Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A Walk In A Winter Garden!

As I typed that heading I had the tune from "Walking In A Winter Wonderland" playing through my head ... AAAAAARRRGGHH! Now it's stuck there! Clearly my subconscious has tuned into the "Christmas In July" concept ... Despite the fact that my conscious is definitely an ostrich that buries its head in the sand to avoid the countdown to the "C" season. SIGH! The ways of my mind are mysterious indeed! :0P

However ... I digress ... Rather more than usual! :0) Winter, garden & a walk around same. :0) Those of you who've been dropping in to visit me for a while now (are you still out there?! I don't hear from many of you anymore! :0( ) know that I'm not at all a fan of cold weather & that the 'cold' label kicks in anytime the temperature drops below 20C. :0) Usually, that happens here on our 'hill' from April through to September with little warm weather respite between, but this winter we've enjoyed some very mild, pleasant winter days that have been perfect for gardening ... It must be global warming! Tee! Hee! Hee!

My Beloved Geek Boy & I spent most of last weekend in the garden & I took some pics to share with you. Grab a cuppa & get comfy ... Especially you, Chookyblue! :0)

Do you remember we re-vamped a big section of our front garden last year & went with simple, multiple plantings of camellias, marguerite daisies, agapanthus & lavender? Well, that was a stroke of genius ... If I do say so myself. :0) You can see in this pic that everything is VERY happy & growing madly. Daisies & lavender ...

... Another lavender with a pink daisy in the background ...

... This daisy throws flowers that are several shades of pink, from pale to quite bright ...

... Pink & a buttery yellow daisy complementing each other ...

... Looking back along the row of mixed lavender bushes that we'll eventually train into a hedge border ...

... & looking toward the front fence. Don't the daisies look pretty behind the grey/purple lavender colour scheme? ...

... Lavender, agapanthus, daisies & Camelia. This is a very special Camelia. It's called "Jennifer Susan" & is special to us because GB's Mum's name is Jennifer & her sister, who we lost to cancer two years ago, was named Susan. This is its first flower, so we're pretty chuffed. 

... A closer look with the lavender in the background ...

... & a zoom out view of this garden. Even more daisies & lavender have flowered since the weekend, so I'll have to take some more pics on the weekend again. & in other parts of the garden ...

... Another pretty Camelia ...

... My favourite Camelia ... It's a very pale pink with darker blushes on the rims of the petals & a big open flower ...

... Just about ready to bloom, with the house in the background ...

... Out the back, under the trees where Percy the persnickety possum & pals lurk (while they plot to munch on my petunias & burst the sides of the bird feeder cos they're so podgy ... From eating petunias & birdseed!!! ... A vibrant bromeliad is flowering ...

... So are all its friends! Don't you love the pop of that bright pink against the dark green leaves? ...

... And the echinacea are showing a final burst of colour before they hibernate for a month or two.

We've always said we want our garden to have some kind of colour all year round & we're gradually getting that as we adapt & replant the gardens we inherited when we bought the house & as we add more of our own planning & planting. Somehow you always feel like you can breathe a bit easier in the garden while you're surrounded by colour & listening to the songs of the many different birds that share our garden. It's also a nice background for sitting on the verandah with a friend & a cup of tea ... Or adult beverage!! Tee! Hee! Hee!

I hope you've enjoyed our walk around a winter garden ... & hope you enjoy having that darn song stuck in your head too! What are friends for if not to share! Tee! Hee! Hee! Enjoy the rest of your week ... & remember to stop & admire the flowers. :0) Til next time ...


















Sunday, 23 July 2017

FINALLY! Some Sewing!!

Hello to all of you lovelies out there in blogland! I hope you're all toodling alone nicely. :0) Life here at the Meares' Madhouse has been scuttling along at its usual breakneck speed ... Where do the days go?!

