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Friday, November 30, 2012

O.A.S.S. ...

Yesterday I got my parcel for the Once a Season Swap; the season being Summer. My parcel came from Tracey . So I excitedly opened up the post bag... and what a lovely surprise! My parcel was wrapped in fabric which featured bathing boxes! And you know how cute I find them :-)



When I unwrapped the fabric, this is what I found...


This was the front of the lovely card...

Blogger has 'decided' that this photo should be rotated, despite all my efforts :-( But as you can see, it is a lovely mug rug. It will be great to replace the cardboard coaster which sits on the coffee table, with this beauty.


Some chocolates... (DH is very pleased :-)lol  )


And then I wondered what the folded item under the chocolates was, so I unfolded it to reveal....

This wonderful summer themed wallhanging; all beautifully appliqu├ęd and quilted. I was absolutely rapt!

Thank you so much Tracey for being my swap buddy and another big thank you to Cheryll for organising this swap throughout the year.
I have so enjoyed being involved in swaps this year that I've signed up for Sue's first cushion swap for 2013 .  
Registrations for this swap close December 15 and cushions are to be made and posted by January 30. Why not visit Sue and read all the details? I've found being part of swaps this year to be very motivating to re-visit old skills or try new ones! 

That day cruise to the Gold Coast...

You know I still haven't finished writing about that day; it really was jam packed with so many sights, sounds and history :-). In a previous post I ended with us sailing past the mouth of the Logan River. We also sailed past Rocky Point which has a sugar mill...


Rocky Point sugar mill smoke stack

The mouth of the Coomera River is just hidden from our view...

Another large river which flows into Moreton Bay is the Coomera River. Coomera is well known in the tourism world for Dreamworld and Aussie Outback Adventure. The captain pointed out a huge house
at Coomera which belonged to the world champion motor cyclist, Mick Doohan.


Mick Doohan's place...
DH had been out on the bow taking photos and I went to join him...I noticed that the cap he had been wearing wasn't on his head...apparently it blew away! 
 During our journey we had two more singalongs with Carl...





We can see some of the highrises of the Gold Coast in the distance...we are still several kilometres away though...we were now in the expanse of water known as the Broadwater
 On South Stradbroke Island on the left of the vessel we started to see some of the resorts...Firstly we sailed past Tipplers...


 Then we saw Couran Cove Island resort...this was a very prestigious resort but had closed suddenly a while ago. One of the crew on the 'Lady Brisbane' told us that it has been sold and is expected to re-open...




 Talking of prestige, as we sailed farther south, on the mainland side, we came to Sovereign Island...This is an incredibly expensive development...
 DH used his zoom lens to get a closeup of one of the buildings on Sovereign Island. This is one house not a hotel...


How's this for a beach house?
Those high-rises of Surfers Paradise are getting closer...

This is another development on the northern end of the Gold Coast, Ephraim Island. 

We are nearing Southport now and parts of  Seaworld are visible...



the Gold Coast monorail

almost at the end of our voyage now...

One of the many large shopping centres on the coast

The first part of our  journey's end  at Marina Mirage

We tied up just near this vessel; apparently it's a floating chapel

DH and I went for a walk around the shopping centre in Marina Mirage and also stopped for a coffee...


The centre was already decorated for Christmas...

The Pandora shop had all these sparkly stars...
 After a stopover of just under an hour we then boarded a small bus for our trip back to Brisbane. We'd had a wonderful day!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Talking felt...

A little while ago, a friend told me about Jodie Carleton's blog Ric-Rac. When I visited this blog, I too, was entranced by the beautiful felt creations that Jodie makes. Jodie also wrote about one of the sources where she buys her felt from, so I followed the link and certainly liked what I saw on the site. 

You see, I had bought some felt locally just before that and really didn't like the quality at all!  My local knitting store had also had some bundles of felt cut in smallish squares but even though it was of excellent quality, the colours were a bit dull. So after a bit of deliberation, I decided to buy a few pieces from Winterwood . A week later, I unwrapped this parcel of beautiful quality felt. 
On the left is a bundle of hand dyed felt in the Christmas range. The white felt is commercially dyed. Both 'feel' beautiful 



Yesterday I got another parcel in the mail with 2 beautiful wrapped packages inside...

I'd opened one and then thought that it would be a good idea to take a photo showing the lovely snowflake design and the pretty ribbon decorated with some beading...


In the first package was this handsome fellow made of felt!

And in the second parcel was this very impressive felt dog!



I was Carol's  swap buddy in a Christmas ornament swap that we both signed up for... I feel very lucky to have been matched with Carol as I absolutely love these 2 felt decorations. I have a different swap buddy and will send the hexagon ornament, I made a while ago. Tomorrow is the deadline for posting for this swap, as well as another one I signed up for run through Elfster. The second one must remain a secret for a bit longer, but one clue is that it is surprisingly light and is going to its forever home in Canberra ! :-)



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A good way to get the house clean and tidy :-)

When I was a young bride, my friends and I all worked fulltime so housework tended to  not be done to the standard of that of our mothers. We used to say that the best way to get motivated to do a thorough house clean was to invite people over...and it still works :-) And so it was that in a whirlwind of action, I got the house ready for me to host the annual Christmas lunch of one of the groups that I belong to...The Newmarket Mums. We meet the last Sunday of each month in a local coffee shop, but in November it had become a tradition to bring food to a member's house for a lunch get together.

