Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Home From Eventful Weekend!!

PHEW!!! Well ... here we are, home safe and sound after a VERY eventful weekend!! I thought I'd do a bit of a catch up on our adventures, so this is a (sorry Chookyblue!!)
You may like to go and make yourself a cup of tea and get comfy before you start to read ... or plan to come back later when you have more reading time! :0)

Righto .. so ... a few years ago, not long after I first started blogging, I 'met' the Lovely Lilly Linda through visiting each others' blogs, after each seeing the other's comments on mutual blogging buddy, the Gorgeous Kerryanne's, blog. Are you still with me? After chatting back and forth, Lilly Linda (so called because she has a sweet and shabby business called Lilly Cottage) and I met up for a few play dates, one of which saw her beloved Tim travel with her up our 'hill'. Well ... Tim and GB got along as well as Lilly Linda and I, so we planned a few couples outings ... which often seemed to coincide with Australia Day. It became our little tradition to meet up sometime near that special day for a day trip or a weekend gathering. Due to scheduling difficulties with two busy households, we didn't get our Aussie Day play date last year, but decided to make up for it this year ... GB and I were to travel down the 'hill' to visit the 'Lovely Lillies' at their island home. All good so far ...

The weekend began with relaxed chats over snacks and drinkies and proceeded to a visit to Lilly Linda's shop, Lilly Cottage on Bribie. OH!!! The pretties that wanted to follow me home! If you love pretty, shabby, cottage and vintage decorating styles, then you really HAVE to treat yourself to a visit to Lilly Linda's shop!!! Let me show you a peek as to WHY you need to visit ...

Pink, pretty, gorgeous wall art, lacy bunting, re-purposed vintage items ...

... cushions, chandeliers lavender, frilly aprons ...

... tea cups, bears, owls, jugs, vases ... oh the list goes on and on almost as long as I do! :0) But here's the greatest treasure I found in Lilly Cottage ...

... my lovely friend, Lilly Linda herself! :0) And you just KNOW that some pretties followed me home, right? Right! :0)

The 'dream' letters were a gift from the gorgeous Kerryanne a couple of years ago, but the fabulous enamel jug and Fleur de Lise cushion followed me home from Lilly Cottage! :0) The jug will be a great spot for long-stemmed flowers ... plus it just looks cool!! And the cushion will go on the day-bed in my French-inspired sewing room.

It was at about this point in the weekend (Saturday afternoon/evening) that things started to get a little 'interesting' on the weather front. You see, a little earlier in the month, tropical cyclone Oswald had hit far north Queensland, blew itself out a bit and was downgraded to an ex-cyclone, and started to make it's way down Australia's east coast. Ossie (every Aussie needs a nick-name!) caused wind damage, brought torrential rain and flooding wherever he went, from Cairns, to Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton, but it was when he reached Bundaberg that things got REALLY hairy and scary.

The small beach-side towns of Burrum Heads and Bargara (where my Grandma lives!!) were hit by six tornadoes ... which while small compared to America's destructive giants, still managed to wreak havoc and cause mayhem. My Grandma is fine ... in fact, she had to be told by a neighbour what was happening as she was listening to a state radio station rather than a local one! ... but others weren't so fortunate. Instead of continuing to move south fairly quickly as predicted, Ossie decided he quite liked Bundy and stuck around for a bit, resulting in torrential downpours and flooding not only in Bundaberg and surrounds, but several hours inland ... including my hometown of Mundubbera, where they had ridiculous amounts of rain fall in their river catchment, causing the Burnett River to spill over its banks in the second biggest flood on record. (about 10cm lower than the record-setting flood in 1942) Many homes that had just finished being rebuilt after the 2011 floods were again swallowed by brown water ... as were many more than two years ago. I've chatted to Mum and Dad and seen Facebook photos and struggle to comprehend seeing flood waters in parts of the town I grew up in that I never thought would flood. The town is one of many small communities that have been completely isolated and they haven't had power since Sunday the 27th ... not that you hear too much about these little towns in any news reports!! My parents are fine ... double storey house on a hill ... but many others aren't and Mum and Dad are helping with clean up efforts and the feeding of and care for those who've been evacuated. I am so proud of my parents! :0)

Meanwhile ... back at Bribie Island ... Ossie's temper tantrum had moved southward and we started to experience the high-speed winds from the ex-cyclone, along with heavy rain. It wasn't quite blowy and heavy enough to stop Lilly Linda and I from running off to a big fabric sale at Sew This And That, Morayfield on Saturday arvo, though!! Come on ... we're STITCHERS! We wouldn't let a little ex-cyclone stand between us and a fabric sale! Tee! Hee! Hee! I was pretty good, really ... REALLY!!! :0) All that followed me home was ...

