Wednesday, 29 April 2015

PHEW! A Finish!

The month is winding down and I thought I was going to have to mark down a big ZERO on my list of finishes for April ... I've been doing a lot of secret squirrel stitching for friends but no finishes for me ... until this afternoon ... YAY :0)

Do you remember earlier in the year I hosted a mini Stitchers Dream Day for my sisters-in-law and nieces and we made drawstring bags?

Well ... once I'd finished my pretty green bag ...

I decided that I really needed a matching one so that I had a pretty set of lingerie bags for when I travel ... one for clean knickers and one for ... washing. :0) I had made a start, finished the outer bag, but got sidetracked before I finished the second bag. Today when I was ferreting around in my sewing room, I uncovered the bag patiently waiting to be completed, so I DID IT!! :0)

TA! DA! I've been saving that pretty green floral fabric for a while now to make myself something special, so it was fun to play with it and I love how the few pops of rosey pink bring it all together ... I know, I know! Who'd have thought the "Anti-Pink" would admit that a project needed pink! :0) Here is my new travel set ...

Now if only I had some travel planned! :0) The stitchery version of the drawstring bag is one of the options in my newly finished pattern "Ooh! La! La! Lingerie Bags" ... which will soon be available at The Quilters Angel ... making one of my Friday Night Sit N Stitch friends VERY happy! :0)

OPAMers ... I've added my new finish to my sidebar list ... Have YOU updated your lists?? If you could do that in the next day or so and email your tallies through to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg that would be a great help to us. :0) Right ... off to have a cuppa and watch a bit of TV before bed.  Enjoy your week - Til next time ...



Sunday, 26 April 2015

When The Cold Winds Blow ...!!

Well ... contain your shock folks! Here I am visiting the blog three days in a row - WOW! :0)

I don't know what the weather's been like at your place this weekend, but here on top of our 'hill', it's just been plain NAAAAAAAAASTY today!!! The temperatures have been 4-5 degrees below average and the horrible south-westerly winds have just about blown us off the hill and I think they've come to us via the South Pole ... EEK! The temperature gauge was showing around 5, but the weather experts said the wind dropped the perceived temperature to around 7 degrees - EEK!

We were extremely brave and ventured out to some nearby markets this morning, but we were all very happy to come home, rug up, light the fire and warm up with a cuppa and some home made banana cake ... MMMMMMMM!!!! Banana Cake!!!! :0)

So with my plans to spend the afternoon in the garden blown to shreds (Get it? Gale force winds ... blown to ... Never mind!!) how is a gal to entertain herself?

A cheerful, warming fire, a cosy flannel quilt to snuggle under (had to snitch my Beloved Geek Boy's blankie as mine still needs to be quilted ... still searching for a flannel sheet for the backing, Fiona!! :0) ) and some 'just for me' stitching. Add a cup of tea every hour or so and maybe I'll survive winter after all. :0) Of course ... I may change my mind when the temps drop below zero - EEK!!

And now ... can you guess what I'm doing?? Putting the kettle on to repeat the above photo. :0) Hope you've had a fantastic weekend and managed to find some time to kick-back and relax doing something you enjoy. OPAMers ... only a few days left til the month runs out again, so update your sidebar lists with your finishes and email totals to me and my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. Right ... off to answer the siren call of the kettle. :0) Til next time ...



Saturday, 25 April 2015

Remembering & Stitching!

April 25, 1915, a date 100 years ago today, is etched into the psyche of every Australian. The landing on the beach of Gallipoli was a terrible military blunder by the British Commanders, but it was a day where the true Aussie spirit of mateship, loyalty, commitment, strength of character and bravery shone bright and clear.

Both my Beloved Geek Boy and I have men in our family trees who fought in WWI, though not at Gallipoli; my Gramps and one of his brothers were stationed in New Guinea during WWII; my Aunt was in the Air Force for a time; and my Uncle was in the Army Reserve for many years after being told his fitness (and height!!) would stop him from being the pilot he dreamed of being. Anzac Day hits close to home for us. To those who have served in any of the armed services to defend their country or in support services to keep things running at home, to those who have served overseas in peacekeeping missions, to those who continue to defend our freedoms ... Thank you! Your service is appreciated.

On a slightly more domestic front, I'm enjoying a quiet weekend of puddling around at home. Mum and I have been playing in the kitchen again, making another batch of jam and experimenting with a raw paleo dessert ... will let you know how that one goes. :0) And tonight, I'm planning to curl up with some "Just For Me" stitching on my "A Country Tea Party" BOM designed by clever clogs bear lover Libby Richardson. I'm using fabrics from my stash and have chosen thread colours to match, but if you just can't wait to get stitching and LOOOOOOVE the fresh new Tilda fabrics, then hop over to visit Marvellous Marion and Stupendous Steph at  The Quilters Angel (AKA my Home-Away-From-Home!) and hurry to sign up.

