Monday 30 January 2012

Rain + Thongs= Bruised ... DIGNITY!!

Hmmm ... from that title, can you guess that there has been a little mishap here at the Meares' Madhouse?? Nothing drastic, before you start to worry ... just enough to leave me with a bruised ... well ... DIGNITY! :0) It all came about because we've been having some overcast, dreary, drizzly weather here on top of our 'hill', so not only is the garden overgrown, everything is DAMP ... not wet, just not quite dry. Now I keep a pair of thongs near the front door to put on when I go out to collect the mail ...

See? They even have some bling to jazz them up. OH!! Just realised that some non-Aussies may have been picturing something QUITE different when I said I have "thongs" near the front door ... and you're probably wondering why I needed special ones to go collect the mail! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hmmm ... let's call them 'flip-flops' to avoid further disturbing mental images! :0) So ... I put on my 'flip-flops' and proceeded down the front stairs, fighting my way through the Geisha Girl jungle brought on by the aforementioned wet weather (Geisha Girls are a type of plant, not pretty Japanese ladies ... oh this IS getting complicated!! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

The problem came when I stepped off the last step onto the damp concrete. I was so busy fighting my way through the rain-induced garden growth that I failed to take note that the concrete was damp and covered in damp SLIPPERY leaves. If you picture an elephant in a skirt, slipping on a banana peel with the same resulting KER-THUMP!!, you have a fairly accurate image of what I looked like! It was NOT pretty!!!! For some time, it all hurt just a bit too much to even swear ... that's how you KNOW it hurts! :0) But since there was no helpful Lassie dog on hand to send for help (our Collie of the Border variety was snoozing under the house and completely oblivious to my dilemma!) I eventually hauled myself up ... collected the mail as that had been the start of all the trouble ... and hobbled back up the stairs trailing dead leaves, flowers and muddy water drips. SIGH!

Once the dead leaves and flowers were scraped off, the mud washed off and the soggy skirt changed for something dry, I took stock of the injuries incurred. One slightly twisted ankle, one scraped big toe, one slightly wrenched knee and one bruised ... DIGNITY!!!!!!!! :0) All in all, I got off rather lightly, but am feeling just battered enough that I have plonked myself on the sofa with some frozen peas on my wrenched knee (does anyone EAT frozen peas, or are they just like me and seem to keep them in the freezer only to act as a cold pack in case of injury?!?!) and a little something to keep me company ...

My e-version of "Homespun", a cup of rose and French vanilla tea ... oh ... and a couple of yummy caramel Columbines ... I'm not much of a chocolate eater, remember! :0) Yes ... like my fave craft mag, I've gone electronic. When my Beloved Geek Boy bought me my iPad for Christmas, part of his rationale was that if I started to buy my craft magazines and novels in electronic form, we would eventually save money, not only cos the e-version of everything seems a little cheaper due to no printing costs, but we shouldn't have to buy any more bookcases to store said magazines and novels. I wasn't immediately convinced. Would it be the same, drooling over electronic photos rather than poring over actual paper pages? Would there be the same thrill and excitement as when I tear off the plastic wrap to open my new magazine, if all I have to do is click an icon? Would it be as soothing to slide my finger across the screen to turn a page as is has been to gently grasp the corner of paper pages to turn over to see the next gorgeous project or spectacularly decorated home? I have to say that I'm becoming a convert. :0) The iPad takes up much less space in a bag when I travel than the several magazines and half a dozen novels that I always seem to pack when we go on holidays, it's still small and light enough to crawl into bed with to read, you don't need an outside light source so can read it in the car at night ... and it DID give me an excuse to make myself a cute pouch to keep it safe! :0) I'm also finding it's a bit quicker to find articles/photos etc to show friends what I've been looking at ... for example ...

I've been able to show everyone that my lovely friend Marion has a write-up in the January issue, following up on the Flood Quilt Drive she co-ordinated last year and highlighting the lovely award she received in recognition of her community spirit and hard work. Congratulations Marion! You deserve this and so much more! :0) Oh ... and if you look VERY closely in the right hand corner of the bottom right photo, you'll see a certain SOMEONE having a cup of tea while all around her are madly sewing during one of our Quilting Angels working bee mornings! Tee! Hee! Hee!  A big THANK YOU, too, to the gorgeous Catherine and her team at "Homespun" for the wonderful support they've given to the Quilting Angels!!

