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Catching up and a finish...albeit a small one!

Yes, you read that right!  A finish!  (Other than several thread catchers and a few pin cushions I think this is the only thing I've finished this year!)  Last year I made my mam three little trees to go on her dining table and we decided they would look better if they were on a plainer runner than what she was using.  So, in typical style, I planned the runner and collected the fabrics and then...did nothing.  For eleven and a half months.  I finally pulled my finger out, though, and started (and finished) it this week.  It's very simple because it's there to show off the trees not shout for attention.  It looks nice with or without trees and I think is subtle enough to be used throughout the year but glittery enough for Christmas.

Simple strips (2" finished) of a variety of cream and gold fabrics.

I made it in a 'flip and stitch' style and then added extra quilting lines in a metallic gold thread.

Sorry about the photo, it was one of those dull days where you need the light on just to find your nose...

The fabric second from the left in the above photo is cream with gold looks fabulous in person, if I do say so myself!

A slightly better photo of the gold quilting stitches.

One of the fabrics I used was a shot fabric - the warp is metallic gold and the weft is bronze (or it could be the other way round!).  It's got a nylon content of 20% but is a quilting weight (and good quality) fabric and adds a bit of sparkle to the runner.  Not that you'd know by these photos!

All these fabrics are the scraps remaining after I made Mam's red, gold and cream quilt, I bought the binding and backing fabric in a sale last January and the wadding was left after trimming a quilt so I think the whole thing cost about £5 - bargain!

I haven't really done much as I've been poorly for a couple of weeks (I had, or was developing, a quinsy - very painful!) but in the last few days I've felt much better.  Still shattered but at least I can swallow.  And eat!

I've done some baking

Italian banana bread and butterscotch cookies

The cookies were delicious!  I got the recipe from Kerry after I saw a photo on Twitter - I think she got it from here.  I made a double batch and used dark brown soft sugar (I didn't have any light brown) and I'll definitely be making them again!  Rice Krispies aren't something I usually have in my cupboards so I bought a couple of the small single serving boxes (the ones that always remind me of a B&B!) - I'll keep an eye out for them being on offer in the supermarket as they worked perfectly.

The banana bread is a Nigella recipe cut out of a magazine and looks lovely.  Unfortunately, it smells like the back of a chip shop (oily!) and has virtually no taste.  Lovely texture though and it lasts for days.  Even when you keep the lid off in an attempt to get it to harden in order to put it out for the birds!  Not one I shall be making again, I'll stick to my usual recipe from now on!

I've also managed to put up and decorate the tree (Wednesday) and this afternoon I finished wrapping presents...phew!

You can't see it but behind the blind is a garland of Susan's snowflakes

And it's that time of year again.  Christmas bath time.  Last year I bathed his Lordship outside (with buckets of warm water) but I couldn't bear to do that again so, for the first time ever (at least in the eleven years he's lived with me), Archie went to the dog parlour!  I thought he'd be a nightmare for them (he's petrified of water.  And hair dryers.) but he was a model client - I know because they took video footage and photos so they could show me!  He also went in the 'drying cupboard' and slept for twenty minutes and then stood on the table while they brushed him and trimmed his nails.  And my, does he look handsome and smell wonderful!  And his head is so soft!  Want to see?

I feel pretty!  Oh, so pretty!  I feel pretty and witty and bright!  And I pity, any dog who isn't me tonight.

He's been a little more fussy than usual and wants lots of attention (who wouldn't, when you look and smell that good?) and when I was finishing the binding on the table runner he wanted to be in the room with me rather than doing his usual trick of coming to say hello and then disappearing off to bed.  (I think it's because I left him.  He was as frantic at being left with the dog groomer as he was when I left him with the vet and I think it reminds him of being left at the rescue centre by his previous owner...)

Please will you bring my bed in here?  I want to be with you...

That's better!  I love you.  Have you got any biscuits up there?

And a few moments later...


