Friday, 31 December 2010

Should Auld Aquaintance Be Forgot ...!!

It's that time of year when we sing "Auld Lang Syne", stay up past midnight (normal for some of us night owls!!), reflect on "The Year That Was" and look forward with hope and optimism to "The Year That Will Be". It's a time to take stock of where we're at in life and decide if we need to be somewhere else. But for me, the end of one year and the start of the next is a time to count my BLESSINGS ... which are NUMEROUS and too many to list! :0) At the top of that list, though would have to be my FANTASTIC FAMILY, my FABULOUS FRIENDS and my BRILLIANT BLOGGING BUDDIES! :0) A super-duper-deluxe ...


... to you all, wherever in the world you may be tonight!!

I'm not really one to philosophise (probably haven't even SPELT it correctly!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) so I will end my blogging year with one of my favourite verses/prose ... An Irish Blessing ... that I send out to you all as my wish and prayer for you in 2011 ...

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again ...
May God hold you safe in the palm of His hand.

Thank you all for being part of my 2010! I'm looking forward with hope, optimism and EXCITEMENT to you being part of my adventures in 2011 ... we're in for one HECK of a ride!! :0)
Til next time ... next YEAR! ...

(AKA Beloved Geek Boy)

(Please excuse the bags under our eyes ... this was taken at my work Christmas Brekkie and us night owls weren't 100% awake yet! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Home Town Under Water!!

I mentioned last post that my Mum, Dad and sort-of-sister Tiffy couldn't get down for their planned post-Christmas visit because of floodwaters cutting the roads in the Mundubbera area. Many Aussie gals have been watching the news, saw my home town mentioned in the evacuations and have emailed or texted, wondering if my folks were OK. What sweeties you all are! And YES, they're fine. Mum and Dad have a double-storey house that is almost at the top of one of the higher hills in Mundubbera, so they're not in any danger of getting their feet wet. They DID however send me some photos, cos I was having trouble imagining my home town under water, so I thought I'd share them ... I know a few blogging buddies have also visited my home town and would be interested. So ... have you got your FLOATIES ready?! :0)
Before I share the pics with you, Tiffy actually emailed them through to me ... my Mum is a bit of a techno-phobe and I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know how to turn the computer ON, let alone send photos! :0) Now, when Mum rang to check my email to say she was sending some photos through, my Beloved Geek Boy and I looked at each other a little sceptically ... like my Grandma, Mum has a bit of a track record of taking 'arty' photos ... you know ... the road where the parade WAS, the SKY above the bride and groom, the GARDEN where the puppy was playing ... you get the picture, right! Tee! Hee! Hee! When Tiffy emailed the photos, she prefaced them with a little message which said,
"These are the photos your Mum took of the flood waters. I left out the ones of the inside of the car and the door!"
Tee! Hee! Hee! Poor Mum! :0) OK ... enough giggles at Mum's expense and onto the photos. This one made my brother laugh ..

Don't know if you can read it well in the pic, but the sign says "Road Subject To Flooding". My brother's comment was ... "Road?!?!? WHAT road?!?!?" :0)

This shows some of the houses in the lower-lying part of town.

This is the end of the street my parents live in ... about three blocks away at the bottom of the hill.
Do you see that white house through the trees to the left? It's actually on one and a half storey high pilings! It gives a bit of an idea of just how deep some of the flood water is.

This photo was taken from the end of Mum and Dad's driveway, looking back down the hill at the water. This water isn't actually the river ... it's a usually-shallow gully that runs along the end of town. It filled with runoff from the heavy rains, then when the river rose, the water backed up into Red Gully, as it's known. My Dad has to drive down through Red Gully to get to work, so guess who won't be going into the office for a few days! :0)

This is the main bridge that you have to cross to get into Mundubbera from the Dalby/Jandowae/Durong direction. Trust me ... there's a bridge under there ... it's what looks like rough water towards the right of the photo. This pic was taken from the rest area/park near the visitor info centre on the riverbank, which currently boasts REALLY impressive river views ...

This roadway leads down to the riverside walkway which at the moment is ... err ... closed due to water on the path?!?! :0) The shed you can see to the right houses an old steam engine that used to be near the pool and I remember climbing all over it as a kid ... hmmm ... seems it missed it's water views of the pool! :0)

The barbecue in the same park ... what? No line-up??

So there you go, that's the Burnett River at Mundubbera. The water was due to peak last night, though locals thought that it had already reached its peak yesterday when these photos were taken. There is more water to come down from further north where there has also been some terrible flooding ... some entire towns have had to be evacuated and places like Chinchilla have seen the whole town under deep water ... but they don't think the river will get higher than it already has, so while around 20 homes had to be evacuated in Mundubbera from the Red Gully end of town and there will be a huge clean up and repair bill for roads etc, the town has been very fortunate compared to others. And although I'm a bit sad that I didn't get to catch up with Mum and Dad over this special time of year, I'm so grateful they weren't caught on the side of the road or stuck here and worrying about friends and neighbours ... in a small town, everyone knows each other. Last I heard, Dad was in a tinny (little aluminium dinghy type boat) helping retrieve items from houses that were in danger of going under water and Mum was making chicken soup and sandwiches for the SES volunteers and evacuated families. Australia really is a country of droughts and flooding rains ... but we wouldn't live anywhere else! :0) And tough times like this tend to see people band together to help each other - a silver lining to the rather persistent storm clouds! Our hearts do go out to everyone affected by the widespread flooding though ... how very hard it must be to walk away from your home, knowing that it will probably be swamped in rising floodwaters.

