Sunday 31 December 2017

Ring Out The Old Year!

Well we are in the last hours of 2017 & I have to say I'm ready to usher it out the door because it hasn't been one of our best. We've faced quite a few challenges at the Meares' Madhouse this year, work-wise & financially ... Did I mention that I really hate having to be a grown up?! ... & emotionally. We had to say a final goodbye to my gorgeous Grandma, a precious friend from our time in Bourke & a number of the residents of the retirement village where I work in my grown up job. And adding to that list in the last few days was news of the sad passing of fellow designer & gorgeous human being, Rosie Dekker.

However ... It's also been a year where through those things above ... Perhaps even because of them ... I've been reminded that I am surrounded by supportive, encouraging, loyal friends & a loving family, not to mention a Heavenly Father who has helped & strengthened us every step of this challenging year.

So ... Even though it's been a difficult year & we're pretty happy to see its end, I can honestly say that as it winds down ... I feel exceeding blessed!

Thank you to all of you, my lovely blogging buddies, for the richness you've added to my year. I look forward to sharing more creativity, laughs & real life craziness with you in 2018. :0)

I tend not to make New Years resolutions, but would like to share a Celtic Blessing with you for the new year about to start.

May love & laughter light your days,
And warm your heart & home.
May good & faithful friends be yours
Wherever you may roam.
May peace & plenty bless your world,
With joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons 
Bring the best for you & yours.

From me & mine to you & yours ...




Thursday 28 December 2017

There's No Place Like Home!

Holidays are wonderful ... Going to new places, seeing new things ... But sometimes having a 'home-i-day' is just what the doctor ordered. You know ... A 'holiday' at home. :0)

We had a relaxing, low-key Christmas Day with my folks who are house sitting in the local area & our day was topped off with a bit of Christmas magic ...

The biggest, brightest double rainbow I have seen for years! The photo really doesn't show it off properly. Sadly we couldn't see the ends of it so didn't know where to dig for the pot of gold. It's a shame ... Our holiday could have become permanent. :0)

And for the last few days, I've been hanging out at home. There's been some sewing ... Remember this?

Well now it looks like this ...

I'm loving these pretty fabrics. I had originally thought to just add inner & outer borders ... But now I'm toying with appliqué ideas ... I can't help myself. :0)

While my new ideas bubble away on the back burner, I've moved on to a task I've been procrastinating about for a while ...

... Writing pattern instructions. SIGH! The cricket is keeping me company through the day, as you can see in the background, & in the late afternoon ...

... Some of our local wildlife is providing company. This is my view out the dining room French doors where I've been sitting to type. Can you spot them? Black cockatoos. We have a big flock of them living in our area & in hot weather they visit us morning & evening to take advantage of the bird baths & big water pot we have in our garden. They're so interesting to watch & seem to have a better & more orderly system of coming in to land than Heathrow airport. :0) The only drawbacks are they tend to break branches with their strong beaks while they wait their turn ... & the noise! :0)

So ... That's what's happening here at the Meares' Madhouse. Are you enjoying a holiday or a 'homi-i-day' ... Or are you back to having to be a grown up? Whatever you're up to as 2017 winds down I hope you're finding the beauty & joy in the everyday. :0) Til next time ...








Sunday 24 December 2017

The Best Christmas Gift!

Amidst the bustle & craziness that surrounds Christmas it can sometimes be easy to get caught up, uptight & stressed. I found a great reminder the other day that I thought I'd share with you. I don't know who adapted it so can't give credit, but it's actually an adaptation of one of my favourite verses. 

1 Corinthians 13
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights & shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator. 
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meats & arranging a beautifully adorned table at meal times, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook. 
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home & give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels & crochet snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties & sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on those I love the most, I have missed the point.
... In other words ...
Love stops the cooking to hug a child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried & tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china & table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But the gift of love will endure.

I wish you all a happy, safe & restful Christmas spent with the special people in your life. Til next time ...




Ready For Christmas!

