Monday, 19 October 2020

Still Kicking!

Hello, hello! Yes ... I'm still alive & kicking, despite my unplanned absence from my blog. Please excuse my slackness, life has been rather hectic in the last few weeks & my head is spinning trying to keep up. Grown up job has been keeping me hopping & I now have a new boss to break in. 😜 I'm really hoping things settle soon so I get some of my sewing mojo back, because at the moment, it's as AWOL as I have been from blogging. 😝

My creative energies have been channeled into a different direction since the spring weather brought my Beloved Geek Boy & me out of our winter hibernation ... We've been gardening. GB gas been working his way around the garden to install a watering system to make the most efficient use of our precious water & we've been seeing what has survived the drought conditions we've been experiencing & spreading more of those plants around. Still a lot of work to be done ...once we get some desperately needed rain. SIGH! One part of the garden that is thriving, though, isn't actually IN the garden ... It's on our side verandah ...

Here's my little pot of Tuscan tastiness. 😜 Two different varieties of tomatoes, purple basil & oregano. I'm starting to suspect the tomatoes are actually triffids. 😝

And my happy herb corner. I think the mint is plotting to compete with the triffid tomatoes for world domination. Tee! Hee! Hee! I've got mint, lemon balm, parsley, sweet basil & sage growing here & two clumps of chives in the vege garden. We have been enjoying delicious herb-flavoured scrambled eggies for weekend breakfasts. πŸ˜‰

After doing the OPAM blog hop this month, I think others have been as distracted from sewing as I have been, as September gave us our lowest tally so far for the year. But ... Finishes or not, the goal of OPAM is to get us creating, & many blogs I hopped to showed progress on bugger projects, so well done. 😁 And the winner of the September random prize draw is ...

Congrats, June! Drop me an email & I'll send your PDF pattern prize. Although I don't have any pics of projects to share at the moment, I do have a sewing related pic ...

A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a relaxing sewing play date for a few of our Friday Nutters group. A day of chatting, giggling, munching & a bit of stitching was balm for busy Stitchers. Oh ... & do you see Julie's teddy-in-progress! She was making my "Holly Bear" pattern & picked up a few tips. 😁 The pattern for Holly Bear is available from The Quilters Angel online store HERE.

And that us it from me tonight. I promise to try to get back here a bit sooner next time ... It's almost time for the NEXT OPAM check-in ... EEK! Where is the year going?! Whatever you're up to, please take care of yourself & your loved ones. Keep stitching & keep smiling. 😊 Til next time ...



Saturday, 3 October 2020

N.W.S.A Project.

Happy Saturday to all of you, my Bloggy buddies from around the world. I hope you've had a fantastic week. Mine has been a bit frustrating. After a busy week at my grown up job, I finally got to enjoy some stitching time yesterday ... Only to discover that I had a N.W.S.A. Project on my hands. If you've been creating for a while (especially if you're a designer) you will have found yourself with one of these. You know, a ...

Not Working Start Again 

... type of project. SIGH! Sometimes, what seems like a good idea on the design sketch just doesn't LOOK right when you start stitching. The colours don't work, or the balance is wrong ... Or you just don't like it. So this was my N.W.S.A. dilemma ...

What was supposed to be a colour-graduating feature is just way too strong against the softer colours of the writing above it. Both elements look great ... Just not together. 😜 So it's back to the beginning to retrace, re-colour & re-think the thread colours. Good thing it's a long weekend here & I have an extra day to 'play'. 😝

And speaking of playing & creating ... OPAM gals ... It's the changeover to another month, so if you haven't already, please update your sidebar tally lists & email me your September tallies to add to our spreadsheet. Even if I don't get the chance to reply to your emails or comment on your blog posts, I love seeing everyone's finished projects each month. There are just so many clever-clogs crafters out there. 😁 If you're looking for some inspiration, make yourself a cuppa & hop your way around the blogs of fellow OPAMers listed in my left sidebar. You'll be amazed at the variety of projects & hopefully, inspired to create more yourself.

As for me ... It's back to the drawing board for a colour re-think. 😜 Enjoy your weekend & if you're traveling, stay safe. Til next time ...



Saturday, 26 September 2020


I know 2020 has been a mixed up kinda year, but now our seasons seem to have muddled themselves up. 😳 We went from lovely Spring days with temperatures in the mid to high 20's to today ... A "feels like" temperature of FIVE degrees with 50km/hr gusty winds! EEP! Spring! Come back!!

