Sunday 30 January 2011

Blogging Buddy Bonanza!!

In the three and a bit years I've been blogging, I've made some wonderful blogging buddies! We comment back and forth on each other's blogs and email, even the odd phone call keeps us in touch. And if we're VERY lucky ... we manage to arrange  'in person' play dates! :0) I've now met quite a few blogging buddies 'in person' and it is always so much fun!! It's fabulous to spend time together (often at the Village Green for coffee and a visit to my home-away-from-home! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and even better to find that after an hour or so, you feel like you've been friends forever. :0)

Well ... last week for me was a BLOGGING BUDDY BONANZA!! In the space of three days, I met up with FOUR blogging buddies! How cool is THAT! :0) Now, this could take a while to recount, so you'd better grab a cuppa, Chookyblue, and maybe come chocolate to tide you over til the end! Tee! Hee! Hee!

 My round of social engagements (sounds a bit posh, doesn't it! Tee! Hee! Hee!) began on Friday. I headed out to see Marion and Steph at the Quilters' Angel (AKA my home-away-from-home!) to see if I could help with the quilt drive they're co-ordinating for victims of the flooding in our local region. Can I say there was a FULL HOUSE of people out there helping! In fact, Marion told me she'd had to start taking bookings for people to come and help because there just wasn't enough room in the work room to fit everyone who wanted to help! Crafters are the BEST, aren't they!! :0) Now it happens that one of those merry crafters playing in the back room was Fiona from Bubzrugz. Fee is a Toowoomba area local too, but somehow we'd managed to not bump into each other until a mutual blogging buddy, the lovely Rosey, clued us in. It was lovely to chat with Fee and she's got some photos of the busy quilting bees on her blog ... including one of yours truly sitting at the naughty table! Tee! Hee! Hee! A position I'm VERY well acquainted with! :0) I on the other hand was busily removing staples from swatch samples and forgot to take a pic - OOPS! :0)

Now, the meet up with Fee was a bit of a happy coincidence ... us both being mad stitchers wanting to help with Marion's Quilt Drive, but I had been emailing back and forth for a week or so with Maree at Farmyard Crafts to line up a time for us to catch up in person for the first time. Talk about a small world ... Maree went to school with one of my Beloved Geek Boy's sisters, recognised my surname when I commented on someone else's blog and we've been chatting back and forth ever since! :0) Maree and her beloved John and their kids were passing through Toowoomba on their way to the beach, so we met up for a lovely lunch ... so lovely in fact, that neither of us remembered to take a photo! BLUSH! What bad bloggers we are! :0) I had a wonderful time chatting with Maree ... it felt like we'd known each other for years and she enjoyed hearing the Meares family news. She also made a very generous donation of a complete quilt kit to Marion's Quilt Drive before she headed off ... Thanks for the catch up and your generous donation, Maree!! :0)

That was Friday ... On Saturday, GB and I threw a few things into an overnight bag and headed off down the range, which had only been re-opened a few days earlier after the flooding. Our main range crossing was down to one lane each direction (when will the silly government work out we really do need that second range crossing!!) due to landslides and washouts, so it was a VERY slow trip down, but we were then able to take a few backroads to head off to visit the Lovely Lilly Linda and her beloved hubby Tim and their kids on their island. What fun! We always enjoy catching up with Linda and Tim!! The boys talk 'boy stuff' and Lilly Linda and I stitch to our hearts' content! Tee! Hee! Hee! That was blogging buddy number three for the weekend ... on Sunday, we headed off to Old Petrie Town where Linda shares a cute cottage shop with two other crafters for the Sunday markets. If you haven't visited Old Petrie Town you really should! It's a lovely spot to visit any time, but the Sunday market was extra fun ... just don't ask the boys ...

They seemed to spend quite a lot of the day like this! Tee! Hee! Hee! Linda and I, on the other hand had a ball! :0) And what did I buy? Well ... an old table and an old table cloth! Tee! Hee! Hee! Doesn't sound very appealing, does it ... let me show you ...

It's definitely seen better days, but I'm going to have it sandblasted and powder coated to spruce it up and then it will live in my garden. Somewhere for the faeries who live there to have picnics. :0) And the tablecloth ...

It's actually a lovely vintage cotton table cloth (bit hard to see the detail cos the flash washed it out) ... a very good sized one that was in good condition - I just LOVE vintage linens and laces! :0) And after browsing the other shops and stalls, we headed back to Coutes Cottage where Linda, Rosey and Renata display and sell their pretties. Renata wasn't there, but, Rosey was ...

Here we are ... three blogging buddies! :0) Rosey also very kindly gave me one of her crafty items to pop into the prize pool for OPAM this year - Thanks Rosey! Don't we all look GAWJUS, as another blogging buddy Joy-Belle would say! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So ... how do you finish a fabulous day when you're on an island? Fish and chips for lunch overlooking the water! :0) Although ... we DID notice a big difference from our last visit. This was the main bridge onto the island on our last visit ...

Look at that blue water! And this time ...