I volunteered for that role this year. And what a lovely time we all had...fine food and wonderful conversation with lots of laughter. Our side veranda gets the most delightful breezes and last Sunday was no exception. We started off with drinks and nibblies...
This is my friend Carmel; we taught together in the 1970s, had our children at about the same time in the early 1980s , and later sent our children to the same school
 Then it was time to move on to the main course...
We laid out all the food on the dining room table, so people could help themselves...

Merry Christmas everyone! And a great New year in 2013...
And then it was time for Secret Santa... I had cut up a sheet of paper into 10 squares with each square numbered. Everyone then drew out a number. This was the order that people went in to select a present from under the little tree...

If you look closely you can just see that little tree between Sandra and Liz...
As each person chose a gift, we all watched while they opened it...

My friend Margot had drawn #1...

A sweet little trinket box with Australiana images on it!


One of my friends had drawn #10 but I knew she had to leave early and this gift opening was taking a while, so I got her to swap her number for mine which was #5. Then I started to wonder if I would be left with the gift I had bought. I watched as #6 and 7 were chosen...my parcel was still there! Then Robyn with #8 chose that parcel! Phew! (although I did rather like what I had bought, but it's not a surprise! lol)

I had bought this lovely fabric basket at the St John's Christmas Craft markets. I also popped in some Lindt chocolates

Closeup of the Japanese folded flowers placed in the middle of the cathedral window patch...so effective!
And what did I get from Secret Santa? A rather large box of lindt chocolates...DH is ecstatic as now that I avoid sugar, they're all his!!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Markets and swaps...

These 2 things have been to the fore in my life lately and what a lot of fun they have been...
The week before last I was able to post off my Advent Swap items to Cheryl and today I got my box of goodies for Advent from Cheryl; 25 parcels! Now I just have to be patient until Saturday, December 1. From that day I'm able to open one little parcel a day and then for the 25th, there is a special parcel to open! It's like being a child again and it was just as much fun finding/making/buying items for Cheryl :-)
I was actually at the Post Office when I remembered I hadn't taken a photo of the little pile of parcels for Cheryl...so I used my phone to take the photo below...

 The next photo shows my lot of Advent goodies...

Last Friday I posted a parcel to Shez for the OASS (Once a season Swap) for Summer. I again had lots of fun putting together items that represent summer. I had bought some 'tropical fruit' scented handmade soap, which I popped in, some charm squares with a summer theme, some fabric labels in citrus colours and I made an apron and used scraps of fabric from that to make a hexie motif to put on a teatowel. Oh and I also popped in some Guilian chocolate shells...very beachlike! lol



I have some other swaps that must be posted by this Friday ..no photos of them yet as they have to remain secret just that bit longer :-) Now about those markets...

There are so many Christmas Markets around at the moment but one can't get to them all I find! But a friend did email me a flyer for the Markets at Karuna Hospice here in Brisbane. This wonderful place only receives about 50% of its funds from the Government and the much of the rest is made up by the efforts of the group of ladies who make the most exquisite gifts for the markets which are held on 2 days each November. DH and I went last Friday afternoon. The items for sale were absolutely beautiful and, as well, there was one room filled with Christmas cakes and other baking, as well as jams, preserves etc and all beautifully packaged and presented. It was very crowded inside, so I didn't attempt to take photos inside but took photos outside...

The gardens are beautiful at Karuna...

This is where we lined up to pay for our purchases... mine have to be a secret for a bit longer...

DH had a little rest while I shopped...
On the way out of Karuna, we stopped to talk to a friend of mine who was on 'meet and greet duty' at the gate. I noticed that the lady who had been selling raffle tickets inside, was now standing near my friend. I asked DH if he had bought a ticket...he hadn't, so I urged him to buy one :-) Yesterday I got a phone call from Karuna saying that our ticket had won first prize! We picked it up today and they are so beautiful!

Pearls! And they are a blue/purple colour...in other words, my colour!!! lol
(And DH came second in the golf comp on Sunday and won a Christmas ham!!)
On Saturday, I had put my name down to help at the Christmas Markets at our church. First I worked on the parish craft stall, then after a few hours there I went to the table/counter to be the cashier for food and drink sales. Time flew and it was also lots of fun!


This is part of the parish craft stall

People also pay to have a stall

The courtyard area...through the doors is the hall which was filled with stalls..

Some stalls beside the halll

Another view of the courtyard; right at the back is the parish BBQ stall which did a roaring trade...

Some of the stalls in the hall...

Another view of the stalls in the hall :-)

Lynn and Beryl (who was hiding) on the left are 2 stallholders who also go to the Stafford Heights' Markets
So that's just some of the things that I've 'got up to' lately :-)