Monday, 28 June 2010

Almost Back On Deck!

Here I am, almost back on deck and able to leave my tissue box behind long enough to type a post today ... I think I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel ... just hope it isn't a runaway train! :0) Nah ... feeling much better today, though nearly decided to cancel the day due to lack of interest and stay snug in bed when the temperature dropped to zero overnight! BRRRRRR!!! Hand in hand with that temperature was the biggest frost I can remember seeing since we've lived here! It was like a crunchy white winter wonderland outside this morning!

This is the footpath in our side street ...

... and this is GB's work van that was parked on the street. All of the windows were white with frosty ice.

{Edit: To all the lovely concerned blogging buddies who've warned about windscreen cracking if hot water is tipped over ... apparently, GB says I should assure you all it was actually luke warm water. Thanks for the concern for our windows, though! :0) }
GB had to pour hot water over his windows so he could see out to drive to work ... they prefer it if you can actually see out of a vehicle that you're driving! :0) You can see the difference between the windscreen that's still frosty and the side window that GB has just cleared. He even had to do this to my little car's windscreen ... and it was in the car port!! Then when I got to work, I was greeted with this ...

This is the car park where I work (actually I work in the office, not the car park, cos I'd need a really long extension lead for my computer! Tee! Hee! Hee!) ... all covered in crunchy frost ... you can see the tire marks where I'd just driven in! Bet you know where I spent as much time as possible today ... in my office with the reverse cycle heater going! Aaaahhhh!! 21 degrees for me! :0)

Now, with such a big frost, I was a bit worried about my vege patch, which, after 8 weeks growing looks like this ...

As you can see, it's all still growing nicely - missed last week's Monday garden update due to me feeling so icky that I forgot it WAS Monday!! After inspection, I found there was only a little bit of frost damage to the two types of plants that I thought were most frost-tolerant ... the beans and the marigolds! Still, nothing major, so hopefully all will continue to grow nicely. The snowpeas are going great guns and I discovered this today ...

A lovely flower on my peas! OK ... those of you with really serious vege patches are rolling your eyes at my enthusiasm over my little vege plot here, but I'm having fun growing veges for the first time in years, so you can just humour me ... or skip over the garden report and photos! :0)

Since I spent the weekend camped in front of the heater trying to kick my lurgy and avoid the cold weather, I did manage to do a little bit of hand stitching, which felt good after not much happening in that department for the last couple of weeks. In fact, I managed to finish three pin cushions that have been on the "To Do" list for quite a while. I'd even cut out all of the bits to make these ... then got sidetracked and never got back to finish them ... until now!

Three cupcake pincushions looking good enough to eat. :0) See May Britt ... I FINALLY got around to finishing them! I'm keeping the one with green 'icing' ... funnily enough! ... and the other two will go into my giftie basket. They were a little bit fiddly, but kind of fun to make and play with and better still ... I now have three finishes to put on my OPAM list - YAY!!! Don't forget OPAM gals, update those sidebar lists on your blogs and if you can, send off an email to Peg or I to let us know the number of finishes to pop beside your name on our spreadsheet for June.

And now ... I think I hear the heater calling my name, so I shall sign off. Thank you all for your lovely get well wishes and emails - they sure brightened things up while I was feeling icky!! Til next time ...


Saturday, 26 June 2010


I know I've been quiet this week and haven't even hopped around to many of the blogs I usually visit and it's all because I was ambushed ... by a nasty head cold! Aaaaaarrrrggghhhh!! Head colds are the pits, aren't they?! You're not really SICK, but you're not really WELL, either and my poor nose is so sore from blowing it. I'm sure the threat of colds and flus is one of the reasons I dread winter each year ... besides hating to be COLD, that is!! :0) So these have been my constant companions this week ...

