Friday 29 January 2016

Quilt Delivered & Date With A Star!!

Happy Friday to all of you out there in blogland! I hope you've all had a great week. I'm not sure I have very much to show for my efforts this week ... lots of pattern and template editing ... BLECH! Still ... good progress made, so my "Combi Conga Line Quilt" pattern will soon be available - WOO! HOO! :0)

And speaking of quilts ... do you remember last year I shared this quilt with you?

Well ... it was made for my brother's number two son ... We call him "Aussie Tom" cos he was born on Australia Day ... and ... well ... his name is Tom! Tee! Hee! Hee! Actually ... he's pretty lucky ... not many of us get a public holiday for our birthday every year! :0)

But I digress ... I know ... how unlike me ... NOT! :0) I held onto the finished quilt until this week when I sent it off for this year's birthday and got a message from my brother to say it had arrived and was about to be used for story time ...

Here he is (wearing a shirt featuring another well-known Thomas!) sharing his quilt with younger brother Oliver ... who has apparently put in a request for his own quilt since people keep sitting on this one! :0) We put so much time effort, skill ... and play money!! ... into creating our quilts that it is always very gratifying to see them being used and loved. I've got some ideas for young Ollie's quilt ... it's next on the designing list once I finish editing "Combi Conga Line" and the cherry quilt I showed you the start of a couple of weeks ago. Aaah ... the lament of a designer/quilter ...

So many quilt designs,
So many pretty fabrics ...
So little time and play money!!

Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now to the second part of my title ... a date with a star. Well ... I may have exagerated a LITTLE!! :0) I DID spend more than an hour last night with a star ... and 1,500 other people! :0) Guy Sebastian was in Toowoomba as part of his current tour and my Beloved Geek Boy's work was given four free tickets to attend a display of sound gear, then stay for the concert. SWEET!! 

OK ... so maybe it's a good thing that there wasn't a test about said sound gear as a proviso to getting into the concert ... cos I'd have been sitting outside on the steps. :0) Instead, I joined those 1,500 people for a rockin' hour and a half of music. 

Not a great pic, but if there weren't bopping boddies in the shot, the stage lights were super bright, so you'll just have to take my word for it that this really IS Guy Sebastian! :0)

If I hadn't already been pretty impressed with Guy, I would've been by the end of the concert cos ... unlike a lot of modern artists ... there were no pauses for costume changes or set changes ... it was just solid music ... and he sounds as good in person as on recordings. And has a quirky sense of humour. OK ... fan rave over! :0) It was worth the late bed time ... 45 minute drive home after meant a later-than-usual-night-owl-bed-time ... to enjoy a night of quality live music. Not sure GB felt the same when he had to get up for work this morning, but it was my day off, so I was fine! :0)

Right ... I'm off to keep an overdue date with my pillow ... thank goodness for the weekend! :0) Oh ... have you signed up for OPAM 2016 yet? Don't forget ... you've only got a few days left, cos sign up closes on Febuary 2. The list of creative clever clogs' joining us is growing and Sweet Peg and I are looking forward to sharing lots of lovely finishes this year. But now ... to the pillow, Batman!! :0) Til next time ...



Wednesday 27 January 2016

PSSSSSSTT!! No Reply Bloggers!

PSSSSTT!! A quick little hint to some gals who are commenting, but showing up as "No Reply" bloggers ... If you are a "No Reply" ... I can't reply to your comment! :0) You can change that in your blog profile ... and if you really want to stay incognito like Secret Squirrel, make sure you pop your email address in your comment so I can chat back to you.

Diana P ... to answer your question (cos you're one of my "No Reply" commenters) ... YES ... overseas bloggers are more than welcome to join OPAM ... ANYONE can join as long as they have an active blog and a love of creating. :0)

Right ... SHHHH! Secret Squirrel, signing off ... Til next time ...



Tuesday 26 January 2016

Let The Fun Begin - OPAM Signup OPEN!!

Well ladies ... IT'S HERE!! Yes, sign to join in all the fun of OPAM 2016 is now officially underway! :0)

WOO! HOO! We've got a brand new, fresh logo, thanks to my Beloved Geek Boy and do you see that total?? So far, all of you clever clogs creaters have finished 43,409 projects whilst playing along with OPAM over the last seven years ... WOWSERS!! :0) Never in our wildest dreams did May Britt and I think this is where OPAM would go when we started the very first one in 2009. And my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime for the last six years, Sweet Peg and I are continually blown away at not only the number of projects you gals have finished (cos that's only one goal of OPAM) but also the variety of projects your creativity leads you to.