EEEEEEEEWWWW!! Icky brown water! This is from the flood runoff and I think it will probably stay pretty icky for a while to come. Still ... the company was wonderful and we had a fabulous break away. Thanks for a fun weekend visit, Linda and Tim!! Can't wait til we get together again for our next play date! And thanks to Fee, Maree and Rosey for the catch-ups, too.

This weekend has been a quiet one at home and I even managed to spend some time in my sewing room ... and haven't messed it up again TOO much! :0) This is what I was playing with ...

My yummy Rural Jardin layer cake I treated myself to last year. I got very brave and chopped it up, sewed a bit and this is what it looks like now ...

I had originally thought that the fabrics are so pretty that all I would do from this point would be to add a narrow inner border and a wider scalloped outer border ... but my brain has been ticking over and I have an idea for some applique. No wonder I take so long to finish projects ... I can never seem to keep them SIMPLE! Tee! Hee! Hee! Do I do it and take a while longer to finish it, or do I keep it simple and just enjoy the fabrics??? Decisions, decisions! :0) What do you think?? Stay tuned and I'll tell you when I decide! :0)

I also spent some time adding people to the OPAM 2011 sign up spreadsheet ... still a few places left and after chatting to Peg today, we've decided that sign up will close when we reach 200 sign ups or by February 1 ... whichever comes first! :0) Once that happens, Peg and I will both add the full list of OPAM 2011 participants to our sidebars so you can all start popping in to visit and encourage each other - it's a great way to 'meet' new blogging buddies and who knows ... you may end up having a weekend like I had last week! :0) If you've sent either Peg or I an email to sign up to be part of the OPAM fun, but haven't yet received a "Welcome To OPAM 2011" email ... please let Peg or me know and we'll check that you're on the spreadsheet and send a copy of the letter, as it has a few important details for you.

The other decision Peg and I made today was that we won't do a January end of month draw, because we're still adding names and people are getting themselves set up with buttons and lists etc. Instead, we'll have a double-whammy draw at the end of February ... Peg and I will each draw out three prize winners from the finishes for January and February, so get stitching/knitting/crocheting and don't forget to update your sidebar lists of finishes as we go along! :0) Thanks to the lovely ladies who have already started to send their January finish numbers through to me - so very much appreciated! :0)

PHEW!!! I think I'm all caught up again now! How did you go ... did you need TWO cuppas to get through it all?! Like my sewing projects, my blog posts never seem to stay simple ... or SHORT! Tee! Hee! Hee! I just talk too much! :0) But I'll sign off for now and wish you all a very good week. Til next time ...


Tuesday 25 January 2011

AAAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!! Technology!!!

Technology is a wonderful thing ... SOMETIMES!! Today, it is NOT my friend!!! SIGH! As those of you who have already signed up for OPAM are no doubt gathering from failed links, several emails from me, Patient Peg or my Beloved Geek Boy ... OPAM has been experiencing some technical issues this afternoon!!! So, hopefully (fingers and toes crossed!) this post will help sort them out. Peg and I had NO troubles adding out new OPAM 2011 logo link the other day ... be something seemed to happen in the meantime!!! EEK! So, here's some step-by-steps from GB to add the button link to your sidebar.

This is partly my mistake, too ... though it did take GB a while to pick it up! :0) You need to add it as a PICTURE and follow the steps below ... NOT as a HTML/JAVA SCRIPT element as I put in the welcome email ... sorry about that! BLUSH!!

1 . Click on "Add a Gadget"

2. Click on "Picture"

3. Paste the button link into the "From The Web" box, add a link to my blog or Peg's blog in the link window in this same element and save.

You can then drag and place this gadget anywhere you like in your sidebar as you would for any other buttons. If you're still having problems, email me and GB will be put on the job of solving the problem! :0)

PHEW!!! Hopefully that sorts it out! So very sorry for all the mucking around ... my poor brain is fried and I think I need to go have a cup of tea and a lie down! :0) There are still some places left, so if you're wanting to join the OPAM 2011 craziness and fun ... read the post below and email me or Peg! Til next time ...


PS. To those bloggers who HAVEN'T signed up for OPAM 2011 but have received emails ... sorry about that! GB started to sent the fix-it email to LAST year's OPAM list rather than THIS year's. Sorry for any confusion. BH! KRIS

The Eagle Has Landed ... errr ... Launched!!

One of my all-time favourite cartoon characters is Snoopy from the Peanuts comic strip. He has this crazy imagination that gets him into all sorts of trouble (BOY! Can I relate to THAT!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!), but everyone loves him anyway ... well ... except for the cat next door! :0) One of his 'characters' that he pretends to be is the World War I flying ace and he's often heard to use the phrase ... "The Eagle Has Landed." I feel a little like that, except in this case ...

"The Eagle Has Launched!"

Yep ... it's time to dust off your "To Do" list, drag those WISPy WISPS out of your sewing cupboard, rummage through your stash and decide what projects you're going to tackle this year as part of ...

Emails have been flying fast and furiously between Peg and I and we are EXCITED ... and just a bit NERVOUS!! ... as we announce the start of this year's OPAM sign up!! YAY!! Now, from the emails we've been receiving in the last couple of weeks, I KNOW a lot of you have been waiting for OPAM to kick off, so grab a cuppa and settle back to read this year's guidelines for OPAM - there ARE a few changes, so even if you've played along with us before, make sure you read the guidelines to help us all keep things running smoothly. It might even help you to keep a copy of the guidelines somewhere to help jog you memory throughout the year, but of course, if you have any questions along the way, feel free to email Peg or I. Are you ready? Let's LAUNCH!!!!

