Wednesday 30 March 2011

Sewing Room Update & A Project!!

Here I am, as promised to give you a sneaky peeky at the progress in my sewing room makeover. While I knew this would be a pretty big task, I had no idea just how EPIC it would become! Ben Hur's got  NOTHING on the makeover of my sewing room! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Firstly ... some of the photos I HAVEN'T taken would be ...
  • The embarassingly-numerous garbage bags of rubbish that have been taken from the sewing room ... so far!!!
  • The bags of 'stuff' that have been packed up to pass on to friends, family, the Salvos ... anyone who stands still long enough to have a bag thrust into their arms!! :0)
  • The precariously leaning piles of books, videos (yes those antique DVD's! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and magazines dotted around the house
  • My Beloved Geek Boy bumping into a bookcase that didn't used to be there in the dark! :0)
  • Me tip-toeing around previously mentioned leaning towers in the middle of the night when I go 'walkies'!!
You may laugh ... and in fact GB and I have both spent a bit of time laughing at each other's mishaps ... but remember, if you laugh TOO loudly, I shan't be at all sympathetic to you if/when you undertake a similar makeover! :0)

So ... on to the peek of our progress. We're working a little differently to the norm (now THERE'S a surprise - NOT!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) in that, instead of emptying the room and applying paint coat one to the WHOLE room, then repeating for coat two, then attaching all skirting board, painting all skirting board ... etc ... we have been working in quadrants. There's so much 'stuff' in the sewing room that it just won't physically fit into other rooms ... which you can well imagine have their own 'stuff' in them already! :0) So, working around this problem, we've cleared half of the room, then shoved the other half of the 'stuff' against the opposite side of the room and done all work to that half (paint walls, attach skirting board and window trim, paint same) and now that this is finished, we will shuffle the furniture across to THAT side and continue the process. So ... this is the finished side of the room ...

This is where one side of the ugly built -in cupboard was torn out and it's now a nook just the right size for my new sewing desk ... which is also finished. I LOVE how it's come up and it's so sturdy that this baby will NOT be a-rockin' when I get my faithful Huskie fired up! :0) We've got two shelves installed above it and  you can see how the baskets of my fabric stash will be stored ... most of those baskets are empty yet ... except for one ... can you spot it?? It's a bit like "Where's Wally?" Tee! Hee! Hee! We'll put another shelf above these that will house some of my 'pretties' and pattern samples. Still tossing up what to do about that section of the floor ... at this point, a mat is sounding like a great solution! :0) Oh ... the doorway into the sewing room from the hallway is just to the left of this pic.

A funny story about this photo, my Huskie and my Hubby ... I had been complaining loudly to GB that I hadn't been able to sew for over three weeks now and was suffering withdrawal symptoms. He'd obviously taken this on board (or was just sick of hearing me whinge!!) and emerged from the sewing room and very proudly told me that he'd cleared the spot for my new sewing desk and set my machine up on it, so I could now sew. I thanked him very much ... then pointed out that, actually, besides the fact that there's a lot of construction clutter and saw dust around that I wouldn't want to get on my fabrics, I still can't sew because ... the machine's power cord and pedal aren't attached! Tee! Hee! Hee! They were put somewhere 'safe' during the packing up of the old sewing table and I haven't rediscovered them yet. But .. it's the thought that counts, right?! :0) What a sweetie my GB is!

Back to the sneaky peeky ... around the corner from the desk and on to the next wall ...

You can see that my made-over cupboard now looks right at home in this room ... the fabric panels were the inspiration for the wall colour. This window looks out onto our front verandah ... still deciding what style/colour curtains/blinds to put up here ... it needs SOMETHING, cos we're on a corner and have three bright street lights beaming into the front of our house at night. Since the daybed in the sewing room is sometimes used as an extra guest bed ... having something at the windows for privacy and to block the light to allow guests to sleep is a must. The window already looks heaps better than before we began ... it didn't have any trim around it and looked a little shabby ... now it looks bigger and stands out nicely against the blue. Hopefully a bit more progress will happen tomorrow - it's our Show Holiday and although I'm working (Highfields where I work has a different show holiday!) GB and his Dad are going to do a bit more on the sewing room makeover, then we're at the weekend again ... will update you some more next week ... hopefully! :0) Oh ... and if you'd like to take a peek at the true colour of the walls (it's a bit hard to get a good pic in the current overcast weather) you can pop over here ... the colour we're using is "Sea Note".