And we can't wait to see what 2016 brings! :0) So whether you're a "Repeat Offender" or a "Newbie" if you would like a low-stress, non-fuss, encouraging way to get some of your projects FINISHED in 2016, then we hope you'll play along with us for OPAM 2016. Whether you're a serial-starter, a lapsed stitcher getting back into the swing of things after a break away from the sewing room, or your mojo has taken a trip to the Bahamas without you and you just need a little nudge and a deadline to motivate you ... then scroll down and read the OPAM guidelines, then email me or my Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg to join us. We hope you'll find OPAM an encouragement to take a bit of time out of your busy schedule just for YOU ... to be creative and to recharge your batteries. 

Let the fun begin!

Til Next time ...


The One Project A Month (OPAM) Challenge Guidelines 2016

The idea of the “One Project A Month Challenge" is pretty simple ... To try to finish at least ONE craft project by the end of each month. This can be something you’ve had partly done for a while (a Work In Slow Progress WISP), a pattern you bought ages ago that you finally get around to making up, a kit that's been sitting in your craft cupboard that needs to be made up, or a completely new project. This is meant to be a low-stress challenge  - if you don’t finish a project every month  - that’s fine! We understand sometimes life interferes with our plans. We also realise some projects are meant to be long-term and have a LOT of work involved, like a quilt or a cross-stitch. The main aim of the OPAM Challenge is to give us all a bit of a motivational boost and to give us all a big world-wide cheer squad to encourage and inspire us.

However, there is quite a bit of time and work involved in running OPAM, so Sweet Peg and I have some guidelines we ask people to read AND please only sign up if you intend to follow through. If for some reason during the year you decide you don’t wish to remain part of the OPAM Challenge, just drop Sweet Peg or me an email to let us know. Please read through ALL guidelines before you sign up.

1. Participants must have an ACTIVE BLOG. If you change your blog address, drop us an email telling us your old address and what you’ve changed it to. It it's a private blog, please sign at least one of us in so we can check in with you from time to time.
2. Numbers won’t be limited for the sign up for OPAM 2016, BUT ... it WILL CLOSE on February 1 ... You must sign up before that or miss out on joining in the fun.
3. Participants can sign up via email to Kris or Peg, or via a comment on EITHER blog AS LONG AS it includes all asked for information.
4. Participants MUST provide all info asked for. * Name (first and initial of surname in case of double up names); * Email; * Blog address.
5. Participants MUST have the OPAM Challenge badge on their blog sidebar and link it to either Kris’s or Peg’s blog.
6. Participants MUST keep a list of each month’s finishes on their blog sidebar and update it BEFORE the last day of each month. (This is easiest if you add each project as you finish it.) If you can put this directly under the OPAM badge on your sidebar it will be easier for Peg and Kris to find it. You may also choose to have a separate OPAM 2016 page on your blog.  That’s fine too as long as it’s clearly labelled.
7. Only ‘soft’ crafts are included in the OPAM Challenge, ie. Projects made from fabric, thread or wool. Some examples are: embroidery, patchwork, quilting, cross-stitch, knitting, crochet, practical sewing (curtains, clothes etc), long stitch, appliqué.
8. QUILTS: A quilt will only be counted as a finish if it is COMPLETELY finished ... Quilted and bound. Flimsies/tops won’t count as finishes.
9. BOM’s: Blocks that are part of a BOM (Block Of the Month) program will only be counted as a finish when they are joined, quilted and bound. Individual BOM blocks DO NOT count as a finish.
10. If you can email Peg or Kris your list of finishes each month BEFORE the end of the month, this would be appreciated, as it cuts down the amount of time it takes to check finishes for the month. (and saves Peg and Kris from getting square eyes!)
11.  Lastly, participants MUST ... Have fun! After all, the reason we craft and create is to relax, have fun and take some time away from the “Have to do” tasks to do the “Like to do” ones! :0)


Saturday 23 January 2016

Treasures & A Count Down!!

Happy Saturday to you all, my bloggy buddies! :0) It's been a bit of a muddled sort of Saturday here where about the most productive thing I've achieved is to cut up a dozen mangoes to freeze. MMMMMM .... MANGOES! :0) One of our summer favourites that we've been able to get per box for a VERY good price the last few weeks, so as well as gorging ourselves on delicious yellow fruitiness, I've also been cutting some up to freeze so we can enjoy this tasty treat out of season.

The other thing I've managed to do is clean up our dining room table ... which had been looking like a rainbow self-destructed all over it due to my sewing fallout. :0) As a result, I've been able to get some nice pics of the treasures I brought home with me from my last play date with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette. The first one was found in a new-to-us-antique shop in Ipswich. It actually took me a while to start exploring cos I was too busy admiring the gorgeous old church building it was housed in! :0) But once we started to look around ... OH MY! :0)

I couldn't go past this pretty cross-stitched linen tablecloth for our dining table.

