Tuesday, 31 December 2013

As The Sands Run Out On 2013 ... !

... I'm sitting here wondering where the heck the year went!! It's been a super-busy year, it seems, and like most people, as the year ends I can't help but think of the things I 'meant to do' this year ... and didn't! OOPS! I don't make New Years' resolutions, but each year I do try to set myself some goals to focus on during the coming year. This year, I've decided to share a few of those goals with you ... most are pretty simple, really ... in fact ... you might even set a few of these goals for yourself.

1. Tell the people I love how very much I appreciate them ... say the words, even if it's just to finish off a simple phone chat. You just never know what's around the corner and how wonderful to be assured that the last words your loved ones heard from you were ... "I Love You!"

2. Collect Hugs! Now ... being built like one of my teddy bears ... short and podgy!! ... I'm the perfect shape for hugs! :0) I used to hug a lot more than I do, before moving to a couple of places where hugging was restricted to family members and you got odd looks if you hugged too many others. I'm trying to re-teach myself to give and receive hugs more ... I will practice this in 2014 ... nice homework! :0)

3. Make more time to spend with family and friends. We're all busy and it's too easy to say ... "we must get together ... some time". I need to schedule more play dates because scheduling them in will make sure I MAKE time to enjoy the company of those who are important to me.

4. Make more time to create. I'm not very good at time management ... just ask my Mum! Tee! Hee! Hee! As a result, I often think I could spend more time creating ... if only I got a bit more organised! I think I need to take some tips from my uber-organised blogging buddy Kerryanne. :0) Then maybe I'll set a better example for the OPAM gals! :0)

5. Make more of an effort to eat healthier. I KNOW I feel better when I do this, but ... well ... it's that whole time management thing! :0)

6. Take time to stop and count my MANY, MANY, MANY blessings! :0)

I'm sure there will be some other goals to add to my list as I go through the year, but this is my starting point. So ... we'll see how I go with working towards those goals. Are you making any New Years' resolutions? Do any of your goals overlap with mine? Whatever you're planning as you head into the new adventure of 2014, I'd like to leave you with an old Irish Blessing that I found recently as my New Years' wish to you, all my blogging buddies.

May love & laughter light your days,
And warm your heart & home;
May good & faithful friends be yours,
Wherever you may roam;
May peace & plenty bless your world,
With joy that long endures;
May all life's passing seasons,
Bring the best to you & yours.


Til next time ...

(see ... practicing number 2 goal already!!)


Sunday, 29 December 2013

Scorcher Scotches Stitching!

OK ... I know I'm a summer gal and I keep telling you all that I LOVE hot weather, but today we had a SCORCHER here on top of our 'hill' that was rather out of character ... 38 degrees Celsius!! Now ... I know that's usually not too far from my comfort zone, but it was also super humid and sticky ... that's the part that I didn't enjoy ... no pleasing some people is there?! :0) I also know it's cooler than the 40+ temps my blogging buddy Chookyblue has been coping with ... but it sure was sticky and sweaty today!!

Now since I'm on holidays for another week (YAY!) I had big plans to get LOTS of sewing done. There's just a small problem ... my sewing room is about the hottest room in the house. SIGH!! It's on the side of the house that doesn't usually get a breeze and the front of it faces west, so it's rather like a sauna after 3pm. My solution was to dive in there this morning to do some appliqué prep ... before collapsing in front of the fan with an icy drink this afternoon ... icy WATER, I promise! :0)

The project I've been working on is a new sample of a pattern I released a couple of years ago ...

Moon dance. The original in the photo was for my brother's oldest son when he was born. I had fun with the mischievous little bedtime bears who were out playing amongst moon and stars instead of sleeping. The two little ones at the bottom are holding a blanket ready to catch their brother in case he slips. :0)

So when a new range of fabric arrived at my Home-Away-From-Home last week, I knew it was time to make this new sample ...

The range is called "Terra Australis" and some of the fabrics feature Aussie icons ... kangaroos, banksias, wattle leaves ... and lovely bright, cheerful colours ... perfect for "Moon Dance". One of the best things about this range is that there are a mix of 'girl version' fabrics and 'boy version' fabrics ... something for everyone. :0) The orange, navy, denim blue and light aqua are from the 'boy' fabrics, while the 'girl' fabrics include light aqua, teal, zesty green and fuchsia. As you can see above, I've stuck with the 'boy' fabrics. First step ... piecing the background ...

I'm not usually an orange fan, but am having fun working with a different colour-way. Those bottom rows were joined earlier in the week and today was all about appliqué prep ...

I managed to get everything traced, ironed on, cut out, placed and ironed in place ... and then it just got too hot in the sewing room. But I have plans for tomorrow ... taking my appliqué, my sewing pouch, a supply of cold drinks and perhaps a DVD or two ... and heading to visit where my folks are house-sitting ... cos they have air-conditioning! Tee! Hee! Hee! It's something we really only go looking for on about three or four days each year ... otherwise we enjoy the heat. I know ... we're a bit odd! :0)

Hope you're all managing to find some time to create ... and keep cool if you're 'enjoying' our Aussie summer. :0) OPAM gals ... have you updated your sidebar lists and emailed your final December tally to Sweet Peg or me? CHOP! CHOP!! Get moving! :0) The end of the month is almost here ... which of course also marks the end of the YEAR! WHEW! I wonder where most of it went?! :0) It must be time to start writing out our "To Do" lists for 2014 ready for OPAM 2014 to start again at the end of January ... stay tuned for the announcement to hit my blog and that of my Sweet Partner-In-Crime, Sweet Peg. I'm SOOOOOOO happy that Sweet Peg is co-hosting OPAM with me again next year ... we make a pretty good team, I think! :0)

Right ... off to hit the shower before sprawling in front of the fan to sleep. Til next time ...



Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Gifties From France - SSCS 2013!!

Here we are on Boxing Day ... after a day of kicking-back and relaxing, eating WAY too much yummy food and catching up with the Inlaws and the Outlaws (that would be my family! Tee! Hee! Hee!) my Beloved Geek Boy and I are plonked in the lounge room enjoying the Aussie tradition of the Boxing Day Cricket Test. Cricket is the one sport I enjoy watching, so it's just another thing to love about summer. :0)

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas Day? I hope so! We didn't have much of a giftie exchange as such on the day ... but I DID get to finally enjoy my SSCS giftie from Florence. YAY! Do you remember this parcel that arrived a month ago ...

All of those little gifties tied together to tease me!!!! When I opened them up for Christmas I found I had been SPOILT!!!

Just look at all those goodies!! Florence must have been reading my blog and making a list of my favourite things ... cos she's included so many of them! :0) Do you see that GORGEOUS table mat/centrepiece at the back ... the colours are so sweet and look perfect in our shabby chic decorated lounge room. The stitching in the centre is so beautifully neat!! If you take a peek on the blue patch at the bottom right of the table mat, you'll see some sweet timber buttons just waiting for the perfect project to show them off. There's also a cute Eiffel Tower key ring there ... not only is Florence from France, she knows I love so much about France! :0) There's some lovely teabags ready for me to play Polly and enjoy them while I'm stitching - YUM! And look at that FABRIC!!! Oh Florence! You HAVE spoilt me!!! I'm going to make myself a simple tote bag with it to show off the GORGEOUS designs. It's a fabulous, heavy brocade type fabric, so will be perfect for carrying lots of sewing goodies when I run away from home for a sewing day. Then there's the FABULOUS monogram ready for me to stitch ... I think that will either be a pocket for my new tote or maybe the front flap of a special sewing project pouch to pop inside. OH!!!! I have been so SPOILT!!! Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOO much Florence!! You have been a wonderful secret Santa to me ... if I ever manage my dream of visiting France, I'll catch up with you to give you a big squooshy BEAR HUG in person!!! :0) MERCI MON AMI!!!

This year I was sending to Andrea in Cornwall (another part of the world I'd love to visit!!!) and yesterday (today?? She's behind me in time zones so not sure about that! :0) ) she unwrapped ...

... a Christmas wall hanging version of my stitched hearts design. I had so much fun stitching these hearts and LOVED how they looked with their cheerful red borders ... I hope that when Andrea hangs it in her home, she will enjoy the sentiments expressed in stitching ... PEACE, LOVE & JOY. There were also some chocolatey treats for Andrea that featured some sweet pictures of some of our Aussie native animals and some cute little Christmas card pegs that Andrea tells me will come in very handy because they ran out this year. Isn't it lovely to hear back from someone you've made a special gift for and know that they LOVE it! :0)

A HUGE thank you to the Hostess With The Mostest ... the very precious Miss Chookyblue and her Beautiful Assistant Googygirl for organising and hosting this fun Christmas swap this year. Chooky's SSCS was the very first swap I ever joined in blogland and although I've joined a few others in past years, my busy schedule has led me to the decision to only join one a year ... and this is the one I chose because it is always so well organised and run. We get lots of encouragement (and friendly nudges to get a move on! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and the people who join are so generous with their gifts and time. If Chooky decided (after 7 or 8 months to recover from this year!!!) that she will run it again next year ... I'll be signing up! :0) THANK YOU CHOOKY!!!

Right now I'm off to have a special Christmas cuppa ... GB has spoilt me with a White Choc Mocha ... MMMMMM!!! I'm sure there are some left over Christmas goodies to go with it. :0) What ever you're up to, however you celebrate this special time of the year, I hope you are managing to take some time out to relax, recharge your batteries and remind your family, friends and loved ones just how precious to you they are ... they're the best gifts in life, don't you agree?! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Is Coming ... TOMORROW!!

EEK!! How did that happen?! I'm sure there should be a few more days in there somewhere! But the calendar tells me that tomorrow is "C-Day". Boy, this year has flown by so fast!

I have to say that Christmas in the Meares' Madhouse is pretty low-key this year ... which is just what the doctor ordered. :0) But there have been some Christmas preparations ... cooking done, gifts sent ... and gifts received ... including this sweet gift from the Fabulous Fiona when we caught up for a pre-Christmas cuppa last week ...

Don't you just love this embroidered tea-towel!!! It's way too sweet and pretty to actually wipe dishes with, I think ... I'll have to find somewhere to display it artfully so it can be admired instead. :0)

Such a cute and quirky reindeer galloping across the bottom ... and so neatly stitched! Thank you Fiona ... I love receiving handmade gifties ... it means someone thinks I'm special enough to spend time making something for! :0)

Now ... although Christmas Day will be spent with both lots of parents at another venue ... ei. a lovely, breezy, cool outdoor area where my folks are house-sitting!! ... I DID get into the Christmas spirit a little this year and decorated the dining room. We don't have much room in our cluttered-but-cosy cottage to decorate, so I designated the dining room as Christmas Central this year. :0) It's a bit tricky to take good photos, but I did snap a couple to give you an idea ...