If you'd like to look into an e-subscription of "Homespun" pop over HERE and check it out. Best of all ... no postage costs, so overseas blogging buddies can now treat themselves to Australia's best craft mag without breaking the play money budget!! All the more play money to spend on FABRIC!! :0)

So ... after my misadventures, I'm staying quietly on the couch with my iPad ... I may even rouse myself to do some stitching, maybe I'll add another finish to my OPAM list for January ... but I'll probably just stick with "Homespun"! Tee! Hee! Hee!

But ... speaking of OPAM ... just one more day to go until sign up is CLOSED, gals!! If you haven't signed up yet, or you know a friend who talked about signing up but hasn't, you'd better get hopping and send Sweet Peg or me an email. We've got around 150 ladies signed up now! WOW! Just think of all those wonderful projects that will be finished this year ... stitching, sewing, quilting, crochet, knitting, cross-stitch, long-stitch, felting ... oh the list is endless!! If it's a soft craft that's been on your "To Do" list for a while, why not join the OPAM fun and FINISH it, with the added bonus of an international cheer squad encouraging you along the way!! :0) It's been lovely to have lots of "Repeat Offenders" join Sweet Peg and I again, as well as fun to welcome some "Newbies" to our low-stress motivational challenge. It's going to be a good year, I just know it ... as long as I steer clear of wet concrete whilst collecting mail and wearing flip-flops! Tee! Hee! Hee!Hope your week is off to a brilliant start!! Til next time ...



Thursday 26 January 2012

Happy Birthday Australia!!

Well, it's January 26 here in Australia (I know some parts of the world haven't quite caught up with us yet! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and that means that it's


When you scratch the surface, most of us are pretty patriotic ... especially if our national sporting teams are competing! :0) But Australia Day is a day where we particularly take a little bit of time to think about what it means to be an Aussie and how very blessed we are to live in a land of beauty and opportunity, a land of helping your mates, a land of  'have-a-go' and 'she'll-be-right-mate' attitudes.

As part of Australia Day celebrations around the nation, awards are given at federal, state and local levels to recognise the contribution that people make to help their fellow Aussies. Well ... today in the little country town of Mundubbera, a very special lady's contribution to HER community was recognised ... yep ... MY MUM received a Certificate of Appreciation for her contribution to the cultural life of the town of Mundubbera. :0) I would have loved to have been on hand to see her reaction, but I had a chat to Dad to get the lowdown.

Apparently, they started to read out the various ways in which the award recipient contributes to her local community ... volunteer work with Meals on Wheels, the local visitor information centre, the art gallery and Driver Reviver. At this point Mum commented to Dad, "Gee, they do a lot of the things that I do." The announcer went on to add that 'this person' also volunteers to read the local paper onto tape for the sight-impaired, helps organise regular singing mornings at the local hospital, makes meals for new mums or folks going through tough times ... she still hadn't twigged that it was her!! ... this person also helps at many community events and co-ordinates the collection and packing of hundreds of shoe boxes every year as part of the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. FINALLY at this point, Mum turned to Dad and said, "That's me!" Dad grinned and said, "Yep." She apparently gave him a poke in the ribs and said, "Did you know about this?" He replied, "Yep." (A man of few words, my Dad! Tee! Hee! Hee!) It was at this point that Mum turned to him and said, "You bugger!!" Tee! Hee! Hee! It's not often Dad gets one over Mum, so I think he decided it was worth the poked ribs! :0)

I am so very proud of my Mum ... even without the special award. Cos when they were handing out her certificate, I bet they didn't include things like ... she was always there for my brother and me when we came home from school to give us afternoon tea and listen to our day's adventures, she supported us in whatever endeavours we undertook, encouraging us to be the best we could be, to work hard and dream big. Together with Dad, she provided a stable, loving ... slightly loony!! ... home for me to grow up in, somewhere where I know I will always be accepted and loved ... along with any friends and strays I may bring home with me! :0) I guess this Australia Day award really just confirms what I've known all along ... My Mum is FABULOUS!!!! :0) Congratulations Mum ... I love you heaps!!

