Monday, 17 December 2018

A Christmas Surprise!!

Helloooooooo! Is there anyone out there??! ... Or have you been run over by the "Christmas Express" like I have?! :0P It's been even crazier-busy than usual here at the Meares' Madhouse in the last little while as we try to fit in everything that has to happen before the fat man in the red suit tries to slide down the chimney. But we're down to single digits as we prepare for a short staycation over Christmas ... Three days to go! :0)

In the midst of the madness of finalising Christmas gifties for friends & family, I received a Christmas surprise myself today in the mailbox ...


Do you see the black wrapped parcel on the tree? It's from one of my FAVOURITE artists, Brisbane-based Debra Hood  Debra creates the most GORGEOUS paintings that showcase some of Queensland's character & historic building styles in cheerful, tropical colours. Every time she shows off her fantastic paintings on her Facebook page I drool all over the iPad. Tee! Hee! Hee! You'll know if I ever win lotto cos one of the first splurges I make will be to commission Debra to paint a set of paintings for our sitting room. :0)

When Debra messaged me to say she had a little Christmas treat she wanted to send me, I never imagined what she meant ...


Look at my goodies!


One of Debra's gorgeous linen tea towels featuring screen printed historic houses ...


... Super cute house fridge magnets ... The top one is my favourite!


Most exciting ... A copy of Debra's FABULOUS book "Confetti"!!! When Debra launched her book, I drooled over the sneaky peekies she shared & added it to my wish list ...


Not only does it include some snippets of Debra's work, it shares some photos of some of the unique houses that are the inspiration for Debra's paintings. I love that Debra's paintings are so full of special details ... Furbabies sitting on steps, washing hanging on the line, birds perched in trees ... Each painting is like a fantastic tropical Queensland version of "Where's Wally". :0) If you're looking for last minute Christmas giftie ideas for friends & family ... Or a special treat for yourself, pop across to visit Debra's online shop ... She has lots of goodies to tempt you and not only are you guaranteed to find items that celebrate some of the colours, scenes & architecture that are part of the Queensland & Australian character, you'll be supporting one of our own incredibly talented Aussie artists. Thank you SOOOOOO much Debra for my Christmas surprise! I LOVE IT! :0)

Now I'm off to make myself a cuppa to sip while I enjoy "Confetti" ... It will be my anti-Christmas-stress treatment. :0) I hope you find some ways to keep you calm as we count down to Christmas. Til next time ...

CALM BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS








Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Christmas Craziness!!

PHEW!! Finally made it here to catch up with you all! It's that Christmas Craziness part of the year when there seems to be a far, FAR longer list of things to do & events to attend than there are days left until the Fat Man in Red slides down our chimneys. I keep running out of "day" before I run out of items on each day's list. Ah well ... I know I'm not the only one having this problem. Do you ever think that we just need to write shorter lists?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I do confess that a couple of fun social dates have also kept me from the blog ... AND sewing! The first was a belated birthday catch up with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette. With Lynette's crazy nursing rosters & my craziness in general, it's a bit challenging to match our calendars, but we finally managed & headed up another 'hill' for a play date at Mt Tambourine. We chatted, we shopped, we lunched, we chatted some more, we shopped some more & after a very enjoyable day, we finished with a delicious ice cream ...


I love this photo! :0) Especially because it reminds me of a fun day with someone who knows me well ... & likes me anyway! :0)

The second social gathering was held in the dining area of Edward House ... A.K.A. The Meares' Madhouse ... & was preceded by a belated spring cleaning spree ... Thanks for your help, Ma! :0) A few of the Friday Nutters sewing group gathered for a Christmas potluck dinner ...


Hmmm ... It's hard to see in the photo, but we had a shabby chic inspired table ... Pretty China plates, crystal glasses passed down to me from my Nan, a white enamel jug of spruce branches & some pretty blue fairy lights. And ...


