Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life as it is....

My Mum and Dad have one of those really fancy campers that slide on the back of a ute.  Its not exactly roughing it seeing it has air con, shower, toilet, full size queen bed and the list goes on.  And it all fits on the back of a ute (something way out of my price range for the next 50 years)!  Anyway, they have sold it because they just don’t get enough time to use it.  I did offer them the kids whenever they want and Michael and I would gladly get some use out of it for them but they didn’t think it was a great idea...I thought it was!!
They sold it to a couple in their early 30’s (my age) that are going to travel around Australia.  The couple don’t have any kids or a house. Their dream is to travel around the country and surf every beach along the way.  I was not taking this information in so well when mum was telling me over the phone with my kids going crazy in the background, I just wanted to break down in jealous frenzy and scream.
This got me thinking; why is that we all choose such different paths in life.  One persons dream could be another persons misery.  Of course we all make choices that make our lives what they are but is your life what you thought it would be?  Are you a meticulous planner and know exactly where you are going or do you ‘wing it’ like me and hope for the best?  Was it always your dream to marry, have children and a white picket fence or did you desire a life of travel and free spirit from a young age?  Did you make the choices you have made because that’s what you really wanted or was it because it seemed like the right and sensible choice. 
A friend of mine from way back in my primary school days has done nothing but travel the world working on private yachts of the rich and famous since she left school, a total free spirit.  Another is a professional performer who has danced in productions all over the world.  As kids we were so much alike, grew up over the years attached at the hip yet we couldn’t have more different lives now if we tried.  Some of my friends have chosen not to have kids and have a career, others sadly couldn’t be parents and would do anything to have a family.
Whatever we choose and where ever we are at, I think its human nature to have moments when we crave the opposite life to the one we lead.  I have a wonderful husband who is willing to support the family while I build my business, two amazing (crazy mad) little boys, a beautiful house and all the health I could ask for.  I am living the dream and doing what I love but there is always a little part of me that wonders if I would have ever chosen a different path in life.  I don’t think I would have, I think I was always destined to be a mum and a wife but I still wonder.....
This brings me to another question I have been asked about a thousand times over the past few months and that is; How did you get to do what you are doing? What made you decide to print your own fabric and how do you do it?
And the answer is:
I don’t really know! I don’t have an exact black and white answer to this question.  I'm not known for my future planning in life, as I said earlier my hubby and I are pretty good with the ‘wing it’ motto and 99% of the time it just works itself out.  It started from the determination not to go back to my old day job (pharmacy) once I had the boys.  I really wanted to build a business while they were young so by the time they started school, it would be established and profitable enough that I wouldn’t have to go back to work.  Mind you I have never worked harder in my life!!  It came from journey of ideas and trials trying to find my niche in an industry I am destined to be a part of.   It hasn't come handed to me, I have worked hard, many a sleepless nights and I still have such a long way to go but I am loving it and twomonkeys has made a massive difference to my life.  I think the biggest thing is to make choices with your head and your heart.  Do the things you really want to do but don’t put anything you have and don’t want to lose at risk to reach your goal.  It may take you longer to get there but at least you have piece of mind if it doesn’t work, nothing is lost.   Draw inspiration from everywhere and keep yourself motivated, even when you feel its not worth it because it is.

So this brings me to the conclusion that the free spirited young couple about to set out on a journey of a lifetime to surf every beach in the country will have the time of their lives because that's their choice, the direction they have chosen, their destiny.
This is my life, my choices and the direction I have chosen; this is my destiny.  We don’t need to wish for better things or a different life, just love and accept the the things we have and we will all be much more content.

Until next timeJ

Monday, August 29, 2011

Floor Cushion Tutorial

I have seen alot of these around online so I thought I would give them a go because I just love them.  The way I have made them is so easy, even a beginner sewer could give it a crack!
This is what you will need for the size in this tutorial.  The finished size is approx 88cm.
1. 90cm of main fabric if its a one way print or 45cm if its a two way print (pattern runs either way).
*If you use a one way print like twomonkeys Punch Bug , you need the extra fabric to run the print all the same way but you will have lots of left overs.
2. 45cm of coordinating fabric.
3. 90cm base fabric.
4. One top button and one basic button for the under side of the cushion.
5. Doll needle (large needle used for doll making).
6. Upholstery thread or similar strong thread.
7. 1kg polyester fill.

This is my first tutorial so please leave comments asking any questions you like as I'm sure I need to improve my instruction skills.  My kids cant follow my instructions so hopefully you have a better chance:)

* I am very professional and use a roll of sandwich paper to cut patterns, you just need to tape three 90cm lengths together for this pattern.

