Wednesday 30 July 2008

Bags, Baskets, Bookings & Bonnie!

OK ... Australian television character quote warning !!! "Are you thinking what I'm thinking B1?" "I think so B2!!" Tee! Hee! Hee! So many "B's" in the title, I just couldn't resist a Bananas in Pyjamas quote! Sorry to all overseas visitors who, at this point, think that I've GONE bananas!! It's a kids show involving ... hmmm, perhaps I'll just leave it as, it's a kids show and tell you it's an Australian thing!!

Believe it or not, I managed to fit all of those "B's" into my afternoon after finishing work. Now, I've told you before that my fave patchwork/quilting shop is practically on my way home from work - those now recognisable pink bags! But a little further down the highway towards Crowsnest, there's another fun place to visit - the Danish Dried Flower Shop. I don't get out there very often, but they not only have all sorts of supplies for dried floral art and a huge range of gifties, they also have a VERY comprehensive range of glass beads for sale, so I usually visit with my beady friend, Robyn, in tow. However, today I was on a mission. I had searched our fair city of Toowoomba for small cane baskets to no avail, so my last option was the Danish Dried Flower Shop. Oops! Is that a BAG I spy???

Oooh! I new colour bag! You'll soon be able to tell where I've been shopping just by the colour of the bag! Tee! Hee! Hee! So if we open up this gold goody bag we find ...

My mini cane baskets! Mission accomplished! Now, I realise that this may seem like an excessive amount of baskets to be buying, after all, one doesn't usually need TOO many small cane baskets! But I had so much trouble locating said baskets that I decided it was worthwhile stocking up. Also in the bag we have ...

Aren't they cute!! Again, I didn't have a specific reason to buy these apart from the fact that they're so darn cute and its a case of 'buy them when you see them, cos they're sure to be gone when you go back!' I'm trying to decide whether to be good and pop them into my birthday basket stash or just add one of each to my tin collection!!! Still thinking!! They're about 6cm tall and there was also a post office, a coffee shop and a toy shop, but I managed to restrain myself from getting one of each - barely!!!

OK, so task number one on the list was crossed off. Next was a visit to the Place-Of-The-Pink-Bags - otherwise known as Quilters Angel! No, no! I was a very GOOD girl today and didn't bring home anything in pink bags! I was paying the final installments for Lynette's and my BOOKINGS for day one of the Stitchers' Dream Day Out.

All paid!! Now we just have to count sleeps til September 20 and remember to take our camera, thread box and coffee mug to enjoy a day of being spoiled and fed while we stitch without interruptions!! YAY! Lynette says she's already started counting down! If I could manage to keep track of the days, I probably would too, but I'm pretty sure someone's still taking a couple of mine each week because I seem to get to Friday and am left thinking, "Wait a minute! Didn't I just HAVE a Friday!!!!" Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now I know this next "B" wasn't one of the original items on my Finish Five Before the End of July Challenge list, but I think I'll include it now, since I've run out of time to tackle the others. You see, I finished a version of my last doll pattern, Bonnie. Here she is ...

Doesn't she look great! (without wanting to sound immodest!!) Oh wait! Is that a MINI-BASKET I spy in her hands?!?!? Now you know why I needed the baskets!! She has turned out a little differently to the original, but that's the fun part about making hand-made bears and dolls - no two will ever look exactly alike!! Do you recognise the fabrics?? It's some of those worrisome pinks I bought a few weeks ago! They came up well, I think, and don't the colours look great against my apple green lounge room walls?! Now this Bonnie won't be moving into the Meares' Madhouse - she's off to spread strawberry happiness to someone else ... not telling who!! You'll have to wait and see! So ... I will claim Bonnie as my number 3 finish for Peg's Challenge, which ends tomorrow. Peg has posted photos of her NUMBER 7 FINISH!!! WOW! I'm not sure when Peg's been finding time to sleep, she has achieved so much in the last few weeks!! My only consolation is that obviously, Peg had even more fabric and partly made projects stashed in her sewing cupboard than I did! Tee! Hee! Hee! It's been lots of fun seeing everyone's finished projects. If you haven't already taken a little tour of some of the blogs of people who've been part of Peg's Challenge, you'd better hurry up! Pop over to Peg's Happy In Quilting blog, she has a link list in her sidebar. But make sure you make a cuppa first, cos there is LOTS to look at and admire!

Well, that's about it for me today. Mind you, it's enough to fool those people who've commented that they've come to expect two posts a week from me! Ha! Tricked you!! I only posted once last week and this is my third post this week - so far!! The week isn't over and my dancing buddy, Deb, and I are busy planning some weekend mischief, so there may be more updates before the end of the week - providing we don't get into TOO MUCH mischief! Tee! Hee! Hee! Until then, this is B3 signing off - Bear Hugs!


Monday 28 July 2008

Rain, Hail & Shine!!

You know the old saying about Rain, Hail or Shine ... well, we had all three in one day today!!! What a strange old FREEZING COLD day it was! When we woke up this morning, it was overcast (Damn! Wish we could sleep in!!). Quarter of an hour later, the sun was struggling to come out, but seemed to be succeeding.

Another ten minutes went by and suddenly we heard heavy rain on the roof. What had happened to the sun???

