Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Popping In From The Garden!!

G'day to you all out there in blogland! The days have been whizzing by again and it's almost 10 days since I popped in for a visit ... the fat bloke in the red suit will be showing up in a jingling of bells and a clattering of reindeer hooves before we know it - EEK!!!

One of the reasons for my absence has been ... I don't have any sewing to share. You see, the spring weather has finally shown up ... mostly!! ... and so my Beloved Geek Boy and I have both come out of hibernation and started to spend most of our free time in the garden. We have a smidge over an acre to keep us busy, so the gardening gloves have been on! :0) In fact ... I thought, since I didn't have any sewing to share, I'd bring you a little garden update ... I hope you enjoy it. :0)

One of the things we love about out block compared to our town backyard (oh, let me count the many things!!) is that we have more room for a good vege patch. There's something very satisfying about munching on goodies that you have grown in your garden and today was the first harvest time this season for my little vege patch.

Lovely, crunchy, good-for-you radishes. And they're one of my fave colour combos ... red and green! :0) I planted two punnets of these babies cos we LOVE them in summer salads. I think I might have to find a spot to plant some more to keep us going through salad season. :0)

And our foxgloves are starting to show off their spring finery ...

... and the first bearded iris has appeared. It really MUST be spring! :0)

We do have a bit of an ulterior motive for our mad gardening. We're hosting a fund raising garden party in our front yard next month ... so the garden needs to be whipped into shape to show it off nicely. :0) We're helping to raise funds for Bloom Asia, which is an education/training organisation that works directly with vulnerable women and girls in Cambodia. Bloom not only ensures the girls get basic education (many have been sold into servitude by impoverished families at a young age, so have never attended school), they are also trained in hospitality, barista skills and cake decorating. Bloom Asia is the fruition of the vision of a lovely Brisbane lady who took her hobby of cake decorating and used it as the basis for this fantastic enterprise. Bloom Asia receives no government funding or assistance and now has two training centres in Cambodia that each have a cafe attached where girls can gain experience in the hospitality industry and when they've finished their training, they are offered employment at a fair wage to help them and their families. These centres are self-sustaining once they're up and running.

With the success of these two centres, the founders of Bloom Asia were approached to duplicate their successful and sustainable training/education/employment enterprise in Cebu in the Philippines ... again, with no government funding. So ... the lovely Brissie lady's sister (who lives in our area) committed to renovating a house in Toowoomba, with 100% of the sale profits to go towards the new Bloom Asia centre. To make sure that profit is a nice healthy one, fund raising events are being held around the local area to help pay for the reno costs ... that's what we're planning to do. :0)

Sorry that was a bit long-winded (no comments from you, Miss Chookyblue!! :0) ) but we're pretty excited to be involved in helping in such a wonderful project, even in a small way. My Mum and I will be doing most of the catering, so it will be a frenzy of gardening and cooking around here for the next few weeks. :0) I'll share some pics as we go along ... in case you're interested! :0)

If you'd like to know more about Bloom Asia you can visit their web site: and if you want to catch up with the house flip that we're raising funds to help with you can visit here:

Righto ... now that this post turned into a bit of an epic tale ... I shall sign off and go in search of dinner inspiration. Hmmm ... what do I have that will go with a nice salad that includes fresh radishes?! :0) Hope your week is toodling along nicely ... and that you're doing more sewing than I am! :0) Oh! OPAM gals ... Sweet Peg has done the prize draw ... was it your name that came out of the hat? :0) Til next time ...



Monday, 3 October 2016

Seafoamy, Rainy Weekend!

Hello to all of you out there in blogland on this lovely Queens' Birthday public holiday here in QLD. It's not REALLY the Queen's birthday, and we used to celebrate it in June ... til the government changed it ... I do hope Her Maj doesn't get as confused as the rest of us when our State government plays with our public holidays ... Politics! SIGH!! However ... the extra day in the weekend was welcome ... if WET!

