Friday 30 December 2016

Feeling A Bit Blah!

Hello to all of my blogging buddies! I hope you all had an enjoyable & restful Christmas. We caught up with GB's family on Christmas Day & spent Boxing Day with my folks which was nice. 

I had to work one day this week while my boss was going to be out of the office & was then looking forward to five days of sleeping in, watching cricket & some sewing. Well ... After my boss blindsided me with a very attacking rundown of my real or perceived shortcomings for the whole year, I found myself feeling rather BLAH! None of us are perfect & there's always room for improvement, but I just feel like I've had my feet kicked out from under me.

So ... There has been a bit of sleeping in & I have watched some cricket & spent a lot of time reading ... But no sewing. I just haven't had any motivation or inspiration. I know I'll eventually bounce back, but just feeling BLAH for now.

On a positive note, my SSCS partner Steffi sent me an email to tell me that she loves her main gifties.

I made Steffi a set of drawstring bags that she can use to organise her underwear in her bag when she travels (like I do) or she might like to use them to store her creative projects. I loved working with the black & neutral colours & the fabrics were yummy. :0) I also included a copy of my "Sweetly Shabby Christmas" pattern, some pretty fabrics & some embroidery threads. I hope Steffi enjoys playing with her gifts. Santa is still being a bit slow in delivering my parcel from my SSCS partner - he must have worked overtime & worn himself out. :0)

Thank you once again to Chookyblue for hosting this fun swap. :0)

OPAM gals ... We're almost at the end of another month, so if you haven't already updated your sidebar lists & emailed your tally to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg, you'd better hop to it. Good thing I finished a few projects before Christmas & the onset of my "BLAHS".

As 2016 winds down (not quite in the way I'd hoped or planned on, but there you go!) I wish you all a very happy, healthy & enjoyable 2017. Remember not to take your friends & loved ones for granted, spend time doing what you love & makes you happy & take care of yourself. I look forward to continuing to share your creative endeavours in the new year. Thank you to all of you for your support, interest & friendship. You make me feel blessed. :0) Til next time ...




Saturday 24 December 2016

Christmas Wishes!

Wishing all of my lovely blogging buddies a very happy, safe and blessed Christmas. May this special time fill your hearts with the light, warmth and love that came to earth that first Christmas when God gave us the gift of His precious Son Jesus.

Til next time ...




Friday 23 December 2016

Nearly Christmas!

G'day to everyone in blogland from summery Queensland! There's actually a nice cool breeze blowing today, but the humidity feels like there are storms brewing. While we could definitely use the rain, we're happy to skip the wild winds & lightning. The cicadas are tuning up & by dusk will be almost deafening. And with everything so dry, we've been getting some visitors to our back garden to enjoy a cool drink ...

There's a flock of these yellow tailed black cockatoos that lives in our area & while we would occasionally get half a dozen or so coming in, we've been getting 30-40 visiting us in the last couple of weeks. They're noisy critters but very polite, taking turns to drink before flying off.

When I haven't been watching cockatoos, I've been doing my usual pre-Christmas present panic. :0) Actually, I haven't done too badly this year, with only one giftie left to finish & only the 'fresh' cooking for Christmas Day left to take care of. All parcels that needed to be posted have arrived safe & sound ... & in time for Christmas - YAY! :0) And that includes my SSCS parcel that winged its way to Germany for my partner Steffi. I can't show you her main giftie as she's being a good girl & keeping it for Christmas Day, but I CAN show you the ornament I made ...

The stitchery is from my "Sweetly Shabby Christmas" pattern & stitched in a lovely red/green Cottage Garden thread before being made up into a mini stocking for Steffi's tree or mantle. Maybe Santa will pop a little surprise into it for her. :0)

My SSCS parcel must still be on Santa's sleigh somewhere. Ah well, it will be a new year's surprise, won't it. :0) Thanks again to the marvellous Chookyblue for hosting the Christmas swap.

And now I'm off to work on that last Christmas giftie. I might get time to pop back before Christmas Day, but in case I don't, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with family & friends ... After all, they are the most valuable gifts we can have. :0) Til next time ...





Saturday 17 December 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Christmas must not be too far away ... The household Grinch was finally convinced to put up the trees today. :0) Isn't he a Sweetie?! :0) And his reward? Do you see that bulging Santa sack under the tree? :0)

This tree is in the main living area ... Aqua, white & neutrals.

This smaller tree is in the sitting room & its traditional red in there.

There's some frantic last-minute Christmas sewing happening here this weekend to get fifties in Monday's mail. Are you one of those OCD Christmas people who has had gifties bought & wrapped since June? Or are you like me & making a last-minute dash to the finish line?! :0) Whatever you're up to, I hope you're remembering to slot in time with friends & family during this busy part of the year - after all, that's the best giftie of all - TIME! :0) Back to the sewing machine for me ... EEK! :0) Til next time ...





Thursday 15 December 2016


YAY! It published! :0) SUCCESS!!


Back On The Air -Sort Of!