So after fighting my way out the gate (which is currently sticking because the wet weather has made the timber swell!) and past two dogs with muddy paws and a need for morning pats, I drove to work through rain and a bit of fog, arriving at work to ... sunny skies!! What the?!?! Half an hour later, heavy rain was falling!! This was the pattern for the morning BUT ... just to add a little something extra, the wind started to pick up and I swear it was blowing off the antarctic tundras!!! So after I finished work, I decided the best spot to be was in front of my buddy, Lynda's, wood heater enjoying a cuppa and a catch up. Imagine how surprised we were (after several more bouts of sun, rain, sun, rain...!) to hear funny 'plinking' noises on the roof. We looked out the window and there was ... little frozen raindrops falling, which are referred to as sleet or HAIL!!!

Now, I feel justified in putting the snowflake here (not just because I couldn't find a pic of hail!!) because there was snow on the Darling Downs here, at Stanthorpe, which is only a couple of hours drive from Toowoomba!! And the weatherman very cheerfully told me that while our temperature had hovered between 8 and 9 degrees at its warmest, most of the day saw the mercury sit at about 5 degrees with winds up to 65km/h adding a windchill factor that equalled minus 5!!!! No WONDER I was freezing most of the day!! SIGH!! In fact, this could have been a picture or me this arvo ...

Counting down to summer now!!! There's a saying about Melbourne that if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change to give you all seasons in one day, well, I reckon Toowoomba's almost as changeable!! The only good thing is, that when my blogging buddy Kerryanne comes to visit or I visit her in Melbourne, we'll feel right at home!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now even though the weather was HORRIBLE, the saying about the mail getting through in rain, hail or shine was proven by our brave and often maligned postie, because I received a package that, when I opened it, contained this ...

I did a little favour for Deb (Newcastle Deb, not Dancing Deb! I collect Linda's and Debs!!!) recently and this was a lovely and unexpected thank you pressie!! COOL!! Fabric! Because I DEFINITELY don't have enough FABRIC! Tee! Hee! Hee! Thanks Deb! Oooohhh! More fun fabric to play with! So, the icky cold day did have a little warmth in it!!

Actually, I also found a little note on my desk, when I arrived at work this morning, from the wonderful lady I made the scarf for, which was so wonderfully modelled a couple of posts back by my bear Myron. She said the scarf had DEFINITELY come in handy with our nasty weather and it made her smile every time she enjoyed the soft, fluffy warmth! I have to confess to having a little tear in my eye after reading her letter!! While we crafters give pressies for the joy of it, not to garner praise, it is lovely when the people we've given them to appreciate the gifts. So, another nice warm fuzzy for the cold icky day - WOW! At this rate, I may thaw out ... by SUMMER!!!!

Wherever you are, I hope you're warm and cosy! I'm now off to thaw my frozen fingers out and see if I can bat my eyelashes hard enough to get GB to make me a cuppa!! He'll probably ask me what I've got in my eye!! Ah well, til next time - Bear Hugs!


Sunday 27 July 2008

Lynette, Lunch & Lazing Around!

Never fear! I'm still here! I've just been in hibernation mode this week as it's been soooooooooo cold! We started the week with three days in a row where the temperature didn't get above 10 degrees and that's not taking the wind chill factor into account!! And then it rained, which just made it NASTIER!! I know we needed the rain and I'm pleased to report that our tank is again full (after my little mishap a few weeks ago whilst filling the fish pond!!) but it does make the weather bitter and encourage both me and my beloved Geek Boy to go into hibernation. And as I've said before, the office and sewing room are the two coldest rooms in the house, so I've avoided spending too much time in either room - but I'm back now!

In a bid to escape our bitter weather for a while - as well as catch up with my mad mate! - I headed to Brisbane for a day on Friday to catch up with my best-friend-since-primary-school Lynette. It had been a while since we'd had a play day - I think the Stitches and Craft Show was the last one - so we decided it was time to schedule an outing. Now it was decided it would be a pretty low-key kind of outing, as Lynette was recovering from a nasty head cold and a bout of laryngitis (must've nearly killed her to not be able to talk! Tee! Hee! Hee!). So, we decided to head for one of our fave haunts, a big garden centre/gift shop/coffee shop for a yummy lunch.

After umming and ahhing for a while over a tasty menu, Lynette decided on a Moroccan Chicken wrap and I chose the Paela with chicken and chorizo. We then sat and chatted, flirted wtih the waiter and enjoyed our drinks as we waited for lunch to arrive. Here it is ...

Here's Lynette ready to attack her healthy, yummy looking lunch. And here's my Paela.

Doesn't it look good? It tasted pretty darn good, too!! We both also had yummy deserts (sticky date pudding and caramel pudding) but they disappeared so quickly that I didn't get a photo! Tee! Hee! Hee! We had a delicious lunch - as we always do when we hit the garden centre (really must find out it's proper name!!) and part of it is the lovely lunch surroundings - it IS a nursery, after all! This was our lunch view.

It was very relaxing. I always find water features in gardens and nature very soothing - someone said it's because my star sign is Pisces, but I think it's just cos they're pretty!!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So ... after lunch, we felt OBLIGED to check out the gift shop which was fun, but also messed with my mind a bit. You see, they've been having Christmas in July, so there were Christmas carols playing over the loudspeakers - which really freaked me out, since I'm only about half way through my birthday list for the year, never mind Christmas pressies!!!! However, I did manage to put aside my premature-yuletide-stress-syndrome long enough to find some goodies.

The gardening book is a birthday pressie for my Mother-in-law who's a mad keen gardener, the cool little tape measure is for me because I'm ALWAYS tangling my tape measures and losing them, so I thought this might help keep track of it; and the little canvasses are going to be put aside for when I get around to ordering my copy of "Shabby Doodles" from Kerryanne at Shabby Art Boutique. I'm intending to paint some cupcakes, but since I'm painting impaired and haven't actually got around to ordering the book from Kerryanne ... it's kind of a long term goal!!!