My folk art Christmas decorations have been scattered and hung around the room (most made for me by a friend using some of Kerryanne's older patterns). Oh ... and before you tell me my countdown Santa is wrong ... I took these pics a few days ago ... it was probably still wrong cos my friend Lynda hasn't been by to change it for me (Tee! Hee! Hee!) but it would have been CLOSER to being right. :0) Do you like our fairy lights? They go all round the top of the room and will be staying all year round, as they give a lovely soft, ambient light to this room. I'm hoping to get GB's help to do the same in the lounge room, too. Being short and having 11 foot ceilings, I need some help for that kind of job. :0)

This candle is one of my fave Christmas decorations ... a gift from the lovely Kerryanne a few Christmases ago. Oh ... if you'd like a Christmas giggle, pop across to her blog today to see what she's been up to in her kitchen. :0)

And since Christmas is a time of counting your blessings, being thankful and spending time with your loved ones and those people who play an important part in your life, I thought I'd share a photo of my dancing buddies and me when we went out for our annual Christmas family dinner ... my Dad calls us the Triple Trouble Trio ... I can't think WHY he would come up with that! ;0)

Aren't we GORGEOUS!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And since this will be my last post for a few days over Christmas, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your lovely support, well-wishes and friendship throughout this year. As I count my Christmas blessings, I feel very privileged and humbled to have so many wonderful people in my life. As you spend time celebrating Christmas this year, I hope you all are able to spend some special time with loved ones, family and friends as we celebrate the greatest gift ever given to us, the Reason for the Season ... the Lord Jesus ... given on that very first Christmas. May you know His peace and love this Christmas season. Til next time ...



Monday, 23 December 2013

Busy Little Bear ... & OPAM 2014!!

WOW!! Is anyone else feeling life they are standing still while the days go whizzing by??? This last week has been a whirlwind of Christmas events ... morning teas, carols night, lunches, dinners, suppers, BBQ's with neighbours ... EEP! While it's all be very nice, it would have been nicer spaced out over about three weeks, I think ... I can count on one hand how many meals we've eaten at home this week ... oh ... wait ... that's not necessarily a BAD thing, right?! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'm rather relieved to say that my Beloved Geek Boy and I are now both starting a two week break from our respective work ... AAAAAAH! It will feel good to stop and take a breath ... and perhaps eat Vegemite toast or boiled eggs for a few days so our tummies recover from Christmas-goodies-overload! :0)

HOWEVER ... in the midst of all this pre-Christmas madness, I have been a very busy little bear and thought I'd share a few pics with you to prove it. All of my sewing has been giftie-related, but if I don't say who's getting what, it will still be a surprise on Christmas day, right?! :0)  Now ... I HAVE been busy and it HAS been a while since I've caught up here, so it may be a long post, so grab a cuppa and get comfy ... sorry Chookyblue!! :0) Here goes ...

I can tell you who this was for, as I've delivered it ... the lovely Marion has a December birthday and since I know she's always writing herself notes, I made her a pretty notebook cover. The fabrics will match a couple of other items I've made for Marion in the last couple of years. Next ...

 ... a pretty strip-pieced notebook cover ... it's been posted but not opened yet, so no telling. :0) ... next ...

... a bauble bag ... a pretty drawstring bag to store delicate, vintage or breakable Christmas baubles. The stitchery is one I finished during our recent trip to Mackay ... see ... I DID do some stitching! :0) It is a Gail Pan Christmas stitchery from a few years ago. This one hasn't made it to the sleigh yet, as I'm held up waiting for a snail mail address ... late for this Christmas or early for next ... VERY early! Tee! Hee! Hee!  Next ...

... a cheeky monkey made from a Melly and Me pattern, "Magoo". If you've been visiting me for a while, you may remember I made a barrel of these monkeys a few years ago for some of the nieces and nephews. Well, I dusted off the pattern again to make another. Let me tell you ... this little critter may LOOK cute in his funky dinosaur boardies ...

 ... but when you take a closer look at his cheeky face ...

... you just KNOW he's thinking up some mischief to get into. And sure enough ...

... I turned my back for a moment and he was hanging from the curtains!!! I shan't tell you the words I used when trying to stitch his long monkey arms and legs in ... they were NOT polite! I am sure this cheeky critter was hanging on to the desk, the sewing machine and anything on my sewing table he could reach ... and we will also NOT mention the wrapping process!!! I hope he will be well loved by my sweet youngest nephew who will be receiving him in two days time. 

I also finished two ... count 'em ... TWO purple butterfly quilts that I'd shared a few sneaky peekies of a while ago. One was a commission from my Mum's neighbour to give her daughter for Christmas ... which I forgot to take a photo of!! It was posted off and will hopefully be loved. The second was a bit more special. You see ... while I was making the commissioned quilt, my good friend Lynda admired the colours and the appliquéd butterflies - she is such a pink/purple/butterfly girl!! -  so with the left over purples, a few more for good measure, some cutting, sewing and appliqué stitching, I made her a special combined birthday/Christmas gift ...

... a purple quilt all of her own! ...