On the home front, the sun has finally peeked out today on top of our hill ... though it DID bring gale force winds with it ... and since the Aussie cricketers have managed to get themselves all out and lose the Ashes to England, I'm catching up on washing and about to watch a DVD and stitch some more on my Gardeners Journal blocks - my stitching has been MUCH more successful than the Aussie Ashes campaign! :0) So, thank you again to those lovely blogging buddies who were thinking of my folks and whatever you're doing as 2010 winds down, I hope you're safe and enjoying the comfort and company of family and friends. Til next time ...


PS. OPAMers ... don't forget to update your sidebar lists and/or email me or Peg with your December finishes ... last draw for 2010 ... what was your finally tally for the year?!?! BH! KRIS

Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas Day, Gifts & RAIN!!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day/Boxing Day and were able to enjoy some time spent with friends and loved ones. I thought I'd pop in to tell you ... and show you! ... about OUR Christmas day, but be warned, there's quite a few photos, so you might want to grab a cuppa and a bickie first ... oh ... and perhaps some galoshes or floaties, cos there's a LOT of water involved! Tee! Hee! Hee!

We headed off down the hill to Brisbane to spend Christmas Day with Scott's (AKA My Beloved Geek Boy!!) family. This was our view out the windscreen winding our way down the range ...

Wet and foggy. The strip of blue up the top of this pic is the anti-glare strip on the windscreen and the ONLY way we saw blue sky on Christmas Day was to look through this! :0) As we got closer to Brisbane, we found we weren't the only ones travelling on Christmas Day ... we ran into a traffic snarl where we discovered that 'Every man and his DOG' were travelling on Christmas day in fact ...

This doggy was getting wet and telling everyone about it ... he gave some very impressive demonstrations of barking and howling to show his displeasure ... or perhaps he was chatting to the dog that was in the ute in front of him! Tee! Hee! Hee! We weren't held up too long in the traffic and arrived to a full-house ... the Meares' Madhouse in full flight! :0) Eleven adults and Eleven kids aged from about seven months through to 16 years old ... the kids that is, we didn't like to mention ADULT ages! Tee! Hee! Hee! Here's some of the Meares' mob in Christmas mode ...

GB sat in the corner and helped some of the nieces and nephews open their gifties ...

You can see GB's gifty stash behind him! :0) And do you remember those project bags I made?

They were a hit! :0) Levi carried his around with him for most of the day and enjoyed drawing in the sketchbook that I popped into the bag. Someone else who enjoyed their gifty ...

GB's youngest brother, Benny, got a bag full of home-cooked Christmas goodies ... oh, and a packet of "Reindeer Poop". Tee! Hee! Hee! Saw this idea on Sarah's blog and a few of the older nephews, plus a couple of friends with warped senses of humour received them! It DID lead to some rather sad jokes from the nephews about 'pooping on the chair' when they spilled some!! GROAN!!! :0) Of course, there was the usual Christmas feast that we all enjoyed ... even the youngest member of the family ...

Here's GB playing "Uncle Scott" with his youngest niece, Summer. You can't see it so well in the photo cos it was taken on my phone, but she had bread roll crumbled up EVERYWHERE! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And while it isn't the most important part of Christmas, we all know that one of the fun parts of Christmas celebrations is ... GIFTIES!!! :0) So I thought I'd show you some of what was left under the Christmas tree for me. :0) Firstly ... I FINALLY got to open my SSCS gifty from Satu ... I was a very GOOD girl and didn't open it until 12:15am on Christmas Day! Tee! Hee! Hee! We were still up wrapping gifties at that point ... we keep promising ourselves that one year we'll be so organised that we'll sit back and relax with a cuppa to watch the carols on TV on Christmas Eve rather than being in the midst of a wrapping frenzy ... but it hasn't happened yet! :0) OK ... inside the beautifully wrapped gifty from Satu I found ...

Some WONDERFUL things!! A cute project bag with the SWEETEST cross-stitched bears on the pocket ... Satu tells me their names are "Popcorn" and "Blueberry". Inside the bag I found a butterfly mug rug made up in cheerful red fabrics; a couple of pieces of YUMMY floral fabric that were designed by a Finnish fabric designer ... which makes sense, since that's where Satu lives! :0) Satu suggested that since my kitchen is red and green, I might like to use the fabrics for new potholders. Hmmm ... good thinking!! I'll add it to the "To Do" list! Oops! Did you just hear my list shriek?!?! Tee! Hee! Hee!  And under the green fabric, you can see a packet of pretty napkins that match the big poppies on the fabrics. THANK YOU SATU!! I feel VERY spoilt!! And you can just see the snowflake ornaments on the tree in the background. A HUGE THANK YOU!! To the fabulously organised Chookyblue for once again running a wonderful Christmas swap to help us spread Christmas cheer throughout blogland ... not to mention making new friends! :0) And I can also now show you what I sent off to Laila in Norway, who was MY SSCS partner ...