Lots happening here at the Meares' Madhouse this weekend - some sewing projects to be sewn, a high tea to be attended (which I forgot I took a couple of pics of ... will share next time!), some gardens to be dug, some plants to be planted and all of it now being finished off in rainy, gale-force-windy weather ... SIGH! Welcome to life on top of our 'hill'!!

While I'm waiting for the rain to move on a little before I venture out to help with the plant planting part of our weekend, I thought I'd show you what I've been sewing. With the warmer weather almost here (APPARENTLY?!?!?!) I decided I needed a couple of new skirts, so after rifling through my stash ... and making a quick trip to The Quilters Angel to top up!! ... I've finished the first one ... just scraping in as my September OPAM finish! :0)

Ta da! Some of you may have guessed this was what I've been working on from the pic I shared last time. I LOVE the seafoamy-sagey-tealy colours of these fabrics. I'll wear it on days I feel I need a little oceany magic in my life. :0) I love these patchwork skirts ... a fun way to show off lots of lovely quilting fabrics ... and they are SOOOOOO comfy!! :0) My brother says I'm just a leftover hippie ... maybe! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And being on a bit of a roll (and finding things to keep me INSIDE out of rainy-day-gardening! :0) ) I decided to use a few of these fabrics for another long-overdue project. You see, some years ago (four or five, I think!) my GORGEOUS OPAM Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg gifted me a lovely French General phone case ...

Well ... it has been used every day since then ... until I had to finally admit it (like all of us!!) was starting to show a bit of wear and tear ...

Can you see where it has worn right through the fabric at the bottom there from being pulled in and out of my handbag? It did last pretty well, though. But ... time for an update ... to go with the updated phone ... which I am still learning to drive properly ... SIGH!!!!

Some of the lovely dark teal batik fabric left over from my skirt and some ribbon and a button from my stash that matched perfectly. 

And some soft seafoam batik inside. New phone fits perfectly. :0)

Righto ... the rain seems to have stopped ... though that wind is still a bit icky! So I think I've run out of excuses to NOT be out in the garden ... oops! Ah well ... if I want pretty flowers in my garden, I have to work for them, I guess. That sounds a bit like one of the memes you find on Facebook! :0) Hope you've had a great weekend, whether you had a long one or not. OPAMers ... don't forget to email me or Sweet Peg with your tally! Til next time ...



Friday, 30 September 2016

Popping In & OPAM Reminder!

Here I am ... managing to pop into blogland for a little visit. I am SOOOOOO far behind in reading my fave blogs, WAAAAAY behind in answering emails and overdue to pop back here for a visit. All of these things are symptoms of the one problem ... a laptop with a dodgy battery. :0) You see, answering emails, blogging and reading blogs are all done on my laptop ... whose battery won't hold a charge for more than about an hour and a half before having to be plugged in. Then I end up tangled or tripping over the power cord, or I have to relocate to set up at the dining table ... and in all honesty it just falls into the "Too Hard" category and gets put off. SORRY! :0)

The other factor contributing to my blogging absence has been my grown-up job continuing in the crazy-busy category. But ... I HAVE been doing a bit ... some gardening and some sewing.

Two weeks ago was the Carnival of Flowers weekend in Toowoomba and I usually try to team up with a friend to see some of the gardens entered in the competition. This year, we decided to check out a couple of out-of-town gardens, so it was a mini-road-trip. :0)

I LOOOOOOOVED the Grand Champion garden so much this year. It's what I call an "achievable" garden ... the type of garden that looks spectacular, but doesn't rely solely on having buckets of money, either to pay a gardener to maintain the garden for you, or to splash out on thousands of spring annuals that will be over and done in a matter of a couple of weeks. It was the sort of garden that you can see would have something to see and some splashes of colour all year round. And it didn't have a lot of expensive exotic plants ... lots of old fashioned favourites, many of which are dry-weather tolerant ... a VERY important factor for us as we rely solely on tank water. Want to see??

