Sunday 31 January 2010

Feeling Mellow!

After our adventures visiting the Lovely Lilly Linda and her beloved Tim last weekend, we decided a quiet weekend at home would be the go and since my planned "ME" day on Friday didn't really eventuate (lots of phone interruptions and a cuppa catchup with a friend), I decided the weekend was going to be MINE, ALL MINE!!!! :0)
(Not sure how I got this white background strip, but I can't get rid of it!!! Grrr!!)

As a result, I've helped Detective Inspector Barnaby solve a number of tricky murders in Midsomer, watched a race of alien robots foiled in their attempt to destroy earth's sun and helped the Aussie cricket team get Packistan out for a relatively low score in the first innings of today's One Day match. Sounds busy for a quiet weekend, right? Well ... as a spectator on the sidelines, what I REALLY did was watch it all happen while I STITCHED! And the result is that I've finished all nine mini blocks that make up block one of "Butterfly Garden" by Leanne Beasley. I haven't joined the mini blocks together yet, but here they are all laid out on the lounge chair where I've spent my weekend ...

I'm really enjoying the "busman's holiday" of following someone else's pattern for a change and although the colours I'm using are a little brighter than Leanne's, I'm keeping them fairly similar as I love the overall look of her quilt. Not to mention I'm having fun playing with my stash of Aviary fabrics, too! :0)  I'll need to get back to working on deadline-driven projects again now, but it's been so refreshing to take some time to sew just for "ME"!!

And of course, that's part of what the OPAM Challenge is all about, too, so I hope you gals have been enjoying some stitching time over the weekend. Don't forget - if you haven't already let Peg or I know your final number of finishes for January, make sure your sidebar list is up-to-date, cos tomorrow we'll be starting to do our blog hop to collect finishes from those we haven't heard from. There have been some GORGEOUS photos coming through to Peg and I and appearing on people's blogs, so make sure you give yourself a little treat - grab a cuppa and take some time to hop around to some of the blogs on my sidebar list to be inspired by other OPAMers. I particularly fell in love with the SWEETEST dollies created by Cath. You really should take a peek!! I think I'd adopt a whole family of them! :0)

And now ... I'm off to find something quick for dinner before I help the Aussies bat in the second innings of today's Cricket match - I'm sure they couldn't POSSIBLY win without my help! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...


Thursday 28 January 2010

A Sweet Surprise & Stitching Progress!

Here I sit, listening to the thunder starting to rumble and hoping I can finish this post and turn the computer off before the threatening storm hits - if it hits! The last few days have been SOOOOOOO hot and humid that even this summer chick is a little over it! :0) Thank goodness our house is an old-style one that was build just for Aussie summers - 12 foot high ceilings, great air-flow, a little off the ground, polished floors and fans to keep the air moving. Still, finding a cool spot to curl up with an icy drink and a book seems to be my favourite pastime this week! Tee! Hee! Hee! And those storms just keep going around us ... no rain ... no relief from the humidity ... SIGH!

Now ... when I shared the adventures my beloved GB and I had on the weekend, I forgot to show you the sweet surprise that Linda gave me ... a giftie!! Ooooooohhh!! I LOOOOOOVE sweet surprises! :0) The parcel was beautifully wrapped in brown paper and tied with a pretty blue ribbon (why is it that sometimes plain brown paper is more appealing than printed paper? Or is that just one of MY peculiarities?!?!) and decorated with some groovy buttons ... but I forgot to take a photo cos I was so eager to see what was hidden inside! :0) And inside was ...

A funky food cover and a GORGEOUS pair of vintage crystal bead earrings!! How SPOILT am I!!! Linda said the braid and beads on the food cover reminded her of the sparkles and dangles on bellydancing costumes (she knows I used to be part of a bellydancing troop!) and the pretty vintage crystals caught her eye and made her think of me. Aaaaaaaawwww!!! How nice to be thought of ... AND spoilt with sparkly pretties! :0) Here's a closer look at the earrings ...

Aren't they lovely!! Just like the Lovely Lilly Linda! Thanks so much for my sweet treat, Linda ... on top of a wonderful weekend! Yep ... I SURE am SPOILT!!! :0)

And I promised you a photo of my stitching progress ... after not getting much done over the weekend! BLUSH!! I have, however, now finished a couple of appliquéd tea towels to match Lynette's cupcake apron I showed you a couple of posts back. Here they are ...