I got the chance to use my new giant, recycled timber cheese board that I bought in the Barrossa Valley during our recent holiday. It weighs a ton, so nobody will run off with it! :0) And I love that it holds a few cheeses, crackers, fruit AND still has room for pate & quince paste ... A one-stop snack shop. Tee! Hee! Hee! And to accompany the good food ...


... Good friends! Thanks for coming to play, gals! It's always wonderful to gather with like-minded people who you can kick back & relax with.

There are a few more festive gatherings happening in the next two weeks, so I don't know how much sewing time I'll manage to squeeze in, but there are still some gifties on my list to make, so I'd better get cracking. I hope you're all enjoying the lead up to Christmas with some quality time with the special people in your life & that the rest of your week is fantastic. Til next time ...

BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS




Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Time Flies!!

Hello to all my lovely Bloggy buddies out there! I hope you're all well. I intended to do this post last week, but somehow the days just kept flying past in a bit of a blur of busyness. How does that keep happening?! Every time I jump on Facebook some 'helpful' friend is telling me how many days/weeks/Fridays it is until the jolly fat man in red comes down the chimney. Three weeks today, apparently ... THREE WEEKS!?!! EEK! I so need to get organised ... Then again ... Why start now?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Actually ... Despite the craziness that is our life here at the Meares' Madhouse, I'm sort of on track with Christmas preparations. I've managed to squeeze a bit of sewing in between my comings & goings & my wine bottle bag has friends ...


Ta! Da! Four finished gifties ...


... & another that's a work in progress. My problem is, my sewing station is on the dining room table (don't ask why I don't actually sew in my sewing room ... It's a long story! :0) ) & I'm hosting a Christmas soirée on Saturday, so I'll have to excavate through the sewing flotsam & jetsam to unearth the table. :0) I hope to finish this bag first, but there's a trip to Brisbane & a LOOOOOOT of cleaning & tidying to fit in before Saturday. We'll see ... !

My Christmas sewing has been fairly successful so far with 24 finishes for November ... More than the rest of the year added together! Isn't it wonderful how motivating a deadline is?! Tee! Hee! Hee! So ... That's a slightly late reminder to all OPAMers to update your sidebar lists of finishes & email your tally to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. The hop around will happen in the next few days, as will the prize draw. Don't forget to check in with both my blog & Sweet Peg's blog each month to see if you're one of our prize winners because we take turns month about to announce the winners. I've had a few winners not contact me to have their prize sent.

Right ... Well ... I need to shake my tail feather to get something else crossed of my job list, but I'll leave you with a photo of my gorgeous Mumma & me taken last week when we celebrated her birthday with pancakes ... 


Birthday pancakes don't have any calories, you know! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Til next time ...

BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS

Friday, 23 November 2018

Inside Day!

Hello & happy Friday to my Bloggy Buddies! I hope you've had a great week. Mine has been a little busy (if I find my week ISN'T busy theses days, I start to worry that I've forgotten something! Tee! Hee! Hee!) but today I'm having an inside day, with my trusty Husqui keeping me company. :0) The wind here on top of our 'hill' today is HORRIBLE! With gusts of up to 45 km/hr & clouds of dust blowing from our country's drought-stricken western areas, I decided the doors were staying shut & it was a good excuse for a sewing day ... As though I really NEED an excuse! :0)

Now, all my Christmas mad friends have started torturing me with blog & Facebook posts counting down to Christmas (EEK! Only 32 more sleeps! ) so I decided it was time to start making a few bits & bobs to go in the giftie box. Some time ago I pinned a free tutorial from HERE on my Pinterest board to make a carry bag for a wine bottle, so today I decided to have a go at making it. There MAY have been a bit of muttering & swearing along the way & the pattern says to do things a little differently to how I would have, but the result is ...



Ta da! A wine carry bag that looks like it's supposed to, was made from fabrics in my stash & didn't take too long to make. I think I'll make a few more of these to tuck away for gifties. Oh ... And the box ... Well ... Apparently some wine from our favourite cellar door tasting followed us home from the Adelaide Hills! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Well ... That's been my morning of hiding from the nasty wind, so I think I've earned some lunch. Whatever you're up to, I hope you have a fabulous weekend. Til next time ...

