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November 2008
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January 2009

And So The End Is Year.*

Well, we have recovered from Christmas and my Bah Humbug-ness has dissipated. The Labradors and I were so jollied out that we slept till 12-03pm on Boxing Day and I have been just pottering about since then. We had a lovely Christmas Day at MrsDrWho's mum's house with children, I think children are for Christmas the way Pal is for Dogs. I took Nigella's Cherry Chocolate Trifle which seemed to be very nice: I can't eat it. We had turkey and ham and seasoning, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes etc and broad beans. Only four people liked broad beans so there wasn't the need to fight anyone for them!! I received lots of beautiful presents but one in particular made me cry. MrsDrWho, employing sneaky subterfuge and spy jiggery pokery, gave me a calendar of The Labradors and Vundy The German Shepherd and Tori The Crippled Labrador. Their actual pictures!! I cried because it was such a thoughtful present. I can gaze at their picture every day and then inflict every calendar month on the unsuspecting public!!

My special Calendar

Harki and Peri are very spoiled. Here is about half of their present haul. Peri stole a small shoe of treats but there is a Jake-The-Peg set still left elsewhere for later on. There are more squeaky toys too.

For The Labradors from Santa 

I made some more embroidered buttons way back when. These were for Katie, my Secret Knitting Pal 4. That is such a long time ago!! Katie, she of Live 2 Knit fame.

Katie's Buttons 

I will have to take some pictures of my lovely gifts: wool and Doctor Who and Labrador related things, even a K9 DVD. Then there were the cards with the thoughtful, kind and Christmassy words inside them: all guaranteed to cheer me up no end.

I have 4,000,3221 comments to reply to. I hope to get to them soon. I don't really do New Year's Resolutions. Typically I break them ASAP. No doubt there will be things to look forward to and exciting things will happen. I'm really hoping that Harki's arthritis will clear up, Peri won't be bald and everyone will be well and happy. Oh and that  MrsDrWho doesn't have to wear a skirt!! 

Harki and Peri say Happy New Year

So the next time I post it will be 2009. I do find the time between Christmas and The New Year confusing. I am never sure where I am temporally. To while away the time I am knitting a dishcloth or two, stitching some embroidery and catching up on some reading. Pictures next time, as well as my lovely postcard and a Stitchery from Hugo's mum!! So as Cap'n Andy, Magnolia's dad in Showboat , says: Hap-peee Noo Year!!

*The Final Curtain, as Frank sings on, is purely metaphorical!!!

Joy To The Swirl-d

Here is a picture of Peri's baldness, you can see the big bare-ish patch on the top of her leg. Her hair is falling out by the handful. It's as if the environment gave a signal to the Hair Soldiers to 'Fall out!' so they all fell out at once. She's not actually bald, there is fine new Summer hair. Her Winter undercoat is falling out.

  Peri Not Hairy

Harki is a much better girl, she's not moulting as much. This afternoon she was very hoppy so I gave her a whole tablet. I am allowed to give her tablets when and if I see fit. Doctor 2paw. Oh and speaking of Doctors, the ABC are allowed to show the BBC Doctor Who Christmas Special early. We all had to wait nine months to see the 2007 Special, but only one month for 2008's. It will be on ABC 1 at 7-30pm on Sunday 25th of January. Hurray!!!

Harki Happy but Hoppy

Here is the wall hanging I madefor The GardyGardeners. You can't see the beading but it 'quilted' the panel very nicely.


I also constructed the Leaning Tower of Star-isa: gingerbread stars sandwiched together with dark chocolate ganache.

Star Tree 

The Figgy Swirls were meant to have Cranberry Jam, but that's like Hens' Teeth here, so I managed to buy some Fig Jam and away I went. Yes, the Figgy Swirl is pictured on an Easter Bag, that's because my cello bags were too small to fit the ziplock bag of Figgy Swirls. Their only downfall is that they are a bit sticky.

Figgy whirl

Figgy Swirls

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 110g  cup caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 tspn baking powder

  • 1/2 tspn spice: nutmeg or cinnamon or mixed

  • 500g plain flour

  • fig jam

The secret to this recipe is your refrigerator.  The dough must be cold, really cold, icy cold in fact!!

Cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes until it is pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs and then turn the mixer speed to very low and add the dry ingredients slowly, mixing till combined. Knead the dough very lightly until smooth and then divide the dough in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Take half the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Recipes say to roll it between two pieces of baking paper, so you could do that too, but I like the flour way. Roll into a square, the sides will be 20 or 25cm-ish. Spread jam over the dough, leaving a 1cm border free at one edge. Roll the pastry in the direction of the edge, the 1cm space will be the part that seals the swirl.

Roll firmly, wet the 1cm edge and seal securely. Wrap in plastic wrap, firmly, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Repeat with other half of the dough. My word, there is a lot of firmness,  maybe I am Nigella!!

Preheat the oven to 180*C and line the baking trays, these swirls are sticky. Unwrap the dough and using a sharp knife cut off 1cm slices or rounds. Place them on the tray, they don't spread too much and bake for 10 -12 minutes. They will be lightly brown on top, golden brown on the bottom and the edges will be firm. Cool for 10 minutes on the tray and then a wire rack.

You can use any jam, or fruit mince, grated chocolate, the possibilities are endless!!

Chestnuts Coasting On An Open Fire

The quilt is bound. Ta daaa!! I can never finish the binding by machine as nicely as I can by hand, I can't bear that the stitching on the back is never in the right place. It is OK if I make the backing bigger than the 'topping'. Then I can just turn the backing in twice and stitch that. MrsDrWho will no doubt post a picture on her blog as she is only 24 hours from Freedom, only one day away from her Holidays!!

Today I cooked some gingerbread, some figgy swirls, and chocolate fudge and white chocolate and craisin biscuits. I made gingerbread reindeer, snowflakes, trees, stars and then a tree made from stars stacked up.  The white chocolate and craisin mixture made 60 biscuits. You really feel you have 'baked'. I wonder if there's a recipe anyone is desperate for me to share?? Let me know!!

Harki and Peri are a little neglected because I was out. Harki's a bit hoppy today and Peri's looking very dilapidated with her tufty coat. So, peepo, here they are looking spiffy: Peri on the left and Harki on the right. They are my avatar whenever possible. I love to see their happy smiling faces.They are looking right at me and I'm sure their eyes follow me around the room. How very Cooke and Moore's Vernon Ward's ducks of them! (Ducks in the morning, ducks in the evening, ducks in the Summertime)


MrsDrWho kindly read very fast and so I am in possession of Todd McCaffrey's latest Pern book, Dragonheart. I am so busy, cooking, crafting, walking The Labradors and napping that I have only read two chapters. Can a book burn a hole in your pocket??

Every year it is the tradition that I make Christmas coasters for The GardyGardeners. It began one year when I made coaster like decorations that they used for  actual coasters. So every year, as well as other things, there are the obligatory coasters. And so, I present, The Obligatory Christmas Coasters: Make your own!!

Obligatory Christmas Coasters

To make one you need:

  • plain fabric, a 12 x 12 cm  and a 16 x 16 cm square (mine is cream poplin)
  • 5 cm wide coloured strips for the border:  two 5 x 12 cm and two 16 x 5cm
  • thin wadding, I used cotton batting: 14 x 14cm square (approx)
  • embroidery thread and needle
  • a motif or shape to apply
  • some Heat'n'Bond or Vliesofix to adhere the motif or shape
  • some ribbon if you want your coaster to be a hanging decoration

Because my coaster will be used as a coaster I am not embellishing, but you can add beads, buttons, ribbon, whatever you like.

All seams are 1.5cm. Really you should wash your fabric first.

Coasting along

  1. I chose two squares from a Christmas fabric to applique and I cut them out roughly and then ironed the Heat'n'Bond on the back. When it cooled I cut around the shape carefully and then peeled the backing away.
  2. I ironed the square onto the 12 x 12cm square, try to make it straight and even. I apparently can't. It works very well on the diagonal too, with just one ribbon in the top corner.

  3. Next I did blanket or buttonhole stitch all the way around the motif using two strands of embroidery thread. I used green for the green and red for the stars.

  4. Sew the 12 x 5cm strips to the top and bottom, pressing the seam towards the strips so they don't show through the light fabric.  Then sew the 16 x 5cm strips to the sides, pressing as you go. There isn't a picture for this second part, you will have to use your imagination.

