Friday 27 April 2012

"EEEK!!" And "AAAH!!"

It's a rainy, icky grey day here on top of our 'hill' and after a morning of running errands and getting a hair cut (I was starting to look as fluffy as a dandelion!!) I was looking forward to spending an afternoon in my sewing room. I'd barely got going when I needed to get something out of my cupboard. I opened the door and ... spied a large patch, clump, group, army ... what DO you call a whole lot of ANTS in one spot???? ... well ... whatever you call them, I spotted them ... in my SEWING CUPBOARD! Oh no you don't!! So being a good Aussie gal, I reached for the 'can of Mortein' and sprayed them. Then ... I spotted ANOTHER  patch, clump, group, army  on the shelf below, so I sprayed them too! Just when I thought the insect invasion had been thwarted, I began to be aware of a 'clicking' sort of sound ... coming from my CUPBOARD!! On closer inspection ... and with no small amount of horror!!! ... I found that the ants had in fact decided to invade the human world ... starting with my CUPBOARD!!!!! OH NO!!!!! EEEEEEEEEK!!!!! Man, did that can of Mortein get a work out!!! When I finally stepped back to get clear of the fumes, this is what I saw ...

EEEEEEEWWWWWW!!! Dead ants! Can you see the pile of deaded ones on the floor ... there were several of these piles around the cupboard.

NOT Happy Jan!!!!! Here they are, pouring out of my cupboard. GRRRR! So now my Saturday, which WAS to be spent happily sewing, will have to be spent cleaning out my cupboard. SIGH!!!!

For now, though, the fumes have given me a headache and driven me to abandon the battlefield in favour of the couch, my flannel blankie, a nice cup of tea and a blog post with something MUCH nicer than a cupboardful of ants!!

You see, last week I was the lucky (and very excited!!) recipient of TWO lovely "Just Because" gifties .... AAAAAAAAAAHH!! :0) So to balance out the ickiness of the ant invasion, I thought I'd share them with you ...

How spoilt am I!!!! :0) The little green Depression Glass bowl was a surprise giftie from my dancing buddy Lynda. She was strolling around a local market and spotted this little pretty ... and knew I'd love to add it to my collection ... THANKS LYNDA!!!! :0) The GORGEOUS bear wall hanger was a giftie from the super-talented Miss Toni from the Red Boot Quilt Co. Isn't it FABULOUS!!! I absolutely LOOOOOOOOOOVE Toni's applique designs and I keep telling her that if I wasn't kept so busy stitching samples for my own pattern designs, I'd certainly be whipping up some of her GORGEOUS quilt designs. THANK YOU TONI!!!! Oh I do feel spoilt ... and it does balance out the icky ant invasion ... though I am NOT looking forward to cleaning out that cupboard tomorrow ... SIGH!!!!

So ... how has YOUR Friday been this week?? Hope you've had more "Nice" surprises than "Nasty" today. :0) And I hope you all have a fantastic weekend that DOESN'T include unscheduled cleaning!!!! GRRR!!! I'll just sip my tea and blog hop for a while to calm down I think ... and then some therapeutic stitching on a surprise gift for a friend ... that should cheer me up! :0) Til next time...


Wednesday 25 April 2012

We Will Remember Them!

April 25 is a special day on the Australian calendar ... ANZAC Day. We remember that men and women ... sons, husbands, brothers, daughters, wives and sisters ... put their hopes and dreams on hold to step forward in service of their country. Some never left Australian shores, some never returned home. While those men and women are always close to the hearts of their loved ones, on this one day each year, all of Australia pauses to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our defence forces, past and present. We say "Thank You". And we promise that we will never forget.

"At the going down of the sun
And in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest We Forget"

Sunday 22 April 2012

Bags With Bags & A Reveal!

Here we are again, time has flitted by and I'm wondering how it came to be Sunday afternoon ... but I think we ALL ask ourselves that question every week, don't we! :0) BTW ... is anyone else tired of computer programs/blog hosts etc making changes to formats when things have been working very nicely before hand thank-you-very-much!!! SIGH! If it ain't broke, don't fix it I say ... but apparently I just have to get used to a new blogger format ... AGAIN!!!!!!

OK ... enough whingeing about computer programmers who think they know what's best for me without actually ASKING me ... I've had a busy week this week and have a couple of things to share. Firstly ... do you remember a few posts back I told you to pop across and visit the delightful Fiona of Bubz Rugz cos she had posted a pic of a bag made from my "French Shopping Spree" pattern?? Well ... we met up on Friday when our "Quilting Angels" gathered at my Home-Away-From-Home Quilters Angel and there was a big ...


