Friday, 30 October 2009

Thank You!

I know I've been a bit quiet this week - it seems to have whizzed by very quickly when I wasn't looking! As well as it being a very busy week work-wise, Mrs P's funeral was held on Wednesday, which saw my Beloved Geek Boy and I drive a six hour round-trip in the day so we could be there for Lynette and her family. While it was a sad occasion, it was also a celebration of a full and happy life that revolved around family. To me, the best evidence of this, and a wonderful legacy for Mrs P (and a credit to their parents!), was the way Lynette's three children and their cousins all cared for each other during the service. The oldest two are 13 and the youngest two are nine, but the way they hugged each other in comfort and made sure each was included in the group was so very touching.

I was also deeply touched and hugely comforted by all of your lovely comments on my last post and the emails many of you have sent this week to let me know that you're sad for the loss of Mrs P and care how I'm travelling too. This little cyber world of 'Blogland' is just full of fabulous, caring people who I am proud to call my blogging buddies! Thank you all for your care and concern - during a sad week, I have felt 'hugged'!

I promise to be back in the next day or so to share some photos and stories from our theatre restaurant production that took place last Saturday and Sunday, but until then, I just wanted to send extra big


out to all of my wonderful blogging buddies! I hope you've all had a wonderful week and have some fun stuff planned for the weekend. Til next time ...

(more of them!!)


Friday, 23 October 2009

It's Hard To Say Goodbye.

My heart is hurting today. My best friend, Lynette's, Mum passed away this afternoon after a short but ugly fight against cancer. Lynette and I have been bestest buddies for 30 years this year and for that time, "Mrs P" has been a background part of my life too. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Lynette's house during school holidays and weekends, because she lived on a farm and for a townie, there were sooooo many wonderful adventures to be had on a farm! The only drawback was the outside thunderbox! (Outdoor toilet consisting of a hollow wooden platform at seat-height and a drum below to catch ... well ... you get the picture! A bush loo!) Lynette's Dad taught me to drive and her Mum rescued me and patched me up along with Lynette after one of our 'adventures' or a tussle with one of her older brothers.

"Mrs P" (I quickly decided "Mrs Patterson" was too much of a mouthful to yell quickly if I needed rescuing from one of the brothers!!) is a wonderful and important part of my childhood memories and I am so pleased I was able to spend a day with her and Lynette in July when Lynette and I had our sewing day together. She had lost her hair thanks to the chemotherapy she had been receiving, but was in good spirits and absolutely fascinated by the applique process that Lynette and I were playing with. That day is now even more special to me, as it will be my last memory of her. I guess it just shows you that its not the big events that always matter most in life, its those little 'ordinary' moments of sharing time with friends and loved ones that are precious gems.

So ... today my heart hurts, for myself as I say goodbye to a person who played an important part in my growing up, but also as I ache for my wonderful best friend who has now lost both of her parents. I know the reality of life is, that as we get older, people who are important to us and who we love, will leave us, but for right now ... it just hurts.

Goodbye, "Mrs P".


Monday, 19 October 2009

Tired Feet & Teddy Bears!

Well ... that title may sound a little strange, but it sums up my weekend!! You see, I was one of the teachers at the annual Creative Craft Retreat held at Perseverance Dam and organised by the Toowoomba Community Baptist Church Women's Ministries. I was teaching two of my bear patterns ...

"NighttimeNara Bear" and ...

The two versions of buccaneer bears that are in the "Morgan The Pirate Bear" pattern.

So ... Friday evening saw around 50 ladies head north of Toowoomba to the Perseverance Recreational Centre - most people were sleeping over, but since life is so busy for me at the moment, I figured that even with the 40 minute drive to and from the camp site, I'd still get more sleep by travelling home each day to sleep in my own bed. Yes ... I AM a sooky-la-la when it comes to sleeping in MY bed! :0)

As soon as we had gone through the "Welcome To Camp" and other preliminaries, the mad bear people gathered up the back of the hall. Hmmm ... isn't it usually the NAUGHTY kids who sit up the back of the classroom?!?! :0) Seven ladies had signed up for a teddy bear adventure with me and we got going pretty quickly, as we knew time would slip away from us before we knew it. Here is the first flurry of action as everyone started to cut out the bear bits ... no, no, no! Not BARE bits ... BEAR bits! This is a 'PG' rating blog, remember! :0)

They look very industrious, don't they?!

Hmmmm ... how many legs does a bear need???

So when we got going on Saturday morning, everyone was keen and raring to go. There were bear limbs to be machine stitched ...

