Wednesday 30 September 2015


Big surprise ... not only am I posting twice in two days (Chookyblue just fell off her chair! Tee! Hee! Hee!) but I'm also about to share a photo that has been five years in the making (or six? can't remember!!) ... something else that might give Chooky heart palpitations. :0)

Back at a time so far in history that I can't pin it down, I signed up to be part of a stitch-along to make Anni Downs' "A Gardener's Journal" quilt. I had the book tucked away and I thought joining the stitch-along would motivate me to get it done.

I dutifully stitched away on the blocks ...

... I slowly pieced them together ...

... and muttered and swore about one and a half inch blocks! :0)

... Until I had the bulk of the quilt together! YAY! And then ... I came to a screaming halt!! You see, when I started the stitch-along, I made myself (and the long-suffering Beloved Geek Boy!!) a promise that it wouldn't cost anything, I would only use fabrics from my stash. That was pretty easy until I got to the border stage. The problem was ... the largest cut of fabric I buy 'just because' tends to be 40cm ... half a metre if I REALLY love it. So I just didn't have enough of one particular fabric for  the outer border in my stash ... and the quilt got stuffed in the sewing room cupboard. BLUSH!!

From time to time, I'd pull it out and look at it, um and ah ... and put it back in the 'too hard' basket. Until last week ...

I FINALLY came up with a way to make it work with what I had in my stash. So I stole the last couple of days of my holiday to hit the machine. Do you want to see what I came up with?? OK ... :0)

TA DA!! It may not be the way I would have chosen to finish it, but I rather like it. :0) (The photo doesn't really show the true colours as it was taken late in the afternoon.) I had three pieces of different green fabric, but they were all a little different, so to pull it all together, I decided to mimic those swear-word-inducing one and a half inch squares in the border ... with bigger squares and lots of bright colours. It reminds me of a favourite saying of most quilters ...

When Life Gives You Scraps ...
Make Quilts!!

So it is now ready for the Fabulous Fiona to wave her magic quilting wand over it ... but I'll let her settle into her new sewing room first! :0) Thank you Chookyblue for wielding the "get it don" whip on the stitch-along. I'm probably one of your tardiest participants, but I got there ... a few years late! :0)

That's it for now ... no more surprises ... just another gentle reminder to all you lovely OPAMers to update your sidebar lists and email your finishes to me or Sweet Peg. But right now ... I'm off to put on my jim-jams and crawl into bed. This pretending to be a grown up is an exhausting business! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...



Tuesday 29 September 2015

Made It Back!

Life still seems to be crazy-busy (how does that keep happening?!) but I thought I'd pop back here to finish sharing my photos of our Stitchers Dream Day Out. Chookyblue ... you'd better make yourself a cuppa and get comfy, cos there's LOTS of photos! :0)

So ... the day started on a very sweet note ... morning tea! :0) And with this year's theme of "Tea Party", we were treated to some tea party sweetie treaties ...

MMMMMMM!!! Melting moments, chocolate slice, coconut ice slice, caramel-choc slice, jam drops ... DROOL! :0) And because it was the 10th birthday for Stitchers Dream Day, there was time to cut the birthday cake! :0)

Aren't they GORGEOUS!! Stupendous Steph and Marvelous Marion cutting the birthday cake that was YUMMO! :0) And fueled by all that sugar, we were ready to get underway ...

And they were off and stitching! Or ... in some cases (mentioning no names!!!) off and CHATTING! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Here's Bronwyn demonstrating some embroidery techniques ...

And here's Julie sharing some stitching tips ... you can see her students are busily putting their lessons into practice! :0)

SOME people actually stitched ... go figure! :0) Julie and the Fabulous Fiona managed some impressive stitching despite being on the extended naughty table. Tee! Hee! Hee!

