Saturday 31 October 2015

Sneaky Peeky, Sidetracking & OPAM!!

Well ... here's the end of another week, another month ... and I'm still wondering what's happened to the year as I find myself less than two months away from the "C" word ... you know ... "CHRISTMAS"!! EEK! I'm firmly in denial about that one ... don't giggle, Kerryanne!! :0)

It's been another busy week here at the Meares' Madhouse with comings and goings ... and some VERY welcome rain. At the risk of seeming greedy ... we could do with another inch or so, but it's a nice start. In between, I've managed to do a bit of sewing on a new quilt design and I'm having a lot of fun. :0)

Do you remember me showing you my rainbow?

Well ... I've been channeling my inner hippie-flower-child (which my brother would tell you is more 'outer' than 'inner'! Tee! Hee! Hee!) and playing with ...

... more combi vans. :0) There is just something sweet and appealing about combi vans ... I think they not only appeal to the hippie-flower-child in me, they just seem so darn CHEERFUL! Especially in the rainbow colours I've been playing with for them. :0) I've finished the raw edge applique and just need to attach borders now, so I hope to have a finished top to show you soon. Stay tuned. :0)

Now ... with a quilt awaiting borders, another needing binding (will show you that one next time!) and no finishes on my OPAM list for October, you'd think I'd have been hitting the machine today right?? Hmmm ... NOPE! :0) Completely sidetracked! I'm blaming my Beloved Geek Boy. He was looking for something in his shed and decided it was the perfect time to clean and tidy in there ... which somehow translated to him bringing stuff from the shed into the house. Hmm ... ?!!!

So ... one (or two!!) of the things he brought in was ...

... a pair of stools Mum was getting rid of when they moved earlier this year. They're a bid faded and ... well ... PINE-y ... but a coat of paint, new cushions and they'll be a welcome addition to our kitchen island bench. They now have their undercoat ... see ... sidetracked! :0)

And speaking of sidetracked ... the main reason I was popping in tonight was to give all the OPAM gals a nudge to update sidebars and remind you to email your October tally to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. We'll soon be bloghopping cos the end of the month is here, so don't be late!!

OK ... I'm off to bed after a tiring day of chores ... and painting. :0) Hope you're having a lovely weekend so far and that you've got some fun stuff planned ... I'm actually hoping to get some sewing in tomorrow ... if GB doesn't sidetrack me again! :0) Til next time ...



Sunday 25 October 2015

Healthy-But-Yummy Weekend Treat!

Hello all in blogland! I hope you've had a lovely relaxing and/or productive weekend. It's been a little of column A and a little of column B here at the Meares' Madhouse ... a few jobs have been crossed of the ol "To Do" list and some relaxing and weekend-slugging-around was also slotted in. :0)

Part of the slugging-around happened today when both my Beloved Geek Boy and I had a bit of a sleep in, which led to a late brekkie. So ... when lunch time rolled around at about 3pm neither of us really felt like much, but felt like a little nibble on something. So ... I cruised through my Facebook page ... where you'll predominantly find recipes that I may never make but would like to try, funny sayings that apply to me or my friends and photos of food or sewing projects that I've created. Nothing deep or profound. :0) So I found a recipe for muffins  that I've successfully made before ... but this time I decided to have a little play with the ingredients to make it MY version of Sweet Potato Muffins. And just quietly ... they were YUMMO! :0) I've already shared the recipe on Facebook, but thought those of you who haven't turned to the "Dark Side" as Chookyblue calls FB might also like a healthy-but-yummy sweetie treaty recipe. So here goes ...