And since you know how much my Beloved Geek Boy & I LOOOOOOVE cold weather so much - NOT!! - we're snuggled down in front of a fave movie ... Or two ... Or three. 😜

Can you guess what we're watching? πŸ˜‚ Some Secret Squirrel stitching to keep my hands occupied & it's not a bad way to ride out a weird weather swing ... Though I hope Spring returns soon!

What are YOU up to today? Whatever it is, I hope you're keeping safe & well. I'm off to keep stitching & helping to save the universe. 😜 Til next time ...



Monday, 21 September 2020

Exciting News!

Hello everyone & happy Monday to you all ... Even if you're like me & Monday signals having to go off to a grown up job to impersonate a responsible adult for the week! 😜 Well, to help add a splash of colour to your Monday & get your week off to a creative start, I'm popping in to share some exciting news that I hinted at last post. Are you ready for it?! 😜

Marvellous Marion & Stupendous Steph of The Quilters Angel have announced that plans are already underway for their next fantastic stitching event ...

WOO! HOO! Girls Stitch In 2021 is already taking bookings & even MORE exciting for me ...

I've been invited to be one of the guest designers!!

This wonderful stitching weekend will be held on Saturday & Sunday March 13 & 14, 2021, so if you love gathering with other creative stitchers, love to be spoilt & get excited about being amongst the first people to stitch two brand new projects designed especially for the day, then sign up! 😁 Lauren Wright of Molly & Mama is the other guest designer, so you'll get to chat & stitch with us both. For full details head over to The Quilters Angel website HERE. Let me know if you're coming to play so I can say g'day. 😁

So I'm off to start playing with some sketches & stitchery ideas. πŸ˜‰ Have a wonderful week. Stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling. 😁 Til next time ...



Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Catching Up ... A Bit!!

Hello! Hello! Yes, I'm still here & haven't been abducted by the invading aliens that I suspect are the next thing to be thrown at us on the 2020 Apocalypse Bingo Card!  πŸ˜œ I've just been super busy with my grown up job, madly writing pattern instructions for a deadline (will share soon - promise!) as well as the usual craziness that is life in the Meares' Madhouse. But ... The best thing that's kept me busy in the last couple of weeks was getting ready for the annual Stitchers Dream Day Out, hosted by the Marvellous Marion & Stupendous Steph of The Quilters Angel  And since it took place last weekend, I can now share some pics. So ... Brace yourself, Chookyblue  & everyone grab a cuppa, cos there are quite a few photos to share.

Stitchers Dream Day is my favourite stitching event for the year & with the zombie apocalypse continuing, it wasn't a certainty this year, but Marion & Steph were determined to provide a big splash of stitching happiness in the midst of 2020's upheaval, so they spent WEEKS jumping through all the hoops needed to run the event in a Covid compliant way, while still making it fun & full of surprises for us all. And what a fantastic job they did! 😁

Everything was a bit more spread out thus year, but still pretty & fun.

And of course my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette came up the 'hill' to play. 😁

And repeat offenders Felicity & Bec were back to join the fun ... & they brought show & tell! Both had finished the project I designed for Girls' Stitch In back in March! WOW! They did a lovely job ... & it was great to catch up with friends from away. 😁

Another familiar face, Michelle, brought her finished version of my "Old Ted" wall hanging to show me. Doesn't it look great? Michelle & her daughter have made a few of my designs now & it's always fun to see their versions in different colours with little variations that personalise
 them. And speaking of different fabrics ...

... Kerrie-Anne made her version of my "Spread Sunshine" bag from Girls' Stitch In up in more Autumn-y colours ... Isn't it fun to see how different fabrics change the look of a project?

Another familiar face, the Lovely Lesley, brought her version of my "Life Is Good" bag for show & tell. This was another Girls' Stitch In project from a few years ago. I use my own version as my sewing bag because it's really roomy ... & pretty. 😁

Loretta brought her "Life Is a Good" bag, too. 

I can't remember this lovely lady's name (Sorry!!) but she had done a wonderful job of creating "Spread Sunshine". (Did I mention how much I LOVE that range of Tilda fabrics?!)

Bev got a little creative & turned her "Spread Sunshine" stitchery into a project folder ... I should have taken a photo of the inside. And she also changed the accompanying tablet pouch into ...

... A tablet cover. I so enjoy it when people use my patterns as a starting point for their own creativity.

Designers for SDDO this year were Debbie McGee & Nikki Tervo. Sadly, Debbie had to pull out at short notice due to illness, though she sent her projects along to keep people stitching. And it was great to catch up with Nikki & her hubby John over the weekend. 

