Wednesday, 31 December 2014

As The Year Winds Down ...!!

Well ... here we are on the eve of a new year. 2014 was certainly a life-changing one for us at the Meares' Madhouse. It was exhausting, scary, exciting, frustrating, exhilarating, stressful, unbelievable, dream-achieving ... did I mention it was a BUSY year?!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

A huge thank you to all of you who have played a part  in our year ... some of you helped and supported us in 'real life', while so many others of you have sent cyber hugs. encouragement and well-wishes. They have all been appreciated and amidst such a roller-coaster year, we have been reminded time and time again of two things ... we have FANTASTIC family and friends supporting us ... and ... God has BLESSED us HUGELY! :0)

Who knows what 2015 has in store for us ... I sure wouldn't have guessed what's happened this year! :0) And I'm not one for New Years' Resolutions ... I'm not kidding anyone ... I'm probably NOT going to lose weight, exercise more, spend less, go to bed earlier or eat only healthy food. :0) However, I found something on Pinterest the other day that sums up some of my thoughts as we step across the finish line of 2014 into the new race of 2015 and I thought I'd share them with you.

* Love what you see in the mirror
* Make time for creativity
* Never say no to adventure
* Eat more green food (do spearmint leaf lollies count?? Tee! Hee! Hee!)
* Send snail mail
* Send hand-written thank you notes
* Buy less, choose well
* Give out too many compliments
* Travel whenever possible
* Be kind to strangers
* Volunteer your time and skills
* Take a cooking class
* Give the present of presence
* Learn from others
* Embrace simplicity

Now ... I know that some of those things will be easy for me and some will be more challenging, but it's sometimes good to remind ourselves of things we're already doing as an encouragement to do more of it and set ourselves some goals to work towards ... don't you think?! :0)

So as the clock ticks down on 2014 ... I wish you all, my blogging buddies, a very happy 2015. May 2015 hold for you lots of time with family and friends, lots of good health, lots of time to create, lots of laughs, lots of hugs and kisses ... and of course ... LOTS of FABRIC! :0) And I'll look forward to sharing 2015 with you all. If you're out and about to celebrate tonight, please take care, but we're just going to kick back and relax here at Edward House and soak up the country quiet. :0) Til next time ...



Sunday, 28 December 2014

Holidays Are For ... Sewing!!

I promised to come back soon to show you some pics of the sewing that I've been working on over the last few weeks. Can I tell you ... after all the kerfuffle of getting our cottage ready to sell, selling, buying and moving house, my OPAM tally for the year was looking pretty sad ... BUT ... December has been MY month for sewing and creating - YAY!! :0) In fact ... I have had more finishes in December than the rest of the year all together - 23!! WOO! HOO Let me share some peeks ...

I decided that this Christmas was going to be more about making gifties ... something that I used to do a lot more of, but seem to have pushed aside a little in the last few years due to the last half of the year being pretty darn busy for at the Meares' Madhouse. This year, with time being limited ... and the post-house-purchase budget even more limited ... it was time to get creative. :0) The new kitchen was well and truly christened with lots of sugar coated nuts, cinnamon almonds, savoury coated almonds, mini Christmas cakes, apricot balls and cherry ripe balls being made. And the sewing machine was running hot ... a little TOO hot at one point! :0) (see post a couple back about my exploding sewing machine dramas!!)

My first project for Christmas was the mini stockings I shared in recent posts, but close behind was another Christmas deco ...

... a length of heart bunting. This was actually wrapped around the Christmas tree, but looking at this pic, it might come to live on the mantle all year round. :0) I created it by cutting hearts from two pieces of fabric vlisofixed together, then raw edge machine appliquéd before being attached to some ribbon. Gotta love bunting, especially HEART bunting! :0) I dipped into my stash of French General fabrics, so no cost ... shopping my stash! :0) Next were a couple of gifties for the wives of workmates ...

... my second T-towel apron. Black waffle-weave T-towel with a cheerful birdie appliquéd on ...

... I love how the red spotty dotty fabric pops against the black.

... another T-towel apron, this time in black and white check with a different red spotty dotty birdie ...

Aren't these little birdies 'tweet'? :0) Sorry ... I couldn't resist! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Next project to be tackled was for my Mum. She uses her iPad to take photos and a few times when she's been going somewhere, has wanted a small carry bag that just fits her iPad in so it isn't as heavy as lugging her whole handbag. So once again I dug into my French General stash ...

Here is my beautiful assistant modelling the finished product ... good on ya, Mum! :0) You can see I put a nice long strap on it so it can be slung across her body to keep hands free. And a little closer look ...

There's a fleur de lise appliquéd by hand on the front to echo the French General theme. It doesn't actually stand out as much as I'd hoped, but it does add a little bit of interest, as does that yummy giant coconut shell button ... I inherited that one with some other sewing bits and bobs when one of the residents moved out of the retirement village where I work, but I'm keeping an eye out for some more like it. Again ... all fabrics etc used to make this came from shopping my stash. Very satisfying AND good for the holiday-strained budget. :0)

So there you go ... proof that I have been a busy little bee bear so far this holiday period. :0) So, SOOOOOO nice to have a respectable tally on my OPAM finishes list this month. And speaking of OPAM tallies ... it's only a couple of days til the end of the month, so ... OPAMers ... have you updated your sidebar lists to show ALL your finishes? Have you emailed my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg or me with your final number? Well ... what are you waiting for?! Chop, chop! :0) Sweet Peg and I might be a day or so behind with our blog-hopping as we recover from our wild New Years' parties (Tee! Hee! Hee!) but stay tuned, as we'll be doing the last draw for 2014 next week.