The One Project A Month (OPAM) Challenge Guidelines 2011

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 WISP), a pattern you bought ages ago that you finally get around to making up, or a completely new project. This is meant to be a low-stress challenge - if you don’t finish a project every month - that’s fine! We understand sometimes life interferes with our plans. We also realise 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 bit of a motivational boost and to give us all a big cheer squad to encourage and inspire us.

However, there is quite a bit of time and work involved in running OPAM, so Peg and I have some guidelines we ask people to take note of AND please only sign up 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. Please read through all guidelines before you sign up.

1. Participants must have an ACTIVE BLOG. (sorry non-bloggers, it was too hard to keep track of people who didn’t have a blog and dropped out of contact.) If you change your blog address, drop us an email telling us your old address and what you’ve changed it to. If your blog is already, or you change it, to invitation only, please send Peg and me invitations, or we can’t check your finishes list each month.

2. The number of participants in the 2011 OPAM Challenge will be limited to 200 - first in best dressed!

3. Participants can sign up via email to me 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 (first and initial of surname in case of double up names); * Email; * Blog address.

5. Participants MUST have the OPAM Challenge badge on their blog sidebar and link it to either my or Peg’s blog. Don't do this until you receive the welcome email from Peg or me because the format for this year's button is a little different ... not just copying an image.

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.)

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 me 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 me 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 what are you waiting for?! Email me or Peg and then get that "To Do" list updated!! It's going to be a FANTASTIC year and I can't WAIT to see what all your clever-clogs crafters will create!! :0) But right now, I'd better get ready for work or my boss will be on to me! :0) Til next time ...

Thursday 20 January 2011

Something ... Is Coming!!!

One of my all-time favourite movies is "The Mummy", with Brendan Fraser and Oded Fehr. Not only is there lots of action, lots of suspense, lots of humour and lots of eye-candy (I DID say Brendan Fraser and Oded Fehr after all!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) it also has SOOOOOOO many wonderful lines in it's script. One of my faves is uttered (not sure who says it!!) soon after the cursed mummy is accidentally raised from the undead (though how one manages to ACCIDENTALLY raise an undead mummy, I'm not sure!!!) The line is ...

"Something ... (dramatic pause) ... is coming."

As the movie unfolds, we see that this is enough to win the award for "Understatement Of The Year", but it applies here too. You see, we're in the FINAL COUNTDOWN to the launch of OPAM 2011!!! YAY!!!

You'll see on my sidebar that I've added this year's brand-spanking-new OPAM 2011 logo ... created by my Beloved Geek Boy, who has once again worked his computer magic. :0)

You'll see that this year, we've added a running total to the button, which will be updated at the end of every month ... how AWESOME is it that since May-Britt and I first started our "little" challenge in January 2009, OPAM participants collectively have finished ...

12,890 projects!!!

How about that!! Like the hapless heroes in "The Mummy", May-Britt and I didn't really know what we'd 'unleashed', but WHAT A RIDE! Tee! Hee! Hee! And Peg and I are looking forward to our second year of co-hosting OPAM and I think the ride will get even more EXCITING!! :0)

You'll also see that I've also added a count-down to my sidebar under the new logo, because sign up doesn't start until January 25, Eastern Australian time and some of you were a bit worried you'd miss it. I think I've set the time on the countdown for midday ... cos I didn't quite have the hang of working out the time thingy! :0) But sign up will begin AFTER Peg and I post on the 25th with the guidelines for OPAM 2011. Please don't try to sign up before that, as we won't be adding names until then to keep it fair. Places will again be limited to 200, so first in best dressed, as they say, so watch the countdown and my and Peg's blogs! :0) And the list of OPAM participants from last year has been taken down and Peg and I are listed there, just waiting to be joined by 198 of you fabulous blogging buddies! :0)

I have a feeling that, although it got off to a VERY bumpy start, 2011 is going to be a GREAT year that sees lots of FANTASTIC things happen and I look forward to sharing it with all of you, my blogging buddies!

And since I probably won't have too much time to sit with my feet up next week, I'm off to have a cup of lavender tea and perhaps do a bit of stitching ... or maybe I should keep working on those pattern instructions I should be writing ... or maybe I'll just drink my cup of tea and daydream for a little while! If anyone's looking for me, I'll be off with the faeries! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...

{A friend had this made for me ages ago and I've not had a chance to use it til now! :0)}


Sunday 16 January 2011

Sun, Stitching, Cricket - Must Be Summer!

Today actually FEELS like summer! The sun is shining and drying my washing on the line and I'm enjoying some stitching time in front of the one day cricket. Yep ... maybe it's summer after all! :0)

What have I been stitching, I hear you ask? I've been finishing off a couple of little needlekeepers to send off to the Gum Nut Gals for their "New Beginnings" flood appeal. Have you popped over to visit the Gum Nutters to see what "New Beginnings" is all about? You might be able to help out. My little contribution so far ...

