A very quick post today whilst I am revelling in the back to school freedom (I say freedom, but really, I spend all my time washing uniforms and making lunches now; it's easier in many ways not to have the Monkeys at school). A little while back I received a commission to create tote bags out of vintage Voltron bedlinen, a challenge I found intriguing and accepted. These are now finished and are about to head off to my friend and customer, a mad keen Voltron fan. She will be then sending these off as thank you gifts to those who have been reviewing her Voltron fan fiction writings. What a fun idea!
Friday, 29 January 2016
Wednesday, 27 January 2016
I've been reading a lot lately about creating cohesive collections when running jewellery or homewares or clothing,etc stores and this was an idea which really stuck with me. It's been something I've been thinking about for a while, so to see it stressed to me in several different ways was great for my summer holiday-addled brain.
Something I've really been thinking about is creating more statement pieces for my literature jewellery range. I have the floral and bedazzled cuff bangles which draw a lot of attention online and at markets, but I wanted something more. So, while enjoying the Australian Open tennis tournament in the comfort of my home, I've been slowly re-stocking my (until now) sold out asymmetrical cameo necklace range.
I've gone with the perennial favourites of Jane Eyre and Mr Darcy for character names, but will hopefully add other characters to the range, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Shirley and Atticus Finch. I think these necklaces are perfect for a wedding or a more formal night out on the town, although I think some of the customers who bought previous versions of these necklaces are planning to wear them whenever they want to! What do you think? Are these more for elegant functions, or would you wear them on the school run, grocery shopping or at a casual brunch out with the girls?
Monday, 25 January 2016
Although the summer school holidays always seem to fly by, they are kind of long with a whopping six weeks of no school (for those of us who can't afford private school education). So after all of our various Christmas and new year functions are done and dusted, I start organising the various activities which will entertain the Cheeky Monkeys.
One very successful and entertaining activity has been the tried and true experiment of attempting to dye flowers and vegetables with food dye. Not only is this a fun activity for kids of all ages because they get to play with water and food dye, but it is a great visual demonstration of how watering our plants (and contaminating their water source) affects them.
So, what do you do? It's all very simple and only needs a few supplies and ingredients.
- large drinking glasses or medium-large jam jars
- food safe dye
- celery stalks with leaves (I recommend using the younger stalks closer to the centre of a celery bunch as the leaves are lighter in colour and will give better colour results)
1. Grab your drinking glasses or jam jars and fill them about half way with water.
2. Decide what colour(s) you are going to use to dye your celery. If you're using regular food dye from the supermarket (like we did), I would recommend adding 5-10 drops of dye to your water (we had about 200ml water). Mix colour in well.
3. Cut your celery stalk cleanly; to reduce the risk of toppling your jar or drinking glass, make sure not to leave too long a section of stem. Put the celery stalk into the coloured water and leave on your kitchen bench or dining table.
|After 4-6 hours, the tinge of colour in the celery leaves is very noticeable.|
4. This is the part that requires PATIENCE. You won't see any noticeable change for at least an hour, maybe more if your dye concentration is quite weak.
If you briefly remove the stalk from the water, you should start to notice the base of the celery stem starting to colour as the water is drawn up into the stalk.
After a few hours you should definitely notice the celery leaves starting to take on a coloured tinge.
If you leave your celery stalks overnight, as we did, you will wake up in the morning to find brightly-coloured leaves in shades you don't normally find in celery! Not only that, you should definitely see streaks of colour on the edges of the stalk and smaller celery stems.
|Leave your celery in the coloured water overnight and you will see very bright results the next morning!|
Thursday, 21 January 2016
A few years ago I showed Monkey #1 how to use my trusty sewing machine, Bernadette, whilst Monkey #2 was at a friend's house. She happily measured, cut and made up a simple sleeping bag for her favourite soft toy, Doggy (a plush dog). Ever since, Monkey #2 has been asking me to show her how to use Bernadette, because she always wants to do what her big sister does!
Fast forward three years, and I finally found the time to show poor Monkey #2 how to use the sewing machine. Of course, she had to make a sleeping bag for her favourite toy, Teddy Bear Celeste Mium Pop (don't ask!). Which got me thinking that a blog tutorial was in order, to inspire all the other girls and boys out there who want to try their hand at a first, simple sewing project.