Ta da!! A stacked coin quilt covered in fluttering appliquéd butterflies. A friend tells me I should write up the pattern for this one, as the dimensions and butterflies are of my making and design ... still thinking on that one! :0) This quilt (and the other purple butterfly quilt, too) has been quilted by my incredibly talented quilting buddy, the Fabulous Fiona. If you click on the photo and take a closer look, you'll see she's free motion quilted some sweet 'doodle' butterflies all over the quilt. I LOVE it!! I'm going to have to make a quilt so she can use this quilting design for me, too! :0) Thanks Fiona!!!

But moving along with my story ... I invited Lynda over for a cuppa to hand over her giftie ...

This pic was already a little blurry thanks to an unsteady photographer (and that was without any 'Christmas cheer' affecting me!!!) so I played a bit in Photoshop so it's now 'artistic' ... sort of! Tee! Hee! Hee! Ready for the reveal ...

If that big grin is any indication ... I think she liked it! :0) Lynda and I have known each other for 10 years now and just like a butterfly adds splashes of joy and colour to a garden, Lynda adds splashes of joy and colour to my life ... thanks for being a good friend, Lynda! And here's to lots more years of lunches and cuppas! :0)

Right ... I think that's it for my list of what I've been up to ... I TOLD you I'd been a busy bear, right?! :0) Now for some exciting news for you gals who have been playing along with Sweet Peg and I with OPAM. We've had a chat, we've umm-ed and aah-ed ... and...


Yes ... my sweet partner-in-crime, Sweet Peg and I will again be hosting the One Project A Month challenge in 2014. Now ... sign up won't be until the END of JANUARY ... but since a few of you have been asking us what's happening, we thought we'd let you know so you can start planning your "To Do" list for next year. We all have a LOOOOOOOONG one of those, right?! :0) Maybe a few New Years' resolutions to FINISH some projects????

For those of you who haven't joined the fun of OPAM before, or who may have joined us a few years ago and have had a little break ... maybe you'd like to play along in 2014. It's a great way to stay motivated to FINISH projects and it's a gentle nudge to ourselves to take a bit of time our of busy schedules just for ourselves, to recharge the batteries and let our creative juices flow. If you think you might be interested, pop back HERE to last year's sign up post and have a read of the guidelines. It's a very low-stress challenge and a lovely way for us all to be encouraged to be creative. Sweet Peg and I will both do a post updating the guidelines when sign up opens, so stay tuned! :0)

And if you HAVE been playing along with us this year ... don't forget to update your sidebar lists with your finishes for December!! I know it's a busy time of year (Believe me I KNOW!!!) but if you update your list as you finish a project, you don't have to stress about forgetting at the end of the month. Sweet Peg and I both love to see the GORGEOUS projects you have all been creating and are excited to be co-hosting OPAM again in 2014 ... hope you'll join us again to be 'repeat offenders'! :0)

But right now ... I think I've earned a cup of tea, so I'm off to play Polly, before heading back into my sewing room ... I'll share what I'm working on next time, I promise. :0) Have a fantastic week and don't stress TOO much about Christmas preparations that you forget to ENJOY this special time of year. Til next time ...



Sunday, 15 December 2013

Spoilt By Blogging Buddies!!

I know it's the time of year where the postie ends up with a hernia from the bucket-loads of mail he has to deliver and the parcel-delivery-bloke strains his shoulder from hurling parcels over fences (yes ... our parcel-delivery-bloke HAS been known to do this!!) but I was blown away to receive two FABULOUS parcels this week from two of my GORGEOUS blogging buddies.

The first to arrive was a large heavy box from Miss Red Boots Toni ...

Don't you love that wrapping paper ... I wonder if I can find some FABRIC in that design. :0) And my 'beary' cute assistant was a gift from Toni a couple of Christmases ago, too. And since the card on that parcel had my name on ... I opened it! :0)

WOW!! A light pad! It's pretty flash and I can't wait to try it out ... it's nice and light to move, but not too bulky to store ... perfect! And Toni knows that I've been waiting for my Beloved Geek Boy to make me a light box ... for some time now!! And that my current tracing arrangement is less than ideal ... a desk lamp turned on its side under a plastic storage tub! :0) This will be less adventurous ... but MUCH safer and easier to use!! :0) THANK YOU TONI!!!

Then later in the week, the parcel-delivery-bloke came back for another visit and left a parcel from my OPAM partner-in-crime, Sweet Peg ...

Talk about 
"... brown paper packages tied up with string ... these are a few of my favourite things."

Under the brown paper I found ...

... a sweet storage box with two love-struck cute owls on top. This will be perfect for storing some of my sewing goodies. But wait ... there was MORE!!

It was like one of those Matryoshka dolls ... open it up and there's more inside! There was a box of yummy chocolates (Sweet Peg knows I love Lindt choccies!!), a sweet-smelling cake of vanilla scented soap, a GORGEOUS little depression glass dish (a passion Sweet Peg and I share!!), a cute little thread catcher and matching sewing pouch. But wait there was MORE!! Inside the sewing pouch was a packet of cute laser cut timber buttons, some threads and an unpicker (uh oh!!). Sweet Peg has even included a couple of needles to keep me stitching. On the front of the sewing pouch ...

... another pretty timber button. HOW SPOILT AM I!! To my gorgeous blogging buddy ... THANK YOU, SWEET PEG!!! 

