Saturday 31 March 2012

End Of Month Run!

PHEW!! Not much to show for the month until the last few days ... and now I have TWO finishes to add to my tally ... story of my life, leaving things until the last minute! :0) The first finish was my "French Amour" quilt ... it came back from the quilter's this week (thanks Rosalie!!!) and the binding was stitched down Thursday. I've yet to take a good pic of it, but will try to do that tomorrow ... if the weather cooperates! :0)

The second finish got added to the list this afternoon. I've been meaning to make myself a new earbud pouch for quite a while. This is the pouch that came with the earbuds ...

... a bit boring and it kept slipping open so the spare buds ended up at the bottom of my handbag ... not a good place for them! :0) So ... I had a little play with my left over Rouenneries Deux fabrics ...

... Ta Da!! Simple, but much prettier and stays closed, too. This fabric was a 'cheat' patchwork one and I fussy-cut it to get the cute birdy on the front.

Ready to be stored in my bag until I want to listen to some tunes. Hmmm ... Loreena McKennitt was my listening pleasure this afternoon. :0)

So ... OPAM gals ... how did YOU go this month with finishes? Have you updated your sidebar list and sent Sweet Peg or me an email with your tally? You'd better make like the Easter Bunny and 'get hopping'. :0) It's the last day of the month and Sweet Peg and I will be blog hopping in the next few days, so get updating and emailing!!!! :0)

Righto ... off I go. Am undertaking my absolute FAVOURITE passtime ... instruction writing ... NOT!!!! Will be back soon to show a pic of my finished "French Amour" quilt. Hope you're all having a great weekend so far and managing to enjoy some quiet time to kick back, relax and stitch. Til next time ...


Friday 30 March 2012

Butterfly Beauty!!

"Butterflies only live for days, but the memory of their beauty stays."
(Graeme A. S. Browne)

I think most of us love butterflies. They seem to represent so many concepts, trigger so many memories and just plain make us smile! :0) For me, butterflies are a reminder of how I'd like to live (and try to!!). You see, butterflies may not have a very long life span (OK, that part I'm not wanting to emulate!!!!) but they sure do make the most of it! They flit, they flirt, they suck the nectar out of each flower they come to, making the most of the short time they have ... and while they're doing that, they spread such joy and beauty with the iridescent colours of their rainbow wings. So ... I want to live life like a butterfly ... sucking every bit of life out of each day and hopefully spreading joy, beauty, love and rainbows as I go! :0)

So ... when the saying I've shared above showed up on my work desk calendar, I tore it out and popped it into my sketchbook to incorporate into a quilt design at some later date. Serendipitously (there's a 'word of the day' for you! Tee! Hee! Hee!) one of the latest fabric ranges to arrive at Quilters Angel ... AKA my Home-Away-From-Home! ... was by "Three Sisters" for Moda and it is called ... "Papillion". For those of you who don't speak French ... papillion is French for "Butterfly" ... and this lovely range of soft shabby-chic style colours features many pretty butterflies. I was good ... I was strong ... I didn't buy any ... until Marion and Steph announced a four day Super Spot Sale ... which started yesterday and ends this Sunday!!! I gave in ... Tee! Hee! Hee! I stocked up on some of that pretty butterfly-themed fabric ...

YUMMY! YUMMY! YUMMY!!! :0) Yes ... I even bought come PINK fabrics ... Marion says she's wearing me down in my aversion to THAT colour! Tee! Hee! Hee! There was also some grey in the range, but since I'm already starting to play with some design ideas including lots of garden-related characters to use these delicious fabrics, grey really didn't seem to fit. There are already some rough sketches in my design sketch book destined to be enhanced by these beauties ... just need to find a bit more time to sit and sketch ... and some GREEN fabric to match this colourway ... you KNEW I'd have to incorporate my favourite colour in there SOMEWHERE, didn't you! :0)

If you're anywhere within driving distance of Highfields this weekend, make sure you pop in to see Marion and Steph to take advantage of their Super Spot Sale ... great percentages off all fabric and patterns ... REALLY good excuse to stock up the stash! Tee! Hee! Hee! And if you ARE heading out there, you could tell me and I'll pop out to say g'day ... and maybe grab some more of that YUMMY fabric! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I'm off to do some designing, instruction-writing and washing (housework just keeps interrupting my sewing time!!) and I'm sure there'll be time in there somewhere for a cup of tea, too! :0) Whatever you're up to today and over the weekend ... may your days be inspired by the butterfly ... suck the most out of each day that you can and seek to spread rainbows of joy and beauty wherever you go! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday 27 March 2012

Celebrating a Century!!