So ... that was my fun day with Lynette. We'll be catching up again soon when we attend day one of the Stitcher's Dream Day Out hosted by The Quilter's Angel on September 20 and 21. If you haven't popped in to see Marian and book your place - WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!! Tee! Hee! Hee! All bookings and payments have to be in by August 1, so don't miss out! I'll be popping in this week to make the final payment for Lynette and I - can't wait! For the day out, that is, not having to pay! Tee! Hee! Hee! I've heard wonderful stories about past Stitcher's Dream Days Out and can't wait to be part of the fun! Will soon start counting sleeps!!

Today was a bit of a clean up day for GB and me - the last few weeks seem to have been so hectic and/or cold, that little has been done around our place in the way of chores or housework, so today we rolled up our sleeves and got stuck in. The lounge room has finally completed its metamorphosis from Harem Hideaway to Country Haven again, with all of the furry occupants happy to be back in their warm lounge after an enforced holiday in the spare room. I have to say, it's nice to have their cheerful furry faces back! However, after lunch, the clouds rolled in again and the temperature dropped enough that we both decided the lounge room was the place to be. GB watched a bit of mindless sport. And what did I do? Here's a hint...

You guessed it! I curled up on the couch under my flannel blankie with a mystery/romance book and a cup of hot chocolate - that's how best to deal with winter!!

So ... that's what I've been up to this week when I seemed to drop off the edge of the blogosphere, but hopefully this week will be a bit warmer and I'll have more energy. Who knows, I may even get some more work done towards finishing some of my projects for Peg's challenge! Peg, that stitching superwoman, has finished number SIX project!! WOW! I reckon her machine has been working overtime in the last month or so!! Well done Peg! And thanks again for hosting the challenge and encouraging some of us UFO collectors to get a few projects finished! Of course, if I get my butt back into sewing mode (not that my butt plays a large part in stitching!!!) I should really make a start on my bag for Linda's Bag/bucket swap. I had a sneaky email from the stitcher who's making me a bag - she sent if from a friend's address so I wouldn't know who she is. Looking at a few little clues, I think she may be from Norway, or Sweden, or Finland, or ... OK, so I'm a pretty broad guesser!!! It will be very exciting to receive a bag that someone's made especially for me!! Not many of my friends are into craft, quilting and sewing like I am, so I'm usually GIVING hand made pressies, not GETTING them. Which is fun too, so I shouldn't complain, but the switcharoo will be fun. Hmmm, now I just have to decided on what I'm going to make for MY swap partner ?????? No clues!!

So, I'm off to watch Dr Who and flick through a few craft mags and pattern books - it's a good excuse, isn't it!! Hope you're having a great week and enjoying your stitching. Til next time - Bear Hugs!


Monday 21 July 2008

Scarf, Swap & Socialising!

Just a quick post today, as it is overcast, cold and windy - AGAIN!! - and the coldest room in our house is the office - where the computer is!! BRRRRRRR!!! My fingers are little icicles already, so please excuse any typos!! Well, time is marching on, July is winding down and I have just ten days left to meet my goal of Finishing Five By The End Of July. Hmmm ... pretty sure it ain't gonna happen! Especially since I've interrupted my momentum so I can make a few birthday and 'just because' gifties. Still, if I count these projects, I had a finish on the weekend ...

No silly! Not the bear (tho he is a cutie - his name is Myron!!) the scarf he's modelling! For all of you who have been expressing concern at my "inner pink lover" coming out, don't be distressed - it's for one of the residents where I work! A very sweet lady who lives in the retirement village where I work popped into my office last week to lend me a couple of books by Barbara Johnson (one of my fave authors!), so this is a little "just because/thank you" gift for her. She also called me a ray of sunshine, so I'm keeping her! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'm not much of a knitter, but I've lost count of how many of these fuzzy scarves I've knitted in the last four years for myself and others - big needles, pretty fuzzy wool and straight stitching - even I can't go wrong with that!! So, that's my weekend finish - even if it's not one of the projects I nominated for Peg's challenge, I was pleased to get it done.

I received an email today from Linda telling me who my Bag/Bucket Swap partner is! Oooooohhhh!! How exciting! And it all has to be secret squirrel!! However, I'm 98% sure my swap partner hasn't visited my blog, so I'll be able to show sneaky peeks along the way to tease you all - and make you wish you'd signed up for Linda's swap! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'm also thinking of posting some easy-to-follow instructions on how to make a straight forward bag with paper bag corners and lining - if anyone is interested. If you'd like me to do this, leave a comment and I'll put it on my list of "Things To Do".

And finally, we took some time out to do some socialising on the weekend. We were invited to dinner at the new home of the friends I made the Chocolate Mousse quilt for, Amelia and Matt. Amelia works with my beloved Geek Boy and since they've been busy planning an upcoming overseas holiday, they decided organising a house warming party was NOT going to happen, so they invited us for dinner instead. YUM! We had home-cooked gourmet pizzas, individual trifles and lots of good company. And although I didn't take photos of our yummy dinner, I DID get a photo of Amelia and Matt snuggled under their quilt.

