Things have been pretty quiet around here on the creativity front because the two cheeky monkeys are rather enjoying their school holidays and because I have been preparing for my oldest monkey's 7th birthday. As with my younger monkey, monkey #1 has shown her little personality from the very start. And in her case, she has a strong stubborn streak, liking to do things her own way and at her leisure, is rather bossy and also very cautious of anything strange or new (oh wait, I could be talking about myself there; we are both first borns, LOL)! But I love her, idiosyncrasies and all, and am in no hurry for her to grow up too quickly, especially as she is growing so rapidly that she will be overtaking me in height in another two or so years. :)
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
As you will have noticed from last week's post about crochet, I am not a very proficient crocheter! So I am always fascinated by the amazing crochet works I find online or in craft magazines. My latest mind-boggling find is from cornflower blue studio, a fantastic online store full of crochet goodies and PDF crochet patterns. This coral and sealife sculpture is stunning, wouldn't you love to have something like this gracing your walls?
Friday, September 21, 2012
You may have noticed that the two cheeky monkeys and I are pretty keen on bows, especially bows which can be worn in one's hair or on one's clothes (see here, here and here). And I have noticed that bows are pretty popular amongst my monkeys' friends and the other girls at monkey #1's school (as evidenced by the number of bow hair ties which sold at the school fete), so I thought I would share a series of tutorials focussing on bows. Today's tutorial covers my method of making no sew bows - that's right, this is a tutorial even those of you who don't like sewing can easily attempt!
- One piece of fabric twice the length and width of your intended bow size
(for my 18 x 4.5cm bow I cut a 36 x 9cm piece of fabric)
- A small piece of fabric 8cm long and twice the width of your bow centre
(e.g. for a 2.5cm wide bow centre, cut a piece 8 x 5cm in size)
- Fabric glue (you could also use a hot glue gun, but fabric glue will last much longer)
- Iron and ironing board (optional)
1. Iron your two pieces of fabric to ensure that they are not crinkled or creased. Ironing your fabric at this point will ensure a neater finish.
2. Take your larger piece of fabric and fold it in half lengthwise; lightly mark the fold line on the wrong side of the fabric. Unfold your fabric and fold the long ends towards the centre line (wrong sides facing); iron down the folds if you want a crisp-edged finish to your bow.
3. Mark the centre of your folded fabric widthwise and then fold the two shorter ends to the centre line. As before, iron down your folds if you want a crisp finish.
4. Take your second piece of fabric and fold the long ends towards the centre as you did with the first piece of fabric in step one. Iron the folds to keep them in place, if you wish. This will be the band around the centre of your bow.
5. Turn over your first, large folded piece of fabric so that the folded side is facing down. Pinch or concertina fold the fabric lengthwise in the very middle to give your bow shape. Dab some fabric glue to hold the middle in place, if you wish, or you could add a few stitches in matching thread to keep your bow together (although that would negate the "no sew" part, strictly speaking).
6. Add a stripe of glue to the middle underside of your bow and firmly press one end of your smaller strip of folded fabric onto the glue. Making sure that your second piece of fabric is exactly in the middle of the bow, wrap it around the bow to make the band around the bow centre.
7. Cut off any excess fabric, but make sure that you have enough fabric to fold under and hide the raw edges. Glue the raw edges under your strip of fabric then glue the neatened end of your strip in place to complete the bow centre. For those of you who aren't afraid of a needle and thread, you can add a few stitches around the join to make sure your bow centre is 100 percent secure. And there you have it - a simple, no sew, bow which you can make in less than thirty minutes!
- If you want to make a double-layered bow, simply repeat steps one and two with a slightly smaller piece of fabric and then concertina fold your two bow bases together before wrapping with the bow band.
- For a more eye-catching effect, you can use a different, but complementary, fabric for the second layer of your bow or the band around the centre.
Don't forget to come back next week for an alternative bow technique which involves sewing!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Well, after months and months of saying that this year would be the year I learn how to crochet well enough to make a granny square, I have FINALLY done it! Of course, me being me, the only reason I found the time to try making a granny square (or two) was that I got quite sick with a severe bout of gastric reflux and was forced to sit on the couch and rest. So with lots of recuperation time on my hands, Mr Cheeky Monkeys kindly bought me a crochet hook in the size I needed (you have to love a man who will go into a craft store to buy crafting supplies for his sick wife!) and I got started with some funky yarn from my mum's leftover stash.
So here is my first, and rather wonky, attempt at crocheting a granny square. I followed the fairly straightforward instructions in Meet Me At Mike's: 25 Fun and Crafty Projects. If you don't own this great book, you can easily find a tutorial for a granny square online - one I like can be found at my fellow DUST member's blog, Renate Kirkpatrick's Freeform. There are pictorial and written instructions, which is very handy since we all learn differently. Obviously, I need to keep practising at my crochet technique, but I am now planning on attempting to crochet hearts as well as flowers. Does anyone have any recommendations for simple tutorials?
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Thank you to everyone for your entries in my latest giveaway; I loved reading your comments about your favourite items. The winner of the Kiahla earrings is entry #255 - Caitlin of Crafty Crackpot.
I have also enjoyed running a shorter giveaway (this one ran over four days instead of my usual seven to eight) and am thinking I will stick to this format. What do you think?
For everyone who missed out, my condolences, but there are still quite a few pairs of the Kiahla earrings available in my Etsy and Madeit stores. As with all of my vintage Glam It Up range, stock numbers are limited (the nature of creating with vintage jewellery supplies), so get in quick before they sell out!