NO!! Not ME!! I know I had a birthday last week, but DEFINITELY not my centenary!! Although I DID feel ALMOST that old getting out of bed yesterday morning after a busy weekend! :0) The weekend saw my Beloved Geek Boy and I head to my home town of Mundubbera for the TOWN's centenary celebrations. Although ... it wasn't truly the centenary of the town ... it was the centenary of when the town was MOVED from one side of the Burnett River to the other. Hmmm ... I know I like to move my FURNITURE around occasionally, but moving a TOWN?!?!? That's just CARELESS!! Who else things maybe a man was in charge to start with?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Mundubbera is only a little country town and not many people know where it is, so if you want to find out here's a link to a map. Now ... we were a little concerned that we wouldn't be able to get home to Mundubbera after some heavy rainfalls were recorded further north, raising the river heights. One bridge was especially worrying. When we got there it looked like this ...

Not too far from the bridge. The good news ... this was as high as it got, it was lower when we headed home a couple of days later. :0)

We enjoyed a weekend of celebrations ... sorry ... not many pics due to the distance I was standing from most things. Short, remember ... couldn't see over heads most of the time! :0) HOWEVER ... part of the program involved a very interesting fashion parade through the century Mundubbera has been in its current position. Two of the 'models' were my Mum and sort-of-sister Tiffy ...

Don't they look great!! :0) (Not sure about the wigs though!!)  I think they they'd look right at home on the "Titanic" ... of course ... I'm pretty happy they arent' there cos we all know that did NOT end well! Tee! Hee! Hee!

As a result of  our weekend jaunt, not much stitching has been happening here, but there has been some sketching and designing going on, so there HAS been a LITTLE bit of creativity happening. BUT ... if you want to visit someone who has been REALLY creative, pop across and visit a couple of my blogging buddies.

Firstly ... the gorgeous Kerryanne at Shabby Art Boutique has just released her second e-book!! WOO! HOO!

"Simply Shabilicious - Decorative Painted Finishes For The Shabby At Heart." If you're like me and absolutely LOOOOOOOOOOVE the shabby chic/French country look, you'll love Kerryanne's 'how to' book. You too will soon be 'shabbying-up' tired treasures to create gorgeous shabby-but-chic homewares ... and all for the cost of about two cappuccinos! :0) (the e-book, that is!!)  Pop across to Kerryanne's web site HERE to snaffle a copy for yourself and get shabbying ... my list of items to receive a shabby makeover is growing to the point where GB is afraid to sit still too long in case he finds himself painted white, sanded back and receiving a vintage French label transfer! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Another of my clever-clogs blogging buddies who has been creative this week is the quirky Miss Toni from "This Girl Wears Red Boots" the Red Boot Quilt Co. Toni has set herself the challenge this year of creating designs purely from what she's finding in her stash of fabrics and BOY is she having fun! :0) Her latest design is for a sweetly kooky softy, Buster the Scrap Bin Bunny ...

Isn't he ADORABLE!! He's been added to my "To Do" list ... along with about 654 other projects! Tee! Hee! Hee! If you'd like to make Buster Bunny in time for Easter, you'd better get hopping ... Sorry! Couldn't resist! Tee! Hee! Hee! ... over to Toni's web site HERE to get your copy of the pattern and get stitching. The good news is ... Toni's patterns are downloadable, so you buy, print and get stitching! :0)

So ... now that I've distracted you from the fact that I haven't actually done much creative stuff myself, I think it's time I made myself a cuppa and get stitching. :0) OPAM gals ... only a few days left to add finishes to your sidebar lists and email final tallies to Sweet Peg and I, so get crackin'!! Hmmm ... what to stitch ... where to start on the ol' "To Do" list ...! :0) Til next time ...



