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 ...



Monday 19 September 2016

24 Years Ago ... !!

24 years ago, it was quite a bit warmer ... Thank goodness! :0) ... when my Beloved Geek Boy and I were married under blue spring skies with birds singing happily in the trees of the park we'd chosen as the place to exchange our forever-promises ...

Bryan Adams crooned "Everything I Do, I Do It For You" as I walked towards my Sweetie ... and Dragon sang "Celebrate Good Times!" as we walked through the small group of our family and friends as Mr and Mrs Meares. :0)

24 years later there's a bit more of us (mostly around the waist and butt!!), there's a few more wrinkles, a few more grey hairs (GB, not me ... YET!!) and a few more kilometres on the ol' odometre, but all in all ... life is pretty good. We're still very much in love ... and still LIKE each other ... most days! Tee! Hee! Hee! 

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!! xxx



Sunday 18 September 2016

SDDO 2016 Catch Up!!

Hello to you all in blogland from the top of our grey and rainy 'hill' on this lovely Sunday. I can say it's lovely even though it's raining ... BECAUSE it's raining! :0) The weather may have put the kibosh on our gardening plans but it is so lovely to enjoy some good soaking rain and celebrate having our tanks full that we really don't mind too much ... and it's giving me no excuses for not catching up with you all to tell you about Stitchers' Dream Day Out 2016. OK ... so ... there are LOTS of photos ... you might need to grab a cuppa and a bickie or two to get you through this one. You've been warned, Chookyblue! :0)

Stitchers' Dream Day Out is a fantastic annual event hosted my the Marvellous Marion and the Stupendous Steph of my Home-Away-From-Home, The Quilters Angel. They really do spoil us all rotten so you feel relaxed and spoilt ... and usually all chatted out! ... as you head home at the end of the day. This year's theme was "Ooh, La, La! Paris!" and what a lot of fun we had with it. Guest designers were Debbie Magee from "Always Stitching" and Nikki Tervo from Tikki Tervo Designs. Each designer was given two packs of fat 1/8s to create a new design ... which meant everyone attending received four not-yet-public designs hot off the presses. And everyone got a fabric pack and pre-printed stitchery design so they could start stitching on the day. Apparently, some people STITCH at these days ... go figure! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Each table had a French centrepiece and a goody bag for each person ... you can see some of the shop in the background ... and two of my quilts that were on display for the day too. ;0)

It's always exciting to pull out your pre-printed design to see which one you have ... here's Julie about to find out which one she'd be stitching. And if you look closely, you'll see a little bit of Julie's skirt peeking out in the bottom left of the photo ... she made it especially for the day, showing off some lovely Eiffel Tower fabric.

And a few more colourful characters getting into the spirit of the French theme ... The Fabulous Fiona with two of her sewing buddies, Christine and Anne. Can I tell you ... by the end of the day, there were so many of those red feathers scattered around the hall that it looked like some giant red chook had been moulting. :0)

Here's me catching up with the lovely Debbie Magee ... she's such a sweetie and so very clever with her designs. :0)

And since it's all about the new designs ... this is a storage tub designed by Nikki Tervo. The zipper goes right around and the lid folds back to give access to several zippered pockets on the inside to store your sewing treasures.

Here's a better look at the stitchery design on the lid ... isn't it pretty?! This one is on my list to stitch, which is handy, since it's the design I found in my goody bag. :0)

And Nikki's second project was equally pretty ... don't you love that flower cart? :0)

And opened up, this becomes a storage pouch with clear plastic zippered pockets so you can see your sewing goodies or jewellery that you've stored in there.

The first of Debbie's designs was this sweet and handy drawstring bag decorated with delicate hexie stitcheries. The roses are little bullion knots, which Debbie showed us how to do. I need to practice a bit, I think. :0)

Here's another of the pretty stitcheries on Debbie's bag. Ooh, la, la! :0)

And Debbie's second design was this pretty and handy organiser. It has pockets inside and handle tabs on the sides for easy pick-up. You can either sit it on your sewing desk, or pick it up and pop it into your sewing bag ready to head off for a day of stitching with your friends ... or even use it as a handbag organiser ... mine would need more pockets to fit all my handbag junk in it, I think! Tee! Hee! Hee!

There was also time for show and tell ... and here is Julie showing off her finished stitchery for one of MY Christmas designs ... hasn't she done a lovely job? I may be a little biased. :0) And speaking of being a little biased ...

Glenda brought along her version of my "French Amour" quilt since it fitted in with the day's French theme. WOW! I love it, Glenda! :0) I love to see how people put my designs together ... some like theirs to be just like the pattern and others make little changes and additions to make the project more their own. There are still kits for this fun applique and stitchery quilt at the Quilters Angel if you'd like to make your very own version. :0)

And speaking of my designs ... do you remember me teasing you with this photo ...

Well ... I can now reveal what I'd been playing with ...

Ta Da! A new pattern. I had a little play with the fabric bundles the designers used for Stitchers Dream Day Out this year ... just for the challenge! And this is the result of one pack. The pattern is called "Bijou Beauties" ... bijou being French for 'jewel' ... and the framed stitchery with the pretty cut glass knobs on the bottom of the frame (which was an inexpensive frame painted with EZ2 Paint and finished with antiquing wax) is a handy necklace organiser, the zippered pouch is a handy storage pocket for your petite bijou (little jewels) when you travel and the folder at the bottom opens up to show pockets to keep jewellery tucked away and a spot to hook earrings for when you're travelling. This pattern is now available at The Quilters Angel and if you pop in for a visit you can take a peek at the original. :0) You can also now purchase the patterns for the SDDO projects, so if you couldn't come for the weekend, you can still make the pretty projects.

