Thursday, 21 September 2017

Lego DIY Roundup

With the Spring school holidays rapidly approaching, I have been researching ways to entertain the Cheeky Monkeys and keep my sanity!  They are huge fans of Lego (as is Mr Monkeys), so today I've put together a roundup of fun Lego DIY ideas for young and old.

image lego diy craft ideas tutorial candy dispenser maze charging station picture puzzle chess set keyring keychain

1. Build and re-build challenging mazes out of Lego!
2. Older Lego fans can use their childhood toys to create a charging station.
3. Lego picture puzzles celebrate a little one AND Lego.
4. Turn your favourite Lego character into a keyring.
5. No kid will be able to resist a Lego candy dispenser!
6. Chess geeks can also enjoy Lego while playing in a chess tournament.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Etsy Made Local Melbourne

Today I'm finally sharing some exciting news - Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia will be heading to a handmade market this November!!!  With the success of the Etsy made local markets the last few years, I am so excited to have been accepted to the upcoming November market in Melbourne!

etsy made local melbourne market november 2017 two cheeky monkeys domum vindemia

The market will run on November 25th, from 10am to 5pm, at the Batman Market site in Coburg.  So if you're Melbourne based and have been eyeing off Two Cheeky Monkeys and Domum Vindemia creations, then save the date and come along and get your Christmas shopping done before the December shopping madness descends.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Count your blessings

Today I'm sharing a special custom order I recently created, which was inspired by the design of our bridesmaid locket necklaces.  As much as I love creating locket necklaces with special quotes, there is no possible way for Two Cheeky Monkeys to stock every single inspirational quote customers could want.

necklace locket quote typography two cheeky monkeys when i count my blessings i count you twice jewellery jewelry custom made

Which is why whenever customers ask for a bespoke quote piece, I am usually more than happy to find an existing design which will fit their chosen quote nicely as well as suit the recipient of the locket.  This custom locket includes the beautiful quote, "When I count my blessings, I count you twice."  I really loved making it and am thinking of including it as part of our normal range.  Who else loves this quote too?

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

It's always story time

If your little ones are anything like the Two Cheeky Monkeys, they probably love story time before they have to head to bed, especially if you "do the voices" for each character!  And even though it's kind of frustrating when we find them still awake and reading books under the bedcovers with their torches, I still love the idea of decorating their rooms with book-themed decorations.

outer space planets bunting domum vindemia handmade astronaut solar system banner garland etsy children

And because I know that many of my customers love to do the same, I've been busy adding new storybook buntings to Domum Vindemia.  I've been wanting to add some space and astronaut-themed buntings to the store for a while now, and I finally found an old Golden Book about the planets (back in the days when we still counted Pluto).  I think this bunting is PERFECT for all the budding space explorers out there and can't wait to create more!

the jungle book bunting banner garland domum vindemia etsy mowgli shere khan nursery bedroom children

I have also been busy re-stocking the popular Jungle Book buntings, with this offering now available in-store.  I'm hoping to add more of these buntings with a different choice of bunting ribbon, so keep an eye out for new additions as they fly out the door very quickly.  So before I got, let me ask you, which of these two buntings is your favourite?

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Obstinate, headstrong girl!

locket necklace jane austen quote pride and prejudice obstinate headstrong girl elizabeth bennet lady catherine de bourgh two cheeky monkeys

Fans of Jane Austen's most beloved piece will recognise this quote immediately!  Although Lady Catherine de Bourgh meant it as a reproof and an insult to Elizabeth Bennet, Elizabeth owns the title and doesn't hesitate to put Lady Catherine in her place.

locket necklace jane austen quote pride and prejudice obstinate headstrong girl elizabeth bennet lady catherine de bourgh two cheeky monkeys

This short quote gets me every time I read it, so, inspired by the many Janeite fans of my creations, I have set it into a locket necklace.  This necklace is the perfect gift for Austen fans, especially the ones who are bold and courageous in the face of obstacles!

locket necklace jane austen quote pride and prejudice obstinate headstrong girl elizabeth bennet lady catherine de bourgh two cheeky monkeys