Do you know how HARD it was to find MAROON tea towels?!?!?! There was red, blue, pink, green, white, brown, beige ... but I checked out just about EVERY manchester and kitchen section in Toowoomba shops before managing to find these as a pack of three. (The third had a pattern that didn't lend itself to appliqué.) Hmmm ... that sounds like I spend a lot of time shopping, but I don't ... really ... and you should tell my beloved GB that if he asks! Tee! Hee! Hee! Anyways ... that's Lynette's birthday present finished - now I just have to find/make her something for CHRISTMAS! Tee! Hee! Hee! Actually, I thought I might keep an eye out for a cupcake shaped hook/hanger for her to put on her kitchen wall to house her new apron and tea towels. Hmmm ... this could be quite a quest. In the words of one of my favourite TV ads ... "Still looking!" :0) Perhaps the Queen of Cupcakes will be able to help me! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And on that note ... I'm off to answer some emails that have built up a bit of a backlog in my 'in' box over the last few days - sorry to all who've been awaiting a reply - I've been a bit slack! I can blame the heat, which is sort of right, as the office is the hottest room in our house (and coldest in winter, what's THAT about!!!) but mostly I've just been a bit slack! I promise I DO answer all emails you send ... eventually! :0) In the meantime, I hope you're all having a great week and managing to find some stitching time to enjoy - that's my plan for the afternoon .... after I answer those emails! :0) Til next time ...



Monday 25 January 2010

We Saw The Bridge!!

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!! There's my contented sigh after an absolutely WONDERFUL weekend visiting my blogging buddy the Lovely Lilly Linda and her beloved Tim on their island. And even though we seemed to pack lots of adventures into two days and managed to tick off most of our "we'd love to's" from our lists, it was one of the most RELAXING and REFRESHING weekends my Beloved Geek Boy and I have enjoyed in a looooooooong time! :0)

We packed up bright and early Saturday morning (well, early for us night owls! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and headed off down the hill to Linda and Tim's new island home. And although we DID forget we were supposed to say "I can see the bridge!" (the chant Linda and the kids repeat each time they come back to their island from the mainland!) when we spotted it, I DID say "I can see the water!", as that was the little chant that MY family had when we holidayed at the beach.

After warm hugs and greetings from Linda and Tim ... along with the cry of "FINALLY! They're HERE!!" from the kids ... we were shown into our little nest for the weekend ...

Look at that GORGEOUS bedroom!! It was just like sleeping in a little corner of Lilly Cottage! :0) But time was a-wastin' and we had things to do, adventures to have, tea to be sipped and stitching to do! :0) Now, Linda and I very cleverly sent our boys and the kids off on a 4WDing adventure for the afternoon while we curled up in the lounge room with stitching and some quiet music in the background ... which we proceeded to mostly drown out with our chatting! Tee! Hee! Hee! And I supposed that after telling you all the prep work I did on Friday so I could stitch and stitch with Linda, I have to confess that I didn't do QUITE as much stitching as planned ... but it's all Linda's fault! Tee! Hee! Hee! You see, she has a FABULOUS collection of GORGEOUS craft and decorating books in her lounge room that I just HAD to delve into. So ... really, what happened was ... Linda stitched and I looked at pretty, pretty pictures! Tee! Hee! Hee!

After the 4WD adventurers returned home with tales of super bumps and a spot of traction-impairment (the got BOGGED!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) we all piled into the Lilly-mobile and headed (via the fish and chip shop!) to the water's edge to enjoy a sunset picnic.

Here are our lovely hosts, Tim and Linda enjoying our fish and chips dinner. And once we'd eaten our fill, there was nothing left to do but sit back and watch the day end in spectacular fashion. I took a few progressive shots to share the beautiful sight with you ...

Isn't that golden glow fabulous!

... bit lower on the horizon ...

... lower still and almost slipping behind the mainland.

And after the sun finally slipped completely below the horizon, I snapped this shot of the bridge to the mainland. I love the soft mauves and apricots of the sky with the Glasshouse Mountains in the background and the bridge in the foreground. I don't know if you can see it (click to make the photo a bit bigger and you might) but the bridge lights had just flickered on and looked like faerie lights reflecting in the calm, calm water. SIGH!! It would have been wonderful to sit there soaking up the serenity for hours (How's the serenity?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Aussie movie quote for overseas buddies who have no idea what that means!) but the sandflies were starting to get a little TOO friendly, so we adjourned back to Linda and Tim's lounge room where we feasted on raspberry ripple cake with creamy icing, washed down with freshly brewed tea while we chatted ... and chatted ... and chatted ... and chatted ... and ...! :0) OK, so, I think you're getting the idea that the four of us DEFINITELY didn't have to endure any uncomfortable silences or lags in the conversation! Tee! Hee! Hee!