I've borrowed this pic from the QA to show your the fresh, pretty Tilda fabrics and two of the GORGEOUS teddy stitcheries that make up this quilt. My buddy Lynda and I will be stitching along together on this, as she was keen to sign up and I bought her the first month's block as her birthday gift. Why not grab a few friends, sign up and have your own little stitch along. :0)

Righto ... off to hunt and gather some lunch before I tackle a few more chores so I can relax and stitch the night away. Hope you're having a wonderful start to your weekend. Til next time ...

At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.


Friday, 24 April 2015

A Little Bit Sad, A Little Bit Industrious!!

Hello, Hello! Sorry to be absent for a couple of weeks. A few things happening in the background here at the Meares' Madhouse that have just thrown me off my plans and timetables ... you know ... LIFE!! :0)

The first hiccup was something a little sad. My Beloved Geek Boy lost one of his lovely Aunts to cancer last week. She was a true Aussie battler ... this was the third time cancer had made a grab for her and sadly, it got a fatal hold this time. Her passing wasn't unexpected, as she has been unresponsive for some weeks, so in some ways last Thursday's news of her passing was a relief to her wonderful, caring family who had been looking after her at home on her beloved hillside property.

GB and I spent quite a bit of time with his Aunty Annette and Uncle Don over the last few years, as GB and Annette were the self-appointed family tree researchers. Their efforts and results were shared with lots of the extended family members two years ago when there was a family reunion gathering at Mackay ... something Annette had dreamed of and we're so pleased she was able to enjoy, having so many family members together to celebrate the family's history.

Here's a pic I took of GB and Aunty Annette deep in research mode. I did a LOT of stitching that holiday! Tee! Hee! Hee! Our budget didn't allow both of us to fly up for Annette's funeral, but GB travelled up with his sisters. He sent me a lovely photo of some quilts on display at the church for Annette's memorial service ... quilts she had made for her children and grandchildren. How very precious to have those keepsakes of a bright, happy, creative woman. We'll miss you Aunty Annette. (Also missing my GB and will be happy to have him home tomorrow!!)

Another thing that has kept me from my blogging duties was a burst of industriousness ... plus a few threats from Matron Marion! Tee! Hee! Hee! 

I've been writing pattern instructions for my "Ooh! La! La! Lingerie Bags" pattern. The samples have been finished for a while now, I just haven't been able to muster the motivation ... or uninterrupted instruction-writing time!! ... to do the deed. Well ... a bit more nagging from one of the Friday Night Sit N Stitch gals who has been waiting for the pattern ever since she saw me working on the stitcheries a little while, a fair while ... TWO YEARS!!! ... ago, a few threats and whip cracks from Matron Marion and a few friendly nudges from the Fabulous Fiona ... and the last of the instructions were finished today ... WOO! HOO!! There was the traditional "Happy Dance" performed ...

... and the instructions were sent off to a helpful and patient friend to proof read and test for me.

Add to that ... I've been doing some Secret Squirrel sample stitching for my blogging buddy and fellow-designer Toni Alexander ... all finished and returned this week. So you can see that even though I've been absent from the blog here, there's been quite a bit happening behind the scenes. Oh ... and autumn took a quick turn into winter this week, almost scaring me into an early hibernation!! EEK! Thankfully, the last couple of days have been a bit warmer again and I'm currently enjoying sitting in front of the open back French doors as I type, watching the King Parrots and (my favourite!!) the Eastern Rosellas munching away on the seed I scattered on the back path this morning. (did I mention I LOVE our new out-of-town living spot!!) Winter's coming, I know ... but I'm happy to delay it as long as possible with some more mild autumn weather!! :0)

So there you have my round up. I hope you're all well and enjoying some mild spring/autumn weather. A shout out to anyone in the south east here in Australia who has been hit with this week's nasty storms ... hope everyone has stayed safe and dry. But right now ... I hear the kettle singing it's siren's song, so I'm off to make a cuppa. I promise I'll try to get back a little sooner next time, but until then, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Til next time ...



Friday, 10 April 2015

Vegemite, Green Apples & Roses!!

That may sound like a strange combination, but that has been my survival kit for the last few days. You see, the Meares' Madhouse was visited by the Tummy Bug and it has NOT been fun!! I'm not usually prone to tummy bugs, so it was a bit of a shock to the ol' system to have my insides turned outside and I'm pretty sure I lost a few internal organs during the process too!! I really do not remember ever feeling so crummy ... and sore!! The roses were from my Beloved Geek Boy in a bid to cheer me up and make me feel better. They didn't help my unhappy tum, but they did help boost my morale. :0) Yes, GB can be a sweetie ... and YES! ... I'm keeping him! :0)

Then ... just when I was starting to be able to face the green apples (grated is better, I'm told by two very experienced nursing friends!) and perhaps a piece of toast with a scrape of Vegemite ... poor GB came down with the same bug. Oh Dear! He's still tucked up in bed recovering, though thankfully the hurried trips down the hall have stopped ... he's just sleeping it off now. He says that usually when he throws up that much and has to sleep it off, it's at least involved a fun time with friends and a bottle or two of wine beforehand! Tee Hee! Hee!