It is now available in-store either as a simple locket necklace, or with your choice of Czech glass bead or glass pearl.  Would you wear this cheeky locket, or give it to a fellow Jane fan?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Mothers and Daughters

As I've mentioned before, Grandma Monkeys and I have a great relationship and I love my now not so little Cheeky Monkeys dearly.  And it was these relationships that inspired the mother-daughter necklace sets which have been so popular in Two Cheeky Monkeys.

mother daughter keyring set keychain quote family domum vindemia

And now, due to popular demand, the mother and daughter quotes seen in the necklace sets are now available as keychains!  You will have the choice of ordering individual mother or daughter keychains, or a set including both a mother and a daughter keychain, perfect for gifting to your special mum or daughter.  Would you purchase an individual keyring or a matching set for you and your mum/daughter?

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Same, but not

image music bracelet sheet musician musical handmade two cheeky monkeys etsy

One of the things that I love about handmade items is that no two creations are exactly identical when created by hand.  The differences may only be small, but it's beautiful to know that each handmade item I own is unique in its own little way and not something hundreds or thousands of others will own.

image music bracelet sheet musician musical handmade two cheeky monkeys etsy

And the same can be said for each of Two Cheeky Monkeys' book and music-inspired creations.  While each music bracelet purchased may have treble and bass clefs and musical notes, each one is uniquely individual because the musical notes chosen aren't identical and the clefs come from different parts of the the musical score, reflecting different key signatures and so on.

image music bracelet sheet musician musical handmade two cheeky monkeys etsy

So in this vein of thought, let me ask you, what is your favourite thing about handmade items?

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

More Avengers!

image thor bunting avengers asgard domum vindemia for children superhero etsy

About a month ago I announced that there was to be a new superhero range of buntings added to Domum Vindemia, and showcased an Avengers bunting.  Well, today I am excited to show off three new additions to the range!

image bunting the incredible hulk avengers domum vindemia for children superhero etsy

I've decided to create buntings with both scallop shaped and pointed shield/pennant shaped flags, though the majority of the superhero range will feature the pennant-shaped flags.  The new additions focus on the stories of the incredible Hulk, Captain America and Thor.

image bunting avengers captain america domum vindemia for children superhero etsy

The original Avengers bunting has, excitingly, gone to a new forever home.  So I'm now on the hunt for more battered old copies of the story to recreate that bunting as well as hoping to find some superheroine/superwoman stories too.  Which of the new buntings do you love best?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Father's Day Gift Guide

Things have been pretty hectic here at Two Cheeky Monkeys HQ, so I was a little shocked to realise that Father's Day (for us Aussies) is fast approaching!  I love giving Mr Monkeys appropriately geeky gifts, but today I'm sharing a roundup of gift ideas to suit a range of dads, not just the geeky ones.

father's day gift guide

1. This patchwork R2D2 quilt is perfect for the Star Wars fan.
2. Bake up a batch of Papa Smurf cookies for dad.
3. Something for the old school dad who still prefers to put pen to paper.
4. Help dad to bling up with a pair of cuff links in his favourite colour.
5. Librarian dads can rock a library-themed tie at work!
6. A leather phone case will help dad protect his phone in style.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Calling all bookworms

image just one more chapter bookmark domum vindemia etsy

I realised the other day that I have been creating book-inspired bookmarks for Domum Vindemia for over four years now, and I am so thankful for how well they've been received by everybody!  Today I'm unveiling a new line of bookmarks, perfect for those who don't have a favourite author or literary quote or for gifting to bookworms if you don't know their favourite author.

image quote bookmark so many books so little time domum vindemia handmade

The first bookmark is for all those who have found themselves still reading a gripping book at 2AM after thinking to themself, "Just one more chapter..."!  The second bookmark is for the bibliophile who despairs of ever having enough time to read all of the books on their "must read" list.  Which one of these bookworms are you?  And which bookmark do you love best?