Isn't that sweet!! Amelia said she'd been wondering how to give their lounge room that nice 'homey, cosy' look and the Chocolate Mousse quilt added exactly the right touch! Isn't it great when you make something for someone and they REALLY appreciate it? Makes all the work, pricked fingers and missing skin worthwhile! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And speaking of snuggle rugs ... I think I'm off to snuggle under mine in front of the heater and some Midsomer Murder DVD's to work on finishing the other gifties I'm making. I'm hoping to get back to my challenge projects later in the week, but we'll see how we go!! Even if I don't, to have finished two long-term projects has been fantastic, so thanks again Peg for sharing your challenge with us! Until next time, stay snuggly! Bear Hugs!


Friday 18 July 2008

Oops! I've been bad - again!!

Oh dear! I can't seem to help myself! I've been a bad girl - again!! You see, it all started when I caught up with my friend Robyn, who I haven't seen for a couple of months. We decided to travel a path my little car can do with it's eyes shut (if cars had eyes!!) out to Highfields for a catch-up coffee, chat and - most importantly! - shop! So off we went and had a lovely time, but both of us came home with empty wallets and full shopping bags! Oops! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Here are my goodies! Bet you recognise one of these bags to be able to guess one of my stopping points!!

We decided to hit the Village Green complex and started with a visit to Herbal Harmonies - they have soooooo many pretty/smelly/yummy things that I could have gone berserk, but instead, this is what I bought ...

A fun tin with secret squirrel things in (stocking up with a couple of the swaps I've signed up for in mind!) and the GORGEOUS little gifty tags! Each tag is not only sooooo pretty, it has a little quote or saying on the back - not sure I'll be able to part with them!! Robyn also stocked up on pretty hand-made soap, but I forgot to take my camera with me, so no on-the-spot-reporter photos. We then decided it was time for some sustenance, so hit the Chocolate Cottage for lunch, which was YUMMY!! I won't bore you with details of the meal, but suffice to say we waddled off afterwards! And our next stop was Quilters Angel. Now I know you're all thinking I may as well move in there and start paying rent, but last visit was for something SPECIFIC, this time was just LOOKING! OK, so it didn't STAY as just looking for long!!! This is what I found ...

I know ... pink again!! Scott is starting to worry about me!! Tee! Hee! Hee! Now, I could justify buying these by saying they were on sale, or that I'll probably use them to make gifts ... but the truth is they were PRETTY and they caught my eye!! So they came home with me!!! Have got a few ideas about what I'll do with them, but I won't say anything yet. The two wrapped packets contain panels of pretty garden scenes in varying sizes that will be great to put borders round for a quick quilt or blanket stitch as applique` .... oh the infinite possibilities of fabric!!! Robyn also did a bit more damage to her budget here, but we both came home having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!!! And as Robyn said - you only live once, so there's no point in keeping all your money in the bank!! I think most of my money is in investments - invested in fabric, invested in china tea cups, invested in ....!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

The other photo I have to share is of some fun mail I received this week ...

I bought some wonderful cards from Chookyblue! Aren't they great!! I looooove the colours that she's captured , particularly the rusty wheels. I don't send people letters, I send cards so even after they've read the message, my friends have something pretty to look at and remember that someone was thinking of them. So these ones will REALLY give my friends something pretty to keep - thanks Chookyblue!!!

So ... there you go! That's the latest update from the Meares' Madhouse! Tonight's a nice quiet, stay-at-home-and-watch-TV night, before going out tomorrow for dinner at a friend's place. Actually, tomorrow's dinner is the long-awaited housewarming for the friends I made the Chocolate Mousse quilt for, so hopefully I'll have photos of the quilt in it's new home to share with you next post. Until then, hope you've got a comfy spot on the couch, a glass of something soothing, some stitching and someone to share the warm fuzzy feelings with! Bear Hugs!


Wednesday 16 July 2008

In A Fog!

I was in a bit of a fog this morning! OK, so first thing in the morning that may be normal!!!! But today, I mean it literally! You see, we've had some welcome rain in the last couple of days, which brought slightly warmer temperatures - HOORAY!! but when you combine the warmer rain air with the previous cold conditions you get .... FOG! Now, while I live in Toowoomba, I travel 20 minutes drive north to go to work each morning. It's quite a nice drive, but one of the hazards of being on top of the Great Dividing Range, particularly in winter and after rain, is ... FOG! Today the drive was mostly in the clear, until I turned off the highway to head to our little village. It's in a bit of a valley and today, the fog had settled. While I'm not fond of driving in it, I love the visual effect of fog - that soft, gauzy, almost dream-like state it creates. And I particularly love seeing fog swirling around big stands of trees - I always expect the faeries to peek out from behind the tree trunks, only to disappear with a spin and a giggle back into the mist. Yeah, I know ... one day my vivid imagination is going to get me into trouble!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So, on arriving in our misty little valley this morning, I decided to snap a few happy snaps to try to capture the cool natural 'special effects'. I was standing in the middle of the main entry road (I looked both left and right first!) when my boss spotted me and asked what I was doing ... standing in the middle of the road! I told him I was taking fog photos. He was quiet for a moment and then gave me one of those 'boy' looks (you know the ones that make you think the male involved is thinking, "Nod, smile, don't alarm her - it's probably hormonal!!") and wanted to know why I was taking photos of fog. I tried to explain that I wasn't really taking photos of "FOG" as such, but of things IN THE FOG. I'm pretty sure he still didn't get it! I told him he can be such a BOY sometimes! He didn't get THAT either! Tee! Hee! Hee! However, I did snap a couple of cool photos and thought I'd share them with you.

The windmill is kind of like the mascot/logo for the village, a bit of an Aussie icon, but the fog turned something practical into pretty, softening the edges and light a bit.