  5. Pin the 16cm square of fabric to the coaster front, right sides together. Now if you want to add ribbon hangers, this is where you do it. Make a ribbon loop the size you want, then add 3cm for the seam allowance. Fold in half and then pin, centre it over the seam at the top on the inside. Do this twice.

  6. Place the batting or wadding over the backing fabric and remember to leave a gap at the bottom for turning. I didn't pin at all so mine is wonky, but I trimmed it after I sewed to straighten it up. I am usually more careful, but not today when there is a blogging deadline. Sew the seam.

  7. Trim across the corners and then trim the seams. You need to be careful near the point, but you have to be brave as well, or the point won't be pointy. Don't trim the gap.

  8. Turn it inside out, and poke out the corners really gently. I use a blunt knitting needle or a pencil.  Turn the edges of the gap to the inside so they match the rest of the edges and then press and hand sew the opening closed.

  9. Using two strands of embroidery thread, 'quilt' though all the layers a few millimetres in from the strips as pictured. Add your name and the date/year to the back and they are finished.

I have made coaster with holly and stars and baubles and one year just some lovely fabric. They are very quick to make if you are in a hurry. They wash well and you can tailor them to suit the recipient, it doesn't have to be a Christmas theme.


I Saw Three Choc Chips Come Sailing By On Christmas Day In The Morning

The posting every day thing??? Too much Christmas Spirit, and I don't mean I was having a bit of a tipple!! I did too many things and I felt sick and so after Harki, and her moral support Peri, went to the Vet for her injection yesterday, we all went to bed for the rest of the day. I raided my drug supply and found some excellent anti-nausea drugs and I slept like a Labrador.

Today I went to see my GP and Huzzah, my blood pressure is normal again, so I just have to keep taking the tablets. She also prescribed afternoon naps, as required. I didn't have a nap today but I just might tomorrow. Today I did some sewing. Harki and Peri helped. They like sewing. I am either a)sewing a gold bead onto every red bead of the garland on the panel, or, b) just endlessly picking up a thousand beads from the floor.

This is Harki's tree and she's not sharing

The power has been going on and off since Sunday. On Sunday the lights did that weird go-dim-then-bright-then-dim thing. Every time I come home my computer has switched itself right off, and all the clocks are flashing. Tonight I was home and it happened twice so I rang the Hydro. The man was very nice and said it wasn't just me. I thought it might have been just me. A man further up the river had heard a big exploding noise so they think they might know where the problem is now. Excellent, I reckon I could tell them that if there's a big exploding sound and then the power goes off, there's a bit of a problem!!

So today there are no pictures of cooking, but there is a fantastic recipe. These are the biscuits I make every year for MrsDrWho's sister and for MrsDrWho as well. MrsDrWho and I waxed lyrical about these on the phone tonight for about five minutes. She was all Nigella about them.

Christmas Chocolate Biscuits

  • 250g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tspn bicarb soda
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup macadamias , pecans or any nut you especially like
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup white choc chips*
  • 1/2 cup milk choc chips*
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder


*I usually put in the rest of the packet, you really can't waste the choc chips!!

Melt gently the butter, sugar and dark chocolate. Any way you like best. Cool slightly and then stir in the eggs, bicarb, vanilla, nuts and sultanas. Let the mixture cool so that when you add the choc chips now,  they don't melt. Then mix in the well sifted flour and cocoa. I find it best to put the mixture into the fridge for 30-40 minutes so that it is easier to handle.

Preheat the oven to 180*C (160* ff) and line the baking trays. Roll a dessert spoon, or a heaped tablespoon of the biscuit mixture into a ball and place it on the tray and slightly flatten it. Leave room for the biscuits to spread a little. Small biscuits take about 15-20 and larger ones 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of the biscuits you make. Because they have a high chocolate content they do burn easily, so keep an eagle eye on them. Better to check a little early I think. Cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then move to a rack. Store in an airtight container, but they don't really last, they get eaten!!! They can be crispy or fudgy or crumbly. They have many and various forms, all delicious.


Oh Come Let Us Adore Shim

Harki almost had 500g of caster sugar this afternoon. I picked up what I thought was a new bag of sugar, but it was open all the way across, it had popped in the shopping bag, and all the sugar poured out onto the floor. Peri came immediately, but I was getting the vacuum cleaner and so she had to run outside. When I came back, there was Harki doing a little hoovering of her own. So focused in her task was she, that she might have had her tongue sucked up the cleaner if I hadn't pushed her away. Peri is afraid of the cleaner's noise and so she came back in and had to growl at everything whilst wagging her tail furiously!! Lots of sugars are now sold in rigid plastic jugs instead of paper or soft plastic packaging. I'm thinking this is a good idea!!