Thursday, 10 August 2017

In my creative space: Swarovski crystals

I recently had the pleasure of designing and creating a lusciously sparkly pair of earrings for my sister's birthday and I can finally show them off to the world!  This simple, but eye-catching pair of earrings was created to match my sister's Pandora bracelet and features ruby-coloured Swarovski crystal chatons.  At 8mm in size, these earstuds are no shrinking violets, but can still comfortably be worn without fear of catching on anything or pulling earlobes until they're sore.

image earrings ear stud earstud swarovski crystal ruby handmade silver two cheeky monkeys pink red

Although I make a lot of vintage and antiqued brass Swarovski earstuds for Two Cheeky Monkeys, this is the first time I've made something similar in silver.  So my question for all of you is: Who would like me to add silver-plated versions of the Swarovski earstud range to the store?  And what colours would you like to see in-store?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Marshmallow rice bubble slice

image marshmallow rice bubble bar slice sweet treat dessert recipe two cheeky monkeys

My Cheeky Monkeys are huge fans of Rice Bubbles for some strange reason, probably because we don't usually purchase it (yes, we're those terrible parents who insist on high fibre cereals).  So when it came to making a fun treat for youngest Monkey to share with her classmates on her birthday, making a rice bubble-inspired treat was the obvious choice.

image marshmallow rice bubble bar slice sweet treat dessert recipe two cheeky monkeys

These sweet treats are ridiculously easy to make; the Monkeys made them on their own with me only intervening when the plastic wrap covering the bowl in the microwave had a minor burst (thankfully no melted marshmallow escaped the bowl!!!) and when they didn't press down the mix evenly enough.  Today I am sharing our super simple recipe with you - have fun creating sweet treats with your little ones!

- 5 1/2 cups Rice Bubbles
- 200g marshmallows (purists might like to only use white marshmallows, but I say use whatever you've got)
- 100g butter, chopped
- hundreds and thousands (we used Monster 5s sprinkles)

1. Grease a 23x27 cm slice or lamington pan.  Line with baking paper, making sure the paper extends a few centimetres past each edge.  Don't worry if your pan is a little smaller, you'll just have a thicker slice to eat!

2. Place the Rice Bubbles into a large bowl and set aside.  Place the marshmallows and butter into a medium-sized microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high (100%) in 30 second bursts, stirring after each round until mixture is smooth.  This should take 1-2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.

3. Add the marshmallow mixture to the Rice Bubbles and stir well.  Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan, making sure to spread the mixture as evenly as possible.  Sprinkle the Rice Bubble slice with the hundreds and thousands (or whichever sprinkles you're using).  Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

4. Cut the set slice into bite-sized squares or bars and serve on a fun dessert pedestal or place in patty pans to delight little ones!

- It is not necessary to use the Kellogg's brand of Rice Bubbles for this recipe; using an alternative brand (such as Nestle's Rice Pops) should not affect the taste or consistency of the slice
I highly recommend using a good brand of marshallows (e.g. Pascall brand) as this does affect the taste of the rice bubble slice
- You can decorate your rice bubble slice with anything fun: think drizzled chocolate, silver cachous or any other sprinkles you can find in the cake decorating aisle at your supermarket

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Hey fellow musicians

image hair pins accessories bobby pins music sheet musician two cheeky monkeys etsy

A very quick post today to show off a veritable slew of hair pins (is there a correct collective noun for hair pins???) I've been creating for a special customer.  One of my cousins is a music teacher and regularly commissions music-themed pieces to give to her students as little prizes and gifts for the end of the teaching year or when they reach particular milestones.  As a musician myself, I LOOOOOVVE this idea and think it's so sweet of her to do this with her students.
How many of my lovely readers are musicians too?  Or do you have absolutely no musical skill but have friends who are ridiculously talented?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

DIY geode slice necklace

Many people wonder how a molecular biologist got into creating and selling jewellery, but it's really not that much of a leap when you know that I've always been fond of gemstones, rocks, beads and jewellery (yes, I was one of those kids with the ever-growing rock and mineral collection that no one was allowed to touch).

In honour of my lifelong fascination with such things, today I'm sharing a DIY for an on trend necklace design featuring a funky blue agate slice.  This necklace is the perfect way to show off your favourite geode slice and only requires basic to intermediate jewellery-making skills.