And then there were some overachievers ... Michelle and her Mum travel from Mt Isa every year to join us for the two days of stitching ... and I don't think Michelle sleeps ... she just stitches, cos she ALWAYS finishes her projects and brings them back for show and tell the next year ... SOMETIMES she even finishes a project in the weekend. See ... overachiever! :0)

And Gail-Sue was rocking her new patchwork skirt ... inspired by my growing collection of tiered patchwork skirts! :0) Doesn't it look fresh and 'springy'? :0)

And here's my buddy Lynda and yours truly with the lovely Julie Lovell. (My Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette was taking the photo and somehow managed to avoid photos this time!) As always, we had a fantastic time and we've already marked next year's dates on our calendar. There were some other lovely blogging buddies joining us for the weekend ... but I was so busy chatting that I didn't get photos ... hard to believe, I know! :0)

HUGE thanks again to Marion and Steph for hosting this fun and inspiring weekend for crazy stitchers. :0)

And speaking of crazy stitchers ... Tee! Hee! Hee! ... OPAM gals ... It's time to update your sidebar lists of finishes and email your September tallies through to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. It's a long weekend here this weekend, so we'll be doing some blog hopping I'm sure.

Right ... off to clean my toothy-pegs and keep an overdue date with my pillow. I hope you're all having a lovely week so far and that you manage to squeeze some creative time into your week. Til next time ...



Thursday 24 September 2015

Paddling Like Crazy!!

HELLOOOOOOOO!!! Is there anyone out there?!?! You're probably wondering if I'M still here. Well ... yes ... but I'm feeling a bit like a duck on a pond ... all calm on the surface, but paddling like crazy under the water  ... and just a wee bit afraid that if I stop paddling, I'm going to SINK! :0)

The last three weeks have been crazy-busy here at the Meares' Madhouse ... and just plain CRAZY a lot of the time too! :0) In THEORY, I've been on holidays for the last two weeks, but I actually took time off my grown-up job to cope with what I knew would be a crazy-busy month. I think I need a holiday to recover from my holiday ... but there's been lots of fun in there too! :0)

If I put everything into one post Chookyblue's brain might explode! Tee! Hee! Hee! So I'll give you the first installment. The first fun event was the annual Stitchers' Dream Day Out hosted my the Marvelous Marion and the Stupendous Steph of the Quilters Angel. The Fabulous Fiona joined me to help Marion and Steph with the set up of the venue ... cos we're chair-ribbon-tiers-extraordinaire! :0)

Here's Fiona in action. Smile!! :0)

TA! DA! Here's the hall all set up ready for the almost 200 ladies to pour into the venue ready to stitch. This year was the 10th Stitchers' Dream Day Out event ... so of course there was ...

... a BIRTHDAY CAKE! :0) Isn't this GORGEOUS!!!! And unlike a lot of decorated cakes that can be dry and tough to eat, this cake was light and moist and just plain DELICIOUS!! Don't you love the teapots ... and the needle and thread ... and the cupcake ... and flowers ... it's like an icing applique quilt. :0)

This year's guest designers were Bronwyn Hayes (one of my stitching heroes!!) and the lovely Julie Lovell. Their brand new designs just for the weekend were SUPERB! Wanna see????

Bronwyn's first design ... a cute and handy sewing bag with faux crazy patch on the front to practice your different embroidery stitches ... and refer back to if you have a MOMENT! :0)

Bronwyn's second project, a bright fold out bag to take on your sewing days out.

Julie's first project was a teapot cozy and the cutest mini-bunting.

And Julie's second project was some sweet teddies ready for their teddy bear's picnic, complete with picnic rug.

We were spoilt for choice with these gorgeous projects!! :0) And who was there, I hear you ask ... stay tuned for the next installment ... I can hear Chookyblue's eyes starting to roll back in her head if I write any more on this post! Tee! Hee! Hee! Back soon ... promise!! Til next time ...



Friday 11 September 2015

YIKES! Like Gets Crazy-Busy!