I sent Laila two of my Christmas tree ornaments and her main gift was the patchwork bag to the right of the photo, which featured one of my fave Bronwyn Hayes stitcheries on the pocket. It's a pretty large bag, perfect to go Christmas shopping NEXT year ... or perhaps to store some favourite Christmas ornaments to keep them safe. Of course, I couldn't send an EMPTY bag, so I filled it up with all sorts of "Australiana" bits and bobs ... a pot mitt and glove with the Aussie flag; a handy notebook with kangaroos on it, a pretty gumnut cross-stitch kit, some pencils with Aussie flag and the boxing kangaroo and lastly, a sweet treat with an Aussie twist ... furry friends chocolates that have Aussie native animals on the wrappers. Hope you enjoy your Aussie Christmas treats, Laila!!

What else was under the Christmas tree for me ...

A patchwork pattern complete with special square ruler from my mate Deb - Thanks Deb! Uh oh! Did you just here my "To Do" list scream again!! Tee! Hee! Hee! And from my brother and his wife ...

A matching pair of Christmas mugs and a pack of lavender tea. Woo! Hoo! That will keep me sipping for a while! :0) Thanks Paul and Ella!! Oh ... and have you noticed my countdown Santa in the background?? Especially for Lynda, I've updated the countdown til NEXT Christmas so it's accurate! Tee! Hee! Hee! Of course... in the next few days, I will be popping Santa back into his hidey hole and promptly forgetting about counting down to Christmas ... especially since I'm still getting over THIS year's! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Hmmm ... what else did Santa bring me ... My Mum and Dad have paid for my ticket to go and see the stage musical, "Wicked" in February - I'm going with my bestest-buddy-since-we-were-nine Lynette, so that should be lots of fun. A new Enya CD from my in-laws, some new baking bits from one SIL, a couple of gorgeous cast iron-look candle sconces from another SIL (I guess I should include the BIL's in there too, but it's usually the gals that organise the gifties, right?!) and a lovely assortment of giftcards for GB and I to share. Oh ... what was that I heard you ask?? What did GB put under the tree for me ??? Well ... it was something that didn't quite FIT under out little tree! Tee! Hee! Hee!

A white cast iron scroll-y table that is part of a set I've been eyeing off for quite a while!! Woo! Hoo! He tells me the chairs are on layby for my birthday, too. Isn't he WONDERFUL!!! :0) This little set will be going in my sewing room ... once it's had it's HUGE clean up-throw out session. We're intending to take out some of the built-in cupboards that are not at all usefully designed, rearrange a bit, take a couple of book cases out, paint ... and then there will be room for this sweet set to sit under one of the windows so I can have a friend in for a cuppa while I'm stitching, or I can just sit and enjoy a cup of lavender tea as I flick through the latest craft mag ... it's also a nice height to sit at to sketch and trace - PERFECT! :0) I promise to show pics when we get around to the renovations/rearrangement of my sewing room.

But at the moment ... none of those sort of jobs happening around the Meares' Madhouse ... it's too darn WET!!! It's rained solidly for the last three days, with no more than the occasional five minute break between downpours. This is my view off the front verandah into our side yard ...

You can see the rain pounding on the surface of the pond and to the right of the garden, there are some puddles starting to form in the yard cos everything is so darn SOGGY that it just can't soak up any more rain!! I know we've been in drought for about seven years and really needed some rain ... but I think we're making up for it all at once!!! SIGH! So really, there's only one thing to do ...

Curl up with my long-neglected Gardener's Journal blocks in front of the cricket and stitch the day away! :0) Cricket is the only sport I really enjoy watching on TV, so GB's set up in one corner of the lounge room with his laptop and I'm in another stitching ... not a bad way to spend some quiet time, actually! :0) Though a sunny day soon would be nice. Oh ... and the rain is all throughout eastern Queensland, which has lifted all of the river levels in the Burnett region where Mum and Dad live. In fact, they're experiencing flood heights in rivers that are higher than have been seen in about 30 years! The town of Mundubbera itself is fine ... and Mum and Dad live on a good size hill, so they're in no danger of being flooded. The biggest problem is that a lot of roads have been cut, so Mum, Dad and Tiffy couldn't come down for their visit as planned. SIGH!!! Still, at least they are safely at home and didn't get stuck half way or something. We'll just have to delay out Christmas get-together for a while.

Hope you've all had a fabulous Christmas, whether you're dealing with snow, rain, floods or summer heat (I wish!!). And may the spirit of Christmas stay alive in all our hearts throughout the next 12 months! But I DO promise to hide my countdown Santa so we don't alarm ourselves! Tee! Hee! The kettle is calling my name, so til next time ...



Friday, 24 December 2010

"Beary" Christmas!!

One little candle; one little bear,
Spreading their light and love EVERYWHERE!


It's Christmas Eve and I thought I would just pop in quickly to share a Christmas wish with you.

My wish for you all this Christmas is, just like my photo:

May your corner of the world be lit with warmth, light and hope;
May your home be filled with joy, laughter and love.

Wishing all my blogging buddies a "BEARY" Merry Christmas!!


Thursday, 23 December 2010

OPAM 2011!!!

