Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Feeling Shabby!!

No, no!!! I'm not feeling shabby health-wise ... I'm feeling shabby in a CHIC sense ... you know ... decorating-wise! :0) With the bubble wrap and boxes outnumbering the people in our cosy cottage by a large margin at the moment as we prepare to move to our dream house next week (EEK! How did that time go so slowly, then quickly?!?!) you won't be surprised that I've been thinking about decorating, furniture arrangement and how best to display my pretties in their new nest. If you ask me what my personal decorating style is, I'd have to say it's kind of a mish-mash ... Shabby French Provincial Country Cottage Chic ... about covers it! Tee! Hee! Hee! Does that mean I'm incredibly eclectic or just plain can't make up my mind? Perhaps a little of column "A" and a little of column "B"! :0)

If I had to choose one decorating style that's "speaking to me" at the moment, though, I'd probably say "Shabby Chic" ... even if I can't convince my Beloved Geek Boy that purposely sanding patches of paint off a freshly painted piece of furniture is a good idea. :0) So ... with my thoughts (and Pinterest boards!!) leaning towards decorating in a chicly shabby style at the moment, imagine how EXCITED I was when I got an email from my gorgeous and talented blogging buddy Kerryanne over at Shabby Art Boutique today telling me that the latest issue of her e-mag "Simply Shabbilicious" is now available ... WOO! HOO!!

I've only had a chance to have a quick flick through this GORGEOUS mag, but I can tell you I'll be revisiting it again ... with a cuppa and a comfy chair!! ... really soon. :0) If you, too, love country, shabby chic, French Provincial, farmhouse, vintage, cottage kinds of decorating then hop over to Kerryanne's blog HERE to see how you can enjoy this beautifully styled mag ... it's well worth your while! :0)

And like a sign from the decorating powers of the universe, another email landing in my 'in' box today included a link to an interview with the Queen of Shabby Chic Ms Rachel Ashwell herself ... along with some FABULOUS photos of her latest venture ... a shabbily chic decorated B & B ... WOW!! Pop over HERE for a peek ... it will make a shabby chic gal's heart sing. :0) 

This will probably be my last post for a week or two ... until we're able to sort out the internet at the new house ... but I'm sure I'll find a bit of time to hop around blogland to take sneaky peekies at what everyone is up to. And even though I might be 'off the air' blog-wise for a little while, you can still contact me by email ... just in case you miss me and want to have a chat! :0) I hope you all have a fantastic end of the week, a fabulous weekend and that you ensure you're kind to yourselves and include some "ME" time in your schedule in the next week or two. :0) Til next time ...



Sunday, 10 August 2014

Packing/Moving House Philosophical Observation!!

As our house becomes a nest of boxes ... packed and empty ... newspaper, bubble wrap, heavy-duty tape, bags and marker pens (read: ABSOLUTE CHAOS!!!) I have made a philosophical observation ...


Tee! Hee! Hee! Not really news to you all, I'm sure, if you've been tagging along here for visits for a while and not really news to me either ... after all ... I ENJOY collecting things! Not only the "having" of the things, but the "process of attaining" the things, whether that be time spent in my sewing room to make pretty dolls, bears or quilts; whether it's an antique shop crawl with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette; or a lets-fill-in-time-on-a-lazy-Sunday with my Beloved Geek Boy. All of my collections have stories to tell ... as well as looking pretty scattered around our home. :0)

But ... it's a bit of a pain in the butt now that we're packing all the collections to move. You see ... I collect ...

... pretty china ... tea cups, trios, teapots, sandwich plates ... if they're pretty, I love to adopt them! :0)

... I collect bottles of all shapes and sizes, but these are some of my favourite ... those cobalt blues and pretty aquas make me swoon! :0)

... old ports ... er ... suitcases, for non-Queenslanders! :0) I just love them! Where have they been? What wonderful adventures have they shared? Who held tightly to their handles as they waited for the bus/train/plane? Oh ...and they're handy for housing another of my collections ...

... BEARS ... of course! :0) Then there's my ever-growing collection of ...

... green Depression Glass ... and we won't even MENTION ...

... my FABRIC stash collection. :0)

I TOLD you I was a collector! Tee! Hee! Hee! The nicest part of my collections, though, is that even though they're a pain to pack, as soon as I start unpacking them and displaying them in our new house, it will very quickly start to feel like ...