- fabric for sleeping bag outer (0.5m/half yd piece of fabric should be enough for anything other than a giant plush toy)
- fabric for sleeping bag lining (0.5 m/half yd)
- matching sewing thread
- sewing machine
- measuring tape or large ruler
1. Measure your toy's dimensions. We made sleeping bags which featured pillow flaps (because you don't want to put your head or pillow directly on the ground!), so you will also need to measure the toy's length from neck to feet/bottom of the toy. You will need to cut your fabric to a width which accomodates the toy and a length which equals the length of your toy plus the length of the toy's body (measure from neck to feet). Don't forget to add 1cm to each side for seam allowances.
e.g. For our teddy bear, we cut the fabric outer and lining to a width of 32cm wide (including seam allowance) and a length of 87cm.
2. Pin your outer and lining fabrics together, right sides facing. Mark off a 15cm long section at one short end - leave this section open for turning your bag right side out.
Start sewing at your first marked off point and sew around the entire rectangle of fabric until you reach the other side of your marked off section.
3. Clip all four corners carefully, to help with turning the fabric right side round. Turn the sleeping bag right way round and iron flat, making sure to iron the seams down at the open section.
4. Place the sewn rectangle lining side up and with the unfinished/open end at the top. Fold up the bottom end to create the pouch part of the sleeping bag, leaving enough fabric uncovered at the top for the pillow flap.
Starting at the bottom left hand corner of the sleeping bag, top stitch all layers together in a clockwise direction - from the bottom to the top left corner, then round the top of the pillow flap (making sure to catch all layers of the open/unsewn section), and back down from the top right hand corner to the bottom right hand corner.
5. And there you have it, a very simple sleeping bag for your child's favourite soft toy! And the great thing about using lovely lining fabrics as my Monkeys did, these sleeping bags can happily be reversible should your soft toy want a bit of a change, ha ha.
Tuesday, 19 January 2016
The Cheeky Monkeys and I have been happily book hunting this summer holidays and we recently found a great haul of books! Of course my purchases were for me to use in my creative endeavours and the Monkeys purchased books for reading pleasure and to broaden their literary horizons.
I will be really focussing on the book theme in Domum Vindemia this year, so I feel that this is a great start to my creative year!!! I am slowly in the process of adding more children's book buntings to my store, and for the teens and adults, I will be adding fun magnet sets, bookmarks and crafting supplies.
I am particularly excited to be adding The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan items to my "grownup" range of creations. Although, I am having a hard time cutting up Peter Pan, it's such an old favourite! So what do you think? Anyone fancy a Wizard of Oz or Scarecrow needle minder?
Thursday, 14 January 2016
For those who recognise the Chinese proverb in the title, yes, I am using it completely out of context! But I thought it a fun way to introduce my new range of literature bracelets - all beautifully glittering in gold plate.
The original range of literature bracelets has been a hit with my lovely customers, but I got to thinking that there may be some, like me, who prefer to wear gold or gold-plated jewellery and accessories. However, it wasn't until just before Christmas that I found a supplier for the parts I needed to expand this popular range.
Now, I have been happily creating new literature bracelets whilst enjoying the summer sunshine. I have added gold-plated Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables and Pride and Prejudice bracelets to the bracelet range. And I may add more designs if requested by customers or if they do well in the silver-plated range. What do you think - which one do you love?
Tuesday, 12 January 2016
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of watch necklaces and have been since Mr Cheeky Monkeys bought one for me as a pre-wedding/Christmas present oh so many years ago. Not only are they fun to wear and accessorise with outfits, they're practical and extremely useful too.
Sadly, I haven't worn a watch necklace since the Cheeky Monkeys were born (babies and dangly items are not a good combination), but I now have fun creating them for my loyal customers. My latest offerings continue both the pocket watch and the beaded necklace theme, with one of each to show off today.
Thursday, 7 January 2016
Happy new year everybody! I hope you had a wonderful and restful Christmas and new year period. It's been a little crazy here at chez Two Cheeky Monkeys, hence my relative quietness on the blog of late.
For those of you who read the post title with some alarm, do not fear, I am not saying goodbye to the Two Cheeky Monkeys blog. I am merely saying a temporary goodbye to my two Madeit stores of Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia.
With my health not being great, I am unable to keep running both Etsy and Madeit stores, especially with the precarious Australian dollar adding more stress to things. So I am offering 25% off all purchases in my Madeit stores for the month of January, and then I will be closing those doors until I am able to run four online stores once again.