoughts and suggestions from my last packaging post, I have decided to introduce a new jewellery/accessory gift wrapping option to both my Etsy and Madeit stores.  While I will keep packaging jewellery and accessory purchases in either tissue paper or my handmade envelopes, Two Cheeky Monkeys customers will soon be able to choose from some fancier packaging options for a small extra cost. 
I currently offer metal gift tins in a "gift wrapping" section in my Etsy store, but these are fairly small and are really only suitable for small earring purchases (such as my earring stud sets which come with a complimentary gift tin).  In the coming weeks I will be adding two different sizes of velveteen jewellery pouches to this section as well as a "gift wrapping" section to my Madeit store.  In the mean time, you can always purchase a metal gift tin to go with your earring purchase.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Tips and Tricks - Checklet Favoritizer and Etsy on Sale

This week's tricks of the trade are two more applications that have been designed specifically for Etsy sellers and users.



The first is a handy dandy new application named  Checklet favoritizer.  It was developed by ericj, a developer who just so happens to be married to an Etsy seller.  His fantastic new site allows Etsy users to organise their favourite or "hearted" items on Etsy by sorting them into categories or lists of similar items.  As both an Etsy seller and user, I am finding the Checklet favoritizer to be a very useful tool for separating my craft supply favourites from items I have "hearted" as potential gifts or for the Etsy Treasury lists I like to create.


To get started organising your favourite Etsy items, simply click on the "Get my favourites" button.


You will be then asked by Etsy to allow the Checklet favoritizer access to your Etsy account.  Click on the "Allow Access" button and then you will be re-directed to the favoritizer site.  This may take a while if you have a lot of favourite items.


You will eventually see a page of your favourite items, similar to the one above.  On the left is a sidebar where you can add or edit categories for sorting your favourites as well as choosing which category of items you would like to view.  For example, if I am shopping for a purse or tote, all I have to do is click on the "purses" category I created and I can see all of the purses which have caught my eye on Etsy.


The second Etsy application is called Etsy on Sale.  This useful site helps you to hold a sale in your Etsy store by changing the prices for you (so that you are not charged Etsy fees for refunded charges and do not have to resort to Paypal refunds), allowing you to manage and set the duration of your sale and allowing you to schedule future sales in your store.  So how do you use this fantastic tool?  Firstly, click on the "sellers" button at the top right hand corner.


You will then be asked to sign in using a Google account.  Most Etsy sellers should already have one set up to use Google analytics for their stores.  If you do not have a Google account, you can easily set one up by following the appropriate links.


Once you have signed into you Google account, you will be asked to click on the Etsy shop in which you wish to have a sale.  For sellers like me, who only have one store, this is very easy!


Next, click on the "Sales Events" link.


If you want to set up a new sales event or have not set up any sales events, the "+ New Sales Event" link is the one you want to click.  If you wish to edit an existing sales event, then click on that particular listing.


If you are setting up a brand new sales event, you will be directed to this page where you can choose when to start and end your sale, the discount you are offering and whether the discount applies to all of your store or just to a subset of your items.  For example, I could choose to have a 20% sale on the necklaces in my store and all other items will remain as full priced listings.
At this point, I should tell you that I have not used the Etsy on Sale application in my Etsy store, but I have heard from other sellers that it is a fantastic and simple to use tool for the sales they have run.  I am looking forward to using this new application soon and can only wish that someone would develop something similar for other online sites such as Madeit...

Monday, 25 October 2010

Smells and Memories


Today's post is a light-hearted bit of fun as I continue to revel in the (sometimes) warmer  and sunnier weather that has descended on Melbourne.  With the warmer weather comes some of my favourite smells, such as the smell of deliciously ripe mangoes.  The smell of mangoes always reminds me of warm summer weather and Singapore, the land of my birth (one of my aunts owned a house with a beautiful mango tree in the front garden).


Another smell I love is the scent of vanilla.  Its sweet smell reminds me of home-baked cakes and biscuits, ice cream (always consumed in large quantities in the summer time!) and summer outings wearing vanilla-scented body products.
So what are your favourite smells and why?  Do they remind you of a favourite holiday or simply of your favourite person or time of the year?  Feel free to share with the rest of us!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Feature Friday and Special Offer - Amaria's Paper Works

This week's featured artist is a fellow Melburnian and Melbourne Etsy Street Team member.  Her stores are full of fantastic creations for little girls (and boys), so without further ado, let me introduce you to Amaria of Amaria's Paper Works.


Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a full-time Mum and a primary teacher on family leave.

Describe yourself in five words.
Five words to describe myself would be: creative, impulsive, disorganised, easygoing and welcoming.

When and how did you first start crafting and creating?
I have always loved painting, drawing and making things. As a child my birthday wish list always included a packet of plasticene, some new Derwents and "grey-leads" and a sketch book! For me, art is a way to unwind and take time to think while my hands are busy. 
What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?  And when and how did you start selling online?
Before becoming a mother, I found my creative outlet through painting - usually with acrylics. My paintings are mostly inspired by our beautiful Australian landscape.
Since having children, however, I haven't had the opportunity to work on this kind of thing for a while - apart from the lack of time, there is the question of where to set up my easel without little people "helping" me!

Then, almost a year ago, I was at a Church conference with lots of friends. My sister and I were sitting at a table one afternoon, chatting over a coffee, when she brought out some paper dolls I'd made for my niece years ago. She told how she had used them to tell a story to a Sunday School group and kept them spellbound.  Then she said, "You know, you should make these to sell!"
I wasn't convinced at first - but as we were talking, the table filled up with children who wanted to have a closer look at the dolls. Several Mums stopped to look and comment. Even one of the Dads sat down and played with his son for a while. They all agreed with my sister, and one of the other Mums told me about an online marketplace called Etsy…

So after some trial and error (the original dolls were made of laminated card and the clothes attached with blu-tac!) I started to make the magnetic wooden dress-up dolls you see in my shop today! I paint the original figures and clothes - or draw them on the computer. Then I print them and mount the dolls on 3mm craft wood, with a magnetic sheet sandwiched between the layers. I cut them out with a scroll saw, varnish them and add a magnetic strip on the back. The clothes are laminated so that they last a bit longer when small children use them and they attach to the dolls with magnets.
Most of my sales so far have been for personalised dolls. Apart from the opportunity to create new and unique pieces, my favourite aspect of these is getting to know the customer a bit; every order has a story behind it, as individual as the child the order is for!




 Where can we find you online? 
Etsy store: http://amariaspaperworks.etsy.com
Madeit: http://www.madeit.com.au/storecatalog.asp?userid=11198
Blog: http://amariasreviewsandgiveaways.blogspot.com/ 


Amaria's Special Offer: Amaria is kindly offering Two Cheeky Monkeys readers one free clothes set with the purchase of any doll from her shop. Simply mention this blog feature in a message when ordering.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Floral Madeit Finds

If you didn't already know, I really, really like Spring!  Even though Spring heralds the increase of my hayfever and allergy problems, I love the (generally) warmer weather and the beautiful Spring flowers which appear.  So to continue my celebration of my favourite season, here is a floral-themed collection of Madeit finds.

Floral newborn headband by Precious L'il Things

Japanese floral cushion by bespoke belle

Vintage floral meadow bunting by Dance in My Garden



Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Wishlist Wednesday - My Christmas List

Today I have put together a rather eclectic wishlist Wednesday with items I would gratefully accept for Christmas!  Some of these are handmade, some or not and some are for the benefit of others...enjoy.



Balloon Girl Wall Clock by snowfawn homewares

The Crafty Minx by Kelly Doust

Monday, 18 October 2010

Tips and Tricks of the Trade - Craftopolis Edit Express

This week's trick of the trade is a relatively new innovation from Craftopolis, the very handy site for Etsy sellers.  Some or all of you may have already tried it out, as I have, but I am only just realising the scope of this new application and how much time it will save me!
For those of you who haven't tried it out, Craftopolis has recently introduced "Edit Express" to their ever expanding list of applications to help Etsy sellers.  This amazing application allows sellers to edit price, title, description and quantity of multiple listings in their Etsy shop very quickly and simply.
I am by no means an expert at using this new tool, so what follows is just a very basic example of how to use Edit Express.

Firstly, make sure that you are logged into Craftopolis with your Etsy username and password to allow access to your listing information.

Then click on the "Edit Express" tab, which is the tab in the very middle.