BOOZY BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS

Friday, 16 November 2018

Christmas Is Coming - EEEEEK!!

There's a line from one of the "Lord Of The Rings" movies that is uttered as the heroes see the massive enemy army pouring towards them & war is inevitable ...

"And so it begins!"

Well ... I found myself muttering this line ... Just as grimly!! ... yesterday as I walked into the supermarket ... And heard them playing ...

CHRISTMAS MUSIC! AAAARRRGGGHHHH!

Those of you who have been visiting me here for a while will know that I usually bury my head in the sand like an ostrich when everyone else starts the Christmas countdown. It's not that I dislike Christmas ... It's just that I always seem to misplace November & find myself being inexorably pushed toward Christmas & I have NOTHING organised. :0P

So ... Today on my day off, after a few necessary grown up chores were done, I decided to bite the bullet & start some Christmas sewing. I think my Christmas-loving friends (you know who you are!!) just fell off their chairs in shock! Tee! Hee! Hee! I decided to start simply by making a few new decorations for our tree. And in case you're needing a bit of a Christmas kick-start, I thought I'd share a quick tutorial with you. My project ...


Some more of these ..

Mini Patchwork Stockings 

These little stockings are fun to make, quick to make, easy to make & can be made from off cuts & scraps. 

Step 1. From your scrap fabrics, cut strips that are 5"x2". The 2" measurement can be varied if you like. You can cut all strips the same, or mix it up, make them thinner or thicker ... It's up to you & how many strips you want to sew ... The wider the strips, the less you need. :0) 


I chose white & gold as my colour scheme & cut my strips 5"x1 3/4" or 5"x2". I like the mix of widths. I also laid them out in the order I intended to sew them together & cut four of each colour. You can cut more if you need to, or make more stockings if you have strips left over. :0)

Step 2. Cut a strip of leftover wadding into a 5"x20" strip.
Step 3. Lay the wadding lengthways. Sit your first strip of fabric at one end, right side up. Lay your second strip face down on top of the first, pin in place & stitch using a scant 1/4" seam, sewing through both fabrics & wadding.
Step 4. Fold your joined strip out flat so it lays along the wadding & gentle press flat. Repeat this step until you've covered the length of the wadding.



Step 5. Turn your pieced wadding over. Make a small stocking template to trace. Mine is 4" high & 4" at its widest point. (I just played until I drew a shape I liked, but if you're not confident enough to freehand your stocking shape you should be able to find a clip art shape or google a template.) I have made slightly smaller stockings previously ... Just don't make it too much bigger or your pieced strip won't be big enough. Trace around your template onto your face-down pieced strip until you've filled the whole length, leaving a 1/4" gap between shapes. NOTE: You can trace your stockings straight, or on the diagonal, depending on the look you want to achieve. 


I also flipped my template for a few stockings so they face the other direction when hung.

Step 6. Cut a backing strip of fabric 5"x20" & lay your pieced strip right sides together & pin your layers together.
Step 7. Stitching ON THE LINE stitch around your stockings, leaving the tops open.
Step 8. Cut stockings out, cutting a scant 1/8" from stitching & cut ON the line across stocking tops ...



Step 9. Clip carefully into & around curves & turn right side out, ensuring the curves are sitting smoothly 
Step 10. Fold edges of the top opening inside the stocking (fold 1/4") & press.



Step 11. Cut a 5" length of ribbon for each stocking. Bring ribbon ends together to form the hanging loop, inserting ends into the stocking at the back & pin in place. Using a small machine stitch, topstitch all the way around the stocking a scant 1/8" from the edge. This will close the top of the stocking & secure the hanging loop. You're FINISHED! :0)



Sets of these make a great gift. You could sign & date one of the strips or write someone's name on it. You could make all strips a different colour or use just two colour. It's up to you.