PRETTY!! There were daisies, lavenders, roses, geraniums and flowering shrubs as the basis of the garden, with pretty annuals plugged in for spring. The really amazing thing about this garden was, that just eight years ago ... it was a cow paddock! There was a lot more to it, as the garden wove right around the house, with lots of sweet features like ...

... this. Ivy grown over a frame with a basket of pretty flowers hung from the centre. To be honest, I was so busy drooling over the pretty flowers, chatting to the owners to get tips and collecting cuttings from the lovely owners who encouraged me to 'give it a go', that I only took two pics. This is what OUR garden would like to be ... when it grows up! :0) Then, we headed off to another country garden ...

It was getting on for late afternoon by the time we got to this one and the sun was in the wrong spot to get photos of most of the garden, but I loved this sweet faux gateway ... this has been on our garden "to do" list for some time, so now even more inspired to do it. :0) 

Sadly, our own garden isn't quite ready to put on a spectacular spring show this year ... it was badly affected by extended dry weather through autumn, then beaten up by a rather nasty hail storm at the start of winter and we're just starting to get back into the clean up and revamp ... or in some cases ... the vamp ... since there hasn't been anything done there previously. :0) But ... a couple of lavender bushes I planted this time last year are putting on a fabulous show ...

They have each doubled in size and are flowering madly. The bees love them even more than I do! ;0) Apart from that ... I have been doing a LITTLE bit of sewing ...

Hmm ... what do you suppose I'm making?! :0) Loving these seafoamy, sagey, minty greens. I'm hoping to get it finished for my September OPAM list ... and speaking of OPAM ... OK gals ... time to update your sidebar lists of finishes and drop an email with your tally to me and my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. What have you all been creating this month? Can't wait to see. :0)

But right now, the kettle is singing it's siren's song and calling me to have a cup of tea, so I shall sign off for now. Til next time ...



Monday, 19 September 2016

24 Years Ago ... !!

24 years ago, it was quite a bit warmer ... Thank goodness! :0) ... when my Beloved Geek Boy and I were married under blue spring skies with birds singing happily in the trees of the park we'd chosen as the place to exchange our forever-promises ...

Bryan Adams crooned "Everything I Do, I Do It For You" as I walked towards my Sweetie ... and Dragon sang "Celebrate Good Times!" as we walked through the small group of our family and friends as Mr and Mrs Meares. :0)

24 years later there's a bit more of us (mostly around the waist and butt!!), there's a few more wrinkles, a few more grey hairs (GB, not me ... YET!!) and a few more kilometres on the ol' odometre, but all in all ... life is pretty good. We're still very much in love ... and still LIKE each other ... most days! Tee! Hee! Hee! 

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!! xxx



Sunday, 18 September 2016

SDDO 2016 Catch Up!!

Hello to you all in blogland from the top of our grey and rainy 'hill' on this lovely Sunday. I can say it's lovely even though it's raining ... BECAUSE it's raining! :0) The weather may have put the kibosh on our gardening plans but it is so lovely to enjoy some good soaking rain and celebrate having our tanks full that we really don't mind too much ... and it's giving me no excuses for not catching up with you all to tell you about Stitchers' Dream Day Out 2016. OK ... so ... there are LOTS of photos ... you might need to grab a cuppa and a bickie or two to get you through this one. You've been warned, Chookyblue! :0)

Stitchers' Dream Day Out is a fantastic annual event hosted my the Marvellous Marion and the Stupendous Steph of my Home-Away-From-Home, The Quilters Angel. They really do spoil us all rotten so you feel relaxed and spoilt ... and usually all chatted out! ... as you head home at the end of the day. This year's theme was "Ooh, La, La! Paris!" and what a lot of fun we had with it. Guest designers were Debbie Magee from "Always Stitching" and Nikki Tervo from Tikki Tervo Designs. Each designer was given two packs of fat 1/8s to create a new design ... which meant everyone attending received four not-yet-public designs hot off the presses. And everyone got a fabric pack and pre-printed stitchery design so they could start stitching on the day. Apparently, some people STITCH at these days ... go figure! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Each table had a French centrepiece and a goody bag for each person ... you can see some of the shop in the background ... and two of my quilts that were on display for the day too. ;0)

It's always exciting to pull out your pre-printed design to see which one you have ... here's Julie about to find out which one she'd be stitching. And if you look closely, you'll see a little bit of Julie's skirt peeking out in the bottom left of the photo ... she made it especially for the day, showing off some lovely Eiffel Tower fabric.

