Home Made Holidays

Hello everyone!  It’s that time of year,the weather is changing (okay in some parts of the country not very much), decorations are going up outside, and family is planning get-togethers.  Yes, its time to decorate for Christmas, Chanuka, Kwanzaa or just to put some new colors into your home to give it that warm and cozy feeling.  But this year is a difficult one for many of us, and even crafters have been hit hard by the recession.  So what can you do to spice up your decorations and not spend tons of money doing it?

Take a look at what you already have – your ornaments, candles, pillows and fabrics.   Typically when we buy things for Christmas or any other holiday we buy with a theme in mind even if we don’t realize it.  Do you have a lot of snowman themed ornaments?  Are your decorations traditional colors, or have you allowed yourself to go a little ‘wild’ with color?  Once you know what you are starting with, it’s easier to decide where you are going.  So pull together the decorations that go with your theme or color (or perhaps you can pair both – if you have lots of snowmen ornaments, colors like blue and silver work well with that theme).  Next, consider grouping things a little differently this year to change the ‘feel’ of the decorations.  Now, what would make the decorations ‘pop’?  A new tablerunner, or perhaps something for the mantle?  Or just some throw pillows?  After you’ve made those decisions – hit the fabric store, but if you’re trying to stick with a color scheme I suggest taking a small ornament with you to help you match the perfect shade.  Over the next two weeks, I will be posting some free patterns and some ideas that I am using this year, and I think you’ll agree that most of them are versatile enough to be easily adapted to whatever color scheme or theme you have chosen.   Some could even be made up in fall colors that could easily transition between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Another way to have a ‘home made holiday’ is to consider giving gifts that are home made.  Even if you don’t believe your skill level is very high, your loved ones will often be thrilled that you took the time and effort to make something rather than buy it.  (Granted, I don’t think many kids would be happy with a quilted version of a video game, but you never know!)  Consider the recipient, what are their favorite hobbies?  Can you create something to enhance that?  Such as bookmarks for your favorite reader, or even a small bookbag for that serious bookworm – a padded case for a music lover’s CDs, or a small purse for an MP3 player and it’s accessories.  For a cook, consider making a bread basket liner with warming bag.  There are all sorts of ideas out there, just hit the internet and do some snooping.

If you can’t give something you’ve made – consider the gift of ‘time’.  How often have we all thought “if only I had time for…” – well, time isn’t something we find lying around anymore.  We have to make time to do special things with our loved ones.  Do you have a budding young crafter on your gift list?  Consider giving some supplies and a ‘coupon’ promising that sometime in the next year (depending on your schedule) you will give together with that person 3 times just to craft.  And that little gift of a couple of hours of your time during the year will give you a gift as well – some great memories!

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila

Retreat Memories

I’ve always loved going to retreats – for a variety of reasons.  There are some obvious things to mention that I like about retreats – meeting new people, seeing old friends return, and getting to do something that is different from my daily routine.  Those are all things to enjoy, and I think most people who attend the retreats would consider them accurate.

But there’s also a certain something that’s hard to define that sets an event like this apart.  For lack of a better way to describe it, I’ll call it energy although that’s not quite right.  It’s the excitement of being with other creative minds, working toward a common goal, and letting the ideas and suggestions flow.  It’s sharing knowledge with someone new to the craft, and listening to stories from a veteran crafter that remind you of your own adventures in quilting.  It’s laughter as we are all able to put the cares of a regular day behind us – no one is going to be able to come into this ‘secret sewing place’ to bug you.  And there is freedom as well, in knowing that you won’t get interrupted by the TV, the dog, or ANY of your family members who need you.  There’s also the joy of knowing that your needs will be met, you don’t have to stop to cook – someone else will do that, you don’t have to clean the dishes, again that’s for someone else to do, okay we do have to clean our fabric messes up!  So – we’ll call it energy but know that it is so much more….

I took some pictures of the retreat at Hebron – to show everyone what I mean.   But, I have to admit, there weren’t very many pictures taken.  (I was having too much fun and forgot to get out the camera!)  Perhaps I’ll have some more pictures after the retreats this fall.

Sewing Time

Sewing Time

Here you see a shot of a quiet time at the retreat, everyone is at their sewing machines – and look!  Not only is there plenty of room to work in, but we didn’t have to clean the kid’s homework off the table before we got started!

Discovery

Discovery

It works!  Here’s a shot of a block going together and starting to reveal it’s secrets.  We were working on kaleidoscope blocks in this retreat, so it was a real treat as we started to see the pattern evolve.  In the background you can see the fat quarters that were available for purchase for those who needed a little something ‘extra’ for their quilt.

Finished Blocks

Finished Blocks

We all felt that WOW! of accomplishment as we finished our blocks.  And as you can see here, the smiles were big and bright!

As I said before – I’ll try to get some more pictures this fall, but if you have attended one of my retreats in the past and have pictures to share, feel free to email to me and I’ll get them posted.  Just remember, if any of your fellow retreat participants are in the picture, we have to have their permission to post it!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing
Sheila