Friday 30 March 2018

Easter Greetings & OPAM Reminder!

Hello to all my lovely blogging buddies! I hope your week has been a good one. It was another busy one here ... But I think if we had a week that wasn't busy we'd worry that we'd forgotten something. :0)

This will just be a quick stop in (did you hear Chookyblue's sigh of relief?! Tee! Hee! Hee!) to remind all you clever clogs OPAMers that it's time to update your sidebar lists & email your March tally of finishes to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg  I confess my tally is a bit sad again this month, but as soon as I finish this post, I'm planning on reminding my sewing machine that I'm still here. :0)

I would also like to take the opportunity to wish all you lovelies a "HOPPY" Easter! :0) Sorry ...couldn't resist! My Beloved Geek Boy & I are looking forward to the full weekend at home to catch up on the cleaning, tidying & gardening chores that have been a bit neglected over the last few weeks ... I think I just heard my Mother cheer! :0P But we're also enjoying a bit of quiet down-time ...

... A cappuccino made by GB, who has just unearthed his coffee machine from where it was stored when we moved four years ago ... & a toasted brioche hot cross bun ... In front of the Tilda bunnies I made a few years ago. Sometimes it's the simple things that make you happy. :0)

Whatever you're up to this long weekend, please stay safe, especially if you're traveling. As a Christian, Easter has a particularly special meaning for me & I thought I would share my favourite Easter song with you. The song is my a group called Petra & I first heard it when I was about 14. The video accompanying it is pretty confronting, but the words are powerful. The YouTube link is HERE. Til next time ...



Monday 26 March 2018

Birthday Bonanza!!

Hello to all of you gorgeous creatures out there in blogland! I hope your week is off to a fabulous start. I meant to be back here a little sooner but then the title of this blog post happened & I got a wee bit sidetracked. :0) Just a warning to my buddy Chookyblue ... This could take a while, so grab yourself a cuppa! Tee! Hee! Hee!

In case it's still early in the morning while you're reading this & you're not quite as quick on the uptake as usual so haven't worked it out yet, it was my birthday last week ... & it seemed to kind of last all week. :0) So ... Tuesday was "B-Day" & I think I spent most of the day eating ... Lunch with my usual Tuesday lunch-buddy Lynda at one of our go-to cafés followed that night by dinner with my Beloved Geek Boy & my folks at Toowoomba's Park House Cafe ... Another go-to spot for special occasions. Apparently we were too busy eating to remember to get a photo. :0)

Then on my day-off-Friday, I went with Mum & HER Partner-In-Crime Marg to the cute historic railway station of Spring Bluff for lunch at the Spring Bluff cafe  where we all had a snack-size first course so we could save room for the DEEEEEEEELICIOUS Dutch pancakes on offer ...

Not only did we enjoy the pancakes (even Marg managed to finish the huge yummy serve!) & chatting, we were also treated to a symphony of one of my favourite bird calls, the bell birds' song. Just magical!

I barely had time to scoot home after our leisurely lunch & throw a few things into a bag, when GB arrived home to whisk me away for a weekend at a B&B. Yes ... I'm keeping him! :0) We didn't have a long journey to arrive at our weekend destination ... Just 15 minutes' drive, in fact, as GB hadn't wanted to go somewhere that ate up a lot of time in traveling to & from, so he had chosen Anduramba Homestead B&B  just north of Crows Nest. On arrival, we were welcomed by the official greeting officer ...

This is Theodore ... Better known as Ted. :0) Isn't he handsome!! And his mate, Mimi, was just as gorgeous. Did I mention that I LOVE West Highland Terriers, or Westies as they're most often called?! It was love at first sight with this furry duo ... & they're bigger fur-siblings, Thomas the Border Collie & Geoffry the Blue Heeler ... Who was actually a girl ... I never did find out the story that just HAD to be behind a girl dog being called Geoffry. :0) After lots of pats, licks & doggy cuddles, we finally checked out our room ...

... Fresh cream & green colour scheme with pretty poppies on curtains & cushions as well as ...

... A lovely bunch of native flowers & some Ferraro Rocher choccies because GB had told our hostess Sandra that we were celebrating my birthday. NOICE! :0) After settling in a bit & kicking off our shoes, we were invited to relax in the lounge room & enjoy ...

... A complimentary cheese platter & a glass of port. A lovely way to end the work week.

Saturday morning, after a HUGE home cooked breakfast, we embarked on one of our "where does this road go?" exploration mini road trips & ended up in Blackbutt, where we stopped to visit the gallery of local artist Janet Skinner. Janet holds the Guiness World Record for designing the world's largest 'paint-by-numbers' mural & she has written a number of books, as well as sketched & painted many historic railway stations. There is a lovely display of her work to enjoy, including ...