After sleeping soundly and contentedly in our beautifully appointed guest room (thanks for the loan, Courtney!) we woke the next morning to the tantalising scent of sizzling bacon . MMMMMMM!! Did I mention that we were SERIOUSLY SPOILT at meal times throughout the weekend!! :0) Fortified with our delicious bacon and scrambled egg breakfast, we sent the boys and kids off fishing and swimming while Linda and I headed to the local markets where we had FUN!!! We weren't TOO naughty, but thoroughly enjoyed checking out the work of local craftspeople, as well as a browse through the cultural centre where we saw some truly amazing artwork ... and enjoyed a spot of staning under ceiling fans on a scorcher of a summer's day! We then trundled off to meet up with the keen fisherfolk to see what they'd caught (two little whiting that had to be thrown back, but they WERE fish and they WERE caught, so mission accomplished! Tee! Hee! Hee!) And while the kids had a dip and the big boys had naps, I did some of my stitching while Linda enjoyed flipping through a magazine. And if we didn't get as much done as planned, perhaps we can blame it on the view being too distracting ... what do you think?

This is "THE" bridge in the bright light of day. Can you believe how blue both the water and sky were?! And off to one side of where we had set up our mini-camp was ...

The boys were trying to decide which one of these they'd buy themselves if they won lotto! :0) And while we were enjoying our view, we had a little visitor ... a NOISY visitor!!

This baby magpie was nagging the mama magpie to feed him and sounded just like a cranky toddler wanting a snack! :0) Mama scooted out of the photo, so must have been a little camera-shy, but if she's stayed, you'd have seen that while she was black and white, this little bloke still only has his baby feathers so is a browny-grey and white. Bit of Australian fauna trivia there for you! :0)

So, after a fabulous, full, restful and relaxing weekend, we had to say goodbye to the Lovely Linda, the Terrific Tim and their little island-dwelling tribe and climb back up the hill to Toowoomba - SIGH! I suppose that as the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end", but in this case, I think it's just so we can begin planning our NEXT joint adventure! Plans are already in the pipeline and we're working on a way to bring our mutal blogging buddy Kerryanne into the fun, too, so hold onto your hat, Kerryanne! Tee! Hee! Hee! A HUGE thank you and lots of BEAR HUGS to you Linda and Tim for making us so welcome in your home and for showing us such a fabulous view of your island! I just KNOW there'll be lots of return visits!! :0)

And although I didn't get very much of my stitching done, it's a public holiday here tomorrow for AUSTRALIA DAY to celebrate our unique and wonderful country, so I am sure I'll find some stitching time and I promise to come back with some photos of what I'm working on ... the first NON-Secret Squirrel projects I've been working on this year! :0) Hope all you OPAM gals are remembering to add your finishes to your sidebar list, cos it's only a few days til Peg and I begin our round up and draw the first end of month prize for 2010. In the meantime, enjoy your stitching and a very happy Australia Day to all my Aussie buddies!


Til next time ...



Friday 22 January 2010

My Bags Are Packed ...!!

Yep ... as the song says, my bags are packed, although I'm NOT going to be leaving on a jet plane! :0) Instead, my preferred mode of transport will be in our little Ford Festiva affectionately known as "Baby" and we're scooting down the hill for a weekend of catching up with friends. After a few aborted attempts to organise ourselves, we've finally found a weekend that suits my Beloved Geek Boy and me, as well as the Lovely Lilly Linda and her beloved Tim for us to repay their visits up the hill and to check out their wonderful new beach cottage. All week long, Linda and I have beens sending emails back and forth as plans were formed to squeeze the most fun possible out of our weekend - we're even counting sleeps, just like counting down to Christmas! :0)

And since the Lovely Linda told me to bring some stitching to work on while we natter away, today was spent on some prep work. I FINALLY managed to find some maroon tea towels to match Lynette's cupcake apron that I shared last post, so their applique designs have been ironed in place. And I decided to treat myself to some REAL "ME" time today and started work on my version of Leanne Beasley's "Butterfly Garden" Oooooooohhhh!! I'm very excited, since this quilt has been on my "Want To Do" list for AGES and I've never let myself start it. Well ... I decided that it will be my "reward" project. Each time I finish a couple of projects that I HAVE to do ... I'll treat myself to a day of working just on my "Butterfly Garden". Aaaaaaahhhhh!! BLISS! :0)

So ... with the bags packed, the stitching prepared, all that's left to do is enjoy a good night's sleep before heading off down the hill for a weekend of fun with friends. I promise I'll take photos and report back next week. Hope you all have some fun stuff planned for your weekend and maybe there'll even be opportunity for you to have some "ME" time! Well ... not "ME" actually ... I really meanYOU ... but you see I was ... Oh! Never mind! I'm SURE you know what I mean! :0) Til next time ...