I've got a few things ready to share, but need some pics to show you, so will get on that this week. In the meantime, my sewing mojo that was missing over the last month or so finally showed up on Friday ... It helped that I actually got to spend the day at home. :0)

When I head off for the day, I always take a water bottle with me ... Love our rainwater. :0)

It's a really good size, it hold a litre of water, fits in the door holder in my car, but it does occasionally leak a little when tipped over & I end up with damp patches in my handbag. Also, during summer I fill it with cold water, so condensation leaves more of those damp patches. My way of combating this has been to wrap it in a hand towel held on with a rubber band ... Not very attractive, but it worked. :0) But ... I thought I could probably come up with something a bit more attractive ...

Ta da! I made it in a quilt-as-you-go style using towelling as my base. Pretty on the outside, absorbent on the inside. Hopefully this means no more damp patches in the handbag ... Which it matches ...

So ... Coordinating & dry ... All good! :0)

I did finish another project, but it's one of the pics I haven't taken yet. I'd intended to do it this weekend, but we had lovely sunny, warm (for winter) days this weekend, so my Beloved Geek Boy & I spent it in the garden ... More of those pics I need to take. :0) Stay tuned!

Whatever you've been up to this week/weekend I hope you've enjoyed some time doing what makes you smile. I promise to be back soon with those pics. Til next time ...






Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Gardens & Dinosaurs!

I know that's an unusual pairing, but it sums up what's been happening here at the Meares' Madhouse over the last few days. We have never claimed to be normal! :0)

Remember I said we were planning on a slug day at home on Sunday to recover from Dad's birthday bash? (Lots of big squooshy bear hugs to everyone who sent Dad birthday greetings, by the way!) Well ... Sunday STARTED in sluggish fashion with a sleep in & yummy brekkie of mashed avo & fetta on toast with poached eggies ... Then the plan changed ... That could be the motto for my Beloved Geek Boy & me! Tee! Hee! Hee!

Whilst cruising around "The Dark Side" (according to Chookyblue!) I saw a reminder for the QLD Garden Expo, an event we've been talking about going to for some years, but somehow never quite got to. Well ... We're both keen gardeners, we had the time ... So we made a mad dash to get ready & hit the road for the two & a half hour drive to Nambour. 

We'd left it a bit later than most people would have to get going, so knew our time would be limited, but thought we could still see most displays. We headed straight off to find the display gardens, as one of the FB pages I follow (stalk seems like such a harsh word! Tee! Hee! Hee!) belongs to landscape architect Clint Kenny. Some of you may have seen one of his gardens which was featured on the ABC television series "Dream Gardens". It was my DREAM GARDEN, alright! When we win lotto & buy more land. :0) (you can find the ep HERE)

That's a long intro to Clint's display at the garden expo! :0)

A cool water feature with buckets & watering cans that are part of the feature but removable so you can give the plants a drink, then pop it back. And lots of hardy, dry weather tolerant but pretty flowering plants. I also loved ...

... This display. The 'shack' is set up as a rustic outdoor bar, but I would love to build a similar facade to hide our unattractive garage, as well as double as a potting bench. It's on the "To Do" list. :0) I also love the large rusty metal leaf sculpture. Gathering ideas was one of the reasons we wanted to visit the expo. This display was designed by Saul Johnson of SJ Landscapes. Then there were the community group displays ...

I liked that the pond of this feature mixed logs with rocks for a lovely natural look.

And this was a vege patch on steroids. :0) Each bed represented vege crops from different countries.

This herb garden was made into something grand with the addition of the huge arbour. Hmm ... Would you believe there had been nobody anywhere near the arbour in the ten minutes we were chatting to a vendor nearby about some organic weed control ... Then as soon as I turned around to take this photo, these ladies walked right into the middle & stood there for a lengthy discussion. GRRRR!

We didn't buy much (just a small bottle of the organic weed killer to try) as there weren't a lot of the cottage-y type of plants available that we're looking for to boost our garden, but it was worth the trip to gather some contacts & get some fresh ideas. We're off to the Toowoomba Camelia Show this weekend & I think we'll have better luck on the plant hunt. Stay tuned for garden updates. :0)

Now to the dinosaurs ... I shared a while back that I'd designed a new quilt for my brother' No. 3 son for his birthday. I was able to deliver it in person when my brother & his family came north for Grandm's funeral ... But Master Two (year old) wasn't sitting still for a pic at the time. However, I received a quick-click from my brother this week ...

