Wednesday 23 July 2014

Doing My Block ... S !!!

Nah ... I'm not REALLY 'doing my block ... it just seemed like a catchy way to introduce what I've been up to! :0) Hmmm ... in a complete sidetrack ... it occurs to me that "doing your block" is a very Aussie term ... right up there with "chuckin' a tantie", or "chuckin' a wobbly". Translation: getting rather cross, perhaps involving the ranting and raving of the block doer and/or foot stamping. :0) Does that clarify our Aussie peculiarities? :0)

So ... this post involves no ranting, raving or stamping. It DOES involve blocks. Are you confused yet? So am I frequently ... especially when it comes to patchwork blocks and quilting ... but whilst cruising around Pinterest (... and around ... and around ... and around ... oops! There goes an hour or two! Tee! Hee! Hee!) I came across a photo of a quilt block that seemed simple enough for me to tackle. It involved 5" charm squares ... hmmm ... I had a small stash of those in my sewing cupboard. It needed a low-volume contrast fabric ... hmmm ... I had several metres of white homespun that I'd been given. Two checks on the list. Add to that the fact that I was suffering severe sewing withdrawal symptoms after a month of keeping the sewing room neat for open house sessions ... do you see a big light bulb going on?! :0)

I pinned that block pic (so I knew where to find that sucker again ... the beauty of Pinterest!) and followed it back to a nice simple run-down of how to achieve said block ... HERE.

Then it was full steam ahead into the sewing room ... YAY!! It was like embracing an old friend after a long separation. :0) In a short amount of time I was ready to start ...

... a pile of white squares and a pile of pre-cut charm squares. Step two ... play matchmaker with these two piles ...

... a bit of chain piecing on my trusty Husky ... aaaah!! Back in the saddle! :0)

... some seam-pressing. I seem to remember being told that seams should be pressed to one side, not open, but I could just see myself getting into all sorts of messes when it came to further slices and seams, so I pressed them open. Next step ...

... join the pairs ... now comes the fun part ...

... with ruler and rotary cutter, cut through the block an inch from both sides of each axis. Then we play "spin the bottle" ... patchworkingly speaking! This is a "PG" rated bog, after all!! :0)

... rotate all the smaller pieces 180 degrees and stitch 'em back together ...

Ta Da! A finished block! I love that it LOOKS like I've been incredibly patient, cutting and joining small pieces, when really it all started with four simple squares. Cool, huh?! I know ... small things amuse small minds. :0) But I sure have been having some fun with these addictive little blocks ...

Here's my tally so far. I really love the pretty blues, reds and yellows against the fresh white. I'm not sure how this quilt will turn out ... I'm toying with a few ideas to finish it off. But first, there'll be more block-doing to be done ... if you see what I mean! :0)

So ... what's been happening in YOUR sewing room? Have you made something that you've found inspiration for on Pinterest? I'd love to hear about it! :0) But right now ... I bet you can guess what I'm going to say next ... yep! I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on for a before-bed cup of tea. Hope the tail end of your week wags with happiness! :0) Til next time ...



P.S. Thank you to all you lovelies who've left congratulations and compliments on our house selling/buying. It's been fun to share our new adventure with you all and I promise to keep you all updated. :0) Bear Hugs! KRIS xx

Saturday 19 July 2014

Ducks In A Row!!

FINALLY!!!!! All of those pesky, frisky ducks are in a row. :0) I shared with you last week that we'd sold our cosy cottage ... well ... after a VERY stressful, frustrating week of more hoop-jumping and duck-lining-up ... the contract on our NEW home went unconditional at about 4:30pm on Friday afternoon ... PHEW!! For a while there we weren't sure we'd have a house to move into, but after lots of finger-crossing and many prayers ... we have our DREAM HOME! WOO! HOO!!

Now, it will, of course, be a while before I can give you a tour of it, but I thought you'd all enjoy seeing a quick pic of our new house ... since you've all been tagging along on the journey with us. :0) This is the first pic I saw of the house when I was aimlessly cruising real estate sites  ... it was the start of a new love affair! Tee! Hee! Hee!

It's a little ways out of town on an acre of pretty cottage gardens, peaceful lawns and tall gum trees and it really is our dream house ... not only because it's GORGEOUS and somewhere we want to live, but it also has a few home-based-business possibilities for the future. So, you can imagine that once we had a chance to take a breath and shake off the waiting-on-banks stress ... there has been some ...