I hope you have fun with this simple little project ... I'd love to see pics if you make some. :0)

And this project is in keeping with what I'm aiming for this Christmas ... Summed up nicely in this chart ...


Maybe this will be helpful to us all when we're searching for Christmas gifties ... So you don't have to join me in being a Christmas Ostrich! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend ... There's gardening & sewing on my agenda ... We'll see how I go. :0) Til next time ...

BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS







Friday, 9 November 2018

Back To Reality & OPAM Winners!

Hello all you lovely creatures out there in blogland! I hope you're having a fantastic week. It was back to reality for my Beloved Geek Boy & I this week after our extremely enjoyable three week road trip. Did you enjoy traveling with us via the blog? I hope so. :0) 

As is the way after holidays, I have started the unpacking process ... Which is never as much fun as packing. And as I went through bags & boxes, I popped our accumulated treasures from our travels on the dining table & thought you might like a peek ...


OOPS! It looks like we collected a few bottles of adult beverages! Tee! Hee! Hee! Wine, liqueurs, port, mead & gin ... I don't think we will need to buy drinks for a while. :0) But there were other things, too. Leather belts, a new Acubra for GB whose old one looked like it had been stampeded by a herd of buffaloes! :0P Matted prints from our two favourite gallery stop-offs, my lovely large recycled timber cheese board (to the right, blending in with the table a bit), silver & opal jewellery, a pottery zebra from Monarto Zoo, some yummy products from Maggie Beer's farm shop, along with the big hessian shopping bag. Lovely keepsakes to remind us of our adventures.

And with all of our adventuring, it was just as well that I had a finish before we left ...


... A stacked coin table runner. This was a giftie for my Aunt to thank her for having us take up residence in her spare room for a week & she loved it. This was made entirely from my stash & since it didn't 'cost' me anything, I decided to get it professionally quilted by the very talented Quilting Fairy, the Fabulous Fiona ...

Can you see her fantastic feathers on the sashing? I love Fiona's feather quilting! And a sort of abstract flower design on the coloured blocks. Thanks for squeezing my project into your busy schedule Miss Fiona  :0)

So that was my October OPAM tally ... Good thing a few other OPAMers had been stitching more! The tally for October was ...

116 Finishes

YAY! Well done everyone! And the draw winners are ...




Congrats ladies! Drop me an email & I'll send you a PDF of the stitchery outline to play with.

And that's me for now. I'm hoping to do some sewing over the weekend ... In between the washing & cleaning that we need to do to catch up after our holiday. SIGH! I hope you all have some fun stuff scheduled, too. Til next time ...

BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS




Saturday, 3 November 2018

Day Twenty-four - Home!

Hello all you gorgeous creatures! How are you this fine Saturday? I am sitting in my very own lounge chair, contemplating that although the last three weeks of adventures have been fantastic, Dorothy & her ruby slippers had the right idea ... There's no place like home. :0)

So ... This will be my last holiday report ... Day Twenty-four. After we packed ourselves into Big Blue, we had one last place we wanted to visit in Lightning Ridge ...


The name of this attraction doesn't really give much of a clue as to what you will be seeing, but let me tell you a little story ...

Once upon a time, there was an opal miner who was waiting for some friends who wanted to visit his mine to see what he was doing. His friends were running late & the miner was bored, so he picked up a bread & butter knife & began carving a "welcome" sign in the sandstone near the entrance to his mine. (FYI the layer of sediment that contains opal is found under a layer of sandstone) The miner was so pleased with the result of his carving that he decided to continue it in his spare time. Word of his creative endeavours spread & he soon found he was spending more time showing people through his mine then he was digging. At this point, he went into partnership with someone who turned a carving hobby into a thriving tourist business. It also gave the miner more time to create. :0) At 76 the miner is still carving, though he is no longer working the mine for opals. 

I took over 80 photos ... & that wasn't even taking a photo of every carving! Are you starting to get an idea of the scope of the underground gallery? And all 11 metres below the surface. Let me share a glimpse of this special place with you ...


