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Catching up: Incoming!

It's been a while since I blogged - I foolishly thought that I would get back here before Christmas but was suddenly very (ridiculously!) busy making unexpected Christmas presents (more about that in my next post) and then January and February have been full of feeling horrid, spending afternoon after afternoon in bed and trying to claw back some energy.  (For those of you who don't know, I have M.E. which means, among other things, that I 'spend' my (limited) energy quickly (even on 'little' things like brushing my teeth) and it takes me a long time to recover from exertion (mental or physical), leaving me feeling like death warmed over.  It tends, for me, to be particularly bad after Christmas as all the present buying and wrapping, little bits of socialising, etc., leave me exhausted and I don't usually 'bounce back' until around Easter) which means that I don't tend to have any energy left for blog writing, even though I've really missed it and you!)

In order to try to be here more frequently (and it would be hard to be here less frequently and still say that I have a blog!), I'm trying a new, for me, way of writing my blog posts: I'm uploading photos to Flickr on a regular basis and writing titles, tags and descriptions as I go. Then, as well as filing them into my usual albums, I'm putting them in a 'pending' album so that when I'm up to writing a blog post, the photos are ready and waiting.  A few days ago I copied and pasted all the codes into a draft post so that now I'm able to write a few sentences (or a whole post), I can get straight on with that rather than faffing with adding photos and getting them centred, etc.  It remains to be seen whether it's any better than my usual 'do it all at once and then be too exhausted to do anything else for a week or so', but I think it's worth a go!

As I'm so far behind with my blog, I thought I'd do three posts to catch up - one (this one) for lovely things I've received in the past couple of months, one for the things I've made (yes, there have been some!) which were for other people, and one for the rest of it.  Then my hope is that, with my new regime (gosh, doesn't that sound organised?!), I can manage to blog more frequently (yes, I said that before.  More than once.) and then maybe I won't have to keep doing catch up/extra long posts.  Let's just park that there and come back to it in six months, shall we?  You have my permission to assess my progress on this target in kind!

Right *claps hands* Let's get cracking, shall we?

December was a good month for lovely things arriving at my house as my brilliant penguin cushion arrived from Joanne.  I had been eyeing up the Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays book ever since I first saw Joanne's polar bear and penguin cushions but had never got round to buying it.  Then, in a stroke of luck, I won Joanne's giveaway and the prize was my choice of cushion based on Joanne's past cushion makes.  Of course, I picked a penguin or polar bear cushion but couldn't decide which so left the decision to Joanne.  I was thrilled when this chap appeared at my door:

He's here!!!
He looks a little puzzled in this photo (I think it was the rapid journey north!) but he soon settled in!

He (and he's definitely a he) still needs a name, though.  I was going to call him Percy but then remembered that Joanne had a penguin called Percy.  Then I chose Pete, before realising that Joanne also had a Pete the Penguin.  That left me stumped and I haven't managed to think of another name for him - if you have any ideas, please shout!

A month or so later, this fabulous cushion arrived from Sarah, again it was a prize in a giveaway (I seem to be going through a lucky patch at the moment, long may it continue!!):

Cushion from Sarah!
Made from Happy Go-Lucky, the first half of which  aptly describes how I feel when I look at this cushion!

My settee of friends just keeps getting better and better!!  (Ignore the brown box behind the settee, it's the mirror my mam got me for Christmas, which needs putting up!  I really need to learn how to use a drill and which rawlplugs to use where!)

My settee of friends!
Clockwise, starting at the back: Joanne, Yvonne, Leanne, Trudi and Karen, Sarah.

Also arriving through my letterbox was a parcel from Trudi (yes, another giveaway!), containing an Aurifil 'Gleeful' thread collection and some fat quarters of Priory Square by Katy Jones and I can confirm that it's even better in real life than it is in photos, which takes some doing!  What you never get from photos is a feel for the beautiful quality of  fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics, which well deserve their tag line of 'Feel the difference' - you really can!  (Take a tip from me: if you have no intention of buying fabric when you pop into a quilt shop for thread or whatever, then never, ever pick up a fat quarter of AGF as you won't be able to put it down.  Several fabrics have followed me home because I failed to take my own advice.)

Aurifil thread collection (Gleeful by Caroline Hulse) and AGF Priory Square (by Katy Jones)
Once I've stopped admiring this fabric I may be able to put it in the wash and then make a decision about what to make.  Until then, I'm having fun looking at it!

Then, to round off my winning streak, I won a voucher for Fat Quarter Shop in the Q4 link up of the Finish-Along with Katy.  (The Finish-Along changes host each year and can now be found at Adrianne's blog.)

I had fun spending my voucher, especially once I found the Art Gallery section of the shop!  I decided that I would get fabrics that I liked, rather than fabrics for a specific project (which is my usual method of shopping but I already have my next (for me) project lined up and don't dare think about starting another yet!) and I also decided that I would get fabrics for me, rather than for the quilt I need to make for my youngest niece, which could be the only new project I start this year!  The top three fabrics on the left-hand side are Mam's (she's planning to make her first quilt this year and needed some extras to fill out a layer cake) but the rest are mine!  I also got a charm pack of the Kona summer 2013 colours as I have a gap in my colour card - I'm going to chop 1" squares off each colour and add them to the card...I just need to get round to it!

Fat Quarter Shop/Finish Along winnings!