... some dusty blue/gold combos. This will be a very special project that I'll tell you about soon. :0)

To continue my tale of weather woes ... when Lilly Linda and I went racing off to catch the fabric sale (arriving just 20 minutes before closing!!!) my beloved had to move our car so Linda could get hers out and he parked it on a gravelled area beside the driveway ... a move we were VERY happy about in the morning when this greeted us after a night of winds that reached 95km per hour ...

The basketball hoop had taken a tumble and landed right where our two-month old car WAS parked before moved for our fabric sale dash! PHEW!! Can I tell you ... Lilly Linda and I will be getting a LOT of mileage out of the fact that we can now say that buying fabric is a REALLY GOOD IDEA! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Now ... along with the nasty high-speed winds, there was LOTS of heavy rain pelting down, all through the region, which led to widespread flooding and road closures ... Uh Oh!! We couldn't get home on Sunday as planned!! Thankfully, the Lovely Lillies were happy to continue to offer us their warm hospitality and apart from a dash through wind and rain to hit the shopping centre for some extra food supplies ... and a couple more pairs of new knickers! Tee! Hee! Hee  ... we proceeded to have a very enjoyable time catching up with Tim and Linda. Isn't it nice when you find another couple that you and your hubby can both enjoy spending time with. :0) Linda and I even did some tidying and rearranging in her creative cave ... well ... maybe more rearranging than tidying ... but you could see the desk surface when we finished! Tee! Hee! Hee! Which is more than I can say for MY creative cave! :0) Thank you Linda and Tim for a very enjoyable (if slightly longer than planned!) play date weekend!! We'll have to warn the weather bureau next time we plan a get-together! Tee! Hee! Hee!

We were finally able to scoot back up the 'hill' yesterday afternoon via a back road past Somerset Dam ... which was not only handy, but a pretty, scenic drive, too. We quite enjoyed seeing that area since the last time we passed through it was in drought and a VERY different picture! I think that was what is known as a 'silver lining' to the nasty weather cloud! :0) We were also very thankful to arrive home to find that our house was intact (without power due to the safety switch throwing, but easily remedied), no water or wind damage and the dogs VERY happy to see us! :0) (Feed me! Feed me! Feed me! I'm STARVING!!! What?! GB's sister checking up on us to make sure we had food?! No ... I don't believe so ... really ... you need to feed me!!! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Thank you to everyone for your well-wishes, thoughts and prayers for safety ... they were very much appreciated. While we are home safe and dry, though, there are still so many people affected by the flooding and storm damage ... not to mention those to the south of the country affected by devastating bushfires ... please keep them in your thoughts and prayers and maybe keep an eye out for some way you can give them an Aussie helping hand.

And speaking of Aussie ... I come to a very special happening that was part of our eventful weekend ...

On Saturday January 26, my brother and his wife welcomed their second son into the world.

Thomas Joseph Kippen

was born at 2:47pm NT time and weighed in at a very healthy 8lb 6oz. Mum and bub both doing well ... father still slightly shell-shocked! Tee! Hee! Hee! This very patriotic little Aussie bloke is welcomed with joy into our family. Congrats Paul and Ella!! So you see ... that dusty blue and gold fabric I bought with Lilly Linda will be part of a special new quilt for our latest family addition! :0)

So ... how did you go? Did you make it to the end of my marathon weekend wrap-up? Well done! :0) And just before I sign off ... a quick reminder that Sweet Peg and I are still taking sign-ups for OPAM 2013, so if you think you could use a little bit of encouragement and motivation to FINISH more projects this year, why not read a couple of posts back to find out what it's all about and join in the fun. We have quite a few 'repeat offenders' who have been with us from the start and they say that the low-stress, no-pressure, gentle nudge of wanting to have something finished by the end of each month to report to Sweet Peg or me has really helped them finish a LOT of projects ... not to mention receiving lots of wonderful feedback and encouragement from other participants and making lots of new blogging buddies. What's NOT to like about all that! :0) Sweet Peg and I would love to have you join the OPAM fun, so just drop us an email and we'll tell you how to get started.