Oh ... and to answer the question that a few of you are starting to ask ... YES ... Sweet Peg and I will be hosting OPAM in 2015 to help us all stay on-track to get some of our many starts across the finish line. :0) Sign up will be towards the end of January, but we'll both put details and dates on our blogs in the new year ... promise! :0)

But right now, it's time for me to grab myself a cuppa and help cheer the Brisbane Heat to victory in their T20 cricket game. Did I mention I LOOOOOOOVE summer?! :0) Til next time ...



Friday, 26 December 2014

Spoilt By SSCS Partner!!

Happy Boxing Day everyone! :0) Did you have an enjoyable time with your family? My folks are visiting and we spent the day with my Beloved Geek Boy's extended family ... you know ... a small gathering of 25! :0) So it was a noisy, busy day of musical chairs as someone would pinch yours if you got up to get a drink ... and dodging water bombs that the kids (and brother-in-law!!) were tossing around. Not to mention FOOD!! Cold meats, salads, summer fruit, pavlova, trifle, cheesecake, as well as the traditional plumb pud and custard. We all waddled around for the afternoon in between dozing in food-comas in the closest, unoccupied chair you could find. A pretty typical Aussie Christmas, really! :0)

This year we didn't do a lot of giftie exchanging ... GB's family decided we'd all make a donation to mission work instead. However ... there was one pretty special giftie under my Christmas tree this year ... my main SSCS giftie - WOO! HOO! This year, my swap partner was Dagmar from southern Germany and can I tell you ... she SPOILT me! :0) It was so very obvious that Dagmar took the time to visit my blog in the months after she was given my name as her partner ... she worked out what my favourite colours were, she realised that I love bears ... and that we'd recently moved so needed pretty things to decorate our new house! :0) How very lovely to know she took such care to spoil me ... Thank you Dagmar!!

Now ... when I opened my main giftie on Christmas Day, I was blown away ... would you like to see why??

... A GORGEOUS pieced wall hanging in my favourite colour, GREEN, featuring a tree-climbing bear. And if you look a little closer ...

... you can see that this lovely, lazy bear has been pieced ... I'm guessing paper-pieced! WOW!! There are some teeny, tiny pieces there ... the ears and nose are each made up of about 8 individual pieces of fabric. This is something I could never make for myself, so I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!! THANK YOU DAGMAR!!! I truly feel very blessed and SPOILT!!

And a HUGE thank you to our Swap Mama, too, the lovely Chookyblue, for her work in organising SSCS once again. Chooky has been a VERY busy gal this year and I know she's faced some tough decisions thanks to extended drought which also quadrupled her workload day to day, so Chooky, your efforts are even more appreciated, as organising a bunch of bloggers world-wide is no easy thing. WELL DONE!

My send-to partner this year was Nancy and I think she liked the gifties I sent her, too ...

... I had a lovely time playing with my little stash of Lynette Anderson's "Scandinavian Christmas" fabrics and as well as the ornament of the stocking in the top right corner, I sent Nancy a T-towel apron, a bauble bag to store special Christmas ornaments which features a free stitchery from Gail Pan from a couple of years ago and some cute little strip-pieced mini-Christmas stocking ornaments. In her post, Nancy said she has made a lot of aprons for other people, but this is the first time someone has made one for her, so that was fun. The apron was inspired by a tutorial my blogging buddy Kerryanne shared over at her blog Shabby Art Boutique. It's made from half a t-towel, which makes it great to wipe hands on when cooking ... I may have to make one for myself! :0) In fact ... I've made three this Christmas for gifties ... I'll share some pics next post.

But right now ... I'm off to grab a piece of watermelon to nibble and slurp while I watch the Boxing Day Cricket test ... Aaaaaaaahhh!! Christmas in Australia! :0) Wherever you are in the world, however you've celebrated this special time of year, I hope there's been time for you to rest, enjoy time with family and friends and catch your breath. If you're still travelling, please take care. Til next time ...


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Chaos!!

I had planned to be back here way before this to show you what I've been busily sewing away at in the last few weeks, but time has got away from me and I've been overtaken by the Christmas chaos. It always baffles me how the season of "Peace On Earth"  and "Good Will Toward All Men" seems to bring out the crazy in people who turn shopping centres into combat zones and parking lots into a demolition derby!! EEK!! On the up side ... the presents are all sorted, sent and delivered, the Christmas cooking has happened, Mum and Dad arrived safe and sound for a visit, the parties are all done and dusted and I finished work for the year today - YIPPEE!!!!! :0)

We enjoyed being part of a carol service tonight at the retirement village where I work, so it's actually starting to feel a bit like Christmas ... it snuck up on me again this year. And although I'll probably be largely absent from blogland over the next week or so, I couldn't forget to pop in to pass on some Christmas greetings to my blogging buddies. Thank you to all of you for making 2014 such a special year. You've all supported, encouraged and inspired me during a year that was a bit like a roller-coaster ride and included some pretty big changes for the Meares' Madhouse.