Friday 15 January 2010

Some "ME" Time!

I was a bit naughty today ... OK ... so tht's probably not TOO unusual for mel! :0) I'm in the midst of working on three magazine projects, all of which are at various stages of completion, but after I posted the first off today, I decided to take a little "ME" time ... sort of! :0)

You see, even though it was a project I was choosing to work on, it still isn't for ME. It's a belated birthday gift for my bestest-buddy-since-grade 4 Lynette. Her birthday was in November, but over the years, we've worked out a system where we don't buy or make each other something for our birthdays or Christmas just so we can hand something over on the right date - we're both grown ups (contrary to all evidence! Tee! Hee! Hee!) who would rather wait a little and receive something 'just right'. Plus, the agreement is we don't actually turn a year older until we received the last birthday gift, so the longer it takes, the longer we get to wait til we're 'officially' another year older! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hey ... it's OUR logic and it works for US! :0)

However ... I digress ... I know, THAT'S not too unusual for me either! :0) OK ... so ... Lynette is a really good cook and often whips up a batch of bikkies or a yummy slice for her three kids ... and sundry others who follow her home! :0) ... for afternoon tea when school's out for the day, so she put in an order for a "pretty-but-practical" apron. I cheated a bit and bought the plain apron then decorated it. Here's the result ...

I started off by appliqueing the two cute cupcakes ... appropriate for an apron, I thought! :0) Then I decided the cupcakes needed to be sitting on SOMETHING, rather than being in thin air, as it were, so I added a lace doily ... then dressed up the top of the apron and the top of the pockets with some pretty gingham print ribbon, some bright wooden buttons ... VOILA! A designer apron fit for a Super-Mum Chef! :0) Here's a closeer look at the cupcakes ...

Didn't they come up well!! One has lovely roses swirling around it, while the other looks like a chocolate cupcake with strawberry icing and a strawberry on top. I have to confess, I cheated here a bit too. These two gorgeous designs are from a very handy little book by a clever-clogs designer and my good blogging buddy Kerryanne English of Shabby Art Boutique. The booklet is "Shabby Doodles" and there are SOOOOO many fabulous sketches and designs in it that can be used for card making, decorative painting, applique and stitchery projects - limited only by your imagination! Check out Kerryanne's website for details about this ... oh ... but be careful! She has so many FABULOUS things on her website, including faux cupcakes and art for sale, that you're likely to get very sidetracked! :0) I think Lyentte will like her apron. I'm thinking of looking for a couple of tea towels to match and perhaps a pot mitt ... shall see what I can find to match.

I hope all OPAM Challenge gals are enjoying their stitching time and don't forget to pop in and visit some of the clever-clogs stitchers on the sidebar list to see what people are creating. Not only are you sure to be inspired, you might find you make some new blogging buddies and encourage some new bloggers along the way. Well, the weekend's here and after taking a day off to 'play' a little, it will be nose back to the grindstone for me tomorrow to meet my deadlines - good thing I love what I do! :0) Enjoy your weekend! Til next time ...



Wednesday 13 January 2010

OPAM Sign Up Now Closed!!

Just a really quick post to let you all know that Peg and I have reached the 200 sign ups on the OPAM spreadsheet, so sign up is now officially CLOSED! If you've missed out, you're welcome to play along at home and keep your own list of finishes ... you just won't be eligible for prize draws, but as someone pointed out during last year's OPAM - everyone is a winner cos they end up with so many finished projects that might otherwise have stayed sitting in their cupboards!

So now, all that's left to say is ...


Make sure you take the last 'rule' of OPAM to heart and HAVE FUN! Make sure you enjoy the 'journey' of stitching as much as the 'destination' of having finished projects, cos that's really what it's all about - taking a bit of time out of our busy lives to do something creative and relaxing that gives us joy. Hope you're having a fabulos start to your week. Til next time ...



Tuesday 12 January 2010

Lavender Tea, Dilly, Dilly!!

Well ... after my stressful start to this morning and a busy morning at work, I decided that this afternoon was all about relaxing, so I decided to curl up with a cup of lavender tea, a bikkie and a book for a little while. Now, a few of you have expressed some reservations about LAVENDER TEA, so I thought I'd show you what I mean. Here's my little treat just waiting for me ...