Hello to all of you out there in blogland! I hope you're all well and not TOO stressed in this crazy-busy part of the year. It seems like every time I turn around we're off to another Christmas event or end of year break up ... I just don't think I can keep up with this wild partying lifestyle! :0)

So ... The saga of the drowned laptop continues! My clever clogs Beloved Geek Boy went scrounging through his pile of computer bits and bobs to put together a desktop computer for me after the sad and accidental drowning of my laptop. All seemed to be coming together ... Until we discovered that the cordless mouse had also left this plane of existence. SIGH! So there had to be a visit paid to the handy Officeworks for a replacement mouse. So now I'm good to go ... Right?!?! Er ... NO!

It seems some of the software is a wee bit lagging in the update arena and it's as slow as a snail on Valium! Seriously ... It's "go-and-make-a-cup-of-tea-then-come-back" slow. It was driving me around the bend! A short drive, some would say. :0) So here I am, back on the trusty iPad trying to learn to use new aps. I am SOOOOOO not a Geek Girl! Tee! Hee! Hee! We'll see how we go.

So ... Last time I dropped in (before the great laptop fiasco!) I told you I was off to the Friday Nighters' Christmas party with a secret Santa giftie in my hot little hand. Well, my Santa-y self didn't stay secret for long cos I needed to take a photo! :0) 

Here is Miss Linda with her lingerie bag ... Though she confessed it will actually be used as a project bag for one of her sewing projects. She was chuffed at it being just the right size, so I was happy it went to a lovely new home. I received a project pouch too ... Of a different variety ... Which I haven't taken a pic of yet - OOPS! :0)

On a non-sewing line, we witnessed something rather special when we enjoyed a barbecue dinner with Mum and Dad while they were house sitting recently. A rather impressive storm dumped on us ... The same storm saw a tornado drop on the little village five minutes from our place, ripping up big old gum trees like they were matchsticks ... Thankfully, it missed our house. So ... Once the rain stopped we headed out onto the verandah and spotted this beauty ...

A double rainbow! It's much softer in the photo than it was in real life ... It was so vibrant that it almost hurt your eyes to look at it. And even though I couldn't get it all in one shot (unless I'd stood on the roof, which seemed inadvisable with lightning still giving the odd flash!) we could see the whole bow of the double rainbow. This was the other end of it ...

Can you see it at the edge of the trees? It really was quite magical ... And it gave us two ends of the rainbow to search for the pot of gold! :0)

That's about it from me for now. I'm hoping to be able to share some more sewing stuff with you after the weekend, when I'm planning to do my usual mad last-minute-giftie-making marathon. :0) you'd think I'd learn to be more organised, right?! NOPE!! :0) Have a fantastic end to your week and amidst the crazy shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, partying and end-of-year madness, I'd encourage you to take some quiet time-out to take a breath, relax and remember the reason for this crazy season ... God's precious gift of His Son. Til next time ...






Wednesday 7 December 2016

Raindrops Keep Falling On My ... Laptop!!

AAAAAAARRRGGGHHHH! Picture this ... The Queensland summer has kicked in hot and far more humid than we usually experience here on top of our 'hill'. So, with no air conditioning ... Usually my Beloved Geek Boy and me don't go looking for it ... We open up all the doors and windows. Then ... Somehow, when we head off to bed, two windows are left not quite closed. In the middle of the night, an unexpected storm hits, splashing rain through said windows ... And drowning my unsuspecting laptop. SIGH!

I didn't notice until today when I was about to add the last few OPAM finishes that had been emailed to me ... And computer said ... "NO!"

So ... I'll have to wait until GB can put together a desktop computer for me from the various components he hoards ... Why am I imagining a Frankenstein computer?!?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Once I'm fully back on the blogging air I'll share a few pics with you of what I've been sewing ... YES! I've actually been SEWING again. :0)

In the meantime, pop over and visit my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg to see the results of this month's OPAM prize draw. Til next time ... Close your windows! :0)



Friday 2 December 2016

SSCS, Birthday & OPAM!!

SHEESH! It's been a busy ol' week this week. And for the first time in a couple of months, my sewing mojo showed up and coincided with some time at home - YAY! So I've been spending some quality time with my trusy Husky. :0)

First cab/s off the sewing rank were my SSCS gifties ... because ... AS USUAL!!! ... I was running late! What with the Garden Party preparations and a few hiccups in 'real life', November somehow got away from me. I have a theory about that ... my theory is:

From the time January clicks over on the calendar, 

* Someone steals an hour or so out of each of my days; 

* By the end of each week, I'm missing at least a day;

* By the end of each month, I've lost almost a week ... so ...

* By the end of the year, I've lost a MONTH! :0) 

I blame Dr Who and his wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff! Tee! Hee! Hee! I really think I should get that month back ... stick it between November and December and I might just be ready for Christmas ... then again ... as my blogging buddy Kerryanne knows ... I am NOT very good at forward planning and tend to be a last-minute-deadline kind of gal! :0) So an extra month probably wouldn't help me! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Which reminds me ... if you'd LIKE to be an organised Christmas kind of gal ... make sure you pop over to Kerryanne's blog to join in her FANTASTIC ...

But I digress ... !! :0) Back to SSCS ... I my stalked my partner, searched my stash and stitched and sewed like a mad woman last weekend to get the main gift and orni ready to pop in the mail. (I had actually done the hand stitching part of my gifties previously, just hadn't got to make them up!) Wanna see??