So, with the jolly fat man in red well into his schedule of deliveries, I'd like to wish you all a happy, safe and restful Christmas. And I hope the bestest Christmas gift ever is in your thoughts during this special time ... the gift of the Lord Jesus on that first Christmas that brings us hope. :0)

Til next time ... keep the Christmas candles burning to spread light and warmth in what can often be a dark, cold world!!



PS. We received our Christmas wish of full water tanks! WOO! HOO!! :0)

PPS. Sorry to last month's OPAM winners ... I haven't forgotten your prizes, I just haven't been able to fit in a trip to the post office. Prizes coming in the new year ... PROMISE!! :0)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Silly Season Strikes!!

Are you like me ... feeling just a little shell-shocked that somehow ... when you weren't looking! ... the so-called "Silly Season" just snuck up and jumped up behind you shouting "Surprise! Here I Am!!" No??? Just me being ambushed by Christmas ... again?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So you might be guessing that the Meares' Madhouse may have changed addresses, but the madness and mayhem continues ... you'd be right! :0) It's been one party or break-up after another, whilst still having to be a 'grown up' and go to work, round up (or make) Christmas gifties AND try to fit in the cooking of some special Christmas goodies. Somehow sleep is being squeezed out of the mix there. Now I KNOW I'm not alone there! :0)

I know that Christmas parties are like kids ... you're not supposed to have a favourite! ... but I DO have a favourite Christmas gathering this year. It was our Friday Night Sit N Sew group's break-up last Friday night ... and I played hostess here at Edward House.

Oh! The planning and scheming that went into this party! The preparations, the organising ... the fluttering of eyelashes to enlist the help of my Beloved Geek Boy! Tee! Hee! Hee! (Just quietly ... the offer of a back and neck massage was MUCH more effective than the eyelashes!!) You see ... as much as we loved our previous home, the cosy cottage really didn't have the ROOM to decorate for Christmas or entertain ... and more often than not, we celebrated Christmas at someone else's home or out of town, so I was looking forward to letting my Christmas spirit loose. I decided on a rustic/shabby chic/simplified/red-and-white theme for decorations and was REALLY happy with the results. Sorry the pics aren't better ... a new camera is on my Wish List To Santa. :0)

Here's the table before it got dark enough for the candles and lights to really be pretty ... and my blogging buddy Fiona checking out my garden from the deck in the background!:0)

I laid the table with some inexpensive white tablecloths, added a frayed runner of hessian down the centre, then asked GB to cut me a few 20-30 inch long branches from one of our backyard pine trees. Hmmm ... I think I'm buying him a tape measure for Christmas cos I ended up with two small trees!!! Maybe not quite ... but way longer than I mentioned ... it's obviously a boy thing! :0) I then wove a couple of battery operated sets of red Christmas lights through the branches to look like glowy berries, added some red candles in groovy K-Mart special tin/lanterns ...

... repeated the theme, along with some half-price berry branches from a speciality shop (don't you love the reflection of the fairy lights in the glass of the painting?!)

... Scattered more candles around the room ... including my favourite Christmas candle there made for me by the lovely Kerryanne of Shabby Art Boutique ...

... added the tree in a rustic cream can ... and called it Christmas party central! :0) The only thing missing then was ...

... my sewing buddies to share it all with! Oops! A couple on the right dodged the camera there ... that would be Gail-Sue and Sue-Gail! :0) We had a lovely, relaxed evening of chatting and eating Christmas goodies that everyone contributed to and I had managed to squeeze in some sewing time amidst all the preparations, too, so was able to gift each lady with ...

... a sweet Christmas stocking for their tree. If you look in the photo above of the Christmas tree, you'll see all the stockings looking decorative. Thanks for a wonderful evening, ladies ... looking forward to catching up again in the new year to chat and laugh ... oh ... and maybe a bit of stitching will get done, too! Tee! Hee! Hee! Mind you ... since I made 19 of those little stockings, my OPAM tally is looking the healthiest it has for ever and a day! :0) 

Someone else who had been doing some sewing was the Fabulous Fiona who gave me a GORGEOUS giftie ...

... a GORGEOUS wine cooler bag with a fun patchwork stocking tag (great minds think alike!!) and ... would you look at that! There's one of Fiona's favourite forms of size-judging-implements in there! Tee! Hee! Hee! Thank you Fiona!! I'm looking forward to sipping a glass or two on the back deck over the Christmas/New Year break.

So ... that's how life here is muddling along here. I've got a few more things that I hope to share with you before I take a little break over Christmas, but we'll see how we go. :0) I hope you're enjoying some time catching up with friends, decorating and eating favourite foods in the lead up to the holidays. What's your favourite Christmas activity?

I think it's time to play Polly, then tackle some more Christmas cooking. Til next time ...



Wednesday, 10 December 2014

I'm A Muddle-Headed Wombat & OPAM Winners!!