A HUGE THANK YOU to Marion & Steph for persevering through extremely difficult circumstances (fabrics not arriving until a week before, threads not arriving at all & having to be changed, pages & pages of forms & outlined plans filled out to meet Covid guidelines, restrictions on food serving, bottles & bottles of sanitiser ... To name just a few challenges!) to host this fun & relaxing weekend for us to enjoy.

Now ... usually this is where I'd share photos of the projects that were designed especially for SDDO ... BUT ... I'm not going to! 😜 You see, Marion & Steph know that lots of lovely stitching friends were unable to come & play this year due to travel & border restrictions so ... They are offering two Mystery Packs over on their website. One of the fun elements of SDDO is knowing that your gift bag will contain four bot-yet-released patterns, the pre-printed stitchery design for one of those patterns & the fabric pack to make it up, as well as a few little gifties & goodies. And that's what the mystery packs include. So, if you'd like a bit of stitching mystery & fun surprise in your life, pop over HERE to check the packs out ... But be quick because packs are limited. And I won't share pics yet because it would spoil the surprise. πŸ˜‰

WHEW! So ... That's my reason for being a bit absent from blogland & why I'm late with the August OPAM roundup. At least that's my story & I'm sticking to it! 😜 Thank you to everyone who emailed their tallies through ... Much appreciated. So after adding & blog hopping, the August tally was ...


WOW! Think of all the space there is in sewing cupboards around the world now. πŸ˜‚ And the random draw winner is ...

Congrats Joanne! Drop me an email & I'll send your prize. Well done to all of you who had finishes for the month & to those who made some progress on longer term projects. Right now, though, I think I've earned a cup of tea, so I shall sign off ... But I'll be back soon with some VERY exciting news ... So stay tuned! πŸ˜‰ Stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling. 😁 Til next time ...



PS. The patterns for "Spread Sunshine" & "Life Is Good" bags available from The Quilters Angel online store. 😁

Sunday, 30 August 2020

I Smell Spring!

It's almost here ... Spring is so close I can smell it ... Or maybe that's just my hay fever playing up thanks to wind-tossed dust, smoke from reduction burn offs in the nearby forest & the late-winter flowering wattle trees! 😝 While my hay fever is indeed off the charts for all of those reasons, the weather was nice enough to see GB & I out in our garden during this last week of our break. We have an acre with lots of gardens so there's always something we're wanting to tackle. 

GB was installing a watering system that should help us keep things alive without wasting water ... We only have rainwater, so have to be careful. I was on weeding & transplant duty ...& boy are my muscles telling me about it! 😝 Already there are signs of the garden coming out of its winter hibernation ... Trees are budding, early stone fruit trees are in bloom & ...

... The freesias are scenting the air with their sweet perfume. I couldn't resist bringing a few inside. I wish I could share their scent with you. 😍 And their sunshiny colour pop is brightening up the mantle at the moment.

Today, though, I took time off gardening (my muscles wept in gratitude! 😜) to tackle some Secret Squirrel sewing. Now ... I can't give too much away, but here's a sneaky-peeky at my work station ...

I told you I couldn't give too much away. πŸ˜‚ Stay tuned, as I'll be able to share more soon. πŸ˜‰

What I CAN share is the names of the two winners from my "Christmas Cuties" pattern prize draw. Thank you to those who shared some of their favourite Christmas memories with me. 😘 It was lovely to read about special traditions, people & celebrations. And the winners of a PDF copy of my "Christmas Cuties" patters are ...


Congrats, ladies! If you'd like to drop me an email, I'll send your prize pattern to you to give you a jump-start on Christmas giftie stitching. 😜  And if you weren't one of the winners but would like to buy a copy of "Christmas Cuties", you can pop over to the Quilters Angel website HERE to get stitching for Christmas. 

But now, I need to hit the pillow because it's the end of our two week break & we have to go back to work at our grown up jobs tomorrow ... SIGH! If only I didn't have a mortgage & a fabric addiction to pay for! Tee! Hee! Hee! I hope your week includes splashes of colour & lots of stitching time. Oh! OPAMers ... The month is ending, you know the drill! 😜 Take care, stay safe, keep stitching & keep smiling! 😊 Til next time ...



Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Happy Early Christmas!

Hello! Hello! Or should that be a Santa ... "Ho! Ho! Ho!" ! 😜 Christmas is coming early this year ... Nothing about 2020 should surprise us anymore, right?! 😝 Today I'm sharing my block as part of the Love And Hugs From Australia Stitchalong! YAY!

I have a little confession to make ... I don't really "do" Christmas. I hear gasps of shock & horror out there! 😜 I might put up a tree ...

