Archive for September, 2011

felt creations, felt craft
1. Tell us briefly about the person behind the scenes at tumblemonkey handmade?  E.g. who are you? Where are you based? How did you arrive where you are now? What is most important to you in your life?
My name is Catherine Nolan-Biondic. I married the man of my dreams and am now the mother of 3 precious kid, living in suburban Melbourne. I was originally a Graphic designer working in the magazine/book publishing world. After baby No.3, I needed some kind of creative outlet and ‘felt’ became my guilty pleasure…I use it as my me time and now that it is earning me money I feel less guilty about taking the time to make things with it. The most important thing in my life is to be a good, kind person, to make people laugh and to help my children be the happiest, best version of themselves as possible.

2. Tell us about felt – why has this become your passion? 

My baby daughter was given a felt ball for her birthday and I couldn’t get it out of my mind….I picked up some felt and had a go at making a ball and the rest in history…you could say I became obsessed with the stuff…I like the idea of making things out of felt that no-one has…shapes, vehicles, creatures, functional pieces that feel so lovely… I like to call myself a craft feltress!

felt creation. felt craft, tumblemonkey

3. Do you have a personal mantra that you love…that gets you through the day?

Get it done and get out of there…I cannot let things sit..I cannot relax until all my orders are finished and this is a problem…this is why I have such a quick turnaround most orders…I get it done so I can relax.

felt craft, felt creations, tumblemonkey, mood balls, mood recognition

4. What is one of the most challenging aspects facing you as a working mum? How do you try to overcome this?

My children are always saying they wish I didn’t work all the time…my office is in the loungeroom…which seems the most practical place for us at the moment BUT as a result I am never really switched off…this is a constant work in progress for me…I try and make sure they all get quality time and if someone wants a cuddle I drop everything and do it!! I am a strong believer in making sure my kids (and husband) feel ‘seen’… so this is very important to me.

5. Finish this sentence – I’m at my creative best when…

I have the music turned up loud, the house empty and my hands emerged in a bowl full of hot soapy water.

6. Time out and relaxation is rare for working mums.  If you can steal time to have a break what are your ultimate forms of relaxation? 

I love a massage of any kind (my husband gives a killer foot rub…still after 22 years of being together) and a glass of sweet wine.

felt craft, felt art, felt creations, craft kits

7. If you could deck out a famous family with your products – who would it be, and why? 

Princess Mary and her little ones..it would be amazing to see some of my nursery items (playmats, ducks, babushka dolls and owl families etc) and garlands in there home…I strive for a quality product and this would be wonderful.

 8. What are your dreams…where would you LOVE to see tumblemonkey handmade in 5 years time? 

I would love to save enough money to take my kids to Disneyland (that was my original dream)…I always joked about finding the product that would make me my millions…I think my dryer balls could be the thing…but I use the rest of my range to keep me creative and keep my facebook likers interested. I would LOVE to have a factory and hundreds of people making my products…I always joke that I want to cover the world in felt!!!

9. OK – your work travels to Kununurra, in the remote Kimberley region of WA…where it is loved!!  WITHOUT Google or any other assistance give us 5 things you know about Kununurra or the East Kimberley!!

  • My parents thought it was amazing when they visited…
  • There is a big river there…
  • I always think of Crocodile Dundee country…very remote
  • gorgeous sunsets (I imagine)
black rock

10. If you were able to hand deliver a delightful parcel of your products to Kununurra – what 3 places would you like to visit (OK now you can Google)?

  • I would love to see a Boab tree up close
  • The Argyle Diamond Mine
  • Ord River
  • Black Rock Falls
  • Kelly’s Knob lookout
Editors Note: Thank you tumblemonkey!!  We LOVE your products, so organic and wholesome!!

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Thank you to those who entered our fabulous Kimberley Giveaway! We have some stunning local businesses operating online in this beautiful, remote and ancient area of Australia and we hope that the competition gave you a little glimpse of what our Kimberley has to offer.

Our pre-selected destinations (thanks to the Visitors Centre) were: Bungle Bungles, Gibb River Road, Lake Argyle, Mitchell Plateau/ Falls, Cable Beach.

Entrants who correctly identified 4/5 of our pre-selected destinations were:
1.Jodie Slee, 2.Cara Cummings & 3.Candice Ecclestone.

The 5th destination select by all three girls was Elquestro Station – a destination on the Gibb River Road.

And the winner (using a random number generator) WAS Number 2!!!

YAH CONGRATULATIONS Cara Cummings :) from Stamped On, Baby Gecko, Moo Woo, Kununurra Visitors Centre, The Bangle Business and Become Beauty.

We look forward to sending you this wonderful prize pack!!

Kimberley Competition Prize Pack

Value: $391.00

Kimberley Western Australia – soft cover by David Bettini $50.00

A 2012 Calendar and pack of 5 greeting cards – value $50

Statement handmade sterling silver earrings. Value $59.
(Handmade by Pinki & Mayank)

Gift Pack including a sample pack, an ultimate sample, catalogue, face mask &  $50.00 voucher  -Value $65

Have You Met Miss Jones Owl Tealight & ‘Be Happy’ Book. Value $56.95

Onya bag and  H2Onya Stainless Steel Water Bottle 1200mL with insulating cover.  Value $53.85

Eternal Love pendant with a Tree of Life Charm and chain – Value $57
A 1 1/4″ solid sterling silver pendant hand stamped with your choice of names/words with a sterling silver Tree of Life charm on an 18″ sterling silver chain.

