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 ...



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Claytons Post & OPAM Winners!

Do you remember the old ad for a non-alcoholic drink called "Claytons"? The slogan was ... "The drink you have when you're not having a drink". Well ... this is a "Claytons" post ... the post you have when you were planning a different post. :0) I HAD planned to share a little sweet treat with you ... but the Meares' Madhouse is currently having a few email issues ... which means I can't email my photos from my phone to my laptop to edit. SIGH! So I promise to share that soon.

So ... what else has been happening here at the MM? I'm still stitching my binding down on my whole-cloth quilt, more boxes have been unpacked ,,, and a major mystery was solved! Intrigued?? :0) You see ... in the packing up to move, two of my MOST important sewing/designing tools were packed in a VERY safe spot. You know ... one of those spots that is SOOOOO safe that you can't find it again?! The missing tools were my 12 1/2" square quilting ruler that I use for most of my cutting (especially a new project I'm keen to get started on!) and my sketchbook where I draw new design sketches and write myself notes when I'm designing ... you know ... important things like measurements, placement, processes ... EEP!

I had looked in so many places, unpacked so many boxes marked "Sewing Room" - who knew I had managed to pack so much STUFF into my sewing room! :0) I couldn't find either of these lost tools. It occurred to me that wherever they were ... they were probably together, cos they'd been two of the last things packed. Hmmm ... the mystery deepened as the pile of boxes dwindled.

Then this afternoon, I had a "EUREKA!" moment. The box right at the bottom of the pile awaiting attention (of course!!) in my sewing room was dragged out from under the flotsam and jetsam, things were flung, things were shuffled until ...

... Ta da! Reunited with old friends and a mystery was solved as thoroughly as any addressed by Monsieur Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes! :0) So ... there's now really no excuse for me NOT to be creative, is there?! :0)

And speaking of creative ... you OPAM gals have been making some GORGEOUS projects in the last month. There were a fantastic 292 finishes for September - YAY!! Well done to everyone who contributed to that figure. And if you were like me and didn't actually get to add any finishes ... but took some time out to work on long-term projects or maybe did some prep work ready to get stitchin' ... WELL DONE! :0) OPAM is all about busy ladies taking some time out from busy work lives, time out from being Mum, wife, cook, cleaner, chief-bottle-washer and doing something that lets loose their creativity, cos when you take a bit of time to create and recharge your batteries, you have more energy to carry through into all those other areas of your life. Don't you agree?

Before I announce the September random draw winners, I want to say a huge THANK YOU!! to my GORGEOUS partner-in-crime Sweet Peg. During the last few months when we've been doing the house juggling and moving, Sweet Peg has stepped into the breach and carried the bulk of the OPAM load. Big Squooshy Bear Hugs to you, my Sweet Friend for being such an awesome co-host and partner-in-crime ... MMMMMWAAAAAAAHHH!!! :0)

OK ... drum-roll please ... the winners for September are ...

Congratulations, gals! Email me with your snail mail addresses and I'll pop a little surprise in the mail for you soon. Thank you to everyone who emailed their finished through to me or Sweet Peg, too ... it really is a big help at the end of each month. It gives us a bit of a head start ... and allows us more stitching time! :0)

Now ... I'm off to reacquaint myself with my sketchbook ... just because I haven't had time/space/my favourite ruler to create in the last little while doesn't mean there haven't been LOTS of new design ideas swirling around in my imagination! :0) And you just KNOW that I'm going to pair that sketchbook time with a cup of tea, right?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hope you're all having a fantastic week ... I'll be back soon (when the technical issues have been sorted!!) to share my sweet treat recipe with you. Til next time ...



Friday, 10 October 2014

FINALLY! I'm Back!

Well ... I sure didn't intend to be absent from blogland this long, but technology let me down and this is the first chance I've had to get back to catch up with you all. You see, one of the few down-sides we've found to our recent move out of town is the fact that the level of internet service available is much lower and as a result the plans available are either very expensive (paying off a new mortgage here!!) or very limiting ... or both!!

My Beloved Geek Boy looked at the data we had left on our plan for the month, believed the guidelines given by Apple for the requirements to update the operating system on my iPad so I could read my newly purchased e-version of "Romantic Homes" and carried out the update ... which took WAY more data than advised and took us back to dial-up internet speed for two weeks ... AAAAARRRGGGHHH!!! I know, I know!! Some folks ONLY have dial-up speed and I should be grateful to have ANY internet, but when you're used to fairly speedy uploading of websites etc, dropping back SUCKS!! Everything just took so LOOOOOOOONG to load ... I couldn't even enjoy blog updates via RSS feeds in my email folder cos photos kept blocking up the system ... and I am SOOOOO behind in my blog hopping (thanks Sweet Peg for doing to OPAM hop this month!!) ... never mind how much I'm having Pinterest withdrawal symptoms! :0)