My 'old faithful' flannel blankie, some Eucalyptus tissues and my "Midsomer Murders" DVD collection ... good thing I have about 8 seasons of them now! :0) I haven't been able to do any of the machine sewing I had planned for this week - it's too cold in the sewing room and too frustrating to just get everything lined up on the machine, then have to stop to blow my nose ... AGAIN!! And I've only done a little hand stitching, as bending my head forward to focus on my stitching seems to slosh all of the head cold stuff forward and give me a headache. So, I haven't achieved very much this week at all, except for some moaning and groaning to my poor Beloved Geek Boy ... who woke up this morning with a sore throat and a headache! OH NO!! He told me that I really shouldn't feel obliged to share EVERYTHING with him! OOPS!! :0)

I'm hoping I'm on the home stretch with ditching my bug, but I'm not sure if I'll manage to have anything finished to add to this month's OPAM list. What a bad example I'm setting! You'd better all pop across to visit the gorgeous Super Stitcher, Peg, whose sewing machine has been running hot in the last week or so - I think she's making up for my lack of finishes! :0) I am always amazed at how much Peg manages to achieve and her projects are always GORGEOUS!! Don't forget, OPAMers, to update your sidebar lists of finishes and email Peg or I your final tally for the month, cos there's only a few days left of June ... EEK!! Where IS the year going?!?!

During my week of head cold suffering and generally being a sooky-la-la, I DID manage to get hold of a copy of the current issue of "Australian Bear Creations", which features this little project ...

It's a little stitchery wall hanging I designed earlier in the year called "Sweet Friends". The writing on the hanger says, "Some friends are sweeter than cupcakes!" and it features a little girly bear holding a sweet cupcake ready for her afternoon tea. I made it into a wall hanger for the magazine feature, but it would also be great as a panel on a bag or block folder ... all sorts of projects, in fact! If you'd like to stitch this fun, quick project it's in Volume 16 Number 2 of "Australian Bear Creations" or you can wait til a little later in the year when I release it as a stand-alone pattern. I promise to keep you posted! :0)

Anyways, I hope your week has been a bit more fun and a lot more productive than mine. I'm off to snuggle up in front of the heater with my tissues, blankie and a nice cup of soothing lemon scented tea to help Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby catch baddies in Midsomer. Til next time ...



PS. If you want to be enchanted with tales of a magical Mad Garden Tea Party, you should hop across and visit the Lovely Lilly Linda - her last two posts are full of GORGEOUS photos that are sure to inspire you to organise your own tea party! BH! KRIS :0)

Monday, 21 June 2010

Cheered Up By Cheerios!

Firstly ... can I say a big THANK YOU! to all the lovely blogging buddies who left encouraging comments and sent emails checking up on me after my bout of the blues last week. It was very hard to stay gloomy with so many positive and caring comments coming my way, so thanks to you all for helping me see the bright side of life again ... I knew it was there, I'd just lost sight of it for a bit! :0)

A relaxing weekend also helped to kick the blues once and for all, starting with coffee with our friends Matt and Amelia. Scott used to work with Amelia and we became good friends with her and her fiancé Matt. It's a bit trickier maintaining the friendship now that Scott's changed jobs, but we do try to catch up for a cuppa or meal every few weeks. This time, we met at a local coffee shop to keep the winter chills at bay ...

We got the waitress to clear the plates away first so we didn't look like piggies! Tee! Hee! Hee! And if we all look a little flushed, it's cos the heating was up quite high ... even for my Beloved Geek Boy and I who like heat. We had a lovely time of chatting and catching up ... and the Mango, Lime and Coconut Torte and Chai latte were pretty good too! Tee! Hee! Hee!  We also took ourselves off to the cinema to see the "A Team" movie ... which we thoroughly enjoyed! Having grown up in the eighties, the A Team was one of my fave TV shows, so it was fun to see the movie version. And yesterday, along with a few of the usual household chores, I did some stitching, so all in all ... a good weekend.