I love this photo with the one main tree looking clearer, while you can see the other trees less distinctly in the background. You can also see a little bit of the "work in progress" status of this part of the village. We're adding 11 new units, but the rain stopped work today - perfect to allow me to snap my photos!

And this is how the fog closed in as I was arriving at work - you can actually see my Baby car in the bottom right corner. I love big trees - definitely a greeny at heart!! And this one looked positively magical in the mist - can you see the elves and pixies waving? Hmmmm, perhaps it's time I went to bed and caught up on some sleep!!!

So, there you go. That was the magical, misty start to my morning. Have to email the photos to my boss to show him what I meant by "fog photos"!! No sewing progress to show today, as I'm still working on birthday presents and can't reveal secrets yet, as several of the soon-to-be-recipients pop in to visit my blog from time to time! Will take photos when things are finished and save them for a post after the items have arrived at their new homes. Hope you have a great day tomorrow and aren't too much in a fog! Bear Hugs!


Monday 14 July 2008

Fun, Fabric, Friends!

What more could a girl want?!?! Never mind the "3 R's" I'm talking about the "3 F's"!! Tee! Hee! Hee! Let me start by giving you a clue to the first two words of the post title ...

I know I'm usually the "Anti-pink", but THIS kind of pink always means ... FUN!! You see, it means I've paid a visit to one of my fave patchwork shops, the Quilter's Angel at Highfields (which just happens to be close to where I work!!). Today I was on a mission - a fun mission! Firstly, I wanted to grab my copy of Rosalie Quinlan's GORGEOUS book, "GIFT" which I have been promising to get myself since it was launched. Today was the day! Secondly, I was in search of some fabric to make a birthday present for a friend. Someone said to me, "Another birthday present? Didn't you just celebrate a friend's birthday?" Yes I did, but between friends and family, the July/August combo involves 11 birthdays!!! So the good thing is, the recipient of the pressie won't know the fabric is for THEIR gift, because there are so many to choose from!! Although ... I'm PRETTY sure my brother-in-law wouldn't appreciate anything made from these fabrics!! Here's what was in the bag ...

I know ... I buy an awful lot of pink fabric for someone who claims to be the "Anti-pink" but I seem to have gathered lots of friends who LOOOOOOVE pink!! Go figure! Perhaps it's the ol' opposites attract theory! Quite a lot of time was spent this afternoon drooling over Rosalie's wonderful book - such luscious photos, cute projects and touching sentiments. I particularly like Rosalie's explanation of why she called her book gift - she is thankful for her gift of creativity, thankful for the gift of 'life after cancer' and also because this book is full of great projects to make as gifts for yourself or for others! Now, since I'm a great believer in "Just Because" or "Un-birthday" presents, I can see it will come in VERY handy! Thank you, Rosie for sharing your gift of creativity with us all and encouraging us to use it to share joy and beauty with others!

And speaking of "Just Because" gifts AND the third word of my title "Friends" ... A little while ago, I shared a photo of a few of the pretty tins I have in my tin collection and Peg from Happy In Quilting was the first to leave a comment, saying how much she enjoyed collecting her own tins. So, to surprise her, I sent a little "Just Because" gift of a little tin filled with musk lollies. Now, I got a little sneaky about surprising her and Karen from Mrs Martins Quilt Shop helped me - I posted the pressie to Karen, who then posted it on for me. (Australia Post must LOVE crafters!!) I got a lovely phone call from Peg this afternoon to say what a naughty girl I was for spoiling her!!! Tee! Hee! Hee! GUILTY!! So, after being scolded - in the nicest possible way!! - Peg and I had a lovely chat. I have to say, since I've started blogging, I've made some wonderful friends! And even if we never get to meet face-to-face (now wouldn't THAT be a party and a half!!!) it's lovely to know there are people out in blogland who enjoy the same hobbies, crafts and experiences and who offer encouragement, friendship and support. Thanks for the chat, Peg!! And I hope the new addition to your tin collection gives you lots of enjoyment - not to mention enjoying what was INSIDE the tin! Tee! Hee! Hee!

The other thing to come out of my chat with Peg was that I signed up to be part of Linda's latest swap - I must be NUTS! OK, some of you agreed with that far too readily before you'd even heard my reason!!! Linda's latest swap, after her very successfully hosted Pincushion Swap, is a bag/bucket swap. I told Peg I was still tossing up whether to join and she encouraged me to sign up, saying that busy crafters always find time for one more project!! So, thus assured, I popped over to Linda's blog and signed up!! Oh dear! Well ... sleep is overrated, I'm sure!! Tee! Hee! Hee! It sounds like it will be lots of fun and it's one way of guaranteeing that I get some of the fun mail that so many bloggers seem to get!! So, if you're like me and have far too much 'free' time, why not join the merry band of Bag Ladies - who knows, you may not only receive a lovely hand-made bag/bucket, you may also make some new friends!!

And speaking of blogging friends ... my poor bloggy buddy, Kerryanne from Shabby Art Boutique took a tumble om the weekend and is now sporting a "boo-boo" on her noggin! So, pop over and give her a bear hug to cheer her up. Hope you're feeling better soon, Kerryanne!!

Well, I think I'm all funned out for the day - I'm off to hit the shower before bed so that I have lots of energy tomorrow to get stitching on the birthday presents I need to finish!! I hope you're having lots of fun that involves fabric and friends! Until next time, Bear Hugs!


Saturday 12 July 2008

Fanfare Please!!