So ... here I am back online again with our new month of data allowance kicking in at midnight last night ... I wasn't QUITE desperate enough to stay awake for it to tick over to start my catch up ... but boy am I making up for it this morning! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So ... what have I been up to? Well ... we had yet another house-warming party with GB's family and workmates which was fun and went well after I finished stressing about not having enough food (can't have people leaving hungry is my motto!! :0) ), my boss has been on leave, so the maintenance boys and I have been 'holding the fort' and I've been ... (dramatic drum-roll please!) ... SEWING!!! YAY!!! I'd love to tell you that my sewing room is now all unpacked and I've been enjoying play time in there ... but I'd be lying! :0) Still wall to wall boxes and a half-painted cupboard in there, but I was having such dreadful sewing withdrawal symptoms that I resorted to this ...

... yep ... setting up on the dining table. :0) Actually, this turned out to be a wise decision anyways, cos the project I was working on was a BIG one and I would have struggled to work on it on my small sewing desk. Step one was to use the rotary cutter and ruler on that pretty minty-sage-green fabric to make ...

... 10m of pretty minty-sage-green binding - don't you just love the tones in this batik fabric?? :0) And this binding was for a ...

... new quilt!! YAY! Now ... I don't really feel I can take much credit for this quilt ... I cheated a bit. You see ... I told you I was struggling with the very neutral taupe colour palette of our new house, right? Well, I was especially struggling with it in our bedroom where we went from a lovely deep turquoise/teal wall colour in our cottage as the background for predominantly white furniture and bedding to having the same white things against a taupe background. Oh how the colour-freak in me struggled! So I bought a minty-sage-green sheet set and a taupe flat sheet, took the two flat sheets and some 100% cotton wadding and handed them over to the Fabulous Fiona, quilter extraordinaire to work her magic. The result ... a lovely whole-cloth quilt to drape across the bottom of our bed, teamed with the minty-sage-green pillowcases from the sheet set and some other cushions to add a splash of colour to our bedroom. YAY! Fiona has (as always!!) done a GORGEOUS job of the quilting ... which she does all on her domestic machine in the free-motion style ... AMAZING!! You can catch a few little glimpses of it in the photo above and I promise I'll share more pics when it's all finished ...

I've sewn the binding on, so that's my stitching-in-front-of-the-TV project at the moment. It may take a while as it is a HUGE quilt ... the biggest I've ever bound ... 96"x104". Once it's on I'll take some close up pics of Fiona's FANTASTIC quilting (she is just such a clever-clogs and constantly amazes me with her talent!!) and how it has brightened up our bedroom.

And on that note ... I think it's time to make myself a cuppa, pop some "Midsomer Murders" or "Rosemary & Thyme" on the tele and get stitching. Oh ... OPAM gals!! Thank you SOOOOOOO much for being so patient with this internet-challenged OPAM host this month! The random prize draw will take place this weekend ... so if you haven't yet emailed Sweet Peg or me ... hop to it! ... and you can still add to your September tally for the draw. Enjoy your weekend, everyone! And even if you don't get to do some stitching, make sure you take a little bit of time out just for "YOU" to do something that relaxes you and makes you smile! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday, 30 September 2014

What You Do When You're Not Sewing!

Well ... still no sewing happening here ... too many boxes blocking the sewing desk ... not to mention that I haven't quite located my sewing machine yet! :0) Aaahh ... the joys of moving!

So what have I been doing ... besides unpacking boxes, which I suspect I will be doing for the foreseeable future! Well ... one step that has to happen before I can sew again is the unpacking of all of the sewing room 'stuff'. And in a bit of a flow-on affect, I need more storage in my sewing room to replace the ugly-but-serviceable built-in cupboard in my old sewing room. Enter the 'diamond in the rough' ...

... a rather well-worn linen press. Not pretty on the outside ... yet!! :0) But inside ...

... lovely shelves to house my sewing bits and bobs. So, the first step was to give it a clean up, a sand and ...

... a coat of undercoat and its already looking better, don't you think? :0) Now I just have to find time to put some nice fresh paint over the undercoat ... in between having visitors and the rolling series of house-warming parties we seem to be hosting in order to say "THANKS!" to everyone who helped us in our house selling/buying/moving process. :0) Stay tuned for the unveiling of the 'polished diamond' in the not-too-distant-future ... I hope! :0)

And for those who HAVE been sewing ... it's the end of another month, so OPAMers ... have you updated your sidebar lists of finishes and emailed your tally to me or my gorgeous Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg? Well ... QUICKLY!! Do it NOW!! :0) Hopefully you've all had lots of fun creating this month so I can sew vicariously through your lovely finishes. :0)

That's it from me for now ... I promise to be back again soon. I'd like to say I'll be back with some sewing progress, but I'm not making any rash promises! :0) Enjoy the rest of your week. Til next time ...