I feel so very blessed, not just to have been spoilt with GORGEOUS gifties, but also to be spoilt with fabulous friendships that have come about through blogging. To find like-minded people that you can chat with is wonderful ... to find like-minded people who just 'get' you, and to be able to form strong, lasting friendships is a huge BLESSING! :0)

Right ... I'm off to play Polly to make myself a cuppa before I kick back to enjoy an episode of "Escape To The Country" ... love those character cottages of the UK!! :0) I've been hard at work helping Santa this weekend, so I think I've earned a little rest. I promise to be back soon with some sneaky peekies of what I've been making for Christmas gifties. Hope you've all had a productive and enjoyable weekend and that as we count down to "C-Day" you have time to reflect on the Reason For The Season, not just the busy-ness of it all. Til next time ...



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Chasing Summer & OPAM Winners

Hellooooooo!!! Here I am ... back again and doing a bit of a "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" impersonation. You see ... my Beloved Geek Boy had to make a trip to Mackay at the end of last week and since it's our favourite place to spend some time ... we juggled the budget and I made the trip with him. Gotta love a quick weekend to the tropics when you're a summer gal like I am! :0) Only slight drawback was getting a wee bit sunburnt whilst enjoying that tropical summer ... OOPS! :0)

Friday was a 'work' day for GB, but I spent it sittin' and stitchin' ... forgot to include a photo of that ... but I promise I really did quite a lot of stitching! :0) Saturday saw me make a bee-line to one of two of my fave destinations when we're in Mackay ... Needleworx! :0) You had to guess it would be a fabric shop, right?! Despite my best intentions, a few fabrics followed me home ...

Some pretties from Lynette Anderson's range Secret Garden. I could have happily adopted more of this pretty range ... it's the shabby palette I like to play with for my own projects just for ME ... but the budget said NO! SIGH!!! And a couple of white tone-on-tone prints to use for stitchery backgrounds ... a bit hard to see the patterns on these, but they're there ... really! :0)

The rest of Saturday was spent catching up with GB's aunt and uncle who live on a very pretty property just south of Mackay. It's always lovely to catch up with them, but the best bit ... they have heaps of MANGO trees! :0)  Let's just say we managed to find room in our bags to bring a few home ... YUM!!

Sunday was our last day in the tropics for this visit and we decided to play tourist ... we went for a bit walk along one of the beautiful local beaches ... left the phone in the car, so no pics ... Oops! Mind you ... me with my skirt tucked up to paddle through the incoming tide is probably NOT one of my better looks for photos! Tee! Hee! Hee! We then headed back into town for lunch and a walk along the river boardwalk which was when I got a wee bit sunburnt ... note to self: remember the sunscreen next visit! :0) ...

We stopped to take in the view under one of the shaded areas along the way ... it's a great set up with tables for picnics etc, plus it runs behind one of the main shopping centres, so if you rent one of the many units along the river, shopping is just a healthy and easy walk away ... kind of glad Toowoomba doesn't have a river to build a similar walkway, cos with all our hills ... I do NOT want to walk home carrying groceries! Tee! Hee! You can see GB contemplating the Pioneer River and one of the bridges that cross it ... to the right in the background, you see examples of "old" and "new" ... one of the town's historic church towers beside a block of modern units.

We caught the last plane out of the airport at Mackay for the day, back to Brisbane, then made the car trip home ... which took longer than usual due to roadworks after roadworks after ROADWORKS!!! SHEESH!! I don't think there are many roads in south east QLD NOT being worked on at the moment!!! Late arrival home and we were expected to be grown ups and go to work yesterday ... I am SO not qualified to be a grown up! :0) 

And now ... I am playing catch up with the OPAM prize draw for November. I have to confess that I had forgotten that it was my turn to do the draw ... OOPS! :0) So I've revisited our OPAM spreadsheet ... thanks to my gorgeous Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg for assisting beautifully with the bloghopping, as always!  Also thanks to those gals who took the time to email tallies to me or Sweet Peg ... very much appreciated! :0) And WOW!! You OPAMers have been busy little bees during November with a our biggest tally for the year so far ...

683 Finishes!!

WOO! HOO!! I think we're all busily stitching for Christmas. :0) Well done to all who had finishes ... was very relieved to be amongst that group this month cos there were LOTS of things on my "To Do" list before Christmas rolls around!!! And if you didn't get to add any finishes to your tally, but managed to make a bit of progress on a long-term project or two ... you deserve a pat on the back too. :0) After letting loose the randomness, the prize winners for November are ...

Congratulations, gals! Email me with your snail mail addresses and I'll be popping a little something in the mail for you ... as soon as I get myself organised! :0)

And that's about it from me for now. This post was supposed to go up last night, but my laptop decided to go on strike and randomly shut itself down ... GRRRRRR!!! Happy enough now, though ... I shan't say anything about computers being male and only working when they feel like it ... really I won't! :0) Hope your week is off to a fantastic start and that there's lots of stitching involved, along with time spent with family and friends ... that's the most important part of this time of year, right?! :0) Til next time ...



Saturday, 30 November 2013

Santa Stitching Update!

I KNOW!!! Two posts in one day ... you'd better brace yourselves! Tee! Hee! Hee! This is really just a quick pop-in to give a stitching update.

First stitching update ... in my post earlier today, I showed you the sweet stitched heart ornament I received as part of my SSCS parcel from Florence ...

Isn't is cute?! Well ... my original OPAM partner-in-crime, the lovely (and clever!!) May Britt left me a comment to tell me this stitchery was designed by HER and is available on her blog as a free give away! Wow! Well done May Britt and thank you for generously sharing your creativity ... so that I received a sweet Christmas surprise from Florence after she stitched your sweet design! :0) If you'd like to stitch a version of this for yourself, pop across and say G'day to May Britt and download her sweet stitchery. Don't forget to say THANK YOU!!!