So ... wrapping up Stitchers Dream Day Out 2016 ... as always, we had a fantastic time, chatted with lovely, like-minded ladies, laughed, learned, ate delicious food ... and some people even stitched! :0) A HUGE thank you to Marion and Steph for giving us such a special event to enjoy. If you haven't been before, you really should book in for next year to come and play with us where the theme will be "Blossom And Bloom". I can't wait! :0)

But now, since it's raining again outside and I think I need to warm up a bit, I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on for a cup of tea. I hope you're all enjoying your weekend and that you have a FANTASTIC week. Til next time ...



Tuesday 13 September 2016

Crazy-Busy, Slacko Checking In!

Sorry, sorry, sorry! Yes ... I know I've been even more absent than usual ... life just seems to be getting in the way at the moment ... I'm sure you know what I mean! :0)

My grown-up job has still had a lot of 'stuff' happening that I'm still wrapping my head around and then someone stole a few weeks and suddenly it was the annual Stitchers Dream Day Out last weekend. I promise to be back soon with a full report and some more pics, but I thought I'd pop in to let you know I'm still alive and give you a quick sneaky peeky into our weekend of fun, friendship and stitching.

The Marvellous Marion and the Stupendous Steph of The Quilters Angel outdid themselves yet again, with all of us feeling very spoilt. The theme was "Ooh, la, la! Paris!" and I have lots of pics ... that I haven't had time to edit properly yet, so will just share a couple.

Tables were decorated and giftie bags were ready to spoil us ... and in the background you can just see that even the chairs got a glamour makeover with black covers and gold and champagne coloured organza ties ... WOOT! WOO! :0)

And this crazy chick came to play, too. :0) My Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette ... this is her best ... "I'm a good girl, really I am!" look. What do you think ... is it working?! :0) It DOES prove however that at least ONE of us did some stitching in amongst the chatting! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And speaking of CRAZY ... look who else was sitting at our table ... the Fabulous ... and FEATHERY!! ... Fiona! :0) There was some discussion as to whether our table was the "Naughty Table" because I was sitting at it or whether it was Fiona's fault. The jury is still out! Tee! Hee! Hee!

And speaking of Fiona ... she was the winner in this month's OPAM random draw ... I had a giggle when her name came out of the hat! :0) There were 155 finishes recorded in August! Well done to you all! And during our blog hopping, my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg and I also saw lots of good progress on people's long-term projects ... and that deserves a pat on the back too. It's always inspiring to see what everyone else is creating ... I hope you enjoy a little blog hop around some of the OPAMers' blogs sometimes ... and maybe you could leave a few encouarging comments along the way ... we all love positive feedback, right?! :0)

And now I'm off to play catch-up with some more of my grown-up chores that got put on hold over the weekend of fun and stitching ... somehow there are ALWAYS grown-up chores needing to be done, have you noticed that too?! :0) I promise to be back in the next day or so with LOTS of photos of Stitchers Dream Day Out 2016 ... including the GORGEOUS projects ... you've been given lots of warning, Chookyblue!!! Til next time ...



Saturday 3 September 2016

Yikes! Where Did That Week Go?!!!

Well ... I'm not sure where the last couple of weeks went, but I think they bypassed me! My holiday is over and I've been back at work this week to a rather lot of sad and unhappy news ... so I was ready for a weekend!!

I have to say that the weather wasn't really playing very nicely, it was grey, overcast and blowing a gale, but my Beloved Geek Boy and I were brave and headed off to the Toowoomba Farmers Market. You see, when we were at the markets a fortnight ago, I'd put in a very special order with Kelly of Zhi Ba Candles. I gave Kelly some of my 'odd' tea cups and a pretty vintage jug to make some of her lovely scented soy candles. So off we toodled to pick them up.

Here's me (with my wind-blown 'dandelion' hair style!!) with Kelly ... and my bag full of goodies! :0) Kelly did a lovely job of filling my vintage pretties with my favourite soy candle ... "Persian Spices". And it was lovely to have a chat with Kelly, too. I can highly recommend her lovely range of candles. :0)

I couldn't resist lighting my vintage candles once I got home ... just to see how they looked. :0) Don't you love that warm glow?!

Pretty teacups, glowing and wafting lovely fragrances make me happy! :0)

This pretty jug was damaged a little inside, but now has a new role to play. Kelly has a range of scents for her candles and I just know I'll be heading back to see her again for refills when my pretty new candles burn down. If you're in the Toowoomba area, you can catch up with Kelly at the fortnightly Toowoomba Farmers Markets, or the monthly Queens Park Markets. I think she does one other market, too, but not sure which one. She also has a Facebook page for you to visit: HERE.

On to other things ... OPAMers ... I'm running a bit behind, but it's the time of month where you need to update your sidebar list of finishes and email your monthly tally through to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. I'm rather chuffed to be able to add three finishes to my tally this month ... and if instruction writing counted, I'd have a couple more. :0) I'm almost ready to launch a couple of new patterns ... including my mystery Secret Squirrel projects, so stay tuned! :0)

But right now, I'm off to snuggle into my bed with the doona pulled up to combat a chilly night here on our 'hill'. Hopefully it will be warmer and sunny tomorrow for Fathers' Day. A big HAPPY FATHERS' DAY to all the Dads out there ... I'm feeding mine lunch tomorrow ... which is DEFINITELY the way to his heart! Tee! Hee! Hee! Til next time ...



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