Now to the "Project" in my heading. Another of my projects has been published in "Handmade", with my complimentary issue arriving today.

The lovely Victoria has been following that up for me and it's nice not to have to chase down a copy of the issues with my projects in! :0)  And the project ...

My Scrappy Hearts sewing bag! This project (like the Shabby Chic Hearts published a couple of months ago and pictured hanging on my hutch in the wider shot above) is fabulous for using up the smaller pieces of your pretty fabrics that you can't bring yourself to throw away, plus it has pockets inside to house all your sewing goodies, so it's perfect to pack up to take with you for a sewing play date. It's in the current issue of "Handmade" Vol. 29 No. 1. And I'm in fine company this month again ... The lovely Jenny of Elefantz has a pretty rosey coffee set in this issue; embroiderer extraordinaire Val Laird has designed a fluttery butterfly bag that all little girls are sure to love and sweet Fee (Fiona Ransley) has a bag in this issue featuring a stitched saying that had me singing a childhood song under my breath for some time later!! "There was a farmer had a dog and BINGO was his name, O!" (I'll get you back for that, Fee! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Oh ... in case you haven't guessed and didn't see from the cover ... this issue of "Handmade" is a "Bags For All Occassions" issue ... so all of you 'bag ladies' out there, be sure you don't miss out! :0) And if any of you make up my little sewing bag, I'd love to see some photos! :0)

That's it from me for now ... I'm off to have a cuppa and look at the pretty pictures in my mag again! :0) OPAM gals ... the end of the month is upon us, so please update your sidebar list of finishes and drop Peg or me an email to let us know how many projects you've crossed off your "To Do" list. And even if you're like me and haven't got any finishes to add (don't stress ... life will get in the way from time to time!!), if you could just let Peg or I know, it saves us a stop in our epic blog-hop. In the meantime, I hope you're all having a fabulous week and managing to steal a bit of time to do something that makes you smile! :0) Til next time ...


Sunday 27 March 2011

Goodies, Gifties & Still Going!

Well, here we are again at "Sunday". How on earth does Sunday roll around so darn QUICKLY?!?!? This week sure has flown by with barely enough time for me to blink, so I thought I'd better catch you up on what I've been doing.

Firstly ... I popped into my Home-away-from-home on Thursday after I finished work to lend a helping hand with Marion and Steph's ongoing Flood Appeal Quilt Drive. There may not have been many people there, but there sure was evidence that they HAD been there ... Marion told me there are now 132 quilts completely finished, with quite a few more scattered around with people working on them at home! WOW! Well done to everyone who's been involved in any way at all! What a HUGE effort! I also got to catch up with Marcia (she of the 'Girls' Stitch In' karaoke!!) and met the lovely Helen, who had travelled up from Ipswich specially to help out with the quilt drive, even though she said she still had her patchwork/quilting "L" plate! :0) I was designated "Go-fer" and did more ironing of seams and backing fabric than I ever do of clothes at home! I'm smart enough to have a LOT of non-iron clothes! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Friday then saw me jump in the car and toodle off down the hill to Brisbane to spend the day with my bestest-buddy-since-we-were-nine Lynette. She had texted me earlier in the week to ask if I'd like to go down to check out the CraftExpo. We decided it was the perfect way for both of us to avoid housework for a day, so off we went. Things with this craft show have been shuffled about somewhat. It used to be at the end of April and it used to be a lot bigger and combined with a bear/doll display, as well as a sizeable display by Queensland Quilters. Well ... I have to say, this year's event was a bit disappointing for me. It was only about half the size it usually is, with less exhibitors and less room to move, a number of classes were held in the middle of the rows, rather than off to the side to free up space and the quilt display was limited to one challenge. Not sure if this was due to the aftermath of the flooding, or whether exhibitors are just finding it all a bit too pricey to attend as many shows at a time when our quilting stores carry a much larger range of sewing accessories as well as fabric, not to mention online stores offering the convenience of shoping at home. Who knows ...