Here's a group photo of all the award winners. Congratulations to all! Without the efforts, contribution and flat out HARD WORK of every-day Aussies, our communities would be much less than what they are. Oh ... and I just have to mention, too, that the overall Australian Of The Year award went to a boy from Toowoomba ... Geoffrey Rush! Go Queensland!!! :0)

So ... I hope you've all had a great day, whether you're overseas and it was 'business as usual' or if you're in some part of Australia celebrating what it means to be an Aussie. :0) Til next time ...




Wednesday 25 January 2012

Did You Miss Me??

HA! You didn't even know I'd been gone, did you?? :0) Well ... the last week has been a bit of a whirlwind in the Meares' Madhouse ... what's different to usual, I hear those who know me well ask! :0) You see, not only was I kept busy preparing for the annual inundation that accompanies the sign-up for OPAM (One Project A Month), my Beloved Geek Boy was diagnosed with a nasty case of tonsillitis ... AND ... we went on a little weekend jaunt to Mackay ... some 1200km from our hilltop home!! No, we haven't completely lost our minds ... well ... perhaps!!! Tee! Hee! Hee! But let me explain ...

You see ... GB found that he had to travel to Mackay ... where both sets of our parents' grew up and we each spent lots of time as kids for school holidays ... to install a video conferencing system and when he was booking his flights, he found we could get cheap tickets for me to go too. So we thought ... "Why not?!!" You didn't really think we'd DRIVE all that way for a weekend, did you?!?! :0)

So ... ports were rapidly packed, with fingers crossed that I'd remembered all of the essentials ... you know ... stitching, the latest issue of 'Homespun', iPad, laptop ... oh and clean knickers of course! Tee! Hee! Hee! Very, VERY early Friday morning (even earlier than Kerryanne's wake up time!! Tee! Hee!) we crawled out of bed and drove off to Brisbane to catch our flights. And it was about half way to Brisbane that I realised I'd left my camera sitting beside my computer! DOH!! What a bad blogger! But never fear, my iPhone camera came to the rescue ... sort of. :0)

Friday was a whirlwind of busy-ness with flights, car rentals, GB completing the job that had taken us north in the first place ... but Saturday morning was to be spent relaxing before meeting up with some of GB's extended family to start plans rolling for a family reunion later in the year. First stop had to be breakfast. We decided on a funky cafe on the river called 'Traffic'. And I ordered my most favourite brekkie ever ... Eggs Benedict ...

YUMMO!! Oops ... you can see I couldn't resist a bite or two before I thought to take a photo! Tee! Hee! Hee! How do you spot a blogger? They're the one taking photos of their food instead of eating it ! :0) Though eating this yummy brekkie very closely followed the conclusion of the photo shoot! :0) When we were leaving, we took time to have a closer look at the very special feature wall near the front entrance ...

Talk about a literal 'records wall'!! :0) While we were standing there, the cafe's owner came over for a chat ... she was as fun and funky as the cafe! She pointed out that she hadn't been able to bring herself to break some records ... it turns out they are all LP's released by Aussie singer John English and since she is a HUGE fan, she just couldn't bring herself to break his albums! Tee! Hee! Hee!

We then went for a little wander in the main shopping area ... where parking is not fun and one way streets appear out of nowhere!!! ... to visit a gorgeous little shop I discovered on a previous visit to Mackay ... De Ja Vous. Sorry ... no photo of this sweet French inspired shop due to the fact that I would have had to stand on the road and Mackay drivers are CRAZY so I wasn't going to risk it! :0) But I'll show you what I bought ... you just knew that SOMETHING followed me home, right?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Don't you love that gorgeous aqua colour of the bag? But I digress ... I found the sweetest shabby/French photo frame ... not sure whether I'll pop a photo in there or a vintage postcard of some kind ... a couple of pretty notepads (I'm always on the lookout for pretty notepads for my birthday basket!), two pretty rose scented sachets that smell GORGEOUS!! and two sweet vintage giftie tags that will probably never be used as giftie tags, but were too pretty to pass up! :0) There were SOOOOO many other fabulous things that I would have loved to give a new home, but GB was very quick to point out that there is a weight limit for luggage when flying. DRAT! :0)