A pretty tea cup I got from my dancing buddy Deb for last birthday, my trusty little single serve teapot, lavender tea steeping away, a new packet of lavender tea and ... WHITE Tim Tams! YUMMO!! I discovered these last trip to the grocery store and I LOVE 'EM!! :0) I'm not a real chocolate fan, but LOOOOOOOOVE white chocolate, so these bikkies are just for me!! As to my lavender tea ... it's good quality black tea leaves with dried lavender flowers through it to give it a subtle scent and flavour full of all the WONDERFUL properties of my favourite herb! I stocked up with about four packets while we were away on holidays, because a trip to the Bundaberg area would NOT have been complete without dropping in to visit Helen at Amandine Lavender Farm and Gift Shop!!

We met Helen a few holidays ago when we popped in to check out her GORGEOUS little gift shop and my beloved Geek Boy ended up designing a web site for her. Each time we visit, Helen has added more wonderful gifties to her stock, so there's always lots to look at - all in the lavender-laden air .... AAAAAAAAHHHH!! And one of the new things we discovered Helen had on display this time was ...

A practical, portable advertisement! Tee! Hee! Hee! How COOL is this!! Helen says her little purple car has become a well-known and recognised sight around Bargara and is almost a tourist attraction in it's own right! :0) But no matter HOW much I begged, GB would NOT let me paint bear paw prints all over our little car ... what a spoil sport! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And now that I am feeling a little calmer and more relaxed, I shall go and do a bit of stitching. I have a couple of deadlines looming that I need to get cracking to meet, but HAVE managed to list my first finish for 2010 ... even if it IS a Secret Squirrel project that I can't show you a photo of yet - sorry! :0) Still a couple of places left on Peg's and my OPAM spreadsheet, then we'll close it off and we'll all concentrate of stitching. Hope you're finding some stitching time in your day! Til next time ...



Big OOPS!!


It seems I've been making a few "OOPS'" when I've been posting Peg's email address for you gals to contact for OPAM. In a few places, I've mistyped Peg's email and another lovely lady has been getting them - SORRY!!!
OK ... so ... Peg's CORRECT email address is:

I've apparently typed a "H" in there in a couple of places. So ... if you've been trying email peg and not getting an answer ... that's my fault and if you've saved our email addresses into your address book you might want to update that.

Again, sorry for the confusion there - my only defence is a lot of my posting is done late at night and perhaps I was half asleep! :0) Am now off to have a BIG cup of coffee to wake myself up for the day!! Til next time,



Saturday 9 January 2010

OPAM Update!

WOWSERS!! There are a LOT of WISPs and "To Do" lists out in blogland, I think, cos so many ladies have been HUGELY excited to be joining Peg and I for OPAM 2010! In fact ... there have been SOOOOOO many excited ladies ... and Peg and I are big softies ... so we've decided to extend OPAM 2010 to 200 places. Which is good news for some of you, since our list is already around the 160 mark! :0) So ... If you hadn't emailed Peg or Me to join in the fun of OPAM 2010 cos you thought you were too late ... you've been given a reprieve, so email your details to us. Remember we need your NAME, your BLOG ADDRESS and your EMAIL ADDRESS. A few of you have been signing up via comments on my or Peg's blogs and you're marked as "no-reply", so we can't find your email address unless you give it to us.

I've started to add my list of participants to my sidebar and Peg will be doing the same thing soon, too, but blogger and I are having a little disagreement and so the process is somewhat more time-consuming than it should be - GRRRRRRR!! So don't panic just yet if you can't find your name ... I'm only up to the "B's"! But my eyes are drooping, so I'm heading off to keep an overdue date with my pillow - back tomorrow to keep updating my list. For those of you who've already signed up and received an email from me or Peg - Welcome aboard! Once you've put the logo (please make sure it's the NEW logo, not last year's!) in your sidebar with a link to either my blog or Peg's blog and your list of finishes outline (heading and month) ... then you're ready to STITCH!! Just add your finishes to your list as you go along and Robert's your uncle, Fanny's you're aunt! :0)

Hope you're all having a fabulous weekend - the sun peeked out here this afternoon for the first time in a few weeks, so that was pretty exciting and I did manage (in between answering OPAM emails!!) to make some progress on a Secret Squirrel project, so it's been a good day. Let's see what tomorrow brings! Til next time ...



Friday 8 January 2010

We Have Lift-Off!!


WOO! HOO! The countdown is over and the fun's about to start, cos Peg and I are ready to officially launch

OPAM 2010!!