Two needlekeepers. When I was deciding on a stitchery to put on these, I tossed up between a few and finally decided that what was more perfect for items going to a flood appeal than  Noah's dove with it's olive branch in beak and a rainbow overhead. Both remind me of God's promise after a somewhat larger flood than we've faced here in Queensland. Whenever I see a rainbow, my thought is, no matter what's happened, there's a promise of better things to come. I've used the cute little dove from Lynette Anderson's Noah's Ark BOM and added the rainbow ... Lynette's BOM was so much fun to stitch and one day I might even finish putting it together! :0) When the needlekeepers are opened up ...

Both are the same, so I've showed the outside of one and the inside of the other! :0) I raided my stash for rainbow colours to match the stitchery and inside, have added pockets to hold threads or new packets of needles, as well as somewhere to poke the ol' needles in to keep them from poking into YOU! :0) I suppose that's why they're called "Needlekeepers"! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'm hoping to make a couple more little bits and bobs to send off with these, too, but it was good to make a start.

Don't forget to pop across to visit Toni at Make It Perfect to see the full list of auctions being held to raise money for the flood appeal too. There are some FABULOUS items up for grabs ... Toni at The Red Boot Quilt Co. is auctioning off a GORGEOUS teddy quilt with accessories; Vikki is auctioning her cool sewing travel kit that is featured in the current issue of "Homespun" as well as a full set of the "Springtime" BOM patterns; and Rosie and Melly are each auctioning a year's worth of patterns/fabric ranges/books ... whatever each of them design and publish this year, a copy will go to the winning bidders of their auctions. How exciting ... not to mention that all money raised in these auctions will go to help flood victims rebuild and recover. There are literally HUNDREDS of items being auctioned to raise funds for the flood relief appeal, so it's worth taking a peek.

I have to say, that as much as it has broken my heart to see my home state going under water (I have seen most of these areas firsthand over the years) and the terrible destruction that has resulted ... ... my heart has swelled to overflowing to see the HUGE outpouring of community spirit, generosity and goodwill as the cleanup and recovery begins. I've just seen some news footage of volunteers lining up for over a kilometre to register to join the clean up and take a provided bus to the area where they can help. I've seen people from all over Australia (some still recovering from their OWN flood damage!) and all over the world not hesitate to put their hand up to donate, to organise events to raise money and to give of their time. It brings tears to my eyes ... though THESE tears are HAPPY tears! My new New Year's wish is that we all carry that generosity and spirit of community with us throughout the whole year, because I think it will be a long, hard road to recovery in the eastern states of Australia.

Right now, though, I'm going to go see if I can help the Aussies break their losing streak in the cricket ... maybe we need to bring back Rod Marsh, David Boon, Dennis Lilly and Thommo! :0) Hope you're making the most of your weekend, too. Til next time ...


Thursday 13 January 2011

A Confession & A Quilt Drive!

I have a confession to make ...

My name is Kris and I am a Fabric-a-holic!!!! :0)
I popped into Quilters Angel ... otherwise known around here as my 'home-away-from-home' ... to catch up with Marion and Steph for the first time since before Christmas ... oh ... and of course there WAS that 30% off sale that started today and runs through til Sunday, too! (Sheepish Grin!!!) So with such a wonderful sale happening, you just KNOW that some fabric followed me home, right?! Wanna see?? OK!

Just a couple of the yummy fabrics from Rosalie Quinlan's "Sweet Broderie" range. Really ... just a couple ... especially if you're talking to my Beloved Geek Boy! Tee! Hee! Hee! I've been eyeing off these sweet fabrics for a while now and Marion's fabulous sale (did I mention you can ring orders in during the sale even if you can't visit?!?!?!) seemed the perfect time to stock up ... there ARE a lot of projects on my "To Do" list, after all. Besides ... Toowoomba's still isolated, so no groceries are getting into town, so we don't need the grocery money this week, right?! :0) I promise to show you what I make with these ... but for now, I think I shall just look at them and stroke them for a while ... told you I had a confession to make! :0)

Now for the Quilt Drive mentioned in the title. While I was chatting to Marion and Steph, Marion said that she knows a lot of local quilters who want to DO something to help those people affected by the floods. So, she is organising the Quilters Angel Quilt Drive.

I'll let Marion explain ... in her own words! :0)
"As you are aware, many in our community (Grantham, Murphy's Creek and Toowoomba) have lost their homes and everything they own. We would like to help by donating quilts made with love as they begin to rebuild their lives. We will open our Work Room to all patchworkers to bring along their machine and thread (and fabric if you wish) to create quilt tops which will then be quilted and given to the flood victims. There are no restrictions on size and quilts can be made for babies, children, teenagers and adults. We will be providing fabric, however if you cannot make it to a sewing session but would still like to help, donations of fabric and sewing supplies would be greatly appreciated. (100% cotton please, no smaller than 4" pieces)"