This shows an opal miner & gives you an idea of the gallery. The tunnel winds around & widens in places to form larger chambers, all covered in carvings.


Some are representations of famous artworks, like this one of the last supper.


This wounded lion is also from a famous statue.


And this one.


Then you find yourself in ancient Egypt with a sarcophagus.


And hieroglyphics.


Or a sacred scene.


Or you might recognise a historic figure.


Sandstone warriors stand guard.


And a tribute to miners. But one of my favourites was ...


The dragon guarding it's egg. There were tv characters, movie characters, musicians, acteors, creatures from mythology, legends & so much more represented. You could walk around all day & still find something new each time you went around. It was a bit pricey to get in, but well worth seeing. With the final attraction crossed off the "to do" list, it was time to fuel Big Blue for the trip home ...


And look what was behind the bowser ... One of John Murray's murals. These emus crack me up! :0) And it was particularly fun to see this one as I had followed the progress on John's Facebook page as he was working on this. Then it really was time to head home.

Our three weeks of road tripping has been fantastic. We covered 6846km, passed through four states, visited some magical places, saw some wonderful sights, had some once-in-a-lifetime experiences, spent time with family & friends, met new people & were reminded that Australia is a land full of contrasts & contradictions ... And concluded that you could travel around it for the rest of your life & still not see everything there is to see. So ... It's wonderful to be home again ... But we're already making a list of places we want to visit on our NEXT road trip adventure! :0)

I hope you've enjoyed traveling with us virtually. I've found doing a daily post of our adventures a bit of a challenge ... I've never kept a daily diary cos I'm too lazy! :0) ... But I've also found it a good way to keep track of where we went & what we did. I'm sure I'll be referring back to these posts to settle arguments in the future! Tee! Hee! Hee! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, ours will be all about unpacking, washing & generally organising ourselves for the coming work week ... SIGH! Take care. Til next time ...

BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS 













Friday, 2 November 2018

(Backup) Day Twenty-three - Lightning Ridge!

Well here I am, relaxing in the lovely air conditioned comfort of our cabin at Lightning Ridge with a cool adult beverage after Day Twenty-three of our holiday was spent exploricating in & around Lightning Ridge. For those overseas gals (or Aussie gals who may not be aware!) Lightning Ridge is famous as the only place in the world where black opals are found. It's an outback town with a character all of its own & in turn seems to attract people who are "characters". :0) Since we only had one day to explore here, we decided to take an organised half day tour with Black Opal tours ... If you're thinking of visiting Lightning Ridge, I can recommend this. Before I go on ... Have you got your cuppa ready to sustain you to the end of this post?? :0)

So ... Bright & earlier than theses night owls prefer, we were picked up from the caravan park we're staying in by 'Mappo', who explained that most people in "the Ridge" are known only by their nick-name & took us touring. First stop was a marker of the original point of settlement for Wallangulla, which then moved slightly & was called Nettleton, after the miner who first recognised the potential worth of the never-before-seen black opal ...


Very little remains of Nettleton after the town's name changed again to Lightning Ridge, except the old post office, which is now home to local miner "Soapy" & his aging blue healer, Hugh ...


It's a bit hard to see, but Soapy is sitting in the shade. Next stop ...


This was the largest open cut opal mine in NSW & the richest source of black opal ever found. (As an aside ... Lightning Ridge is full of signs written on old car doors & bonnets ... Recycling?!?)


The name originated in the first decade of last century when opal mining was concentrated on the flats. Some blokes decided to follow the ridge to the top of the hill & were dubbed lunatics because they would have to dig much deeper to get to the opal bearing level. They had the last laugh, however, finding the richer seam. By the 1960's it had been dug to the extent of becoming dangerous, but as mining methods improved, it was felt there were still opals to be found, so open cut mining started. There is no mining on this spot now. It shows how sometimes it pays not to follow the crowd. :0) Next stop ...