In the meantime ... I definitely feel my fingers have earned a rest. I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on for a cup of tea. Hope you're all well and that my fellow-Aussies ... especially the storm-tossed QLDers and northern NSW gals are safe, dry and well. Til next time ...



Monday, 28 January 2013

A Bit Wet & A Bit Stuck

I just thought I'd pop in quickly to give you all a little update. We travelled to spend the long weekend with the Lovely Lilly Linda and her beloved Tim. We've had a fantastic and relaxing catch up ... But we're now a bit stuck ... Well ... A LOT stuck!! :0) For you gals overseas, (most Aussies gals would be aware!!) our state of Queensland has been experiencing some wild, woolly and WET weather over the last few days. As a result there is lots of flooding and lots of damage. Many homes throughout SE Queensland are without electricity and there are a lot of road closures.

So ... The result is, we're stranded with the Lovely Lillies and waiting for flood waters to go down, but we're some of the fortunate ones to have electricity, access to local shops ... And great company! The biggest emergency was a forgetful packer and a quick trip to buy some new knickers to replace the ones left in the washing basket at home! Tee! Hee! Hee!

So we're waiting for the roads to be reopened so we can head home, we have someone checking up on the dogs for us and in the meantime, we're making the most of our catch up! :0)

One small drawback is, with power outages in Toowoomba, my mail server is down, so if any of you lovely OPAMers have emailed me to sign up in the last day or so but haven't heard back from me ... I'm not being rude or slack ... This time! ;0) ... I just haven't received your email yet so I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Or ... You can email Sweet Peg to add your name to the list ... Which is growing! :0)

In the meantime ... If you're in flood affected areas, stay safe and dry and I'll check back in once the water is low enough for us to put the floaties on the car to get home! :0) Til next time ...



Friday, 25 January 2013

OPAM 2013 Off & Running!

Yes, it's that time of year again where my Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg and I wave the green flag and fire the starter's gun to get the OPAM race going ... and a few of you have been revving your engines to get across that start line! :0) It is so exciting to receive your emails telling us how much you enjoy being part of OPAM, how helpful you have found it to give you that little bit of motivation to spend time in your sewing room and how much you're looking forward to joining us this year. Thank you for your participation, encouragement and enthusiasm ... it certainly warms the cockles of our hearts ... and makes us smile! :0)

Whether you're a 'Newbie' signing up for the first time this year, or a 'Repeat Offender' who has been with us for a year or two now, I hope you enjoy playing along with Sweet Peg and I for OPAM 2013 and that it encourages you to be creative and take a bit of time out of your busy life just for "YOU", cos YOU are SPECIAL!!! :0)

OK ... I know you're all waiting for the starter's gun to go BANG, so I'll stop waffling now and get on with it. The full guidelines for OPAM 2013 are below. And whether you join Sweet Peg and me for OPAM or not, I wish you a 2013 full of stitching and creating, a year that has plenty of YOU time and other crafters to share with. :0) Til next time ...



The One Project A Month (OPAM) Challenge Guidelines 2013

The idea of the “One Project A Month Challenge is pretty simple ... To try to finish at least ONE craft project by the end of each month. This can be something you've had partly done for a while (a Work In Slow Progress WISP), a pattern you bought ages ago that you finally get around to making up, or a completely new project. This is meant to be a low-stress challenge  - if you don’t finish a project every month  - that’s fine! We understand sometimes life interferes with our plans. We also realise some projects are meant to be long-term and have a LOT of work involved, like a quilt or a cross-stitch. The main aim of the OPAM Challenge is to give us all a bit of a motivational boost and to give us all a big cheer squad to encourage and inspire us.