... Larger than life pink mushrooms ...

... With a resident elf. Hmmm ... Probably too big to be an elf! :0P After a naughty sweetie-treatie at the bakery two shops down from the gallery, we hit the road again ... & some time later found ourselves at Bunnyconnellan to taste some locally produced wine & olives, as well as check out the lovely gift shop ...

It's not the best photo, as the sun was in the wrong spot, but boy did we have fun there! :0) Bunnyconnellan also has recently added cottage accomodation to their repertoire ...

Don't you love the rustic charm of the guest cottage? We then decided to head back to Anduramba Homestead for a cool drink & some quiet time & took a wander through the inviting garden,

The first view you have on arrival at the historic home.

The circular garden from the other side. We'd like to do something like this one day at the front of Edward House ... Perhaps on a slightly smaller scale. :0)

The homestead is actually two historic houses joined together, which leaves plenty of scope for hidden nooks & outdoor spaces like this garden room. Have you ever seen a staghorn as big as these two specimens?

Another outdoor room & lush lawns to meander over.

You pass through a gazebo to ...

... A platform deck where you can take in some of the panoramic views ... No, I don't mean GB ... Though I do think he's pretty picturesque! Tee! Hee! Hee!

...and looking back at the house from the look out deck. We were joined Saturday night by another couple who were celebrating their wedding anniversary, so hostess Sandra cooked a delicious special meal for us all. We felt VERY spoilt!  But sadly, all good things must come to an end & Sunday morning (after an even bigger breakfast than the day before!) we said our last farewells to our furry friends ...

Did I mention we were in doggy-lover's heaven? :0) We thanked our hosts Sandra & Andrew (toast cooker extraordinaire!) & headed home ... Via a very round-about & circuitous route. :0) We can HIGHLY recommend Anduramba Homestead B&B if you're looking for a relaxing rural retreat ... & love doggies! :0)  And big smoochies & bear hugs to GB for spoiling me for my birthday. It almost made up for having to admit to being another year older. :0)

A big thank you to everyone who sent emails & Facebook messages for my birthday ... I felt very loved! And while I am very aware of it always, it reinforced to me how very BLESSED I am to have such wonderful family & friends around me. :0)

And after that epic report of our adventures ... It's time for me to do something about cooking dinner, so I'd better sign off for now. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too ... Even if it wasn't your birthday. :0) Take care & til next time ...



Anduramba Homestead for a cool drink & some quiet time & took a wander through the inviting garden,

Sunday 18 March 2018

A Happy Sad Day

Today is a little bit happy & a little bit sad for me. You see it's a special birthday for my friend Steph from The Quilters Angel ... But it was also my gorgeous Grandma's birthday & this is the first time it's rolled around since we lost her last June, so I'm a bit sad too. She would have been 95 today & what an interesting life she lived!

When Grandma turned 80 we gathered all of our 'mob' from all over Australia for a celebration. It was a wonderful weekend with LOTS of laughter, which is the trademark of all our family gatherings ... I keep telling people I'm the shy quiet one of my family & they'd finally believe me if they witnessed a gathering of the Paten mob! :0P To mark this special birthday, Mum & I designed & made a memory quilt for Grandma. At the time, neither Mum nor I had a good camera, so we had no photos of the quilt, but when we celebrated her birthday with Grandma last year, I was pleased to see her quilt on her bed & took the opportunity to get some pics. They're extra precious to me now & I thought I'd share them with you, along with a bit of Granda's story. This could be a long post ... Chookyblue you might want to grab a cuppa before you start! :0)

Here is Grandma with her memory quilt ... She looked pretty good for 94, don't you think? ...

Each block represented milestones in her life. The first was the house where she grew up ...

Grandma was the youngest child born to immigrant parents ... Her father came out from Germany & her Mother from England. (I still have the tin travel trunk Granny brought with her. It is one if my treasures!) Grandma's Father was killed in a tree felling accident when she was young & her very strong-willed Mother took over running the farm ... & all who lived & worked there! :0) This was in the 1920's & the farm was at a little place between Mackay & Serina called Munburra. 

When Grandma left school, she began her nurse's training in Mackay. It was during this time that one of her friends introduced her to her brother, a handsome young bloke in a uniform (this was during the war years of the 1940's).

Young Edward Paten (perhaps more widely known by friends & acquaintances as 'Teddy Bloody Paten'! :0) ) asked the pretty young nurse to write to him & that was the start of their romance.