These wonderful quilting sessions will be held at Quilters Angel from 10am to 2pm each Thursday and Friday in January and from 10am to 2pm each Thursday in February. Now, I know a lot of you, my blogging buddies, are far from local to Toowoomba and a trip from Norway, Sweden or Germany may be just a LITTLE too much to cope with (though if you do, there's a spare bed at my place for you! Tee! Hee! Hee!) but maybe you have some fabric pre-cuts you've fallen out of love with, or kits that you're no longer enamoured of ... maybe even some quilt tops that are finished but you don't want to keep for yourself ... I'm sure if you contact Marion and send them to her, she'll organise to have them quilted and made ready for some very special new homes. You can pop across to Marion's web site HERE to find more details and how to contact her, or if you want to send anything to me, I'll be happy to pass them along to Marion ... it IS my home-away-from-home, after all! Tee! Hee! Hee! I think this is a great idea because although many of us stitchers don't have a lot of money, most of us DO have a rather healthy stash and some have the time to give to make comforting quilts, so this is a lovely way to bless some of the flood victims. I know I'll be planning to pop into Quilters Angel on some of those days to help out.

I've also started to trace off some stitcheries to decorate needlecases etc for the "New Beginnings" kits and will be spending some time this weekend stitching away, but before I started on those, I thought I'd update you on my Gardener's Journal blocks. I've got five blocks stitched and pieced ...

... and am in the midst of stitching my very last stitchery for the remaining blocks ...

Ta Da! See, Chookyblue, I TOLD you I'd show you I'd really been stitching and not just slacking! :0) Lots of stitching has been going on during the holidays, I think I only had the dovecote and basket of flowers finished before Christmas, so I HAVE been busy ... really! :0) My decision to add a few little patches of satin stitch to most blocks is one I'm happy with, as I love the patches of colour that now jump out (especially those apples in the orchard block!!) but boy of boy, to they take some time to stitch! (especially those apples in the orchard block! Tee! Hee! Hee!) I'm not sure if I'll have my quilt finished by the March deadline, but I sure am a LOOOOOOOOONG way in front of where I would have been without joining the Stitch-A-Long! So, thanks to Chookyblue, Peg et al for the 'gentle' shove. :0)

And now ... I'm off to make myself a cup of lavender tea ... no milk, so no coffee for a few days til roads reopen and groceries come into town (I drink tea black, but have a splash of milk in coffee, you see!!) ... and to start stitching some needle cases. Whatever you're up to, I want to leave you with a little challenge ...

List FIVE blessings in your life today

... family only count as one ... even if they ARE a BIG one! Tee! Hee! Hee! I guarantee that this little exercise will boost your mood! :0) Til next time ...


Wednesday 12 January 2011

A Quilt Begins With A Few Stitches!

That sounds rather profound, doesn't it! :0) But nevertheless ... it's true. Most 'big' projects begin with baby-steps. I know most of you have by now heard about the widespread and devastating flooding here in my home state of Queensland. With over 75% of our rather large state under water or affected in some way by flooding, it seems very overwhelming ... nothing we can do, right???

One of my favourite Graeme Connors' songs is called "Births, Deaths And Marriages". It tells the story of someone with an elderly female neighbour, who he chats to each day when they both collect their newspapers from the front yard. Some days, when the paper boy makes it too challenging and they only find one paper between them, they've worked out a system to share ... the elderly lady takes one page and the man takes the rest. Can you guess which page she takes? Yep ... "Births, Deaths & Marriages". The man thinks this is a little funny - why take that when all of the IMPORTANT news is in the rest of the paper? One day she explains to him by saying:

"I know this world has it's problems,
Problems that need to be solved,
But from what I see in the headlines each day
It's all out of my control,
But a gift for a baby, a sympathy card,
A prayer for a couple in love.
Is something I can do that might make a difference ...
No matter how small."

So even if we can't do something to fix the BIG problems facing QLD and the families affected ... there are some things we CAN do that  ' ... might make a differenc ... no matter how small.' :0)

Firstly, the gals from Among The Gum Trees are co-ordinating the collection of  some basic sewing supplies to put together some stitchers' kits to be distributed to stitchers in flood-affected areas. They're calling their little campaign  ...

Click on the above button and it will take you directly to the post on the Gum Tree gals' blog where everything is outlined and explained. I'll be raiding my stash and hope to make a few little bits to send off to the gals.

There are also a number of silent auctions happening in blogland at the moment with all proceeds going towards the flood relief fund raising appeal ...

This series of auctions are being co-ordinated by Toni at Make It Perfect. Click on the above button and that will take you to her original post ... there are a couple of other posts after that that will probably add more info for you.

So there you are ... a couple of small ways you CAN help make a difference and lend a hand ... no matter where you are in the world ... to help out families whose lives have had a literal 'dampener' put on them.

Once again, THANK YOU to all of you lovely blogging buddies who have been checking up on me and GB after seeing news footage of our flash flood here in Toowoomba - I have felt very loved and blessed!! There are some truly alarming photos and video clips out there, that show the rushing water, cars being swept away etc., but I think for me, it really started to hit home today when I drove through several of the intersections, that had been flooded, as I followed my usual route to work. I also drove over part of the range where a huge landslip and a number of smaller ones had dumped mud and rocks onto the road, causing one lane to be closed still this morning. Then, when I got to work, my boss explained that he was supposed to be in one of the cafes that were flooded for a business meeting and would have been in the middle of the chaos ... but due to minor flooding problems in our village caused by the torrential rain, he was too busy to head into town. Val from Apple Cottage had passed through that street just minutes before the wall of water hit. One of GB's workmates lost his work van and helped rescue a child from a car being swept away, but had to watch as the child's mother and sibling were washed out of his reach. He then had to hold onto a power pole in the midst of the rushing water until rescuers could help him. It makes it more personal now.