The drop down menu highlighted by the yellow oval allows you to choose whether you want to edit your item price, listing description, quantity or title.

Once you have chosen which variable you wish to change in your listings (for example, price), you can simply type in your new price, title, etc in the white editing boxes.  The fantastic thing about Edit Express is that you can effectively change the price, title or description for as many of your listings as you want simultaneously.

Finally, don't forget to hit the "save" button to save all of your edits.  If you have changed a large number of listings, it may take Craftopolis a few minutes to complete your editing.  But at this point you can go and make yourself a cup of coffee, answer emails or work on your latest creations while Craftopolis finalises all of your changes for you.

Once all of your edits have been completed, you should see a green smiley face next to each changed listing.  You can then go on to edit another variable or sit back and gloat about how much time you saved using Edit Express rather than editing each listing individually in Etsy!
I hope that you find this great new tool helpful in the running of your Etsy store.  For those of you who are already using Edit Express, please feel free to leave comments about how you are finding this new tool or any Edit Express-related tips I haven't mentioned.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Coming Soon...

With Christmas approaching, things are getting a bit crazy in Two Cheeky Monkeys land.  I have been working on lots of new pieces for both of my stores but haven't had much time to work on product photos and listings.  So I thought I would show off some of my latest creations - the photos aren't the best, but they will hopefully give you an idea of what's inspiring me at the moment.

The Peacock necklace

A yet to be named pair of Swarovski and glass pearl earrings


The Ines ring - featuring a Swarovski flower


P.S. Can you tell I have been having fun playing with Photoshop?  He he.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Baby Madeit Finds

I have a new baby niece so this week's Madeit finds are all baby-related!

Christmas tree bib by Indigo Elephant


Christmas dress by I'm Sew Happy

Cotton baby shoe by Tie Me Up

Monday, 11 October 2010

Book Review: A Christmas Prayer by Amy Parker

I was recently introduced to BookSneeze, a site which offers bloggers free books by Christian authors which are published by Thomas Nelson, in exchange for an honest review of the book(s) you have received from them.  I was intrigued by the idea, so here is the first of my reviews.


The book I requested was titled A Christmas Prayer, written by Amy Parker and illustrated by Marijan Ramljak.  It is a short and simple book aimed at young children, especially pre-schoolers.  The story centres on a child who is preparing for Christmas and thanking God for his "Christmas gifts".  The prayer is written in a rhyming style which will appeal to little ones and takes readers through various components of the Nativity story, such as the shepherds who visited baby Jesus and the star which led the way for the wise men.  The child thanks God for each of the mentioned "characters" of Christmas, finishing with thanking God for Jesus.

The physical book itself is well produced, with a lovely padded hard cover and sweet illustrations.  The story was easy to read and simple enough for little children to understand.   My one problem with it is that the theology behind this re-telling of the Nativity story was not entirely correct. While I commend the author for trying to teach children about Christmas and to be thankful for the things they have, I believe that she has tried too hard to reinforce this lesson, and hence, ended up misrepresenting the meaning of Christmas.

As mentioned, each page of the story thanks God for a different aspect of the Christmas story.  However, each aspect, such as the Christmas star, is called God's "precious Christmas gift" to us.  My issue with this is that God's gift to us was not the star, or Mary, or Joseph or the wise men (although He was sovereign in every aspect of the Christmas story).  His gift to us was Jesus, his Son.  I think the author realises this since she makes the effort to refer to Jesus as God's "perfect Christmas gift" while the other "gifts" are "precious".  However, I am still disappointed to see these characters referred to in this manner.

I was hoping this cute-looking book would become another tool for teaching my children the Christmas story and be something I could recommend to friends who have young children.  But I am disappointed to find that I will have to add explanations during my reading, lest my children misunderstand that the one and only focus of Christmas is Jesus.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Pride and Prejudice Sneak Peeks!