Wednesday 21 March 2012

Busy Bee & A Birthday!

WHEW! Yet another busy week has gone by since I popped in to chat to you all and it seems like a finger-snap of time!!! I know you all know what I mean! :0) So ... I'll try to catch you up on my doings ... without putting Chookyblue to sleep! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Firstly ... the weekend was spent finishing my new French quilt ... YAY!! Now, it was a horrible, overcast, windy, drizzly weekend here on top of our 'hill', which meant I couldn't utilise the clothesline to get a good pic of the full quilt top, so I had to make do ... do you know how hard it is to get a good photo of a queen size quilt top in a fairly small spare room???

"French Amour". You can tell that I'm still in 'love' with all things French. :0) This is what I've been doing with my Rouenneries Deux fabrics.

... A bit of stitchery ...

... a bit of blanket-stitch applique ... hours of stitching fun! :0) I'm pretty happy with how this quilt has come together ... especially since it really started as a way to justify buying lots of lovely Rouenneries fabrics! Tee! Hee! Hee! My lovely new quilt has been dropped off to the clever-clogs quilter so now I just have to wait patiently to get it back to bind it. Oh ... and then of course there's the instruction-writing ... GROAN!!! :0)

There's also been a bit of socialising thrown into my week ... it WAS my birthday yesterday, after all! :0) And after starting my week with horrible computer/server issues at work (IT departments can be soooooo hard to deal with!!!) it was wonderful to head off to a fave coffee shop with my buddy Lynda ... we're exactly two weeks apart in age ... practically twins! :0)

This was Lynda last birthday ... see ... we're practically twins! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And since it was my birthday, my Beloved Geek Boy took me out for one of the most DELICIOUS dinners I've had in a while!! Ready to drool??? :0)

Lemoncello (I think that's spelt wrong!) Chicken with chorrizo, mushroom and fetta fritata ... YUMMO!!! And for desert ...

... White chocolate and pistachio parfait with mango sorbet!! DOUBLE YUMMO! :0) Although ... it really didn't look like my obviously 'traditional' view of a 'parfait'. :0)

What more could a gal want to make a birthday special?? What about a gorgeous giftie from an equally gorgeous blogging buddy?! :0) This pretty package and card arrived from the gorgeous Kerryanne ...

And inside ...

A pretty paperweight ... very good for holding my sketchbook pages in place when I'm cutting and recording measurements while I design ... and some GORGEOUS ribbon winders!! Oh how I've been drooling over these pretty and practical little cuties since Kerryanne first showed them on her blog!! They're one of Kerryanne's fabulous new patterns ... they come in two sizes, these small ones for pretty ribbons and larger ones to keep lace neat. The pattern includes instructions on how to decorate these practical and pretty storage items with scrapbooking paper as well as my fave version ... like the ones Kerryanne made me ... a little French shabbiness! :0) Just right for my slightly shabby French sewing room!! THANK YOU KERRYANNE!! What a lovely reminder of my blogging buddy these will be ... especially since Kerryanne is super neat and organised (like these little winders encourage me to be!)  :0) Oh ... if you like these sweeties, you should take a peek at Kerryanne's web page for the pattern so you can make lots to help get you organised! I'll warn you though ... there are a LOT of other fabulous goodies to tempt you! Just saying! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So ... with another busy week ... and a lot of birthday celebrating! :0) ... I'm a little behind with my "To Do" list this week, so I'd better go and try to do something to cross a few off. Hope your week is toodling along nicely and that you're managing to celebrate some of life's little moments ... even if it's not your birthday this week! :0) Til next time ...


Wednesday 14 March 2012

Who's Been A BUSY Girl!!