On the upside, Lynette and I still managed to have fun looking at what WAS there ... AND ... we bumped into the Lovely Lilly Linda and her Mum who were also scooting around for a look-see!! It was quite funny ... I'd read the night before on Linda's blog that she was heading off to the craft fair, but I hadn't got around to telling her I was going too. So, there Lynette and I were, in the middle of isle two and I said to Lynette ... "Lilly Linda is here today somewhere, too ..." was about to add ... " ... though it will be virtually impossible to see her in this crowd ..." ... when I looked ahead in the crowded isle ... and who should I see standing three people away from me ... LOVELY LILLY LINDA! :0) Obviously we were meant to catch up ... which we did over lunch! Now, I was PRETTY good and didn't buy TOO much ... but a few things DID follow me home ...

Here are my GOODIES from the day ... two pieces of yellow fabric ... nice yellows are hard to find, so I grab them when I can and these were in 30cm strips, rather than fat quarters, which I find more useful for what I tend to use them for. Two pretty beady bracelets ... the beads were so pretty and since I'm too lazy to make some for myself, these were just the ticket ... the green one has a dragonfly charm hanging from it and the red one has a leaf and a rose. I popped the red one on straight away, as it matched my outfit! :0) And lastly, I shouted myself a pretty new pair of stitching scissors. The blades are quite sharp and pointy, which will be great for getting into small spots to snip threads and I liked the idea of the blade guard so I don't poke myself when the scissors are in my sewing pouch ... and the little beaded chain hooking the guard to the scissors means it will be harder for me to lose it ... not IMPOSSIBLE, you understand, just HARDER! Tee! Hee! Hee! So, all in all, I lovely day out ... and housework was successfully avoided by both Lynette and I! Tee! Hee! Hee!

OK ... I thought I'd show you a few of the gifties I've been spoiled with for my birthday ... gifties are the payoff for turning another year older, right?! :0)

This isn't my usual style, but such a pretty colour green that I'm sure I'll find something it will go with. My parents-in-law gave me this flowery necklace and earrings.

This GORGEOUS hatbox was given to me on Thursday by the lovely Marion and Steph ... I LOVE it!!! :0) It will look so nice in my sewing room ... once it's finished ... !!! I have been thinking of adding a few "Paris-y" touches to my sewing room, so this is just perfect! And ... USEFUL!! In fact, I'm already putting it to use ...

As I work my way through the LOOOOOOOOOOONG process of sorting, ironing and folding my stash, I'm using it to store pieces of fabric that are still big enough to be useful for applique` or smaller patchwork projects, but not big enough to be able to fold and fit in my stash baskets. Thanks Marion and Steph!! :0) Steph and I always remember each other's birthdays, cos they're just two days apart! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And lastly ... the work in the sewing room is STILL GOING! SIGH!! It really is turning into a longer-term project than we'd hoped, mostly due to interrupted work time and things beyond our control ... like a 'quick' trip to Bunnings turning into a three hour epic exercise due to the lack of helpful staff!! GRRRRR!! My poor Beloved Geek Boy was ready to hit his head against a wall just to get some attention ... and perhaps to vent a bit of his frustration! :0) Some progress has been made, though. I'll wait til the end of today to take some update shots to share with you in the next day or so. Meanwhile ... back in the lounge room ... I spent time yesterday sorting through my non-patchwork/quilting fabric stash and managed to cull it by more then HALF! I was pretty impressed with how ruthless I was being ... Mum would be proud! She's the de-clutterer of our family! :0) The fabric I culled will go do my dancing Buddy Lynda, with some going to my Goddaughter Erin (Lynette's youngest) who has just discovered the joys of making Suffolk Puffs ... or "Sucky Puffs" as Bronwyn Hayes calls them!! ... and she is happily decorating hair clips and ties for herself and friends. Yep ... corrupt ... oops! ... TEACH ... 'em young! :0) And I've done a bit more stash sorting, ironing and folding ...

As you can see ... I've moved on from green to blue ... though I am still finding the odd green fabric mixed in with other colours. I may still be doing this at Christmas!!! EEK!!!

So ... there you go ... a round-up of the end of my week. It sure has been a busy one and I'm hoping by the end of today, I'll feel like it's been a bit more productive too. Starting to stress a bit cos there's been NO sewing happening here for the last couple of weeks ... not even any hand stitching, since the time I usually do hand stitching has been highjacked by the stash sorting. SIGH!!! I hate to admit it, but this may be the first time since May Britt and I started OPAM in 2009 that I will have ZERO finishes to report for a month!!! What a bad example I am!! Still ... Peg is such a Super-Stitcher that she makes up for my slackness! :0) Don't forget OPAM gals ... it's almost that time of the month again, so be sure to update your sidebar finishes lists and drop Peg or I an email ... remembering that the lovely Peg does NOT have an "H" in her surname.