Second stitchery update ... it's been an overcast, rainy day here on top of our 'hill', so what's a girl to do but STITCH! :0) With a long list of Christmas stitching to motor through in the next couple of weeks, it was just a matter of where to start.

... so I traced and started stitching a sweet little Christmas birdie. This is a lovely stitchery designed by Gail Pan a Christmas (or two??) ago and available through her blog. Make sure you say 'Thank You' if you start stitching this little cutey, too. :0)

OK ... time to take a break from stitching and hit the kitchen to find something yummy to cook for dinner. Hmmm ... why is it that coming up with WHAT to cook every day is the trickiest part of being Chief Cook?! Enjoy your weekend ... Til next time ...



Santa Speaks French!


That's what my Secret Santa will probably be saying this Christmas season ... cos my Secret Santa is FRENCH! :0)

My SSCS parcel arrived on my front verandah this week with Christmas greetings from the lovely Florence. Now you KNOW how excited I get about parcels!! Well ... I got SO excited that I forgot to take a photo of BOTH SSCS parcels before unwrapping the ornament ... OOPS! :0) I really am a big kid at heart! Tee! Hee! Hee! So ... when I opened the ornament parcel from Florence, I found ...

... stars and snowmen stitched around an appliqué heart! How COOL! Oops! Get it ... cool ... SNOWmen ... never mind! :0) I just LOVE this sweet Christmas heart ... Florence has done such lovely neat stitching and the variegated thread colours match the red highlights in my lounge room ... where it is now happily hanging to bring Christmas cheer. Hmmm ... in fact ... since it's not overly Christmassy ... I might just leave it on display all year round to add a splash of red ... and perhaps to remind me to keep Christmas in my heart all year round. :0) Thank you Florence!!

The other part of my parcel looked a bit like this ...

... actually ... it looked EXACTLY like this! :0) OOOHH!! Lots of little gifties all tied together to tempt me before Christmas Day!!! I might have to get someone to hide this pile of presents away so I'm not tempted to join the "Naughty" list! :0) 

I only join one swap a year these days ... too much else on my plate and I don't want to let people down by missing deadlines! ... and the reason I chose the SSCS as my yearly swap is because it is the best-run swap I've ever been part of. Thank you, Chookyblue, for your hard work in coordinating and organising this fun swap every year. I know you're super busy, too, so it is even more special that you keep finding the time to bring some Christmas swap cheer to blogland! :0) Big thanks, too, to Googygirl for very ably assisting Chooky this year. Organising swaps and challenges is a lot of work ... just ask my Sweet OPAM Partner-In-Crime, Sweet Peg!! :0) ... so a big thank you goes to you both for this year's SSCS organisation. Hope Santa brings you both lots of goodies this year ... no matter what language YOUR Santa might speak! :0)

Okey doke ... I'm off to be like Santa when he's ... "Making a list and checkin' it twice!" My pre-Christmas "To Do" list just keeps on growing to the point where it can't just be a mental list any more ... gotta write it down so I don't forget things! :0) Speaking of Christmas lists ... my blogging buddy Kerryanne over at Shabby Art Boutique is hosting her "Simply Christmas" again this year ... and she is one super-list-writer! :0) If you're keen to get organised for a handmade, home-baked, simplified Christmas, make sure you head on over to visit Kerryanne to see what Christmas tips, tricks, goodies and projects she has for you.

Also on the list theme ... OPAM gals ... HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR SIDEBAR LISTS????? Yep ... the end of the month is upon us again and Sweet Peg and I will be checking our emails for your updated tally and bloghopping around in the next couple of days, so please update your sidebar list and send a quick email to Sweet Peg or me to let us know how busy you've been in your sewing room for November.

Hope you're all having a wonderful start to your weekend and that you're managing to cross a few things off the ol' "To Do" list. I'm not even going to THINK about the countdown to Christmas and how few days I have left to get organised ... EEK!!! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Parcels On Santa's Sleigh!!

That count-down clock to the day the fat, jolly man in red visits us is well on its' downhill run ... EEK!!! I'm still firmly in denial, but HAVE had a little chat with Santa to get my SSCS gifties on his sleigh and on their way to ... UH, UH, AAH!!! I'm not saying! One of those "S" in that title stands for "secret", so I dare not reveal the unsuspecting recipient ... I'm too scared of Hostess with the Mostest, Chookyblue! She might chase me with her whip! Tee! Hee! Hee! Let's just say that these parcels ...

... are taking a trip overseas and will be landing on someone's doorstep soon, ready to help them get in the Christmas mood.

HUGE thanks to Chookyblue and her co-organiser Googygirl for organising and coordinating the 2013 SSCS. With my time being squeezed with work, designing commitments and family time, ESPECIALLY at this time of the year, I made the decision a few years ago to only join ONE swap a year ... and SSCS is IT, because it is always so well organised and run. Thanks, Chooky!!!

And now ... it's time to keep a date with my poor neglected pillow. I hope your week is clicking along nicely and that you're managing to cross some things off your "To Do" list too. Ooh ... OPAM gals ... only a few days of November left, so please update your sidebar lists and email your tally of finishes to me or my Sweet Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. And don't forget to remember to stop ... take a breath ... take some time out for YOU ... and have FUN!!!! :0) Til next time ...



Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Back On Deck ... FINALLY!!