Oh! Would you look at that! They're already wrapped! Tee! Hee! Hee! You'll see that I've added clear messages about what can and can't be opened before Christmas! :0) Huge thanks again to Chookyblue for hosting SSCS ... it's the only swap I join in these days because Chooky does an AWESOME job of hosting. :0)

Next sewing project was a special something for lovely Mum for her birthday this week ...

This photo is a couple of years old, but neither of us have changed much and it's one of my faves ... we were laughing at something silly Dad or my Beloved Geek Boy had said. Mum turned 70 on Wednesday ... she sure doesn't look it!! Not only is she the most AWESOME Mum in the universe, she's also my adviser (though I maybe don't take her advice as often as I should!) and my friend. She is an incredibly generous, thoughtful and caring person who often puts other people's needs ahead of her own. I reckon that if I turn out to be HALF the woman my Mum is, I'll be pretty chuffed! :0) So, for my FABULOUS Ma, I made ...

... A little handbag. She has been saying for a while that she wants a pretty, smaller bag to take with her when she goes out but doesn't want to take her day-to-day handbag. This little cutie is about 8"x10" so big enough to fit a water bottle, keys purse and phone and I made the strap a little longer so she can loop it over her head and shoulder to be hands-free. She LOVED it! :0) Always so lovely to hear that the time, thought and effort you've put into a handmade giftie is appreciated. :0)

I also hit the sewing machine to make a Secret Santa giftie for our Friday Nighters' Christmas party tonight ... but I forgot to take a photo ... OOPS! :0) I'll get one tonight of the person who receives it ... PROMISE! :0)

And that means that I have a record (for me!) number of FIVE finishes for November to pop onto my OPAM sidebar list - YAY! OPAMers ... have you updated your sidebar lists and emailed me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg?? Well ... get hopping! Because Sweet Peg and I will be doing OUR hopping in the next few days around the blogs.

Right ... I'd better shake my tail feathers and get something wrapped and something cooked for tonight's sewing party ... hmmm ... I suppose I should also trace something so I've got something to STITCH at our stitching night! :0) I hope you've all had a fantastic week and that your weekend is relaxing ... summer has arrived with a vengeance here and our temps will be in the mid to high 30's ... pretty hot for our area on top of the 'hill' ... but the summer people in THIS household are saying "YAY!" Call us crazy, but we wait all year for our summer heat so we can come out of hibernation. :0) I think some more sewing might just be on my agenda to celebrate. Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...



Sunday 27 November 2016

The Party Is Over!

G'day to all you lovelies out there in blogland! I've been meaning to pop back in to update you all on the craziness that is life at the Meares' Madhouse ... but I've just been too KAPOOPED! :0) After the full-on preparations of gardening, cooking, cleaning (thanks Mum!!) and general organising and reorganising that happened around here in the lead up to our fund raising Garden Party, the ol' batteries this last week have just been flat ... but they're recharging. :0)

So ... a huge thank you to all of you who have been texting, commenting and emailing  to wish us well with our Garden Party ... it went REALLY well and we raised around $1,200 to help the Bloom Asia House Flip, which is in turn raising funds for a new Bloom Asia training centre in the Philippines. We were pretty chuffed about that! :0) And Leanne, who is the hard-working (slightly crazy! Tee! Hee! Hee!) lady doing the house flip, was able to join us for the afternoon and she said it was the very first fundraiser that she could just sit back and enjoy without having to do any of the organising or work, so that was nice, too.

Since I was buzzing around madly like a bumble bee on speed, I didn't get to take a lot of photos, but did snap a few towards the end of the day, so grab yourself a cuppa and get comfy. :0)

We set up a couple of shade tents under the lovely big gum trees at the front corner of our yard and strung colourful bunting around it and through the trees. The pretty colours looked rather festive fluttering in the breeze. :0) Mum and I then raided my ever-growing stash of vintage embroidered linens ( I LOOOOOOOVE embroidered vintage tablecloths!!!) and set the tables in vintage/shabby chic style with mini milk bottles tied with pretty ribbons to hold sweet chrysanthemums as the centrepieces. We had around 30 people in the garden ...

Here is the 'Naughty Table' all giving their best 'royal garden party' waves. Some Friday Nighters in that bunch ... which explains the 'naughty table' label! :0) And my Dad's brave cousin Bernie is just to the left of the pic there with his lovely wife Bev ... so nice to have them join us. :0)

There were lots of pretty sweetie-treaties to nibble on ... you can see the almost empty plate of yummy savoury scrolls to the side there ... you had to be quick. :0)

MORE sweetie-treaties! Oh ... and some healthy, delicious fruit skewers there too! :0) Nobody could complain that they didn't have enough goodies to choose from. :0)

All of the ladies (and brave gentlemen!) who attended also received a little giftie bag to take home with them ...

They were just a little 'thank you' to people for coming to support our fund raising efforts and had some GORGEOUS bits and bobs in that were donated by some AWESOMELY WONDERFUL people. Firstly, there were some pocket-size recipe cards popped in there so people can make their own garden party treats.