Australia Post has been busily delivering lots of parcels all around Australia (a few overseas ones may take a bit longer to arrive!!) on my behalf to be enjoyed by my fabulous friends and I've been DYING to show you a photo of the latest arrival ... to my blogging buddy Kerryanne at Shabby Art Boutique. Now, Kerryanne's birthday fell during a period of the year when I was snowed under with deadlines, so I didn't get her giftie to her in time ... slack friend that I am! :0) But that got me thinking and I decided to send a double whammy for Christmas/Birthday. Her nervous-Nelly postman (the 'attack' dog was on duty! Tee! Hee! Hee!) delivered her parcel yesterday, so now I can show you what I sent off to her ...

A very LOOOOOOOONG table runner for her dining room table and some matching placemats, all in the beachy/nautical colours that I know Kerryanne has been decorating their beach cottage with. I did cheat a little ... I bought the placemats and runner. I fell in love with the gorgeous cornflower blue shade of the stripes and decided I'd never find fabric as pretty to make them myself ... then I added a few hand-appliqued nautical touches.


OK ... have run out of nautical-isms now! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'm hoping that Kerryanne and her family enjoy many cosy meals at their table, enjoying a little something from me. :0) AND ... it means a couple more finishes to add to my OPAM list for December! YAY!! A total of 14 finishes for me ... so far!! ... for a month! I think it's my new record! :0) I do have a couple more gifties that aren't quite finished that I may get done in time, but tomorrow is Christmas cooking day, so I may have to give some "IOU's" for these last couple of gifts ... will see how I go!

And speaking of OPAM ...

(or for the uninitiated ... One Project A Month ...)
will be happening again in 2011!!

Lots of you OPAMers have been asking Peg and I whether OPAM will be running again next year, so I thought I'd let you know that it WILL be ... but we'll be starting a little later than the last two years. The Fabulous Super Stitcher, Peg, will join me again to co-host OPAM 2011 ... we've had so much fun this year, that we both wanted to spin the wheel again! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Peg and I will both be letting you know more about the guidelines etc for OPAM 2011 in the New Year, but I just wanted to say YES it's happening ... BUT (there's always a "But" isn't there! :0) This is only a small "But"!!) sign up won't be opened until towards the END of January 2011. Peg and I decided we'd like a few weeks to do a little bit of sewing etc for ourselves before we dive back into OPAM. So ... STAY TUNED ... for more details in the New Year.

But we haven't QUITE finished this year yet ... so ... you have until December 31 to add finishes to your sidebar lists to be counted this month. It's my turn to do the random draw and I'll be doing that a few days after New Year's day ... gotta allow some extra time for all the party fare to digest, right! Tee! Hee! Hee! And I'll apologise beforehand if I don't return emails very promptly for a couple of weeks. We're coming and going, visitors are coming and going and the Meares' Madhouse is likely to be even MADDER than usual, so I may not have the uninterrupted time to sit at the computer ... but I might pop in with some photos somewhere along the line! :0)

Right now, though, I'm off to dig out my Christmas cooking recipes to make sure I've got all the ingredients I need for my cooking marathon tomorrow ... perhaps I'll have a cup of my Christmas Tea while I look into that! Tee! Hee! Hee! Only TWO sleeps to go! :0) Til next time ...


PS. The Lovely Lilly Linda solved the mystery of "Guess That Smell!" that I was telling you about last post ... it was CINNAMON BUNS! We were on the right track and whatever it's called, the room/linen spray smells DELICIOUS!!! Tee! Hee! Hee! BH! KRIS

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

It's Beginning to SMELL A Lot Like Christmas!!

Now, I KNOW most people are familiar with the phrase ... "It's beginning to LOOK a lot like Christmas" thanks to a popular Christmas song, but here at the Meares' Madhouse, we don't like to be NORMAL, so at OUR place it's ... "Beginning to SMELL a lot like Christmas"! Tee! Hee! Hee! Why ... you may well be asking. Well ...

While I was having my lunch, there came a "THUMP!" on the verandah. Aah ... the delicate sound of a parcel arriving for me! :0) It was a parcel from my blogging buddy, the Lovely Lilly Linda. OOOOOHH!! Special Christmas gifties!! Inside I found ...

Pretty parcels ... almost TOO pretty to unwrap ... ALMOST! Tee! Hee! Hee! No Christmas paper ... no instructions saying "Don't Open Til Christmas" ... WOO! HOO! A fit of frenzied stickytape-unsticking later and inside I found ...

WOW! A shabby chic fan ... for that HOT summer weather that I'm still waiting for!! Hmmm ... I think Linda has joined Marion's quest to "Pink-i-fy" me! Tee! Hee! Hee! A GORGEOUS little sewing caddy, which I'm pretty sure is the work of Cath of Cathron Country Designs ... she had a stall at the same craft extravaganza that Linda did at Mt Tamborine and Linda saw me eyeing off Cath's cute teddies and dollies! :0) There's a country teddy painted on the front, a handy pin cushion set into a timber base for stability (I can always use a little bit of stability! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and a spot right at the back to sit a handy retractable tape measure in. It will be taking up residence on my sewing table ... as soon as the table gets its Christmas clean up! :0)  And last but not least ... as it has contributed to the heading of today's post ... there was a bottle of room/linen freshener mist. Linda very cleverly popped it into a sealed bag to travel ... which was good, as it's had a little leakage. The only catch is ... I can't read much of the tag except that it is a room or linen freshner spray! So I'm playing ... "Guess That Smell!!" Tee! Hee! Hee! It smells a little bit like vanilla, a little bit like cinnamon, a little bit like gingerbread, a little bit like cloves  ... Hmmmm ... in fact, it smells a bit like CHRISTMAS! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'm not sure what the right name for this spray is but it smells so cheerful and makes our house smell welcoming ... VERY welcoming, as I had to do several test sprays to see what it smelled like! Tee! Hee! Hee! THANK YOU LINDA! I absolutely LOVE my special gifties, which are second only to your special friendship!! :0)

And another thing adding to the SMELL of Christmas in the Meares' Madhouse is ...