I recently found a rather battered, vintage copy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for sale at the open day of a local historical site and snapped it up knowing that it would be very useful in my crafting endeavours.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, although it was tempting to keep the little tome as it was on my bookshelf.  I decided to try something a little different from the other creations in my stores and have used snippets of text from the book to create Jane Austen-inspired jewellery.
I haven't created many pieces yet, with only the "Dramatic Mr Darcy" brooch being sold at the moment.  But here is a sneak peek of three pieces which are currently still in the "works in progress" stage.  I would love to know what you think: which pieces do you like more, which Pride and Prejudice characters would you like to see encapsulated in jewellery, if you bought a piece like this, who would you give it to?  My list of questions could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.   ;)

This vintage-style double-sided mirror is going to become the focal pendant for a long necklace.

This cameo will be decorated with a beaded dangle and turned into a brooch.  I am considering using a similar cameo to this one as a focal point for a beaded necklace but am not sure how popular that would be.

This cameo will eventually be turned into a brooch; I will probably add a beaded dangle to the bottom to add some extra interest to the overall look.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Monster Madeit Finds

My daughters are both rather enamoured of monsters (they love to watch Monster's Inc) so today's gorgeous craft finds from Madeit are all monster-related.

Funky Red Rattle Monster by Chunky Chooky

Felt Monster Brooch by candy bandit

One Eyed Knitted Monster by knitter knatter

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Two New Stockists and My 100th Post!


I didn't think it would happen this quickly, but after almost seven months of blogging, I have reached my 100th blog post!!!  I want to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers and supporters, especially those who take the time to comment on or link to my posts on here and my "notes" in Facebook.  I haven't got any special celebration planned for today's post since this milestone snuck up on me, but I am planning to run a giveaway some time soon - I promise!


In other news, I want to tell you about the two newest stockists of Two Cheeky Monkeys products! My first new stockist is Leeloo, an online store which stocks Australian-produced handmade creations.  You will be able to find Two Cheeky Monkeys jewellery, hair accessories and art prints at Leeloo.  And for those of you who are heading to the Finders Keepers market in Melbourne this coming weekend, look out for the Leeloo stall.  I believe they will be bringing along some of my products, so go on and say hi to them and tell them I sent you!


My second new stockist is Sarsparilly, an online store bearing the tag line "Where cute and kitsch collide".  They will be stocking my jewellery and hair accessories along with a slew of gorgeous creations from other amazing artists.

So thank you once again to everyone who has encouraged me in my blogging and my creating - I really appreciate your support.  I hope my next 100 posts will keep you just as, if not more, interested as the first 100.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Five Uses for a Pillow Case

I think you would all know by now just how much I love op shopping (or thrift shopping as many of my readers call it).  So would it surprise you if I told you that I quite frequently make some great finds in the manchester section of op shops?  I didn't think it would, ha ha.
While I don't often buy bed sheets or doona covers, I do often come home with lovely second hand pillow cases for my sewing projects.  Here are just five uses I have found for my gorgeous second hand finds.


1. Pillow cases which are in very good condition can be used as...pillow cases!  Boring, I know, but some of the pillow cases I have found (including lovely handmade patchwork ones) are so beautiful my girls wouldn't let me cut them up for craft.

Photo and pattern by Red Instead

2. Pillow cases in good condition can also be used to make the simple, but cute, pillow case dress.  I haven't actually made one of these cute dresses from a pillow case, mainly because I'm not convinced my girls would actually fit into a pillow case, he he.  I prefer to use regular fabric to ensure I get a good size.  If you're looking for a straightforward pattern, check out this one by Red Instead, I found it pretty easy to follow.



3. I have, however, made simple gathered skirts for my girls out of pillow cases.  They don't generally wear these skirts in public (thank goodness), but they do make for great dress up skirts when they are playing "Princesses" or when friends come to visit.


4. Another practical way of upcycling a pillow case is to turn it into a tote bag.  I made this particular tote after I found that the handles on every single tote I had been given were too short for me to carry them on my shoulder.  This really frustrated me, so I just made one to size from a cute teddy bear pillow case and haven't looked back since!


5. Pillow case finds are also great as fabric sources.  Many of the pillow cases one will see in an op shop will show some wear and tear.  But, there is usually enough useable fabric for me to include pieces in a soft toy or other small sewing projects such as this snazzy cosmetics pouch (I used a pattern by with2ns which can be found here).

I hope you have been inspired to have a second look at old pillow cases for your next sewing project!  If you already use old pillowcases and sheets in your sewing and crafting, feel free to leave a link so all of my readers can be inspired by your work.
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