Mantlepiece Runner and Keeping the Festive Spirit

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I have a lovely Christian friend who delights in her family, her friends and Christmas – especially all the pre 25th December preparations.For the past three or four weeks she has been busy at her kitchen table making cards and she had twinkles in her eyes as she informed me all the gifts are wrapped! The only shadow in all this activity and anticipation has been caused by the mis-laying of one of her decorations: the runner that added festive colour to the mantlepiece. Her decorations are mainly handmade and all lovingly placed around the house as a means to pass on her pleasure in the Season to family and guests.

What could I do but rise to the challenge of creating a replacement for the missing runner? Trouble is my needlework skills are confined to the making of bunting and quilts. I’ve never completed a garment or made household items such as curtains or blinds. I recalled my friend saying she had added tassles/bells to the lost runner which made me thing I’d better add some ‘dangly’ bits to the horizontal runner to make sure she has scope to add her own trimmings. I had no choice but to approach this project with the mind of a quilter. After thinking through several different ‘construction techniques’ I decided to make a simple quilted runner to fit along the length and width of the mantlepiece and then add bunting triangles to hang over the edge. I began with no clear idea of how these two elements were going to be joined… but I’d had enough of thinking and needed to be doing so I began anyway!

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My Christmas fabric stash… (or should I rename my stash my ‘collection’ as another blogger argued earlier this week ? Can I find that post to link up? No!.. so frustrating!) Anyway, as I was saying, ‘My Christmas stash’ yielded just enough red fabrics to piece together the top of the runner and six bunting triangles. Two other red fabrics became the backing for the runner and flags. I layered and stitched the runner layers in this sequence: wadding on the bottom; then backing, right-side up; then runner top, right side down.Once I’d pinned the three layers together I stitched a quarter inch in from the edge all the way round apart from a small gap to allow the runner to be turned inside out.I then re-pinned the layers and stitched some simple quilting lines.

Then it was time to make the bunting triangles. I stitched a little festive motif on the front of each one before coming to a decision about how to fix them to the quilted runner. It’s not a great solution but I chose to pink the top edge of the triangles then stitch them in place, on the back of the runner, using a tight zig-zag stitch. I reasoned they’d be secure and, as the runner will not be handled much, the exposed fabric edges shouldn’t deteriorate.

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I don’t have a fireplace with a mantlepiece but I hope my mock-up gives an idea of how the runner should look 🙂

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My friend’s delight in Christmas and the pleasure she feels and shares as she prepares for the holiday are a reminder to me to keep perspective in all the activities associated with the season. In Bible studies this week we looked at ‘the fruit of the Spirit’:

… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

We reflected that these fruits are in fact a wonderful description of the character of Jesus himself. I am reading a chapter of Luke’s Gospel each day and intend to keep that list of ‘fruit’ close to hand so I can see them personified in the recorded actions and words of Jesus.

Paul concludes the paragraph about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5 with these words to his fellow Christians:

Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

When the rush to Christmas gets underway and the tension knot in my stomach tightens I find it all too easy to fall out of step with the Spirit, becoming less and less Christ-like even as I prepare to celebrate His birth! It would be naïve to think I will serenely glide my way to Christmas Day but I shall endeavour to pay more attention to the lead of the Spirit and readjust my actions and attitudes accordingly 🙂

Linking with Woman to Woman Ministries for Word Filled Wednesday and Amanda Jean for Finish it up Friday.

Allison

Finishing with a ‘wow’ photo of the early morning sun catching the trees at the top of our road against some blue-black clouds (the lamp posts don’t lean like that -it’s camera lens distortion!)

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