I discovered a relatively new specialty tea shop in one of our shopping centres recently and I could happily sit in there sipping tea for MONTHS and probably still not taste all of their blends! :0) AAAAHHHH  ... a tea-drinker's heaven!!! However, my new brew is a yummy Christmas blend ... black tea with almond, orange, apple, cinnamon, cloves and cornflowers. MMMMMMMMMM!!!! The smell of it when it's freshly brewed is SOOOOOOOO nice!! Here's my little individual serve teapot ready for an afternoon sip ... and the card is the one sent by the Lovely Lilly Linda. It features a print from one of Gail McCormack's original paintings. If you haven't yet discovered Gail's GORGEOUS artwork, you really should pop over for a visit.

So, with the scent of Christmas in the air, most of the gifts finalised and awaiting wrapping (My Beloved Geek Boy is on wrapping duty ... I buys or makes 'em ... HE has to wraps 'em!!) it really IS beginning to look, smell and seem like Christmas here at the Meares' Madhouse. Off to a carol service at the retirement village where I work tonight ... just THREE more sleeps ... how are YOU coping with the countdown to Christmas 2010??? Hope you're enjoying the ride! :0) Til next time ...



Sunday, 19 December 2010

Santa's Gonna Need A Boat!!

I didn't think I'd ever get sick of rain ... since we've been experiencing drought for some time in this region ... but boy, oh boy am I OVER grey drizzly, rainy days at the moment! It's been raining most of the weekend AGAIN, so washing has to go through the drier and outdoor chores and activities have been washed out. I tell ya ... Santa's going to need a BOAT to deliver gifties in the south east of Australia this year! :0)

I know it's been almost a week since I popped in last, but it's been a REALLY busy week, with several Christmas functions, including my Beloved Geek Boy's work party that I did the catering for ... the same day that MY work Christmas brekkie took place (very uncivilised practice to have a Christmas BREAKFAST if you ask this night owl!! Tee! Hee! Hee!), so boy was I EXHAUSTED by the end of THAT day! :0) There's also been some more gifty stitching going on and today I decided to bite the bullet and ... GULP!! ... tidy the sewing room! EEEEEK!! I'd love to tell you that I'm one of these super organised, incredibly neat crafters who have a place for everything and everything in its place ... but I'd be lying!! :0) I seem to operate in a constant state of 'Creative Chaos'! I'm DEFINITELY a Type 2 Crafter ... pop over to Maree's post HERE to find out what I mean! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Here's a couple of "BEFORE" photos of my sewing room ... please remember that I have been VERY busy and VERY productive in there and be kind! :0)

Somewhere under there is a daybed ... the one that Tiffy expects to sleep in when she and Mum and Dad arrive on Boxing Day! :0) And around a bit further ...

This is my stash of fabrics ... ummm ... it seems to have outgrown the plastic tub I had it contained in and is overflowing ... I wonder how that happened?! Tee! Hee! Hee! And under the bubblewrap is ... believe it or not ... a chair ... under a pile of clean-but-not-put-away-or-ironed clothes. See? A task of Herculean proportions to clean in here! But, clean I did ... and tidy ... and clean ... and vow to never be as messy again ...!! :0) (OK, so that will probably end the way all New Year's resolutions end ... quickly!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) And the view of the sewing room now ...

Ta Da!! A daybed that has been freshly made up ... though perhaps I could have finished straightening the quilt before taking this snap ... I was obviously too eager to show off the results of my hard work! :0) And further around the room ...

LOOK!! There was a floor with a mat under that pile of 'stuff' ... who knew! Tee! Hee! Hee! And there's the chair ... two hours of ironing later!! I know the stash still looks a bit untidy, but you see, I'm planning to have a bigger cleanup-and-throw-out during my couple of weeks' holiday, so I really just needed to contain the stash for now. The sewing desk is also still a bit messy, but there's now lots of room for Tiffy to make use of the room and I'll tackle the few problem areas after our visitors head home ... promise to update you! :0)

Let's see ... what else happened this week?? Oh ... I received a lovely card and two of the cutest little soaps from Toni at The Red Boot Quilt Company ...

The white one is frangipani ... one of my fave soap scents ... MMMMMM!!! A whiff of the tropics ... at a time when Toowoomba is almost wet enough to grow a rainforest! :0) I'll be tucking these sweet soaps in amongst the towels to make them smell pretty until I need to use them. THANKS TONI!!!