- one large geode slice (I used a top-drilled 85x25 mm blue agate slice)
- 10 x 4mm Czech firepolish round beads in crystal AB
- 12 x 3x6mm Czech firepolish flat rondelle beads
- 22 x silver-plated eyepins
- 5cm 18-20 gauge silver-plated beading wire
- 2-3mm width silver-plated chain
- 10mm jump ring
- 4mm jump ring
- lobster claw clasp
- jewellery pliers

1. If you have a geode slice with a bail already attached, skip ahead to step 2.  If you're using a top-drilled geode like I did, make a necklace bail for the geode with the beading wire.  Thread the wire through the hole and pull both ends to the top of the geode, ensuring that one end is much shorter than the other, reaching only 3-4 mm above the geode slice.

2. Bend the longer end of wire at a 90 degree angle roughly at the height that the shorter end of wire reaches on the longer end.

3. Using the longer end of wire, create a loop with your round-nosed pliers so that it sits at the tip of the shorter end of wire.

4. Wrap the loose, longer end of wire around itself and the shorter end, completely covering the wire till you reach the top of the geode slice.  Snip off any excess wire and flatten down the end with the flat-nosed pliers.

5. Place a rondelle bead on one of the eyepins.  Snip off excess pin, leaving 6mm of pin to create a second loop/eye.  Create a string of beads by alternating rondelle beads and round beads until you have a string of 11 beads.  Repeat with the remaining beads to create a second string of beads.

6. Attach both strings of beads to the loop at the top of the geode slice.  If you know exactly how long you want your necklace to be, measure the bead strings and then cut the appropriate length of chains you require to make a full length necklace.  If you're not sure how long you want your necklace to be, hold the half-completed necklace against yourself and have a look in a mirror while you adjust the necklace up and down till you're happy with where the geode sits.

7. Cut two chain lengths from the main length of jewellery chain (mine were approximately 12 cm long).  Attach one chain to the free end of each bead string.

9. Test the necklace length on yourself again.  If you're not happy with the length, now is the time to adjust your chain lengths.  If you're happy with your necklace length, attach the 10mm jump ring to one chain end, and the attach the lobster clasp to the other chain end with the 4mm jump ring.

10. Now put your necklace on, admire yourself in the mirror, and be prepared to say, "I made it myself!" every time someone compliments you on your gorgeous statement piece!!!

Feel free to share your photos with me when you've made a gorgeous geode necklace for yourself!
Please do not use any photos or share any parts of this tutorial unless you have permission from me.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

image skippy the bush kangaroo bunting banner garland domum vindemia australiana australia children

If you grew up in Australia in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it is almost impossible not to know Australia's iconic kangaroo, Skippy, who featured in her own special show.  Even for those born in later generations or who lived in other countries, Skippy became a well known figure care of TV re-runs and revivals and international screenings of the original TV series.

image skippy the bush kangaroo bunting banner garland domum vindemia australiana australia children

While Skippy picture books are relatively rare, they do exist!  And I am so excited to have found several different Skippy books which have now been turned into fun buntings for a new generation of Skippy fans!!!  These photos show just one of the available buntings in Domum Vindemia, with two more to come.  These books are quite rare, so I recommend that fans grab buntings while you can as once they sell out, chances are they will not be re-stocked.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Bienvenue a Paris!

french-inspired wine glass charms eiffel tower arc de triomphe vintage domum vindemia earrings

While the Two Cheeky Monkeys family has been watched ridiculous amounts of Le Tour de France, and I have been ACHING to visit that beautiful country for many years now, currently the closest I'm getting to Paris (or anywhere else in France) is to be working on vintage French-inspired creations for Domum Vindemia.

french-inspired wine glass charms eiffel tower bicycle penny farthing vintage domum vindemia earrings

I found these darling collage prints a while back and have been so excited about turning them into wine glass charms and stitch markers for the store, and here is a sneak peek of some of the new creations!  Along with the French-inspired pieces, there will also be some Alice in Wonerland-inspired ones too.