And now ... I'm off to toss some washing in the machine and go back to sorting, ironing and folding ... GROAN!!!! Hope you're having a productive weekend, whatever you may be doing! :0) Til next time ...


Tuesday 22 March 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!!

As some of you guessed, my special day on Sunday was my birthday, which this year coincided with the autumn equinox AND the moon being the closest to earth ... busy day! Tee! Hee! Hee! Sunday was rainy and overcast here on top of the hill, but that didn't stop me from having a lovely, if low-key, birthday. The day started with my Beloved Geek Boy bringing me brekkie in bed (no crumbs! I checked!), we then pottered around the house for a couple of hours, before heading off to meet some friends for lunch ... no photos cos I forgot my camera. Bad blogger!! :0) The afternoon was wiled away chatting and watching the rain ... a rather pleasant way to spend a birthday afternoon. :0) No dinner here that night ... a cup of tea and we were good! :0)

Then today, I was treated to a bit more birthday spoiling. Most Tuesdays, I meet up with my dancing buddies Lynda and Deb for lunch and a catch up. Today when I walked into Lynda's place ... there was a mini-party waiting for me! :0) Aaaaaaawwwww!! How spoilt am I! There was a birthday banner, balloons, party punch and yummy nibblies ... as well as ... BIRTHDAY CAKE! You know it's not a PROPER birthday until you've had cake! :0)

And it was home made, too! :0) Lynda sent home what was left so I could share it with GB ... he'd already found it before I got to take this pic ... tsk, tsk! :0) Thanks Lynda and Deb for my mini-party ... it was so much fun and gave me the best birthday gift of all ... the reminder that I have some wonderful friends in my life who make every day so much richer, just by being part of my life! THANKS GALS!! :0)

And a big thank you to all of you lovely blogging buddies who've sent birthday wishes too ... I know I have been a bit slack in replying to comments and emails in the last week or so ... somehow I keep running out of hours in my days! :0) But be assured your well wishes made Sunday even more special! Oh ... and do you see the pretty green depression glass vase in the centre of the cake pic? That was my GORGEOUS birthday giftie from my bestest-buddy-since-we-were-nine Lynette. It looks great with my little collection of depression glass on the hutch and is a great size to pop flowers in, too ... oddly enough since that's actually what it was designed to do!!! Cake and gifties ... it's almost worth having to turn another year older! Tee! Hee! Hee!

The other thing that took a bit of my time this afternoon was ...

Getting up to date with my mailing! EEP! Apologies to the gals who have been so patiently waiting for their prizes! I'm off to see my Australia Post buddy Raymond tomorrow, girls, so start stalking your posties next week. Posties of the world .... BEWARE!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Right now, though, I think I hear left over birthday cake calling my name, so I'm off to pop the kettle on. Hope you're all having a fabulous start to your week ... even if you haven't had cake! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...


Sunday 20 March 2011

Oops! I'm Back!!

I've just realised I was supposed to do my prize draw for my "Old Ted Wall Hangings" give away on Friday ... OOPS!! Sorry about that! I seem to have lost a couple of days again ... so if you've seen them, please return them! :0) I have a REALLY good excuse though ... honest! :0) Well, several, actually, but the main one is that I've once again been trying to bring a bit more order to the chaos of my sewing room renovation. This time, I decided to tackle my fabric stash. First, I hauled it all out into the lounge room ...

There's another smaller storage tub still under the daybed in the sewing room, but I can't get to it for all of my Beloved Geek Boy's painting gear ... it's only a single layer of fabric as it was my attempt to start getting a bit organised, so not a lot more to add to my stash total. I have to say, I feel pretty OK about my stash after seeing a few pics around blogland ... some of those gals could start their own fabric shops with their personal stashes! :0) So ... time to get organised. That involved a trip to Office Works for these ...

I think the staff at Office Works thought we were a little odd ordering around 20 of these, but I wanted to make sure I had enough! :0) These will sit on some shelves above my new sewing desk. So with storage acquired, I began the LOOOOOOOONG, laborious task of ironing, folding and sorting my stash. Talk about time-consuming! You see, to fit two rows of fabric in to make the most of the space in each basket, I have to fold and iron the fabric to a certain size ... which is NOT the usual folded-fat-quarter-size. SIGH! One day I'm going to do things the EASY way and everyone will be completely shocked ... including ME! :0) I made up a cardboard template to help keep things neat and hit the ironing board ...

