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 ...



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 ...



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 ...



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 ...



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 ...


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 ...



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