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 ...



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