Look at those colours! You know I'm a colour freak, right?! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Just look at all those little cross stitches ... so neat and pretty. But wait ... there was MORE!!

It also came with six matching napkins. In fact, I spotted the napkins first and was contemplating buying them to make a quilt or bag with when I found the tablecloth. SWOON! :0) I also bought a lovely lace tablecloth, but it's quite discoloured, so I'm handing it to the expert spot-removalist and cloth whitener ... my Mum! :0)

The other treasure to come home with me was actually a Christmas/Birthday giftie from Lynette ... after she saw me drooling over it and bemoaning that my budget wouldn't stretch due to having the post-Christmas, I-Don't-Get-Paid-Holiday-Pay blues. :0)

A GORGEOUS red transferware jug. More SWOON!!! :0)

 It's pictured here with my two red trio sets. I think red transferware is my new obsession ... along with vintage linen, green Depression Glass, Nelsonware jugs and pretty teacup trios! :0)

I love the rich red of the transferware and this jug is a lovely shape, too. See the castles? I wonder where they are in the world?? I don't know the maker of this lovely jug, but the maker's mark is ...

If anyone has any clues, I'd be interested to hear.

On to part two of my title ... the count down. Well ... for all of you OPAM enthusiasts, whether you're a "Repeat Offender" or a "Newbie" ... the wait is ALMOST over ... until Sign up for OPAM 2016! YAY!! Sign up will be on ...


Sign up will CLOSE on


So ... mark it on your calendar to pop back to visit me here or visit my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg to read the guidelines and EMAIL one of us to sign up. PLEASE ... make sure you read the guidelines before signing up ... they're not tricky or tough, but they do make things a bit simpler for Sweet Peg and me as we run this fun, low-stress challenge to encourage us all to take time out to create.

Right now, though, I'm off to put my feet up with an adult beverage (have discovered pear cider - YUMMO!) and help the Aussies win the cricket against India. Hope your weekend is fabulous. :0) Til next time ...


Tuesday 19 January 2016

Join The Conga Line!!

Have you now got an annoyingly catchy conga kinda song stuck in your head?! Yeah ... me too! :0) You see ... I've got another finish to add to my January list and I'm pretty CHUFFED! :0)

I've been showing you updates of my Combi van quilt along the way, but after a visit to my quilting fairy godmother, the Fabulous Fiona, to weave her quilting magic, my quilt is back home and bound ... it's FINISHED! :0) Would you like to see?? OK ... drum roll please ...

Ta! Da! "Combi Conga Quilt" is unveiled! :0) Don't you love the quilting Fiona has done in the outer border to make it look like those Combis are just jiggling along on a road trip? Thank you Fiona!! And I did a rainbow scrappy binding to tie all the colours together. I just love those cheerful, bright colours, don't you? When I was designing this quilt, I wanted to capture the 'feeling' that I get when I see a Combi van. It just puts out a 60's kind of vibe ... you know ... peace, love and rock n roll. :0) So I went searching for some psychedelic 60's kinds of colours to create these two-toned cuties. My brother has always said I'm a left-over hippie! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Don't you just want to jump in this cutie for a trip to the beach? Fresh air, sand between your toes and the relaxing sound of the waves rolling in ... AAAAAHHHHHH!!!

And this one makes me think of jumping in and trundling off to a folk music festival somewhere ... like Woodford, maybe.  :0) Left-over hippie, remember! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I really LOVE this quilt!! I know that like a parent isn't supposed to have a favourite child, a designer isn't really supposed to have a favourite quilt ... BUT ...! :0) Of course that DOES mean that the next thing for this left-over-hippie-designer to do is write the instructions ... GROAN!! Guess what I'll be doing on the weekend!!

And now, I find I feel like sipping a mug of herbal tea whilst listening to some flutes-and-drums music. :0) Hope you're all having a jumpin' January. OPAMers and potential OPAMers ... Sweet Peg and I will be announcing the sign up for OPAM 2016 next week, so stay tuned. :0) The kettle is calling my name ...! :0) Til next time ...



Friday 15 January 2016

I Need More Holidays!!

Well ... I have come to the conclusion that I really need more holidays, cos not only did I get quite a lot of sewing done DURING my break, I seem to be carrying my momentum forward even though I'm now back at my 'grown up' job. WOO! HOO! I might actually cross some things of my "To Do" list this year. :0)

Now ... last time I showed you that I had made progress with a three year old WISP ...