Fred Bodel's camp. A bit of a local legend, Fred came back to Lightning Ridge after the war & stayed until he passed away. He once met the Governor General who wanted to meet an opal miner when he visited Lightning Ridge. Fred agreed on the proviso that the Governor came to him, not the other way around. Fred actually found large amounts of valuable black opal, but continued to live in his camp, which was preserved after his death as a kind of time capsule ...


The kitchen ...


The bedroom/sitting room. These rooms were set up in two small corrugated iron buildings with a covered breezeway between. Nobody knows what happened to Fred's fortune in opals, but he sure didn't blow it on home decorating. :0) Apparently, like many of the old timers, he liked the simple life. We then climbed back on the bus to see a mining camp a bit different to Fred's ...


You're not seeing things ... There really is a stone castle in Lightning Ridge! :0) In fact we were told there are two, but the other is smaller & a copycat. This is Amigo's Castle & was built stone by stone by hand. Apparently, Amigo would come home after digging for opal each day with the back of his ute full of rocks & add to his castle. The rocks are ironstone so very heavy & each was placed carefully to fit snuggly. In fact, if he didn't have a rock that fitted neatly into position, Amigo would stop adding to his castle until he found the rock that fit. He doesn't live in the castle ... He just wanted to see if he could build one. I told you Lightning Ridge attracts characters! :0) 

On with the tour ... We headed underground into a played out opal mine. I commented to GB that we should be fonts of knowledge about mining, having been down a gold mine, a silver mine AND an opal mine during our holiday! :0)


Here's GB in his safety helmet going down the steps ...


Here's our guide, Mappo telling us about the mine. There was a lot more room to move than the silver mine we went down! We watched a video presentation about opal mining in Lightning Ridge before climbing to the surface again to finish the tour. 

After grabbing some quick lunch, we then took ourselves off to see a collection of opalised fossils ... Yep ... Fossils that have opalised. No pics, but they were very interesting to see & we heard how the local community is fundraising & lobbying government bodies to build a national opal museum here in Lightning Ridge. We'll have to come back to see it. :0) Our last stop for the day was one I was looking forward to ...


We visited the new gallery of local artist Jihn Murray. I first met John & was introduced to his quirky artwork when we lived in Bourke. He really has a knack for capturing the colours & feel of the outback & sometimes puts a humorous slant on life in the outback. You can pop over to his web site HERE to see what I mean. This mural in the lane beside his gallery will give you an idea ...


I love this! Wrens have a habit of thinking they're 10 feet tall & will take on anything & cows are incredibly curious but not very bright ... This just seems to capture the humour of the meeting to me. We were fortunate enough to find John at the gallery & had a chat & he signed a calendar for us, which was lovely. This gallery was only opened this year after John's previous gallery was destroyed by fire. I follow John's art adventures on Facebook & saw photos as the new gallery was built, so was extra keen to visit. And wasn't disappointed! :0)

So ... All in all, we had an enjoyable day in Lightning Ridge. We'll see one more attraction before we head off in the morning, as we couldn't see it today. We ran into a funny situation here, where most tourist orientated businesses in Lightning Ridge scale back operations during the summer months. This is party because it gets VERY HOT here (it was only 37 degrees today, so we hot-weather lovers were fine! Tee! Hee! Hee!) & some of the activities are uncomfortable or unsafe in extreme heat ... & partly because less tourists visit Lightning Ridge during the summer months ... See previous comment about high temperatures! :0) The catch for us is ... Lightning Ridge "summer" starts on November 1 & we arrived on ... November 1. So two of the main things we wanted to do dropped back from a morning & afternoon tour to just a morning tour ... & we couldn't be in two places at once. :0)

So that's it from your roving travel reporter for today. One more holiday report tomorrow & the adventure is over ... Neither of us is ready to go back to being grown ups ... BUT ... SIGH!! Til next time ...

BEAR HUGS!

CHEERS!
KRIS














Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...