... Snoopy-style Happy Dancing going on here at the Meares' Madhouse! :0) A huge thank you to all of you who have left encouraging comments and well-wishes for us during this process ... these and the wonderful support of our family, friends and work colleagues have helped us through some of the stress and worry of the last couple of months. I know we've still got the packing, cleaning, moving stuff to wade through ... but it sure is EXCITING to be taking a giant step towards achieving some of our long-held dreams. I promise to share a house tour once we're all moved in and settled. :0)

But for right now, my Beloved Geek Boy and I have decided that this weekend is the breath-catching break that we both need, so after running a few errands this morning, we're kicking back in front of the heater (did I mention that it's FREAKING FREEZING here on top of our 'hill' at the moment!!!!). I'm hoping to thaw out enough to head into my sewing room tomorrow to make a bit more progress on some blocks I'm playing with ... I'll be back soon to share some pics of those. Now, though, I think I'll go and play Polly and pop the kettle on for a warming, soothing cup of tea. What is everyone else up to this weekend? Hope there's some breath-catching time in there for you, too. :0) Til next time ...



Sunday 13 July 2014

A Picture Paints 1000 Words!!

Well ... actually ... it really only needs to paint ONE word ...

Yes ... our cosy Federation style cottage that has been home for the last 11 years will soon be someone else's home, as we took another giant step towards achieving our 'dream house' move. And boy oh boy ... was it a NERVE-WRACKING experience!! There we were, tucked up inside where we could hear the auction proceedings in our side yard but not be seen. When the auctioneer couldn't get an opening bid, we nearly passed out in the lounge room!! Then when bidding stalled at a much-too-low price, we nearly had conniptions again ... not to mention that the mother-in-law who was with us nearly had to have an oxygen mask applied. :0) However ... at the end of the day, that one-word red sticker went onto the signs and its over to the mortgage broker and financial adviser to work the final magic to make our move a reality. PHEW!!

So ... as you can imagine, there hasn't been much stitching happening over the weekend here at the Meares' Madhouse. I DID make some good progress on a new stitchery project on Friday when the Fabulous Fiona came to sit and stitch with me in front of the heater, but no stitching Saturday or Sunday. However ... I thought you might enjoy it if I shared some of the pics of our cottage as you've never seen it before ... NEAT and TIDY! Tee! Hee! Hee! Ready for the ten cent tour??

You always start at the front gate, right? So come on in ...

First stop ... the guest room featuring our restored brass bed, an ex-hospital basket cradle and just on the right hand edge you can see my Thumbelina spinning wheel. Yes ... I DO know how to spin wool ... unfortunately I could never perfect the spinning straw into gold trick, or we'd have had NO worries in buying our 'dream house'! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Next stop ... my creative cave AKA the sewing room. I love this cornflower blue ... it is such a restful colour and my sewing room has been my haven. You can see I have gathered many of my treasures in here ... a rescued cupboard that was given a shabby-chic makeover, a painting (near the window) and blackboard both created by my clever clogs blogging buddy Kerryanne English of Shabby Art Boutique, the pretty white cast iron table and chairs my Beloved Geek boy gave me one birthday and a quirky appliqué bunny quilt made by another of my clever clogs blogging buddies (I seem to collect them! Tee! Hee! Hee!) the quirky and talented Toni Alexander of The Red Boot Quilt Co. Never fear ... there is a room earmarked to become my creative cave in the new house. :0) Moving down the hall way we come to ...

... the office. I have a confession to make ... this room didn't usually look like this during our time here ... let's just say that if something didn't have a home, it went into the office. We were all quite amazed at the size of it once we shovelled out the flotsam and jetsam. :0) Do you have a room like that??? And it finally gave me a chance to set up the single cast iron bed I was given quite a few years ago. I have plans to turn it into a day bed in the new house, but it was fun to dress it up with a blue and white blanket, red and white pillows and my "Holiday In Paris" quilt ... instructions still pending ... I know Fiona ... I HAVE to get writing! :0) Moving right along before I get into more trouble for procrastinating about pattern instruction writing ...

... the main bedroom. I think this room ties with the sewing room for being my favourite. The teal wall colour is probably a bit deeper in 'real life' and teamed with the white bed, linens, cupboard, net and valance, it really becomes a peaceful haven to dream in ... I just never seem to get to spend as much time as I would prefer all snuggled up under the doona. :0)

Then you find yourself in the lounge room. The photo is a bit glarey, but you get the idea. Cheerful green with red accents make this a relaxing room to chill out in, whether we're watching a bit of tele, chatting over a cuppa with friends or sitting and stitching. 

Next in line is the recently refurbished dining room. I love how the black and white vinyl pops against the apple green of the walls and the French-influenced white and timber furniture. And this room opens into ...

... the kitchen. You can see my hutch to the left there showing off some of my pretty china collection as well as my green Depression Glass. 