May I just add, my cat it not allowed on my cutting bench. She was just being very naughty that night and wouldnt get out of the way. She got kicked off soon after so dont worry, when you order fabric it wont come with cat hair all over it:)

Opps I forgot to take a photo of this step: Lay your top piece on your base piece of fabric, right sides together.  Pin in place and cut out your base fabric.  Attach the top and bottom piece together leaving a good size hole to stuff you cushion.  If you make it too small, you will be stuffing it for ages.

Please note: If you are not familiar with the term ladder stitch, its a basic hand sewing stitch used to finish off items.  If you don't know how to do this then check out Youtube, there are heaps of how to's there.  Youtube is great when you want to learn new techniques.

If attaching the buttons seems strange, its a Jodie technique lol.  I find with things like this, its so much better to use the buttons to hold the tension as over time it will just pull a hole through the fabric otherwise.

Beware! Some may love them a little too much and want to take them to bed....

Just so you know, this template is not limited to this shape. This is an example of making the rounded top of the template bigger to give you a flower look. You could also make heart cushions so have a play if your feeling adventurous.  I didn't finish this cushion because I ran out of fill!

Well I hope you have enjoyed my first 'tut'.
Please share with me when you have made one on my facebook page,
I love to see peoples creations!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hello Funky Friends Factory!

Today I ventured to the other side of town and spent the day at the new Funky Friends Factory shop with the lovely Pauline.  After what felt like packing up half the house and getting the kids off to daycare and Mums, I made it there on time and that never happens!! When I dropped Ryan at daycare, I had to pick up our fundraiser box full of Cadbury chocolates....well that was a bad move!! So much for picking up fresh strawberries and yoghurt on the way for a healthy morning tea! While eating our way through the box of chocolates (I really wish they would come up with a better way to raise funds, I always end up eating them) we fiddled around with the layout of the store and we were like two kids in a candy shop, it really was quite pathetic how two grown adults can have so much fun with stuffed toys...
I really had to stop stuffing around and get crackin on the fabric packin!!  I was on a bit of a time schedule to get back and pick up the boys.  It’s a lengthy commute across town, I needed a road coffee for the drive there and back with lots of good tunes for my woeful in car solo superstar singing.  I love being in the car alone J.
If you live in Brisbane, pop in and see Pauline at Old Petrie Town and get your creative fix!!  There is nothing better than touching and feeling fabric, I fall in love and can never resist...
Me lovin my fabric :)

Pauline showing me her supermodel material.

twomonkeys fabrics packed and ready to go!

This shop is coming along great! So bright and colourful.

Until next time..

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fairy Land

I think any little girl would love to have a teddy bears picnic of this little quilt.  This is my gorgeous Fairy Land design boasting bright and vibrant pink, purple and yellow.  I have coordinated this picnic quilt with some pick micro dots and yellow daisies I have available for purchase on my website and the finished result is beautiful.  Its the perfect time to get your hands on some twomonkeys fabrics as I have 15% off the entire website (excluding kitty kate kit) until Sunday night (14/08/11)! You need to use the coupon code THANKS15 on checkout.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A mothers guilt

Today is Ryan’s first day at day care.  Yes I took the plunge and have enrolled him one day a week for sanity work reasons. I am really struggling to fit everything in now he’s become an evil two year old that I can’t take my eyes off for two seconds so the time had come and I could no longer avoid the need for undisturbed coffee work time.  But in saying that, it doesn’t make it any easier to leave my baby with a total stranger crying and reaching out for me screaming ‘Mum’ at the top of his lungs.....heart wrenchingL  I thought I would be the messy one but it was actually his older brother that didn’t cope the best with the whole situation.  He didn’t like leaving his little brother alone crying.  The whole way to kindy he kept asking me to turn around and go and get him because he was upset and wanted to come home.  For a lunatic four year old that constantly tells me Ryan’s always getting in his way, he can be so sweet and protective of his little brother.   I just have to put Nathan down to being my ‘special’ many different personalities.
So I am sitting here writing this in total silence with hot coffee and a list of things that I ‘know’ I will get done without Ryan here but I still have an overwhelming sense of guilt for sending him to day care.  I have already rung them twice to see how he’s going and they said he is happy as can be.  I know it will get easier as he gets use to going but for some reason I just can’t seem to let go of him, he’s my baby.  As for Nathan...well it was never an issue with him, I just needed a break lol.  He’s full on 24/7 that kid, ask anyone who knows him and they will say the same I said ‘special boy’ J
So Wednesdays are now my big work days, I just have to stop myself from organising child free outings with friends or its going to defeat the purpose of sending him......
Every now and then they can be civilised together.  Moments like these are rare and I have to take photos.
There is only one way Ryan eats yoghurt and its straight out of the tub.
I love my boys!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My work room makeover!