There was sweetly scented tea light candle in each bag, generously donated by the lovely Kelly at Zhi Ba Candles ... three of her gorgeous candles were also offered as one of our door prizes. I LOVE these candles! In case you hadn't already worked that out! Tee! Hee! Hee! Thank you Kelly!!

There was also a little packet of chocolaty deliciousness ... handmade chocolates donated by the talented Pam ... and another BIG bag of these delicious treats was donated by Pam as one of our door prizes. YUMMO!! :0) I'm not a huge chocolate fan, but I DO love white chocolate and I DO adore Pam's chocolaty treats. :0)

And Craig Stibbard of Craig's Highfields Hardware kindly donated packets of seeds so that our attendees could have a bit of colour BLOOMing in their gardens ... pun intended! :0)

My GORGEOUS beautician, Wendy, of Beauty With Perfection in Toowoomba very generously donated a neck and shoulder massage as one of our door prizes ... and the lovely lady who won it promptly turned around and gifted it to Leanne because she felt doing the house flip probably meant Leanne needed to relax more than she did ... AAAAAWWWWW!!! What a sweetie!

Now ... November 19 was not only the day for our Garden Party, it was also the birthday of my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette ... who was able to come and play for the weekend - YAY! And as soon as she walked in the door, she was given two jobs! Tee! Hee! Hee! It's a good thing she loves me! :0) And she was the lucky winner of one of our other door prizes (the numbers were popped in the giftie bags, which were given out at random as people arrived) ... 

A FANTASTIC miniature garden scene created by Mum's Partner-In-Mischief, Marg ... who couldn't join us for the day due to family commitments. Can I tell you ... this little garden scene was EXQUISITE!! The flowers were teeny-tiny and perfectly formed, each looking like you could reach out and pick it to go in a miniature vase in your miniature house. Fiona ... Christine would have LOVED it! :0)

So ... that was our Garden Party. A big thank you to everyone who came along to enjoy the day with us and help raise funds to assist girls in the Philippines and a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated prizes and gifties or helped on the day. And the BIGGEST of thank you's goes to my FABULOUS parents who put in many hard, hot, sweaty hours of helping us get the garden in shape for the party and Mum spring cleaned most of our house in the lead-up, too ... apart from the bits that she tricked me into cleaning! Tee! Hee! Hee! It was nice to be able to provide an enjoyable afternoon for friends, but even nicer to help with the work Bloom Asia is doing. Our donation goes with our prayers that these girls will not only leave horrible situations behind and gain new life skills to support themselves and their families, but also that they will truly be able to BLOOM into the wonderful women they were meant to be.

If you would like to learn more about the work Bloom Asia is doing, or make a donation to help set up the new training centre in the Philippines, you can pop over to their web site HERE.

So ... you can see why our batteries were a bit flat this week. :0) But by the end of the week, we were starting to spark up ... just in time to catch up with some special blogging buddies for dinner on Thursday night ...

It was wonderful to catch up with the Fabulous Fiona, quilting fairy extraordinaire and one of my longest-known (I won't say oldest! Tee! Hee! Hee!) blogging buddies, Chookyblue. Here we are during a brief lull in the chatting! :0) The really nice part of the three of us catching up, is that my Beloved Geek Boy, Fiona's Hubz and Mr Chooky all get along well and enjoy a catch up too. And blogging stars that we are (COUGH!! COUGH!! COUGH!! :0) ) we needed our very own official paparazzi ...

Fairy Girl was being sprung from boarding school for the Christmas break ... each of us ended up with one of these funny selfies on our phones when she took pics! :0) You can see GB and Mr Chooky in the background. What a fun night we had, even if GB and I had to duck off a bit earlier than we would have liked to retrieve GB's Dad from the Bris airport. Thanks for a great catch up, gals!

Righto ... and now that Chookyblue is very likely rolling her eyes at how long my post is (Tee! Hee! Hee!) I'd best sign off. OPAM gals ... only a few days left of this month, so don't forget to update your sidebar lists and email me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. But right now ... I'm off to finish my SSCS gifties to get them in tomorrow's mail ... I think I just heard Chookyblue's whip cracking! :0) Til next time ...



Wednesday 16 November 2016

Party Prep Continues!

It's just a few days until we hold our Garden Party and there are still lots of jobs on the ol' "To Do" list that need to be crossed off. Why do I get the feeling sleep is going to be in short supply here this week?! :0)

The garden is looking great, though a couple of inches of rain would have been good before now ... as long as it doesn't show up on Saturday - EEP!! The tea cups are all washed and ready, the cake plates have been foraged out of the cupboards and washed ... Mum even tackled the huge job of cleaning the silver ...

There's quite a few more of those cake forks ... between us, Mum and I came up with enough for the party ... not sure what that says about the peculiar things lurking in our cupboards! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Right ... off to grab a quick cuppa before tackling the next job ... hope your week is sailing along smoothly. Til next time ...



Friday 11 November 2016

Party Preparations!

Just over a week until we host our Garden Party fundraiser for Bloom Asia and party preparations are starting to ramp up. This is my job for today on my 'day off'. Dusting and washing my pretty china , tiered serving plates and some of the pretty trios that will be used to hold tea and goodies. Hmmm ... I'm starting to think that my sneaky Mum has tricked me into spring cleaning by suggesting we hold this garden party!!! :0) Good thing I loves her!

