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 ...



Friday, 27 March 2015

You & Me For Afternoon Tea!

 Well, here we are at the end of another working week, yet again wondering where the heck the time has gone. It's been an interrupted kind of week, so still no sewing finishes to show, but I thought I'd share some pics of the afternoon tea my Beloved Geek Boy and I hosted last Sunday ... cos we ALL like a good afternoon tea, right??!? :0)

GB's Mum has been struggling a little in the last little while and feeling a bit low ... her sister-in-law is in the last stages of cancer and she has recently found that one of her sisters' cancer has popped up somewhere else and the prognosis is not good ... so she is, understandably, a bit blue. So ... I thought a little change of scenery and a special afternoon tea might be a nice distraction for her. We opened the invitation to all of GB's family too, but with life being so busy, only one of his sisters, her hubby and kids were able to make it ... still a nice little gathering. :0)

Now ... I may grumble (like most of us!!) about the day-to-day meal preparation from time to time, but I do actually enjoy playing in the kitchen a bit, so afternoon teas and parties are a fun time to 'play' a little. Preparations began on Friday (My birthday!! How did I get tricked into working on my birthday?!?! A sneaky Mum! Tee! Hee! Hee!) when Mum and I dug out the recipe books ... she to do some market stall cooking and me to start prep for afternoon tea. There was then a bit more prep work on Saturday afternoon and a manic-panic on Sunday to get everything finished and looking pretty ... cos looking pretty is as important as taste, don't you think??

At last, all was ready and the table was set ...

A pretty tablecloth, lots of yummy home-made treats, some pretty plates and napkins (paper versions due to the gathering including small people!) and pretty flowers picked from the garden.

Mmmmmmmm !!! Home-made mini tart shells (Friday's efforts!) filled with caramel and home-made lemon butter, topped with a dollop of extra thick cream and some pretty mini meringues on the top tier. These tart shells are Mum's recipe and can be kept in the freezer ready for special occasions ... I think I will be making some more of these ... though a little tip from me to you is ... DON'T try to play with pastry on the hottest day of the month ... it's ... well ... CHALLENGING!!! :0)

Home-made sausage rolls ... YUMMO!! These are my 'invention'. The filling is the mixture from my Grandma's meatloaf recipe (a legend amongst our family and friends! Tee! Hee! Hee!) with a few little tweaks and rolled in lovely puff pastry ... a freezer staple in our household. They were so yummy that they were the first thing to disappear!! :0)

Another big hit was this cheese log. I got the recipe from one of my Friday night Sit N Sew friends ... SOOOOOOOO quick and simple to whip up when unexpected guests arrive for afternoon tea! There was also a plate of nibbles to mix and match with crackers and a dollop of my home-made chilli jam ... another hit for the day, especially with GB's brother-in-law who loves anything with chillies in ... the hotter the better! ... although my chilli jam just gives a hint of heat. 

There you have it ... afternoon tea with family at Edward House. A very nice, relaxing afternoon was had by all ... sitting at our lovely new table and looking out into our peaceful back garden. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon at all! :0)

If anyone is interested I might share one or more of these recipes on a future post ... if not, I'll just keep them to myself and INDULGE! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Hope you're all having a lovely week ... in theory we're nearing the end of our first month of autumn, but I think my birthday gift this year was to have an extra month of summer weather, cos it's been pretty warm hot, even here on top of our 'hill'. YAY! :0) I'm hoping, though, for the temps to be just a wee bit lower over the weekend so GB and I can play in the garden without melting ... it's time to dig over the vege patch and plant some goodies for winter crops ... and maybe some sweetpeas for their fragrance. If I'm VERY lucky, I might even squeeze in some sewing. :0) So what are YOU up to this weekend? Maybe you're going to have a yummy afternoon tea! :0)

Whatever you're up to, stay safe, be kind to yourself and enjoy the little things in life that make life so GOOD. :0) Til next time ...



PS. OPAMers ... it's almost THAT time of the month again, so make sure your sidebar lists are up-to-date and you email your final March tally through to my gorgeous Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg or me!! xx

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Hello! Hello! Is Anybody Out There?!!

It's been a little while since I've popped in here again ... life sure gets busy, doesn't it?! There's been quite a bit happening in the Meares' Madhouse ... not much of which involved stitching! SIGH!! Weddings (not mine!! :0) ), trips to catch up with friends (YAY!) and birthdays (OK ... one was mine!! EEK!) as well as the usual crazy comings and goings. So I don't really have any progress or finishes pics to share with you ... so I thought I'd share a little decorating update. :0)

Do you remember last year (or the year before??? I've lost track!!) we rescued this old table ...

And refurbished it to look like this ...

It fitted into our old small dining room perfectly ... BUT ... then we moved into our lovely new dream house that was ... well ... BIGGER! Quite a LOT bigger, in fact, than our cosy cottage. :0) And since our new house IS quite a lot bigger, we seem to host quite a few gatherings parties and get-togethers and our rescued table just wasn't big enough. So when my Grandma gave us a house-warming gift, we decided to put it towards a new ... BIGGER ... dining table. We ordered it specially from the same company where we bought the chairs in the photo above, a local Toowoomba company ... we can recommend it. :0)  So now, this is what our dining room looks like ...

Yes, we are the proud owners of a very LONG table and some more chairs. :0) I know ... little things for some, but we creative types get excited over odd things! Tee! Hee! Hee! A few more chairs are still on our save-up-wish-list to have 10 chairs around our 10-seater table.

Do you like the pretty purple flowers from our garden? They're putting on a lovely show in the garden right now. I think they may be Mexican Sage ... but my gardening knowledge is somewhat limited ... I'm just as likely to tell you that the name of a plant is "the pink one" or "the yellow one". Tee! Hee! Hee! Any gardeners out there who can tell me?

Can you see that my little white iron table and chairs set has found a new home too?

Do you like my pretty tablecloth? Mum rescued it from a garage sale for me ... WOO! HOO! :0) It's got a few 'rust' spots on it that I haven't worked out how to remove yet (any tips, ladies??), but I just love the gorgeous crochet lace edge and those flowers are beautifully embroidered. With an afternoon tea with some of my Beloved Geek Boy's family tomorrow arvo, I thought I'd match my pretty tablecloth with our lovely new table ... along with some yummy home-made treats on pretty china and plates ... sounds like a good way to spend a Sunday arvo, really, don't you agree?! :0)

So that's it from me for now ... but I do have some sewing on my "To Do" list this week, so hopefully I'll be able to report back soon with some sewing news. I hope you're all having a lovely weekend and that you have something fun and relaxing on your Sunday agenda. Til next time ...



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