She had her beautifully made French bag with her and so did I ... so what do two good bloggers do? Why, of COURSE they get a third person to take a photo! :0)

Ooh! La! La! Tre Magnifique!! Here is Miss Bubz herself and Moi modelling our Eiffel Tower-adorned bags ... or as we joked while having our photo taken ... "Bags With Bags"! Tee! Hee! Hee! It's always fun to see how people interpret my pattern designs and I LOVE to see where they've added their own little touches or made little changes to make the finished project truly their own. One of the reasons that I struggle through the instruction writing process to publish craft patterns is to encourage people to be creative and to find the joy of taking 'bits and bobs' and transforming them into something beautiful and/or useful and having that lovely warm glow that says, "I made that myself!!" :0) Thanks for bringing your bag for 'Show & Tell', Fiona!! It was lovely to catch up!! :0)
Speaking of writing pattern instructions ... there's some more of my 'favourite' (NOT!!!) chore on the horizon for me this week, cos I finished the top of my PINK quilt ... otherwise known as "Blissful Butterflies". :0) It's been whisked off to the lovely Rosalie of Rose Quilting for her care and attention, but I thought I'd share a pic of the top that I took before handing it over to Rosalie. Ready???

Ta! Da!! Four pink fluttering butterflies gathered around a sweet topiary rose bush. I'm pretty happy with how it's come together and really enjoyed working on the applique, which is all hand-stitched blanket stitch. I'm gradually switching to using Cosmo threads and have to say I find them much nicer to stitch with. Added to that, these applique shapes are a bit larger and simpler than my "French Amour" quilt that I'd previously stitched, so nice and quick to stitch around. I've got a little bit of breathing space while it's at the quilters before I start that dreaded instruction writing chore, so maybe I'll stitch something just for 'fun' for a week or two. :0) What are you stitching at the moment? I'd love to see some pics and hear what sort of projects you're loving as much as I'm loving blanket stitch applique at the moment. Maybe some pics can be posted and leave me a link in your comment so we can all come and visit your stitching corner ... it's always nice to have company to stitch, isn't it! :0)

Right now, though, I'm off to finalise the applique outlines for "French Amour", which I hope to have on my web site and available in store at Quilters Angel by the end of this week. Marion and Steph have done up some kits for this French inspired pattern in the same Rouenneries Deux fabric range that I've used, so stay tuned for it's release! :0) I hope you're all having a relaxing weekend and that your coming week includes some time for you to enjoy the company of family and friends, sit, stitch, relax and daydream ... cos life is richer with all of these things in it! :0) Til next time ...



Monday 16 April 2012

Think PINK?!?!

Who would have ever thought that this card-carrying, anti-pink, green-and-red-lovin' gal would be designing a VERY PINK quilt?!?!?! What IS the world coming to! :0) But ... playing with pink is exactly what I've been doing in my cornflower-blue sewing room. (I just felt I had to mention the BLUE to counteract the effect of the PINK on my delicate colour sensibilities! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

It all began ... as I told you a couple of posts back ... when I saw some of the new-to-store "Cabbages And Roses" range of fabrics at Quilters Angel (AKA. my Home-Away-From-Home!). I just had an immediate mental picture of a quilt that I HAD to make. I know ... pretty weird ... even for ME! Tee! Hee! Hee! Well ... it's progressing rather nicely and I thought I'd share a sneaky peeky with you to see what you think about my pink. Everyone who knows me well ... BRACE YOURSELF!! :0)

A fluttery butterfly ...

... ANOTHER fluttery butterfly!! Don't butterflies just make you want to ... :0)!! And butterflies need something to perch on ...

... a pink rosebush is just the place ... of course! :0) So there you go, a sneaky peeky at what I'm working on. This girly quilt will be called "Blissful Butterflies" cos butterflies always make me happy and they are quite soothing to watch as they flit and flutter around the garden without a care in the world, enjoying each moment to the fullest. AAAAAAHHHH!!! To be a carefree butterfly! :0)

However ... right now, I'm flitting and fluttering off to the sewing room to keep playing with pink. Oh! If you want to see a rather special bag, pop across and visit the lovely Fiona at Bubz Rugz ... she has made a Rouenneries Deux version of my "French Shopping Spree" bag and has done a GORGEOUS job! She and I will be a matched set when we meet up this Friday for our Quilting Angels gathering! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hope your week is off to a 'BLISSFUL' start!! :0) Til next time ...


Friday 13 April 2012

A WHOLE Day At Home!