HOME! :0)

So ... there's a bit of packing/moving house philosophy for you. I'm not sure it will be very helpful to you if you're packing to move, except to let you know there are other hoarders COLLECTORS out there just like you! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I hope to check back in with you all before next week's big "S" day ... Settlement Day! :0) Then it might be a while before I get to visit you all again while we do the Internet juggle ... since I'm not clever enough to have worked out how to do blog posts from my phone. BLUSH! I hope your weekend is cruising along nicely and that you're managing to enjoy a bit of "ME" time. Right now I'm going to make myself a cuppa (I know that will be a surprise to you all! NOT! ) and then it's back to bubble wrap and boxes for me ... since GB is refusing to be responsible for any of my breakables! :0) Til next time ...



Friday, 8 August 2014

The Things You Find ... !!

... when you start cleaning and packing to move! :0) Just over a week til we bid farewell to our cosy cottage and move into our dream house, so you can imagine that it's approaching "Panic Stations" here at the Meares' Madhouse. We're walking that fine line between needing to pack 'stuff' ready to move and not being ABLE to pack 'stuff' cos we're still using it! It's doing my poor ol' head in, I tell you! :0)

So ... this week I decided to tackle my sewing room cupboards ... GROAN!! While quite a lot of my sewing and craft supplies are stored in plastic tubs as a matter of course, which will be easy to load into the moving van, there is still quite a LOT of 'stuff' stored in my shabby chic cupboard ...

I took a deep breath and dived in. WOW! Who's been stashing fabric, layer cakes, charm squares, wadding and all sorts of interesting things in my sewing cupboard while I wasn't looking?! Tee! Hee! Hee! I discovered all sorts of goodies ... along with quite a few WISPs ... OOPS! :0) And right at the back of the cupboard, I found a 'blast from the past' ... the second quilt I ever made ... er ... STARTED to make! BLUSH!

I started making making this tartan butterfly quilt about ... hmmm ... 15 years ago ... EEP! It was supposed to be for one of two single beds we had in our guest room at the time, the other quilt featured tartan fabrics and gingerbread men. It DID get finished and after years of gracing the back of our lounge chair, it is now our picnic rug that lives in the car.

This one showed off tartan butterflies and quilted Celtic knots. Alas ... as you can see ... I never got around to finishing it. You see, I'm predominantly self-taught ... though I've picked up some handy tips from more experienced quilting friends over the years. So when I was making this quilt, I made a few simple mistakes that led to it being discarded in the "Too Hard" basket.

1) I didn't quite do a good enough job of keeping the backing fabric smooth and flat when I basted it, so when I started to quilt it, lots of pesky wrinkles and bumps, that I didn't know how to get rid of, appeared on the back.

2) I was on a very limited budget and used poly wadding that was inexpensive, but quite 'floofy' (technical term there! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and this compounded the wrinkles-in-the-backing problems.

3) When we moved last time, I lost the Celtic knot design I was tracing onto the tartan squares to quilt ... DOH!!

So ... this quilt is now hidden in the back of the sewing cupboard like a crazy great-aunt is hidden in the attic in movies. :0) I'm not quite sure what to with it ... do I make a stab at re-drawing the Celtic knot, fix the backing wrinkles and keep quilting, or do I undo the lot and save up my play money, replace the floofy wadding with better quality wadding and get the Fabulous Fiona to work her quilting magic on it? Still thinking ... so for now ... it's been packed! :0) Any suggestions??

To take a break from our packing (BLECH!!) last weekend, my Beloved Geek Boy and I toodled off to a couple of second-hand shops in search of a couple of pieces of furniture that we'll need once we've moved into the new house. Not a lot of success was had there, but I DID find a sweet, vintage treasure to rescue for the princely sum of $5 ...

This linen and lace ... er ... ITEM!! OK ... giggle at me if you will (and let's face it, I giggle at myself quite frequently!!) but I don't actually know what this would have been used for originally. The lace is hand made and very delicate and fragile ... you can see a couple of places where it's coming away form the edge of the linen ... and it is only around three sides of the linen. I'm not sure whether it would have been used as a cloth for the top of a chest of drawers or similar that sat against a wall, or whether it would have been a valance for a half tester bed canopy. One of life's mysteries ... does anyone have any ideas? Here's a closer look at the delicate lace ...