* 1 cup rolled oats
* 1 cup wholemeal plain flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1 cup cooked & mashed sweet potato
* 1/2 cup honey
* 1/3 cup coconut oil
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1 large egg
* 1 tsp vanilla essence
* 3/4 cup currents


1. Preheat oven to about 160 C
2. Grease two standard size muffin trays.
3. Place dry ingredients & currents in medium bowl & mix through well.
4. In another bowl combine coconut oil (melted but not hot), honey, sweet potato, egg, vanilla & milk. Whisk to blend well.
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry & stir to just combine - don't overwork the mixture.
6. Divide mix into muffin tins & bake until firm in middle & just starting to brown on top.
7. Enjoy with a dollop of butter

There you go ... something not-too-naughty but awfully nice to enjoy as a snack. :0)

Hmmm ... there were some muffins left after lunch ... I think I shall heat one in the microwave to have with my ready-for-bed-cuppa. Hope you all have a fantastic week ... OPAMers ... don't forget to update your sidebar lists this week!! Til next time ...



Saturday 24 October 2015

Stitching Rainbows!!

I can sing a RAINBOW, sing a RAINBOW,
sing a RAINBOW too."

That song is stuck in my head at the moment and I thought I'd share with you all! Tee! Hee! Hee! You see ... I currently have a rainbow spilling all over my dining room table ... and dining room floor ... and ironing board ... and ...!!! :0P I'm working on a new design ... a fun, cheerful, bright and COLOURFUL kids quilt and this is half of my colour palette ...

There is another version of each of these colours, too, along with a nice splash of clean white. I finished all of the tedious applique prep yesterday and am starting to place and press ... can't wait to start playing with some raw edge machine applique! I promise to show you the finished top soon.

I LOVE rainbows! To me they are a precious promise, a symbol of hope, a reminder of the magic we find in God's creation around us every day ... if only we remember to look and appreciate it.  What does a rainbow mean to you?? I'd love to hear. :0)

Right ... off to make a cuppa and get back to placing applique bits ... Red and yellow and pink and green ... !!!! Til next time ...



Saturday 17 October 2015

Procrastinating 101!!

If there really was a class with that title, I'm pretty sure I could teach it ... in honours ... for a doctorate, even! :0) Yesterday I had a long list of jobs to tackle. I was up early (Rats! Days off are supposed to be for sleep-ins!!), had great intentions and got off to a flying start with a load of washing ... and that's where my productive Friday went pear-shaped! :0)

You see ... here in the Land Down Under, it's spring and although I'm a confirmed summer gal, I love what spring does to the garden. There are things shooting, flowering, growing, changing and developing every day. So, when I'd hung the washing, I thought I'd just have a 'little' walk around the garden. Hmm ... over an hour later, I made it back inside to put the second load of washing in!! So then you can imagine what happened when it came time to hang the second load out, right?! Yep ... more garden wandering! :0)

I have taken heaps of photos of the spring garden to share with you, but need to crop a few more of those yet, so thought I'd just give you a little taste for now ... just enough to make you understand how I kept getting sidetracked! :0)

The number 1 attraction today was something we've never tried growing before ... Foxgloves. I absolutely LOOOOOOOVE the English country cottage style of gardening, but unfortunately, with our shortage of water (we only have rainwater) and our Queensland climate of extremes, many cottage garden plants turn up their toes pretty quickly, so we're gradually experimenting to see what will grow here and what we need to just admire on Pinterest. :0)

And we've discovered that Foxgloves do pretty well here in our sunny north facing garden. Aren't they great?! There are still a few opening up, but I just love those trumpet shaped flowers. It's like having fairytale flowers in my garden. :0)

Don't you love that depth of colour and the speckled throats? And they're pest free due to their poisonous nature ... remember all those Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot books that had killers using digitalis?? :0) And a particular favourite at the moment ...

We have four crabapple trees across the front of our house and at the moment they are absolutely FULL of blossoms and bees! And they smell GORGEOUS!! The blossoms, that is ... not the bees! Tee! Hee! Hee! You can't see them in the photo of course, but there were hundreds of honey and native bees buzzing around this tree as I clicked away with the phone camera. Fantastic to see for the health and balance of our garden. So ... you can see how I may have been drawn away from my productive plans for the day. :0)

But ... there HAS been some sewing happening here lately ... and I have photos to prove it. :0) The first project is actually my finish from last month's OPAM tally ... sort of! :0)

