Monday, 29 November 2010

Two Cheeky Monkeys - Cyber Monday Sale and Changes in Postage


I cannot believe that it is just under a month till Christmas (help!) and am starting to panic a little at the number of items still on my "to do" list.  For those of you who still haven't finished your Christmas shopping (and yes, you can include me in that category), I have decided to continue my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale in my Etsy and Madeit stores until tomorrow (Tue 30 Nov), since it will still be Monday in North America and parts of Europe.  All prices have already been reduced (some items by 30%) so that we don't have to worry about Paypal refunds and so on.


Those of you who have already been shopping in my store will have noticed that there has been a change in postage for Australian buyers.  Due to the high volume of mail sent at this time of year and continued unreliable service by Australia Post, I am slowly changing over postage for Australian customers from regular post to registered post.  This means that postage will increase by $3, but it also means peace of mind for all customers regarding the safety and whereabouts of your parcel.  I have not included registered post for international customers as yet; I am still working out whether or not the costs will be too prohibitively high.

P.S. Do you like the box above? I have decided that this is how I will package all of my bulky items (such as headbands and cuffs) from now on.  I have also started making some padded envelopes like this too.    :)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Feature Friday, Special Offer and Giveaway - Julie's Jewels

This week's featured artist is a special lady who is the "team boss" of the Etsy Down Under Street Team, the very first team I joined on Etsy when I was new to the world of online selling.  So let me welcome Julie-Ann, of Julie's Jewels, the creator of beautiful jewellery pieces.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in a little town called Nhill (pronounced nil), we are the midway point on the highway between Melbourne and Adelaide. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job, but with 4 children, even though one has moved out, we have busy lives. The three children who are still at home all have special needs so we are always dealing with something or the other. I do sell Avon and have for the last 20 years or so and am now a team leader…
I also teach recorder at a local primary school and that has me doing two classes a week and assembly on Monday mornings to play Advance Australia Fair, amongst other school commitments. We also have a small school band that plays at the opening chapel of each term, there I use my Clarinet. It’s a lot of fun.
I am on several committees in town including Church, School, Chaplaincy and Business. I am also an Admin on the DUST team, a wonderful team of Australian Etsy sellers.

Describe yourself in five words.
Generous, Happy, Musical, Creative, Patient, Friendly… it’s hard to find positive words about yourself, this took some thinking. 


When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
I started beading quite a few years ago by going to a craft class that was making Christmas decorations out of simple plastic beads. I had never beaded before but found I could follow the instructions and make up the decorations with no trouble at all, so I started to play around with a little jewellery for myself and it just exploded from there. I am now a member of my town's local business group - Business Nhill - and have registered my Julie's Jewels as a business name. 

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
Artisan Beaded Jewellery and Accessories using almost anything with holes. A few personal favourites – Lampwork, Gemstones, Czech Glass, Swarovski Crystals, Pearls, Sterling Silver, Brass, Copper and many many more.


 When and how did you start selling online?
I started to sell on Etsy because I became very disappointed with eBay, with their fees, with the way that the eBay company was dealing with their sellers and the way that eBay buyers only want a bargain for the lowest possible price. Etsy suits me much better as it is for handcrafted products, and  I have now included stores on MadeIt and ArtFire. 

Describe your store in five words.
Romantic, Feminine, Elegant, Colourful, Quirky

Who or what are the influences behind your creations?
I have no idea, I do like to use images and themes to create from, but mostly work work just pops out of my head – that could be quiet scary I suppose.


Where can we find you online?

Special Offer: Julie-Ann is offering 10% OFF your purchase in any of her stores for those who mention "Deb’s Review 10% off" at checkout.  This discount is valid until Christmas 2010.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!
Giveaway:  Julie-Ann is also offering one lucky reader a $20 item of their choice from her store.  Simply leave a comment on this post to be in the running to own a gorgeous Julie's Jewels piece!  Giveaway is open worldwide and will run until midnight, December 2nd 2010 (AEDST).  The winner will be chosen via Random.org.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Christmas Giving - Gifts That Give Twice

Firstly, I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and virtual hugs this week while I have battled sinus and ear infections.  I am slowly on the mend and looking forward to being able to craft and blog more regularly!
Today's post is, yes, about Christmas again.  I know, I am a little obsessed with the topic, but at this time of year when we get all caught up with spending hundreds of dollars on gifts, I thought I would highlight some gifts that "give twice", as it were.


