Tuesday 31 July 2012

Winter Colour & OPAM Reminder!!

Aaaaahh ... another week speeds on by and I'm left sitting in the dust wondering  'what happened??'! :0) How does that keep happening to me?!?! Not much of a stitchy nature happening here ... work has been busy and I've been revisiting my journalistic training to do some promotion for the retirement village where I work ... which has been kind of fun! :0) Whilst wandering around our village to take pics to go with the story, I was reminded that even in the middle of winter when things look bleak (especially to a confirmed cold-hater like me yours truly!!!), there are still some splashes of colour ...

Don't you just love that bright golden yellow against the deep blue sky? I just had to take a pic! :0) And you should have heard the bees buzzing around this shrub ... music to my ears! :0)

I DID manage to spend a little bit of time in my sewing room on the weekend ... not a lot of actual PROGRESS, but I did audition some bits and bobs for the project I'm working on ... do you do that??

Do you put your 'feature' in the middle and then lay out all of your fabrics, notions and trims to see how they will work? I usually do this at several points throughout the design/stitching process because sometimes the project changes as you work on it and a new direction is needed. I'm happy with the contrast the green rick-rack and dot fabric adds to the pinks and butterfly stitcheries ... I promise to show you when I've made more progress. :0)

So ... not much on my Finishes List this month, but I know that a lot of you OPAMers have been busy little bees in your sewing rooms - WELL DONE! :0) The emails have started coming in to me and Sweet Peg ... thanks to those who are on the ball. If you haven't yet updated your sidebar list and/or emailed your tally to me or Sweet Peg, can you please take a couple of minutes to do that for us? Much appreciated! :0)

Well, I think that's about it from the Meares' Madhouse for now. I hope your week is off to a great start and that you're managing to steal some time to do what makes you smile and adds a splash of colour to your days! :0) I'm now off to make myself a cuppa ... and see what I can find on TV that ISN'T the Olympics ... I think I'm a minority of one!!!! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday 24 July 2012

A Little French Gift!!

Yes ... I'm still here! I know I've been a bit absent from blogland (thanks to those lovely friends who've emailed to check up on me!!) ... partly cos life has been so darn busy and partly cos I'm in winter hibernation mode! :0) There hasn't been much sewing happening ... though I promise I've been PLANNING and DREAMING, so that counts ... right?!?! :0) About the only stitching-related thing I have to share this week is a special gift with a French flavour that I gave someone.

Do you remember this from April this year?

My "Aaah ... Paris!" quilt featured in "Homespun". This is one of my favourite quilts I've designed ... Wait! ... haven't I said that about ALL of my quilts?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Ever since this French sweetie came back from it's trip to the "Homespun" office, it has resided on our guest bed.

Now ... in a seemingly unrelated comment (which I promise will make sense if you stick with me!!) ...  I have been trying for ages to find a quilt to make for my Mum. I've made some suggestions (LOTS of suggestions!!!) but either the colours weren't quite right, or the style wasn't what she could picture in her bedroom. THEN ...

When Mum and Dad were visiting the weekend before last, Mum snuggled up under the Eiffel Tower quilt for an afternoon snooze and read. She made several comments about how lovely it was, how the colours worked so well together ... even though she isn't really a pink gal either  (see ... it's genetic, this 'anti-pink' sentiment! Tee! Hee! Hee!). A light bulb went on in my scatterbrain and I asked Mum if she'd like THIS to be her quilt. I was rewarded with a big smile and hugs ... I guess that was a yes! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So this last weekend when my Beloved Geek Boy and I visited Mum and Dad in Mundubbera (told you there's been lots of comings and goings in the Meares' Madhouse!!) I caught Mum and her furry baby enjoying a snuggle under the newly housed quilt ...

Isn't it lovely to see something you've made being appreciated and loved?!!! :0) Not sure Sunny was very impressed with having his photo taken though! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So that's as stitchy as I've been this week ... slack, I know ... but I'm sure I'll make up for it somewhere along the track. I hope you're all having a lovely week so far and that even if you're like me and not  DOING much stitching, that you're able to enjoy something stitchy along the way. Til next time ...



Tuesday 17 July 2012

Snugglin' Weather!!