It’s all a bit exciting ... and a bit scary! Mostly exciting though! :0) The whole OPAM Challenge journey began as a bit of a happy accident when May Britt and I decided we would encourage each other to finish at least one project for each month of the year and when we invited you, our blogging buddies, to join us, it obviously touched the right chord at the right time. It’s been so wonderful to hear how many of you were encouraged and motivated to be more creative and take a little more time out for yourself thanks to our ‘little’ challenge and with the number of emails received by Peg and I growing every day in the lead up to our launch, it seems there will be a LOT of stitching going on in 2010 and I CAN’T WAIT!!! :0)

But enough waffle from me ... I know you’re all just wanting to read the guidelines for joining Peg and I for OPAM 2010, so I’ll get on with it. I will ask you all to read through the guidelines before you join us to make life a little easier for all of us. You may even find it helpful to save a copy of the guidelines somewhere so you can refer back to them if you have queries. And now, without further ado ...


The One Project A Month (OPAM) Challenge Guidelines 2010

The idea of the “One Project A Month Challenge is pretty simple ... To try to finish at least ONE craft project by the end of each month. This can be something you’ve had partly done for a while (a Work In Slow Progress or WISP), a pattern you bought ages ago that you finally get around to making up, or a completely new project - it’s entirely up to you. This is meant to be a low-stress challenge - if you don’t finish a project every month - that’s fine! We understand that sometimes life interferes with our best laid plans. We also realise that some projects are meant to be long-term and have a LOT of work involved, like a quilt or a cross-stitch. The main aim of the OPAM Challenge is to give us all a little bit of a motivational boost and to give us all a big cheer squad to encourage and inspire us.

However, as May Britt and I discovered last year, there is quite a bit of time and work involved in running the OPAM Challenge, so Peg and I have made a few more guidelines this time that we would ask people to please take note of AND please only sign up to join us if you intend to follow through. If for some reason during the year you decide you don’t wish to remain part of the OPAM Challenge, just drop Peg or me an email to let us know. Your name will stay on the list so that any finishes you DO register will go into the end of year draw, but we will make a note not to check your blog each month. Please read through all of the guidelines before you sign up.

1. Participants must have an ACTIVE BLOG. (sorry non-bloggers, but it was just too hard to keep track of people who didn’t have a blog and dropped out of contact with us.)
2. The number of participants in the 2010 OPAM Challenge will be limited to 150 - first in best dressed! (Sorry, but numbers just got so high last year that it became a LOT of work to keep things running!)
3. Participants can sign up via email to Kris or Peg, or via a comment on EITHER blog AS LONG AS it includes all asked for information.
4. Participants MUST provide all info asked for. Name, email and blog address.
5. Participants MUST have the OPAM Challenge badge on their blog sidebar and link it to either Kris’s or Peg’s blog.
6. Participants MUST keep a list of each month’s finishes on their blog sidebar and update it BEFORE the last day of each month. (This is easiest if you add each project as you finish it, so if something happens and you don’t get to email your finishes or update the full list near the end of the month, your finishes are recorded and can be counted)
7. Only ‘soft’ crafts are included in the OPAM Challenge, ie. Projects made from fabric or wool. Some examples are: embroidery, patchwork, quilting, cross-stitch, knitting, crochet, practical sewing (curtains, clothes etc), long stitch, appliqué.
8. QUILTS: A quilt will only be counted as a finish if it is COMPLETELY finished ... Quilted and bound. Flimsies/tops won’t count as finishes.
9. BOM’s: Blocks that are part of a BOM (Block Of the Month) program will only be counted as a finish when they are joined, quilted and bound. Individual BOM blocks DO NOT count as a finish.
10. OPTIONAL: If you are able to email Peg or Kris your list of finishes each month BEFORE the end of the month, this would be appreciated, as it cuts down the amount of time it takes to check finishes for the month. (and save Peg and Kris from getting square eyes! Tee! Hee! Hee!)
11. Lastly, participants MUST ... Have fun! After all, the reason we craft and create is to relax, have fun and take some time away from the “Have to” tasks to do the “Like to do” ones! :0)

So ... there you have it! And now all that’s left for you to do is email either:
KRIS or PEG to join in the fun and above all, Peg and I do hope that you’ll have fun as you join us for OPAM 2010. And even if you don’t feel you want to commit yourself to being part of our challenge, I hope you’ll drop in to visit Challenge participants, whose blogs will be listed in the sidebar once we get rolling, to be encouraged and inspired in your own creative journey and to pass on encouraging comments to those whose work you admire.

Right now, though, I think I’d better go and keep an overdue date with my pillow so I’m well-rested to deal with the tidal wave of sign up emails tomorrow! Hmmmm ... if there’s going to be a tidal wave, I’d better dig out my floaties to stay above water! :0) Til next time ...