I think I'm going to need TWO baskets for my green fabrics!! Can you tell I'm a GREEN gal! Tee! Hee! Hee! It looks nice and neat, though ... will do some more this afternoon and tonight while I watch a bit of tele. Oh ... do you see the new blue sewing room wall in the background? It's a bit dark cos it's overcast and raining here today, but you can see we're making some progress ... SLOWLY! Liz at Teddlywinks and I are going to form the ...

"Sewing Room Renovation Stress Support Group"

... cos she and her Beloved are also renovating her sewing studio ... and our messes look very much alike! Tee! Hee! Hee! Pop over and lend her your support and sympathy! :0)

OK ... so that's how I came to forget about my promised giveaway, but I'm ready to announce the two lucky winners now. Firstly, thank you to everyone who shared their "Old Ted" stories with me. I always love to hear about people's favourite teddy bears ... they just seem to play such an important role in all of our lives somewhere along the track! :0) OK, so, the winners of a copy of "Old Ted Wall Hangings" pattern are ...

Congratulations to you both! If you'd like to email your snail mail addresses to me, I'll pop your prizes in the mail for you.

In the meantime ... I'm off to get ready for a lunch date. Its a special day for me today and I'm heading out to celebrate with GB and some friends. :0) Hope you're all having a great weekend so far! Til next time ...


Tuesday 15 March 2011

Taking A Breather!!

WOWSERS!! What a BUSY few days I've had!! So I thought I'd take a little breather and tell you what I've been up to. As I told you last post, I headed out to my Home-away-from-home on Sunday because the lovely Marion and Steph of Quilters' Angel were hosting their annual ...

Marion describes the "Girls Stitch In" as ...

"Taking time out to appreciate the joys of being a woman and embracing all things 'girly'!"

(I even typed it in pink writing, just for you Marion!!) And BOY were all the 'girly' gals SPOILT!!! :0) Imagine a marquee draped in satin swags, lit by crystal chandeliers and decked out in 'girly' goodies and you get ...

... THIS!! You can just see one of the chandeliers in the centre top, but you get a good idea of the rest of it! :0) On top of this, two guest designers were on hand with brand new projects designed especially for "Girls Stitch In". This year, the guest designers were Sue Daly of "Patchwork With Busy Fingers" and Linda Blake of "Bella Embroidery". Throw in a GORGEOUS Parisian-inspired bag full of goodies and everyone was in girly heaven! :0) Yep ... a day of stitching and indulgence ... including DELICIOUS morning and afternoon tea and a healthy but SCRUMPTIOUS lunch ... with live entertainment!!

Oops! They're not the singers Marion hired!! :0) But ... Robyn and Marcia had a BALL singing along! Tee! Hee! Hee! Meanwhile ... up the back of the marquee ...

... the party girls were bustin' out their moves! :0) Sue confessed that it was just as well she hadn't had a glass of wine with lunch or she'd have been dancing on the tables ... we offered to get a glass and clear a table for her, but she declined! Tee! Hee! Hee! Oh ... and just in case you were wondering where I was ... in that gap between Sue and Marion! :0) But you'd probably guessed that, right! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And although Linda wasn't up the back with us dancing, she WAS up to a bit of mischief ...

This looks like a nice, sedate picture of Linda modelling her gorgeous project for the weekend, a girly-girl apron featuring her signature crinoline ladies, right? HOWEVER ... there was a slightly SAUCIER modelling of this apron that involved Linda's skirt hem going up and a bit more leg showing!!! The French Maid's version of the apron perhaps!! Ooh! La! La! :0) I was too shocked to take a pic! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now ... there WAS a bit of stitching going on amidst all the modelling, singing, clapping and dancing ... APPARENTLY! :0) Here are some of the 'good' girls stitching away ...

Some of these gals were local to the Toowoomba/Highfields area, but others came from all over to play for the weekend ... some from the Atherton Tablelands, Mackay, Emerald, Bundaberg, Brisbane ... and probably a lot more places that I didn't get to hear about. And working away in the background to help Marion was ...