Most Aussie gals will be familiar with this kid's book and will know that the main character is a muddle-headed wombat who is always muddling and mixing things up ... and today I'm feeling like I can very much relate to this mixed up marsupial. :0) You see, it is MY turn to do the OPAM prize draw for November ... except ... I'd FORGOTTEN that it was MY turn!! OOPS! Thank goodness I have a wonderful, understanding Partner-In-Crime in Sweet Peg ... Thanks Sweet Peg for being patient with this forgetful muddle-headed wombat! :0)

So ... did you get a lot of sewing, stitching and creating done in November? A lot of you sure did, with the highest monthly tally for the year so far coming in at ...

501 Finishes!

WOO! HOO!  Well done to everyone! Why do I get the feeling that there's been some frantic Christmas creating going on in sewing rooms around the world?! Tee! Hee! Hee! I have to say, I was VERY happy to be able to add my best tally for the year in November ... I had 8 finishes for the month! YAY! That tally included my SSCS gifties that flew across the seas to Nancy in the USA. Since her parcel arrived safe and sound, I can show you what I made her for the OPEN NOW ornament part of the giftie ...

... another version of my Sweetly Shabby Christmas Stocking, this time in some of Lynette Anderson's "Scandinavian Christmas" fabrics ... which I was pretty happy with and Nancy says she loves it, so all good ... it's always a little nerve-wracking to send handmade gifties, isn't it? You can never guarantee someone's style and likes until you see their reaction. :0) I can see I need to make up a couple of new versions of this stocking for myself and GB cos it's so much fun to see how it comes up in different fabrics and colours. Hmmm ... it may have to be for NEXT Christmas! Tee! Hee! Hee!

But ... I digress!! OPAM winners ... a big thank you to everyone who emailed their tallies through to myself or Sweet Peg ... this is a HUGE help to us in saving time spent scrolling through blogs. And a big thank you, also, to those of you who make sure you update your sidebar list of finishes before the end of the month ... this is another big help to us, as we can see at a quick glimpse how creative you've been. And even if you didn't get to add any finishes to your tally, but you took some time out from the busy-ness that is well and truly pushing us towards Christmas ... well done! Progress can come in leaps and bounds ... and sometimes it comes in baby-steps. :0)

Right ... the winners for the November draw are:

Congratulations, gals! Be sure to drop me your snail mail addresses and I shall pop something in the mail to you ... hopefully in time to be a Christmas treat.

Righto ... I'm off to make myself a cuppa and answer a few emails ... I am SOOOOOOOOOO far behind with emails that I may just draw a line and start again! If you've emailed me in the last couple of weeks and haven't heard from me ... SORRY! I've been pretty busy at work and home getting organised for the end of the year stuff ... I promise to try to do better! :0) I hope you're all having a lovely week so far ... we've had some rain, so our tanks are looking a bit healthier, the garden is happy and the grass has remembered how to be green ... but we could really do with another inch or two to fill the tanks completely and give everything a really good soak ... fingers crossed! :0) Whatever you're up to, take care of yourself as the busy 'silly season' ramps up ... Sweet Peg and I want you to be happy, safe and well enough to join us again for OPAM in 2015! :0) Til next time



Friday, 5 December 2014

Santa's Sleigh Arrived!

Well ... in reality it was probably the little yellow car that our postie drives that delivered a very special parcel this week ... my SSCS 2014 parcel arrived on my mailbox ... it was too big to fit IN the mailbox! :0)

My parcel had come all the way across the globe from southern Germany where my swap partner Dagmar lives. It's always so exciting to find out where my SSCS partner hails from ... I've made blogging buddies all over the globe. :0)

I opened the box to find ... I had been SPOILT big time! Ooooohh!! Look at all those lovely parcels just for me!! :0)

There were pretty things and tasty things, something for me to 'make' and something 'made' for me. You sure can tell that Dagmar has tagged-along to visit my blog a time or two to see what I like ... fabric to play with, a gorgeous teal green decorative bottle that is already living on my mantle, as well as a sweet wooden teddy bear Christmas ornament, some tasty gummy bears and five ... count 'em ... FIVE yummy Lindt bears! MMMMMMMMMMM!!! I don't eat a lot of chocolate, but when I do splurge, it tends to be on Lindt choccies. :0) Mind you ... those poor little bears were just a wee bit soft from sitting on the mail box for a few hours, so I popped them into the fridge ... aaaahhh!!! Christmas in Queensland where the summer sun beams down on us ferociously! :0)

... my lovely new cross stitched ornament ... I love that it spells out "Joy", "Love" and "Peace" ... the heart of Christmas right there! And this bottle is so PRETTY ... I just love this colour! In fact, it is a good match to the colour I'm introducing into our main bedroom, so it may find it's final home in there. :0) And what a cute teddy bear with his smart red and white bow. Thank you Dagmar! I love all my gifties and feel very spoilt indeed. There's nothing that makes you feel more special than to receive a giftie that really suits your tastes! :0)

... And just to prove that I've been a good girl (so far! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Here is a pic of my main giftie form Dagmar under my little Christmas tree, which is starting to look more Christmassy with my two new ornaments. Thank you Dagmar for your special gifties!! And a huge thanks, too, to Miss Chookyblue for hosting SSCS even in the midst of your 'real life' not being much fun. I only join one swap most years and I keep choosing SSCS, not only cos it gives me the whole year to get organised (in theory!!!) but because it is the best organised and run swap I've come across in blogland, Thanks Chooky!!! And may you get your Christmas wish of buckets and buckets of rain!!