A version of my patchwork skirt for my MIL for her 70th birthday ... at her request. Apparently, she's been eyeing off MY skirts (I have about five different ones now!!) and decided that they looked cool and comfy ... and they are ... hence the ever-increasing number of them in my drawers! Tee! Hee! Hee! It was a bit of a challenge to work with these colours, as my MIL's colours and tastes are quite different to mine, but I'm pleased with how it came up and ... more importantly ... so was she! :0) Now, it was a 'sort of' finish for me because it was a bit of a joint effort to make this skirt on time ... I cut the squares, Mum overlocked and joined them into tiers and then I threaded the elastic ... so I did the first and last steps ... does that count as a finish?! :0)

The second project is one that's been a while in the making. You see, when my brother and SIL had their first son, I made him a quilt ...

He's grown a bit since this pic was taken! :0) So, when their second son was born, I said I'd make a quilt for him ... but was told that one per household was probably enough, thanks. Hmmm ... obviously they have never lived with quilters. :0) Fast forward a year and in chatting with my brother he said ... "You know how you were going to make a quilt for "T" ..." Yes, says I, but you told me not to. "Yes, well, we were talking and thought it might be nice if he had one of his own after all." Hmmmm ...!! :0) So I started to ponder a quilt for "T" ... then came our house selling/buying/moving chaos, then we had a revolving door of visitors, then it was Christmas, then we were moving Mum and Dad in with us ... and time just seemed to get away.

Finally, during my recent break, I returned my thoughts to ponder a quilt for "T". And this is the result ...

A couple of Vintage Volksies! :0) I'm really happy with how this came together. There's blue and yellow for Australia's oceans and sandy beaches, green for our rainforests and a couple of cute vintage Volksies for "T's" slightly quirky and offbeat Auntie Kris and Uncle Scott ... rather fitting since my brother continually tells me I'm a left-over hippy!! :0) I had so much fun cruising Pinterest and clip art sites to look at photos of Combi vans and Beatles to get just the right angles to draw up my sketches. In fact ... I had so much fun that I've started on a new quilt design featuring some of these fun vehicles ... stay tuned! :0)

So Vintage Volksies has now been handed over to the Fabulous Fiona to wave her magic quilting wand over it. I LOVE how Fiona puts the final polish on my quilts! I hand them to her with vague mumblings about quilting designs, end up telling her to do whatever she thinks will look best and ... ET VOILA!! She weaves her magic to make my quilts look spectacular! :0) Thanks Fiona!!

Right ... I'm now off to make a cuppa and watch "Gardening Australia" ... which will possibly lead to me being drawn out into the garden tomorrow again, but ... What a way to go! Tee! Hee! Hee! Whatever you're up to for the weekend, I hope you have some fun stuff scheduled. OH!!! And make sure you pop across and congratulate my Gorgeous OPAM Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg ... who has become a first-time Grandma!! Congratulations Grandma Peg and Poppy Jimmy!! :0) Til next time ...



PS. I'll leave you with a sweet something from my good blogging buddy Kerryanne over at Shabby Art Boutique ... something for us all to aspire to. BH! KRIS

Sunday 11 October 2015

A Reno Reveal!!

HELLOOOOOOO!! I'm finally back here to let you know what we've been up to at the Meares' Madhouse, home of Tag Along Teddies. I had intended to be back earlier ... but there were some computer issues to deal with ... SIGH! Let's just say "Microsoft", "Windows", "Automatic Update", "Non-compatible Forced Updates" ... GRRRRRRRR!!! It was a bit of an epic battle for my Beloved Geek Boy to sort out the issues that the unasked-for update caused, but he finally emerged victorious. No damsel in distress appreciated being rescued from a dragon more, I can tell you! :0) So it's catch up time ... brace yourself Chooky ... there's a few photos to follow, so grab a cuppa and a comfy chair! :0)

Right ... when last I popped in, I showed you this pic ...