The rest of the time was spent catching up with GB's family at an aunt's beach cottage ... and would you believe it, I completely forgot to take photos. SIGH! Oh dear ... we'll just have to go back for another visit to get photos! Do you see the method in my madness?! Tee! Hee! Hee! And then on Sunday it was time to fly back to Brisbane and drive home to an overcast, cool evening on top of our 'hill' ... SIGH! Who keeps stealing my summer weather?! It's been cool, overcast and rainy since we got back ... about the only good part of that is it's been inspiring me to curl up with some stitching! :0)

Of course ... in the middle of all our travelling and tripping around, Sweet Peg and I opened the floodgate of emails by launching OPAM 2012. WOW!!! There are already about 130 people joining us in our quest to finish One Project A Month and I can tell it's going to be a FANTASTIC year! :0) I know there are a lot of other 'finish' challenges out there in blogland now ... though there weren't when May Britt and I first launched OPAM ... but I think what people seem to like best about OPAMWISPs (Works In Slow Progress ... sounds better than UFOs somehow! Tee! Hee! Hee!) or brand new projects, a finish is a finish and it goes on your tally. Plus ... it's very low-stress ... if you finish one, one hundred or zero projects in a month ... it's fine! Sweet Peg and I record the finishes you do make and encourage you on the projects that are taking a bit longer. So ... do you think you'd like to play along? You still have a few days left to sign up before we close the list on January 31, so if you're interested, read my previous post and drop Sweet Peg or me an email to join the fun.

And on that note, I think I shall go and make myself a cup of Rose and French Vanilla tea and spend the rest of this rainy afternoon stitching. Hope you're having a FABULOUS week so far. Til next time ...



Friday 20 January 2012

Brace Yourselves ... OPAM Is On Again!!

Yes, it's that time of year where Sweet Peg and I ask ourselves ... "What have we done?!?!" Tee! Hee! Hee! Just kidding ... sort of! :0) It's time to start OPAM for 2012, so BRACE YOURSELVES!!

I know some of you have been playing along for a while now, but Peg and I have updated the guidelines a little, so please read through everything before you sign up ... it just helps us keep everything running smoothly. :0) The full list of guidelines for OPAM 2012 is below my signoff, so check it out and join us for a year of creativity and fun.

Without further ado ... LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!! Here's to a year full of fun, fabric and friends. Til next time ...



The One Project A Month (OPAM) Challenge Guidelines 2012

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. 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 I invitations, or we can’t check your finishes list each month.
2. Numbers won’t be limited for the sign up for OPAM 2012, BUT ... it WILL close on January 31 ... You must sign up before that or miss out on joining in the fun.
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 (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 Kris’s or Peg’s blog. (a link with instructions will come with your welcome email)
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.) If you can put this directly under the OPAM badge on your sidebar it will be easier for Peg and Kris to find 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. If you can 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 saves Peg and Kris from getting square eyes!)
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)

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Second Christmas!!

Have you read the "Lord Of The Rings" books or seen the movies? (I have to confess to starting to read 'The Hobbit' and giving up on Tolkien until the movies came out!!) At one point the Hobbits talk about eating breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. Well ... part of the reason it's been over a week since I popped in to chat with you was a weekend trip to the Bunya Mountains where my Beloved Geek Boy and I enjoyed a 'Second Christmas'. We usually alternate Christmas and New Years' with our families ... Christmas with one family, New Years' with the other, then the next year we swap ... it works well. This year GB's family decided to head for the Bunya Mountains for the weekend 'Christmas' getaway and due to ridiculous prices over the New Years' weekend, this last weekend was chosen instead.

So bright and early on Saturday morning (Well ... early for us night owl types!!) we packed up our little car and headed for the Bunyas ... about an hour and three quarters' drive from our hilltop home. A large family size villa had been rented ...