You can see he's a bit of a cutie (not that Aunty Kris is at all biased! Tee! Hee! Hee!) & in the pic he's going "Ooh!" while pointing at the dinosaur. Love it! :0) The second version of this quilt is almost ready to be released as a Tag Along Teddies pattern ... I finished the instruction writing yesterday ... YAY! ... And just have to proof read the instructions & finalise the requirements list & get a good cover photo, then it will be good to go & available for sale at The Quilters Angel. The pattern is called "Dinosaurs Go RAAH!" . :0) The name came after a conversation on the phone with my brother. He was telling me he had taken his three boys to the museum & they'd loved the dinosaur display ... when in the background, a little voice said, "RAAH!" . My brother, unruffled, replied, "That's right, buddy, dinosaurs go RAAH!" It's now a standing joke in our family that when someone says dinosaur, someone else says "RAAH!". :0)

Right, so that's what's been happening here ... You're all caught up on our doings. :0) I hope you're all having a great week & that you're making sure your week includes doing things that make you smile. :0) Now I'm off to boil the kettle for a cuppa before I make dinner, then it's time to cheer the Mighty Maroons on in the big decider game of State Of Origin. Til next time ...










Saturday, 8 July 2017

Birthday Celebrations!

Hello to everyone out there in blogland! I hope your weekend is off to a great start. Here at the Meares' Madhouse it's been party central. :0) This week my Dad celebrated his 70th birthday ... He's still a spring chicken, really. :0) So today we gathered some of Dad's friends to eat way too much & enjoy cake. Tee! Hee! Hee!

Our dining room expanded for the day to fit everyone in.

There's the birthday boy up the end of the table. And it's not a proper birthday without cake ...

Aaaaaw ... Pretty cake! 

Make a wish & blow out the candles. 

Here's Dad with his girls ... Yours truly, my Sort-Of-Sister Tiffy & Mum. And can you see the inside of the cake?

Rainbow cake! :0) I'd love to say we made the cake, but we didn't. It was a Cheesecake Shop treat & was DEEEEEEEEE-LICIOUS!

See! Finger-lickin' good! :0) And Dad received a pretty special giftie from Mum's clever clogs friend Marg ...

Hmmm ... What is it? A frame? Sort of ...

... A miniature of Dad's office. There's the print of Uluru that he has on his wall, mini jigsaw puzzles ... Including one that is half together with all the mini-mini bits! There's a can of coke, golf clubs, even his cricket trophy. So clever.

And here's the photo that will convince you I'm really adopted! Tee! Hee! Hee! Love ya heaps, Pa!

Oh! And at the end of the party, the cake looked a bit different ...

I think we all enjoyed it! :0)

And after all the mad preparations of the last couple of weeks, I think tomorrow will be all about my Beloved Geek Boy & me sleeping in & being slugs. :0) I MIGHT motivate myself to do some sewing ... But I might just veg in front of a movie ... Or two or three! :0)

Whatever you're up to for the weekend, I hope you get to spend some time with the special people in your life. Til next time ...














Wednesday, 5 July 2017

A Bit Of Scenery!

Hello to you all out there in blogland! I hope your week is going well. Things are a wee bit busy here at the Meares' Madhouse this week as we get ready for a special event on Saturday, so no sewing ... SIGH!

I thought, though, you might like a quick peek at a pretty special spot I visited last weekend for an antiques & collectibles fair. It was at Woodlands at Marburg & I met up with my Bestest-Buddy-Since-We-Were-Nine Lynette ... After I completely geographically misplaced myself & almost ended up in Brisbane! SIGH! There's a very good reason my Beloved Geek Boy usually does the navigating. :0)

Here's a pic of Lynette in front of the main building at Woodlands ...

Isn't it GORGEOUS! Lynette & I had a bit of a giggle about the antique sign pointing to her! :0) The inside was lovely, though I didn't get pics, & the grounds were very scenic. On top of that, Woodlands is on a hill, which provides truly spectacular views ...

Taken from the car park ...