So there you have it ... a quick tour of our soon-to-be-ex-home. I hope you've enjoyed it ... I know I've enjoyed having some of you drop in in 'real life' for a cuppa and some stitching, too. The new house is VERY conducive to entertaining, so I hope to be hostess to more sewing days in the future. :0)

Thank you to all of you who have sent well-wishes, crossed fingers and toes and remembered us in your prayers as we've gone through the stressful process of jumping through bank hoops, rush-renovating and putting our home on the market. Your thoughts, prayers and well-wishes have been VERY much appreciated ... and I'm sure have helped! :0) Just a few more boxes to tick and ducks to line up before our big move becomes a reality, but I'll keep you updated as we know more. It just goes to prove that with perseverance, prayers and a lot of hard work, dreams really CAN come true! :0)

I hope you have all had a relaxing weekend, whatever you've been up to and that there has been some time for you to sit back and put your feet up to relax with a cuppa and/or some stitching. Have a fantastic week, won't you. I'm off to play Polly (I know that will surprise you ... NOT!!) and then will camp in front of the heater to watch a bit of tele with my Beloved GB. Til next time ...



Friday 4 July 2014

Some Sad News

We received some very sad news today. Do you remember me sharing last year about making a very special quilt for one of my Mum's friends?

A stacked con quilt that the Fabulous Fiona quilted exquisitely for me. It was special because it was to be a comfort quilt for a special lady, Pauline, diagnosed with terminal cancer at just 46 years of age.

We made a trip to Mundubbera specially to deliver the quilt in time for members of the church to write messages of support and encouragement in the light blocks you can see in the coin stacks, so that when her chemo started, this gorgeous lady (second from the left ... my Mum is on the far right) would be wrapped in the love and prayers of her family and friends.

That was just over 12 months ago. Today I received an email from Mum to say that Pauline had finally lost her battle and gone home to be with her Lord. There are tears running down my face again as I type this. Tears for a life ended too soon, mixed with tears of joy that I'll get to hug her again one day in heaven. 

When I shared the story of this special quilt last year, so many of you passed on beautiful messages of support and well-wishes for me to pass along to Pauline with the quilt ... which I did and which she appreciated. So I wanted to let you know that the quilt wrapped her in love and support for a over a year and I hope it will continue to comfort her family.

Life's not always fair, the future doesn't always pan out the way we think/want it to, so EVERY DAY, we need to ...

* Appreciate another day to be enjoyed and used to its fullest potential 

* Choose to see the positive in every situation ... and the humour!

* Spend as much time with family and friends as we can

* Choose not to stay angry with those who are important to us

* Take EVERY opportunity to say I LOVE YOU to the people who matter the most to you!

Til next time ...



Tuesday 1 July 2014

A Stitching Buzz & OPAM!!

Here I am!! I'm feeling a little bit like a human popsicle here on top of our 'hill' at the moment ... our temperatures for the last three days have been around 2 or 3 degrees overnight and only climbing to around 13-15 during the day ... THEN ... add in horrible south-westerly and westerly winds and this turkey is feeling pretty frozen ... BRRRRRR!!! Winter is well and truly here ... SIGH!! 

In amidst trying to keep warm, my Beloved Geek Boy and I are still trying to stay tidy ... our cosy cottage is on the market ready for a big move (fingers crossed!!) and so there are open house sessions and inspections by prospective buyers happening throughout the week. We really are not naturally tidy people ... just ask my neat-nut Mum! Tee! Hee! Hee! And although I can't play in my sewing room in case I make a fabricky, thready mess, I was suffering withdrawal symptoms, so HAD to find some hand stitching to sooth my stitcher's soul. I left it until too late in the day to take a good photo, but this will give you a sneaky-peeky preview of what I'm playing with ...

"A bee! A bee ... is after me! And that is why, I flee, I flee! This bee, this bee, appears to be very, VERY an-ger-y!" A Spike Milligan poem I helped teach to a year 1 class for eisteddfods some years ago when I was working as a Teacher's Aid. Aaah ... the peculiar things you find lurking in your memory! :0)

That's about all the stitchy stuff happening here at the Meares' Madhouse at the moment ... but I know all of you OPAM gals have been slaving over your machines and have had needles flying during June ... BUT ... you need to tell me and my Sweet Partner In Crime, Sweet Peg, just what you've managed to finish. It's time to update your sidebar lists and email your tallies to Sweet Peg or me to go in the random prize draw. Remember ... your project has to be FINISHED ... individual blocks don't count and neither do flimsies ... quilts must be quilted and bound and stitcheries/cross-stitches have to have been made into something or framed. Are you all having fun playing along with Sweet Peg and me this year for OPAM? I hope so, cos we sure LOVE to see what you've all been creating! :0)

Well ... that's about it for an update from the Meares' Madhouse ... I'll keep you updated on our house adventure as things progress ... and it seems they progress much slower than my nerves would prefer ... EEP!! In the meantime, my visits may continue to be a bit sporadic ... but I'm thinking of you all. :0) Enjoy the rest of your week ... and stay warm if you're in the southern hemisphere ... and cool if you're up north, of course. :0) Til next time ...



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