AAARRRR! Avast ye lily-livered landlubbers! Cap'n Kris is back on deck! :0) No ... really ... I'm not delirious ... just a bit sleep-deprived ... but happy to be feeling MUCH better than a fortnight ago when I last checked in. Let's just say my summer cold turned out to be the lurgy-from-hell ... SHEESH!

However ... I'm back to firing on almost all cylinders, so I thought I'd better catch up with my blogging buddies. As well as being unwell over the last couple of weeks, there's been heaps going on with my day-job, so I haven't had a lot of time to stitch, but I DID manage to finish the Christmas wall hanger I showed you a sneaky peeky of a while ago ... wanna see?! :0)

TA DA! "Christmas Greetings" with a sack of gifties on Santa's sleigh. Hmm  ... I've just realised that I took this photo a bit early ... afterwards, I sewed some sweet rusty bells to the points of the bunting on the bottom edge of the hanger, so it now tinkles in the breeze blowing down our hallway. I've started planning a companion project for this Christmas sweetie, but have to get my SSCS gifties happening first or Chookyblue will be after me with her whip! :0) I'm already a week or so behind on my "To Do" list ... SIGH! Busy few days coming up for me, I think. :0)

Another special thing that's happened in the last little while was my Beloved Geek Boy and I being presented with a special gift. You see, one of the lovely ladies who lives in the retirement village where I work is a very clever artist. Some time ago, I was admiring an ink sketch she did of the original farm house that  once stood where our village is now and commented that I'd love something similar of OUR Federation style cottage. Well ... she agreed to get her pencils and ink out again!! :0) Here's the result ...

The artist, Ivy, holding the sketch after I had it framed. Didn't she do a FANTASTIC job!! I feel very privileged to have this hanging on my wall now. It's especially precious to me as this lovely lady is very unwell. Isn't it a nice thought that we can leave little pieces of ourselves with people through our creative pursuits. Something we quilters and stitchers know very well. :0)

Well ... there's been lots more happening (in between feeling truly icky!!) but right now I can hear the kettle calling my name, so I'm off to play Polly. I big thank you to those of you who've been checking up on me via email and calls ... your care and friendship are VERY much appreciated! :0) Hope you've all been keeping well during my hiatus and I'll look forward to catching up with you all. I hope to be back soon with more updates and adventures. Enjoy the rest of your week! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Miserable Summer Cold!!

What's worse than having an icky cold? Having an icky SUMMER cold! GRRRRRRR!!! I know it's not quite summer, but there's just something miserable about being sick when the weather is warm. SIGH! I have stuff to share, stuff to show you, but right now I'm just ... STUFFED UP!! :0(

So for now I'm drinking lots of juice, popping cold tablets and hoping to kill this sucker as quickly as possible so I can come back and chat to you all. Hope your week is a little less filled with sneezes, coughs, tissues and cold tablets. Til next time ...



PS I'm finding that the glare from the computer screen is making my head feel like it's going to fall off ... which at this point would be a bit of a blessing really!! But ... it may take me a few days to answer emails and comments ... I hope you'll forgive my tardiness! ;0) BH!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Spot Of Light Reading!

I know ... two posts in two days! Be still my beating heart! :0) I just thought I'd pop in quickly to recommend a bit of light reading to you all.

A little while ago, my blogging buddy and fellow craft designer, Jenny Reynolds from Elefantz invited me to be her featured designer in the November issue of her e-mag "Elefantz Home". I was rather chuffed, I have to say! :0) And the exciting bit is ... the November issue is now available ... YAY!!

This is a special "Girls, Girls, Girls" issue with lots of pretty, girly projects to stitch, as well as  ...

... a chance for you to find out some things about me that you may not already know ... does that sound nice and mysterious?! :0) I had a lot of fun answering the list of questions Jen sent me ... and since you all know I CAN'T manage to write a little bit when I can write a lot ... Tee! Hee! Hee! ... poor Jen's eyeballs were probably bleeding by the time she worked her way through it all! :0) 

I was fortunate enough to get to catch up with Jen in 'real life' last year when my Beloved Geek Boy and I were holidaying up north and Jen fed us a yummy home made soup lunch ...

We had a lovely time chatting away ... poor GB just nodded and smiled and ate his soup! Tee! Hee! Hee! If you'd like to add some of Jen's designs to your "To Do" list and take a peek at the feature on yours truly, you can get a copy of the November issue of "Elefantz Home" for your very own self by going HERE. You might want to make yourself a cuppa and get comfy first, though! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Whatever you're up to this week, I hope you enjoy the last day of the month of October tomorrow ... watch out for all the faeries who are about tomorrow on All Hallows' Eve ... it's one of their travelling days, you know! :0) OPAM gals ... have you emailed Sweet Peg or me and updated your sidebar list?? Don't forget! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Christmas Peek!

Lots of storms rumbling around the top of our 'hill' today, and although there's been lots of whippy wind and a few brief showers, so far it's "All talk no action". :0) Not that I'm looking to have wild storms ... but a good bit of rain would be welcome, as everything is so very dry.

So ... what's a gal to do on a dreary, overcast afternoon? Head to the sewing room of course! :0) And I'm pretty happy to report that I'm ALMOST finished a new Christmas pattern sample. Wanna take a sneaky peeky?

Some stitching, some appliqué, some perle thread-quilting and some yummy Christmas fabrics. I've used some of Lynette Anderson's cute Christmas range "Candy Cane Angel". I got my pretties at my "Home-Away-From-Home", but for those not lucky enough to be near the Quilters Angel, Lynette still has some fabric bundles listed on her website HERE.