Well ... that's all the news from me today, I hope to be back soon to show you some Christmassy stitching ... I need to get my skates on cos some of it needs to be done before next Friday when I'm hosting the Christmas break up for the Friday Night Sit N Sew gals ... better make myself a paper "To Do" list rather than rely on a mental one so I don't miss anything! :0) I hope you've all had a fantastic week and that your weekend includes some time to kick-back-and-relax. Til next time ...



Sunday, 30 November 2014

Quick Catch-Up & OPAM Reminder!

G'day all! How has your week/weekend been? We've had a bit of a revolving door here at Edward House over the last couple of weeks, so we've been kept a-hoppin'. :0)

My folks were here for a 10 day visit ... it was lovely to have them just come and VISIT, rather than their last two trips down here where they were helping us get our old house ready to sell and then move lock-stock-and-barrel into our current country abode. This trip, they could relax, do some Christmas shopping, visit with friends and enjoy our 'serenity'. :0)

Mum and Dad left Thursday and my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette arrived Friday night with her bag packed for a weekend sleep-over play date ... WOO! HOO!! We've had a lovely weekend of second-hand-shop-hopping, antique inspecting, boutique browsing, coffee shop comparing. market meandering, scenic driving ... and in general, enjoying a catch-up of epic proportions ... both husbands are shuddering  in the aftermath! Tee! Hee! Hee! And when we'd shopped til we dropped, we retreated to the back deck of Edward House, the ideal spot to enjoy the 'serenity' in the afternoon cool ...

You can see that we've rather mastered the art of "Deck Sitting". Tee! Hee! Hee! Comfy chairs, cups of tea and somewhere to put your shopping-tired feet up to watch the afternoon bird brigade as they visit the duo of birdbaths in the back garden. It's been a lovely weekend of friendship. :0)

Now, even though there hasn't been any sewing during the last couple of weeks, I was a busy bee before that to get my SSCS gifties all finished and in the post ... WOO! HOO! I think it's the first time ever that I was ON TIME. :0) Thanks Chookyblue for being the Hostess With The Mostest again this year. Chooky isn't having an easy time of things at the moment thanks to the extended dry and some poor hungry stock. Pop over and help cheer her up a bit. :0)

So ... As a result of my SSCS sewing frenzy, I had EIGHT ... count 'em! ... EIGHT! ... finishes on my OPAM list for November ... my best tally all year! :0) How have the rest of you super-stitchers been travelling? Have you been madly stitching to help Santa and his elves? :0) Whatever you've been up to ... it's time to update your tally list in your sidebar and email me or my Gorgeous Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. Quick Sticks! What are you waiting for ... get emailing and updating! :0)

Right now, though, I'm off to have my last cuppa for the weekend before I hit the pillow ... it's EXHAUSTING doing all this RELAXING, you know! Tee! Hee! Hee! Have a fantastic week, everyone! Til next time ...



Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sweetly Shabby Christmas Winners!!

What a busy week I've been having! Firstly, an update on the "Big Bang" sewing machine dilemma. After telling you my adventures with my exploding Husky, imagine how rattled my poor nerves were when it happened a SECOND time with a SECOND sewing machine!! EEK!

I was recently given an old Singer sewing machine and when I thought my Husky had a terminal illness, I dragged it out to see how it went ... I had barely started sewing, only to have it also go BANG and fill the room with smoke - exactly like my Husky! - EEK! How could the same thing happen TWICE?!?!?! Thankfully, this time, my Beloved Geek Boy was on hand to witness it. Being the "Mr Fixit" type he put his electronic testing equipment to use  ... and worked out there was nothing wrong with the machines ... WHAT THE?!?! It turned out to be a dodgy power board causing surges. Goodness knows where all the smoke and melty smells came from with both machines, but BOTH were still in working order ... WOO! HOO! I'll book my Husky baby in to see the machine Dr for a check up, but for now, she's happily sewing away and my SSCS gifties are almost ready to hit Santa's sleigh! One of life's many mysteries. :0)

So ... I've been playing with my little stash of these fabrics ...

... some Scandinavian Christmas fabrics the lovely Lynette Anderson sent me to play with a few years ago ... so there's been lots of Secret Squirrel stitching going on to keep me busy ... and my folks have arrived for a bit of a visit. It will be lovely for them to have a relaxing week or so's visit with us, as their last two visits have seen them helping us de-clutter and prepare our old house for sale and then move into our new house. Both times they went home for a rest! :0) This time, they get to enjoy our 'serenity' ... out here at our new house you can smell the serenity! Tee! Hee! Hee! (Aussie movie reference!)

And of course, I've been meeting some new blogging friends who popped in for a visit after enjoying my guest post over at Kerryanne's shabby chic sandpit HERE.

Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments and feedback about my "Sweetly Shabby Christmas Stocking". It's great to know lots of people are going to have fun playing with my design for Christmas. :0) Now ... I promised two lovely visitors to both of our blogs would receive a PDF copy of my "Sweetly Shabby Christmas" pattern that features several Shabby Chic Christmas projects featuring soft pretty colours and some mix 'n' match Christmas stitcheries. Well ... those winners are ...