Monday, September 17, 2012
I have long loved matryoshkas (or babushkas as they are often called in Australia), a love which I seem to have passed on to the two cheeky monkeys. It started when I was a small child, fascinated by the doll within a doll within a doll format of the traditional matryoshka or Russina nesting dolls. And since joining the online creative world, I have discovered many adorable variations of the matryoshka design, inclucing these sweet embroidery hoop art from Sew Faithful. Do you love matryoshka dolls or designs? And if you do, how were you introduced to these cute dolls?
Thursday, September 13, 2012
After a slight delay caused by illness, I am so pleased to finally launch my Spring/Summer range (or Autumn/Winter for my northern hemisphere readers!) of jewellery. Many of the pieces in the new range combine two of my favourite designs, my vintage Glam It Up range of jewellery and the "upcycled classics" range of accessories. It is an idea I have been contemplating for quite a while now, I just needed the courage to see it through to completion!
Some of the items in the range are new versions of old favourites, such as the statement Glam It Up rings and Mr Darcy accessories.
But there will also be a slew of beaded Mr Darcy lockets...
...as well as necklaces combining sparkly, vintage glass jewels with snippets of text from Pride and Prejudice OR Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet...
...and a range of new bracelets to add some sparkly bling to your wrists.
To further share my excitement about my new range with you (because my long post of photos just isn't enough!), I am giving away a pair of the Kiahla earrings to one lovely reader.
For those of you who JUST HAVE TO OWN a pair now or are desperate for something else in the new range, you can purchase them from either my Etsy or my Madeit store.
To enter the giveaway, simply go through each step on the Rafflecopter form below. Entry is open WORLDWIDE and a winner will be drawn via Random.org on Monday, 17 September 2012 (AEST).
Monday, September 10, 2012
I have a long-standing love of felt, one of the first materials I crafted with as a child, so it should come as little surprise that I adore anything made of felt. And this collection of felt brooches I found on Etsy are no exception! Each brooch is different from the others but they are all so beautifully made - enjoy.
Friday, September 7, 2012
I am gradually getting back into running my regular feature Friday posts about online handmade stores and this week's featured seller is Hello K Charms. For those who love all things cutesy or a little kawaii, keep reading to find out more about this fun store and the special discount offer!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I reside in the U.S. in the warm Southern part of California. I’m a director of a children’s learning program in the Los Angeles Region and have been working with children for many years. I am a part-time artist running my business on the side.
Describe yourself in five words.
Ambitious, Enthusiastic, Hard-worker, Out-Going, Patient.
When and how did you first start crafting/creating?
I started my crafting about a little over a year ago. I’ve always been creative and crafty but was able to put good use to it when I started the whole jewelry creations.
What do you create and what are your favourite materials with which to work?
I mainly create accessories and jewelries. Materials that I work with range from rhinestones, Swarovski crystals, pearls, letters, shapes, etc. I don’t really have a favorite material because I love all the materials that I work with.
When and how did you start selling online?
I started selling online about a year ago on etsy, when a friend recommended me to try selling my products online.
Describe your store in five words.
Fun, Cute, Unique, Hello Kitty, Accessories.
Who or what are the influences behind your creations?
My influences behind my work are based on my favorite character, hello kitty. I grew up loving the character and have been a fan since I was young.
Where can we find you online?
Hello K Charms is offering 10% OFF your purchase when you use the coupon code FACEBOOK10 at checkout.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
As department stores start reminding us how many weeks there are left till Christmas and to get our Christmas shopping done early (Have you considered buying handmade? How about something from Two Cheeky Monkeys or Domum Vindemia? Wink, wink, giggle.) there are many around Australia and around the world who have started thinking about Operation Christmas Child. I was so sure that I had mentioned Operation Christmas Child on my blog in the past, but have not been able to find my last post, so apologies if any of this is giving you deja vu.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a program run every year by Samaritan's Purse, a charitable organisation which began in the USA but now has branches in multiple countries around the world. The aim of OCC is to provide needy children, from a variety of countries, with a smile at Christmas time by giving them a box full of new clothes, toys, school supplies and other useful items. My church has been encouraging members to take part for many years now, as has Monkey #1's school, and my kids love choosing items for children whom they know they will probably never meet. For those of you who love to create, what better opportunity to use your crafty skills than to whip up a handmade toy, piece of clothing, hair accessories, etc. to add to a box!
For those of you who are thinking, "Helping out those in need at Christmas is one thing, but what happens to these people the rest of the year?", well, that is a great question to ask! You could consider supporting charitable organisations such as World Vision, Samaritan's Purse or Compassion Australia year round through their child sponsorship or community aid programs. Or you could organise for people from your child's school, your place of work or your sports team to contribute together and make a difference as a group. The possibilities really are endless.
Monday, September 3, 2012
With a seemingly endless round of illness or injury of various family members, and with monkey #2, in particular, being rather clingy when ill, I have been contemplating re-starting my attempts to learn how to crochet via internet tutorials. (Because crochet seems like such an easy thing to learn with a sick child curled up on your lap, not!) For those of you who know me well, you will know that all I can manage is a simple chain of stitches and maybe some single crochet before I fall apart and complain that the instructions just don't make sense. But I am determined that I will learn to crochet a simple granny square by the end of the year , or at least try without having a childish meltdown! I am definitely nowhere near attempting this very cute owl pattern, but thought I would share it for those of my readers who may be more accomplished in the art of crochet. The tutorial can be found over on the Just Crafty Enough blog. Let me know if you try it, I love to admire other people's crochet talents!