And that's why I'm off to dig through my patterns and my stash to start working on some little items to send to Jenny ... to do MY ' ... something to make a difference ... no matter how small!" Stay safe, hug your loved ones, squeeze the most out of every day, because we just never know what's going to happen five minutes from now!! Til next time ...


Tuesday 11 January 2011

Email Issues!

Hey all! Just a quick little note to let you know that due to the flooding and weird weather, our area is having some telecommunication issues and as a result, the server for my Web site is down and one of my email accounts is out of action ... yes, I have two after last year's giant server crash!!

If you leave comments on my blog, they come through to me at:

and that email address is WORKING FINE. My website and other email address are dot com dot AU addresses and they're the ones not working at the moment. So ... if you've tried to email me on: and your mail has bounced back ... that's why. I'm still OK and away from flooded areas, though GB has just sent a text to say the CBD has been evacuated again, which is not good. Still raining here and there's so much water around that we now have our own personal river system in the yard flowing under the house and out to the footpath ...EEP! (The dogs have moved into the laundry ... which is actually the smartest thing to do since that's where their beds are!!) But we are still so much more fortunate than others further down the Lockyer Valley. Please keep those folks in your thoughts and prayers, as people are still missing and rescue efforts are being hampered by further heavy rain and fog.

Thanks again for your lovely concern ... it warms my heart on a cool and rainy day! :0)


Monday 10 January 2011

We're Soggy But Safe!

Most of you ... even my overseas blogging buddies ... have no doubt heard about the weird, wet, WET, WET weather we're having here in Queensland at the moment. Until today, Toowoomba hadn't really been directly affected - but that has changed. Before I tell you what happened, I'll say first off ...


I've been receiving emails, texts and phone calls since television news coverage began late this afternoon ... people hearing Toowoomba was flooding and just wanting to make sure we were OK. How very blessed we are to have such wonderful, caring family and friends all over Australia ... and overseas! :0) Thank you so much for your concern.

So ... what happened? Well ... unlike most  major centres (and quite a few minor ones!!) in Australia, Toowoomba is NOT built on or near a river, but a few creeks run through it and these have had culverts (big drain thingies for those needing technical terms!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) built around them to help direct the flow, stop erosion etc. After almost two days of torrential rain ... I was SOAKED just walking down five steps and two strides to the mail box!!! ... there was just so much water banking up and nowhere for it to go but up and over ... so that's what it did! It all happened so suddenly with no pre-warning, so people were caught unawares ... having lunch in a coffee shop, walking along the footpath, driving down the road, browsing through shops. There has been a LOT of damage to Toowoomba's CBD and apparently it came up into the pub on the corner a block and a half from us (glad I didn't know at the time!!) but our house is fine. The only flooding I saw first hand was the big drain in our street that wasn't living up to it's name, our footpath that the postie would have needed a canoe to negotiate today (yet he still managed to deliver the phone bill!! RATS!!) and an 'unofficial' second pond in the backyard at the lowerst point.

However, my Beloved Geek Boy saw the flooding much closer, as it came within half a block of where he works, so these are the pics he was emailing me ... yes, I DID freak out a little ... OK ... a LOT!! ... when I saw how close he was and unable to move due to road closures caused by flooding. He had to wait a few hours for the water to go down, but was home safe and sound not too much later than usual. OK ... here are some of the pics he sent me. Anyone who's been to Toowoomba will be shocked.

This is taken when GB stepped out his work door and looked down the hill. The water was about half way up the hill in this pic.

This one is taken from the roof of Grand Central shopping centre ... the building to the left in the photo above. The ground floors of this shopping centre experienced flooding. This pic is looking down into Dent Street closest to the bottom and Victoria Street on the top side. Straight ahead is Garden Town shopping centre and to the top right of the pic is the city library ... I don't think they'll be worried about overdue books for a few days!!! In the water, you can see a police officer keeping an eye on things and see vehicles that have been washed along by the water.

This is the corner of Margaret and Victoria Streets. A lot of vehicles were swept along here.

This is the entrance to the Grand Central car park in Margaret Street ... I think a BOAT would have been the preferred mode of transport at this point, though the water was moving so quickly that even THAT wouldn't have been a good idea. Somewhere under that water is Margaret Street, one of Toowoomba's busiest roads in the CBD!

This is looking along Dent and Victoria Streets, back towards Margaret Street ... the Maccas you can just see in the top left corner there is on Margaret Street. It gives an idea of just how much water we were dealing with. Something like 60mm, or around two and a half inches, of rain fell in about half an hour ... on top of previous heavy rain ... to cause the flash flood.

This is looking along those same streets back the other way ... this is at the end of the block where GB's work is ... he's up the top of the hill, this is at the bottom. We've seen a lot of other photos on Facebook that have just blown us away. One that really hit home was a furniture shop we visited on the weekend looking at couches ... we saw a photo of the couch we'd looked at floating down the flood water!!!