Harki and Peri like The Forbidden Zone, but Peri has worked out how to open the wooden gate. If it's not bolted shut, she bangs it with her nose so it bounces back and then she whips her paw around the gate and pulls it towards her and pulls it around  with her nose. Too clever for her own good. I have to really remember to bolt it. Today we had some supervised play, which consisted mainly of a lot of grass eating!! 

No need to keep a cow in the cupboard

I have washed my Yuletide Skirt material, it's lovely, and all I need is an hour or so to make it. Tomorrow I am binding the crawl rug MrsDrWho made so she can give it away before the baby stops crawling. (That's a little hyperbole there!!) The background is quite lime.

My Future Skirt

I have finished my secret dishcloth knitting and I have a few things to add before I post it tomorrow. Meanwhile I am doing a little judicious 'quilting' on a large Christmas panel and individually beading each bead of the garland on the panel's tree. Labour of Love for The GardyGardeners.

The children made Shim decorations with me today. We had actual aluminium shim, but in the past I have used the bases of those very heavy foil baking trays. The girls agreed to do some hand modelling for me so I could show what they did on my blog and they very obligingly oohed and ahhed over pictures of The Labradors!!!

Metal Shim Decorations

The shim is not too thick, but it does have very sharp edges. Be Careful.

Shim Decoration

Draw or trace your design onto paper, and then tape it to a piece of shim that is larger than your design. You need at least a 2 cm border on every side. Lean on a magazine and  'draw' over the lines, pressing down, with an old biro or a metal knitting needle, eg. Remove the paper and then redraw over the lines again to really make them stand out.

Cut out your decoration leaving an even border around it. We actually drew a light line to show where to cut about 5mm from the design.  Decide which will he the 'right' side, usually the sticky outy side, and place this face down on some felt and draw a border on the felt, about 1cm all the way around. Cut it out and turn it over so any pencil lines are on the back. Put PVA or craft glue on the back of the decoration and carefully glue it in place.

Add a ribbon hanger and you are done. We learned that adding lots of detail really makes the decoration eye catching. You could stick them onto coloured card as well. I'm also thinking a garland of little stars would be lovely.

Tomorrow there will be some cooking and I will continue being amazed at myself actually blogging every day. I am becoming more organised though I don't think I could ever keep this up all the time. Harki's off to the Vet for Injection #3 and MrsDrWho suggested Peri could come as well, so she doesn't have to be incarcerated (or should that be inhouserated because she is locked in the house, not the car) and Harki could have her sister with her and not be so worried in the Waiting Room. That's a very good idea!!! 

Rudolph The Red Knows Rain, Dear.

Here in The Apple Isle we're about to reach a milestone: our 500,000th Islander will arrive, somehow, somewhere, very soon. This is a momentous occasion, there's no doubt. And do you know how our Government is celebrating? There will be a memorial beer can produced. So there you go, a new baby could be the proud owner of a can of beer. I worry sometimes about the state of our State!!!

Today MrsDrWho and I watched three episodes of Torchwood Season 2 (Thanks to a swap for Doctor Who New Season 3 with the Bionic Knitter Woman) I really like Torchwood and we have to watch it quickly, so I am enjoying every single moment!! Then we went to the pictures to catch James Bond's Quantum of Solace before it disappeared. Short and sweet and I wasn't scared enough to cover my eyes even once, though I think MrsDrWho did!! The only thing I didn't like was the fight scene direction. It was like when Buffy the Vampire Slayer hired a new Fight Director: all short choppy vignettes that don't allow the fight to flow and make it hard to follow exactly what is happening. Other than that, Daniel Craig is a very good Bond and I never tire of Judy Dench's 'M'.

Harki is feeling happy today and playing right now because I am busy. She's tearing up a box into tiny pieces. Peri is in bed, fast asleep under her blanket. It has been raining again today but this afternoon the Sun was shining. I think it has been raining every day for over a week. We must be nearing some kind of Summer record!! I don't mind, this is lovely cool weather. I can even do my secret knitting!!!