PS Cheerio to Steph who's feeling a bit under the weather. Get better soon, Steph!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Better Late Than Never, Right?!!

WOW! Where did the last week and a half go?? And can I get that time refunded please!?!! :0) Life sure has been busy and despite starting to come back here for a visit several times ... it just hasn't happened, so let's see how we go this time.

Last post, I teased told you that I was getting ready for the 2014 Stitchers Dream Day Out hosted by the Dynamic Duo from the Quilters Angel, the Magnificent Marion and the Stupendous Steph! :0) This is one of my favourite-est events for the year ... meeting fabulously talented Aussie designers, playing with not-yet-released patterns, being treated to yummy snacks and lunch that I don't have to prepare or (more importantly!) clean up after, meeting lovely new stitching folks, greeting blogging buddies in 'real-life', and hanging out for some quality time with good friends ... Nothin' but SMILES here! :0)

Now ... I have a quick confession before I share some pics of the fantastic stitching weekend with you ... I got so caught up chatting, laughing, eating, chatting, laughing, drinking cuppas, chatting, helping, laughing ... I think you get the picture!! ... that I didn't actually take a LOT of photos ... OOPS! However ... I'll share what I did manage to click ... so grab a cuppa and check out what you missed if you didn't climb the 'hill' to join us. :0)

I joined the Fabulous Fiona on the Friday before this event to help Marion and Steph set up the hall ready for the influx of enthusiastic stitchers. Fiona and I are experts at tying "floofy bows". :0) No pics ... sorry! An empty, echo-y school all-purpose hall was transformed into a pretty, girly space in a matter of hours ready for everyone to come and play.

Oops! Guess who was caught taking a sneaky peeky into her gifty bag to see which project she had received! :0) It might have been ...

... a gorgeous memory board designed by Debbie McGee ... or ...

... Debbie's second project in pretty-in-pink fabrics ... a handy stitching cushion to rest your hands on when you're stitching, while under the flap ...

... pockets and felt pages to store needles and stitching bits ... or the project might have been ...

... this cute cameo bear designed by Libby Richardson of Art Smart Craft Cottage ... or ... another cute bear cushion designed by Libby that I forgot to photograph ... OOPS! Can you tell I was having a bit of an A.D.O.P kind of photography day? You know ... "Attention" "Deficit" ... "Oh!" "Pretty!" :0) 

But I did take a pic of Libby's ultra-cute teddy quilt that I fell in love with and ...

... Debbie's delicious dollies. Aaahh ... so many pretties to make, so little time and play money! :0)

And I took a pic to prove that my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette did actually do some stitching (which is a lot more than I stitched, I confess! Tee! Hee! Hee!). Can you see that Lynette was fully in "Nanna Mode" ... glasses on the end of the nose and a blankie over her knees! :0) She is so going to kill me for that! Tee! Hee! Hee! It was a bit coolish that weekend and she IS from Brisbane, I suppose! :0) And what was I doing when everyone else was stitching? Well ...

... there were some cuppas ...

... there was some catching up with fellow designer and bear-lover Libby Richardson ...

... some catching up with fellow designer and chatter Debbie McGee ...

... there was some chatting and catching up with blogging buddy and fellow designer Toni Alexander from the Red Boot Quilt Company. Hmmm ... I guess I know a few other designers! :0)

... there was some meeting of new friends ... and photo-bombing by blogging buddies!

... some laughing with more blogging buddies ... lovely to catch up with you gals! :0) (Sorry! I didn't remember everyone's blogs or I'd come over for a visit!!)

... And MORE blogging buddy catch-ups! Did I mention that there had to be several "Naughty Tables" set up this time?! :0)

As always, Marion and Steph spoilt us all completely, providing us with a relaxed, fun weekend of stitching, laughing, chatting, eating and catching up with friends. Thanks Marion and Steph! And a big thank you to Debbie and Libby for sharing their sweet new designs and their hints and tips with us! Next year marks the 10th birthday of Stitchers Dream Day Out and it is going to be a BLAST!! My Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette has already added the date to her calendar ... maybe you'd like to come and play too ... I guarantee you'll have the BEST time! :0)

Well ... that's what I got up to two weeks ago ... I am sooo far behind! Life just seems to have continued to be crazy busy and it's actually taken me three goes to get this posted - EEP! I promise to try to come back to visit with you all again soon, but I'm hearing my pillow calling my name at the moment, so will sign off. Hope everyone is having a fabulous week. Til next time ...



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