Now ... I don't know if any of you will remember, but last week, I made a little reference to the Mad Hatter's Tea Party and said there'd be more about that later??? Well ... as part of the Cancer Council's annual "Australia's Biggest Morning Tea" fund raising campaign, we held a "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" at the retirement village where I work ... and we had a BLAST!! It was such a fun morning and lots of people joined in the spirit of fun and wore funny hats. Here are a few to entertain you ...

OK ... now, when my boss says he's been REALLY busy working ... we think that perhaps THIS is what he's been up to! He SAID he was sharing the food around, but I'm not convinced! Tee! Hee! Hee!

This is Tony, also known as "Beannie Boy" who takes care of our village maintenance and grounds and he's pictured with one of the more 'colourful' characters in our village, Vera. Oh ... and that person in the navy cardy and red skirt disappearing off to the left in the background is yours truly. I DID wear a hat, which you can just see a glimpse of ... but I forgot to get someone to take a photo . Oops! :0)

Some hats were elegant and ladylike ...

... some hats were for boys (good Scottish Tam O' Shanta there!!) ...

... and some hats were for flowery girls.

And these were some of our prize winners pictured with supporter of the morning and local businessman Craig ... the one WITHOUT the hat!! The lovely Marion of Quilters Angel also kindly donated some prizes for our morning, helping to make it a very enjoyable time. (Ooohh ... don't forget to check out Marion's pattern of the week, too!!) And the most important part ... we raised over $700 for the Cancer Council!! Not bad for a group where most are pensioners!!!

I'm off now to make myself a cup of tea ... or perhaps I should make it a hot lemon toddy to stave off this cold!! Hope you're all having a fabulous start to your week. Til next time ...



Friday, 18 June 2010

Just Popping In!

Here I am, just popping in quickly for a little update ... Chookyblue will be pleasantly surprised and shocked! :0) Have had a bit of a "BLAH!" week, but thanks to a good belly laugh over an email Toni sent me, I'm feeling a bit more my usual self. I won't share it, as it really was one of those "you had to be there" moments (and quite frankly, you'll probably think I've completely lost the plot and call the men in white coats!!), but it came at just the right time. Isn't it great to have bloggy buddies to cheer us up when we're a bit blue?!

OK ... so, due to feeling "BLAH!", I haven't done much stitching this week. I did however, get "Moon Dance" back from the lovely quilting genius, Rosalie ... who still managed to quilt it beautifully for me even though she's handicapped with a very sore arm at the moment - thaks Rosalie and hope your arm is on the mend soon! I'll sew the binding on this weekend and hopefully be back next week with a photo of the finished cot quilt to share.

I have made a little bit of progress on my French-inspired quilt and also hope to get more of it stitched this weekend, so thought I'd tease you with another sneaky peek. Ready??

Are you starting to get any ideas about my new quilt design-in-progress??? I'm enjoying stitching it and can't wait til I have a bit more of it to show you.

As promised ... that's it ... short and sweet! And now ... I'm off to have a cup of tea and contemplate which lot of stitching to tackle first. Hope you're looking forward to a stitchy weekend! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Peas, Painting & A Peek!

We've just enjoyed a long weekend here in most parts of Australia to celebrate the Queen's Birthday ... which is a bit silly, cos I seem to recall reading somewhere that it isn't REALLY her birthday weekend! Could this be right?!?! Who knows ... I got an extra sleep-in during icky cold weather, so if that's what it takes ... Happy Birthday Liz! :0)

So ... what did we get up to here at the Meares' Madhouse over the three day weekend ... besides try to stay warm! The temps took their first dip to zero for this winter here on top of the 'hill' and there was a gale force wind blowing off the Antarctic for most of it, so we spent a LOT of time in the lounge room, snuggled up to the heater! We really are hot weather creatures who don't enjoy winter ... I bet you're sensing that, right?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

As well as climbing the family tree, as I mentioned last post, I did quite a lot of stitching on my new design-in-progress, which was great. Remember I showed you this photo ...

Well ... keep that in mind when I share this little peek at the new quilt design I'm working on ...