I also received another parcel (don't you LOVE Christmas time - lots of fun mail!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and this one was VERY unusual, cos it was delivered on a SATURDAY! It seems that Postman Paul (GB got chatting to him about sound gear and exchanged names! :0)) has had his busiest week EVER and was having to work on Saturday to finish deliveries. PHEW! It MUST have been busy!! :0) And when I opened my parcel I found ...

A GORGEOUS Christmas candle from the lovely Kerryanne! WOW! This was one of the gifty ideas that Kerryanne shared with us during her "Simply Christmas" campaign and I admired it then. Now it's going to be living in my Christmas corner!! YAY!! In fact, I just had to light it last night to enjoy its Christmas cheeriness!!

Don't you just love the golden glow of candles? THANKS KERRYANNE!! Oh ... and my buddy Lynda will be very pleased to see that I updated my countdown Santa's blackboard just for her before I took the photo! Tee! Hee! Hee! And Chookyblue will be proud of me ... there's my SSCS gift from Satu, sitting unopened under the tree waiting for next Saturday ... how's that for killing a few birds with one stone ... err ... PHOTO! :0)

In amongst all this busy-ness I've also managed to make a couple more gifties, including another cherry apron for one of the nieces, so all in all ... a VERY productive ... though TIRING ... week. Perhaps when I write my letter to Santa with my Christmas wishes this year, I should ask for a few more hours in each of my days ... or perhaps just a chance to catch up on some sleep during my two weeks off work! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hope you're all having an enjoyable run through to Christmas.

 Oh ... OPAM gals ... we'll leave the end of month draw until AFTER New Years' day. That way, you all have your holidays to do a bit more stitching and get some finishes on your sidebar lists (don't forget to update them!!) and Peg and I will take a few days to do the blog-hopping, so the winner will probably be announced a few days into 2011. WOW! Where did 2010 go?!?! Oh ... and an announcement about OPAM 2011 will be made soon, too, so stay tuned! :0)

Right now, though, my toesies are a little chilly, so I'm off to find a pair of socks and a cup of lavender tea ... the SOCKS are to warm my toesies, not the TEA! I promise I'll drink that as per usual! Tee! Hee! Hee! Wherever you are, stay warm/cool/dry ... whichever suits your climate best! :0) Til next time ...

SIX sleeps til Santa arrives with his reindeer sleigh ... or perhaps a TINNY would be more appropriate this year ... hope those reindeer can SWIM!! Tee! Hee! Hee!



Monday, 13 December 2010

WARNING! Elves At Work!

Mind you ... I'm probably one of the BIGGEST Christmas elves anyone has ever seen ... apart from Will Farrell, I guess! :0) Let me explain ...

Just for something different this weekend ... it RAINED! SIGH! I know we've been in drought for a long time here on top of our hill, but boy, oh boy, am I hanging out for some REAL summer weather! But the weekend didn't have it. In fact, on Saturday, it POURED again. So I wasn't going to be able to use my clothesline this weekend ... OR the mashing machine, as it turned out! The machine had a heart attack ... the pump is, according to my technically-speaking Beloved Geek Boy ... KAPUT! SIGH! Guess what exciting appliance I'm getting for Christmas?!?! THEN ... to add insult to injury, the MOWER died! DOUBLE SIGH!! Another expense we could do without right now. So, what were we to do??? We gave up trying to be grown-ups and went and had lunch with friends and pretended our appliances weren't committing mass suicide! :0) Lovely lunch enjoyed in good company took up the afternoon. :0)

So Sunday dawned ... apparently ... I wasn't awake for the event! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'd love to say it was sunny ... but it wasn't! It was humid and overcast, so after a quick outing to sing some Christmas carols with the "After Five" vocal ensemble, I came home and locked myself in the sewing room and put up the sign ...


Tee! Hee! Hee! Not really, but it was applicable, as I was back on the handmade Christmas giftie task. First finish was for my Goddaughter Erin ... my bestest-buddy-since-we-were-nine Lynette's youngest daughter. (Bet Lynette is glad she doesn't have to introduce herself using that title! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Now, Erin may not have been on the miniature Master Chef reality show, but she DOES like to help Lynette make afternoon teas, so this is her late (only by a couple of days!!) birthday giftie ...

A bright, cheerful apron of her very own. I actually went looking for some fabric with cupcakes on it, but this one jumped off the shelf at me and yelled "Make an apron of me!!" so I did! :0) And added some machine applique ...

Don't they look almost good enough to eat?! :0) One of the things I love about summer is that it's CHERRY season!! Mmmmmm!! I've also found a great kids' cookbook to pop in with the apron for Erin, so I'm sure she'll be whipping up 6 course dinner feasts in no time flat! :0)

Next projects to be tackled were two personalised pillowcases for a couple of nephews.

A blue pillowcase for Luke and ...

... a white pillowcase for Cooper. I've used a couple of the applique outlines from the pattern "Peak Hour" by Kellie Wulfsohn of "Don't Look Now" which was in the No. 85 issue of "Homespun". Although, I DID make a couple of minor changes ... left off some of the smaller details and "Monster Garage-ed" the vehicles. :0) I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I usually prefer to hand applique, but I thought machine might be better in this case as pillowcases will get washed often. These two bright spots will be teamed with a book each and that's two nephews ready for bed and crossed off the "To Do" list. :0)

The last project finished this weekend only needed a few hand stitches to finish off ... and some star buttons ... and they're now all done ...