It's a bold statement to make ... But ... I think I'm ready for Christmas! :0) All of the gifties that needed to be mailed have arrived safely at their destinations (something one can't always rely on!), the Christmas cooking has all been done, all gifties have been wrapped & put under the tree & all gifties to be made have been made ... I've even finished a few projects that weren't originally on the "To Do" list. Now I find myself wondering ... Am I super efficient this year ... Or ... Have I forgotten something! :0)

I'm really hoping it's the first! Tee! Hee! Hee! Some of the extra projects to come hot off the sewing machine included some birthday gifties for my Dad's cousin's wife (that sounds rather more complicated than it feels!) who had my folks & I over for an early Christmas catch up dinner last night on what we found out was her birthday eve. Knowing one of her fave colours is purple was my starting point for ...

... A purple set of kitchen helpers ... Two pot holders/hot mats & a purple-trimmed hanging hand towel. They matched her purple kettle & toaster perfectly. :0)

And since I had a few odd bits & bobs collected up for my folks for Christmas, I decided to save the environment & my sanity all in one move & make a couple of Santa sacks to pop everything in. (I hate wrapping parcels! I used to enjoy it but now avoid it whenever possible ... Gift bags are my wrapping friends! :0) )

The aqua Santa sacks are mine & GB's (had trouble closing GB's when I'd finished! I may have got a little carried away! Tee! Hee! Hee!) The apple green sacks are for Mum & Dad, along with a bigger gift each that didn't fit in the sacks. Christmas is neatly under the tree now! :0)

And speaking of Christmas gifties ... Santa came a little early for me on Friday night at our last Sit n Sew for the year. I fell in love with a particularly pretty layer cake & after consulting via text with the Juggler Of The Budget, it came home with me ...

It's "Guernsey" designed for Moda by Brenda Riddle Designs & features all the lovely soft & pretty cottage/shabby chic colours that make my heart go pity-pat. I'm going to make something just for me & think I'm going to leave the 10" squares whole to show off the pretty fabrics. It's my Christmas giftie to myself. :0)

But right now I think I'm going to put my feet up with an icy cold drink (it's 31 degrees & this summer chook is happy!) & a book on my iPad to enjoy a quiet Christmas Eve. Later we might watch our favourite Christmas movie & help Bruce Willis defeat the baddies ... Yes ... My favourite Christmas movie is "Die Hard"! :0) I hope you're enjoying your Christmas Eve ... I'm popping back in here tonight with a Christmas message so stay tuned. :0) Til next time ...






Saturday 16 December 2017

Christmas Shenanigans!!

Well ... Here I sit in my comfy chair with my feet up ... What a day!! I finally ran out of time to procrastinate about the cleaning in preparation for hosting the Christmas gathering of some of the Friday Night Sit n Sew gals & had to get stuck in. Thankfully, I had the able assistance of my Beloved Geek Boy ... What a wonderful man I married! :0)

After several hours of manic cleaning & setting up, we were ready to go ...

...the table was set. I decided to go with the K.I.S.S principle ... Keep It Simple, Stoopid! :0) Sticking with my aqua colour theme, a rustic hessian runner, some spruce branches from the garden, a couple of aqua candle lanterns & some more aqua lights.

I love the pop of the aqua on the white & hessian. I'm kicking myself that I forgot to take a photo after dark. Ah well.

Once everyone had arrived, we spent some relaxed time chatting & enjoying some nibblies before Chriss handed out some little kits for a quick craft project.

That's Chriss on the left giving instructions. The rest of us were struggling with left & right, under & over & through. If you ever want to shut us up ... Give us a project we have to concentrate on! :0) You can see Kim & Gail are determined to get it sorted.

Lynda wondering if she zigged when she should have zagged! :0) But ...

We did it!! YAY! Well done Chriss for walking us through successfully. And what did we make?

... A cute folded star. Very cute, even if I did feel like a bit of a Gumby working it out. :0)

We then had a DEEEEEEEEEELICIOUS dinner of cold meats & yummy salads, followed by one of Julie's cheesecake masterpieces & more chatting over a cuppa.

And there MAY have been some frivolity & shenanigans!! Hmmm ... Julie's halo seems to have slipped! Not for the first time, I'd wager! Tee! Hee! Hee! Thanks for a fantastic night, gals ... & for providing the motivation to spring clean! :0)

I think tomorrow might be a quiet one around the Meares' madhouse ... I shall sit back & bask in the clean surroundings. :0) Whatever you're up to this weekend I hope you get to sit back with your feet up, at least for a little while. Til next time ...