I have to tell you, this stitchery isn't in it's final spot or displayed as it will be in the finished quilt, but it will give you a bit more of a hint to the theme of my quilt. Parlez-vou Français? Please pardon my terrible accent! But I have a really good excuse ... I only studied French for half a year in year 8 ... and our teacher had a lisp! It was really hard to tell what was odd French pronunciation and what was her lisp! Tee! Hee! Hee! I promise to show some more peeks soon ... have to draw out the suspense, you know! :0)

Another job that got tackled this weekend was some painting. Do you remember me showing you this treasure a while ago, found at a garage sale when I was home in Mundubbera visiting my folks?

Now, before I show you what it looks like after it's make-over, I will warn any timber purists who are likely to faint, that they'd better look away now or brace themselves, cos they'll probably hunt me down!

Now it's RED!! This wasn't actually our original idea for it's new look, but it had been treated with oil somewhere along the track and wouldn't take the original finish we had in mind and we couldn't sand it back too much further without starting to run into issues, but I have to say I love it's new persona! It now houses the home theatre bits ... DVD player, set top box etc (which means the rest of the lounge room is a shambles as we rearrange everything!!) and it's a good spot to display some of my pretties. You can't see what's hiding on the white iron lace tray, so I'll give you a close up ...

A couple of my pretty and ever-growing collection of china tea cups, my GORGEOUS faux cupcakes from the clever Kerryanne (don't they just look good enough to eat!!) and a red dotty teapot that the lovely Lilly Linda found for me after I'd admired hers. And can you see a little furry face peeking out there? The Mad Hatter in "Alice In Wonderland" had the dormouse in the teapot, so I have a TEA-ddy bear! Tee! Hee! Hee! (Actually, the Mad Hatter's Tea Party reference is very apt this week ... but more about that later in the week!) And at the back you can see another of my Kerryanne collectibles ... I think I must be one of her best customers! Tee! Hee! Hee! Oh ... and please do ignore the spaghetti-bowl of leads and cords in the background there ... my Beloved Geek Boy is yet to hide them away in their appropriate spot. We'll see how long we can manage to keep this looking tidy and decorative before we dump 'stuff' on it ... although ... if you peer into the background of the first photo, you'll see the previously re-vamped white hutch in the background has been kept tidy and uncluttered ... probably a record in our household of two untidy, always-in-a-hurry people who dump 'stuff' on any flat surface on the way past! :0)

Okey Doke ... the last "P" for this post is ... well ... PEAS! And the progress thereof. Yesterday was Monday and time for a vege garden progress snapshot. Here we are at week six of growing ...

Everything is scooting along nicely. Even the marigolds are co-operating and have buds on them - there'll soon be a bit more colour in this corner of the garden. Here's a side view to show you the peas travelling up the trellis ...

Oops! And a glimpse in the background of the old clothesline that is yet to make it's way to the tip. Yes ... it HAS been mentioned to GB, but I'm still waiting ...!!!

I think that's about all my news for now, so I shall sign off and go and put the kettle on, I think. It's not quite as cold today, but that wind is whistling around my ears every time I step outside again ... one step out the door and my hair goes flying and I look like a chubby Dandelion ... NOT my best look, I can tell you!!! Counting down to our upcoming beach break ... five weeks and a couple of days to go ... not that we're counting! :0) MUCH!! Hope you're warm and cosy whatever you're up to today (or cool and cosy for those in the northern hemisphere!) Til next time ...


Saturday, 12 June 2010

Climbing The Family Tree!

That's what my Beloved Geek Boy and I have been doing today. Have you ever tried to trace your family tree? I love to find out who came before me, the links, the tangles, the stories ... the family history. Once upon a time, this would have been handed down from one generation to the next as stories. You know ... "Your great, great, great grandfather Ferdinand had too much to drink one night and bet a mate he could swim the English Channel. He lost the bet, your great, great, great Grandmother remarried and moved to Scotland." :0) I suppose, too, that in that same once upon a time, family members really didn't settle too far from the rest of their family group, or in the case of my very Scottish family, clan. Now that the world is a smaller place thanks to improved transport, most of our families scatter to the four winds and those family stories and lineages aren't passed on by word of mouth and it isn't until someone is keen enough to tackle some research, that the family tree branches begin to grow.