... Marion's lovely Mum Ethel!! :0) This lady is just the SWEETEST and she gives great hugs! :0)

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to Marion and Steph (who kept things running smoothly in the shop during the weekend) for another FABULOUS stitching event!! I doubt that anyone in Australia spoils stitchers more during a weekend retreat! If you're looking for a fabulous weekend of stitching, chatting and being spoilt ... make sure you book in to next year's "Girls Stitch In" you will NOT regret it!! :0) Pop across to the Quilters' Angel web site or give Marion and Steph a call to get more details or book your spot ... it's never too earlyto book, cos places fill up pretty quickly!! :0)

While I was out chatting, dancing and being spoilt by Marion, my Beloved Geek Boy was beavering away in the sewing room to prepare it for it's new colour. So ... I have a question for you ... What is "Sea Note"??

Answer: It's the colour I'm painting myself ... Oops! ... I mean ... it's the colour I'm painting the sewing room!! :0) Yes, I started painting the section GB had filled and sanded cos I just couldn't wait to see how the colour looked on my walls! :0) I am STOKED at how it's coming up and can't wait to see it all finished and decked out! It will be so exciting to have a neat, tidy, stylish creative space to work in ... even if it isn't likely to stay neat and tidy for very long! Tee! Hee! Hee! There's still piles of 'stuff' for me to sort through, but I'm making progress ... slowly!!!

"Sea Note" is also very close to the new colour of the smaller writing at the bottom of the OPAM Button ... take a peek at mine in my sidebar. If yours doesn't have blue writing, drop me an email and I'll send some step by step instructions to help you update it. Oh ... I've also had a note from someone to say that I typed Peg's email address incorrectly in the "Welcome To OPAM" letter that you would have received from me or Peg when you signed up. I fixed it everywhere else, but missed that one! Oops! Peg's email address is ...

The incorrect one has an "H" in the gorgeous Peg's surname that doesn't belong there. So, if you email your finishes at the end of the month to Peg, please just double check the address ... or you'll actually be emailing a lovely, patient lady in Western Australia called Penny! :0)

Right now, however, I'm off to pop the kettle on for a cuppa. Don't forget to tell me your "Old Ted" story on the previous post before Friday to be in the draw for one of two copies of my new pattern. I love hearing about people's favourite teddies! :0) Til next time ...



Sunday 13 March 2011

Tempis Fugit ...!!

Time flies ... whether you're having fun or not!! :0) I know I've been a bit of a slack blogger in the last couple of weeks, but I just seem to keep running out of hours in the day ... or maybe I just need to start making shorter "To Do" lists! Tee! Hee! Hee! Let's see if I can catch you up without the post getting so long that Chookyblue needs TWO cuppas to get through it! :0)

Project "Sewing Room Make Over & De-clutter" is still underway. There has been progress ... it just seems to have been a bit slower than hoped for due to a busy week. Will show some update photos in the next few days ... promise! :0) And my messy sewing room confessions have brought a few more "Chaotic Creators" out of the closet ... pop across to encourage my blogging buddy Toni ... she's also decided to be brave and tackle her creative chaos. :0) We can do it Toni!!!

In between work and de-cluttering, I've managed to finish writing instructions etc. for my latest pattern design ... "Old Ted Wall Hangings".

I love how these matching wall hangings have come together and the "Pure" fabrics were just right ... though if you wanted to make it for a little girl's room, I reckon something like the pink, blue, green and brown combination of the "Lily & Will" range would work well too. This pattern will be listed on the Tag Along Teddies web site this week as a paper pattern and as a downloadable pattern, so stay tuned! And since it's fun to share the love ... leave a comment on THIS post telling me an 'Old Ted' story and I'll be back on Friday to draw the names of TWO lucky people to win a copy of "Old Ted Wall Hangings". So, put your story-telling caps on! :0)

When I wasn't working, de-cluttering or writing pattern instructions ... I've spent a bit of time at my Home-away-from-home this last week helping the lovely Marion and Steph get ready for a very special event that's on this weekend. And since I'm about to head off to spend some time there ... I'll tell you all about it next post! :0) I know ... I'm a horrible tease ... but you LOVE me!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Hope you're having a great weekend, whether you're de-cluttering, de-stressing or just enjoying some kick-back-and-stitch time. Til next time ...