... and some hand stitching to tackle ...

... and all soon discovered that although some of the processes of bear making are a bit fiddly, they are easier to comprehend when someone SHOWS you what to do and achievable. By the end of Saturday's stitching, everyone had their bear put together and most people were just about ready to give their bear a face, before making some clothes to keep them warm.

We took a break from sewing Saturday night and played a hilarious game that didn't actually have a name, but was a cross between pictionary and dominoes. We broke into four groups, with each group being handed a texta pen and a large piece of paper. Leanne, who ran the game, then gave a starting letter, like "P" and once the timer went, the first team member had to draw something STARTING with that given letter, then the next person was handed the texta and had to draw something that started with the LAST letter of the previous word. It was a lot of fun and there was probably more laughing than drawing, but the team I was part of won by a few points. Of course, there were a few good natured grumbles that our team SHOULD have won ... since we had three of the five craft teachers on our team! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Sunday morning, we enjoyed an interesting and thought-provoking talk by one of Toowoomba's school Chaplains, Julie Inskip. Julie shared about a very difficult event in her life in two ways, reminding us that we can sometimes focus only on the negative in any situation, which causes us to miss the daily blessings that God gives us. Then, we once again hit the sewing machines - and it was weighing on many people's minds that we were running out of stitching time and they REALLY wanted to take home a FINISHED bear. There were a few frustrated tears when machines didn't co-operate and a few mutterings under the breath when lace or seams wouldn't sit the way they should, but at the end of the day, there were some gorgeous new 'bearbies' born into the world!

Here's Ellen with her version of Nara - I think she called here 'bearbie' Lucy. Doesn't she look sweet in her pretty pink floral nighty??

Bronwyn's version of 'Olive Bear' (my first towelling bear pattern that Bron bought a couple of years ago at the Craft Retreat!) isn't as rustic as my original version - she turned out to be a lovely neat little lady who looked ready for a Victorian tea party. Well done Bron!

After a few frustrations with uncooperative lace, Natalie's little bear turned out to be a cutie!

And doesn't Tanya's finished Buccaneer Bear look dashing in his lairy red trousers and grey jacket!! Look out Cap'n Jack Sparrow!

Lyn had to leave early, so her buccaneer bear didn't quite get finished, but you can see he's well on his way to competing for Cutest Pirate status with Tanya's bear! :0)

And mother and daughter team Wendy and Cassie didn't quite get to finish their bears either - but they had a REALLY good reason - they were kept busy caring for the youngest member of our class ...

Here's 5 week old Isaac with Grandma Wendy. He was such a well-behaved little bloke - and about the same size as the bears! Tee! Hee! Hee! We had a wonderful weekend of stitching, chatting and laughing - thanks for taking a walk on the furry side of the force with me, girls!! And of course, no craft retreat would be complete without a group photo ...

Can you see me??? Those of you who said "YES" better get your eyes checked ... who do you think was taking the photo?!?! Tee! Hee! Hee! I did jump in for the official camp photo after I'd taken this one - and I even took my sunnies off for it! :0)

I really enjoyed being part of the Creative Craft Retreat again this year. I absolutely LOVE teaching people to make my 'bearbies'! It's fabulous to watch people who start the class thinking it will be so hard and who aren't sure they can make a bear progress through the time to realise that not only that they CAN make a bear, but that they HAVE!! The excitement on faces that light up when that little 'bearbie' is 'born' is so very special and I love to help facilitate that discovery.
BUT ...

After two days of standing and walking around helping as I taught ... my feet are KILLING ME!!! I came home last night and soaked them in lovely hot water laced with peppermint essential oil in the ol' foot spa, which helped, but they're still a bit tender today. Think I'll just go make myself a cup of cinnamon tea and put my feet up this afternoon ... will think about doing something productive tomorrow! :0) Hope your weekend was as much fun as mine! Til next time ...



Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Weird Wild Weather & Sneaky Peek!

WOW! We have been having some WEIRD, WILD WEATHER here in south east Queensland over the last few weeks and today gave us the next installment! Forecasters warned us that yet ANOTHER dust storm was heading towards the east coast and was due to start rolling our way this afternoon. By lunch time, the winds were gale force, practicing to be cyclonic and the western horizon was looking a little hazy. So I did the most sensible thing a gal can do in this situation - I went to a friend's house for lunch, cuppas and catch up chats! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Well, we were just thinking of popping the kettle on for an after lunch cuppa when we were startled by a rather loud rumble of thunder. Hmmm ... where did THAT come from?!?! Before we could poke our heads out the window to see what the crazy weather was doing, there was a rush, a roar and an avalanche of sound ... as hail began to pound on the outdoor area's tin roof - it was DEAFENING!! Lynda made a dash for the driveway to put her recently purchased car in the garage, while I amused myself by watching the hail bounce off the trampoline mat - gotta make the most of a bad situation, right, and it just reminded me of little white jumping beans!! AREBA!! :0) After about five minutes, the hail eased off and this is what the back yard looked like ...