... Lots of rolling hills ...

Definitely a pretty spot to visit if you have the chance.

And now I'm off to keep a date with my pillow. :0) Enjoy the tail end of your week. I'll pop back after Saturday to tell you about our special event. Til next time ...







Saturday, 1 July 2017

Saturday Night!

It's cold, the fire's lit, a pretty custom-poured scented candle is adding some ambiance, the ugg boots are on, the flannel blankies are being snuggled under and ...

.. What better way to christen the new coffee mugs than a hot chocolate with mini marshmallows ... & my new favourite chocolate treat ... Lindt mango/white chocolate balls. MMMMMMMMMMM!! 

Hope you're enjoying a special treat, too. :0) Til next time ...




Friday, 30 June 2017

This, That & OPAM Reminder!!

Well ... Another busy week has gone whizzing by ... And even more scary, another MONTH is coming to an end. EEP! It seems like just last week that we put the Christmas tree away! Before we know it we'll be putting that sucker back up again ... EEEEEEEK!!

So what has been happening around here during that whizzing week. Not much, actually, but it's been busy ... How does that work?!?! Mum & I did take a drive in to Toowoomba yesterday afternoon to check out the Bloom Asia Flip House ... The project we were helping raise money for last year when we hosted our garden party. The reno is now complete & the house will soon go to auction, with all profits going towards setting up a Bloom Asia training centre in Cebu, in the Philippines. 

Yesterday was a special community open house so people who've been involved in the house flip project could take a peek at the finished project. With lots of people milling around in the house it was a bit tricky to take pics, but this is the front of the flip house ...

It looks pretty flash in its new colour scheme of blue/grey & white. If you'd like to see some pics of the inside, pop over HERE. Here's hoping the right buyer comes along & falls in love with the house so a good amount of profit gets passed on to Bloom Asia to expand its wonderful work rescuing girls from horrible circumstances.

I also had a quick catch up with some Brissie friends this week & during a cruise through some of Highfields' fun shops, I finally found some coffee mugs that:
A) Are a pretty colour that fits my kitchen decor;
B) Don't have strange logos or pictures on; &
C) Hold a DECENT amount of hot tea!! 
(No dinkie little cups for me when I need a cuppa! :0) )

A fresh minty green. They're Robert Gordon mugs, so good quality that should last for years.

Our open plan kitchen/dining/lounge room is still the neutral colour it was when we bought the house, but I've added pops of bright red, apple green, aqua & minty green with accessories & appliances. After a catastrophic dishwasher/coffee mug incident late last year (there were multiple mug fatalities, it wasn't pretty! :0) ) I've been keeping an eye out for replacement mugs. Now I can have more friends over for coffee/tea. :0)

That's about it from me ... Except to remind all OPAMers that the end of the month means it's time to update your sidebar lists & email your June tally to me or my GORGEOUS Partner-In-Crime Sweet Peg. Unless I get my butt into gear this afternoon I think I'm finish-less for June ... It really has been a bit of a rough month.

Whatever you're up to today, I hope you're having a good day & wish you a happy & relaxing/productive weekend. The weather man tells me it's gonna get COLD here, so I may just go into hibernation. :0) Til next time ...





Sunday, 25 June 2017

A Perfect Way To Enjoy A Winter Day!

Those of you who have been popping in to visit me for a while now will be well aware that I rarely have good things to say about winter, but today on our 'hill' it was a very pretty, unseasonably warm winter day ... Just right for an outdoor baby shower. (Does anyone know WHY it's called a baby 'shower'??? Just wondering! )

The Stupendous Steph from the Quilters Angel is excitedly expecting her first bub & invited some of her 'tribe' to join her to celebrate the impending arrival. Now with Steph & her Mum the Marvellous Marion organising things, you just KNOW everything was going to be GORGEOUS!! :0)

Pretty bunting, lovely fresh roses delicious treats ... & lots of pink ... Does that give you a wee clue as to what Steph is expecting?!?! :0) And for a special occasion you need a special cake ...

Just ... WOW!! And it tasted just as good. :0) And it was lovely to see three generations of wonderful women celebrating the impending arrival of a fourth generation ...