That would be ME! PHEW! The last couple of weeks just seem to have been all go, go, go around the Meares' Madhouse. There's been quite a bit of designing, stitching and planning happening ... in between work, choir rehearsals, a wedding, catching up with friends and a fun stitching retreat! :0) As a result, I've fallen WAY behind in answering my emails ... SORRY!! In fact, I'm so far behind, that I'm going to have to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. If you were waiting for a special reply or an answer to a question ... please drop me a new email and I PROMISE to get back to you pronto. :0) OPAMers who sent finishes through ... thank you and well done! For the gals who sent snail mail addresses ... I got 'em! So there'll be some treats in the mail real soon for you. I hope you'll all forgive me for getting a little swamped with 'real life' and not catching up sooner. :0)

So ... in amongst that list of busy-ness, did you notice I slipped in a "Stitching Retreat"?? March is a pretty special month around here ... not only is it my birthday month (EEP! Coming up soon!!) it's also the time of the year where Marion and Steph at The Quilters Angel spoil stitchers with two days of  ...

YAY!! Picture a marquee decorated with draped gauzy curtains, chandeliers, pink balloons and all things pretty, girly and crafty and you know what it was like. But in case you can't imagine it ... I took a couple of pictures! :0)

Here are some of the ladies already stitching away.

Hmmm ... more stitching ladies. Funny ... when I go to these stitching retreats, I don't actually seem to do nearly as much STITCHING as I do CHATTING! Tee! Hee! Hee! And can I say this was no different!! :0) I joined the lovely ladies on Sunday for a day of stitching (well ... the other ladies stitched and I chatted! Tee! Hee! Hee!) being spoiled and enjoying face time with two clever designers ...

... the delightfully chatty Debbie McGee from 'Always Stitching'. (those pretty pink fabric baskets on the table were Debbie's brand new design the ladies received the pattern for) And ...

... the human dynamo Nikki Tervo of 'Nikki Tervo Designs' and 'Brandy Gully'. I was a bit remiss and forgot to take a photo of Nikki's gorgeous and handy new design gifted to the ladies as part of Girls Stitch In ... it was a handy stitching folder with removable pin cushion, needle book etc - keep an eye out for it! :0)

As always, Marion and Steph and their band of elves outdid themselves and everyone felt very spoilt with goodies bags, brand new patterns, time chatting to the designers, delicious food, lots of giveaways and even a few competitions thrown in for fun! :0) One of these involved each table decorating a shoe. Yes ... you read that right a SHOE! You should have seen the head-scratching, plotting, planning and mad scavenger hunt that went on to find bits and bobs to decorate these special shoes. The results ...

Have you ever seen such spectacularly decorated shoes??! And that one on the left still has an occupant! Tee! Hee! Hee! The ladies scrounged flowers, beads, buttons and ribbons ... they made flowers from napkins, rosettes from lolly wrappers ... talk about innovative! It just goes to show that crafters are crafters no matter what materials they're working with. :0) The eventual winners were ...

These ladies were a hoot! And I think they put as much time and effort into decorating their shoe as most of us do for a quilt! I think they were just a TEENSIE bit competitive! Tee! Hee! Hee! A huge THANK YOU to Marion, Steph and their team for organising such a wonderful weekend of stitching and spoiling!! Wanna come and play with us next year??? Stay tuned!! Details will be on their web site as soon as they're finalised!! There are some EXCITING changes happening for next year ... I can't WAIT!! :0)

Since I'm still recovering from my overloaded weekend, I think I shall make myself a cuppa, cruise a few blogs, then toodle off to keep a long-overdue date with my pillow!! I'll be back soon with another sneaky peeky of my new French-inspired quilt ... it just needs borders and the top is finished ... I'm VERY excited about that! :0) Whatever you're up to this week, I hope you manage to find some time to put your feet up and stitch ... I'll be trying hard to do better at keeping up with my email! :0) Til next time ...



Wednesday 7 March 2012

Spreading The Sunshine!!

HOORAY!! The sunshine is out today on top of our 'hill' for the first time in a week or so and this summer gal is hap-hap-HAPPY! :0) So ... I thought I'd share some sunshine with you my blogging buddies. First is a little sunshiny treasure that came to live with me this week ...