Almost looks like it snowed a bit, doesn't it? By the time I left Lynda's place fifteen minutes later, the sun was out. Hmmm ... wonder if there was enough rain amidst the hail to settle the dust storm before it hit? Or would we just end up with it raining mud like some Biblical plague?? Can I just say ... EEEEEEEWWWWW!!! On the way home, I had to run a couple of errands, so off I toodled. There were a few BIG rain drops squeezed out of the once-again-gathering clouds as I drove along, but there was still the occasional flash of sunlight. Then ... just as I pulled into the car park ... DOWN IT CAME! More hail!! I think it was scarier being in the car, cos I could see how hard it was hitting the windows and windscreen! Thankfully, it was short-lived and seems to have gone ... for now!! What an adventure-filled afternoon!! Thankfully, no damage to the poor little Baby car, so all's good!

Over the last few weeks, we've had dust storms, temps up to the mid 30's, temps lower than 10 degrees, a thunderstorm last night that was all-noise-no-substance and whose only achievement was to scare the bejeebers out of the dogs (they are NOT heroes when it comes to storms!!) and then today, gale force winds, threatening dust storm and hail! What is WITH this WEIRD and WACKY weather we're having!!!! Personally, I'd be pretty happy with warm weather and gentle, soaking rains! Not at all fussy, am I! :0)

On the sewing front, I've been huddling in my cave ... I mean ... sewing room ... over the last few days, playing with the fabrics Marion gave me to experiment with a while back. Remember these?

Well ... I'm out of my comfort zone here, but am about three quarters of the way through the project I've designed to use these and thought I'd share a sneaky peek. Ready??

There you go ... any ideas as to what I might be brewing up??? I'll give you a hint by saying it's not something I've ever designed before. :0)

And on that note ... I think I'm off to play in the sewing room a bit before I have to think about cooking dinner. Hope you're all having a great week so far and squeezing in some stitching time just for you. Til next time ...



Friday, 9 October 2009

A Homecoming & Charmed Online!

I know I've been quiet for almost a week, but that's what happens when dust storms, a sneaky warm-weather cold bug and asthma gang up on a person! SIGH! Nothing has been achieved here this week, as I bundled myself up warm, drank lots of fluids, kept my nose in a book and prayed for rain to alleviate the dry, dusty conditions that are making my asthma unhappy. I don't usually have too much of a problem, but add the cold bug that someone shared with me (and when I find out who it was, I just might thank them with a punch on the nose!!) and my body rebelled. However, I'm starting to feel a bit more human today, not coughing quite so much and my nose is no longer doing a tap impersonation, so next week should be better.

Having said all that ... this week wasn't without a couple of bright spots. The first came when there was a knock at my door on Wednesday. I opened it to find Miss Mary from Fresh Hope Patterns on my doorstep with a little blanket-wrapped bundle. Hmmm ... what could it be? Well ... a couple of years ago, I donated one of my pattern designs to Fresh Hope Patterns, a pattern for a little girly bear in her jammies and holding her dolly and called her Taylah Bear, after one of our nieces. Now Taylah Bear has been on a Grand Tour, visiting a number of patchwork and quilting stores that support Fresh Hope and it seems she'd become a little homesick and asked Miss Mary to bring her home. Here she is ...

Isn't she a sweetie! Here she is clutching her dolly, ready for bed. Hmmm ... wait a minute ... what's in her OTHER paw??? THAT wasn't there when she left home!

Apparently, Miss Mary made Taylah Bear her very own special blankie to help her feel at home as she travelled around to promote Fresh Hope Patterns! Hasn't she done a lovely job! The variegated thread she's used for the blanket-stitched edging is so pretty, not to mention that cute little bear and the garden he's sitting in! Thank you Miss Mary! It's lovely to have Taylah Bear Home, and her sister, Nara, was especially glad to see her again. In fact, they were SOOOOOOOOO excited to be reunited, that it was VERY hard to get them to go to bed that first night! Here they are sitting on the bed in the spare room, chatting and exchanging stories of their adventures ...