However, there is quite a bit of time and work involved in running OPAM, so Sweet Peg and I have some guidelines we ask people to take note of AND please only sign up if you intend to follow through. If for some reason during the year you decide you don’t wish to remain part of the OPAM Challenge, just drop Sweet Peg or me an email to let us know. Please read through all  guidelines before you sign up.

1. Participants must have an ACTIVE BLOG. If you change your blog address, drop us an email telling us your old address and what you've changed it to. If your blog is already, or you change it, to invitation only, please send Sweet Peg and I invitations, or we can’t check your finishes list each month.

2. Numbers won’t be limited for the sign up for OPAM 2013, BUT ... it WILL close on February 1 ... You must sign up before that or miss out on joining in the fun.

3. Participants can sign up via email to Kris or Peg, or via a comment on EITHER blog AS LONG AS it includes all asked for information.

4. Participants MUST provide all info asked for. * Name (first and initial of surname in case of double up names); * Email; * Blog address.

5. Participants MUST have the OPAM Challenge badge on their blog sidebar and link it to either Kris’s or Peg’s blog. (a link with instructions will come with your welcome email)

6. Participants MUST keep a list of each month’s finishes on their blog sidebar and update it BEFORE the last day of each month. (This is easiest if you add each project as you finish it.) If you can put this directly under the OPAM badge on your sidebar it will be easier for Sweet Peg and me to find it. You may also choose to have a separate OPAM 2013 page on your blog.  That’s fine too as long as it’s clearly labelled.

7. Only ‘soft’ crafts are included in the OPAM Challenge, ie. Projects made from fabric, thread or wool. Some examples are: embroidery, patchwork, quilting, cross-stitch, knitting, crochet, practical sewing (curtains, clothes etc), long stitch, appliqué.

8. QUILTS: A quilt will only be counted as a finish if it is COMPLETELY finished ... Quilted and bound. Flimsies/tops won’t count as finishes.

9. BOM’s: Blocks that are part of a BOM (Block Of the Month) program will only be counted as a finish when they are joined, quilted and bound. Individual BOM blocks DO NOT count as a finish.

10. If you can email Sweet Peg or me your list of finishes each month BEFORE the end of the month, this would be appreciated, as it cuts down the amount of time it takes to check finishes for the month. (and save Sweet Peg and Kris from getting square eyes!)

11.  Lastly, participants MUST ... HAVE FUN!! After all, the reason we craft and create is to relax, have fun and take some time away from the “Have to” tasks to do the “Like to do” ones! :0)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Stitching Retreat!!

Here it is ... Tuesday again ... how did THAT happen??? I'm only in the first month of the year and already losing days ... that doesn't bode well for the rest of the year! :0)

One of the reasons I've lost track a little is due to a busy weekend ... STITCHING!!! Our Friday night Sit 'N' Stitch group decided to start the year with a low-key stitching retreat ... just in case the year got away from us! :0) Everyone would bring whatever projects they were working on, no formal tutorials, pot-luck meals that everyone contributed to ... and our sense of humour! (something not too far from the surface for most of the group anyways, which is why I enjoy Friday night stitching sessions so much! Tee! Hee! Hee!)

Friday afternoon saw us all arriving in dribs and drabs as our week wound up, but very quickly the hum of the cicadas was joined by the hum of sewing machines ... and FANS!!! Did I mention we were in the middle of a heat wave, even here on top of our 'hill'?!?!?! 36-38 degrees Celsius throughout the weekend and very humid with it. Extremely unusual for our hilltop climate. Not that it slowed down the stitching! :0)

Here's Gail, Marion and Donna hard at work. The variety of projects was fun to see.

Here's Jenny and Jenny on their duelling sewing machines. :0) Jenny in the red amazed us all with how much sewing she managed to cram into the weekend ... WOW!!

The lovely Nikki Turvo of Brandygully Designs and Nikki Turvo buttons trekked up the 'hill' to play for the weekend too ... she also got HEAPS of sewing finished ... just don't ever ask her to make a basket lining for you or you might end up wearing the basket as a hat! Tee! Hee! Hee! BTW ... do you see the hard-working fans popping up in the photos?? Friday and Saturday were SUPER hot and there was no air conditioning at the retreat spot, so we were all looking for ways to cool down ...