And a few more colourful characters getting into the spirit of the French theme ... The Fabulous Fiona with two of her sewing buddies, Christine and Anne. Can I tell you ... by the end of the day, there were so many of those red feathers scattered around the hall that it looked like some giant red chook had been moulting. :0)

Here's me catching up with the lovely Debbie Magee ... she's such a sweetie and so very clever with her designs. :0)

And since it's all about the new designs ... this is a storage tub designed by Nikki Tervo. The zipper goes right around and the lid folds back to give access to several zippered pockets on the inside to store your sewing treasures.

Here's a better look at the stitchery design on the lid ... isn't it pretty?! This one is on my list to stitch, which is handy, since it's the design I found in my goody bag. :0)

And Nikki's second project was equally pretty ... don't you love that flower cart? :0)

And opened up, this becomes a storage pouch with clear plastic zippered pockets so you can see your sewing goodies or jewellery that you've stored in there.

The first of Debbie's designs was this sweet and handy drawstring bag decorated with delicate hexie stitcheries. The roses are little bullion knots, which Debbie showed us how to do. I need to practice a bit, I think. :0)

Here's another of the pretty stitcheries on Debbie's bag. Ooh, la, la! :0)

And Debbie's second design was this pretty and handy organiser. It has pockets inside and handle tabs on the sides for easy pick-up. You can either sit it on your sewing desk, or pick it up and pop it into your sewing bag ready to head off for a day of stitching with your friends ... or even use it as a handbag organiser ... mine would need more pockets to fit all my handbag junk in it, I think! Tee! Hee! Hee!

There was also time for show and tell ... and here is Julie showing off her finished stitchery for one of MY Christmas designs ... hasn't she done a lovely job? I may be a little biased. :0) And speaking of being a little biased ...

Glenda brought along her version of my "French Amour" quilt since it fitted in with the day's French theme. WOW! I love it, Glenda! :0) I love to see how people put my designs together ... some like theirs to be just like the pattern and others make little changes and additions to make the project more their own. There are still kits for this fun applique and stitchery quilt at the Quilters Angel if you'd like to make your very own version. :0)

And speaking of my designs ... do you remember me teasing you with this photo ...

Well ... I can now reveal what I'd been playing with ...

Ta Da! A new pattern. I had a little play with the fabric bundles the designers used for Stitchers Dream Day Out this year ... just for the challenge! And this is the result of one pack. The pattern is called "Bijou Beauties" ... bijou being French for 'jewel' ... and the framed stitchery with the pretty cut glass knobs on the bottom of the frame (which was an inexpensive frame painted with EZ2 Paint and finished with antiquing wax) is a handy necklace organiser, the zippered pouch is a handy storage pocket for your petite bijou (little jewels) when you travel and the folder at the bottom opens up to show pockets to keep jewellery tucked away and a spot to hook earrings for when you're travelling. This pattern is now available at The Quilters Angel and if you pop in for a visit you can take a peek at the original. :0) You can also now purchase the patterns for the SDDO projects, so if you couldn't come for the weekend, you can still make the pretty projects.

So ... wrapping up Stitchers Dream Day Out 2016 ... as always, we had a fantastic time, chatted with lovely, like-minded ladies, laughed, learned, ate delicious food ... and some people even stitched! :0) A HUGE thank you to Marion and Steph for giving us such a special event to enjoy. If you haven't been before, you really should book in for next year to come and play with us where the theme will be "Blossom And Bloom". I can't wait! :0)

But now, since it's raining again outside and I think I need to warm up a bit, I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on for a cup of tea. I hope you're all enjoying your weekend and that you have a FANTASTIC week. Til next time ...



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