BRRRRRR!!! Temps are dropping on top of our 'hill' again after a few lovely warm (comparatively!!) days last week. Thankfully it stayed warm long enough for my Beloved Geek Boy and I to enjoy some time with my folks on the weekend to celebrate Dad's birthday and upcoming retirement ... any excuse for a family catch-up and dinner out! :0) But ... now the icky cold weather is back and GB and I are seriously discussing moving to Cairns ... a threat we make every winter! :0)

Since that's not on the cards any time soon, we've both decided that it's "Snugglin' On The Couch" weather. There was just one problem ... I had my faithful (if slightly worn!!) flannel blankie, but GB didn't have a snuggle rug! OH NO!!! So ... what's a quilter to do ... I visited my Home-Away-From-Home, stocked up on some funky flannel, stitched and sewed and made him his very own blankie.

Hmmm ... I think this means it's a success! Tee! Hee! Hee! A big thank you to my fellow-Quilting Angel, the Fabulous Fiona for working her quilting magic ... although the photo doesn't show it, her big quilted circles were just perfect to reflect the dots and spots in the flannel prints. Isn't it lovely to have clever friends! :0)

OK ... off to make myself a cuppa and go back to snuggling under my own blankie. Hope you're all having a great start to your week and have found the perfect way to spend time with your loved ones! :0) Til next time ...



PS. If you're interested in admiring (and maybe buying!) handmade goodies whilst helping raise money for a good cause, pop across to visit my gorgeous bloggy-buddy Kerryanne who is part of a great initiative called "Collaborate For A Cause". And give her a bear hug too! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Rainy Mixed Blessings!

Here we are, day two of gloomy, foggy (or more likely very low cloudy!!) weather here on top of our 'hill'. The fog/cloud closes in, wafts away, then closes in again and it has been drizzling on and off ... which all makes for some gloomy grey  ... SIGH! The mixed blessing of this, though, is that the temperatures have been a little higher ... not sure it completely outweighs the grey on the scales, but it's something, I guess! :0)

So what's a gal to do, but ignore all the "should be doing" things on the list and curl up in front of a DVD to stitch ... so that's what I've been doing! :0) Some eps of "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" and this ...

... I've been playing with some Cottage Garden Thread, the 'dusty rose' fabrics I bought recently at Quilters Angel and some more butterflies. I'm enjoying stitching with the variegated CG threads ... not as much stopping and starting to change colours ... can you tell I'm a wee bit lazy?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Oh ... for those who were asking, these 'dusty rose' fabrics are part of the "Olivia" range by Michele D`Amore for Benartex and the CG thread I'm stitching with is "Damask Rose". No sewing this coming weekend due to a parental pop-in to celebrate Dad's birthday and imminent retirement, but hopefully I'll get to do something with my 'dusty rose' fabrics and fluttering butterflies next week ... stay tuned for a new pattern design! :0)

Otherwise ... not much happening at the Meares' Madhouse ... apart from the birthday lunch I mentioned last post (quite a few birthdays in July in our little circle!). I met Lynda and Deb about nine years ago when we were all attending the same belly-dancing class and we quickly hit it off. Though none of us can make it to dance classes anymore, the three of us have formed a tight friendship trio that has outlived the dancing and we usually meet at least once a week at one of our homes for a cuppa, lunch and a catch up. We've laughed together, cried together and helped each other through some rough patches on life's path and I feel very blessed indeed to have these gorgeous goddesses in my life. To celebrate Deb's birthday this year (we don't mention numbers!!!!) we decided to try a new-to-us venue, "The Shingle Inn". I've visited another coffee shop in this franchise and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although the menu wasn't the same (unfortunately!) we all had delicious food ... including home-made waffles all round!!! MMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! WAFFLES!!! Tee! Hee! Hee! We asked a bemused waitress to take a happy snap for us ...

The photo quality isn't great ... it was taken on my phone ... but you can see we were enjoying ourselves and each others' company. Isn't it great to have good friends you can just 'hang out' with?! :0) HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEB! And thanks for a lovely afternoon, gals! :0)

OK ... that's it from me today ... I'm off to find my slippies to keep my toesies warm ... the temp seems to be starting to drop and I can see the heater will be employed soon!!! Hope your week is going well so far and that it includes some 'hang out' time with friends. If there ISN'T any 'hang out' time with friends scheduled ... maybe you need to RE-SCHEDULE! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...



Sunday 8 July 2012

Waterfalls & Winners!!