alice in wonderland white rabbit cheshire cat wine glass charms vintage domum vindemia earrings

I've only created wine glass charm sets so far, but hopefully there will be other creations coming soon.  Which ones do you love best, and what other Domum Vindemia pretties would you like to see sporting some French or Alice inspiration?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

There's a million things I haven't done

But creating Hamilton-inspired pieces isn't one of them!  Okay, I know that's not how the lyrics go, but I couldn't resist the segue from the post title!!!  This week I've had some fun creating bespoke Hamilton-inspired bag hangers for a special customer.

image hamilton an american musical bag hook hanger purse accessories bespoke custom order domum vindemia rhinestone diamante

These aren't the first Hamilton pieces I've created, and they hopefully won't be the last.  I've definitely had a lot of fun creating each one and have loved seeing how my usual creations look when I alter them to suit a customer's special requirements!
Are you a Hamilton fan?  And if you are, what other Hamilton-inspired pieces would you like to see?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ultimate no knead bread recipe

If you're a long time reader of this blog you'll notice that I post about bread a fair bit.  And that is because, no matter what anyone says about cutting down carbs in your diet, the Cheeky Monkeys family are all huge fans of bread!
Now we do try to be circumspect with our bread intake, making sure to only eat bread made with whole grains or lower GI breads, and I am always on the lookout for bread recipes I can easily whip up on a busy day.  

no knead bread recipe whole wheat whole grains

Which is what got me on the trail of THE ULTIMATE no knead bread recipe.  One which can be altered (including made with whole wheat or other whole grains), forgotten about, put through the ridiculous variables of Melbourne's weather (yes, we get four seasons in one day sometimes) and yet still turn out beautifully every time.  

image no knead bread recipe crusty bread whole wheat grains

And today, I'm sharing with you the one no knead recipe I've found which ticks all my boxes!!!  This recipe from Simply So Good turns out beautifully EVERY TIME, no matter what we've put it through.  It tastes great, the bread always turns out nice and airy, never dense and heavy, and you can alter it to your heart's content.  Do you have a favourite no fail bread recipe?

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Avengers Have Come To Domum Vindemia!

Hands up if, like me, you grew up on superhero comics and TV shows!  My dad was a big fan of comics as a young boy, and he was the one who introduced me to comics and superheroes, whilst my mum introduced me to the 1960s Batman TV series.  (I mean, who could resist those on screen "BAMs" and "KAPOWs"???)

image the mighty avengers bunting domum vindemia etsy handmade captain america the hulk iron man loki marvel upcycled superhero banner garland

As an adult, I am still a fan of superheroes, and Mr Monkeys and I have been avidly keeping up to date with each of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films being produced.  Which got me thinking that I have a serious dearth of superhero buntings in Domum Vindemia, something which I am hoping to rectify soon.

image the mighty avengers bunting domum vindemia etsy handmade captain america the hulk iron man loki marvel upcycled superhero banner garland

As a start to this journey of adding superhero buntings to Domum Vindemia, I have added an Avengers bunting which features the main characters of Captain America, the Hulk and Iron Man.  I am hoping to soon add Spiderman, Wonder Woman and Captain America buntings to the store, though this will depend on availability and popularity of each character's stories.
So if you're a superhero fan, which one would you or your little one love to see in a bunting?

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Literary Coin Purses

Another short and sweet post today, since it's still school holidays and there are Cheeky Monkeys to wrangle/entertain  This one is for those of you who have been drooling over the literature clutch purses - there will soon be new additions to this range!

image literature clutch purse jane eyre jane austen wuthering heights pride and prejudice charlotte bronte emily bronte purse domum vindemia handmade fabric

I have loved making the literature clutches so much, and been so over the moon with how much you have all loved them, that I am adding smaller coin purses to match the existing clutches.  At the moment I will only be making coin purses in the Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice fabrics, but am hoping to expand the range as its popularity increases.  Which novel would you like to see turned into a purse?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Kids' DIY Roundup - School Holidays Edition

We're at the end of the first week of Winter school holidays here at Two Cheeky Monkeys HQ, and I've been ever so glad that our church has been running a school holiday program this week!  But, as another week of holidays looms, I am lining up ideas for keeping my Cheeky Monkeys entertained and not squabbling!
image school holidays diy tutorial ideas papier mache sewing geometric gemstone eyeball felt polymer clay bowl plant it seed paper

Here are 6 kid-friendly DIYs approved by the Cheeky Monkeys; most of them are more suited to older children, but others can be tackled by little ones with an adult's help.  Enjoy!