I love this wedding photo ... Don't they look young? :0) Soon they had two children ... My Mum & her brother Gre & life was rolling along fairly smoothly & Gramps was working for the railway. Then doctors discovered that Grandma had TB & didn't expect her to survive. The family was divided for a time. Mum & her brother lived with Granny on the farm at Munburra, then each with a different aunt in Mackay, while Grandma was in the TB sanatorium near Rockhampton & Gramps moved there to be close to her. Against all odds, Grandma survived & recovered & the family was reunited, living in Bundaberg for a time & back in Mackay ...

I think this represented their home in Loyd St ... Do you see the stork visiting? :0) Mum's brother Russell & sister Kerry completed the family.

Another of my favourite photos in the centre. :0) Greg loved surfing, Kerry learned a number of different dance styles, Mum was a marching girl & Russell played hockey. Grandma & Gramps later moved to Emerald where they managed the local pool

Yes, that's me in the tube & floaties aged about 3 or 4 with Kerry keeping me out of trouble ... Or trying to. :0) After all their chicks had flown the nest.Grandma & Gramps retired to a quiet little beach between Rockhampton & Mackay, Clairview Beach ...

Both Grandma & Gramps made wonderful friends, played competitive lawn bowls & Gramps spent a lot of time fishing. I have very fond memories of school holidays at Clairview & huge family Christmas gatherings in Gramps' shed. (Incidentally, Gramps had a big sign up in his shed that said, "Welcome To Buggery" cos he said when Grandma got annoyed with him & told him to go to Buggery, he went to his shed ... Sooooooo ... ! :0) ) When Gramps' health deteriorated & they felt they needed to be closer to medical facilities & family, they moved to Bargara near Bundaberg to Carlyle Gardens retirement village where they made many wonderful friends.

After losing Gramps less than a year after they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, Grandma's friends at Carlyle encouraged her to get out & about, with many lunches at the tavern, trips to the 'piccies' & bus trips filling her diary. We used to joke that we had to make an appointment to ring her to catch her at home. :0) But she always loved to hear from family, even though her seven grandchildren were scattered all around Australia ...

The two in the Northern Territory in this pic are now in VIC & ACT. Our family does get around. :0)

So ... Even though I'm missing Grandma terribly today, looking at the quilt & the adventurous life it represents, I know she really did squeeze the most out of her 94 years that she possibly could & she would want all of her 'mob' to do the same. So tonight when we have a wee drinkie after we finish gardening (a pastime we shared) I'll be raising my glass in tribute to a wonderful, adventurous, strong, resourceful, humorous & loving woman, my Grandma, Edna May Paten. Happy Birthday Grandma. We sure do miss you.

I f you've stuck with me through the whole post, Thanks! :0) It just seemed like the right time to share Grandma's story. 

Til Next time ...



Friday 16 March 2018

Testing, Testing! And A Weekend Catchup!

Happy Friday to all you gorgeous creatures out there in blogland! :0) I hope you've had a fantastic week. I'm pretty sure that time thief has been messing with me again, cos here it is ... Friday ... & I'm just managing to get back here to tell you about my LAST Friday. OOPS! :0)

Part of my problem was technical ... For complicated (& annoying!) reasons, I had to reset my Google password ... & that messed with SOOOOOOO many things that I forgot we're even linked to my Google account ... One of which was the blogging ap I had been using on my iPad. Apparently it was no longer compatible with Google, but as long as I had stayed logged in, it had let me keep using it. So my Beloved Geek Boy went looking for an alternative for me & after a couple of false starts, this one is closest to the one I'd been using ... So this is the test. :0)

Right ... So last Friday my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette drove up the 'hill' from Brisbane for our first play date in quite a while. We decided to start our day by visiting somewhere we'd found on Facebook ... The Old Dairy , which offers a fun selection of vintage wares, collectibles & nick-knacks in the rustic surroundings of ... You guessed it! ... An old dairy. :0) It was a bit of a drive, but after our recent rain, everything was lush & green, so it was a pretty drive.

Once there, we had a look around & I confess, a couple of pretty things followed each of us home. :0) We then decided to top up our body fuel tanks with the coffee & cake special, which we chose to enjoy in the lovely pottager garden. I had garden envy. :0)

This was our view looking back down to the old dairy. Lots of cute & homey garden beds with quirky additions of pots & odd planters.

Some lovely big gum trees watched over us ... & more vege gardens ...

Looking up the hill ... Vege gardens & a grapevine draped frame ... You can see our little table to the right there, with Lynette pretending she doesn't know I'm taking photos! :0)

And here we are with our coffee & cake. What we both enjoyed about The Old Dairy was that it wasn't flash or fancy, made no claims to being gourmet ... It was as if you'd popped over to a friend's house for morning tea ... They were using their pretty, but mismatched china, had made nice French press coffee & cooked a cake & slice or two. We'll be going back for a return visit next time Lynette comes for a play date. :0)

Now ... Since this was the closest to my upcoming birthday that we would get to catch up, Lynette gave me my birthday giftie ...