We're the wet ones

Today I am sharing Chocolate Truffles. I made these earlier in the week so there's no step by step photos, sorry. I gave the recipe to my mum tonight too, so she could make some. These are very easy and I believe very tasty : I can't eat them :-(  Tomorrow I am making something in the decoration line at school in the afternoon. An hour or so of school is more than enough or me, so there will be a big nap before there's a post!!

Chocolate Truffles

  • 200g of very good milk or dark chocolate, I usually use the 70% dark, I buy it on sale
  • 2/3 cup or 160ml of thickened cream

  • cocoa powder

  • flavouring: vanilla, coffee, alcohol etc if you like

  • a small square or rectangular container lined with cling-film


That's it. Three ingredients. Chop the chocolate up into small pieces and place into a bowl, metal or glass is best. Heat the cream till it reaches the boil and then pour over the chocolate and walk away for 5 minutes. Then come back and you can stir it till all the chocolate is melted into the cream and the mixture is smooth. If necessary, stand the bowl, very briefly, in a little hot water and then take it away and stir some more. Here's where you add a little flavour if you want, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, or a teaspoon of coffee powder dissolved in a teaspoon of boiling water. You'd mix this in well.

Now pour the chocolate mixture into the lined container and leave it out of the fridge for 1-2 hours, or until it is 'set'. It won't be rock hard.

Turn it out and then cut it into evenly sized cubes: the square or rectangle shape makes this easier. This should make 20-24. The put some cocoa powder into a bowl or a ziplock bag, and dusting a little on your hands each time, roll each cube into a ball and then roll it in the cocoa until it is very well coated. Then refrigerate in a sealed container, and you are ready to go!!!

You can roll them in finely chopped nuts, or praline, or even chocolate sprinkles, whatever you have on hand will be fine!!!


You'd Better Watch Out, You'd Button Not Cry!!

The weather today has been very stormy, wet and wild. We went for a walk nevertheless: we don't mind walking in the rain. There were giant puddles and there was a lot of running through them. Harki is a bit limpy but she is feeling more like her old self, because when we came to the gate near the car, she ran away and went cross country and came out in the park. She was very pleased with herself. I took a video of the puddle action, but I turned my camera side ways and so it loaded to YouTube sideways, even though I had right way upped it on my computer. So, alas you will have to lean your head to the left and sit awkwardly to watch. It's worth it to watch Peri's joy at a puddle!!

Then we came home and I made myself a new skirt. I traced off my own pattern again and added about a centimetre to the side seam length. It matches my new green top. So even though it was raining cats and dogs, was wildly windy and cold, I wore my new skirt and top to town!!! I have borrowed a pattern drafting book from the Library and I am thinking of brushing up on my long lost skills and doing a lot more of my own pattern making instead of just fiddling about all the time altering commercial patterns. It is such a nice feeling to make a garment that you know will fit you first time.

Spot The Dot skirt

MrsDrWho persuaded me to buy some green Christmas material that was on sale and so in a few days I will be wearing my very own Christmas Skirt!! The BSODL(TM) also gained a few Brownie points the other week when one of the employees sought me out and told me she had been especially saving some fabric for me: green Labrador fabric. I bought some last year @ $17 per metre, but this time I was able to buy 3.9 metres @ $3 per metre. What a bargain, only $12!!

Today, I am making an embroidered button, like the buttons I made a few weeks ago. They are fun to make, small but very satisfying, and so let's begin!!

First, gather your supplies. I bought plastic self-cover buttons, 4 x 29mm for about $2.  There are metal ones as well. I like these the best because they have a template for the exact sizes of fabric circle needed to cover your button and they are easy to use. My fabric is some pure linen in an very pale taupe colour, and I ironed some light weight fusible interfacing on the back so the plastic button wouldn't show through. I cut out the card template for the circle I needed, and traced off a star that I checked would fit onto the button. I also have a needle, embroidery thread, sewing thread, some beads and sequins and scissors too.

Gather your supplies

*Here is where I should have already traced the circle template on to the fabric and then I could have centred the star. I traced the star onto the linen. I don't have a light box, so I tape the pattern to my window and as long as it's daylight I can trace really easily. I use a 6B pencil as I'm embroidering over it anyway.