What are you up to today?? Til next time ...



Wednesday 9 November 2016

November ... ALREADY?!?!

WOW! I'm not at all sure how we're already over a week into November ... the second last month of the year. Where on EARTH have the last 10 months slipped away to?!?! Oh dear! The fat, jolly bloke in the red suit is going to be showing up before I'm at all ready for him, I just know it!

It's all go here at the Meares' Madhouse, between preparations for our fundraising garden party and the usual end of year busy-ness. Throw in a mini-sewing retreat with the Friday Nighters and a bit of connecting with our roots at a Celtic Festival (my family tree is so Scottish we almost bleed tartan and my Beloved Geek Boy's black-Irish looks come from his paternal Grandmother, Sheila O'Reilly!) and you can imagine our batteries are getting a wee bit flat. Can't complain of boredom around here ... unless you want to be given a job! Tee! Hee! Hee!

The mini-retreat was the last one the Friday Nighters will fit in before the end of the year, so we were all pleased to enjoy each other's company. There was lots of chatting, giggling, eating, chatting, laughing, eating, the consumption of bubbly adult beverages, chatting, giggling ... oh! And apparently some people sewed! :0) I hadn't really had time to organise myself with any larger projects, so I set myself up in a comfy chair with my light and some hand stitching, but some of the gals got HEAPS finished. Would you like a sneaky-peeky at a few finishes? OK! :0)

Here's Gail-Sue showing off her finished Tilda quilt top. Isn't it GORGEOUS!!! There's a bit of a joke between me and some of the gals who stitch on a Friday Night ... we meet in the back room of my Home-Away-From-Home, the Quilters Angel, so you just KNOW there's lots of shopping going on, right?! Well ... I feel it is my DUTY as a good friend and stitching buddy to HELP people shop ... aren't I a GOOD FRIEND?! Tee! Hee! Hee! And this quilt is made from the Tilda fabrics that I "helped" Gail buy.

I also often "help" Julie buy fabric, although I can't take any credit for her MIND BLOWING finish ...

Isn't it MAGNIFICENT!! There are SOOOOOOOOOOO many little squares in this quilt that I don't know how Julie managed to stay sane long enough to finish it. She has given time to this project at our retreats for more than a year and it was so exciting to see if completed. Talk about commitment! And the hardest bit to believe ... after all her hard work, Julie is giving this quilt away as a wedding gift! WOW!! I wonder if she'll adopt me?! Tee! Hee! Hee! And once the Bargello was finished, Julie moved onto MORE projects, including two rather cute finishes ...

Aren't these dollies just the sweetest?! Julie is a powerhouse once she gets going. :0)

And speaking of finished projects ... OPAMers ... Once again, you've all been super busy in your sewing rooms (or with your knitting and crochet). There were 135 finishes registered for October - WOW!! Well done everyone! And if you managed to make some good progress on some longer-term projects, well done to you, too. Thanks to my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg for doing lots of the bloghopping this month ... I kept running out of hours in my days. :0)

Righto ... the winner of this month's draw is ...

Woo! Hoo! Congrats Raewyn! If you'd like to email me with your snail mail address, I'll pop a surprise in the mail for you soon.

And ... since it's actually taken me two days to get this post FINISHED ... I'm exhausted! :0) I'm off to water my vege garden before I put my feet up with a cup of tea to think about what I'm going to cook for dinner ... aaaah! The decisions!! Enjoy the end of your week - Til next time ...



Monday 31 October 2016

Some Sewing, Spring & OPAM Reporting Time!

G'day to you all out there in blogland on this warm spring afternoon! Yes ... the warmer weather favoured by my Beloved Geek Boy and I has come back and it's been a hive of activity here at the Meares' Madhouse over the weekend. :0)

It's just three weeks (a bit less!!) until we host our Garden Party to help raise funds for Bloom Asia, so it's all hands on deck to get the garden into shape and get all the food and decorating preparations arranged ... including Mum and Dad who have been drafted to help ... much to Dad's grumblings! Tee! Hee! Hee! Things are starting to fall into place nicely. Our deep freeze is full of yummy tea party treats and more will be made on the morning of the party. Nobody attending will have any excuse for being hungry ... believe me! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I've also been doing an inventory of my pretty china trio sets, cake plates, vintage linen tablecloths and serving platters, as well as organising and collecting a few surprises for those who come and support our party ... like GORGEOUS lucky door prizes! Two of those door prizes comprise the sewing that I've finally been doing - YAY! :0)

Ta da! A set of matching lingerie bags. I've told you before how much I enjoy making these sets. They are super simple, super quick and super fun to make ... not to mention also being super handy to help you keep your suitcase organised. ;0) You can grab a pattern from The Quilters Angel if you want to start your own lingerie bag addiction! :0) These pretties will be a door prize at the Garden Party ... along with a few other GORGEOUS goodies that have been donated by generous people. :0) I can't wait to share our garden and goodies with folks coming to our Garden Party, though there's still a pretty big "To Do" list to work our way through! :0) It's all very exciting/scary, as this will be the first biggish event we've hosted here at Edward House that isn't a family get together and it's part of our future plans to host more of them. Stay tuned. :0)

With the warmer weather ... and that long list of pre-garden-party jobs to tackle! ... GB and I have been out in the garden more and more, which has led to us enjoying some spring surprises. 