... Steph, Marion & Marion's Mum Ethol. Big congrats to Steph & her Sweetie ... I think this new addition will be VERY spoilt ... & very, very BLESSED to be part of this fabulous family. And Steph is sure to get some giggles from the list of suggested baby names put forward & the pieces of 'useful' advice. :0) Thanks Steph & Marion for sharing this special time!

Not much else happening here at the moment, though I managed to shake off my cold ... Not sure if it was the Indiana Jones/stitching day or the olive leaf that did the trick. :0) I hope you've had a good weekend & that your week is fantastic. Til next time ...




Saturday, 17 June 2017

On A Grey Saturday!

It's Saturday, it's overcast & showery, it's cold (though not quite as cold as it was last week), I've been ambushed by a head cold ... So what's a girl to do?

Why ... She snuggles under her flannel blankie with some stitching & indulges in an Indianna Jones marathon. :0)

What's YOUR favourite movie/series to keep you company on a grey day when you're feeling a bit icky?

Whatever you're up to I hope you're enjoying your Saturday. Til next time ...




Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Saying Goodbye Is Hard!

I know I've been a bit quiet in the last couple of weeks, but it's been a bit of a rough time for us. You see, we had the very difficult task of saying goodbye to my gorgeous Grandma & although I wanted to let you all know, it's been hard to find the words ... Harder still for my heart to believe them. A heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who've sent well-wishes, condolences & have kept checking in on me to see how I'm traveling. Your thoughts, prayers & care have been a comfort during a sad time.

My Beloved Geek Boy & I made the sad trip to Bundaberg last Friday to say our goodbyes to Grandma in a service that, on her instructions, included lots of stories & happy memories from her family & friends. And as strange as it might sound, there was lots of laughter. Exactly as Grandma wanted. :0)

Grandma was 94 and had lived a full & happy life ... Not an EASY life, though. On finishing school Grandma undertook her nursing training in Mackay, where she became good friends with another girl ... Who introduced her to my Gramps ...

Together they had two children ... Mum & her brother ... Then Grandma was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Mum & my uncle lived with family members for two years while Grandma underwent intense experimental treatment ... Which thankfully was successful. They then had two more children & many happy years of marriage.

Gramps passed more than 20 years ago & although Grandma missed him, she had many wonderful friends around her at the retirement village they'd moved to only a year or so before. Her life was jam-packed with family, friends, outings & travel. One of the lovely ladies who spoke to me after Grandm's service was the owner of the bus company Grandma did many trips with & she said her lasting memory of Edna was that she always had a funny story or joke to share. What a lovely way to be remembered! :0)

So many of my childhood memories are tied to the times spent at Grandma & Gramps' place, firstly at the Emerald Pool which they managed for some years & later at Clairview Beach near Mackay where they retired. There was always a crowd of people ... Family, friends & anyone who looked like they needed some company & a good meal. It seemed the walls of their home were elastic, because there was always room for one more.

And there was always LOTS of laughter! Nobody believes me when I say that I'm the shy, quiet one of the family ... Until they meet the rest of my family! :0) And it all started with Grandma.

I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with Grandma over the years & was especially glad that I was able to spend her last birthday with her ...

I also felt very blessed to say goodbye to Grandma surrounded by all of the family, except one cousin from Western Australia who was unable to travel due to illness. Our 'mob', as Grandma used to call it, gathered from five different states & from all corners of Queensland to farewell her. There were many tears, but I truly think they were far outweighed by the stories & laughter, shared by those who knew & loved Grandma most. A fitting tribute to a life well-lived, I think.

And it was a reminder to be grateful for each day we're given, whether it brings challenges or joy; to grab hold of life & squeeze out every drop; to MAKE the time to spend with family & friends ... Who really don't care if your house isn't picture perfect or if you're not looking your glamorous best! ... And most importantly tell your loved ones at EVERY opportunity how precious they are to you. Hopefully that way when our time is up, people will have many memories of our adventures, our laughter & our love for them & be able to say, as we can of Grandma, that we had a life well-lived.

Til next time ...





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