While we weren't affected by the flooding ... apart from being completely cobsmacked! ... seven people so far have been confirmed killed in this freak flood, several are still unaccounted for, hundreds of vehicles have been damaged in carparks or while being driven, and many businesses that have struggled to hold on through the down time of the drought in the region have now been inundated with flood water. It is certainly the beginning to a new year that we will all remember in Queensland and shows again that we're living in a country of extremes.

The only positive outcome of our very soggy situation is that our city's water storages are now at 100%+ after being down below 8% in August/September.

The rain that has caused our flash flooding has also fallen in other already-saturated areas of QLD, with Dalby once again bracing for record flood peaks, Gympie and Maryborough experiencing extreme flooding and towns like Esk, Laidley, Gatton, Withcott and Helidon being inundated by a brown ocean as the water runs down the range. There are many collection places for flood relief fund raising, so anything we can all chip in to help will be appreciated, I'm sure ... especially for those of us feeling pretty fortunate to be high and dry.

So ... a HUGE

... to all of you lovely family members, friends and blogging buddies who have contacted us in some way to check up on us. We're VERY soggy from so much rain, but safe and sound. And I'm now off to watch a bit of TV with my GB with a cuppa TEA! :0) Sorry ... lame rhyme!!! Must be all the rain getting to me! :0) Hope you're all safe, warm and dry wherever you are in the world right now. Back soon with some sewing pics ... I promice, Chookyblue!!! :0) Til next time ...


Thursday 6 January 2011

Blessed By A Beautiful Blogging Buddy!!

Do you ever have days where you're feeling a little blue? I was feeling a bit down in the dumps - not about anything BIG, you understand, just a whole lot of 'little' things that were ganging up on me to make me feel a little blue. THEN ... something happened to change the colour of my day ... my parcel delivery guy showed up! Hmmm ... well, I AM expecting a couple of books that I succumbed to at Fishpond, so that had to be it. NOPE! It was a parcel from my GORGEOUS blogging buddy and OPAM partner-in-crime, Peg. Now, I wasn't expecting anything from Peg ... Christmas is over and my birthday's not for a few months ... though I know she likes to surprise people! :0) I opened the parcel and inside I found ...

Look at that pretty note paper with lovely rainbow daisies! And inside I found ...

Three GORGEOUS quilting ruler covers!!! And they are made in fabrics from one of my FAVOURITE fabric ranges!! Oh ... wait ... it gets BETTER!!! The largest cover has a BEAUTIFUL stitchery in pretty variegated thread  ... stitched in SINGLE thread, I might add!! ... and it says,

"How lucky are the bees to spend their days in such fine company."

I think Peg must have been out in the garden when this saying was written! :0) I was overwhelmed by Peg's kindness ... and cleverness with needle and thread! I confess ... I had to go in search of some tissues!! :0)

What a beautiful blessing to receive on a 'blue' day from a beautiful blogging buddy!!!! :0) Needless to say, I've been a bit like the slogan from a Crunchy Bar add from a few years ago ... this GORGEOUS gift has "Changed The Colour Of My Day"!! :0)

So ... I'm going to go and admire my lovely new ruler covers for a while and remember that not only were the  things getting me down relatively minor, I have lovely blogging buddies out there who care enough to put hours of time and talent into making me gorgeous gifties!! :0) Hope the colour of YOUR day is a bright one! Til next time ...


Tuesday 4 January 2011

Just Quickly ...!

I'm just popping in before I head off to catch some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ's!

There seems to have been a little bit of confusion with OPAM 2011 sign up. We will NOT be taking any names UNTIL the OFFICIAL LAUNCH on JANUARY 25.

This is the biggest school holiday break in Australia, so many people are away or having to fight their kids for computer time. :0) So ... to keep it fair, Peg and I decided NOT to take any sign ups until the official launch, so PLEASE don't email us yet with your sign up!! Come back on January 25, Aussie time. (For the techo people, Toowoomba is GMT-10 hours and Peg's home town is GMT-9 hours!!)

It's lovely that you're all keen and ready to start OPAM again ... and so are we ... but we need a little rest first before we jump on the merry-go-round again ... Sorry for any confusion there may have been due to my epic post overwhelming you with information! :0) Hope you're all enjoying the holiday season and managing to find some stitching time. I hear my pillow calling my name, so til next time ...


Monday 3 January 2011

OPAM Wrap Up... And REV UP!!

Here we are, it's the third day of 2011 and it still feels VERY strange to be talking about it as THIS year, rather than NEXT! You know ... all those things you promised yourself you'll do in 2011 ... NEXT YEAR! And suddenly, you're having to start thinking about actually DOING them ... or is that just me?!?! Tee! Hee! Hee! However you spent it, I hope your entry into 2011 was relaxing/enjoyable/safe. Thank you for all the lovely New Year's wishes and emails you sent me ... it was a fabulous and positive way to start my year!! I also hope you spent New Year's Day doing something you really enjoy, cos you know what they say ... however you spend the first day of the new year is how you're likely to spend most of your time in the next 12 months! I bet some of you are regretting tackling the housework on January 1 now, aren't you! Tee! Hee! Hee!