Here's a closer look at the flowers on the tree where I photographed the lingerie bags. These flowers are so pretty and there is a HUMMMMMMM about the tree. Do you see a special little creature in the centre flower? It's one of our Australian native bees and they are pretty cute. They don't sting and they're smaller than a fly, but they sure are industrious little critters and they LOOOOOOOVE those pink flowers. :0) We try hard to have a good variety of flowering plants in our garden so there is something flowering all year round to keep the bees happy ... cos if those industrious little critters disappear ... we humans are next!!

I don't know if this beauty is as popular with bees, but I LOVE the deep, velvety purple colour. This is a variety of iris, but they don't flower for long ... in fact, you can see that a couple of the petals are already curling up and it only came out this morning. That's why we try to go for a walk around the garden each day, just to see what's happening so we don't miss things. :0) And something we had noticed during our garden meanderings was a couple of spots in the garden with protective birdies in residence. Hmmm ... what were they protecting??

This was the first nest we found. It belongs to a very feisty pair of Willy Wagtails. They are not very large birds, but we've seen them scare off crows and magpies with their chittering and bomb-diving. It's pretty funny ... like watching a Chihuahua chase off a Great Dane! :0) Aren't those eggs cute? You'd swear someone decorated them with a brown felt pen, with those perfectly circular rings of dots around the bottom of each egg. And in another part of the garden we found, quite by accident ...

... another little nest, this time with a couple of pink eggs in it. Sorry the photo is a bit fuzzy ... it was a bit tricky getting close enough without dislodging the nest from it's bower ... something we sure didn't want to do. This nest is really well hidden in the rather tangled midst of my plotting-to-take-over-the-universe rosemary bush. We had both seen a feathered blur buzz past when we got really close to the rosemary, but hadn't seen which bird it was until this last weekend, which was also when we discovered why the mystery bird was so skittish. The rosy-hued eggs belong to a little honey eater ... not sure which type, as it really doesn't sit still for examination for very long. :0)

So you can see that it's all busy-busy here ... and has been in some OPAMer's households, too, from what I'm starting to see as end of month reports start to trickle in. OPAMers ... it's the last day of October ... and incidentally a moving day for the Wee Folk, so watch out! :0) ... have you got your sidebar list of finishes updated? Have you emailed your October tally to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg? Well ... you'd better get hopping before we do. :0)

Right ... there's just time for me to toodle off and enjoy a quiet cuppa before we head out tonight. I hope you all had a fab weekend and that you're week is off to a fantastic start ... watch out for those faeries! :0) Til next time ...



Tuesday 25 October 2016

All Partied Out!!

PHEW!! What a busy time we've been having here at the Meares' Madhouse! :0) This last weekend was just a rolling party ... and we really aren't party animals, my Beloved Geek Boy and I! :0) We had a birthday lunch for GB's Dad, a 30th school reunion for GB and an engagement party for GB's youngest brother ... are you noticing that it was all about GB this weekend?! :0)

So, not much sewing was accomplished over the last week, though I have made a wee bit of progress on a couple of projects that will be a lucky door prize at our upcoming fundraiser Garden Party (see previous post to catch up if you haven't already! :0) ) I need a couple more uninterrupted hours to finish those off, but I promise to share a photo soon.

As you can imagine, there have been quite a few preparations happening around the place to get ready for our Garden Party ... invitations have gone out and we've got our first few tickets booked - Woo! Hoo! :0) And to make sure I manage to have a LITTLE bit of sleep in the lead up to it, Mum and I have both started cooking and some goodies are being popped into freezers, including these little sweetie treaties ...

... some itty-bitty bickies! :0) I should have popped something in the photo for size comparison ... these tasty mouthfuls are about the size of a 50c piece. (not sure of a comparable overseas coin!). It took quite a bit longer than usual to roll out these teeny tasties, but they look so darn CUTE on the plate with their dressing of hundreds-and-thousands, sprinkles and coloured sugar. :0) I dare say that I'll be spending quite a LOT more time in the kitchen in coming weeks ... I promise to share pics. :0)

Another of our preparations can't be eaten but sure has us smiling. To backtrack a little ... when we bought our dream house, it was marketed as "Edward House" ... so that's how we've always referred to it. It sounds rather flash, don't you think?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Well ... the invitations for our Garden Party also refer to it as "Edward House", so we thought we'd better do something to reinforce that identity ...

Can you spot it?? It's a bit like a game of "Where's Wally?" isn't it! Tee! Hee! Hee! (In an A.D.O.P moment ... don't you love the lacy shadow on the back wall reflected through the fancy fretwork??) I'll give you a hint ...

Ta Da! We have a lovely new sign made to order. (The shadows are reflections of the trees in our front yard.) We're pretty chuffed with how it looks ... nice, smart gold lettering on a glossy black background to tie in with the black coach lights and the black cast iron door bell and timber edging. (it's a big house ... we need a LOUD bell so we know when visitors have arrived at the front of the house if we're at the back!)