Half of this building was ours ... Big enough for almost the whole tribe (9 adults and 9 kids ... 2 adults and 2 kids unable to attend).  This was part of our spectacular view ...

I just LOOOOOOVE big, green, leafy trees! The Bunyas have lush pockets of semi-rain forest growth that are gorgeous. And first thing in the morning, I looked out the window and this was the view ...

Soft gauzy white mist, lush green grass and a couple of the very tame local wallabies. Magical! :0)

After all had arrived and settled in, it was giftie time ... I actually made quite a few gifties for the nieces and nephews but forgot to take photos of them before GB wrapped them ... OOPS! I meant to get photos of the items with their recipients ... but again forgot ... DOUBLE OOPS! :0) I did manage to snap one pic of a giftie and recipient ...

One of the nieces with the outfit we gave her ... it had to be put on right away, of course! :0) I bought the pretty skirt at a market stall, then added my own applique magic to a shirt to match ... she loved it! :0) Then we sat back and enjoyed some time catching up with family news and doings ...

Nope ... not a remake of the 'Blues Brothers', though this theatrically inclined nephew would probably be in it!! And what gal can resist trying on her big cousin's hat? :0) Of course, we also wanted to enjoy the fabulous mountain outdoors, despite the overcast and drizzly weather.

The Boules set came out of the cupboard ... you can see it's a very serious business, watching where the boules roll! :0)

Some of us went for a walk through the rain forest ... there's nothing quite so relaxing as the sound of a trickling stream, bell birds and whip birds calling while you stand under the green shady canopy of a rain forest.

And the nieces and nephews took on the challenge of the Climbing Tree. This is a fabulous natural structure created by a strangler fig growing around a host tree over many years. GB (who grew up in nearby Dalby) remembers climbing this tree as a kid, so it was fun to see the next generation of agile spider-monkeys shinnying their way up the tree. Do you see the successful adventurer way up the top there, waving to Auntie Kris ... who was smart enough to keep both flat feet on the ground and take photos! Tee! Hee! Hee!

While not a lot of sleep was had, it was a lovely time of catching up with GB's family. Though we all live in Toowoomba or nearby, busy lives and timetables that take us in opposite directions mean that catch-ups are few and far between, so the times we DO all manage to congregate are fun ... and rather NOISY!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So ... that's what's been happening in the Meares' Madhouse for the last week ... most of last week was really getting back into the work groove after a couple of weeks' holiday, but some productive time was spent in the sewing room too, along with a bit of time playing with some new design sketches and some planning for a big and exciting project that I hope to share with you later in the year. Hmmm ... no wonder our current overcast, drizzly weather is enticing me to curl up with a cuppa and a book! :0)

In fact, I think I shall go and put the kettle on ... though I think I'll find some hand stitching to keep me occupied rather than a book. Hope you're having a great week so far ... are you counting sleeps until OPAM 2012 kicks off?? Sweet Peg and I both are! :0) Hmmm ... who will come and play with us this year? I bet there will be some repeat offenders, as well as some newbies to join in the fun and craziness. Sweet Peg and I will both post this year's guidelines on Friday, so stay tuned. In the meantime, start writing your list of projects you'd like to tackle this year and we'll see if OPAM can't help you get motivated! :0) But for now ... the kettle is calling my name! :0) Til next time ...


Monday 9 January 2012

All Sprung Cleaned!!

Well ... holidays are over at the Meares' Madhouse and it was back to work for my Beloved Geek Boy and me this morning ... the alarm was NOT our friend when it went off, let me tell you! :0) As always, we felt like we needed just one more week to REALLY get everything done we'd planned ... but I suspect that no matter how long our holiday was, we'd always want 'just one more week', wouldn't we! Tee! Hee! Hee!

We did, however, cross a lot of things off our "To Do" list ... including the bulk of the spring cleaning we wanted to get done ... OK ... NEEDED to get done might be a better way to put it! A few of you have been giggling at me cos I said the layer of dust was so thick that if we waited much longer we'd need to call in an archaeologist to excavate the layers to find what was underneath ... I didn't take 'Before' photos cos it would just have been too embarrassing, but that archaeologist was on standby! :0) And now, we have lovely cleanness all around us ...