One way of giving a gift that gives twice is by purchasing a handmade item from the Creative Collective charity auction for the Starlight Foundation.  There are twenty-seven different handmade items (including a Two Cheeky Monkeys vintage teacup art print!) you can bid on, many of which would make beautiful gifts for someone this Christmas.  And even better, the proceeds raised from this auction will support the Starlight Foundation's work with seriously ill and hospitalised children.


For those who need a gift for the person who has everything or are tired of buying grandparents and neighbours the same box of chocolates every Christmas, charitable organisations such as TEAR, World Vision and Compassion offer "gift catalogues" from which one can "buy" presents for friends and family.  You essentially donate money to provide for a specific need, for example childhood immunisation or educational supplies in a third world country in which these organisations work.  In return, you receive a gift card with a picture and information about the work you are supporting.  So, you can now give your grandparents or neighbours that box of chocolates (or home made biscuits!) as well as a gift card outlining a much needed "gift" you have bought for a community in need on their behalf.
I hope this little list of ideas has given you some inspiration for any Christmas shopping you will be doing this year.  I think it would be wonderful if, this Christmas, the presents we give and receive will benefit not only the receiver, but others whom we will probably never meet or know were blessed by our gift.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Madeit Christmas Gift Guide - Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Now that my children are old enough to attend kindergarten, Sunday school and take extracurricular lessons such as piano and swimming, I find myself racking my brains for sweet and helpful teacher appreciation gifts.  Here are some ideas I found on Madeit this week.



Reusable sandwich bag by BonTons Gifts

Monday, 15 November 2010

Works in Progress: A Collection of Felt Food


Before I started up my own jewellery and art "label" last year, I spent a lot of time sewing felt food toys to entertain the Two Cheeky Monkeys as well as myself.  I do like to sew, although I am not particularly good at it, and my girls were thrilled with their new stash of felt playfood with which to pretend to cook.
When one of my sisters-in-law saw the felt pizza earlier this year, she mentioned how much she liked it, as did my nieces.  I then foolishly volunteered to sew a batch of felt food for said nieces as a Christmas present.  So here I am, almost four months after making my rash promise, slowly sewing away at an eclectic mix of felt food


.As you can see above, I haven't gotten very far with this project.  It is most definitely a work in progress!  I am currently in the middle of making a copy of the pizza which sparked this whole project as well as some jam biscuits.  The pizza would have been completed last weekend, but wouldn't you know it?  My yellow thread has gone missing.  For some reason, it is not in any of my thread boxes or even laying around with my usual spread of jewellery supplies on the dining room table.  It is a complete mystery where my yellow thread has gone, probably the same place into which my kids' socks disappear...


Once I finish off the biscuits and pizza, I will begin work on some iced biscuits, strawberries, fruit slices and lettuce leaves.  I'm not sure how much more I will make after that, I guess it really depends on how much time I have before Christmas!  If you have any suggestions or tutorial links, I would greatly appreciate them. 

Friday, 12 November 2010

Feature Friday and Special Offer - Beadevolution


My featured artist for this week is the talented Helen of Beadevolution.  Helen is a fellow Australian and DUST member who creates bold and edgy pieces for those who love chunky jewellery.  So let's find out more about Helen and her wonderful creations.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from South Africa but have been living in Melbourne for the past three years. I have a background in Human Resource Management as well as having trained as a chef but I am pretty busy being a mother to my three young children at the moment and so am keen to avoid the corporate world. As well as my business, Beadevolution, I import and sell furniture on ebay (interiors are another passion!)