Trace your design

*Now I centered the template over the star and traced around it. Then I used two strands of embroidery thread doubled, so four strands altogether, and I did backstitch.


I used beads along the inside of the embroidery. I sewed on each bead separately with sewing thread, because it's stronger, and then I like to stitch back through the beads that are lined up just to make sure they are lying straight. I added a bead and a sequin.


I cut out the circle of fabric and used doubled sewing thread, securing it very well at the beginning, sewing small even stitches about 3 or 4mm in from the edge. Then I slightly pulled the thread and began to gather, just like a Suffolk Puff.

Cut and then gather the circumference

This is the time to place the button inside the fabric, it goes into the wrong side, and then pull the gathering stitches up tight.

Gather fabric around button

The shank part goes in next, rough side in, smooth side and shank facing out. And before you use a cotton reel to push the shank into place, check the hole for sewing on the button is in the right direction, otherwise your button may get sew on skew whiff!!

Place shank in and secure

And, at last, there is your Christmas button, ready to be sewn on and admired!! I expect it could be made into a brooch or badge or sewn on to enhance another of your Christmas crafted items!!!

Et Voila 

A bit later on: LarjMarj says that she's having trouble with the comment thingy, so I have turned off the Typepad Authentification. I have no idea if that will help or not, but let me know if it doesn't!!

Bark The Herald Angels Sing!

Today I went to The Tranquility Gardens for lunch  with The GardyGardeners. The food is nicely old fashioned and there is real tea too. But the high point of our yearly visit is the Walk Around The Gardens. The plants are all drought resistant, fairly low maintenance and there is a huge pond full of croaking frogs. I have photographed moss, some kangaroo paw and a lizard.

Moss, not Kate   Kangaroo paw  Lounging Lizard 

We didn't go for our walk at the dam as I felt extra tired this morning so I distracted The Labradors with food. I am distracting them with (dietary but tasty) food quite often lately.There is a new puppy a few houses up the road and it yips a lot. I am using 'food reinforcement' and rewarding Harki and Peri when they ignore the puppy and don't bark. They only bark once and run up the stairs, but I'd rather they didn't. Peri is also digging a tunnel to China near the fence. I did think she might be planning a Stalag 13 type escape, and it turns out she is: she's tunnelling in the direction of our backyard!!!

Instead of a Labrador picture today, I have a picture of MrsDrWho's cat Cleo. For some reason she had to be under the quilt-in-progress today (I was doing a little Kitten sitting this afternoon) She hid, quite unsuccessfully, and then jumped out and chased Caramello and me. She growled at the quilt till I picked it up and she could be under it. Cats and Dogs are very different, yet quite similar.


Suzi made me some special White 'Bark'. Bark is not big here, but I have seen it in lots of overseas magazines, so yesterday I made some Bark. It is so easy, but very delicious!! My Bark is white, but you can use milk and dark chocolate too.

Chocolate Bark

  • a bar of good chocolate, any colour
  • things with which to top the bark: 100s and 1000s, nuts, crushed peppermint candy canes etc

  • baking paper

Carefully and gently melt the chocolate, pile onto a tray lined with baking paper and spread out to a thickness of about 1/2cm. Then sprinkle with the chosen toppings. Press gently so the toppings adhere and then refrigerate. Snap into smaller pieces and eat!!!


Tomorrow, in the never ending story of my very uninteresting life, there will be a walk, brunch and some sewing and knitting. Maybe even a little James Bonding......

Decoration The Halls With Boughs Of Holly

What a lazy day we have had today. Harki and Peri had an early breakfast and then sunbaked upon their Flokati rug. I read lots of blogs and replied to all my comments and tried to access the new Knitty. It appears their new server has not solved all their problems. Ironically, until this issue, I had never experienced any issues!!! I read Agatha Raisin #7 and now I have run out of Agathas until my Library Holds arrive.

Verandah Sun

Here is The Laminaria, as modelled by The BareNakedLady. She has stopped scaring motorist driving past the front of the house and is now just scaring The Labradors out the back.


Late, very late, last night after I had just met my own strict posting deadline, I was reading The Bloglines and I went to visit Lynette Anderson, her Labrador Hugo, cat Felix, and all her gorgeous stitcheries etc. And Lo and Behold I had won a prize. Actually I don't think I have so much won a prize, as Hugo is madly in love with Harki and Peri. He is a true Labrador, helping his mum with all her craft and sitting on the couch when no-one is looking!! I am very excited, and The Labradors are hoping the envelope will be infused with Hugo-ness!! I am embroidering her Noah's Ark BOM, though I haven't added the button (Luddite).