Here I am ... quickly popping in to tell you I'm still here (I think?!?!?!) and that I haven't forgotten my blogging buddies. Life just seems to be even more crazy-busy than usual just at the moment and I'm like a little duck ... calm on the surface, but paddling madly under the water!! ... trying to keep up with everything and fit everything in. EEP!

We've got two big sewing/stitching/fabric-appreciation weekends happening here on top of our 'hill' that I'm in the middle of ... this weekend is ...

Julie from Calico Farms and one of my quilting heroes Bronwyn Hayes of Red Brolly are the two guest designers this year, which is super exciting. This is the 10th year that the Marvelous Marion and the Stupendous Steph have run Stitchers Dream Day Out and they do a fantastic job every year. I'm about to head off to help with some set up (the Fabulous Fiona and I are champs at tying chair bows! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Then I'll be playing at SDDO over the weekend, with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette coming to join me on Sunday, along with my buddy Lynda and a lot of the Friday Night Gals ... did I mention that we've had to set up MULTIPLE Naughty Tables this year?! Tee! Hee! Hee! I promise to share some pics next week.

Then ... NEXT weekend sees the fourth annual Creative Fields Quilt Exhibition and Boutique Marketplace kick off in conjunction with the Carnival of Flowers activities. 

Marion and Steph decided four years ago that they wanted to give local artists and craftspeople a forum to display their gorgeous handmade goodies so that folks visiting the top of our 'hill' for the Carnival would have a chance to admire the talent and creativity mountain air breeds. :0) The exhibition includes not only quilts, bags, wall hangings, dolls and bears made from fabric, it incorporates cross stitch, crochet, knitting and just about any other art or craft form you can think of. The exhibition is open from 9am-5pm from Saturday September 19 to Wednesday September 23 at the SmART Space Hall on the New England Highway at Highfields and a gold coin donation is well worth it to come and admire the enormous creativity on display. There will also be a range of boutique handmade market stalls offering goodies for sale ... in case you want to get in early to buy Christmas gifts! :0)

So ... in the middle of all of this preparation ... we crossed the line into a new month and I am now WAY behind in doing the August OPAM prize draw - OOPS! A HUGE thank you to my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg for doing the majority of the blog-hopping this month ... she is a CHAMPION!! :0)

Well done to all OPAM gals who have been stitching, knitting or crocheting away to contribute to our total of 245 finishes for August. WOW! I reckon there must be some sewing rooms with bare shelves as WISPs are finished off around the world ... which of course means we can start NEW projects and buy more fabric ... right?!?! I guess those shelves won't be bare for long! Tee! Hee! Hee! Congrats also to the gals like me who have been plugging away at some long-term projects ... while you don't have actual finishes to show, well done on your dedication to getting a bit done here and there ... remember that turtle in Aesop's fable?! :0) Taking some time out of our crazy-busy schedules to be creative and recharge our batteries is what OPAM is all about, so if you were able to do that this month, you're a winner even if you didn't get to add to your tally. As Dory the fish from "Finding Nemo" would say ... Just keep stitching ...! (Well ... she would if she had fingers instead of fins and was a quilter/stitcher!! :0)

And without further ado ... the winners are ...


Well done girls! Email me your snail mail addresses and I'll pop a little something in the mail for you. And to my two winners from June ... SORRRRRRRRY!!!!! Your prizes are sitting staring at me from the dining room table waiting for me to be home long enough to wrap and parcel them up. I promise they're coming ... SOON! It's hard to get good challenge hosts these days! :0)

Right ... I'm off to throw a few bits in my bag before I head off to help Fiona tie chair bows, but before I do, I'll share a sneaky-peeky with you of a little something I've been working on ... and keeping secret!! ... for the last little while in the lead up to SDDO. I'm not one of the guest designers, but Marion let me have a little play with some of the fabric for this year's projects ... wanna see?? OK ...