Chris' novel and damp way to deal with the heat was to pour water all over herself, then sit in front of the fan. She said it was very effective ... though the puddle under her chair looked a bit funny! :0) I spent most of my time out on the verandah taking advantage of the natural light and trying to catch any stray breeze that went past. I got quite a lot stitched on my project for Girls' Stitch In (see previous post!!) so was pretty happy. And at the end of the day, the retreat was all about getting together with like-minded ladies to relax and enjoy each other's company ...

which is why the days ended with most of us on the verandah with our feet up, something to nibble and something COLD to drink. :0)  Marion taking a well-deserved rest (this amazing woman had BOTH hips replaced just seven weeks ago and already she's running rings around some of us!! )

Cheers, Nikki!! Lovely to catch up with you again! :0) A huge thank you to Marion and Lisa who did the bulk of the organising for our lovely stitching retreat and thanks to all the gals for their friendship and company! We've decided the Friday Night Nightowls (we stitch every second Friday between 7am and midnight!!) will have to do this again ... perhaps when it's a little bit cooler! :0)

On another subject ... OPAM gals ... are you counting down to the launch of ...

Only a few days to go before the sign-up is open ... Friday January 25 is "O" Day. And do you see that number on the new button that my Beloved Geek Boy has designed for us?? That's how many projects have been FINISHED since May Britt and I started OPAM four years ago ... this is year five for OPAM and my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime for the last three years (and joining me again this year for her fourth year!!) Sweet Peg and I are so EXCITED to be co-hosting this fun, low-stress challenge again! Sweet Peg and I will both post the guidelines etc for OPAM 2013 on Friday ... so stay tuned!! But if you have no idea what OPAM is, pop over HERE and read last year's sign up spiel to prepare you. Will you be a 'Newbie' for OPAM 2013, or will you be a 'Repeat Offender'?? :0) I can't wait to see all the wonderful finishes for this year ... there are so many clever-clogs-crafters in blogland ... and lots of them come to 'play' with us for OPAM! :0)

PHEW!! I think after all that, I've earned a cup of tea, so I'm off to be 'Polly' and put the kettle on. Hope your week is off to a fantastic start so far. Til next time ...



Monday, 14 January 2013

Secret Squirrel Stitching!!

SHHHH!! SECRET SQUIRREL!!! I used to LOVE that cartoon!! That crazy squirrel would come up with the funkiest disguises!! :0) But I digress ... I know ... not at all unusual!! What led to my childhood cartoon reminiscences?? This ...

OOOOOOHHHHH!! PRETTIES!! This little package of fabricky, stitchy goodness is my starting point for the project that I'm designing for ...

I've got the rough draft of my design ready and just need to tweak it a bit before I get stitching ... but I can't show you THAT part of it all yet cos THAT is the Secret Squirrel business! :0) HOWEVER ... if you want to be among the first to see the finished project you can come and play too. Girls Stitch In is on ...


There'll be yummy food, prizes, giveaways, goodies bags, projects to stitch and best of all ...


... will be joining in the fun! YAY!! Leanne and I will each present a not-yet-released project and everyone who comes will get BOTH patterns in their goodies bag, as well as a kit to make one of them with the stitchery pre-printed so you can just sit, chat and get stitchin'!! :0) Marion tells me there are still a few places left for both days, so if you want to join in the fun, call and book your seat ... I guarantee you'll have a BLAST!!! :0)

So ... I'd better go and get stitching, hadn't I. Hope you're having a great start to your week. Don't forget that OPAM 2013 sign up is in 11 days on Friday January 25. My wonderful Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg and I will both post the guidelines and details on that Friday. In the meantime, I'm off to play Polly and put the kettle on, so, til next time ...



PS. I got around my photo-upload issue by changing over to Google Chrome. Still learning my way around it, working out why they've moved the tools around  and grumpy that I've been forced to make an update that I didn't really want to make, but am able to upload pics from my computer again. SIGH!! When with they learn that, "If it aint broke, don't fix it!!!" 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

OPAM 2013 Update!!