Isn't this jug just the CUTEST!! It's only about 4 inches tall and looks perfect sitting beside my little sunshiny teddy bear. Those of you who've been popping in to visit me for a while know that my 'grown up' job is as an Administrative Assistant in the office of a retirement village. Well ... one of the dear gentlemen was telling me that he had to clean out his kitchen cupboard because it was overflowing with jugs ... you see ... it seems he had been on a quest to find himself the perfect little milk jug ... one that DIDN'T dribble when he poured from it. Apparently his quest was long, thorough ... and not overly successful! Tee! Hee! Hee! So I offered to adopt a couple of the 'dribbly' jugs ... this little autumnal jug for me and a pretty, pink, flowery one for my buddy Lynda. Two little splashes of sunshine! :0) I did ask the jug connoisseur whether the fault was perhaps not with the JUGS, but with the OPERATOR! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And since it is THAT time of the OPAM month when Sweet Peg and I finish our blog-hopping and seeing how clever you gals have been with your creating ... I've got some winners for you! :0) Sweet Peg has already posted the January draw winners and the February draw was my task. First can I just say a big CONGRATULATIONS!! To all of you because we had 531 finishes for the shortest month of the year!! WOW! A big  'WELL DONE' to all of you who may not have had many finishes, but made some good progress on some of your long-term projects. Taking a bit of time out of our busy schedules to enjoy some stitching and taking a breath is what OPAM is all about.

A big thank you to all of you who emailed your tally of finishes to either Sweet Peg or me ... much appreciated! It saves us going quite so cross-eyed staring at our computer screen! :0) If you haven't quite got around to adding your OPAM badge and finishes list to your sidebar, it would be great if you can do that before the end of March ... it makes it much easier for us to see how busy you've been.

All righty ... on to the February winners ... drumroll please ...

Congrats, gals! If you'd like to email me your snail mail address there'll be a little something popped in the mail for you soon. See ... spreading the sunshine! :0)

Oh ... before I head off to pop the kettle on, I thought I'd share another little sneaky peeky of what
I've been working on with my Rouenneries fabrics ...

... a squirt of French perfume. I think this is one of my favourite blocks in my new quilt design ... not that I should have a favourite really ... a bit like parents shouldn't have a favourite child! :0) All blocks have now got their pretty red sashing, so I'll be doing some piecing whenever I get a spare moment. I promise to share with you as soon as the top is all stitched up. In the meantime, I hope you're all having a fabulous week and managing to find some time to sit with a cup of tea, your feet up and some stitching to keep you company. Til next time ...



Saturday 3 March 2012

The Gift Of Friendship!!

It really has been a week of being reminded how VERY blessed I am to have wonderful friends in my life. I may not get to catch up with them very often ... some I've never met in 'real life' ... but they are such an important part of my life and I'm feeling particularly blessed and grateful for that this week. :0)

One of these precious friends ... one I've never met in 'real life', but feel I've known forever ... is my gorgeous blogging buddy and OPAM partner-in-crime, Sweet Peg. Peg was amongst the first five real blogging buddies I made after I dived headlong into the blogosphere and was still learning to dog paddle. From the first few visits to Sweet Peg's blog, Happy In Quilting, I have been in AWE of just how much she achieves ... whilst working full time, doing extra book-keeping in her non-work time, attending Club Quilt AND writing her own and the Club Quilt Blogs!! PHEW! I still haven't worked out how she fits it all in ... I'm pretty sure she doesn't sleep! Very quickly, I nick-named her "SuperStitcher" cos she just seems to get so much FINISHED while I muddle around and seem to make more starts than finishes. I want to be Sweet Peg when I grow up!! :0)

Our friendship has grown even more since she joined me as co-host of OPAM two and a bit years ago ... bet she didn't know what she was in for when she said "Yes"! Tee! Hee! Hee! We've enjoyed chatting back and forth via blogs and email, as well as a few phone chats ... quite LENGTHY phone chats. :0) So when my postie left me a parcel on Thursday that had Sweet Peg's return address on it, I was excited!