PS. Pop across to the lovely Kerryanne's blog to 'meet' her latest sewing buddy and then take a peek at her newly updated website ... I will warn you though ... there are LOTS of pretties, so you might be tempted to buy up big! Tee! Hee! Hee! BH! KRIS

Tuesday 8 March 2011

De-Cluttering Update & OPAM Winners!!

WHEW!! Sorry it's a bit later than I originally intended to pop back to let you know who the winners for the OPAM draw are ... I've been buried in the sewing room ... literally! :0)

All the guides to de-cluttering tell you that before you can clean up your mess, you have to make a BIGGER mess ... by dragging EVERYTHING out of its hiding place. Well ... step one successfully accomplished, then!! :0)

Here's how the sewing room looked after EVERYTHING was dragged out of the cupboard that was marked for demolition. WOW! Who knew I'd managed to fit that much stuff in there?!?! Nah ... some of it was already piled on the floor waiting for new homes, but most of this was from the cupboard. Since this photo was taken, I've been plugging away at it and have taken out three garbage bags of rubbish (mostly paper ... sorry to all the trees that were sacrificed!!) and three bags of 'stuff' that are either going to other friends (so they can claim anything they want before things are tossed out), or to charity. The ugly built in cupboard that was marked for demolition (the other one will go once we can afford to buy something to replace it) has gone and the new sewing desk has been picked up to put in its place ...

The previous owners hadn't painted inside the cupboard, so there's a 'feature wall here now! :0) The desk is just what I wanted and fits nicely in this spot now. It will get a shabby chic/French provincial make over when we're painting ... the walls will be a cornflower blue with white trims. The old sewing table has gone from this ...

... to THIS ...

So ... some progress ... though it seems to be taking a LOOOOOONG time to see any difference!! Now ... a lot of gals confessed that their sewing rooms could do with a make-over and de-cluttering campaign too ... how many of you are game to show brutally honest photos of your sewing mess and join me in cleaning up?!?! It's a bit like a 12-step program ... "My name is Kris and I have a sewing room clutter problem". Tee! Hee! Hee! If you're brave enough to post some 'BEFORE' and 'AFTER' pics of YOUR sewing room clutter, let me know when you post some pics ... we'll cheer each other on! :0)

Now that I've showed you my reason for being a bit later than expected with my OPAM winners, I'd better tell you who was chosen by the random number generator thingy. :0) First, can I say a huge ..

... to all of you OPAMers!! There were


finishes registered for February! WOW!! Maybe a few of you are also trying to clean out your sewing rooms ... one project at a time! Tee! Hee! Hee! That is FABULOUS ... especially since February is our shortest month for the year. Well done, too, to those gals who may not have registered finishes, but made some progress on a few projects ... I know quite a few of you are working on quilts BOMs and other longer-term projects. If you managed to take a bit of time to stitch and make some progress, then you've done well, too! :0)

OK ... the three winners for February's random draw are ...

Congrats, gals! If you can email me with your snail mail addresses, I'll pop a little surprise into the post for you. Now since this was a double-whammy prize draw for January AND February ... you'll be wondering where the January winners are ... well, you'll just have to hop on over to Peg's blog (if you haven't already!!) where she posted her three prize winners this morning ... Peg's an early bird and I'm a night owl! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Oh ... and keep an eye on your OPAM badge in the next few days ... my Beloved Geek Boy will once again update the total number of projects completed since OPAM began ... the smaller writing at the bottom of the button (which should currently be green) will change to BLUE. If your smaller writing is still red, drop me an email and I'll give you some super-simple steps to follow to get the button loaded up properly so your button receives the monthly updates automatically.

Well ... I think that's it from me today and after all that cleaning and counting, I think I've earned a cuppa before I cook dinner. Hope you're all having a great start to your week. Til next time ...


Friday 4 March 2011

I'm Gonna Be RUTHLESS ... Sort Of!!!

I'm going to be REALLY RUTHLESS!!! Sort of! A bit! Maybe .... Awwwwww .... who am I kidding! I'm really not good at being ruthless!!! No, no ... I'm not thinking of attacking anyone or invading a small island nation ... just getting ready to attack a HUGE task ... Spring cleaning the sewing room!! EEP!