Back again ... though a few days later than intended ... story of my life, really! Mum says I was a week late arriving into the world and I've been that far behind ever since! Tee! Hee! Hee! It's been a cold icky week here on top of our 'hill' ... and you all know how I feel about cold and icky, so you will understand that I went into hibernation mode with a good book or two ... or three ... or four! :0) Am currently hooked on the "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood. I got hooked on the TV series based on these books and then when it finished, went in search of the books ... gotta love a good whodunit ... especially when the main character is a strong, independent 'woman of the world' in the late 1920's of Melbourne. Easy to wile away a cold afternoon in her company! :0)

But ... I promised a few more holiday snaps and it's also time to announce the winners of the OPAM end-of-month draw for June. First ... do you have an umbrella? A raincoat? You might need them for this part of our holiday! :0)

Now ... those of you who have travelled in far north QLD will know that there are lots of pockets of wonderful rainforest still to be seen, which of course, means lots of rain, which leads to ... waterfalls by the dozen! But first, you have to fortify yourself ready for all that hiking up and down hills ...

... we topped up the ol' caffeine levels with a visit to Coffee World at Mareeba. Free coffee, chocolate and liqueur tasting with the price of your entry ticket ... Ooh! La! La!! Let's just say that by the end of our time here, I was bouncing off walls and singing and dancing to the music played as background and had probably consumed enough caffeine to keep me awake for a week! My Beloved Geek Boy pretended he's never seen this strange woman before ... even when I tried to get him to do the jive with me!! Tee! Hee! Hee! So then it was off in search of waterfalls!!

Now ... the one unfortunate thing I found with all of these waterfalls was ... they all involved long climbs downhill to reach them ... not too bad you may be saying ... until you remember the reverse of Newton's law ... "What goes DOWN to see the waterfall, must climb back UP the stinkin' great hill!!!!!!!" I well and truly wore off all that coffee, believe me! :0) So, first waterfall stop was Malanda Falls ...

This waterfall was actually one of the easiest to access ... that bridge is the main road into Malanda and this is one of the fave local swimming holes ... understandably! :0) No crocodile warning signs on this one as there were on others we visited ... thank goodness! :0) Back into the car and off to the next waterfall ...

Milla Milla falls. Another swimming hole (too cold for us frogs to be swimming, tho still warm compared to Toowoomba!!). This one you almost DID need an umbrella to visit ... those are water droplets on the camera that you can see showing up like faeries in the photo.

We were starting to lose track of which waterfalls we'd seen and which were still on the 'to visit' list, so GB took a photo of the direction signs ... we were heading down a VERY steep track to Zillie Falls ... as the sign says. :0)

Ta Da! There is was, at the bottom of the hill as advertised. :0) I could cope with having one of these in my back yard ... although GB decided you'd want it at the BOTTOM of your garden as there was a fair bit of noise generated by all that water ... and a few pit-stops were also required along the way due to the suggestive sound of running water! Tee! Hee! Hee! You can see that I am a VERY fashion-conscious tourist ... NOT!!! Definitely not my best look, but no one knew me, so I could be as big a dag as I liked! :0) There were a few smaller waterfalls visited that day, but it was getting late in the afternoon and the photos all ended up a little dark, so I won't bore you with them.

Only a few holiday snaps left ... of our visit to Kuranda, 'Village In The Rainforest' and our ride on the Sky Rail ... very spectacular! :0) But enough for today, I know you're all waiting to hear who the OPAM draw winners are, so put down your umbrellas and take off your raincoats. :0)

June was our quietest OPAM month so far this year ... I suspect that those of us in the southern hemisphere were coming to grips with icky cold weather, while our friends in the northern hemisphere were making the most of summer weather by enjoying it outside, instead of being in the sewing room! :0) A big THANK YOU to everyone who emailed finish tallies through to me or Sweet Peg ... much appreciated! And thanks to all of you who remembered to update your sidebar list, too. Remember ... if you don't email your tally through to Sweet Peg or me and don't update your sidebar tally list ... you won't have any finishes added against your name on the spreadsheet and won't go into the draw. I know a few of you are working on longer-term projects and that's fine ... aren't we all?! :0) But I think a few people have just forgotten to update lists, which is a shame. Also ... there were a few blogs that I found that had either changed to an 'invitation only' status or had been taken down completely (maybe replaced by a new blog address that you haven't told us??). If that's YOU, can you contact Sweet Peg or me and let us know whether you're still wanting to be part of OPAM, please ... it's a shame not to have your finishes counted just cos we can't find you! :0)

OK ... drum roll ... the final tally of finishes for June was ...