Aren't they great?! :0) My new favourite ornament to make, these trees are so simple, yet so effective - this is the second batch I've made. They're made by stitching two circles of fabric together so you get a double-sided circle, then you fold it a couple of times and ... VOILA! A Christmas tree! :0) This was a link I received in a "Quilters World" newsletter ... they've been sending some fabulous Christmassy ideas out to newsletter subscribers in the lead up to Christmas as well as sharing some Christmas specials. There's a link to their site on my sidebar, but the link directly to the tree ornament tutorial is HERE. Have fun creating Christmassy forests! :0)

So ... a few more things crossed off the Festive "To Do" list, a few more finishes to add to the OPAM list and a way of filling in time on an overcast weekend. The good news is ... today has been SUNNY! YAY! hope it sticks around a while, but since it's pretty humid, I suspect we're in for some more rain. I'm trying not to be negative about that as our dams are still only 30 something percent full, but since I feel like I'm just about starting to develop webbed feet, it's a bit tough! :0)

Ah well, back to the sewing room for this not-so-little Elf. Bit of practical clothing alteration this time ... why to clothing manufacturers think that if we're a little on the ... errr ... RUBINESQUE side in stature, that we're also 6 foot tall Amazons?!?!? Someone needs to tell them that some of us are podgy but SHORT!!! Cos altering clothes is nowhere near as fun as sewing Christmas gifties! :0) Hope you're all having a sunny start to your week ... if not in weather, than in mood and attitude, cos THOSE we CAN control! :0) Til next time ...



Friday, 10 December 2010

Lions & Tigers & Bears ... OH MY!!

Like much of south east Queensland, we've had quite a bit of rain and overcast weather here on top of our hill in the last few months, which has been good ... and not quite so good! :0) It's been great because our dam levels are now at seven year high levels of around 35% capacity and water restrictions, which were some of the toughest in Australia, have been eased. HOWEVER ... it's been playing havoc with those of us who'd like to have a garden!!!

The problem, you see, is that instead of having a few rainy days, then a few sunny days, then a few rainy days etc ... we've had rainy days followed by overcast, damp, occasionally showery days, followed by a bit more rain, then a few more overcast days. It's been a LOOOOOOONG time since we've had a truly sunny day, let along a sting of them. The result??? This is what our back yard was looking like ...

EEK! It's a JUNGLE out there! I'm pretty sure I just saw one of these ...

Tee! Hee! Hee! Well ... perhaps not, but the poor dogs have DEFINITELY been challenged negotiating their way around the yard! :0) Kind of funny to watch actually! Tee! Hee! Hee! The problem, you see, is that on the weekends, when my Beloved Geek Boy would usually mow the lawn, it's either been raining or ... hmmm ... nope ... it's been wet weekend after wet weekend, so that's the only reason!!! And after a couple of not-raining-but-not-entirely-fine days, they're predicting rain again this weekend ... AAAARRRGGHHHH!! How frustrating!

So today, to stop us from having to buy pith helmets, safari suits and big scary looking guns just so we can get to the water tank or clothesline, GB headed out with the whipper snipper after he finished work to bravely attack our backyard jungle ...

The photo is pretty poor quality cos it was right on dusk and my camera is pretty crappy at taking dark/night shots, but you can see that GB had made significant progress and he didn't even need a machete and a pith helmet! Tee! Hee! Hee! The dogs were rather pleased with the de-jungling ... in fact, Lilly was seen bounding around the yard like a lunatic to celebrate the clearance. Nope ... nothing is normal in the Meares' Madhouse ... not even the PETS! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Off to have a pre-Christmas catch-up lunch with friends tomorrow ... and must pop into Quilters Angel to wish the lovely Marion a very ...

(pink writing especially for Marion! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

Marion and I have both celebrated big "0" birthdays this year. Make sure you pop across to Marion's blog to wish her a happy birthday ... and you just might want to check out her fabulous sale that starts this weekend, too! :0)

Whatever you're up to this weekend, whether you're clearing your own backyard jungle, hoping the local river doesn't become your backyard water feature (hang in there Chookyblue  and Peg!!) , or looking out your windows at the snow ... I hope you have a fabulous and relaxing time with family and friends ... and perhaps the odd tiger or two! :0) To quote a well-known movie ...

"Lions And Tigers And Bears ... OH MY!"

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Busy In Santa's Workroom!!

There's no kindy-kips, nanny-naps or Snoopy-snoozes going on at the Meares' Madhouse at the moment! Oh no! It's all systems go in Santa's workroom ... otherwise known as my sewing room. I've finished all the deadline items for the year that I had committed myself to and the Christmas list is out! And, I'm happy to say, I've managed to already cross a few items off the Festive version of the ol "To Do" list.

Here's the first two little items hot off the sewing machine ...

Two groovy little pairs of shorts for two of the nephews. Between both sides of our family, we have nine nephews and three nieces ... only one of those nephews is from my side of the family! Yep ... Scott's siblings are making our contribution to the population too! :0) I've got ideas in mind for a couple of little shirts to go with these shorts. You might remember I showed you the animal fabric a while ago when I fell in love with it at Marion's. At the time I didn't know what I was going to use it for, but I HAD to have some! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Next off the production line ... and it WAS a bit of a production line! ... were these handy little items ...