The pretties are all sparkling clean and enjoying being displayed on dust-free surfaces ...

The bears have been brushed up and fresh flowers again enjoy clean, dust-free vases. I don't know how long this cleanliness will last, given that we live in a Federation cottage that seems to attract and suck dust in like a vacuum! At least ... that's MY story and I'm sticking to it! It has nothing to do with the fact that we both seem to have missed out on the "Tidy" gene! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Once the boring cleaning chores had been crossed off the "To Do" list, I rewarded myself by heading into the sewing room ... windows open, fan on, ice water in my drink bottle,  Enya and Loreena McKennitt keeping me company ... AAAAAHHHH! BLISS!!! :0)

First project tackled was something to get me out of hot water ... you see ... for some months now, every time I pop in to my Home-Away-From-Home, Marion has been teasing me about the state of my handbag. It has been my "go everywhere" bag for quite some time and let's just say that it had seen better days ...

... stitches were pulled out, triangle trims were curling up, bells were missing, the fabric had worn through to the wadding and the straps were so twisted up, you couldn't see what fabric had been used ...

... not to mention there were some grubby 'ugly spots' that wouldn't come out no matter how often it was washed. SIGH!!!  It really was time to retire it, the problem became finding the time to actually sew something for ME. Yesterday was it!!!!

I had been hoarding saving some Rural Jardin charm squares for just this event to make myself a version of this pattern ...

"French Shopping Spree" (available in downloadable format pattern). The original was made using another range of French General fabrics, "Pom Pom de Paris". The "Rural Jardin" version turned out like this ...

Ta da! A new bag that won't embarrass me when I catch up with Marion next time. :0) It's a great, roomy bag with a double pocket on the inside to keep my keys, phone and sunnies safe and a wide, reinforced strap with yummy giant rick-rack set in both edges ... everything a gal needs to survive a busy day of shopping ... er ... work! :0)

So once that project was finished it kind of led to another ... a new pouch to keep my surprise Christmas giftie from GB safe ... he bought me an iPad. :0) So it was back to the sewing machine to make ...

A matching French-inspired pouch. I added a narrow strap because while I'll mostly slip the pouch into my handbag to carry, there are sure to be times where I want to travel light and just take my iPad. Most times the strap can just be tucked inside the pouch out of the way.  And in case you were wondering ... I didn't pop off to France for my photo shoot ... unfortunately!! :0) The Eiffel Tower background is one side of a double-sided room divider screen that my good friend Lynda gave me for Christmas ... Thanks Lynda! Or as the French would say ... MERCI!!! :0)

Not a bad day in the sewing room, right? But wait ... there's MORE! :0)

Three phone pouches all destined to be gifted to friends, so ... SSSSHHHHH!! Don't tell them ... it's a surprise! :0)

So ... not a bad sewing start to my year ... think what I could have achieved if I had that extra week off! Tee! Hee! Hee! But since I don't, I'll just have to fit in some sewing amongst everything else.

Hope you're all having a great start to your week ... are you keeping an eye on the countdown on my sidebar?!?! Not long to go! :0) But right now I'm off to find a cool drink ... 35 here today, which is a bit unusual for our city on the 'hill'. Still ... beats being cold! :0) Til next time ...



Thursday 5 January 2012

More Christmas & OPAM Winners!

We're still in holiday mode here at the Meares' Madhouse ... back to work on Monday ... SIGH!! We can't complain too much, though, as we've had a nice break after a VERY busy lead up to Christmas. In fact, things got SO busy that I still have a few party pics to share with you before I wrap up OPAM for 2011.

In the week before Christmas, we had a gathering of as many of our Quilting Angels group as could make it to the lovely Fiona's place for a special lunch. There was food galore and Helen mixed up her 'special' pink strawberry champagne daiquiris ... I was driving so only had one! :0)

Here they are ... can you see those sparkling halos?? Tee! Hee! Hee! Bobbi, Bev, Helen and Fiona all toasting with special pink drinks. And at Helen's insistence ...