It's sort of a long story ... you see ... it all began when we bought and moved into this house. Previously, we'd been renting a HUGE old farm house ... the equivalent of a six bedroom, plus large dining room, plus sitting room, plus huge lounge room house. Which we very quickly filled with 'stuff'! So then we bought our current cute Federation cottage ... which has four bedrooms, a small lounge room, small dining room, and a kitchen we renovated a year and a half ago. You can imagine, then, just how much of a challenge it's been for two collectors (my Mother says hoarders, but that sounds so harsh!!!) to downsize enough to fit. Storage is ALWAYS a problem. And although we've cleared out a lot of 'stuff' as we've renovated each room, the two most challenging rooms have been left til last ... the office and ... MY SEWING ROOM!!! Each of these rooms contains the contents intended by their titles ... along with all the 'stuff' that didn't fit anywhere else. Are you getting a mental picture here?? Let me show you a few actually pictures of my sewing room. I know I've shown a few over the time, but this is what it looks like today.

These are the only built in cupboards in the house and not only are they fairly unattractive, they're incredibly badly designed and pretty hopeless at being useful storage space. There's actually two banks of these along the entire wall that has the entry door to the sewing room in it and because the sewing room also has windows on two walls, it severely limits how I can arrange furniture.

This is my current sewing table. Have you ever noticed that the bigger your sewing table, the more mess and clutter you store there? Is that a little-known law of physics or is that just ME!! :0) On the other side of the room ...

Two large bookshelves that used to be in the 'library' in the farm house. At the bottom of the picture, you can see that my stash is in complete disarray ... funny ... it USED to fit into that container! Tee! Hee! Hee!

With the projects I'm designing for my Tag Along Teddies range of patterns getting bigger ie. from teddies to quilts ... I really do need more useable room in my sewing room, so the decision was made that this would be the year of

"Project Sewing Room Makeover & De-Clutter".

Step one was the decision to pack my overlocker away, (I really don't use it as much as my sewing machine) dump the stereo on the end of the table that hasn't actually worked for about six years (don't ask why I've kept it this long, it is a mystery to me too!!) and get a smaller sewing table. That's not as odd as it may sound! :0) You see, that bank of built in cupboards is being ripped out and that is where my sewing desk will be ... a smaller space than my current table will fit into, plus, my current sewing table is only a cheap fold up one that gets a pretty decent vibration 'bounce' happening when it's pedal-to-the-metal on the ol' Husky! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'll also be testing out that peculiar law of physics I mentioned and see if the level of clutter drops ... stay tuned! :0)

Well ... I ordered a nice solid pine table to house my Husky ... and got a phone call this week to say it's ready ... two weeks earlier than expected! EEK! That of course means I actually have to stop procrastinating about spring cleaning my sewing room and DO it! EEK! Now, since it seems such an overwhelming task to this non-compulsive-cleaner (Mum was supposed to help me get started at Christmas time cos she is a champion de-clutterer but the floods cancelled their visit ... AND the assisted beginning of my cleaning!!), I decided to start with a relatively small task ... culling my vast magazine collection. Since it's a rainy, overcast day today, what better way to entertain myself AND dip my toes into the spring cleaning pool than ...

... flicking through the old magazines to tear out pictures, ideas and recipes that I want to keep, before the magazines go to a new home. I've actually already culled over 100 craft magazines ... Christina is having a lovely time with those! :0) I'm now tackling the old "House & Garden", "Home Beautiful", and "Better Homes & Gardens" issues. Some of these date back to the early 1990's and it's kind of fun (and sometimes a little scary!!) to see the trends and decorating fashions and how they've changed. Not to mention, noticing how much my own taste and style has changed. :0) I've gone from the natural timbers, pottery and dark dusty country colours and furniture styles to white painted furniture, softer colours and a sort of shabby-French-country-cottage-chic style all of my own! :0)

So ... you've probably guessed, there's not a lot of stitching going on at the Meares' Madhouse at the moment, apart from a little bit of hand stitching. I'll keep you updated on the progress of

"Project Sewing Room Makeover & De-clutter",

but right now, I think I'm going to make myself a cup of Peppermint tea and cull some more magazines. :0)

OPAMers ... Peg and I haven't forgotten the double-whammy combined January/February prize draw we promised. We decided to leave a few days grace for people to remember that they'd forgotten to email us their finishes ... if you see what I mean! Tee! Hee! Hee! We'll be announcing the SIX lucky random winners (3 from each of us) by the end of the weekend, so STAY TUNED! :0) Wish me luck with my de-cluttering campaign! Til next time ...


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