Yes, folks! This FINISH definitely deserves a fanfare, because it's been quite a while in coming. Are you sitting down ... I've FINISHED my red and green quilt!!!! TA DA!! Now, some of you who've only been popping in for a while are wondering if I've finally lost my last marble (nope! They're in a container in the sewing room!!) but those of you who've been visiting for a while will know that for longer than I've been blogging, I've been working on a red and green quilt featuring nine Bronwyn Hayes stitchery designs, done in redwork, for one of the lounge chairs. And after much ado and many interruptions - it's finished! YAY me!! Here it is ...

I had a little bit of trouble finding somewhere to hang it to take a good photo. I intended to hang it on the washing line, but we have gale force winds here today and I thought I might be picking it up in Brisbane if I tried!! So pinning it to the spare room curtain was the best solution I could come up with. It gives a pretty good idea of how it looks. I'm really pleased with how it's come up. I love the red and green combo (it's NOT just for Christmas!!) and I love Bronwyn's stitcheries, so really, I couldn't go too far wrong by putting them together! The top centre stitchery is my favourite, as I dream of one day having a sewing nook in my garden like this one. Although, with two rather boisterous dogs in the yard, I'm not likely to find a lot of peace, quiet and tranquility! Just lots of jumps, licks, drool and slimy tennis balls dropped on my foot!! Eeeeeew!! So, taking my mind of slimy tennis balls ... here's a photo of the quilt on the lounge chair it will now live on ...

Oh look! There's Ruby, resting on a cushion! Tee! Hee! Hee! She's one of my fave Rosalie Quinlan patterns!! This quilt was originally going to drape over the couch, but it really didn't show off the stitcheries very well, so I'll shift the green floral and check quilt that WAS on this chair and put it on the other single chair in the corner, this one will stay where it is and as for the couch ... guess I'll have to add another quilt to my "To Do" list!! SIGH! So many quilts/bears/stitcheries/dolls and so little time!!!

The other great thing about finishing this quilt is that it's another of my five projects for Peg's "Finish Five Before The End Of July" challenge! YAY!!! Two down, three to go and I'm fast running out of July!! I have to say, I'm not overly confident that I'll get the five projects finished by the end of July, but at least I've made progress and that's something. It's all that naughty Granny Loz's fault for calling me a chicken!! I don't know whether to THANK her or BLAME her!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And because I have soooooooo much "free" time .....????? I've signed up for a swap. I've GOT to be a little crazy - but that's why you love me, right? RIGHT??!!??!! It's being organised by Helen at Hugs From Helen and it will involve seven wonderfully talented designers, seven FREE (yes, you read right!!) patterns and a swap! It's called the Stitchers' Angel swap and I've added the tag and a direct link on the left sidebar so you can check it out.

There are two ways of taking part. Firstly you can visit Helen every week from Monday August 18 to view and print a free pattern. Secondly, you can join the swap by filling out and emailing the form on the page the link takes you to. You are then allocated a Secret Stitching Angel and will be given a Stitcher for you to spoil. Over the seven weeks you need to hand make at least three projects to surprise your stitcher with (not necessarily using the free patterns) and you will receive at least three lovely surprises in your letter box in return. Now, everyone out there in blogland is always showing off yummy stuff they get in their mail box and since usually all I get is junk mail and bills, I thought pretty stitching gifts would be a nice change!! If you're like me and have lots of "free" time (HA!) and you'd like to join in the fun, head to Helen's blog, add the badge to your blog and spread the word. Lynette Anderson is one of the seven designers, so that shows just how high the standard of free patterns will be!!

However, I think that means I REALLY need to finish some other projects before August 18, so I shall sign off and head back to my stitching!! Hope you're all having a great weekend and crossing things of your "To Do" list, too. Bear Hugs!


Wednesday 9 July 2008

Baby Elephant Walk!

That's what I've been humming to myself today as I finished off the latest block of Lynette Anderson's free Noah's Ark BOM, because, oddly enough, this month's pair of animals is Mr and Mrs L. E. Fant. Confused? Take a peek!

Aren't they cute! I've added a few little 'extras' as I can't seem to resist! I'm sure Lynette doesn't mind! Granny Loz gave me the idea of giving Mrs L. E. Fant pretty painted toenails - she thought about it, I did it!! Tee! Hee! Hee! And I also gave her a flower behind here ear (Mrs Fant, not Granny Loz!!) - after all, we ALL know the true secret to timeless glamour is ACCESSORISING!! And Mr L. E. Fant looked a little bare, so I popped a pretty blue blanket on him so he didn't feel left out in the cold! That now makes five finished blocks towards my finished Noah's Ark Quilt - what a shame I can't count any of these in my Five Before The End Of July challenge!! But if you haven't joined the fun and would like to, just click on the cool Noah's Ark icon to the left and it will take you straight to the downloadable patterns. Here are my blocks so far ...

I'm pretty happy with how they're coming up and enjoying working with the darker, murkier country colours for a little change from the softer shabby chic colours I tend to use at the moment on most projects. A change is as good as a holiday, so they say ... although ... I think I'd prefer the holiday - somewhere warm!! Today has been another NASTY day here in Toowoomba. The temperature didn't even make it to 10 and the horrible westerly winds have been blowing off the snow at speeds of 35km/h!!! BRRRRRRR!! I'm starting to feel like a penguin - and perhaps look like one when I walk, since I have so many layers on to keep warm!!! Now THERE'S a mental picture for you!! Tee! Hee! Hee! The only consolation is that the warmest room in the house is the lounge room (still mid-transition from harem back to country haven!) where the gas heater is. So ... Gosh! Darn! I'll just have to go back in there and stitch!! Tee! Hee! Hee! I've just traced a stitchery for a friend's birthday pressie, so guess where I'll be tonight, especially since my beloved Geek Boy has a work staff meeting until after 8pm. What a shame none of the projects I've chosen for my Finish Five Challenge need hand sewing done - they're all waiting for machine stitching, which is probably why they're on the waiting list!!!