Friday 15 December 2017


ZOOOOOOM!! That's the sound of this week passing me by in a blur! My "To Do" list was LOOOOOONG ... & my motivation was SHORT!! :0P 

A super busy week at my grown up job seemed to sap my energy, but today was my day off, so I had great ambitions of catching up on the cleaning I need to do before hosting a Christmas gathering tomorrow. (Oops! Today! The clock has ticked over as I wrote this!) Yep ... Famous last words! In full avoidance mode I instead spent the day SEW-CRASTINATING! :0) What is sew-crastinating? I hear you ask. It's the art of procrastinating about doing something you should by instead spending your time sewing. Tee! Hee! Hee! I'm an expert at it!

In my defence, the projects I worked on during my bout of sew-crastination were Christmas gifties that need to be sent on Santa's sleigh first thing next week ... So it wasn't WASTING time ... Exactly! :0) Wanna see the results?

Three pretty & petite monogrammed bags for some work colleagues & they are the perfect size for your wallet, keys & phone if you're going out & don't want to lug your heavy handbag ... Or is that just me?!?! They also fit an iPad quite nicely if you are heading down to the beach, pool or hammock to laze away the holidays. Usually I give home cooked sweetie-treaties but one workmate is a diabetic so this seemed like a better option ... Plus ... No Christmas calories to shrink your clothes! :0)

Two "M's" ... 

... And an "H". It's hard to see in the blue Christmas light reflection but the monograms are chain stitched in a variegated Cottage Garden thread in brown & beige tones with a deep dusty green & matched the colours in the French-themed fabric perfectly. Three more gifties ready to wrap ... Three finishes to add to my tally ... All created from stash fabrics. YAY! Now if only the cleaning faeries would visit in the night so tomorrow wouldn't be a mad whirlwind of panicked cleaning for me. :0)

I hope your week has been a little less mad than mine & that your weekend includes some time with the special people in your life. Be lavish with your hugs, kisses, love & appreciation ... These gifts are more precious than diamonds! :0) Til next time ...






Sunday 10 December 2017

Christmas Craziness & OPAM Winner!

PHEW!! Are you like me at the moment & feeling a wee bit frazzled as the year winds down & the Christmas craziness gets into full swing?? The days seem to whiz by so darn quickly & we struggle & juggle to fit everything into the calendar & somehow, no matter how many things we cross off our "To Do" lists, that list just keeps growing. I'm pretty sure I'm NOT the only one struggling to keep all of the balls in the air ... I just hope I don't drop any & have them bean me on their way down! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Even though I feel like my list of stuff to get done before the jolly, fat man in the red suit shows up is never ending, I HAVE had a pretty productive weekend. The washing is all done, there are fresh sheets on the beds & clean towels in the clean bathrooms. I've spring cleaned one section of our main living area in preparation for hosting a Christmas gathering next weekend. (I'm not confessing how much more spring cleaning has yet to be done!!) I've even found some time to add a finish to me OPAM tally & an item into my giftie stash. 

I scuffled through my stash until theses fabrics caught my fancy ...

When you're starting a new project do you pick the fabric first or the project? I think I do a bit of both, but in this case, I knew what I wanted to make & just rifled through the stash until I could picture the finished project. And that project was ...

... A pretty Paris-inspired mug bag. I think the person I've made it for will like it. :0) And it's nice to add a finish to my list during this busy few weeks. How's your Christmas giftie making going??

And speaking of finishes ... You lovely, clever clogs OPAMers have obviously been busy little bees. There were ...


... For November. Well done everyone! And a pat on the back for those of you who may not have added finishes, but made some good progress on some longer-term projects. Persevering on big projects is sometimes tough, so hang in there & channel Dory from "Finding Nemo" ... Just keep swimming ... Er ... STITCHING! :0) And this month's random draw winner is ...

Congrats Marilyn! Email me your snail mail address & I'll pop a little something in the post for you.