Describe yourself in five words.
I asked my husband to come up with five words to describe me - I think he is pretty accurate:
passionate, focussed, creative, caring and MESSY - I won't argue with the last...

 Blue Feathered Resin Bangle (inspired by the Melbourne Cup fashions)

When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
I have always been creating something - I see myself as a specialist in 'putting things together' - interiors, gardens, food and now Beadevolution is just an extension of that. I have long been a collector of beads and have been making jewelry for friends for a few years. My store Beadevolution is still a new baby and is still 'evolving'. 

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
I make mostly resin jewelry. Beaded resin creations and chunky bangles, rings etc. I have become so entranced with the resin making process that I can see myself creating all my own beads from scratch - although it is a very time consuming process. I love the uniqueness of each piece - especially the coloring process - no two pieces will ever be the same. It is also an incredibly tactile medium and the sanding of each piece of handmade resin is a joy in itself.


When and how did you start selling online?
I have only recently opened my Beadevolution store on Etsy and am building my own website now. I have been selling furniture on ebay for a couple of years but this is my first online selling of my own handmade products.

Describe your store in 5 words.
Five words to describe my store would be: bright, bold, funky, colourful and tactile. 

Who or what are the influences behind your creations?
My influences come from all around me. I am lucky to live very close to the beach and am working on some beach pebble inspired resin pieces at the moment. Some of my colour combinations come from looking at what is growing in my garden or at the colours in a favorite item of clothing or fabric.
 

Where can we find you online?

Special Offer: Helen is offering all Two Cheeky Monkeys readers 10% OFF any purchase in her store during the month of November!  Simply let her know that you found out about her store from this blog and she will refund you the difference.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Wordy Wednesday - Thank You

Some of you may know I've had a difficult week with lots of little things going wrong.  Let me hasten to add that we are all okay here in Two Cheeky Monkeys land, it's just that we've had a few minor mishaps (including Miss 5 contracting conjunctivitis) and I am finding that running a small business from home is a lot more tedious work than I ever envisaged.   So this funky Wordle word cloud is a "thank you", in various languages of the world, for everyone who has helped me out, supported me, prayed for me or encouraged me during my journey so far.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Madeit Christmas Gift Guide - Home Decor

This week's Madeit Christmas gift guide highlights some sweet home decor ideas for little (and big) kids!

Free as a bird mobile by birdynumnum

Personalised sailboat garland by kitty n' kitsch

Coloured owls mobile by the Bear and the Whale


Felt baby mobile by Happy as Larry

Monday, 8 November 2010

Christmas Wreath Tutorial Roundup

I know I keep saying it, but Christmas is drawing ever closer.  Why do I keep mentioning it?  Because firstly, I just love celebrating Christmas.  I mean, what Christian wouldn't be thrilled about celebrating Jesus' birth, right?  Secondly, I like to be organised whenever possible.  And this often means thinking about the Christmas craft I would like to tackle before December, because otherwise I would just end up in a mad panic.
This year I have a hankering to try my hand at making a Christmas wreath to hang on my front door.  I guess that means I should probably make a wreath which will be impervious to the erratic weather conditions of Melbourne, but my front door is fairly sheltered, so maybe that won't be a problem.  Below are some clever wreath tutorials I am thinking of trying out.  I don't know which one to pick - what do you think?  If you know of any great Christmas wreath tutorials, please feel free to share the link in the comments!




Friday, 5 November 2010

Feature Friday and Special Offer - Filmless Photos

My featured artist for the week is the very lovely Kirsty of Filmless Photos!  Kirsty is a very talented photographer whom I met through the Australian Etsy DUST team.  Want to see some of her work and find out how you can be the proud owner of one or more of her pieces?  Then keep reading!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I currently live and work in Wagga Wagga, NSW, which is in between Sydney and Melbourne (inland) but am originally from North Queensland. I work full time as an Occupational Therapist but dream of making that work part time (becuase for the most part I do enjoy it) and growing Filmless Photos to be a viable business. I am also in the middle (kind of at the end bit) of renovating my house - it's been a 3 year job!