Don't you just LOVE unexpected parcels! :0) And brown paper packages just HAVE to have lovely things in them, don't they ... or Julie Andrews would have something to say about it I'm sure! Tee! Hee! Hee! Inside I found ...

OOOOOHHH!! The results of Sweet Peg's "SuperStitching"!! :0) Peg knows I'm too impatient to even TRY hexies ... and the centre of each of those hexie flowers has some pretty stitching in it, too. Sweet Peg must have known that I hadn't yet got around to making a cover for my hard-working Huskie, so she sent me a beautiful one to adorn dear Huskie with!! :0)

Ta Da! Just right! That pretty blue ties in beautifully with my blue walls in the sewing room. Oops! Perhaps I should have tidied my sewing area a bit before taking a pic! :0) Ah well ... you can see that my 'studio' space isn't one of those magazine-shoot-neat areas ... it's more a creative-chaos-zone! Tee! Hee! Hee! And I love spending time in there cos in this one little corner alone, there are LOTS of lovely gifties, cards and reminders of the friends I've been blessed with ... including a couple of lovely gifties from Sweet Peg now! :0)


I love my new machine cover and it will help remind me to count the blessings of good friends whenever I'm in there sewing! :0)

Adding to my friendship blessings this week was a chance to toodle off down the 'hill' to catch up with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette. We hadn't caught up for about five months due to her work commitments ... EEK! We were both having play-date withdrawal symptoms! :0) So when she was finally able to arrange an RDO that matched my crazy calendar, we hurried up and marked it in ... in PEN! Tee! Hee! Hee!

After a bit of a catch up chat over a cuppa at her place, we headed off to lunch at "The Nook" ... sorry ... not sure what suburb in Bris it's in ... Lynette drives and I chat so I have no idea where we went. :0) The people who own "The Nook" used to run the coffee shop at our fave Gardenway destination, but on our last visit, we found they'd moved on. So when Lynette found out where they'd moved on TO ... we followed them! :0) That's not as stalker-ish as it sounds! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Here's Lynette enjoying a refreshing glass of apple, elderflower and lime drink ... I had the same and it was delicious!! Oh look ... Lynette's drink matches her pretty top! :0) She really is a very good sport about humouring her mad-blogger-friend by posing for photos with her lunches ... though she did comment that my blogging buddies will think that all she does is eat and drink! :0) This is what I had for lunch ...

A Turkish Lamb burger ... YUMMO!!! There's beetroot mayonnaise, rocket (which I picked off! YUCK!!) a DELICIOUS lamb pattie, grilled haloumi cheese, with a side serve of sweet potato chippies. SIGH!!! It was heavenly!!!! :0) I also had something sinfully delicious for desert, but was too busy gobbling it to take a pic. :0)

Now, after comparing diaries, Lynette and I worked out that it will probably be a few months before we get to catch up again, so she decided to give me my birthday giftie a couple of weeks early ... OOOOHHH!! Gifties are fun! Hmm ... HOW old am I?!?!? Tee! Hee! Hee!

OOOHH!! A Depression Glass juicer to add to my collection!! Lynette, who also collects Depression Glass, knows that I particularly like to add 'kitcheny' items to my little collection, since it is displayed on my shabby hutch in the kitchen.


 Oh I have been so spoilt this week!! And as I said at the start, it has reminded me yet again of how very blessed I am to have such wonderful friends around me ... not just because they give me gifties (though that is always fun! Tee! Hee! Hee!) But because they know me well enough to know when I will love something and take the time to find/make/send it to me. I hope I'm as much of a blessing to  my gorgeous friends as they are to me!!! :0)

Right ... well ... I'm now off to do a bit of stitching. Once again the weather is cooler, overcast and rainy, so I think curling up with some stitching in front of Midsomer Murders is exactly the right way to spend the day. OPAMers ... have you sent your January and February finishes through to Sweet Peg or me?? If not you'd better be quick before we start the blog-hop ready for the double-whammy prize draw! :0) Til next time ...


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