Wednesday 6 January 2010

Christmas Photos As Promised!

Back again and as I promised last post, I've got some photos from my Christmas break to share with you. This year as many of our family as possible (Mum's side of the family) headed to Bargara for Christmas, where Grandma lives in a retirement village near the beach. With holiday accommodation at a premium, some of us rented a holiday house ten minutes drive away at Burnett Heads and this was our view on Christmas day ...

Standing on the front patio, this view was off to our right ...

... and this was to our left. Not bad, hey!! :0) Not at all hard to handle, I have to say and we all spent lots of time on the patio reading, snoozing, eating ... we also gathered everyone there for Christmas lunch.

Here's Grandma with her party hat on, relaxing before lunch.

And here's my 'little' brother Paul, my Uncle Russell and my Cousin Samantha enjoying a few cool beverages on a steamy, hot Christmas day.

Even Mum's long-haired Chihuahua, Sunny, got into the Christmas spirit ... although he didn't really look all that impressed about his "Spoiled" Christmas elf hat! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And it wouldn't be a traditional Aussie Christmas without the invasion of flies as soon as the first whiff of food wafts out of the kitchen! Here's Mum on flyswat duty - and it wasn't ONLY flies she swatted if you were slow walking past! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now, you'll recall that in my last post, I told you we had one day at home before heading off again to have a delayed Christmas get-together with my Beloved Geek Boy's family and that I spent that day chained to the sewing machine madly trying to get four more McGoo softy monkeys finished. Well, here's the result ...

My good friend "Google" tells me that a group of monkeys is known as a 'troop' or a 'barrel' - Huh! So THAT's where the saying "More trouble than a barrel of monkeys" comes from!! Well ... you learn something every day! :0) These particular monkeys sure did cause me some trouble! I sat down at the sewing machine at 7:30am and didn't move too far away until about 12:30am, then sat down again at about 7:30am the NEXT morning to finish them off and I swear, when I was trying to finish them by sewing the legs into the body, these tricky little monkeys were holding onto the desk, the machine, grabbing my pin tin to knock it over ...!!! Yep, more chaos than usual in my sewing room! Tee! Hee! Hee! And in the end the hard work and tough deadline was all worthwhile, cos the nieces and nephews LOVED them!! In fact, all of the monkeys found themselves in the middle of most games during the weekend, so that was great! And I know what you're thinking ... I only mentioned making FOUR monkeys and there are FIVE in the photo. I made ONE of them BEFORE Christmas, remember!! I may be maths-impaired, but I'm not quite THAT bad! :0)

And the other bit of stitching that I'd told you about but not shown you the photo of was the stacked coin lap quilt I made as a wedding gift for my workmate Tony and his new bride Elese. Well ... here it is ...

Didn't the colours come up wonderfully bright against the white borders!! And although I umm-ed and aaahh-ed about what fabric to use on the binding, I'm glad I eventually chose the bright blue and white spot that I found at my home-away-from-home, Quilters Angel. And like Mum's quilt, this one was expertly machine quilted for me by the wonderful Rosalie of Rose Quilting. Here's a closer look at the quilting designs ...

I love the Celtic knot design on the outside border (the same one as Mum's quilt) and Rosalie found a cool, slightly squarer Celtic knot pattern for the inside white borders and a groovy twisting vine for the 'coin' stacks. Thanks, Rosalie, for once again working your quilting magic for me!! :0) The wedding was last Saturday (in amongst our family catch ups), but the gifts weren't unwrapped before the happy couple headed off on their honeymoon (can't think WHY they wouldn't be thinking about anything except heading off on their honeymoon!! Tee! Hee! Hee!), so still don't know how they like it - hope they do!

I think that's enough catch-up for one day. I do still have a few more holiday photos that I might share with you later, but I dare say the I'm going to be a little swamped in coming days as Peg and I launch the

One Project A Month Challenge for 2010!

Don't forget to pop back here or to Peg's blog on Friday to read the Challenge guidelines and decide whether you want to join the fun or not. Remember, numbers are limited this year, so you'll have to be quick! :0) And a big "CHEERIO!" to Peg's Mum, too who's had to have a little stay in hospital. Sending lots of BEAR HUGS and wishes for a quick recovery!!

That's it, so til next time ...



Sunday 3 January 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year - Behind already!!