And tying in with the whole Noah's Ark theme, I thought I'd show you how I started my week! When I arrived at work on Monday, it was cold, overcast and icky, but as I got out of the car look what greeted me ...

I hope you can see it. I don't think the photo really captured it as clearly as it looked in real life. What a cool way to start the week - with a reminder of God's promises!!

Before I go back to my hibernation in the lounge room, I've added another great blog to my sidebar for you to pop in and visit. It's Natalie Ross In Stitches. I've been popping into Nat's blog for a while now, but have to say I kept forgetting to add her to my sidebar - you know how it is ... "Next time I'm playing with layout I must remember ..." and then I promptly forget!! Oops! Anyway, Nat popped in here for a visit yesterday, which is what finally prompted my memory! She designs the most gorgeous stitcheries - fun and funky fairies, flowers and all sorts of goodies - plus her blog is fun to read! Pop on over to say g'day and give her a bear hug!

And on that note (A flat minor, I think! Tee! Hee! Hee!) I'm off to make myself a hot chocolate and sit in the lounge room to stitch - just as soon as I melt the icicles on my nose and fingers from sitting in the office, which is the coldest room in the house!!!! If I have too many hot chocolates, though, I really WILL be doing the BABY ELEPHANT WALK!! (Note to self: get some 99% fat free hot choc!!) Wherever you are, I hope you've got a warm spot to curl up in and if you're like Carin in the USA and having heat waves - send our heat back! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time, Bear Hugs!


Sunday 6 July 2008

Party Pooped!!

I've had a very laaaaaazy day today after several days of frantic party preparations, then some serious partying!! Today was declared a rest day and my beloved Geek Boy and I have lazed around in the temporary harem - AKA our lounge room! - reading, resting and recuperating ready for a new week.

Yesterday dawned overcast, blowy, cold and threatening to rain ... just the perfect sort of weather for my dancing buddies, Lynda and Deb, and I to lock ourselves away to celebrate friendship, sisterhood and Deb's birthday. As I told you in previous posts, I've been scurrying around to transform our lounge room into a harem hide-away, celebrating the fact that our little tribe became friends through attending the same belly dancing class. All doorways were draped in gauzy gold curtains, the lounge chairs were covered with satin sheets or fur blankets (not real fur of course, as that would be barbaric!!) and a spare mattress was transformed with piles of satin cushions into a lounging platform fit for the birthday girl Harem Queen. Lamps were draped in silky scarves, dozens of scented candles were lit and the coffee table was transformed into a banquet table fit for a sultan - except this was strictly a 'Girls Only' shindig!

It's a little dark - due to the only light coming from candles and lamps! - but it gives you a little idea of how our harem looked.

And in keeping with our harem theme, we all donned some of our harem pants, flowing skirts and Kuchi tribal jewellery.

Here we are - three tribal goddesses!! GB stayed around just long enough to take this photo for us then he was outta here quicker than you could say, "Ali Barber and the forty thieves!" Tee! Hee! Hee!

And here's our Birthday Girl ... Queen Deb!

She decided that the mountain of cushions was quite comfy!! In fact, we all ended up sitting on the floor on cushions around our feast, chatting, drinking copious amounts of tea and coffee and enjoying our party nibbles. Here's Lynda and Deb ...

What could be better than hanging out with friends, enjoying hot drinks and a heater on a cold day and grazing on yummy party food? PRESENTS!! Now, a few posts back, I showed you a pile of 'raw materials' and challenged you to guess what it would become. Well, it was to be Deb's birthday present and Carin guessed it - a Goth Bear! Tee! Hee! Hee! She was a combined gift from Lynda and I to Deb, with the bear and her outfit being my responsibility, while Lynda designed and made her jewellery. Here she is ...

Isn't she a cutie - and the bear's not bad either! Tee! Hee! Hee! Deb got to choose the name for her new little friend and she has been christened 'Majenta'. Here's a closer photo of the furry cutie ...

All in all, we had a wonderful day. With three busy schedules (two of which involve children, too!) it's hard for the tree of us to get together for more than a couple of hours at a time, so when Deb told us that all she wanted to do for her birthday was for the three of us to hang out, Lynda and I decided to make it a memorable day and Deb's verdict? "Thank you for a magical day!!" Aw shucks!! BLUSH! You're welcome!! It made me realise yet again just how very fortunate I am to have these two wonderful, witty, wacky women in my life - thanks girls!! And a big thank you to all of you bloggy buddies out there who wished Deb a Happy Birthday and wished us a fun party - you are all lovely and your well-wishes were passed on to Deb!

So ... in the wake of our extended party, today was a quiet one, which involved lots of lounging and reading, but not much sewing. However, I did manage to download and trace the latest installment in Lynette Anderson's free Noah's Ark BOM and shall spend some time stitching tonight whilst watching "Dr Who" and "CSI". If you haven't taken advantage of Lynette's free BOM, or haven't yet seen it (where have you been hiding! There's comments all over Blogland about it! Tee! Hee! Hee!) you can click on the cool tag to the left of my blog. Lynette very kindly made this cute icon available for all bloggers who wanted to link back to her site to make it easier to take a shortcut to her pattern. Check it out if you haven't already - it's heaps of fun!