Isn't it lovely! It has a few 'ugly spots' on it, so I'll reattach the lace where it's come adrift and soak it in some whitener. I'm sure I can find a spot for it in the new house ... whatever it was originally used for. :0)

So ... that's what's been happening here at the Meares' madhouse ... amidst the manic packing and planning! Speaking of "amidst manic packing and planning" ... thank you to all the OPAMers who emailed me and my GORGEOUS partner-in-crime Sweet Peg with your end of month finish tallies. 310 finishes for July!! Well done everyone!! Now, knowing that our life is topsy-turvy at the moment, my Sweet partner-in-crime has taken over the prize draw for the next couple of months ... THANK YOU SWEET PEG!! You are a gem!! :0) And my Sweet friend has posted the July winners on her blog this morning, so pop on over to see if you're one of the lucky ones. If you emailed your finishes to me ... I'm still working my way through answering emails for the last couple of weeks ... I do like to reply to you all, but I hope you'll understand if I'm a bit slack. I shall try my best to catch up with you all. :0)

Well, now that I've caught you up on our doings for the week, I think it's time for me to play Polly and enjoy a cup of tea ... before I head off to Friday night Sit And Sew. I'll be taking my cotton crochet blankie to work on ... not much thinking involved, so perfect to relax with while we chat! :0) I hope you've all had a great week and that your weekend includes sewing your projects rather than packing them ... SIGH!!! Til next time ...



Friday, 1 August 2014

End Of The Week, Start Of A Month!

Hello to all of you who 'tag along' to visit me here! :0) Lovely to have you all pop in to see what doings have been done at the Meares' Madhouse ... otherwise, I'd just be chatting to myself, wouldn't I? Oh ... wait ... that happens all the time anyway!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Well, this week has gone whizzing by ... weeks seem to insist on doing that! With the settlement date of our selling and buying houses creeping nearer, we're about to get stuck into the business of packing ... SIGH! That's the NOT-FUN part of moving! But before I start to pack away my pretties, we invited our neighbours over for an afternoon tea last Sunday ... and it seemed the perfect chance to actually USE a few of my pretties.

Here's the coffee table all loaded ready to receive guests ... some pretty plates holding treats and rosey plates and posy napkins ready to catch crumbs. We had a lovely time chatting with our neighbours and nibbling our way through the tasty treats ... craisin and coconut slice, mock chicken with rice crackers, mini lemon-curd tarts and a pretty glass plate of cabana, olives and cheese ... MMMMMMMMM!!! Not much dinner needed afterwards. :0) It also reminded me that I should use my pretty plates, cups, platters etc more often ... and that's one of the nice things about the house we'll be moving to ... it is PERFECT for entertaining, where our cottage really has been limited in space to do so. Hmmm ... I can see I'll be madly pinning interesting looking entertaining type recipes on my Pinterest board, won't I?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And as the working week rolls to an end, it brought with it the start of a new month ... which meant today was the day our Quilting Angels gathered at our Home-Away-From-Home. There were only a few of us there, but we sure made enough noise, had enough fun and ate enough lunch for a bigger group of ladies! Tee! Hee! Hee!

With all of our unsettled comings, goings and packings, I haven't been very motivated to stitch much, but found some interesting looking crochet cotton in my cleaning/tidying and decided to have a little play ... today with the Angels seemed the perfect opportunity to get started ... in case I needed a few reminders from Miss Marion, crochet-teacher-extraodinaire! :0) I think I made a nice bit of progress ... in between chatting, laughing and eating, of course! ... considering it had been ... hmmm ... YEARS!!! ... since I'd picked up a crochet hook. Wanna see???

Here's my granny square. Not too bad, if I say so myself. :0)

I like how this ecru cotton is crocheting up. I inherited a bag full of crochet cottons when one of the ladies moved from the retirement village where I work and hadn't really known what I would do with it. I think I'm going to make a throw rug to go over a chair or at the end of a bed. I have a white knitted cotton quilt made almost 100 years ago by my Great-Granny and although this one won't be nearly as complex or classy, I thought it would be a handy, light throw to have around. I'm now trying to decide whether to:

A) Just keep crocheting around and around and around til the throw is big enough; or

B) Make 10" squares and join them all together; or
C) Alternate this square with another treble-stitch block done in the same cotton.