So ... it's all go here in our corner of the world ... how are things where YOU are? Are you revving up for spring gardening (we've had a return of cold weather here ... GRRRR!) or are you winding down for a laid back autumn, getting ready to hibernate for winter? Well, wherever you are, I hope you're managing to find some time to be creative ... especially all of you OPAM gals ... only a few days until it's time to check in with me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg with your monthly tallies, gals!

But for right now, I think I'm going to enjoy the lull before things get even busier around here and sit back with a nice cup of rose and French vanilla tea. :0) Til next time ...



Wednesday 12 October 2016

Popping In From The Garden!!

G'day to you all out there in blogland! The days have been whizzing by again and it's almost 10 days since I popped in for a visit ... the fat bloke in the red suit will be showing up in a jingling of bells and a clattering of reindeer hooves before we know it - EEK!!!

One of the reasons for my absence has been ... I don't have any sewing to share. You see, the spring weather has finally shown up ... mostly!! ... and so my Beloved Geek Boy and I have both come out of hibernation and started to spend most of our free time in the garden. We have a smidge over an acre to keep us busy, so the gardening gloves have been on! :0) In fact ... I thought, since I didn't have any sewing to share, I'd bring you a little garden update ... I hope you enjoy it. :0)

One of the things we love about out block compared to our town backyard (oh, let me count the many things!!) is that we have more room for a good vege patch. There's something very satisfying about munching on goodies that you have grown in your garden and today was the first harvest time this season for my little vege patch.

Lovely, crunchy, good-for-you radishes. And they're one of my fave colour combos ... red and green! :0) I planted two punnets of these babies cos we LOVE them in summer salads. I think I might have to find a spot to plant some more to keep us going through salad season. :0)

And our foxgloves are starting to show off their spring finery ...

... and the first bearded iris has appeared. It really MUST be spring! :0)

We do have a bit of an ulterior motive for our mad gardening. We're hosting a fund raising garden party in our front yard next month ... so the garden needs to be whipped into shape to show it off nicely. :0) We're helping to raise funds for Bloom Asia, which is an education/training organisation that works directly with vulnerable women and girls in Cambodia. Bloom not only ensures the girls get basic education (many have been sold into servitude by impoverished families at a young age, so have never attended school), they are also trained in hospitality, barista skills and cake decorating. Bloom Asia is the fruition of the vision of a lovely Brisbane lady who took her hobby of cake decorating and used it as the basis for this fantastic enterprise. Bloom Asia receives no government funding or assistance and now has two training centres in Cambodia that each have a cafe attached where girls can gain experience in the hospitality industry and when they've finished their training, they are offered employment at a fair wage to help them and their families. These centres are self-sustaining once they're up and running.

With the success of these two centres, the founders of Bloom Asia were approached to duplicate their successful and sustainable training/education/employment enterprise in Cebu in the Philippines ... again, with no government funding. So ... the lovely Brissie lady's sister (who lives in our area) committed to renovating a house in Toowoomba, with 100% of the sale profits to go towards the new Bloom Asia centre. To make sure that profit is a nice healthy one, fund raising events are being held around the local area to help pay for the reno costs ... that's what we're planning to do. :0)

Sorry that was a bit long-winded (no comments from you, Miss Chookyblue!! :0) ) but we're pretty excited to be involved in helping in such a wonderful project, even in a small way. My Mum and I will be doing most of the catering, so it will be a frenzy of gardening and cooking around here for the next few weeks. :0) I'll share some pics as we go along ... in case you're interested! :0)

If you'd like to know more about Bloom Asia you can visit their web site: and if you want to catch up with the house flip that we're raising funds to help with you can visit here:

Righto ... now that this post turned into a bit of an epic tale ... I shall sign off and go in search of dinner inspiration. Hmmm ... what do I have that will go with a nice salad that includes fresh radishes?! :0) Hope your week is toodling along nicely ... and that you're doing more sewing than I am! :0) Oh! OPAM gals ... Sweet Peg has done the prize draw ... was it your name that came out of the hat? :0) Til next time ...



Monday 3 October 2016

Seafoamy, Rainy Weekend!

Hello to all of you out there in blogland on this lovely Queens' Birthday public holiday here in QLD. It's not REALLY the Queen's birthday, and we used to celebrate it in June ... til the government changed it ... I do hope Her Maj doesn't get as confused as the rest of us when our State government plays with our public holidays ... Politics! SIGH!! However ... the extra day in the weekend was welcome ... if WET!

Lots happening here at the Meares' Madhouse this weekend - some sewing projects to be sewn, a high tea to be attended (which I forgot I took a couple of pics of ... will share next time!), some gardens to be dug, some plants to be planted and all of it now being finished off in rainy, gale-force-windy weather ... SIGH! Welcome to life on top of our 'hill'!!