Yes, there really is a dog under there - look!

Yes, I'm here.  Yes, I smell divine.  Now, please, put my lid back on and let me sleep...

And finally, because I really, really need to say a bloggy thank you for all the lovely post I've received in the last few weeks (there are more but they're under my tree, waiting for Christmas!)

I have wonderful friends...

From left to right, top to bottom:

* A gorgeous mini quilt/mug rug from Sheila - made with scraps of Velocity.  Have you seen her magnificent strippy quilt?

* I spent the voucher I won in the draw which formed part of the 'Pets on Quilts' contest in August.  I got half yard cuts of a variety of Kona solids (for my Summersville quilt...more on that another time), a fat quarter of Kona something (slate?), a fat quarter of a green RJR solid (to compare to Kona - it feels lovely but I haven't used it yet) and (yet another) little ruler.  I love these rulers, they're so handy - I think this may be number four!  All from The Quilted Kitty - thank you!!

* A wonderful (and surprise) friendship mini from the Bee a Brit Stingy bees.  Read more about it on Sheila's blog - here.

*A  yard of Winterkist gnomas (I was lucky enough to win a giveaway!) and some (scrumptious) chocolate truffles from Nic.

* Part of a custom charm pack from Nicky.  She makes these up for me every now and again - isn't she a treasure?

* The rest of the charm pack!

* Some pretty hexagons and lace weight yarn from Leanne who decided the fabric wasn't really her and kindly sent it to me.  I love it!  I've already started to piece a cushion from the hexies and the yarn is so, so soft - I can't stop cuddling it!

* A copy of '20 craft makes', which is being sold in aid of The Stroke Association and features Karen@Blueberry Park - she also sent me a pouch, made using her project in the book and it's the perfect size for my crochet hooks!

* Another custom charm pack from Nicky - she wanted to see which fabrics I liked best so I arranged them in order of preference.  The bottom row are my favourites, with the far left fabric being my top choice and working down from there.  Or rather, working along and up from there!

Thank you, all of you - I really appreciate your kindness, even if it does take me weeks to blog about it!

I'm hoping determined to finish my Stained QAL quilt before the end of the year (the sharp-eyed among you will have spotted it in some of the photos of Archie in my sewing room - it's the only quilt I've made that I've been able to roll like a carpet!!  Hope it relaxes a little while it's in the washer...) so I may be back with a grand 'ta-da'.  Or I may leave it until the first Fresh Sewing Day of 2013!  It's not going to be before Christmas though, so 'Happy Christmas' and I'll see you on the other side - I hope you all have a marvellous time and that Father Christmas has put you on the 'good' list...

P.S.  Remember the dog that initiated the attack on Archie (one dog started the attack and then the other joined in)?  Well, she's been put down after she attacked their new puppy.  And then went for her owner when she's sad that it came to that but she couldn't have been rehomed...

P.P.S.  That seems like a sad note to end on so here's a(nother) cute photo of Archie, taken when I was attempting to pin two rows of QAYG blocks together.  To be fair to him I was in 'play position'* so I suppose it's understandable!
* On all fours, a#se in the air!

Forget pinning...I need a fuss!


  1. Archie is so completely adorable! I will scratch Katie behind the ears as a substitute :-D

  2. The table runner is lovely and subtle. I have enjoyed reading your newsy post. Di x

  3. Ooooh, I remember the little trees, they wee gorgeous and this runner is going to set them off beautifully. glad to hear you're feeling a bit better and are able to catch up with a few things.
    Looks like you're all set for a lovely Christmas with the handsome Archie. x

  4. love the runner!!! Your quilting has turned out great!!!

  5. Hi Archie and mom! We want to wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We enjoy always so much seeing you and what you have made! Hugs from Nero, Hanna & Teje

  6. Great to hear you're starting to feel a bit better, and great to see you've been so busy too! Archiballs looks awffy smart and clean, and yes, I did spot stained in the background! Good luck getting it done :-) Merry Christmas lovely!