Describe yourself in 5 words.
 Quirky, eccentric, imaginative, caring, stubborn.


When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
I think I have always been creative. As a kid I enjoyed arts/crafts and drama, as a teenager I played music, drama and continued with the art/craft thing. I've always enjoyed photography (point and shoot stuff) but didn't get my first play with an SLR until I was around 18. I bought my first digital SLR (after playing with someone else's) about 3 years ago and then started getting serious about it all. I am completely self taught but I am at the stage now where I would love to have some proper studio training - it's an area of photography I would like to have a play with. At the moment - I've been doing it on my own with the help of the photographic online community (which is incredibly helpful and supportive)

What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
I create photographic art from what already exisits in the world. I hope that I create images which invoke memories and emotions. I hope it makes people smile.
I have also recently started a product photography venture, where I can provide small sellers with good product photos so they can sell online. I know some people hate taking photos, and I am a nerd and like it :) It was obvious that I could fill a gap there and enjoy doing it.
My favourite materials - my camera and my lenses (Canon 50mm 1.4 and my Tamron 90mm Macro lenses are my favourite).


When and how did you start selling online?
I started selling online in 2009. I was a shopper on Etsy before I was a seller and it purely came about as an experiment. I noticed other people selling their photography online and though "hey, I can do that" and then Filmless Photos was born. It's grown a little bit since then...

Describe your store in 5 words
The way I see it...  [Edit: Oooh, she's philosophical!   :) ]

Who or what are the influences behind your creations?
I don't know if I can pin point the influences behind my work. I think it's a combination of a lot of things, including the world around me. I definately know I wouldn't be doing this without the support and encouragement of my partner and family - they are the ones that tell me that I can do it and provide guidence and ideas - I really do appreciate and cherish that.


Where can we find you online?
Etsy www.etsy.com/shop/kirsty2715

Special Offer Alert: Kirsty is offering 10% off to Two Cheeky Monkeys readers who use the code TWOCHEEKYMONKEYS at checkout.  You will be refunded the difference or you can request a revised invoice.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Giveaway Winner - Night Garden Bobby Pin Set


Thank you to everyone for entering my Night Garden bobby pin set giveaway!  I loved reading through all of your comments about your favourite pieces and suggestions for my store.


Random.org picked #60 as the giveaway winner.  Comment #60 was Lisa of The Princess and the Monkey who said:

"I love these little clips. I have my eye on the Vivienne Locket Necklace in your madeit shop... love it!"

Congratulations Lisa, I will be contacting you soon.

For everyone else, I am offering 15% OFF full priced items for my readers until the 8th of November as a thank you for entering my giveaway.  Make sure you let me know that you are a blog follower when you checkout and I will refund you the difference!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Two Cheeky Monkeys Packaging Update


I am sure you will all remember last week's post about the new gift wrapping options I will be introducing to my Etsy and Madeit stores.  I was so excited today when the first shipment of jewellery pouches arrived in the mail!  The velveteen jewellery pouches come in two sizes, the larger of which will be suitable for wrapping bracelet cuffs and the chunkier beaded necklaces.


I haven't decided what to charge for the pouches as yet, but I think I will still wrap each piece in some tissue paper before placing it in the pouch.  That way, the gift recipient will have a little extra suspense while unwrapping their present and the present will just look that little bit prettier too.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Madeit Christmas - Gift Ideas For Him

One thing I have noticed about handmade, is that it is harder to find fantastic handmade gifts for the males in my life than the females.  So, to help you in your handmade shopping, I have compiled this gift guide with some ideas for him.



Japanese Ball Keyring by Greenstar Jewellery


Colouring Wallet by kazzalblue

Monday, 1 November 2010

Fancy Something a Little Different?

I was looking around on Etsy the other day and found this fun little art print store, named RUBBLEarium.  Some of you may know that I have a rather eclectic taste in art, especially art which is a little "different" from the norm.  So you probably won't be surprised that I am absolutely enchanted by the whimsical art prints I found in RUBBLEarium.  Here are my top three picks - enjoy!



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