Don't they look snuggly?!?! One in her pretty nighty and lacy bloomers and the other in her lace-trimmed jammies - both with their very own blankie! :0)

The second bright spot came today when the postie made a parcel delivery with his usual charm and finesse of an Olympic hammer thrower!! (he stands at the gate and hurls packages onto the front verandah! Good thing I don't usually receive breakables in the mail!!) OOOOOOOHHHHH!!! How EXCITING!! I'd been waiting for this package all week!! You see, I was enjoying a little read of my blogging buddy Peg's blog a week or two ago when she mentioned Sarah's tempting on-line fabric shop Patchwork Plus. So ... I thought I REALLY SHOULD have a little LOOK! Uh oh!!! Can you see where this story is heading?!?! Shhhhhhh!! Don't tell my mother that I blew the budget! Tee! Hee! Hee! Yes ... I found myself thoroughly "Charmed" by Sarah's goodies and just had to order a couple of things - that arrived today!

Aren't they YUMMY!! You can see why I was "CHARMED"!! Tee! Hee! Hee! These are from two ranges I hadn't come across before, "Northern Solitude" and "Spring Magic". I have NO idea what I'm going to do with them yet, they may become new quilt designs, they may be used for bags, they may become Christmas gifties for lucky people ... the possibilities are endless!!! But for now ... I'm just going to fondle and enjoy them for a bit!! Thanks Sarah for wonderful prompt service - and do you see the cute little rosette thingy she popped on the invoice? How sweet!! And thanks to Super Stitcher Peg for leading me astray ... I mean ... pointing me in the direction of Patchwork Plus! :0)

And now ... I'm off to make a cup of Cinnamon tea and contemplate what to make for dinner ... or maybe I'll just go play with my new charm squares for a little while first! :0) Hope you have a fun weekend planned with some stitching and time with friends and family scheduled! Til next time ...



Saturday, 3 October 2009

September's OPAM Winner Is ...!!

You didn't think it would be that SIMPLE did you?!? Not to mention SHORT!! I have a reputation to uphold here as a verbose and wordy blogger, you know! Tee! Hee! Hee! Actually, all my short-post blogging buddies out there will be pleased with this one - it will be pretty short ... by MY standards! :0)

Well ... I've finally finished blog-hopping around the world to collect all of your finishes and though some were a little hard to confirm because there was no list on your sidebar, I've recorded 451 finishes for September's One Project A Month Challenge! How good is THAT!! There's certainly been some stitching happening out there in blogland! I get the feeling that many of you, like me, were motivated by swaps needing items finished and popped in the mail! :0) So, the total number of projects recorded as being finished by OPAM participants so far this year is ...


WOW!! How wonderful is THAT! I reckon there must be a bit more space in our sewing rooms by now, mustn't there?!? Or is everyone a bit like me and a finish is really just a way of justifying buying MORE fabric to make MORE projects! Tee! Hee! Hee! However ... I know you're all hanging out to find out who won the end-of-month draw for September, so, the winner is ...


Well done, Noela!! And since it's MY turn to send you a little giftie, you just need to email me your snail mail address and this little bundle will soon be coming your way ...

A pretty pattern from Aussie designer Leanne May, who designs under the label of "Candlelight Creations" and this one is called "Vintage Charm" and features all sorts of yummy stitchery projects. Added to that is a cute notebook featuring a girly ballerina bear, a handy sharpy pen (I keep one of these in my sewing pouch AND my handbag!!) and a cool laser-cut timber Angel tag made by Lisa at Button Bliss.

Once again, a big congratulations to everyone who made progress on their "To Do" list this month. From my blog-hopping, I know some of you are working on big, long-term projects, but the photos tell me that many of you are making great progress on these as well, even though it may still be a while before they'll be registered as a finish, which is one of the main aims May Britt and I talked about when we first launched our 'little' challenge - to encourage bloggers (especially ourselves!!) to make some progress on WISPS and to finish some projects when we start them instead of adding to our WISP list, but one of the other aims was to encourage us all to take time out from busy lives to just sit, take a breath and do a little something for ourselves. So ... I do hope that this is something that being part of OPAM has encouraged you to do. OH!! And don't forget to pop across and wish May Britt a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

And now ... I'm off to make a cup of tea to wash the dust out of my throat ... AGAIN! Yes, it's a hazy, dusty day here again as yet another dust storm rolls in thanks to dry conditions and gale force winds. SIGH! I really hope this is the last of the DUST storms and that we get some RAIN storms soon instead ... if for no other reason than to wash the dust off everything!! :0) Hope you're having a great day whatever you're up to. Til next time ...



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