I had so much fun with this and even though purple isn't a colour I work with often, I LOVE how it turned out. :0)

Righto ... I'm off to get ready for a weekend of play-dating. :0) If you're coming up to join the fun of Stitchers Dream Day Out or Creative Fields ... let me know and we'll say g'day. And if you're up here and see me wandering around looking confused and bewildered ... that's NORMAL! Tee! Hee! Hee! Say g'day and point me back in the right direction! :0) Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope you have a blast!! Til next time ...



Wednesday 2 September 2015

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where Have You Been??

Well ... I haven't been to London to visit the queen, I have to confess! :0) But things at the Meares' Madhouse have been pretty busy and crazy ...  the end of August through September is our busiest month or so for the year ... and it's been even more so this year. Let me catch you up a bit.

First there was a blogging pop-up-party. :0) Emails back and forth let the Fabulous Fiona and I know that Maria and her Sweetie had trekked across to QLD from Western Australia and were going to be passing through our hilltop home. Well ... Fiona and I are getting pretty good at pop-up-bog-meets, as we've had a few in the last few months ... fun!! :0) So ...

... we enjoyed  a fun ... and DELICIOUS! ... catch up. Thanks for popping in for a visit Maria! It was lovely to catch up in 'real life' after chatting via blogs for a while now. Hope the rest of your travels include more fun meet-ups. :0)

Then this last weekend we headed off for a little road trip. We had a special birthday to help celebrate on the Sunday (more about that later) so we decided to treat ourselves to a little break ... the first 'real' break since before we moved last year. So we hit the road ...

... and ended up at the top of another hill at Montville. This is one of our favourite places to spend time ... this was our lunch time view ... over rolling green hills, rain forest and out to the ocean. NICE!! :0) We were slowed down a little by poor GB's broken foot, but he's surprisingly spry on his crutches, so we were still able to snoop through the interesting little shops before heading to our accommodation ... in the next town over, Maleny. Bit of a misunderstanding there thanks to online booking, but all worked out OK.

This was our back deck. We were about three stories up from ground level in the tree tops. (Someone asked me if I had run off for the weekend with 'Where's Wally' ... it's GB's Bronco's jersey, but definitely distinctive! Tee! Hee! Hee!) The steps were a bit of a challenge for GB, but once we were up, we settled in for some quiet relaxation ...

... chippies and cider ... the relaxing snack of champions! :0) There was also some soaking in the double spa ... but I won't scare you with pics!!! Tee! Hee! Hee! The next morning we headed off in search of somewhere to have brekkie ...

And what better place than a spot called le Jardin. A French cafe/garden centre/gift shop. Coffee and croissant, coffee and crepes ... AAAAAAHHH!! If only we could do this every day ... though we'd end up as big as a house pretty quick. :0) There may have been some more browsing of shops before we visited the Maleny Cheese cafe and stocked up on some cheesy treats ready for lunch.

Sunday we headed off to help celebrate that special birthday ... GB's Gran Kent was turning 100. Talk about a milestone! Now, Gran's memory isn't what it used to be and she isn't able to move around much, but she just keeps ticking along.

Here is GB with his youngest sister Kylie and her two gorgeous gals with Gran Kent. She sat up like a queen (even gave the royal wave!!) and blew out her candles like a trooper. I think her favourite part was a balloon game with the younger family members, though ... decades of tennis reflexes kicked in and she was batting that balloon around to beat the band. :0) There were four generations from several of the family branches on hand to help celebrate. It was a very special occasion.

That brings us up to date, but the craziness continues ... GB's Mum's 70th party is this weekend, the one after is Stitchers' Dream Day Out (WOO! HOO!!), then the next weekend is our Carnival of Flowers and also Creative Fields ... see ... busy!! I promise to show you some photos, but can't promise when I'll get back to share. :0)

And in all the busy-ness ... don't forget to send me or Sweet Peg your OPAM finishes for August ... the blog hopping is about to commence, so you'd better be quick!!!

Right ... I'm off to keep an overdue appointment with my pillow. Hope you're all being kind to yourselves and having a great week! Til next time ...



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