Tonight I'll be settling back in front of a DVD or two to stitch the binding down ... and add a few other little bits of "BLING" to my Christmas hanger. Then will come the task of writing the instructions ... BLECH!! I'll also be designing a companion project before the pattern for this project is ready to release. I keep telling myself it will be ready for Christmas ... but 'Self' has not said WHICH Christmas! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Hope you're all having a great week so far and that there's some stitching in your schedule. OPAM gals ... don't forget ... it's almost THAT time of the month again when my Sweet Partner-In-Crime, Sweet Peg, and I start collecting finish tallies, so update those sidebar lists and email one of us with your total. But right now ... I'm off to play Polly. I bet you guessed that's what I was going to say! :0) Til next time ...



Saturday, 26 October 2013

Computers ... GGRRRRRRRR!!

Wasted almost an hour of potential sewing time this morning arguing with my iPhone about updates, passwords, accounts, user names and other techo stuff!!!! AAAAAARRRGGHHHH!!! I don't think I'm cut out to live in this technological age!!! I'm going to boil the non-password-protected kettle and have a calming cup of tea before I go and play with fabric. Hope your weekend is off to a less frustrating start! Til next time ...



Sunday, 20 October 2013

It's Not Easy Being Green ... Or Purple!!

That's got you wondering, hasn't it?! :0) Truth be told, this post is just a bit of random catching up ... it suddenly occurred to me that it has been a week since I popped in to say g'day to my blogging buddies, so I'd better let you know I'm still here ... I'm still here! Tee! Hee! Hee! So ... what have I been up to this week?

The highlight of my week was a bit impromptu, which involved some quick rescheduling. My Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette rang to see if I wanted to go to the Craft Show in Brisbane, as she had Friday off this week. Hmmm ... play date with my bestest-buddy ... HECK YEAH!! :0) So off we went  adventuring.

Now I must start by saying that I was being VERY good ... hadn't bought ANYTHING ... until Lynette wanted to return to a stand to get a couple of little Christmas kits ... and it was right next to Wacky Jacky's GORGEOUS range of batik fabrics in every colour, shade and style you can think of ... UH OH!! :0)

I was still FAIRLY good ... only two yummy pieces of green batik fabric came home with me. In fact ... I spent more for the ticket to get into the show and parking than I did AT the show!!

So after doing the rounds ... and a repeat trip back to the stalls that most grabbed our attention, Lynette and I decided we still had some time up our sleeves ... so we went off to explore a little and found ourselves at one of our fave antique shops in Sherwood ... FANCY THAT! Tee! Hee! Hee! Now, it just happened to start bucketing down rain as we arrived so we HAD to take refuge in the shop for an hour or so! At least ... that's what we told the husbands! Tee! Hee! Hee!

There were lots of treasures to enjoy peeking at ... its one of those shops where you have to open all the cupboards and drawers cos there are items stashed everywhere. Once again, I was FAIRLY good ... it was one of those fortnights where the bills had taken most of the play money so really, I HAD to be good! :0) But I did manage to find some sweet new treasures to bring home ...

The set of four green glasses followed me home. I'm not sure that they are actual Depression Glass, which Lynette and I both collect, but they were the same green tone and I liked the frosted stripe on the bottom of them. As it turns out, they look very nice when displayed with my find from a few weeks ago ...

Here's a closer look at one of my new glasses and the little jug. I'm pretty sure it IS Depression Glass, but I'd not seen anything like it before ... it has a herringbone type pattern etched into it, which ends with some flowers and an arch sort of pattern begin ... it's a bit challenging to get a good photo to show it up. It's also frosted, so goes nicely with the new glasses.

Apart from adventuring with Lynette, my week included quite a bit of stitching and some machine sewing ... some I can't share cos they're Secret Squirrel projects, but I can say that I have finished the top of the purple stacked coin quilt I've been working on ...

There's a bit of a saga with this quilt ... when I agreed to make it for Mum's friend, the agreement was just for the stacked coin quilt ... no hand stitching/appliqué. When I told my darling Mum that the quilt was to be plain her comment was ... "Oh ... really? It would look so much nicer with just a little bit of appliqué." SIGH! So I added a couple of butterflies to the top border. Mum's response? "Oh ... it still looks a little bare, don't you think? Maybe you could add a few more butterflies! SIGH!!!!!! I love my Mum, really I do!! Even if she was determined to create more work for me!  :0)  Stop sniggering Toni and Marion!! This photo shows the butterflies in place, just not stitched around ... I've since finished the blanket stitching, just haven't managed to get a decent photo. This will give you an idea of how it turned out, though. So it's now ready to be put into the capable and clever hands of my favourite quilter ... the Fabulous Fiona. :0) We're hoping to catch up for a play date this week, so I shall hand it over then.

Well ... I think that's about it from me ... except to tell you that Marion and Steph have released a few more details about Girls' Stitch In in March ... hop over to their blog to see who the designers will be, the theme and dates. Let me just say ... we're going to have a MERRY time! :0) If you want to come and play with up, you'd better book quickly ... places are limited and I know they've already started to be booked. And now ... I'm off to play Polly and do a bit more Secret Squirrel Stitching ... or maybe I should say ... Secret SANTA Stitching! :0) Hope your weekend has been a blast and that your week if FANTASTIC!! Til next time ...



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