Mum and Dad are off house-sitting for friends, so they've missed out on the 'sharing' of the bug ... which is a good thing, since my Dad REALLY doesn't do unwell very well!! :0)

So ... as a result, you can imagine not much has been happening around here. I'm way behind on answering emails, I haven't done any sewing (sorry Toni! I promise to get stitching again soon!!) and today is the first time I can move around without feeling like I'm on a rocking sail boat. I'm still applying the Vegemite toast and green apple dietary therapy for now ... with a no-frills, grilled chicken breast for dinner, I think. Did I mention I really HATE being sick?!?! :0P

So what has everyone else in blogland been up to? I know my GORGEOUS Partner-In-OPAM-Crime, Sweet Peg, has been blog-hopping and doing the March prize draw. :0) There were 294 finishes for March ... WOW!! Well done to everyone! Big thanks to everyone who emailed their tally to either Sweet Peg or me and made sure they updated their sidebar list before the end of the month ... those two things are a HUGE help to Sweet Peg and me. Congratulations to everyone who added finishes to their list and if you were like me and mostly working on long-term projects but you made some good progress ... well done to you, too! Sometimes keeping the momentum going on long-term projects is even harder than projects that can be finished quickly. So in a slight miss-quote of Dory in "Finding Nemo" ... 

"Just Keep Stitching!" :0)

Now I'm off to check up on GB and maybe make a cuppa to sip on ... good thing I usually drink my tea without milk, anyways, isn't it?! :0) I hope you're all steering clear of the tummy bugs and flu bugs and having a wonderful week. The woollies are starting to come out of our closets here this week, too, and something tells me it won't be too long before our first fire of the season is lit in the ol' fireplace. SIGH! I already miss my warm summer weather! Never mind ... more excuses to sit and enjoy a hot cuppa and some stitching :0) Enjoy your weekend. Til next time ...



Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Blessings & OPAM!!

He is risen!!

Happy Easter to you all!! Easter has been a bit different for us this year ... it's our first Easter in our new house and we have been feeling truly blessed to be home and enjoying it quietly. You see, Toowoomba hosts a HUGE gospel music festival in it's main park ... which we used to live just four blocks away from!! ... which meant Easter was usually rather NOISY for us with sound carrying from the festival and much increased levels of traffic in our neighbourhood ... NOT usually a particularly restful time for us.

This year ... AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Smell the serenity! :0) We've pottered around in the garden, caught up with Mum and Dad who are back with us after a couple of weeks tripping around to catch up with family and friends, we finally got to attend one of the local Easter events (a few pics to share next time!) and in general ... we have kicked-back, relaxed and enjoyed the peace and quiet of our new home. Whenever we have a quiet period at home to enjoy listening to the wind in the big trees in our yard, watch the many varieties of birds flitting about our garden and this weekend at least, listening to the pitter-pat of rain on the roof ... we feel truly BLESSED! :0)

Now, just because I've been getting my hands dirty in the garden doesn't mean I haven't been sewing ... I've actually done quite a LOT of hand stitching ... but it's some Secret Squirrel stitching to help out my fellow designer Toni Alexander of the Red Boot Quilt Co. who has a looming deadline for her first book (HOW EXCITING!!!!) and it is SO Secret Squirrel that I can't even give you a sneaky peeky! But ... I promise to tell you when Toni's book is published cos if you love gorgeous, cheerful, quirky, fun appliqué projects, you are DEFINITELY going to want to buy her book! I've seen sneaky peekies of lots of her projects and I am SWOONING at all the cuteness! :0) Hmmm .... since I can't show you sneaky peekies of the sewing I'm working on, what about a sweet display I've enjoyed recently in our living area ...

My sweet white iron table and chair set is dressed in my favourite embroidered tablecloth and displaying a GORGEOUS dotty jug I bought with a Christmas voucher, along with some BEAUTIFUL roses ... don't' you love that green/dusty pink combo? There ... a little bit of eye candy to make up for no sewing sneaky peekies :0) Am I forgiven now? Tee! Hee! Hee!

So ... no more finishes for me to add to my OPAM tally, but I HAVE been joining my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg for some blog-hopping to collect OPAM finishes from our participants who forgot to email their tallies through for March. WOW! There's been a lot of stitching going on in blogland! :0) It's Sweet Peg's turn to do the prize draw in the next few days, so stay tuned! REMEMBER ... Sweet Peg and I take it month about to do the prize draw, so you need to make sure you pop into BOTH of our blogs to see if you're one of the winners ... as well as to catch up on our exciting adventures, of course! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And speaking of exciting adventures ... I'm off to make myself a cup of tea to sip as I amble around my peaceful garden to see how my new plantings are settling in ... I really must take a few photos to share with you what I've been pottering with in my garden. So what has everyone else been up to for Easter? Have you had a quiet one or have you had a jam-packed, adventure-filled Easter?? Well ... whatever you've been up to, I hope there's been a bit of time to reflect on the reason for our long weekend ... a cross and a tomb that didn't stay occupied and the hope that that empty cross and tombs gives us. :0) Til next time ...



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