Just a quick update for you keen OPAMers. A few people have been asking Sweet Peg and I when sign up for OPAM begins this year, so here are the details to put on your calendar

OPAM 2013 

Sweet Peg and I will post the guidelines and details on both out blogs that day and you will have until February 1 to join the fun. As long as you have an active blog, you're welcome to join us, whether you're a 'NEWBIE' or a 'REPEAT OFFENDER'. :0)

OPAM ... One Project A Month for those not in the know! :0) ... is all about encouraging busy ladies to take a bit of time out from busy schedules - time to breathe, time to relax, time to recharge their batteries, time to be CREATIVE. It's also about encouraging each other in our creative endeavours ... even though we will never all sit at a table together to stitch, we have a world-wide sewing circle! :0)

Soooo ... if you think you want to join me and my Partner-In-Crime the clever and creative Sweet Peg, mark Friday January 25 on your calender and come back to visit us ... I guarantee you'll have a blast ... just ask some 'Repeat Offenders'! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Right now, I'm off to make a bit of a list of what I will be tackling for January ... oh the choices! :0) Til next time ...



Monday, 7 January 2013

Friends & Finishes!!

Well ... it was back to reality today ... back to work after two weeks' break ... SIGH!!! What is it about holidays that they always seem to be one week too short?! :0) We had a lovely five days at Blacks Beach and even though it was raining when we arrived and raining the morning we left, the days in between were perfect Aussie summer days ... sunny and hot. Yes, I realise that I am one of the few people who go looking for hot weather. :0)

While we were away, I lined up my buddy Lynda and her son Jayk to house and dog sit. (the house is way less bother than the dogs! Tee! Hee! Hee!) Imagine how I felt to return home to find this sitting on my kitchen bench

A lovely bunch of native flowers and a note welcoming us back from holidays. Aaaaaawwww!!! Thanks Lynda!! :0) How spoilt am I to have such wonderful friends who spoil me in so many ways!!
And since I've been spoilt, I guess it's that time where I get to spoil a couple of people. Yes, it's time to let you know the OPAM random draw winners for December's tally. Can I firstly say ... WOWSERS!!! We had a HUGE ...
877 FINISHES!!!!
That is our BIGGEST monthly tally for the year!! You gals must have been super busy sewing bees in the lead up to Christmas! :0) And that monthly tally takes our yearly tally to ...
7,710 FINISHES!!!!

Can you believe that!! There sure was some activity in sewing rooms around the world last year!! :0) As we wrap up OPAM 2012, I'd just like to take a moment to say a few thank you's. The first thank you is a SUPER DUPER one to my Partner-In-Crime, the Co-hostess with the Mostest, Sweet Peg. Not only does Sweet Peg share the workload behind the scenes of OPAM, she is a wonderful friend who encourages me to be creative, inspires me to set myself stitching goals (she finishes SOOOOO many projects!!!), surprises me with 'just because' gifties  and makes me smile! :0) Thank you, Sweet Peg and here's to another year of exciting OPAM adventures!! :0)
Thank you, too, to all of you who have been part of OPAM 2012. Some of you have even been playing along with OPAM since May Britt and I launched it four years ago. Without your willingness to share your creative adventures and how it fits into your life's journey, OPAM wouldn't be the encouraging, inspiring, creative forum that it is ... THANK YOU!!
Right ... on to what you're all waiting to read ... the draw winners are ...
Congratulations gals!! Please contact me with your snail mail addresses and I will pop something special into the mail for you soon. A big congrats to all of you who added to that huge monthly tally, too. I hope you are all very proud of your achievements for 2012. And even if you didn't finish quite as many projects last year as you planned (and lets face it ... who DID?!?!), but you took time out of your busy schedule to sit, relax and be creative, then you're a winner too, cos that's what OPAM is all about. :0)
So ... those of you starting to ask about OPAM 2013 ... it is DEFINITELY happening and Sweet Peg and I are looking forward to lots of creative clever clogs' joining us for more fun this year! :0) Sign up will be at the end of January to give us a little rest and we will both post details and guidelines on our blogs, so stay tuned. Sign up will be open for just a week, so make sure you don't miss out ... you might like to add Sweet Peg and Me to your list of blogs you follow so you're ready to jump in.
PHEW!! After all that, I think I'm ready to head off and keep a long-overdue date with my pillow!! :0) I hope you're all having a great start to 2013 so far and that your week is off to a brilliant start, too. Til next time ...