Considering how much time I spend in my 'room', it was well and truly time to give it a face lift! It was so drab and boring to say the least and I was still using the folding tables I bought as a 'quick fix until I get some money'.....well lets just say I never got the money.  I knew I was never going to have the time so I just had to squeeze it in between everything else.  I was hoping it would only take a few days but life got in the way and it took a week!
At first I wanted to paint it pink but I tire of pink very easily (lucky I don't have girls) so I thought about it for a week or so and thought of what and where I feel the most refreshed and inspired.  The answer to that would have to be the beach so I decided on a soft aqua colour and went from there.  I trawled eBay and found some new tables and chairs.  The sewing table was an old yellow pine colour so I came up with the wonderful idea of painting gloss.  Never.never.never again while I have two small helpers around!! I was so glad when hubby couldn't bare to watch my struggle any longer and took over, it was a nightmare and looks so dodgy but you cant see it in the photos so who cares :)  The curtains were spares I had in the linen cupboard and I stole the painting from the family room (my room is all that matters).
While I was sorting through my enormous pile of crap, I came across some samples I was sent of the new Umbrella prints range of quilters cottons and....woohoo!!!! they were perfect, exactly what I was looking for!  Once I found the fabric I was going to use I really started getting excited (fabric does that to me).  I made a new ironing board cover, some chair pads and envelope and snap lock bag organiser I could hang on the wall above my packing bench.  I found a great little rack to hang my scissors up from the kids and raided mums coffee jars for my buttons and ribbons.
So after a week of ignoring all housework and letting the kids watch a criminal amount of tv, its finished and it looks sooooo much better!! I moved  few things around to make the room work better as I only have that small space to work with.  The wardrobe is now home to half my office and more shelves of fabric and all my twomonkeys fabric takes main position next to my packing bench.

This is the end result! What do you think??

Ryan just can't help himself!
Please note:  This room will never be this tidy again!  It took a week to get it to look like this and it's already a mess:(

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Banana Muffins

This is for anyone wanting my Banana muffin recipe.  It’s really easy (I don’t make anything hard) and my kids love them! So here it goes;
Wholemeal Banana Choc Muffins
2 large ripe bananas
½ - 2/3 cup milk (buttermilk is better but normal milk is fine). If you don’t use wholemeal flour, you will need ½ cup of milk.
2 eggs
125g melted butter
1 cup SR flour
1 cup wholemeal SR flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup choc chips.
Throw everything in a bowl together and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix; they won’t come out nice and fluffy.  Spoon into muffin patties and bake in a moderate oven until cooked. Mini muffins don’t take long at all so stay away from facebook and keep your eye on them.
This is a large recipe and I make mini muffins for the kids so I generally get 9 large muffins and 12 mini muffins in a batch.
Please note; Best made when bananas are not $15kg!
                                            *image sourced from google

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thanks Ladies :)

Early on in the process of printing my first run of fabrics, I wasn’t sure how much time I was going to have to make things to promote the range before the stock arrived.  Being a virgin at this fabric printing business and with two little gremlins that suck all my time and energy out of me, I didn’t want to be left strapped for time and sewing to all hours of the morning so I decided to ask a few lovely talented ladies to help me out.  Well now I can say I am so glad I did!! One reason is because the products they have made from my fabrics are absolutely fantastic and I am over the moon with how good they look and the second reason.... I have barely touched my sewing machine for 3 weeks (and my fabrics arrive this week!) because my hubby was really sick, then the kids one after the other and then it was my turnL  I pinched a nerve in my neck and ended up with a virus as well! I couldn’t even look at the computer for more than 5 minutes at a time so I didn’t even attempt to sew.  I must have known back then when I was being extra organised that this was going to happen.  So were all on the mend now and fighting fit.  I hope that’s our fair share of winter bugs done and dusted!!
So back to what this post is about......THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! To Amanda from appleberry kids, Ilja from em&femme designs, Pauline from Funky Friends Factory and Kristie from Boo Designs.  I have only had a chance to get a few things made myself (and I have decided it’s the perfect time to give my work room a makeover!...I only have myself to blame for chaos in my life!) so without your help I would be sewing like a crazy lady right now!  All the products are made with such detail and perfection and I can’t wait to show off your hard work at trade shows, everyone is going to love it!!
It has been such a success working with other business mummies, I think I am going to do the same thing with every releaseJ.  I love working with others and we all benefit from the end result.