GB started to track both our family trees about 10 years ago, but the information superhighway was still being paved and little information was available unless you did a lot of legwork. After his Aunty Annette phoned with a little bit of information she had dug up and re-infected him with the family tree bug, GB has been climbing all over the family trees again ... and it is SOOOOOOO interesting!

As well as the KNOWN ...

Charles William Kippen (my Pop)

Muriel Isobel Kippen - nee. Swan (my Nan)

James Menzies Kippen and William Ronald Kippen
(My uncle Jim who drowned at age 19 after suffering a huge heart attack while swimming in a race across a dam during a Scout camp, and my Dad)

Russell, Gregory, Kerry and Beverley Anne Paten
(My Mum on the right and her siblings)

And we also found some of the UNKNOWN. In amongst some keepsakes I received when my Pop passed away, were two small photos that looked like they had been cut out to put into a locket or something similar, complete with glass circles to protect them ...

This one is a bit damaged and has a crease in it, but don't you just love the floofy hair and the big hat! :0) And I'm seeing the same chipmunk cheeks that I look at each day (and curse!!) in the mirror, so I'm guessing she's a great, great aunty or something similar. Then there's this handsome chap ...

Take away the moustache and it could be my brother Paul!! Bit scary, really!! In fact, the family resemblance in so many of the photos was a bit disconcerting. I realise I take after my Dad's side of the family, but to see my own facial features in literally generations of family members is a bit strange ... but also comforting, I guess, as I see where I've come from and that I belong.

And my Beloved GB has managed to ferret out some really interesting links, too. I've always known Dad's family with the Kippen, Menzies, Duncan and McLean branches were very Scottish, but Scott has since discovered a few more Scottish links, like McDonald, Campbell and McGregor. If you scratch me, I think I'll bleed tartan! :0) Apparently, the Kippens 'hid' the McGregors when they were declared outlaws in Scotland after numerous rebellions and run-ins with the English. Oh dear ... I think I'm now seeing where my rebellion against authority comes from! Tee! Hee! Hee!

While GB has been researching and recording (something my non-linear logic cannot cope with at all!!!) I've been going through some of the old family photos and scanning them in to add to the digital family tree. So, although we may not have had the stories of our families handed down by word of mouth and we're having to go searching for them, it's nice to know that technology will allow us to keep permanent records of what we find, making the stories once more accessible, making a nice circle.

The only drawback to this interesting pastime is that it is VERY time consuming ... and addictive! :0) Somehow, the day has whizzed by and I have only crossed a couple of the chores off my list. Oh dear! Ah well ... tomorrow is another day and since it's a three day long weekend, I guess the list will just overflow and still be waiting when I get around to it! :0)

Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you're enjoying it and managing to spend some time with the people you love. Til next time ...


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

More Deliveries & Vege Update!

I really have been meaning to post since Friday ... but somehow, 'stuff' kept happening, I got sidetracked, someone called, there was something on TV, the heater was in the other room and it was COLD ... and it's somehow been five days since I last posted ... SIGH! Ah well ... I'm here now, and since I have a bit to share, perhaps you'll want to go grab a cuppa before we get started ... off you go ... I'll wait! :0)

Waiting ...

Waiting ...

Waiting ...

OK ... if you're not back by now, you'll just have to catch up! :0) Let's see ... I told you about the 'special' delivery of my new nephew (notice it's MY new nephew, not my brother's new son! Tee! Hee! Hee!) on Thursday. Well, Friday saw me come home from errand running to find my postie had made a delivery. Ooooohh!! How exciting!! It was from the lovely Peg and inside I found ...