Congratulations, gals! Just drop me an email to let me know your preferred email address for me to send your prize patterns through to you! :0)

And even if you weren't' one of the winners, you can get your own copy of my fun, pretty Christmassy pattern on my web site HERE. It's available as a paper pattern packet and as a downloadable e-pattern. It's great value for money, as not only do you receive instructions for THREE Christmas projects, it incorporates several easily-adapted stitchery designs that you can use in all sorts of ways. Hope you all have as much fun with it as I have! :0)

Now, I'm off to play Polly before I go and spend some quality time with my Husky ... gotta finish those SSCS gifties or Chooky will be after me with her whip! :0). Hope everyone is having a great week so far and managing some fun sewing time. Til next time ...



Saturday, 15 November 2014

It Went BANG!!!!!

Imagine the scene ... there I was, sitting in front of my sewing machine, putting in the last pin before attaching the binding to another version of my Sweetly Shabby Christmas Stocking when ...


I nearly fell right off my chair!! That nasty loud noise had come from right beside me, though I had no idea WHY or from WHERE EXACTLY??? Then ... smoke started pouring out of my beloved Husky ... OH NO!! After that initial moment, where in cartoons you would hear crickets chirping, I dived for the power point to turn off the power, then hauled butt ... and machine!! ... out the handily-close French doors, placed my smoking and now-suspect baby on the deck and backed away quickly. I'm not really sure what I thought it was going to do next, but I thought it might be WORSE, so was obviously not taking any chances! :0)

SIGH!!! It seems my Husky is not happy. (You THINK!?!?!?! )

Here's my baby in happier days in my old sewing room. SIGH!! My Husky and I have travelled around a great part of Australia together over the last 24 years and I'd really hate to lose her this way ... I shall be making an appointment for her with the sewing machine doctor when next he visits my Home-Away-From-Home to see if he can perform life-saving surgery that won't cost me an arm and a leg.

In the meantime ... I have to work out how I'm going to finish the sewing I need to do on my SSCS gifties (90% finished and needing to be mailed this week - EEK! ). But first, I think I'll just have a little sit down and perhaps a cold drink to soothe my poor frazzled nerves.

Hope your weekend is off to a much less dramatic start. If you're in the parts of Australia that are experiencing this heat wave (even this summer-lovin' chick is feeling the heat a bit today at around 37 degrees and climbing!!) make sure you stay cool, drink lots of water and maybe pop some containers of water out into your garden for the birdies ... I know our resident feathered friends have been making good use of our birdbath today to keep cool ... and I may just join them if it gets much hotter!! :0) Til next time ...



Friday, 14 November 2014

Aaaah! Summer's Coming!!

It's 31 degrees C here on top of our 'hill' today heading for a predicted top of 37 ... I've got this handsome bloke singing outside my window ...

(for overseas gals who don't get to enjoy the magpie's song, check out this YouTube recording.)

The TV guide tells me there will be a one-day cricket match on this afternoon and I'm home for the WHOLE day to do some sewing. (well ... after I finish this post ... and have some lunch! :0) )


I know the calendar doesn't tell me it's summer yet, but it sure is FEELING like an Aussie summer day.


But enough gloating for now (sorry to you gals up 'north' who are dreading the approach of winter chills!) :0).

It's taken a little while for me to get back here to share a little decorating update from our new home, "Edward House" with you, but I thought I'd at least share a little of how we're settling in. While most rooms (except for my sewing room and the sleepout which are full of boxes - EEP!) are set up as 'rooms', there's still a LOT of floofing, tizzying, jooshing and fiddling about (all very technical terms there for us decorators! Tee! Hee! Hee!) to be done before everything looks the way I want it to. But really ... that's part of the adventure of moving to a new house, isn't it? And since I have some pretty definite ideas of what I want, I'm just waiting til the right pieces of furniture and accessories come along. I promise to share updates as that happens. ;0)

Now, I shared with you that since moving into a VERY neutrally painted house, I'd discovered that while I love to look at photos of white-on-white, French-inspired, shabby-chic farmhouse styles of decorating ... this colour freak struggles to live with all that lack-of-colour! :0) The biggest struggle for me was our main bedroom. Because this is how our old bedroom was decorated ...

... dark teal walls with white furniture and linens ... our new bedroom ended up looking a little bland, with the white 'bits' against a light taupe wall colour. I know ... all you fans of white and neutral colour decorating (like my blogging buddy Kerryanne) are wondering what the problem is, I really was struggling to find "ME" in the neutrals.

Until I had a brainwave!! (it's OK, I was sitting down at the time so didn't hurt myself! Tee! Hee! Hee!) I remembered my clever-clogs Quilting-Queen the Fabulous Fiona creating a whole-cloth quilt for another friend ... using two queen bed sheets. Hmmm ...!!! So off I went in search of the "RIGHT" colour. It took a while ... apparently "MY" colours aren't "in" at the moment! Grrrr!! Story of my life! But at last I was successful! I bundled up my sheets with some wadding and entrusted it to my quilting guru ... and I was NOT disappointed!!

It's hard to get a good photo of the entire quilt as the colour tends to wash out a bit and the quilting detail can't be seen from a distance ... and it was really meant to be folded back to add a pool of colour at the foot of our bed ... so that's what I've photographed. But first ... let me show you some of Fiona's  GORGEOUS free-motion quilting! Now ... Fiona knows me pretty well, so I just told her to "Go for it!!" with the quilting designs. Can I just say ... "WOW!!"