While I'm waiting for the rain to move on a little before I venture out to help with the plant planting part of our weekend, I thought I'd show you what I've been sewing. With the warmer weather almost here (APPARENTLY?!?!?!) I decided I needed a couple of new skirts, so after rifling through my stash ... and making a quick trip to The Quilters Angel to top up!! ... I've finished the first one ... just scraping in as my September OPAM finish! :0)

Ta da! Some of you may have guessed this was what I've been working on from the pic I shared last time. I LOVE the seafoamy-sagey-tealy colours of these fabrics. I'll wear it on days I feel I need a little oceany magic in my life. :0) I love these patchwork skirts ... a fun way to show off lots of lovely quilting fabrics ... and they are SOOOOOO comfy!! :0) My brother says I'm just a leftover hippie ... maybe! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And being on a bit of a roll (and finding things to keep me INSIDE out of rainy-day-gardening! :0) ) I decided to use a few of these fabrics for another long-overdue project. You see, some years ago (four or five, I think!) my GORGEOUS OPAM Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg gifted me a lovely French General phone case ...

Well ... it has been used every day since then ... until I had to finally admit it (like all of us!!) was starting to show a bit of wear and tear ...

Can you see where it has worn right through the fabric at the bottom there from being pulled in and out of my handbag? It did last pretty well, though. But ... time for an update ... to go with the updated phone ... which I am still learning to drive properly ... SIGH!!!!

Some of the lovely dark teal batik fabric left over from my skirt and some ribbon and a button from my stash that matched perfectly. 

And some soft seafoam batik inside. New phone fits perfectly. :0)

Righto ... the rain seems to have stopped ... though that wind is still a bit icky! So I think I've run out of excuses to NOT be out in the garden ... oops! Ah well ... if I want pretty flowers in my garden, I have to work for them, I guess. That sounds a bit like one of the memes you find on Facebook! :0) Hope you've had a great weekend, whether you had a long one or not. OPAMers ... don't forget to email me or Sweet Peg with your tally! Til next time ...



Friday 30 September 2016

Popping In & OPAM Reminder!

Here I am ... managing to pop into blogland for a little visit. I am SOOOOOO far behind in reading my fave blogs, WAAAAAY behind in answering emails and overdue to pop back here for a visit. All of these things are symptoms of the one problem ... a laptop with a dodgy battery. :0) You see, answering emails, blogging and reading blogs are all done on my laptop ... whose battery won't hold a charge for more than about an hour and a half before having to be plugged in. Then I end up tangled or tripping over the power cord, or I have to relocate to set up at the dining table ... and in all honesty it just falls into the "Too Hard" category and gets put off. SORRY! :0)

The other factor contributing to my blogging absence has been my grown-up job continuing in the crazy-busy category. But ... I HAVE been doing a bit ... some gardening and some sewing.

Two weeks ago was the Carnival of Flowers weekend in Toowoomba and I usually try to team up with a friend to see some of the gardens entered in the competition. This year, we decided to check out a couple of out-of-town gardens, so it was a mini-road-trip. :0)

I LOOOOOOOVED the Grand Champion garden so much this year. It's what I call an "achievable" garden ... the type of garden that looks spectacular, but doesn't rely solely on having buckets of money, either to pay a gardener to maintain the garden for you, or to splash out on thousands of spring annuals that will be over and done in a matter of a couple of weeks. It was the sort of garden that you can see would have something to see and some splashes of colour all year round. And it didn't have a lot of expensive exotic plants ... lots of old fashioned favourites, many of which are dry-weather tolerant ... a VERY important factor for us as we rely solely on tank water. Want to see??

PRETTY!! There were daisies, lavenders, roses, geraniums and flowering shrubs as the basis of the garden, with pretty annuals plugged in for spring. The really amazing thing about this garden was, that just eight years ago ... it was a cow paddock! There was a lot more to it, as the garden wove right around the house, with lots of sweet features like ...

... this. Ivy grown over a frame with a basket of pretty flowers hung from the centre. To be honest, I was so busy drooling over the pretty flowers, chatting to the owners to get tips and collecting cuttings from the lovely owners who encouraged me to 'give it a go', that I only took two pics. This is what OUR garden would like to be ... when it grows up! :0) Then, we headed off to another country garden ...

It was getting on for late afternoon by the time we got to this one and the sun was in the wrong spot to get photos of most of the garden, but I loved this sweet faux gateway ... this has been on our garden "to do" list for some time, so now even more inspired to do it. :0) 

Sadly, our own garden isn't quite ready to put on a spectacular spring show this year ... it was badly affected by extended dry weather through autumn, then beaten up by a rather nasty hail storm at the start of winter and we're just starting to get back into the clean up and revamp ... or in some cases ... the vamp ... since there hasn't been anything done there previously. :0) But ... a couple of lavender bushes I planted this time last year are putting on a fabulous show ...

They have each doubled in size and are flowering madly. The bees love them even more than I do! ;0) Apart from that ... I have been doing a LITTLE bit of sewing ...

Hmm ... what do you suppose I'm making?! :0) Loving these seafoamy, sagey, minty greens. I'm hoping to get it finished for my September OPAM list ... and speaking of OPAM ... OK gals ... time to update your sidebar lists of finishes and drop an email with your tally to me and my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. What have you all been creating this month? Can't wait to see. :0)

But right now, the kettle is singing it's siren's song and calling me to have a cup of tea, so I shall sign off for now. Til next time ...



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