Last year I had some felt Christmas decorations on my FAL list but I couldn't make them as a few seconds pinning on a pattern piece left my hands red and itchy (I'm allergic to wool!) so I passed the kit to a friend's daughter.  She had enough felt left to make me a tree, which I got slightly too late to put on my Christmas tree so it will make its debut in December!

Felt decoration

I also received a couple of Christmas presents from friends:

Some lovely blue and white fabric from Salley (I'm under orders not to start embroidering the houses!!):

Fabric from Salley
I think these will become a drawstring bag.

And a fabulous book from Nicky (there was also one of her fabulous toadstools but this seems to have escaped the camera!):

book from Nicky

Finally (yes, I've reached the end of all the things I've received in the past couple of months!), I took part in Cindy's rainbow charm square swap and, just after Christmas, she sent out the charm packs - we each sent a yard each of two fabrics of the same colour (or some people did - I ordered mine (yellow) from Cindy's shop and Cindy did the cutting for me!) so we have two charms of each fabric for a total of 56 fabrics and 112 charms.  (I think that's right, someone correct me if I'm wrong!)

FSQ charm swap 2014
Some of these will go in my ET blocks and the rest will make their way into other projects - once I allow myself to start something new that's not on my FAL list

Archie didn't have the best start to 2015 (he was absolutely fine at 10am but by midday on New Year's Day his back had flared up again and he was back on strict cage rest) but he's starting to feel better and is even allowed a very, very short walk a few times a week (he gets chauffeured there and back so that maximum sniffing is catered for!) and has even managed to sneak into the conservatory for some sun and to check on his favourite wall:

Please release me, let me go....

Ah, my favourite wall; it's good to be back!

Just a bit further and that patch of sun will be on me!

See?  I told you it would be!  (Only just, mind!)

Well, that's me done for now - let's see if my new blogging regime helps me come back sooner rather than later!

Thanks for popping in and thank you to all you wonderful friends who have sent me lovely things - I'm so lucky to know such fabulous people!


  1. Do you think you can get a peck of pickled penguins? You could call him Piper! Fantastic haul - looks like you have been deservedly lucky recently!

  2. What a lovely post. So many gorgeous wins and the penguin is so so so cute! Poor Archie and lucky to be back in his sunny spot :)

  3. How about Poppy the penguin? My Poppy would be chuffed! You certainly had a winning streak going on there! Enjoy all those lovelies. And I hope your energies are starting to come back. Take it easy, Jxo

  4. Pequenino ('very little' in Portuguese) is what I am calling "my" penguin.
    You are most welcome to use it too !

    Poor Archie and Helen . . .both in the wars. Hope you both bounce back soon. that you can make more amazing creations with all that fabric booty!

  5. Okay you two, it's time to feel better and get your sparkle back. Loving thoughts and a bunch of hugs and kisses.


  6. Oh Archie! I need another dog in my life :)

  7. Lovely to read a post from you and see all the wonderful gifts and prizes you have received! Not sure what to call the Penguin? Phil? See, I'm no good at names lol :) I'm a big fan of AG fabrics too - I think the only other fabric that rivals it's touch is Liberty. Hope that patch of sun hangs around a bit more for you and Archie xx

  8. Oh you have been very lucky- love that last photo of Archie, he looks very coy ;) Penguin names- maybe Shackleton, or Scott (or Ernest or Robert if you prefer to use their first names)?

  9. Lovely to see you blogging again 😊 Maybe you could call the penguin Reginald 😉 xx

  10. Wow that is a whole bunch of lovely stuff. I won a copy of the Pretty in Patchwork book from Joanne a couple of years ago and made a set of the cushions, my children change their names each year!

  11. so lovely to see you spoiled :-) really hope you bounce sooner rather than later! xxx

  12. You have to be the luckiest girl in the world as far as giveaways are concerned! Do hope you are brimming with energy again soon. x

  13. Hi Helen,

    I've been missing both you and Archie. I hope you are feeling better now. I cannot begin to imagine how it must be for you, being tired so quickly.
    I adore all the presents you got. SO much cushions! I could use them for my "cushion pile". We had a bit of a contest between a few bloggers to gather the biggest amount of cushions.
    She won:

    and this is my pile:

    But I think you could easily have challenged us as well.

    Have a nice week,


  14. Pierre! Pierre the penguin : )
    I hope you bought a lottery ticket too? I'm so sorry you aren't well. That sounds awful to not have energy for long periods of time.
    Thinking of you,

  15. That's an amazing haul Helen! I think the suggestion to buy a lottery ticket is a good one given your record!. Hope both you and Archie feel better soon

  16. Good to see you back in print. As Spring approaches I hope your energy levels increase.x

  17. Lovely to see you here, what a lot of lovely wins - well deserved!!!

  18. Hi Helen! So great to hear from you and Archie! I hope you take care of your self. My wrists are hurting and i shouldn't be at all at the computer but,... I don't use very much flickr, because I feel it's very slow. I put my photos from camer to my exterior memory in files by month and then I load them straight from there to my blog. I don't do any changes or edit my photos and I feel it's quite quick with wordpress. Then to write and add links takes more time. I hope you find good way to post because we all like to see your beautiful photos and hear from you! You have received wonderful presents, books and Fabrics! Hugs to you and Archie! x Teje

  19. No wonder you get tired when you blog, a small novel is hard work. You are the luckiest quilter I know, so many beautiful winnings here. I sure hope Archie is better soon.

  20. I'm feeling sorry for your postie now ;o) Enjoy your new goodies!

  21. What fabulous prizes! Hope archie (and you) is feeling better now


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