Well, this week, I've been working on it some more and it now looks like this ...

Ta! Da! Yep ... the top is FINISHED! It was fun to play with some pretty pastel shabby chic/cottage fabrics with this one and I love how the stitcheries look against the pretty fabrics ...

... a ladybird, flower, bee, dragonfly ...

... butterfly, rose, bee ... all sorts of garden critters. :0) So ... another one for the Fabulous Fiona to work her quilting magic on for me. And since I had an extra pair of stitcheries that didn't fit into the quilt layout that I eventually went with, I decided this new quilt needed a matching ...

... Cushion! Even though this project was kind of an afterthought, I LOVE how it's come up! I have a little confessions though ... in this pic it isn't QUITE finished. See the puff at the bottom left edge? That's the opening not stitched up yet cos I ran out of toy fill ... how frustrating! Thankfully, The Marvellous Marion came to my rescue when I popped into the Quilters Angel yesterday, so it's now stuffed and just waiting for that opening to be stitched closed. :0) I was just so excited to be showing you all that my sewing mojo seems to be sticking around that I couldn't wait to share! :0)

And since it's the end of the week (YAY!) I've got a weekend stretching before me to do some housey chores (BOO!!), write some instructions (GROAN!) and do some more sewing (YAY!!!!)  I hope you've all had a great week and that in amongst your "BOO's" and "GROANs" your weekend includes lots of "YAYs"! :0) Til next time ...


Sunday 10 January 2016

A Blast From The Past!!

Well, my holiday is drawing to an end and tomorrow I have to go back to being a grown up ... or should that be GROAN up?! Tee! Hee! Hee! I really don't feel ready to give up sleeping in, pottering around and playing with my sewing, but if I want to be paid so I can buy more fabric, then I have to bite the bullet. SIGH!!

So, this weekend has been all about getting as much sewing crammed into my last days of freedom as possible. At the start of my holiday, I made a list of some of the projects I want to tackle this year ... it's a good thing there's an extra day this year, it being a leap year! :0) With my cherry quilt (that I showed you a sneaky peaky of last time) at a stand still until I stock up on white border fabric, I moved onto another project ... and this one is a blast from the past ... 2013, to be exact! YIKES!!

If you've been following along with my blog for a while, you MAY just remember that as a giftie for my buddy Lynda, I designed a stitchery quilt and traced and prepped the blocks for her and added a couple of charm packs ...

... and she loved it ...

Well ... at the same time, I stitched my own set of these blocks ready to make up into a quilt as a pattern ...

... And then that was as far as I got. OOPS! In my defence, the last couple of years have been pretty topsy turvy and full-on for the Meares' Madhouse, but ... I decided the time had come to do something with these cute garden critters. A dive into my stash ... where I had actually put fabric aside for this project ... and there was some progress ...

... nine blocks made up with some pretty shabby chic pastels. I've actually got more done since this photo ... the blocks are all together and I've got the first border on ... it's making me smile! :0) I'm really hoping to have some WISPy WISPs (long-term Works In Slow Progress! :0) ) finished and added to my OPAM finishes list this year, so stay tuned for the next instalment. :0)

But right now, it's time for a cup of tea to refresh me as I cheer on the Brisbane Heat in the T20 Big Bash cricket comp. I do love a good exciting game of cricket. :0) Hope your weekend has been enjoyable and productive, too. Til next time ...



Friday 8 January 2016

Sneaky Peakie & December OPAM Winners!

Happy Friday to everyone out there in blogland! It's a typical summer day here on top of our 'hill' ... the sun is shining, it's a steamy, humid 29 degrees, the cicadas are deafening and the fan is whirring. Aaaaa ... SUMMER! How I love you! :0) I'm enjoying the last few days of my holiday before I have to go back to being a grown up on Monday ... SIGH!!

I'm back from my sleep-over play date in Brisbane with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette ... and I had so much fun that I didn't even think to take ONE photo - OOPS! :0)  So I'll just tell you that we had a lovely time and I found some GORGEOUS new treasures that I'll share with you once I get some good photos of them.