... An oil diffuser. I've been looking for a nice, larger size diffuser for a while now & had mentioned to Lynette that I liked the wood finish style ... Et voila! I love it ... & it's making me smile as I type this. :0) The light changes through the whole rainbow spectrum & I'll often find myself mesmerised for ages by the changing colours. It also makes a gentle trickle sound as the water is heated to create the vapour, which I find relaxing. The best bit for this forgetful Pooh Bear is that you can set the timer on it for short lengths of time, or continuously ... And it automatically turns itself off when the water level drops below the set mark. No more scorched oil smells when I get sidetracked sewing & forget to top up. :0)

So ... That's how I spent last Friday. Today I'm hoping to put the finishing touches on the pattern requirements & instructions for the "Keys Of Life" stitchery pattern so it should be available next week. But right now, the kettle is calling my name, so I'm going to make myself a cup of tea & sit & watch the colours change on my diffuser ... I lead such an exciting life, don't I?!? Tee! Hee! Hee! Enjoy your weekend & til next time ...



Monday 12 March 2018

OPAM Update & News!

Well ... I ran out of weekend before I got around to writing this post and I almost ran out of Monday as well! SHEESH! I'm pretty sure someone is stealing hours out of my days. :0P

So ... Remember how my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg and I said we wouldn't be able to do monthly prizes this year because of the cost of posting prizes? WEEEEEEEEEEELL ... We had a little think, cos we really enjoy encouraging you gals in your creative efforts, SOOOOOOOO ... We came up with a little solution.

Each month Sweet Peg and I will take turns to choose THREE random winners, who will receive ... A PDF copy of an original Tag Along Teddies stitchery design! The stitchery will include the design to trace and stitching instructions and can be made up into whatever project you like. To show you how it can be used, I made it into a pretty and handy drawstring bag ...

It's not the best photo, as the shadows at night make it a bit tricky to get photos, but it gives you a bit of an idea. The wording says, "You are bee-utiful!" I'm looking forward to seeing how our prize winners use this cute stitchery. :0)

But wait! There's more!! :0) Sweet Peg has been playing in her sewing cave and created a special QUILT that she will be giving to a very lucky draw winner at the end of the year. All finishes for the year will go into the mega-draw for that gorgeous quilt from Sweet Peg. Are you a bit excited?? We are! :0)

So our first three prize winners for 2018 are ...

Congratulations gals! Drop me an email and I'll send your PDF stitchery to you to play with. Right now though, after a very busy day, I think I've earned a sit down with a cup of tea. :0) Enjoy your week everyone and happy creating! Til next time ...



PS. Google and I seem to be having some kind of "ISSUE" at the moment, so I'm hoping this uploads OK ... did I mention there are days I'm really unfond of technology?!?! SIGH!!!!!!

Sunday 11 March 2018

Oops! Sunday Ran Out!!

That seems to be the case most weekends ... The weekend runs out before I'm ready for it! :0) I was supposed to tell you some exciting OPAM news ... But GB & I ended up out in the garden & lost track of time. I'll be back tomorrow night I promise.

I thought I'd share a cute pic to compensate. This little fella was watching us tidy up his home ...

Isn't he cute!! It's the tiniest bearded dragon I've ever seen. We named him "Lou" the lizard. :0)

I hope you had a fantastic weekend ... I'll be back tomorrow to share mine ... Along with the OPAM news. :0) Til next time ...




Friday 2 March 2018

Laundry Safety Warning!!

Here's a laundry safety tip for you all:

If your front loader washing machine decides that it's gobbled up one too many bra underwires (GRRRR!) & gives up the ghost, refusing to move on from washing ... & washing ... & washing ... 


Cos all that washing & swooshing causes enormous amounts of BUBBLES & just like toothpaste once you've squeezed it out of the tube, once those suckers are OUT ... They ain't goin' back IN!!! 

SIGH! The machine is currently holding my towels to ransom. :0P This is NOT how I envisaged my Friday going. There goes the little cash stash we were saving towards a holiday. SIGH! I know I've said it before, but ... Being a grown up SUCKS!! :0P

I hope YOUR Friday is less stressful ... & that your bubbles are in a glass rather than spilling out of your washing machine! :0P Good thing I'm getting together with the Friday Night Sit N Sew gals tonight to soothe my battered sanity. :0) Have a fantastic ... & laundry-bubble-free weekend! :0) Til next time ...



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