She quilted a Celtic heart/trinity knot in the centre of the quilt ...

... a border of connected Celtic knots (sorry about the colour in this one - it washed out for some reason) ...

... and some free-hand butterflies to flutter around the quilt. Thank you Fabulous Fiona!! You captured all of the elements that are "ME". How lovely to have a clever-clogs quilter nearby who 'gets' me. :0) Would you like to see how it looks in our bedroom? OK ... I've kept you in suspenders long enough. :0)

Ta Da! I love how it adds that soft, serene sage-green splash to all that neutral and white. And since the top sheet was actually part of a set, there's a fitted sheet to sleep on and pillowcases to add more colour. I'll be adding some more splashes of sage and teal around the bedroom as I find the perfect bits and bobs. I'm also keen to add some more French/Paris touches, but for now, I'm finding that some colour soothes the colour-freak! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And now I'm off to make myself a yummy summer salad to munch for lunch while I start to watch the cricket. Then it will be back to the sewing machine (which is handily still on the dining room table so I can continue to watch the cricket!!) to finish off my ...

... swap gifties, as they have to be mailed next week ... EEK! Thankfully, I'm nearly done. So what are you up to today ... enjoying some summery heat or some winter-promising weather? I hope you're enjoying your day as much as I'm enjoying mine. :0) And don't forget to enter my give-away in my last post linking in to the gorgeous Kerryanne's "Simply Christmas" series and my guest post over at Shabby Art Boutique a couple of days ago.

Right ... some home-grown lettuce, tomatoes and herbs are calling me to add some other salad-y goodness to them for lunch, so I'm off. Til next time ...



Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Playing In A Friend's Sandbox!

I know I've been a bit MIA again (remember earlier comments about snail-paced internet once our new internet plan downloads run out?! GRRR! ) but I promise I've been a busy little bear. :0)

Now ... I can't show you some of my stitching projects cos they're Secret Squirrel projects, but I do have a very special one to share. You see, I'm playing in a friend's sandbox today, with a guest post over at the lovely Kerryanne's blog Shabby Art Boutique as part of her ...

For the fifth year, Kerryanne is putting the "hand-made and home-baked" back into Christmas ... and she's invited me to play along too ... WOO! HOO! :0) Kerryanne was my very first blogging buddy and I'm blessed to also call her friend in 'real life'. We were even able to meet up for a fun weekend play date along with another blogging buddy, the Lovely Lilly Linda a few years ago. Aaah ... what adventures we had! :0)

So you can imagine how excited I was to be invited to join in the "Simply Christmas" fun with a guest post. And even MORE excited to share a quick, fun, pretty project to help inspire people to approach Christmas creatively this year ...

... by sharing a tutorial to make my Sweetly Shabby Christmas Stocking. This project is simple, quick to make and oh-so-versatile. Make it in traditional Christmassy colours or use some of your fave sweet shabby fabrics like I did. This is the second version I've made and it uses some pretty Tilda fabrics. The original Sweetly Shabby Christmas Stocking was part of a pattern design I released earlier this year ...

Sweetly Shabby Christmas includes instructions to make three fun, sweetly shabby Christmas projects ... a drawstring bauble bag featuring a stitchery, some frills and shabby rosette flowers to keep your precious breakable decorations safely stored; a string of shabby chic bunting which includes some versatile Christmas stitcheries and ... of course! ... the sweetly shabby Christmas stocking to hang on your own mantle for Santa to fill, or to pop surprises in for someone special as a gift this Christmas. This pattern is available as a paper pattern packet, as well as in a downloadable PDF format so you can get stitching quicker. :0)


To help Kerryanne celebrate her "Simply Christmas" series ...

Two lucky Shabby Christmas fans will receive a downloadable copy of my Sweetly Shabby Christmas pattern and it's SOOOOO easy to enter! All you have to do is leave me a comment on THIS post to tell me why you love my Sweetly Shabby Christmas goodies, THEN pop across to say "G'day! Happy Christmas!" to Kerryanne and leave a comment on my GUEST POST at Shabby Art Boutique. Just like Santa, Kerryanne and I will be ... making a list and checking it twice! ... to match comments, then NEXT WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 19 I'll randomly pick two winners ... and two people will get early Christmas gifties! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And while you're checking out Kerryanne's GORGEOUS blog, you really should take the time to enjoy your "Simply Christmas" posts and check out her "Simply Shabbilicious" e-zine, too. She really is an incredibly talented lady, our Miss Kerryanne, so you are sure to come away from your visit with your creative inspiration overflowing! :0) Thanks to Kerryanne, too, for the sweetly shabby digital scrapbook elements for a couple of the pics I'm sharing ... I TOLD you she was creative! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Right ... I'm off to keep a date with my much-neglected pillow. I hope you all enjoy popping over to visit Kerryanne ... I always do! :0) Whether you're in the midst of Christmas preparations ... or being a bit of an ostrich about it, like I am for the most part (six weeks ... EEK!! ) I hope your week is toodling along nicely and that you're taking time out to be creative. Til next time ...



Thursday, 30 October 2014

OPAM & A Quilting Sneaky Peeky!!