This afternoon I remembered to watch The Choir:Boys Don't Sing. It was their very first performance for a proper audience at a school where singing is pooh-poohed by the cool kids. When the blond boy soloist's mum cried, I cried too. Their choir master looks unnervingly like David Tennant!

Here is today's decoration and it really does only have one seam!! I bought one at a fair and I took it apart to see how it was made!! It has three points so I've called it the Tri-decoration. If I meet my goal and blog tomorrow, I'm making Bark!!


You need:

  • Christmas fabric in 2 contrasting colours
  • matching thread
  • a bead
  • paper, a ruler, a pencil, pins and a needle

Make a template from paper: You need an equilateral triangle, one where all the sides are the same length. I made each side 16cm. I did it like this:


  1. Cut two triangles and sew, right sides together, with a small stitch (2mm on my machine) and a 1cm seam allowance. Make sure to leave an opening to turn away from the corners. Trim the corners as shown in the picture. I'm making two.
  2. Turn right sides out, press and hand stitch the opening closed.
  3. Sew the three points together securely so they meet in the centre and press flat. So when the fabric facing you is red, then the green fabric backing is visible. And vice versa.
  4. Turn the decoration over and mark the centre of each unfolded over edge with a pin. Then catch and sew through each point and slowly pull them together until...
  5. You make this shape. It needs to be pressed flat. You may need to fix it with your fingers. The little kite-like origami shapes need to be flat and the point as neat as you can make it.
  6. Finally sew a bead, or a sequin and bead, or a button, to hide the sewn together points and add some thread to make a hanger.


If you make a lot of these, you can sew them together in rows to make a triangular tree, with 1 on the first row, then 2, 3, 4 and so on. You can see the different effects of reversing the colours you use.

It Cane Upon A Midnight Clear.

MrsDrWho has challenged me to tell you how to adjust the angels so they stand up, and Amandaj  wants to know too.  Don't wish too much for what you want, because you might get it:  what you have to do is take your forefinger and thrust it into the sewn base of the angel and poke about a bit really. This seems to distribute the filling and the angel stands up!! So there they were, the other five sensible grown up ladies, all poking the bases of their angels to make them stand up properly!! Good thing we were in a corner!!

Harki in front Peri in back

Harki feels a lot better today. We went for a walk, had morning tea and then when I came home from the BSODL(TM) she had a big play with her Squeaky Shrek Head. Peri joined in and they ran around in circles and growled at each other in a very playful way. When I came I home showed them a pretzel through the gate and a pretzel is manna from heaven for a Labrador!! Poor Harki, if she only knew I was showing the world her funny photo!!

Lickety Split Harki, and Peri sensible

My car is, let us say, quite old and boogelly, but this morning I found that in the last day or so someone has gouged a big scratch all the way along the side and then dug a little hole at the end.

CSI photo reconstruction labs

Today, The Labradors helped me make some very easy Christmas Uncooking. They were so good as I used a low table so I could take pictures in the light and they didn't try to steal anything or sniff it. They are such good girls!! Tomorrow we are having another day at home and I will have a really easy decoration that has just one seam. Truly, it's a Five Minute Decoration!!!

I just made it, to post this today: 11:59:54pm!!! I uninstalled Adobe and then reinstalled it, and then I downloaded a free e-book from The Book Depository, an Agatha Raisin book, and it was a whole book, 272 pages. I have The Broadband, but The Apple Isle's Broadband is Dial Up on vitamins. Now I can add Categories and go to bed.


I have seen these out and about but I'm not exactly sure where: the Internet or a magazine.         

You will need:

  • candy canes
  • melted chocolate: dark milk and/or white.
  • embellishments: flaked chocolate, 100s and 1000s, nuts etc I chopped Clinkers up finely!!
  • plastic cup

Dip the long end of the cane into the chocolate, let the excess drip off, and then dip into the embellishments. Hang them on the rim of the cup, with the chocolate inside so you can catch any drips. Balance them or it falls over!! Then put them into the fridge until they are set.

Wrap in a cellophane bag and gift away.

Candy Canes