... & a couple of folk art pieces designed by my gorgeous blogging buddy Kerryanne English ... But that's about it. So I found it a bit challenging to design a Christmas block ... Especially a 4" block! YIKES! That's much smaller than I usually play with! 😳 But once I visited The Quilters Angel & Steph helped me choose some gorgeous aqua & French red Tilda fabrics, I was on my way! 😁 And the finished block ...

Ta! Da! A slightly shabby chic Christmas tree in a bucket. 😜 I stitched it in a Cottage Garden Thread (of course! 😝) called "Galah". So then I needed to make it up into something ...

A sweet Christmas hanger. I LOVE that aqua floral & the raspberry stripe was perfect for binding. But just like the old telemarketing slogan ... But wait! There's MORE! 😁

While the tree block is available as a free download from the LAHFA Facebook page or by following the button link in my left sidebar here ... I designed three more stitcheries & three more projects to create my "Christmas Cuties" pattern. It's the stitcher's equivalent of a "choose your own adventure". 😜 You can mix & match the four stitcheries with the four projects to create your own favourite Christmas project. All four projects are quick, simple & fun to make & are ideal for Christmas gifties ... Or to spoil yourself. The pattern is available from The Quilters Angel HERE & a limited number of kits in the same yummy fabrics are available HERE

But wait ... There's STILL MORE! To celebrate the release of my Stitchalong block & "Christmas Cuties" pattern, I thought we'd also celebrate Christmas a little early (2020 is already so topsy turvy that we may as well shuffle Christmas around! 😝) so I'm giving away TWO PDF copies of "Christmas Cuties". All you need to do is leave a comment on THIS post to tell me your favourite Christmas memory & you'll go into a random draw to win. The draw winner will be posted here on Sunday August 30 (Queensland time).

PHEW! After all of that, I think I need a cup of tea. 😜 I'm looking forward to seeing lots of versions of my Christmas tree block ... & the projects from "Christmas Cuties", but now I'm taking my cuppa & settling in front of the computer to do some more appliqué template editing ... The end is in sight, but it's a bit of a slog to get there. 😜 In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling! 😁 Til next time ...



Sunday, 16 August 2020

Easy Like Sunday Morning!

Or all day Sunday, as was the case for us today as we enjoyed our last full day in the Sunshine Coast hinterland before we head home tomorrow.

Sunday's adventures were a little lower key. Nice sleep in, self-cooked brekky & then off to explore some interesting backtracks & sidetracks ... & would you look at that! One track led to the Yandina Ginger Factory ...

... where macadamia & ginger sundaes were consumed before we thought to take a photo for you to drool over. 😝 Arvo catchup with family , then a trip to a fave seafood spot & back to our accomodation for ...

... fresh prawns & grown up ginger beer. Ah ... Holidays! 😍

Hope you're all keeping safe & well. Til next time ...



Saturday, 15 August 2020

(Temporary Backup) Weekend Adventures!

I'm making up for my recent absence a bit, aren't I?! 😜 But I thought you might enjoy hearing about our weekend adventures ... So far! 😜 My Beloved Geek Boy & I are starting our two week break with a long weekend away, courtesy of my folks who shouted us a treat for our combined 50th birthday gifties. (GB hit his milestone last year & I caught up in March. πŸ˜‰) Now ... We went in search of a cosy B&B ... But ran into trouble finding somewhere, as our usual choices were booked months in advance when travel was allowed again after our lockdown. Eventually, we did find something ... Not quite ticking all the boxes, but interesting. So we warned friends & family on the Sunny Coast that they should brace for rain (further explanation coming further down) & hit the road ...

And this is our base for the weekend. Not bad, but a few niggly things to deal with ... Still ... We're on holiday! 😜 Today after a bit of a sleep in we went for a drive & the first stop was the Patchwork Angel. Yes ... Something flung itself off the shelf at me & demanded I take it home. πŸ˜‚

You can never have too much spotty fabric & the pretty floral will be a border option for a layer cake I bought a while ago. While chatting to Penny & Chuck ... & a couple of other lovely fabric collectors, it came to light that ...
A) one lady lived just five minutes from our Home-sweet-home (small world!) ; &
B) there was a pop-up gin & cocktail tasting just down the road a bit. 😁
So of course we had to investigate. 😜 

Don't you love this cart?! It was the bar where our barman was being kept VERY busy. 😁 We decided to try a tasting paddle ...

Flavoured liqueurs were mixed into fruity cocktails ... But we agreed our favourite was ...