... and asked what you thought we were up to on our long weekend. Most of you guessed correctly that we were doing a spot of painting in our main bedroom ... although one lovely bloggy buddy was sidetracked by the cradle in the background there ... strictly for bears, I assure you! :0)

Now those of you who pop in regularly to visit me know that I am a COLOUR FREAK and that I have struggled a wee bit with the very NEUTRAL colour scheme of our dream house. Since moving in last August, I've discovered that although I love to drool over photos of lovely neutrally decorated houses and white-on-white rooms ... I can't live without my colour! :0)

 The nice thing about this house is that there is no prep needed before painting except a quick dust down and furniture rearrange, which makes it a lot easier and quicker than starting from scratch. So ... are you ready to see what our bedroom looks like? It started off looking like this ...

This was the real estate pic when we bought the place. After our GB's painting efforts last weekend (he said it was to crowded for both of us to work in there, but I suspect he didn't trust my painting techniques!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) this is what it looks like ...

Bit of a difference, right?! :0) The walls are now a lovely deep teal blue/green. It's very close to the colour of our main bedroom in our previous house and always makes me think of deep, peaceful oceans ... I am a Picean, you know and fishies need their water around them! :0) Combined with white furniture and bed linens, I just find it so relaxing and cozy, I know some people would find it too dark, but I LOOOOOOOOVE my mermaid grotto! :0)

Here's the other end of the bed ... sorry the pic is a bit dark. There's that cradle of bears. :0) And you can see there's a bit of a French splash in there too.

And the GORGEOUS full-cloth quilt I commissioned the Fabulous Fiona to quilt for me when we first moved in ties in beautifully. So ... that's our re-vamped boudoir. Now I just have to manage to spend some time in there. :0)

Now ... this is actually the second room to get a colour infusion ... I just haven't had a chance to show pics before this. We've also made over the guest room. Bit of a funny story ... when Mum and Dad were living with us earlier this year, the guest room was their domain. I showed Mum a colour card of the colour I'd chosen to paint the guest room and her comment was ... "Oh! I hope you're not going to do that while we're in the room. It would be so much trouble!" So ... when they went off for a week of house sitting ... we painted the room! Tee! Hee! Hee! The very FUNNIEST part ... neither Mum or Dad noticed we'd painted the room until we told them! :0)

So here's what it looked like when we bought the house ...

Don't you love the real estate agent's tool of the wide-angled lens on the camera! :0) OK ... this is the made over room ...

Ta da! It's now a pretty Tiffany blue. I forgot to upload pics of the room with our furniture in it before we painted ... it shows a huge contrast. The quilt (one of my faves made from a Paris Flea Market layer cake) really pops against the blue, as does the restored white brass bed and the vintage half-tester valance.

In the corner of the room looking back at the entry door from the hallway.

It's now soothing and warm and welcoming for guests ... and Mum approved once I pointed out the new colour! Tee! Hee! Hee! I think I do need to make a pretty cushion or two for this bed ... in my spare time. :0)

So ... there you go. We're slowly putting our own mark on our dream home, adding colour and character ... and bears and quilts! Tee! Hee! Hee! I'll share more with you as we go ... promise. :0)

In other news ... Sweet Peg and I have done our blog-hopping and Sweet Peg has done the prize draw for the OPAM prizes for September ... if you haven't already visited her, pop across and see if you were one of the lucky winners. Well done to all of you again this month for your creative work ... there were nearly 250 finishes for September ... WOO! HOO! Which means there was probably even MORE behind the scenes stitching and creating going on working on long-term projects ... like I was chugging on with. Whether you added finishes to your list, or made some progress on some WISPs ... if you took some time out to create, to recharge your batteries and let your imagination roam ... then you did good! :0)

Right now ... I'm off to spend some quality time snuggled in my mermaid grotto bedroom, so I shall sign off. Hope you all have a fantastic week ... don't forget to give yourself permission to take time out regularly to catch your breath and create. :0) Til next time ...



Friday 2 October 2015

Guess What We're Doing??!

This is a photo of our sitting room this morning ...

Hmmm ... what's happening in the Meares' Madhouse this long weekend?? If I tell you that most of those items are usually in our main bedroom, does that give you a clue? :0) Stay tuned for updates!!

Til next time ...


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