It also means that it's time to wrap up our OPAM 2010 Challenge. My FANTASMAGORICAL Co-host Peg and I had a lovely big chat on the phone yesterday and were both amazed at what a HUGE year we had with OPAM 2010!! I'm not sure Peg knew what she was in for when she agreed to co-host with me ... and to be honest, neither did I! Tee! Hee! Hee! We had 206 people register to be part of OPAM 2010 and most of them followed through with us for the whole year, though a few fell off the grid. We had our biggest ever month in December for finishes ... a whopping 783!! How good are you gals!!! Must have been the Christmas incentive! Tee! Hee! Hee! Congrats, too, to those of you who may not have registered any or many finishes for December, but managed to make some good progress on some bigger projects during the holiday season. WELL DONE to you all! That's the biggest tally of monthly finishes since May Britt and I started our 'little' challenge in 2009!! Even BETTER than that, the total tally of finishes for OPAM 2010 was ... are you ready for this??? You'd better brace yourselves, cos it's MASSIVE!!! We had ...


... registered with Peg and I for 2010!!! How AMAZING is that! Boy ... there must be a LOT more room in sewing cupboards around the world now ... right?!?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Or if you're like me, you've just used each finish as an excuse to buy fabric/patterns etc for THREE more projects to replace it! :0)

Before I put you all our of your suspenders and tell you the final prize draw winners for December, I'd like to just take a moment to say some thank you's. Firstly, a SUPER-DUPER-DELUXE


 ... to my AMAZING Co-host, Peg. I've nick-named Peg "Super Stitcher" cos she just seems to FINISH soooooo many projects, as well as working full time and fitting in a number of other time-consuming commitments. She's like a stitching version of Superman ... only cuter! :0) Peg and I were blogging buddies before we hooked up as OPAM co-hosts and I have so enjoyed getting to know her better this year and chatting back and forth via emails and phone calls. I honestly couldn't have gone forward with OPAM if Peg hadn't joined me, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you , Peg!!! :0)

Secondly, a big THANK YOU goes to the generous gals who have donated items for Peg and I to put into our prize-pool this year. It was something May Britt and I decided we would do, and that Peg was happy to embrace when she came on board ... to offer prizes to random draw winners at the end of each month ... just a little reward to encourage everyone to keep stitching and creating. So it was a lovely and humbling surprise when people started to offer us items for prizes, but wonderful for you gals who've won them! :0) This year, a big THANKS goes to:

... for donating patterns, fabric, stitching tools, postage etc to Peg and I to share with OPAMers. It has been SOOOOOOOO much appreciated!

And finally, a big THANK YOU to all of you gorgeous, creative gals who have been part of the fun and craziness of OPAM 2010!! As well as sharing your FABULOUS projects with us throughout the year, Peg and I both feel you've shared your lives with us. During 2010 we joined with you to welcome new babies, shed tears with you 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 and finish some projects, but it has ended up being a giant, world-wide sewing circle that has linked like-minded creative ladies into a network of blogging buddies and friends. Thank you, too for your lovely feedback! Peg and I have both received so many emails throughout the year thanking us for running OPAM and telling us how it has helped keep you on track to finish projects, meet deadlines and just make time for yourself ... which is FABULOUS!!! And THAT'S why we do it!! :0)

So ... without further waffling (sorry Chookyblue ... long post today ... should have warned you to grab a cuppa! Tee! Hee! Hee!) the last draw winners for OPAM 2010 were ...


Ruth W


CONGRATULATIONS! If you gals would like to email your snail-mail addresses to me, some prizes will be popped in the mail soon to brighten your day ... and make your postie shake with nerves as you stalk him while waiting for your prize to be delivered! Tee! Hee! Hee!

OK ... so THAT'S the "Wrap-Up" mentioned in my title ... now for the REV UP!!

The news that you've all been waiting for ... I'm sure of it ... really! Tee! Hee! Hee!

OPAM 2011

will launch on ...

JANUARY 25, 2011!!!

Mark the day on your calendar to make sure you get in quick to sign up with either PEG or ME because we will once again be limiting the sign-up numbers to 200 participants, so it's first in, best dressed, as they say. My Beloved Geek Boy is working his computer magic as I type, finalising a NEW LOGO for 2011. OOOOOOHHHH!!! It's so EXCITING!!! I can't WAIT to see who wants to play along with Peg and I again this year ... who'll be a 'Repeat Offender' and who'll be a 'New Recruit'! :0) As well as the usual OPAM fun and craziness, Peg and I are planning a few little SURPRISES to spring on you throughout the year, just to keep you on your toes. So ... stay tuned to Peg and My blogs for the next exciting episode in the OPAM 2011 Adventure!!!

In the meantime ... Peg and I are going to kick back and enjoy a bit of stitching time ourselves before we dive back into OPAM 2011 and since the Aussies are again taking to the cricket pitch against England ... doing a bit better than last time so far ... THANK GOODNESS!! :0) ... I shall sign off and go do a bit more Gardener's Journal stitching while watching the cricket. So, til next time ...

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