For now, though, I'm off to have some boiled eggs for dinner and see what adventures Dr Who gets himself into this week! Til next time, Bear Hugs!


Friday 4 July 2008

Cleaning and Cooking Chaos!!

Why is it that some things seem like a really good idea in theory, but much more trouble in reality?!?! If I ever work that one out, I may just keep myself out of some of the trouble I get myself into! But probably not! Tee! Hee! Hee! Today has been a frenzy of cleaning and cooking in preparations for the Harem Party that will take place here in our lounge room for Deb, my dancing buddy's, birthday.

Now the idea was to transform the lounge room into a simple version of a harem - easy right? WRONG! First ... I had to re-locate a large population of very disgruntled bears and dolls. They are currently enjoying (???) an enforced holiday in the spare room, where the regular residents are almost as disgruntled to have been inundated with uninvited guests.

You can see that the bed is now a LITTLE crowded! Reminds me of that children's song ... "There were four in the bed and the little one said, 'Roll over, Roll over!' So they all rolled over and one fell out!" Hope that doesn't happen to my critters! But wait ... there's more ...! At the end of the bed we find ...

Yep, more 'stuff' from the lounge room! Goodness knows how I'm going to manage to get everything back into it's right spots on Sunday!!!

It was then time to drag the 'Darlek' (my ancient, large, clumsy, barrel-shaped vacuum!) out of the cupboard and 'Exterminate!' the dust and dirt before dressing the room in it's harem finery.

So ... the room was a clean, blank canvas and it was time to decorate. I won't show you too much and spoil the surprise, but I will show you some of my mood lighting.

Oooooh! Pretty lamp! Bit different to the plain cane shade you usually see!!

And what's a birthday party without candles? DARK!! Tee! Hee! Hee! I crack myself up!! Hmmm, early night tonight perhaps!! I'm not sure my point and click camera really does the pretty light justice, but you get a bit of an idea.

I had also taken a photo of my progress in making a cheese ball, but it showed too much of my messy kitchen that looks like the Tasmanian Devil, Taz, has been through it, so I left it out!!! I did have a little taste of the cheese ball mix before putting it in the fridge to harden and have to say it was pretty yummy!!! Party food is fun, especially the savoury variety!!

So, now you know what I've been up to today and why next time I think I'll just shout Deb a cup of coffee somewhere instead of having bright and creative ideas!!! I'm sure the three of us will have a blast, though, so stay tuned for reports from the harem party soon!! Til next time, Bear Hugs!


Tuesday 1 July 2008

Patchwork & Party Preparations!

That's what's been keeping me busy the last few days! I've been slaving over a hot rotary cutter and cutting mat to prepare my squares to make my long-planned shaggy quilt, which has been rekindled thanks to seeing Peg's lovely version. I now have all of my squares (and probably a few extras!!) cut out, and all of the backing squares but had to make a trip to the patchwork shop before I could cut the wadding squares. That was one of yesterday's numerous errands and I'm now ready to go - tomorrow perhaps! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Here are my nice neat square piles!! Doesn't it look like I've been industrious?! Thank you for all your kind comments on my flannel fabrics for this quilt - it's always nice to have extra opinions and feedback for a new project! And I also had an SOS from Jo Jo at Home Sweet Home - she BEGGED me for a copy of the wonderful instructions Peg sent me for putting a shaggy quilt together!! Now, I hate to see a grown woman beg - it's just not natural! Tee! Hee! Hee! So I quickly emailed a copy to her! WOW! I wonder if Peg realised how many of us she was going to inspire to make a shaggy quilt when she posted photos of her quilt?! How cool is that!

Jo Jo, however, has been a bit smarter in her approach to making a shaggy quilt than I have. In my usual fashion, when I bought the fabric two years ago, I started cutting 7" squares without looking into the why's, how's and wherefore's of making a shaggy and consequently, have 'wasted' a lot of my fabric. Now, the 'leftovers' will undoubtedly be used for another quilt - to be made at a much later date!! - but with some fabrics, it would've been nice to have more of them. Oh well, we'll see how we go! Jo, on the other hand is going to use a pack of charm squares!! DOH!!! Why didn't I find that shortcut!! She doesn't have to cut any squares, they've all been done for her! It will be fun to see how her quilt turns out - isn't it fun sharing on blogs!!

Now, the other thing that has kept me busy recently are the preparations for a friend's birthday party. It will be held in our lounge room and although there will be only three of us there (our belly dancing Trio - me, Lynda and Deb), I'm hoping it will be very special. The invitations have gone out ...

This is the front of the card my beloved and clever Geek Boy made for me with some fantastic pics I found. I just loooooooove old sepia postcards! And doesn't she look glamorous, that old style Hollywood glamorous! Then on the inside ...

More fab vintage postcards!! I don't know if you can read it from the photo, but inside is a little poem.

"Come spend a day in our harem, let your cares slip away.
Do nothing but enjoy ease and leisure, eat, drink and chat all day.
There'll be exotic treats for your pleasure, and friends with whom to share,
So come dressed in harem jewels and finery, then relax without a care.
We'll meet at the Meares' oasis at 10:30 next Saturday morn,
To celebrate sisterhood, friendship and the day our Queen Deb was born."

Lynda and I have been cooking up lots of surprises for Deb's special day - though Carin has already guessed part of it, you clever craft detective, you!! But I can't say too much or it will spoil the surprise, but I promise to take photos and update you after the party. In the meantime, I'm off to brew birthday magic and dust off my harem finery! Til next time, Bear Hugs!

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