More gifts for nephews. This is something I designed on the fly. I'd seen some nifty pencil rolls on the blogs of some of the OPAM gals and decided to combine it with a book/project bag. The bags are lined and plenty big enough to fit in a sketch book, colouring book, a favourite story book ... or all three!! :0) And the pencils and felt pens are handily on the front in their little pockets, ready to draw and colour. Who knows ... there may be a future Monet or Da Vinci amongst the nephews! :0) I love the fabric I found at Spotlight to make these ... "Yo, Ho! Yo, Ho! A pirate's life for me!" Tee! Hee! Hee!

I've also got a couple of Secret Squirrel hand-stitching projects on the go for big-people gifts and some fun ornaments that just need a few hand-stitches before I can show them to you, so I'll be back in a couple of days with photos. I tell you what, though, this gift making is hard work, so I think I've earned a cup of lavender tea before I head back into Santa's workshop. Hmmm ... I wonder if Santa's elves have tea breaks? Maybe their inspired by Santa's favourite snack and have milk and cookies??? Ah the strange questions one asks oneself when in need of a cup of tea! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hope you're having fun getting ready for Christmas ... don't forget to pop into Kerryanne's blog regularly to see what she's up to with her "Simply Christmas" campaign!! Til next time ...

HO! HO! HO! ...

er ... I mean ...


Thursday, 2 December 2010

It's Snowing In My Lounge Room!!

Well... SORT OF!! My SSCS parcel arrived late yesterday (while I was in the middle of end of month OPAM blog-hopping!) all the way from Finland, sent to me by Satu. See ... I said last week when my surprise 'just because' gifts arrived that I had a feeling my SSCS partner was more organised than me and posted pretty early! :0) This is what I found in my parcel ...

Pretty silver and white wrapping and a bright red envelope with my ornaments in. How exciting!!! I quickly put the main parcel away so I wouldn't be tempted to open it early, because I'm HOPELESS at keeping things wrapped until Christmas ... I'm like the kids who want to open parcels NOW! Tee! Hee! Hee! Inside the envelope was ...

A beautifully made card (Satu must be VERY patient to weave all those strips to make the pretty heart!!), a cute tin ornament and two GORGEOUS crocheted snowflakes! THANK YOU SATU! I love them!! I don't crochet much myself, so I really love to see other people's work.

There was just one problem ... we don't usually put up a Christmas Tree because our lounge room is quite small and by the time we get all of my collectibles and my Beloved Geek Boy's big TV in there ... there's no room for a tree. However ... Satu's snowflakes were so pretty that I REALLY wanted to be able to display them, so I went on a quest to find just the right tree. SUCCESS!! I found one that's about 25" high and a bit country/primitive looking - perfect for our green and red lounge room. So now in a corner of our lounge room, visitors will see ...

... A little bit of country Christmas! :0) There's my new snowflakes on the tree ... see ... it's snowing in my lounge room, just as my title says! :0) There's my country Santa I made quite a few years ago who never did get his beard cos I liked him so much clean-shaven, plus because he's not OVERLY Christmassy, he can sit in the lounge room all year round, so he KNOWS whether we've been NAUGHTY or NICE! Hmmm ... I have a feeling I know which one he would point to for me! Tee! Hee! Hee! And one of my other fave Christmas decorations ... my Christmas count-down Santa made for me by a clever painting friend from one of the lovely Kerryanne's patterns. EEK! Only 23 days until Christmas!! Actually, it will be funny to see how my friend Lynda reacts when she comes to visit. You see ... I'm not very good at remembering to change the countdown on Santa's blackboard, which brings out Lynda's OCD tendencies and she HAS to fix it if she visits! It's really funny to watch her TRY to restrain herself ... before she finally gives in! Tee! Hee! Hee! My theory is ... if I don't change it, I'll still have 23 days until Christmas for as LONG as I like ... until I change the number, so I might actually get everything done that I need to! :0)

Thank you, again, Satu for the lovely ornaments you've sent me from Finland ... where it probably is snowing for REAL! :0) And a big THANK YOU to the ultimate Christmas Elf, Miss Chookyblue, for hosting this fun festive swap!

OPAM'ers ... Peg and I have just about finished our blog-hopping to collect finishes, so stay tuned in the next day or so for Peg to announce the November winners. Just a little note ... we've been coming up against a few blogs that have been deleted, changed names, or made 'private' and they are now 'invitation only'. I understand that some of you may have reasons to do this, but if you do ... can you please let Peg or I know, or make sure you send us your monthly finishes, cos otherwise, we can't record your finishes and you miss out on a chance to win a prize in the end of month draws.

And last but not least ... if you haven't already popped across to Kerryanne's blog to take a peek at her "Simply Christmas" fun, you won't know what tutorial I've posted over there and you won't know how to enter the give-away, so take a blog-hop over and say "G'Day!" Lots of Christmas inspiration there to help you get ready for the Big Day. Now ... I'm off to make some Christmas lists ... I'll be checkin' them twice, gotta find out who's naughty and nice cos ... the jolly chubby fellow in the bright red suit will soon be coming to visit! :0) Til next time ...

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