Still not a bad tally, all in all! :0) Well done to everyone who recorded finishes and to those who made some progress on longer-term projects. Remember, it isn't really the final tally of finishes that is important in OPAM, it's remembering to take a bit of time out of your busy schedule to relax and do something you love ... gotta recharge those batteries!! :0) And the random draw winners for June are ...

Congratulations, gals!! :0) Email me your snail mail addresses and I'll pop a little something in the mail for you soon.

Well .. that's it from me today. I'm off to have lunch with Debbie De and Lynda to celebrate Deb's birthday, so shall sign off for now. Hoping to do a bit of sewing this week, so will be back soon with some stitchy stuff. Hope you're enjoying your weekend and that your week is fabulous! :0) Til next time ...



Monday 2 July 2012

Reporting From The South Pole!!

Well ... that's how COLD it feels today here on top of our 'hill'!! It's supposed to be 12 degrees, but I think that's a little optimistic, frankly, and doesn't take the wind chill factor into account, cos it is blowing a gale and FREEZING outside! Which of course is why I am curled up INSIDE in front of the heater! I'm not silly, I just look that way! Tee! Hee! Hee!
I hope you've been enjoying my holiday snaps ... I do have a few more to share with you, but I knew I only had a short window of time to do a post today, so I shall be back with more holiday snaps next post. I really only popped in today to remind all you sweet OPAM gals that we've clicked over from one month to the next again, so if you haven't already done so, can you please update your sidebar tally list and email your finishes to me or Sweet Peg. Thanks to everyone who has already done that ... I think you're all a step ahead of  me this month ... I seem to have lost a couple of weeks ... oh that's right ... I was busy being WARM!! Aaaahh ... it seems so long ago already, as I thaw out my frozen toesies in my ugg boots!!!! :0)

And just because it's not much fun to have a post with no photos ... and because I promised to share!! ... I've got some fabricky photos to share before I sign off.

While we were in Townsville, I managed to steal some time to visit the Tinkers Cart patchwork shop and had a lovely time! :0) I feel like I am VERY spoilt to be able to call the Quilters Angel my Home-Away-From-Home, but it's always fun to visit other fabric-caves when travelling. I had a lovely chat with Tracey after browsing through the rows of pretties and found that Tracey was familiar with my HAFH, having travelled down to be part of Stitchers' Dream Day Out a couple of years ago. FYI: Places for this year's Stitchers Day are filling up FAST!! So if you want to come and play with us, you'd better sign up quick ... my Bestest Buddy Lynette and I will be playing on the Sunday!!! But I digress! :0) Of course ... some fabrics followed me home from Tinker's Cart ...

Some of the delicious range of 'My Favourite Things' by Anni Downs. No definite plans for these at the moment, but I would like to make a few projects from Anni's "Some Kind Of Wonderful" book, so perhaps these will be set aside for that. The front row is a collection of brown fabrics I bought at Needleworx in Mackay. Brown may not be very exciting to most people but when you design applique projects that often feature bears, you're always on the lookout for a selection of nice browns ... I know Toni knows what I mean! :0) And after letting these pretties follow me home from holidays, I was SUPPOSED to be a good girl and not add any more fabric to my stash ... at least until the budget recovered from it's post-holiday doldrums. :0) So it's all Marion's fault ... really it is! ... that I happened to be visiting my HAFH the other day when some pretty new fabrics arrived. You guessed it ... some followed me home!! Does that happen to anyone else, or just me?!?!?!

No ... they're not REALLY pink ... they're ... umm ... dusty red!!! :0) I liked the vintage shabby chic feel of this range ... there are other pretties in the range, this was just a few ... and I only succumbed to temptation because I could picture a new bag design, so that's what I'm stitching away on at the moment. Don't you love the look of that front fabric with the writing and botanic pics? I think it's my fave. :0)

OK ... so ... that's it from me on this freezing winter's day. I'll be back in a few days with some more holiday happy-snappies ... and the winners of June's OPAM prize draw!! So stay tuned. Til next time ...



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