So ... now that I'm back home, I've finalised the last OPAM monthly tally for 2015. What a WONDERFUL year of creating we have all had! :0) Thank you all SOOOOOO much for joining my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg and I for One Project A Month again last year. It is always so inspiring to see the projects you are all working on and finishing - you are all such clever clogs! :0) It's also very humbling that you all invite us into your lives. While we started OPAM as a way to encourage us all to take time to be creative and finish some of our many projects, to take time to catch our breath and enjoy simple beauty wherever we find it ... it has become so much more thanks to you gals. You've shared your triumphs, your mishaps, highlights, lowlights, laughter, tears and heartbreak. In short ... you've let us share your lives and it's been an honour. :0) THANK YOU! And it goes without saying ... but still needs to be said!! ... A HUGE THANK YOU to Sweet Peg for Co-Hosting OPAM again with me. We make a pretty good team, my Sweet Friend! :0)

Now, looking at the final tally for December, all I can say is ... we were obviously all busy bees in the lead up to Christmas! Tee! Hee! Hee! There was a total of ...


WOWSERS! :0) Well done everyone! That gives us a 2015 final total tally of ...


OH! MY! GOODNESS!! Well done to you all! There must be a lot of empty space in people's sewing room cupboards now ... right?! Tee! Hee! Hee! Maybe not! :0) OK ... drumroll for the announcement you're all waiting for. The December winners are ...


Congratulations, gals! Email me with your snail mail address and I'll pop a little something in the mail for you soon. For all of you who've added finishes to your list over the last 12 months or made some good progress on longer-term projects ... WELL DONE to you, too. :0)

Now, as I've said, Sweet Peg and I WILL be running OPAM 2016 and we hope you'll join us again for a fun, low-stress nudge to be creative. Sign up will be at the end of the month so stay tuned to both my blog AND Sweet Peg's blog to keep up with our news and be ready to get creating. :0)

Before I sign off, I thought I'd share a little sneaky peakie with you of the project I've been working on. Do you remember I said I was playing with this layer cake ...

Well ... it now looks a little like this ...

This is part of the centre panel of the quilt that I've put together ... there are a couple of borders and maybe some more applique to play with before it's finished. I'm off to the first  of our Sit N Sew evenings for 2016 tonight at the Quilters Angel, so I'll grab a couple of supplies to get working with on the weekend ... the last weekend of my holiday freedom! SIGH!! Ah well ... I guess if I want play money to keep buying fabric, I'd better go back to work next week. :0) Whether you're still on holiday for a bit longer, back at work already, or like me, counting down your last days of freedom ... I hope you're enjoying 2016 so far. I think it's going to be ...


Til next time ...


Tuesday 5 January 2016

To Short Cut Or NOT To Short Cut!!

Here we are in a fresh new year ... and it IS just a wee bit fresh here on top of our 'hill' today, as we've been blessed with some wonderful, much-needed rain. Which made it the perfect day to hunker down with some sewing ... which I did! :0) Which leads me to the question posed in my heading ...

To Short Cut Or NOT To Short Cut?!

Do you have these kinds of arguments with yourself when you're working on projects, or is it just me? OK ... let me clue you in to what I was working on. I went back to my holiday "To Do" list, which included making a couple more of my lingerie drawstring bags as gifts for a couple of friends ... late Christmas gifties ... OOPS! :0) And when it came to the drawstring part, that's when I started having the above philosophical discussion with myself ...

Did I fuss and fiddle to add the casing for the drawstring ... or did I take a little short cut and stitch around, then unpick a section of the outer side seam and run the drawstring between the outer bag and the lining?? I have to tell you, the discussion was long, involved and almost came to blows! Tee! Hee! Hee! In the end ... in this particular instance ... I decided NOT to short cut. I decided that if I was taking the time to hand make gifties for friends, then they deserved my best efforts ... and they're worth a little extra fussing and fiddling! :0) If it had been for myself, I probably would have taken the short cut to get the project finished quicker. Aren't we funny creatures in our decisions about when a short cut is a time saving  idea or a cheat??! :0)

Oh ... would you like to see the finished bags? Okey doke ...

I'm glad I fussed and fiddled ... I like the contrast of the spotty dotty fabric I used for the casing. :0) Two brand new finishes for January - Yay me!! What a great way to start the year ...

And speaking of finishes ... OPAM gals ... I've just about finished the bloghopping for December's finishes ... I will be doing the prize draw when I get back from a sleep over play date with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette ... so you've got a couple more days grace to email me your finishes. I've already checked sidebar lists, so if you hadn't added all your December finishes, please drop me an email to catch up. And since my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg and I will be hosting OPAM again in 2016 ... I already have some finishes to add to my list! :0) Sign up for OPAM 2016 will be towards the end of January, so stay tuned if you want to join the fun and have a little bit of extra incentive to finish some projects this year. :0)

Right now though, I'm off to finish my cup of tea and pack a bag for a sleep over play date - WOO! HOO! :0) Hope 2016 is treating you well so far ... and that there are many WONDERFUL adventures in store for us all this year. :0) Til next time ...



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