Helen and I swapped places for another photo. We had a lovely lunch, lots of laughs, more special drink of a slightly less alcoholic kind ...

Can you see the bottle? A personalised bottle of coke to share with Fiona. :0) Still haven't seen one with "Kris" on the label! :0) Oh ... and there were several visits from a VERY special member of the group ...

Yes, even Santa popped in to wish the Quilting Angels a happy Christmas.

Christmas Day itself was spent in the wilds of Mundubbera (small country town where I grew up and where Mum and Dad still live!) with Mum, Dad and my sort-of-sister Tiffy ... perhaps we should just adopt her and be done with it! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Here's Tiffy supervising Dad's giftie opening technique ...

Mum unwrapping the gifties from us ... I have a habit of buying a number of items and wrapping them all separately ... makes it look like there's more gifties under the tree! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Tiffy with one of the lingerie bags I made for her ... she loved them! :0)

And now we're home again for a few days and you'd think we'd be resting and relaxing, right? I wish!!! :0) Nope, we're spring cleaning ... yes I know it's summer now, but spring kind of slipped by me, so it's cleaning catch-up here. My Beloved Geek Boy is playing in the office (he SAYS he's cleaning!!!) and I'm in the dining room dusting my display shelves and ...

... washing my china collection. SIGH! Yep, it's all party, party, party here! :0) I forget how many pretty plates, cups, teapots etc that I have in my ever-growing collection until I have to wash them ... at which point I think perhaps I should stop buying pretties ... and then I come to my senses and go back to washing! Tee! Hee! Hee!

The other thing I've done during my break ... of course ... is to blog-hop around with my partner-in-crime, Sweet Peg, to collect the end of month finishes for OPAM, the last for 2011. We had our second biggest tally for the year this month with a whopping

813 Finishes

for December. WOW!! Well done to you all ... I think you must all have been like me and worked really well under the deadline pressure of making things for Christmas gifties! :0) That takes our year's total to ...


WOWSERS!! Congratulations to each and every one of you who has contributed to that total!! I reckon there must be a LOT of room in sewing cupboards around the world by now! Or are you all like me ... have you bought lots of NEW fabrics, patterns and notions using your finishes as justification?!?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Once again, I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of you for playing along with OPAM this year. It's wonderful to hear of people making new blogging buddies by visiting fellow OPAMers and lovely to have people comment that the encouragement received from other OPAMers has helped motivate even more creativity and inspired people to try new things. The main reason that the lovely May Britt and I started OPAM and Sweet Peg and I have continued to host it, is that we know how a little bit of encouragement and positive feedback can inspire us to create. OPAM is not really about the NUMBER of finishes ... though the final tallies blow me away ... I don't think you gals sleep!! ... OPAM is all about busy gals taking a bit of time out from the hustle and bustle of life to take a breath, relax a little and take some time to create and do something that makes us smile. So even if you didn't finish as many projects as you had planned and your "To Do" list is like mine and overflowing ... if OPAM has encouraged you to spend some time with your feet up and stitching, then it's been a successful year! :0) I'd also like to say a HUGE


To my Sweet partner-in-crime. If it wasn't for Sweet Peg's wonderful assistance in co-hosting OPAM, I don't think I'd be able to manage the deluge of emails and the list of blog-hopping each month. Peg and I were blogging buddies for a couple of years before undertaking the OPAM adventure and I feel so very blessed that our friendship has grown even more ... even though we've still never met in 'real life'. One day, Sweet Peg, we'll get our play date and then it will be ... LOOK OUT WORLD! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now, to the bit you've all been waiting for ... the December random draw winners are ...

With that sorted, Sweet Peg and I will have a little break of a couple of weeks before we start all over again when

OPAM 2012

is launched on ...


You'll see I've added a countdown gadget to my sidebar to help you keep track, so if you want to join Sweet Peg and I for more fun, stitching and taking a bit of time our for "ME" make sure you stay tuned for OPAM sign up.

In the meantime, there's some dusty china calling my name in the kitchen, so I'm off to play in some soapy water. Hope everyone is enjoying their first week of 2012. :0) Til next time ...



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