... The Diablo alcoholic ginger beer. MMMMM! It made wonderful Moscow Mules for our evening tipple tonight. 😁 We decided to skip the gin tasting, as we could see the clouds starting to bank up & we had a few more stops to make. Next ... Montville, so I could ...

... Stock up on my Tambourine Teas. πŸ˜‹ A gal can't live by alcoholic ginger beer alone, after all. 😜 After stocking up on tea, we decided Montville was a bit too peoply & headed for our temporary home base ... Via Melany Cheese ... Before heading home to enjoy our spoils. And, in keeping with our reputation for making it rain every time we get within cooee of the coast ...

... It started bucketting down. (Seriously ... We're starting to think we should warn people when we're heading towards the coast so they can avoid planning outdoor events! 😜) Which made it perfect to sit on the balcony, watching the rain while we feasted ...

It was YUMMO!! With full tummies, we curled up with kindle (me) & Netflix (GB) to enjoy the rainy afternoon. There was also a soak in the spa with Enya crooning her Celtic tunes ... But there's no photos of THAT! 😝 And now, we're kicked back relaxing, recharging the batteries that were nearly flat after a full & challenging seven months. NICE! Thanks Ma & Pa! 😘

What are YOU up to this weekend? Having adventures? Stitching? Gardening? Just chillin' at home? In lockdown? I'd be interested to hear. 😁 Right now, though, I think it's time to sample some of my Tambourine Tea ... Mango is tonight's choice. 😁 Take care of yourselves, stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling. 😁 Til next time ...



Friday, 14 August 2020

Missing In Action!

Hello everyone! Yes ... I'm still here ... Alive & kicking! 😁 Thank you to the lovelies who have messaged & emailed to check on me. 😘 It's been a busy, tough few weeks with my grown up job after my boss left very suddenly. As well as the extra responsibilities, there has been quite a bit of "calming the waters" to be done, so I've been a bit slack on the blogging front. And, I confess, on the stitching front. OOPS! 😜 I HAVE been making some solid progress with editing pattern templates for my "Vintage Market" BOM design-in-progress, though, & am REALLY hoping it will be ready to reveal in the next month or so ... Stay tuned! πŸ˜‰

I also managed to fit in a wonderful catchup with an old friend from my uni days last weekend. After a false start with a year of primary teacher training, I undertook a Bachelor Of Arts, majoring in Journalism at the USQ in Toowoomba. In my final year, I shared some classes with two fellow-crazies ... The three of us just 'clicked'. And though I kept in contact with Anthony & Kate for the first few years after uni, we all drifted along our different paths & lost touch ... Easier to do before emails, text messages & Facebook ... WOW! I'm older than Facebook! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Fast forward to about a year ago & it was FB that helped us reconnect & after 'chatting' back & forth for the last year, Kate & I got to catch up in real life last weekend when she & her Sweetie had a weekend at a local B&B. How wonderful to chat in person again ... & discover that not only did we have lots to chat about, but so did our Sweeties. 😁 NICE! And catching up with Kate & Mark gave us the perfect excuse (like we really needed one!) to visit our recently established local distillery ... Pechey Distilling Co ... Literally 'just down the road' ... Less than FIVE MINUTES! Ooh! This could be dangerous! Tee! Hee! Hee! The distillery has been established by one of the founding families of our little corner of the Great Dividing Range ... In fact, the area shares their surname. 😜 So as well as enjoying the tasting (VERY smooth gin & vodka!!) it was fun to see the old homestead & hear some of our local history.

Chief distiller, Ben Pechey, giving us the background on their enterprise. The rustic building you see behind him is the original cream house that has been moved & restored to house the stilling equipment.

Mmmmmmm ... A Moscow Mule to taste & enjoy the Pechey vodka.

A pretty vignette of lavender from the Pechey homestead garden, shiny copper distilling Doo-dad & a tempting gift pack of gin & vodka.

Yours truly in weekend dag mode & Uni partner-in-crime Kate.

The Pechey Distilling Co is open for tastings a few times a month, so check their FB page for dates & drop in ... It's well worth it if gin or vodka is your tipple of choice ... & they will be starting workshops later in the year to let you custom flavour your own tipple ... With whiskey distilling also soon to be added to their repertoire ... Did you just hear GB cheer, πŸ˜‚

Now ... As well as being a slacko blogger, I'm late to announce the July OPAM draw winner. There were ...


... for July! WOW! Well done, everyone! And if you were like me & plodding along slowly, but steadily, working on longer term projects & you made some progress ... Then well done to you, too. The winner of the random draw is ...