Do you remember a song that has the line ... "Whoops! There goes another rubber tree ..." ? Well ... I may not be missing any rubber trees, but here it is, nearly the end of the week, nearly the end of the month and I find myself saying ... "WHOOPS! There goes another one!" :0) Can you identify with this, too?!

So if its almost the end of the month, that means it's time for all good OPAMers to update their sidebar lists and email their tally for October through to me or my GORGEOUS Partner In Crime Sweet Peg

And the REALLY exciting thing is ... I HAVE A FINISH! WOO! HOO!!!! It's been a bit of a lean period for my sewing finishes during our house prepping/selling/buying/moving and boy does it feel good to have something to add to that list ... FINALLY!! :0) Here's hoping there are a few more before the chubby bloke in red comes calling. :0) OPAMers ... what have YOU finished this month??

Now ... I have had rather a busy week at my 'grown up' job, so haven't had time to take some nice pics of my finish, but I thought I'd share a sneaky peeky with you all ... Ready?? ... ''

... A free-form quilted butterfly courtesy of the quilting genus of the Fabulous Fiona. This really is just a very small part of the GORGEOUS quilting Fiona has one again waved her magic quilting want to create and it doesn't really show off the colour of the quilt properly either ... well ... you will just have to stay tuned, won't you! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on for a cuppa ... and try to work out what projects to take with me for our Friday Night Sit N Stitch mini-retreat this weekend. WOO! HOO! Wanna bet I end up in the 'naughty corner' again?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Whatever you're up to, I hope there's some creative time scheduled in for you, too. Til next time ...



Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Flannel Quilt In A Heat Wave??!!

Here I am back again ... though it took me a little longer than planned ... how DOES that keep happening?! :0) The year seems to be slipping past me at a faster and faster pace and about the only positive I can think of about that is ... my much-loved warmer weather has arrived ... FINALLY! In fact, we're having a bit of a heat wave this weekend ... not that my Beloved Geek Boy and fellow summer-person or I are complaining. :0)

So what am I doing to stay cool in our heatwave? Why ... working on making a new flannel quilt, of course! Tee! Hee! Hee! I know most people think of making flannel quilts in winter, but when this cheerful range arrived at my Quilters Angel a few weeks ago, I knew I HAD to adopt some, as it is the exact colours that I've been using to brighten up our neutrally painted new living space. Wanna take a peek??

Aren't they cheerful and pretty? And the best part is ...

... I've already been playing with them! :0) This will be a new blankie for me to snuggle under in front of the tele ... big 10" squares to show off the pretty colours. As you can see, I have a very technical way of working out which colours go where. :0) I've played a bit more today and have all the squares joined into rows ready to join them all together tomorrow ... and then it will be off to the quilting magician, the Fabulous Fiona to work her quilting magic on it ... I promise to share with you. :0) I have to say, I'm really enjoying playing with a simple design ... one that I don't have to write instructions for, too. :0)

And ... I also promise to soon share with you another quilt that the Fabulous Fiona has waved her magic quilting wand over ... I just have to finish stitching down the binding ... it's just a wee bit too warm to want a quilt on my lap to work with tonight. I know ... I'm not at all consistent with my hot weather/cold weather stitching am I! :0) Still ... at least I'm back in the stitching saddle ... and it feels GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!! :0)

So what are you working on at the moment? I hope your weekend includes some fabric therapy ... it's the best way to relax, really, isn't it? :0) Now I'm off to make myself a cuppa and catch up on some blog reading ... my RSS feeds were short-circuited during our recent email issues ... SIGH! But I'm sure I'll enjoy catching up on lots of posts. Hmmm ... I may need a second cup of tea! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...



Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Sweet Treat!!

Well ... after a few more technical issues (aren't there just days where modern technology drives you to drink?!?!) I'm back as promised to share a quick, simple recipe for a sweet treat ... sugar and cinnamon coated almonds. I first tasted this cinnamony, nutty treat when we were visiting Malaney last year and I've been on the lookout for a recipe ever since. I found this one on Pinterest and while the finished result wasn't quite the same flavours, it was pretty close and pretty YUMMY! :0) Got your recipe books ready?

Cinnamon & Sugar Coated Almonds

* 1 Cup of sugar
* 3 Cups of raw almonds (skin on)
* 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
* 1/4 Cup water

How To ...

1. Add sugar, water and cinnamon to a small pan and mix together over heat until it reaches boiling point.

2. Tip almonds into boiling mix and stir through so all almonds are coated.
3. Keep stirring mixture for around 8-10 minutes until the sugar starts to crystalise ... it will look a bit like sand. (but not taste at all sandy ... I promise! :0) )

4. Pour coated nuts onto a paper lined baking tray to cool.

5. ENJOY! :0)

I quite like these tasty treats when they're still warm with a cup of tea beside me, but they'd also make great Christmas hamper additions or a sweet, nutty treat for the Christmas lunch table ... They're on my Christmas "To Do" list. :0)

So there we go ... hope you all enjoy making up this quick, simple treat. Right now, I'm off to enjoy the fruits of my labours ... with a cup of tea ... OF COURSE! :0) Hope your weekend is off to a great start and that you manage to spend some time being creative ... I've got a hot date tomorrow with my sewing machine and some tasty new fabricky treats that I fell in love with recently ... I promise to share pics next time I pop in. Til next time ...



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