Oh JOY! Oh BLISS! Oh HAPPY DAY!!!!! I have a WHOLE day at home today to stitch and create!! YAY!! This is indeed a very rare treat for me, so I do hope you'll understand me turning metaphorical cartwheels. (I'd do myself and probably some furniture a damage if I tried to turn REAL cartwheels! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Friday is my 'don't-have-to-go-to-work' day, but so often it ends up my 'run-errands-on-my-day-off' day. But not today! It's overcast and drizzly ... not to mention cold!! ... so I'm going to put on my daggiest, comfiest house clothes, pop on some 'Midsomer Murders' DVDs and STITCH my little fingers off!! :0)

I'm madly stitching away at a new quilt design sample using my fabrics that are THAT colour, but over the weekend I hope to finalise my "French Amour" quilt pattern, too, so that all of you out there who are also having a love affair with all things French, can make your own version of "French Amour". The instructions are written and double-checked by my 'technical expert' (Thanks Steph!!!) so I just have to tweak some applique outlines and get a decent cover photo and I'm good to go.

The cover photo has been a bit tricky due to the size of this quilt ... it's a double bed quilt or a queen bed topper, so a bit tricky to get good light and angles. I even tried the ol' "hang it on the washing line" trick last week ... but the light was not friendly enough to get a cover quality pic. I DID however get one that I can share with you to give you a pretty good idea of how it's come up. Ready for the unveiling?

Ta Da!! It's a bit hard to see the stitched writing ... told you I was having trouble with the light levels!! But it does show you the overall layout of my sweet French quilt. I'm pretty chuffed with how it's come up and Rosalie of Rose Quilting ... as always!! ... has done a brilliant job of long-arm quilting it for me ... lots of Fleur de Lise! :0) The pattern (and a limited number of kits  in this delicious 'Rouenneries Deux' fabric range) for my "French Amour" quilt will soon be available at my "Home-Away-From-Home" Quilters Angel, so stay tuned if you'd like to add a bit of French flair to your home. :0)

Right now, though, I'm off to pop the kettle on (I do that so often I almost need to change my name to 'Polly' ... you know ... 'Polly put the kettle on, Polly put the kettle on, we'll all have tea.' Tee! Hee! Hee!) I hope you've had a fantastic, if a bit short, week and that you, too, manage to enjoy some chore-free time to create this weekend. Til next time ...


Monday 9 April 2012

Easter Adventures!

A belated "HOPPY EASTER" to you all! :0) (sorry ... couldn't resist a little Easter joke there!!!) Hope you're all enjoying a lovely long weekend, I know we here at the Meares' Madhouse have been enjoying having no schedules for a few days ... though that doesn't mean things have been dull! :0) We've had my sort-of-sister Tiffy and a friend of hers staying with us so they could enjoy the activities of Easterfest ... a three-day Christian music festival that is held here in Toowoomba each Easter ... you probably guessed that part from the EASTER-fest name! :0) So ... they've been coming and going while we old fuddy-duddies decided to hibernate and catch up on some sleep, some chores and ... for me ... some stitching! Insert some happy anticipatory dancing here! :0)

Well ... we held to our hibernating intentions for two days, but with such GLORIOUS sunny autumn weather being enjoyed by all on top of our 'hill', we decided we really should make the most of it and Sunday saw us take a little road trip. First stop: Lake Cressbrook, a water-storage dam about three quarters of an hour's drive north-east.

With a good wet season two years in a row, the dam was looking pretty full and pretty ... well ... PRETTY! :0) A very picturesque little spot that is perfect for a Sunday picnic ... unfortunately HEAPS of other people had the same idea and we found it very crowded, so after a walk around to admire the water and the old pumping building ...

... we jumped back into the feisty Festiva and headed a bit further down the road, up and over the range, through Esk ... next stop ... Tagooloowah. Why? To watch people falling out of the sky! :0) One of the guys who works with my Beloved Geek Boy was helping organise this event ...

Now ... there would have to be something SERIOUSLY wrong with the plane before I would ever consider jumping out of it, but it was pretty entertaining to watch other people do it! Tee! Hee! Hee! There was a lot of cloud-gazing done as we listened to the drone of the drop plane and waited to see jumpers. At first, there were just little specks in the distance ...

While the cloud cover made it hard to pick the jumpers when they first left the plane, once their shutes opened, those pretty silk canopies showed up beautifully against the grey. It then didn't take too long until we were watching them do this right in front of where we were sitting ...

... and this ...

Oops! That one's a bit fuzzy ... slow camera combined with VERY quick descent! :0) It was pretty amazing just how fast they came towards the ground and just when you were certain things were going to end in a messy tangle of broken limbs and tangled lines and parachute ... they would tug the brake cords and come to almost a complete halt, then drift gently down the last couple of feet to the ground. Pretty cool to watch! :0) Because it was the Australian Championships, there were quite a few larger groups competing in formations. Due to the cloud, we didn't really see the formations cos they were done up high before chutes were opened ... except for one rather special one ...