  7. you and Archie seem to have the perfect relationship - you can tell he is loved and you were right to treat him to a spa day :) Beautiful fabrics, lovely table runner
    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  8. What a lucky boy, and girl ;)
    I entirely agree that Nigella probably smells like the back of a chip shop and has no taste!!!

    Have a lovely Christmas, and take care of yourself and the new lord of the manor x

  9. Archie so reminds me of Sam. Glad you are feeling better, hope you have a fabulous Christmas and every thing you wish for in 2013. Hugs xxx

  10. Love the runner! Archie sparkles just as much as the runner after his Christmas bath! A very Happy Christmas to you both and a healthy 2013 too. X

    1. And he still smells and looks gorgeous, two weeks and lots of mud later ;o)

      Hope you had a lovely Christmas xx

  11. Great post Helen. Glad to hear you are starting to feel better. Archie looks very handsome. Hope you both have a fabulous Christmas x

  12. Great finish, I can picture it in it's sparkly splendour.
    Glad to hearing you're starting to feel better. And can eat.
    The buscuits look scrummy, and your description of the banana bread cracked me up
    Archie's a cutie. Good to hear the visit wasn't too traumatic for him

  13. Impossible to resist a cute face like that! I love it when Poppy returns from the groomers! We can't stop petting her and she smells like baby powder! So glad you are getting spoiled there will some goodies! And your runner is so full of Christmas glam! Perfect for showing off those little trees! Hope you get some time with your stained quilt! Jxo

  14. Well really, how could you resist a face that looks and smells so divine! Love all the happy mail, and great wee runner, although you're a far better woman than I to try that gold thread!

  15. lol - gorgeous - he does look whiter!!

    great post Helen - hope you the merriest of christmas's.


  16. Congrats on the finish. I love the pic in your header ; )

  17. Oh Helen...perfect post to finish off the year. You are so full of crafty cleverness... that runner will compliment the trees wonderfully, (metallic thread scares me!) . . . . and along with the stained glass... I see Xmas paper in the background! I do hope you have a special day with your doggy and special people ... (and I can smell his loveliness from here!) Always love your photography of Archie.
    Hope you stay reasonably well for all the season silliness...and Merry Merry Christmas!

  18. Congrats on the finish! I plan to smush all my finishes into this coming weekend. Yikes!
    Aren't rescue pups funny...their little insecurities? Mine also likes to be covered completely, so I have made her two quilts of her very own that are allowed to be on the floor or wherever she wants them. SHe hits me until I cover her. I guess life is less scary when one's head is covered! The ostriches are onto something!
    Happy Christmas to you!

  19. Your table runner looks lovely, as does your tree, and your baking looks delicious! I hope you and Archie have the best Christmas ever :) xxx

  20. Oh well done you - you seem to have had lots of finishes of the sewing, tree decorating, present wrapping, baking kind! Doesn't HE look handsome! Does this mean we need to do the same for Maddie? She could do with a wash as it is now sopping wet and muddy outside!

    Have a great Christmas Helen and Archie! You both deserve it!

  21. Lovely, lovely post! Your beautiful table runner is inspiring me to make something stunning! Yum to the baking and hugs to you and Archie. Merry Christmas!

  22. I wish you a wonderful Christmas! The runner for your mum is lovely, I bet it sparkles in the light and you have had so many wonderful presents. Archie is looking very spiffy, all ready for the holidays.

  23. Wishing you a very merry Christmas. Archie looks gorgeous as normal :)

  24. Archie is just too photogenic! What fun mail you've been getting so glad you like the Brit stingy quilt. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Healthy Happy New Year! x

  25. Lovely post Helen. So glad you are feeling a bit better. Really like your table runner, I enjoy a bit of stitch and flip too.
    Archie is looking very smart, I hope you enjoy your Christmas lots.xx

  26. I've had such a lovely catch up. Happy 2013 from France, x


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