Congrats, Christine! Drop me an email & I'll send your PDF prize pattern. And ... That's it from me for now, though GB & I are VERY excited to be starting a two week break today ... WOO! HOO! So you'll probably hear a bit more from me in the next couple of weeks. We haven't had a break since Christmas, so this will be much appreciated. 😁 In the meantime, be kind to yourselves, take care, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling! ☺️ Til next time...



Monday, 27 July 2020

Mixed Bag Beginning!

Hello everyone out there in blogland! I hope your week is off to a fantastic start. I confess my Monday has been a bit of a mixed bag. I received some unsettling & stressful news about my grown up job ... But I also got to catch up with Stupendous Steph of The Quilters Angel to stock up my stitching supplies, including these pretties ...

Yep ... More Cottage Garden Threads for my collection. 😁 And with The Quilters Angel arranging order pick-up for customers in the Toowoomba/Highfields area, I got to enjoy a chat with Steph, too. Win-win! 😁 Along with my pretty new threads, I booked myself & my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette into this year's Stitchers Dream Day Out  ... YAY! Debbie McGee & Nikki Tervo will be the guest designers with two new patterns each ... Not to mention yummy food, teas, coffees, giveaways, chatting with other lovelies ... Oh ... And apparently some people actually STITCH at these days! Tee! Hee! Hee! Are you coming to play in September? Then make sure you book soon, cos seats are being filled fast! 

And that's about it from me today ... I hear the kettle playing my song, so I'm off to make a cuppa. OPAMers ... We've nearly run out of month again, so don't forget to update your sidebar lists & email me your finishes. Have a fantastic week ... I have hopes that mine will smooth out ... Fingers crossed. πŸ˜‰ Take care, stay safe, keep stitching & keep smiling. Til next time ...



The Quilters Angel

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Better Late Than Never!

Hello everyone! Greetings to you all from the top of our VERY cold & blustery 'hill' today. We've hit the half way point of winter & I think winter is showing us it's just getting its groove on ... SIGH! Roll on Spring!! πŸ™„

I meant to be back here sooner than this to do our OPAM update, but somehow it's Wednesday already. OOPS! 😜 I think the zombie apocalypse & winter's chills (here in the Southern Hemisphere) have joined forces to encourage us all to get creating, because June was our second largest tally for the year, with ...


... Added to our year's tally so far. WOW! Well done to everyone who added to their tally. And as I've hopped around blogs, I've seen many of you working on longer term projects & making steady progress, so well done to you, too. And with a drumroll, the winner of the random prize draw is ...

Congrats, Karen! Drop me an email & I'll send your prize PDF Tag Along Teddies pattern to you to play with. 😁

 I managed a few finishes to include in that June tally that have to stay Secret Squirrel for now, but I CAN show you my first finish for July ...

It's a simple drawstring book bag for our youngest nephew's birthday gift ... He's hooked on the Disney movie "Frozen". There are a couple of books inside the bag ... He's already a keen book collector ... Both sides of the family are bookworms, so it's being passed on to the next generation. πŸ˜‰πŸ€“ 

Well, that's about it from me for today, but before I sign off, I do have an exciting snippet of news for you ... My Beloved Geek Boy has been hard at work behind the scenes & has put together a new Tag Along Teddies web site for me ... YAY! The old one was sucked into the black hole vortex when we changed hosting servers ... Or some such technical jargon. 😜 It BROKE! πŸ˜‚ And with the craziness that is our life, it's taken GB a while to get it sorted. We haven't had a chance to load ALL of my patterns but there's a nice selection for you to peek at if you pop over to We'll continue to gradually add more of my patterns to the site as we go along but right now, I'm off to pop the kettle on for my arvo cuppa. 😁 Enjoy the tail end of your week. Stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling. 😊 Til next to me ...



Saturday, 11 July 2020

Saturday Stitching Tips!

G'day from the top of the Great Dividing Range in south-east Queensland where it is a funny old  day weather-wise ... Perfect for stitching! πŸ˜‰ Which I'm really hoping to do tonight after I finish my grown up chores & spend some time chained to the computer editing pattern templates. I think stitching & a good disaster movie will be my self-reward. 😝

And speaking of stitching ... Some of you will have caught up with posts I shared on the Love & Hugs From Australia & Tag Along Teddies Facebook pages yesterday where I shared a few of my fave stitching tips. Well ... It occurred to me that not all of you have crossed over to the "dark side" ( as my Bloggy Buddy Chookyblue refers to FB! 😜) so I thought I'd share my top tips here, too. I'll start with the disclaimer that I in no way consider myself to be an expert ... These are just a few things I've personally found to be helpful along my stitching journey. Those of you who have come to play at stitching days hosted by The Quilters Angel will have heard most of these, but grab a cuppa & read on. πŸ˜‰