What do you think I should do? I'm open to suggestions here! :0)

And ... since the start of a new month has brought around our Quilting Angels gathering, it also means that a month has just FINISHED... funny how that works! :0) And of course that means ... OPAMers ... Sweet Peg, the most GORGEOUS partner-in-crime a gal could have, and I will soon be doing our blog hopping and spreadsheet updating for the July OPAM tally. Have you updated your sidebar lists? Have you sent a quick email to Sweet Peg or me with your final tally for July?? QUICK-STICKS!!! What are you waiting for?! :0) 

I've already been receiving a few emails and, as always, there are some FABULOUS projects being created out there in blogland. The Fabulous Fiona is seeing stars this month ... pop over to visit her to see what I mean. :0) And Judy has been knitting away with some FABULOUS wools. Have you taken a blog-hop through the OPAM participants list recently? I can tell you it's WELL worth your while to make yourself a cuppa, get comfy and take a hop around, cos there are some GORGEOUS projects to be inspired by. And maybe you could leave a comment or two around the place to encourage your fellow creative spirits ... it's so nice to have a world-wide OPAM cheer squad, don't you think? :0)

Okey doke ... it's that time of afternoon where I turn into my Nan and decided that I simply CAN'T go any further in the day without a cup of tea, so I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on. Hope you've all had a wonderful week ... and a wonderful July ... only one month of winter left to survive before my spring weather starts to thaw out this hot-weather gal! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Doing My Block ... S !!!

Nah ... I'm not REALLY 'doing my block ... it just seemed like a catchy way to introduce what I've been up to! :0) Hmmm ... in a complete sidetrack ... it occurs to me that "doing your block" is a very Aussie term ... right up there with "chuckin' a tantie", or "chuckin' a wobbly". Translation: getting rather cross, perhaps involving the ranting and raving of the block doer and/or foot stamping. :0) Does that clarify our Aussie peculiarities? :0)

So ... this post involves no ranting, raving or stamping. It DOES involve blocks. Are you confused yet? So am I frequently ... especially when it comes to patchwork blocks and quilting ... but whilst cruising around Pinterest (... and around ... and around ... and around ... oops! There goes an hour or two! Tee! Hee! Hee!) I came across a photo of a quilt block that seemed simple enough for me to tackle. It involved 5" charm squares ... hmmm ... I had a small stash of those in my sewing cupboard. It needed a low-volume contrast fabric ... hmmm ... I had several metres of white homespun that I'd been given. Two checks on the list. Add to that the fact that I was suffering severe sewing withdrawal symptoms after a month of keeping the sewing room neat for open house sessions ... do you see a big light bulb going on?! :0)

I pinned that block pic (so I knew where to find that sucker again ... the beauty of Pinterest!) and followed it back to a nice simple run-down of how to achieve said block ... HERE.

Then it was full steam ahead into the sewing room ... YAY!! It was like embracing an old friend after a long separation. :0) In a short amount of time I was ready to start ...

... a pile of white squares and a pile of pre-cut charm squares. Step two ... play matchmaker with these two piles ...

... a bit of chain piecing on my trusty Husky ... aaaah!! Back in the saddle! :0)

... some seam-pressing. I seem to remember being told that seams should be pressed to one side, not open, but I could just see myself getting into all sorts of messes when it came to further slices and seams, so I pressed them open. Next step ...

... join the pairs ... now comes the fun part ...

... with ruler and rotary cutter, cut through the block an inch from both sides of each axis. Then we play "spin the bottle" ... patchworkingly speaking! This is a "PG" rated bog, after all!! :0)

... rotate all the smaller pieces 180 degrees and stitch 'em back together ...

Ta Da! A finished block! I love that it LOOKS like I've been incredibly patient, cutting and joining small pieces, when really it all started with four simple squares. Cool, huh?! I know ... small things amuse small minds. :0) But I sure have been having some fun with these addictive little blocks ...

Here's my tally so far. I really love the pretty blues, reds and yellows against the fresh white. I'm not sure how this quilt will turn out ... I'm toying with a few ideas to finish it off. But first, there'll be more block-doing to be done ... if you see what I mean! :0)

So ... what's been happening in YOUR sewing room? Have you made something that you've found inspiration for on Pinterest? I'd love to hear about it! :0) But right now ... I bet you can guess what I'm going to say next ... yep! I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on for a before-bed cup of tea. Hope the tail end of your week wags with happiness! :0) Til next time ...



P.S. Thank you to all you lovelies who've left congratulations and compliments on our house selling/buying. It's been fun to share our new adventure with you all and I promise to keep you all updated. :0) Bear Hugs! KRIS xx

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