How COOL does this look!!!! It was pretty awesome seeing these four jumpers form up, then drift for quite a long time together until just before they reached the ground ...

... they moved apart to land so it didn't all end in one of those tangles of broken limbs and tangled parachutes that I kept imagining! :0) They still haven't convinced me that it's a good idea to fling yourself out of a perfectly good plane ... though I think GB is starting to think it might be good to try ... I've got news for him!!!!! ;0)

So ... that was our Easter mini-road trip and a great way to enjoy the perfect autumn day. Another sunny one today, but I'm gluing myself to the couch today in front of some fave DVDs cos I'm working on the sample for a new design. Want to see what I'm playing with? OK ... those of you who've known me for a while will need to brace yourself for a shock, because my new quilt design is ...

PINK!!!! AAAAAAAARRRRGGHHHH!!! I know ... I am usually the "Anti-Pink" but when I saw these fabrics when they first arrived at my Home-Away-From-Home Quilters Angel, I immediately had a mental picture of them in a girly quilt! And you know that you just have to go where the muse takes you when that creative urge hits, so I bit the bullet and bought some ... trying to ignore Marion chuckling in the background!!! She says she is gradually bringing me over to the "Pink Side"!! Tee! Hee! Hee! When I brought them home, I showed GB. The conversation when something like this ...

Me: These are the fabrics I bought today for a new quilt design.
GB: They're pink.
Me: Yes, they are.
GB: They're VERY pink!
Me: Yes, they are.
GB: But you don't DO pink!
Me: Not usually, no, but I can picture them as a quilt.
GB: (slightly bewildered!) Huh ...!

Tee! Hee! Hee! All but one of these fabrics are from the Cabbages and Roses range, so if you ARE a pink-girly-girl, pop in or call Marion and Steph to add some to your stash. Right now, though, I'm off to do some stitching on my pink-girly-girl quilt. :0) Hope you enjoy the last day of your Easter break as much as I am. OH!! OPAM gals ... hop across and visit Sweet Peg cos she has just posted this month's OPAM winners. Which reminds me ... Judy S. and Karen H. you were the January winners, so you need to email Sweet Peg with your snail mail addresses so she can send a little something your way. OK ... I'm off to put the kettle on and get stitching!! Til next time ...


Monday 2 April 2012

Ooh La La! Homespun!!

Bonjour! Merci! Ami! Comment Vous! S'il vous plait! Wee Wee! OK ... I think I've just used up most of my school-learned French vocabulary! :0) What am I going on about?? Well ... I received a very special issue of my fave craft mag in the mail today and THAT'S what has brought on my French vocab practice. Issue No. 107 Vol. 13 No. 4 of "Homespun" magazine is the annual "Girls' Club Issue" and it has a French theme ...

Vive La France!! Tee! Hee! Hee! Not only does this issue make my heart sing cos I'm still on a little (read: HUGE!!) French kick ... it has a particular PROJECT in it that is VERY close to my singing heart ...

Does this quilt look a little familiar to you?? I know you haven't seen it in full, but I did share some sneaky peekies before it was posted off to Catherine and her merry band of Homespun Elves ... It's my "Aaah ... Paris!" quilt made with those yummy French General "Pom Pom De Paris" fabrics. I just LOVE how this photo has been styled ... it shows off my pretty quilt so very well. Do I sound like a proud mama?! :0) And if you turn that page ...

Look who you'll find. :0) Make yourself a cup of tea and you can sit and have a little read about what I get up to as a designer. A big thanks to Catherine and her Homespun Elves for inviting me to 'play' with them for this fun "Girls' Club" issue. And I hope all you Homespun readers enjoy playing with this project ... not to mention all the OTHER fabulous projects that are in this issue! :0) And keep your eyes peeled at the end of my "Aaah ... Paris!" project, cos there's a competition with some of my "Paris Shopping Spree" bag patterns as prizes ... so don't miss out on your issue of "Homespun" that will in stores soon ... or available in digital format through Zinio.

Now that I've had a little break for a cuppa and a browse through "Homespun" (not to mention a bit of a hippity, hoppity, skippity, boppity, booty-shakin' Happy Dance!!) I have to go back to writing instructions for my LATEST French-themed quilt ... I promise to share a pic soon ... gotta keep you in suspenders a bit longer! :0) In the meantime ... I hope your week is off to a great start and that it includes some time to sit, relax and create. Til next time ...



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