So my first rule of stitching is ... THERE ARE NO RULES!! 😜 There are just a whole lot of ways to do things & some give better results than others. You'll also find that one way of doing things won't be as easy/comfortable/achievable for everyone, so don't let "rules" stop you from getting started. Find a project you love (because you're more likely to finish it! 😜) & get stitching. With stitcheries, there are a few things I've learned that work for me. The first is choose your background fabric carefully. If it's too dark or a busy print, your stitching will get lost. The second (which can save significant swearing later on! 😝) is to cut your background fabric at least an inch bigger than you want it to be when finished - 1/4" for your seam & 3/4" to allow for shrinkage as your stitches pull in a little, trimming fraying & gives more options for using your stitchery.

I use a light pad to trace, but taping your design to a window that the sun is shining through works fine ... Your arms just get a little tired. 😜 You can see in the pic above that my fabric is bigger than the finished block size. If your pattern doesn't have the finished size marked, you could do so yourself ... & marking your quarter points as shown helps centre it, too. I use a light tan, fine pigment pen to trace my designs. After disasters with disappearing lines, smudged lines, thick lines & reappearing lines, I find the pigment pens my go-to, but, horses for courses. If you're thinking of colouring your stitchery remember it will need to have both liquid & heat applied to set it, so pens that disappear with either won't be helpful.

When tracing lazy-daisy stitches, I don't draw the loop ... I mark the centre point of each flower & the outer point of each petal. This way it doesn't matter if your loop is a bit tight or loose, you don't have to cover a drawn line.

The next helpful thing I've learned is to attach fusible stabiliser/interfacing on the back of a stitchery. There are all sorts of stabilisers, so choose one that suits your project. 

These are the two that I have used most & my fave is the Shape To Create on the left. It's a light muslin type stabiliser & I find it really nice to work with ... I get mine from The Quilters Angel HERE  Stabiliser helps minimise stretching & fraying as well as hiding those longer "I'll just hop over there" threads we all end up with from time to time. 😜

My next tip is about needles. I know we're all on budgets & would rather spend our play money on fabric, but trust me ... Investing in some good quality needles will make stitching more enjoyable. I know some people like (need??! 😜) a bigger eye to thread, but thick shanked needles will make bigger holes in your fabric & can drag your stitching out of shape. 

I prefer using a milliner's or straw needle. The eye is the same width as the shank, so when you're stitching knots or bullions, the needle slides through the wrapped thread a bit easier. I usually use a size 9, but that's just a personal preference. (Yes ... The ones in the pic are no. 10's & picked up by accident & you should hear me muttering when trying to thread two strands of thread! πŸ™„) And speaking of threads ... It took me a while, but finally I've admitted its better to work with a shorter length of thread. 😜 My favourite Cottage Garden Threads come pre-cut into a good length, or the length from your wrist to elbow is a good guide. As you pull your thread through the fabric, it rubs & frays a little & can lead to frustrating thread breaks or your stitching looking a bit 'fluffy'. So, shorter lengths = less fraying. Most stranded embroidery thread has 6 strands twisted together, but most stitching is done with 2 strands, so you need to separate them. If you separate the strands one at a time, they're less likely to tangle & will sit flatter when you stitch.

But the
MOST IMPORTANT RULE of stitching is ... HAVE A GO & HAVE FUN!! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ It's not about who finishes first, or whose work is the neatest, you don't need to compare your work to anyone else's & it won't look exactly like the pattern sample ... And that's more than OK! It's about each of us taking some time to slow down, take a breath & do something creative, so enjoy the process, not just the finished project. 

I know many of you are more experienced Stitchers than I am, but I hope something I've shared will help or encourage you to keep stitching ... Or maybe tempt you into picking up needle & thread for the first time in a while πŸ˜‰ And now, I think I've earned a cup of tea, so I'll sign off for now. OPAMers ... I'll be doing the draw in a day or two ... Promise! 😁 In the meantime, I hope you all have a relaxing weekend. Stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling! 😊 Til next time ...



PS. There's a brand new Tag Along Teddies website up & running too ... In case you need another project ... Or two or three! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Winter Blues!

I've got deadlines I should be working towards, I've got pattern templates I should be editing, instructions I should be writing, sketches I should be brushing up, washing that should be put away, emails to answer, dinner to prepare  ... But I did none of those things! Instead, I took advantage of a rare gale-force-wind-free day & spent some time outside.