As my title says - I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that your new year got off to a flying start! Somehow, I'm three days into the new year and ALREADY feel like I'm running behind! :0) After ten days at the beach with my family (which, apart from a few of the usual family dramas, was most enjoyable!) we had one day at home that I spent tied to the sewing machine, frantically trying to finish those monkeys I talked about last post for the nieces and nephews, then we had the weekend with my Beloved Geek Boy's family at the Crows News Caravan Park. Not too far from home, that one, but we worked out a few years ago that the self-contained cabins aren't too pricey, give each family their own space to retreat to if they need it, no one's house gets trashed with the family invasion and there's a pool and lots of open space for all the nieces and nephews to run wild - which they did! :0) We arrived back this afternoon and now have to wrap our heads around the fact that holidays are over and we're both back at work tomorrow - SIGH! Why is it that another week would always be good ... no matter HOW long your holiday is! :0)

And as well as being behind in wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, I'm behind in letting you know the three extra prize winners I was responsible for announcing for the end of the 2009 One Project A Month Challenge. May Britt has already announced the December winner and her three extra winners taken from the full year's tally ... but you'll just have to wait a little longer before you find out who gets MY three prizes while I have a little say about the OPAM Challenge 09.

When May Britt and I first 'chatted' about setting up a 'little' challenge, it was to give ourselves and our blogging buddies who joined us a bit of incentive and encouragement to tackle some WISPs and to actually FINISH new projects that we started during the year. And we did that, with a whopping 5694 projects completed for the year! WOW!!! HOWEVER ... it became SOOOOOOOOOOOO much more! Throughout the year, not only have May Britt and I been privileged to see THOUSANDS of your finished craft projects, large and small, we have been welcomed into your lives. As we 'chatted' with you all via emails or popped into your blogs to collect monthly finish tallies, we were also witnesses to your lives. During 2009 we joined with you to welcome new babies, sent condolences as you mourned the loss of loved ones, rejoiced with you over special birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and special occasions, worried and prayed with you through illnesses, accidents, stressful events and life-changing moves and laughed with you as you searched for the humour and funny side of life. The OPAM Challenge may have started off just as a craft challenge to encourage us all to take some time out for ourselves, but it ended up being a giant, world-wide sewing circle that linked like-minded ladies into a network of blogging buddies and friends. On behalf of May Britt and myself, I would like to say ...


... to you all for sharing your craft and your lives with us. I'm looking forward to expanding my blogging buddy network even more in 2010! :0)

But before THAT happens, I'd better tell you the three winners of my extra prizes. Drum roll ....

1. Annette S.

2. Judy S.

3. Tudy

CONGRATULATIONS, gals!! If you can all email me your snail mail addresses, I'll get your surprise prizes into the mail this week.

Now ... for all of you who have been asking "Will there be an OPAM Challenge for 2010?" The answer is ...


May Britt has decided not to co-host OPAM with me this year due to work and other time commitments ... and she wants the extra stitching time, too! :0) And I would like to say a big


to May Britt for her help and friendship as we ran with a much BIGGER 'little' challenge than either of us originally counted on! :0) May Britt and I were blogging buddies before teaming up to host OPAM, but our friendship has certainly grown and bloomed as we've worked together and gotten to know each other over the last 12 months. And I know that will continue this year, as May Britt says she will be the first person to sign up for this year's OPAM Challenge because she STILL has lots of kits and projects she wants to finish! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now, I certainly wouldn't be able to cope with running OPAM by myself, so this year, I am really excited to announce that my OPAM Challenge co-host for 2010 is ...


YAY!!! Some of you (like me!) were part of Peg's challenge in 2008 that inspired May Britt and I to change OPAM from a personal challenge amonst four or five blogging buddies to the huge beast it became, so you just KNOW she will be a wonderful co-host with me! :0) Peg is an incredibly talented and prolific stitcher who just AMAZES me with how many projects she finishes - in fact, my nick name for her is "SUPER STITCHER"! Tee! Hee! Hee! So ...


I just KNOW we're going to have a ball encouraging you all and helping you keep track of all your stitching projects this year!! Make sure you pop over and welcome Peg to OPAM!!!

Before you get too carried away, though ... sign up isn't open yet!! The OFFICIAL SIGN UP for the 2010 One Project A Month Challenge will open on ...

FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 2010!!!
(Edit: Oops! Had the date there before, must have deleted it accidentally! Kept you guessing! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

Peg and I will BOTH post the list of Challenge guidelines and sign up will be by EMAIL ONLY to help us keep track. Make sure you read ALL the guidelines and follow the instructions outlined when you sign up, cos numbers for participation will be limited and if you don't do it right, you'll miss out on all the fun!!

PHEW!! I know that was a loooooong post with no photos, but as I said ... I'm playing catch up!! I promise photos next time. Stay tuned for OPAM details and sign up! Til next time ...



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