A brown-paper wrapped parcel and a gorgeous card produced by the clever Chookyblue. Inside I found ...

A GORGEOUS runner!!! Oh how WONDERFUL!!! I've seen so many fabulous photos of a plethora of table runners on Peg's blog ... she's the table runner QUEEN! :0) And now she's sent one to live at MY house!! Oh ... and some cute little choccies, too ... which have mysterious diappeared! :0) The back of the runner looked almost as good as the front ...

See?! And I've already foud the perfect spot to show it off ...

... In the guest bedroom, showing off my pretty wire tray and felt cupcake collection that I've bought or been given by the Lovely Lilly Linda. Thank you SOOOOOOOOOO much, Peg! I LOVE this beautiful belated birthday gift! Oh yeah ... I have got to be one of the most SPOILT birthday girls in Australia!

Now, I'd barely finished arranging my lovely gift from Peg, than the parcel van pulled up in front of my place ... WHAT THE?!?! Hadn't he already been?? Apparently he either forgot or the normal postie delivered the first, cos he DEFINITELY had a package for me, which he delivered in his usual 'delicate' way ... KUTHUMP!! And the parcel was ... my order from the Fat Quarter Shop. I had previously been strong and not ordered anything from this fun on-line shop despite a lot of time spent drooling, but I finally succumbed to temptation! :0)  Inside ...

... some charm packs and yardage from Moda's Rural Jardine range. Now, when I first started to see fabrics from this range, I have to say, I didn't really get excited, after all, there was no GREEN!! :0) However, whilst browsing the FQS site, I had a lightbulb moment for a new quilt design using these fabrics ... hence the purchase! :0) Don't they look so GAWJUS as my blogging buddy Joy would say, all packed up in their little packets ...

... but I just HAD to take them out and play with them a little! Tee! Hee! Hee! Then ... I played with them a little MORE ...

This colour range really is out of my usual comfort zone, but I have to say, I'm really having fun playing with it. I won't let my new design out of the bag just yet, but let's just say that I've been inspired by the country of origin of this range's name! :0) Will keep you in suspense for a little while, now ... you can entertain yourselves (and me!) by trying to guess!

And since yesterday was Monday, it was vege garden photo record day and this is what my vege patch looks like after 5weeks growing ...

The snowpeas are now reaching up to the third wire on the trellis, the beans are filling out, the carrots are starting to develop their ... well ... carrots and although you can't see them in the photo, the cauliflowers are growing quite tall. It's fun to watch my garden growing ... can't wait to taste all those yummy fresh veges! :0)

And now ... I'm off to cook something for dinner. Hope you're having a great start to your week. Til next time ..



Thursday, 3 June 2010

It's A BOY!!

I've been telling you all for a while now that my brother Paul and his wife Ella were expecting their first baby ... hence the "Moon Dance" baby quilt design. Well ... I received a text message tonight to say that I'm an Aunty!!

James Kevin Kippen ...

... was born at 4:07pm Northern Territory time (4:37pm EST) and weighed in at a healthy 3.74kg, which the proud Grandma tells me is just over 8lb ... BIG healthy baby boy! :0) James is a family name for our side of the family and Kevin is Ella's Dad's name - what a lovely family legacy.

The report from the somewhat shell-shocked new Dad is that the James is pink and wrinkly ... and has ten fingers and ten toes! Tee! Hee! Hee! The important things to report from a 'boy's' perspective! :0) There are 8 nephews and three nieces on my Beloved Geek Boy's side of the family, but this is the first for my side, so all a bit exciting ... though it's another birthday I have to rememebr! Oh dear! :0)

Well ... I'm off to have a celebratory cup of tea ... just thought I'd let you all know that that baby quilt is going to be needed as soon as I can get it bound after Rosalie has worked her quilting magic! :0) May all your news today be good news, too! :0) Til next time ...

(Blue for boys ... of course! Tee! Hee! Hee!)
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