 I strolled around the garden to see what's growing & what's hibernating for winter, I chatted to one of our resident kookaburras, I topped up the birdbath for an impatient fantail bird (you should have heard the language he directed at me! 😝), I watered my vege patch & my marauding herbs (the mint is seriously plotting world domination, I'm convinced! πŸ˜‚) & gazed at the blue, blue cloudless sky forming the dazzling backdrop for our gorgeous gum trees. SIGH! Yep ... That's the best winter blues to have. 😍 The deadlines & tasks are still on the "To Do" list, but after stopping to take some breaths of fresh, crisp winter air, I think I'm ready to put my head down & get working again. 😁 (PS This pic hasn't been enhanced or filtered in any way, just cropped ... The sky really was THAT blue!)

So ... How's YOUR Tuesday going? πŸ˜‰ Til next time ...



Tuesday, 30 June 2020

OOPS! Where'd June Go?!

Calling all cars! Calling all cars! Be on the lookout for a missing month stolen recently. It goes by the name of "June" & was last seen trailing behind May.  If found please return to someone who seems to have lost it! πŸ˜‚ (possibly in more ways than one! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

Yep, it's the end of another month in this strange & topsy-turvy year, which means ...

... It's time for all good OPAMers to update their sidebar lists & email me their tally of finishes for the vanished month if June. 😜 I'm happy to be able to record a few finishes this month, with some Secret Squirrel projects completed ... What have you been stitching?

And the end of June also ends the countdown to ...

From tomorrow, July 1 , there will be a free 4" block shared one a week over on the Love & Hugs From Australi  Facebook page to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas & keep Stitchers around the world occupied as we all spend more time at home than usual. Each designer who is playing along will share a free downloadable Christmas themed block & will show how they've used it. Having had some behind-the-scene sneaky-peekies ... I think everyone will be getting stitched gifties this Christmas! πŸ˜† So make sure you check out the Love & Hugs pag  each Wednesday for the next 12 weeks for the new stitchery, but pop in between blocks to be inspired by people's work & share your progress updates to encourage others. Thanks to Natalie Bird for once again organising & coordinating the Stitchalong to help keep people connected by stitches during a strange & difficult time.

And now ... I'm off to get ready to be social, as we have GB's cousin & his wife coming to dinner tonight. I hope your week is off to a great start. Stay safe, stay well, keep stitching & keep smiling. 😁 Til next time ...



Friday, 26 June 2020

Friday ... AGAIN!!

Well ... Here we are, it's Friday again & the weeks just keep slipping by at the speed of light, don't they?! 😳 Everyone jokes about how it will be Christmas next week ... But it feels like Christmas really WILL be here before we know it! EEP! 😳😜

Actually ... When people say Christmas will be here next week ... They're really only a week early. 😜 Because over on the Love & Hugs From Australia Facebook page, Christmas will begin on July first ...

What better way to ease towards the real Christmas (& get a few gifties made & stashed in preparation) than to join us for the second fun Stitchalong. This one will be unfolding a little slower, with a free 4" stitchery being shared each week for 12 weeks ... The 12 days of Stitchalong Christmas. 😜 My stitchery is ready, but I'm just finishing up the companion projects that will be included in the Christmas pattern I will release when my block is launched. I confess to not really being a Christmas gal (I get cross at the over-commercialisation of it) but I've been loving playing with aqua & French red fabrics to create four quick-finish projects that will make up my "Christmas Cuties" pattern. Would you like another sneaky-peeky??

Are you intrigued??! 😜 Not long to go! As long as I stop procrastinating on blogs & FB & get back to my sewing & instruction writing. 😝 I have to say, with our frosty temperatures this week (it's a warmer one today, sitting on 10 degrees with a "feels like" of 8 at the moment! 😱) it's a good time to be tucked up sewing. So I've got "Holiday Joy" essential oil blend in my diffuser, Enya adding her angelic Celtic crooning in the background, the fire crackling merrily away (GB lit it for me before he headed off to work ... AAAAAWWWW! He loves me! 😍) & I'm wearing a pair of warm fuzzy socks ...

Aren't they fun?! 😜 Not everyone has zebra socks! πŸ˜‚ Mum bought them for me as a joke because I hate having cold toesies & love fun & funky socks (I often wish I could knit well enough to knit myself some!) Not sure who the joke is on, as I love wearing them. πŸ˜‚ Now if I add a hot cup of tea to my list, I should be ready to tackle my sewing/instruction writing, so that's what I'm off to do. Whatever you're up to this weekend, stay well, stay safe, keep stitching & keep smiling! Til next time ...



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