PS. What is with blogger making crazy changes that only seem to make things more complicated for us poor non-technical bloggers?!?!?! GRRRRRR!!!!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Happy New Year Holiday Hello!!


I hope you're all enjoying the first days of 2013!? What have you been up to? They say that whatever you do on New Years Day is what you'll spend the next 12 months doing. Frankly, I'd be pretty happy with that cos ... We're on HOLIDAY! Tee! Hee! Hee! Which of course is why I've been a bit absent from blogland this last week or two. I've done a little blog reading, but mostly I've been in holiday mode. :0)

Before I regale you with our ongoing adventures ... I need to say a big THANK YOU to my SSCS swap partner, Sharon for my lovely Christmas gifties. I was a good girl and didn't open them til Christmas Day. :0)

A bright and cheerful tote bag ... with that mesh insert, it is PERFECT as a beach/swimming bag as it will allow air to circulate through so damp towels don't start to smell icky. The craft organiser tote is going to live on my cutting table so I can organise myself a little and the hot drink sachets will be enjoyed when the weather begins to cool down (not too soon, I hope!!). The cocoa is a chocolate cinnamon flavour and I just LOOOOOOVE cinnamon flavoured anything!! Thanks so much Sharon ... I feel VERY spoilt!!! And thanks again to the inimitable Chookyblue for running one of the best organised swaps I've had the pleasure of joining in.

Christmas Day (after the unwrapping of my SSCS giftie!!) was spent with my Beloved Geek Boy's family ... 21 family members who were able to gather ... and that wasn't even the entire family ... EEK! :0) It was noisy ... it was chaotic ... it was ... FAMILY! :0) We then lined up the house sitter, left notes for the dog sitter and packed up the car to head north. First stop was a few days with my folks in Mundubbera, before heading FURTHER north to enjoy a few days in tropical north Queensland ... we're currently enjoying the serenity of Blacks Beach near Mackay ... which has slightly spotty internet access ... hence me being a bit absent! :0)

But what is lacking in internet is made up for in other ways ...

This is the FANTASTIC view that we can enjoy by walking about 100m from our front door. This was taken during one of our evening walks ... I love the colours in the sky and the darker purple outline of the island  (not sure which one it is, as there are a LOT of little islands off the coast here) And I've been doing a bit of this ...
... paddling in the ocean and letting the gentle waves sneak up over my feet. So soothing ... even if my skirt DID end up a little damp around the hem! Tee! Hee! Hee!
We're having a lovely time recharging our batteries before we dive into the busy-ness of the new year. We've caught up with some friends and rellies, gone for long rambling drives around this ever-growing city/area that we hope to call home in the next few years, went to the cinema to enjoy the first movie instalment of "The Hobbit" and I've even been doing some ...
... Stitching!! At first I was struggling cos the light wasn't bright enough or in the right place for me to be able to stitch whilst watching tele at night ... but after a visit to the local quilting store (Needleworx) I am now the proud owner of a clever little battery powered and VERY portable Ottlight that is making ALL the difference. You can see I'm working on a series of  small stitcheries for a new design at the moment ... they're from the set I designed for Lynda that I told you about a few posts back. Oh ... and we all know you need to keep up the energy snacks when you're stitching, right?!?! :0)
Well, that's about it from me. We head southwards home again on the weekend and while I'm looking forward to catching up with my friends after the Christmas/New Year break, I will be very sorry to say farewell to Mackay's wonderful summery weather ... I know ... I am such a summer gal! Tee! Hee! Hee! Before I sign off ... I thought I'd share a link to a fave song with you. It's by Graeme Connors ... who incidentally comes from Mackay!! ... and it is called
When the chills of our home on the 'hill' become too much, this is GB's and my theme song ... hope you enjoy a little listen. (the slide show presentation with it is a bit dodgy, but it was the only link I could find to it) But right now, I think I'm off to keep a date with my pillow and dream of beach walks to be enjoyed tomorrow. However you're spending the first week of 2013, I hope you are taking time out to smell the roses and feel the sand between your toes ... it's a good habit to get into early in the year to keep our stress levels down all year round! :0) Til next time!


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