Before I go back to my spring cleaning (SIGH!! GROAN!!) I thought I'd show you the rather special Christmas cake that was gifted to the residents of the retirement village where I work. It was made by a lovely local cake decorator who runs classes in the area ...

Isn't it fabulous! It was displayed, cut & enjoyed at our annual Christmas brekkie last week. I didn't get to try it but was told it was as delicious as it was fantastic to look at.

OK ...back to the cleaning for me. I hope your weekend has been productive too & that you're surviving the silliness of the silly season. Just remember, if it all starts to feel too much, give yourself permission to stop & put your feet up with a cuppa for a little rest before you keep going. There's no point in "doing" so much for Christmas that you don't enjoy this special time of the year. Be kind to yourself. :0) Til next time ...






Saturday 2 December 2017

A Birthday Road Trip!!

Hello to all you gorgeous gals out there in blogland! I hope you are enjoying the start of your weekend. It's been an adventurous one so far for us, with a special road trip today.

I shared earlier this week that it was Mum's birthday & today my Beloved Geek Boy & I took Mum on a birthday road trip adventure to celebrate. Oh ... We took Dad too! :0) We started our adventure by heading down the 'hill' to Esk for lunch at a fave spot, the Nash Gallery & Cafe.

Paper on the table & crayons ... I just HAD to play! :0)

I know ... We're a motley looking crew! :0)

Three of us enjoyed grilled snapper, salad & chippies ... Dad had well-well-well done steak with a double serve of chippies-hold-the-salad. :0) 

Someone else had a little play with the crayons. Tee! Hee! Hee!
Then it was time to hit the road again & we took a road less traveled to make our way up a scenic but winding narrow road to the top of Mt Glorious. 

Since it had been a whole 3/4 of an hour since we'd eaten or drunk, we had coffee & carrot cake at a lovely quiet cafe amongst the TAAAAAAAALL forest trees, listening to whip birds & bell birds. Not too shabby. :0)

Then it was time to keep following the winding road, through the edge of Brisbane & back up our 'hill' via a gravel backtrack & home for dinner ...

... Sirloin steak topped with prawns in creamy garlic sauce & accompanied by fresh salads ... YUMMO! I think we managed to squeeze all of the birthday enjoyment & fun out of today that we could. :0) Mum says she's feeling loved & special ... Which is good ... Because she IS loved & special! :0)

So ... What are YOU up to this weekend? Whatever you're doing I hope you make some time to hang out with the special people in your life ... They're the moments that matter! :0) Til next time ...






Friday 1 December 2017

A Birthday & OPAM Reminder!

Hello to all of my lovely blogland buddies! I know I've been a bit quiet here on the blog ... Somehow life just seems to get busier & busier, doesn't it! Especially as the year winds down. Christmas is just three weeks (& a few days!) away ... EEEEEEEEK!! I am so NOT ready for it!

However ... Before the jolly round man in the red suit puts in an appearance, we have a bit of a birthday run, the most recent being my wonderful Mum's birthday yesterday. 

Here's Mum at about 17/18 ... A bit of a looker, wasn't she?! :0)

And still a bit of a looker at 71 ... She actually has less grey in her hair than my Beloved Geek Boy! He tries to say I caused his grey hairs but I pointed out that Mum's had more years with me than him & has fewer grey hairs so that argument doesn't stand up! Tee! Hee! Hee! 

My Mum is a pretty amazing lady who has always encouraged me to not worry about what 'everyone' is doing, but instead to be my own person, to stand up for what I believe & to make my own choices. And even when she may not have agreed with those choices, I've always known she was there to support & encourage me. If I turn out to be half the woman my gorgeous Mum is, I think I'll be doing just fine! :0)


And helping Mum celebrate her birthday (part 1, part 2 of her birthday surprise happens tomorrow!) is my excuse for being tardy to remind all of you lovely OPAMers that it's time to update your sidebar lists & email your tally of finishes to me & my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg ... Who is also a recent birthday girl! :0) Happy Birthday Sweet Peg!!

Right ... That's it from me today because just like Alice In Wonderland's White Rabbit ... "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!" I'm off for a drive down our 'hill' for a belated birthday catchup with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette. Report at a later date! :0) Have a fab weekend everyone! Til next time ...




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