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gibb river road, home valley station

Pentecost River - Photo kindly borrowed from Home Valley Station Website

For many travellers the mention of the “Gibb River Road” conjures up a daunting, dusty, rough, wilderness experience.  However, the first part of the Gibb from the Kununurra/Wyndham end is almost 2wd due to the amount of road works undertaken over the past few years.  Dusty, but not daunting, there are a number of great places to visit within 2 hours of town which makes it a perfect weekend or even day trip for a family based out of Kununurra.

home valley station, gibb river road, kununurra, wa, the Kimberley

About 2 hour’s drive down the Gibb and over the Pentecost River (yes – you will need a 4wd for this bit!) is the recently established Home Valley Station (recent being approximately four years ago).  This is luxury camping at its best, with a choice of grassy powered or unpowered sites, eco safari tents, motel rooms or the complete opulence of private “Grass Castles” (check out their website for photos and more information).  There is a pool and licenced restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  But for families with young children, the best thing about Home Valley is the massive playground.  Now fully shaded, this is a kid mecca and if you have early risers, you may as well get a camping spot as close to the playground as you can, because it is filled with kids from dawn to dusk.  Conversely, if you like to sleep past dawn, camp as far away as possible to avoid the noise!!

Dusty's Bar and Grill - image kindly borrowed from Home Valley Station website

Grass Castle Accommodation - Kindly borrowed from the Home Valley Station Website

There are plenty of organised activities offered by the Station including trail rides of varying duration.  Whilst we haven’t taken up this option ourselves, the kids have been mesmerised watching others take to the saddle.  We have explored nearby gorges and tracks leading to the Pentecost River.  There is also an alternative campground very close to the River for those who wish to launch a boat and try their luck catching a barra, but my personal fear of very large, man-eating reptiles keeps us camped next to the luxury of the swimming pool.

Gorge Tours - Image kindly borrowed from the Home Valley Station Website

Our last trip to Home Valley was a couple of years ago on our return from the Mitchell Plateau.  We arrived into camp just on dusk, and booked my parents into a motel room.  This was great as it meant we could leave the kids with them while we set up the camper trailer, all had showers in the private luxury of their ensuite rather than tramping to and from the communal ablutions, and then we all had a sumptuous meal in the restaurant.  Luxury!

After a rough full day bumping along the Gibb, Home Valley can be an oasis and is highly recommended for families with children of all ages.  And for those who fell in love with the scenery from the move Australia, this is the place to go.  Sunset from a nearby ridge, watching the colours intensify on the Cockburn Range, is simply breathtaking.  Home Valley showcases the best the East Kimberley has to offer.

Pentecost Ranges on sunset - Kindly borrowed from the Home Valley Station Website

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Get Wrapped the Eco Way

Gift wrapping is expensive but it’s also harmful to the environment.  It is a billion dollar industry that chews through trees and chemicals faster than you probably realise. Whether it’s in paper format or as gift bags, it all just ends up in a ripped mess on the floor as your child fights to get to the good stuff inside

There are alternatives that don’t cost the earth (literally).

1.  Recycle.

If you are given a gift wrapped present, re-use the paper.  It’s already made so at least make it work more than once.

2.  Make your own.

The kids will love to decorate their own gift wrap.  Use recycled and environmentally safe paper and beeswax crayons and let them draw all over it.  Handmade gift wrap adds a really personal touch to the gift, too.

Home made gift wrap from Lila Grace Blog - click on the image to see how to make this delightful paper.

3.  Use your art

Children bring home so many paintings from school and kinder that they are hard to store.  Let your child pick out a painting to use as a special wrapping paper and give two gifts instead of one.

3. Multipurpose.

Not all gift wrap has to be paper.  Think about the person receiving the gift.  What would be useful to them that could also serve as gift wrap?

  • A coffee lover would love to find their gift inside one of our Eco Cups.
  • A gift for a new baby could be wrapped in an organic, bamboo towel or even a modern cloth nappy.
  • Nana might love to open her gift and realise that the wrapping material is actually a scarf.

Newspaper wrapping - image kindly borrowed from Babee Crafts Blog

4.  Think outside the box.

  • Use newspapers or magazines.  Just tear out a page, trim the edge and wrap.
  • Jars – reuse jam jars and tie them with pretty ribbon.
  • Plant leaves –large leaves make excellent wraps.  Just tie them with ribbon or string and they look lovely.
  • Junk mail – coming up to the main shopping periods the junk mail is full of handy pictures of Christmas trees or Easter Bunnies.  It’s perfect wrapping paper.
  • Use packaging – biscuit and chip packets are colourful so why not use them?  Layer them so all you see is a rainbow of colours or if the pack is silver foil lined, just use it with the shiny side out.

The most important thing is to reuse and recycle.   A little thought and a bit of bling will make any gift look great.

And remember, not all gifts need to be wrapped!

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