1. Stitch up some geometric artwork - Design*Sponge
2. Felt eyeball buttons for adorning your clothes or hair - Bugs and Fishes
3. Harry Potter-inspired polymer clay wands - Doodlecraft
4. Plant-able paper Earth - Modern Parents Messy Kids
5. Papier mache pencil toppers - Art for kids and robots
6. Polymer clay bowl - Swoodson Says

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

More Mr Men And Little Misses!

image bunting banner garland little miss chatterbox mr men domum vindemia handmade on etsy for children

I announced about a month ago that I was excitedly adding childhood favourite stories to Domum Vindemia's bunting range, and today I have more additions to show off!  The plan for the next six months is to add to our growing Mr Men and Little Miss range, and I am slowly adding all of my favourites.

image bunting banner garland mr happy mr men domum vindemia handmade on etsy for children

Today I am showing off two newbies, one of which was a big favourite of mine as a small child as my family all referred to me as Little Miss Chatterbox!  Mr Happy is also making his debut in-store and I'm hoping to add Mr Chatterbox and Mr Strong to Domum Vindemia very soon.  Did you have a favourite Mr Men or Little Miss when you were growing up?  Which ones should I be adding to the store?

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Launching Our New Botanical Literature Range!

I have been excitedly counting down until the launch of Two Cheeky Monkeys' Winter 2017 jewellery range!  As you've seen in the sneak peeks, our new "Botanical Literature" range consists of pieces which combine beautiful flowers with favourite quotes and characters from literature.  (Though there are some pieces for the gentlemen which, never fear, are flower free for those who prefer more "masculine" accessories.)

image botanical literature range necklace locket floral vintage quote mary poppins jane austen pride and prejudice silver jewellery jewelry two cheeky monkeys etsy

If you've been waiting as eagerly as I have for the launch of this new range, our official launch date is Monday, July 3rd.  That's right, just four more days to go!  To celebrate the launch, all newsletter subscribers will be receiving a special discount code to use when making a purchase from the new range.

image newsletter subscriber special discount on rose locket two cheeky monkeys

So if you're not already signed up for our monthly newsletter, head over here to join our mailing list and keep your eyes peeled for your exclusive discount code in your inbox on Monday!

 image earrings jane austen mr darcy pride and prejudice sherlock holmes 221b baker street literature two cheeky monkeys floral botanica

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

DIY Mickey and Minnie Mouse-Inspired Ears

A few years back the Two Cheeky Monkeys family had the opportunity to travel to Japan for a month (and yes, I've been hankering to go back ever since).  One of the things the little Monkeys really looked forward to in Japan was our visit to Disneyland, and they loved it so much that they still talk about it and ask when we can go back.

image tokyo disneyland princess parade disney japan

One of their favourite things about Disneyland was the seemingly neverending array of different Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears we saw for sale.  The little Monkeys don't particularly wear their Minnie Mouse ears very often since our return home, but they do love the idea of buying or making some more.  So today I've put together a roundup of great Mickey and Minnie Mouse DIYs, ranging from the simplest and truest forms of the design through to other Disney-inspired and completely novel designs.  Enjoy!

image diy tutorial minnie mouse ears mickey mouse ears disney headband for kids

1. Make your own design of Minnie Mouse ears with your favourite fabric - Dixie Delights
2. For those who love the original Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse look - One Creative Housewife
3. Use Disney-themed fabric to create your own special Mickey ears - Disney Fashionista
4. I love this idea of creating Mickey ears inspired by other favourite characters - Moms Without Answers
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