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

Book Review – Quilted Holiday Accents

The weather warmed up a little this week-end and it made me think of Spring! And what better way is there to beat the Winter blues than to create something you know you will be using in warmer weather? So I began looking for inspiration – I remembered all the yo-yos I have recently made, and thought of the great spring colors I could make more yo-yos in, then I remembered this quilting book had a great Easter table-runner with yo-yo embellishment.

I went to the store to pick out some fabrics and started my project. Of course I choose bright spring-time colors, and the fabrics used for the yo-yos on the sides of the table-runner are the same fabrics I used for the egg appliqués.

This book is a wonderful book full of appliqué projects for all the seasons. There is also a 4th of July table-runner, as well as a tote bag and sweatshirt for the 4th – one of those may need to be made when I start thinking of Summer picnics! There are also several ideas for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Anyone who enjoys quilting and making new items for holidays, but doesn’t want to make a full quilt for a holiday celebration, should take a look at this book. And here’s the finished project!

Easter Runners

I used the Extra large yo-yo tool for the embellishments on each end of the table-runner. And, as you can see in the close-up below, I used buttons to finish the yo-yos and to decorate the egg appliqués. It’s been a long time since I sewed this many buttons on a single project!

Easter Runner Close

There are several places I could see placing this project. Of course, the obvious is the dinning room table – but it could also go on top of the piano or on my dry sink or even the coffee table. It would also be fun to add some stuffed or ceramic bunnies sitting with the runner.

Even though this book doesn’t show placemats – I have decided to make some using the same appliqué shape so they will coordinate with the runner. Watch for that project, and a small pattern just for you, tomorrow.

What are you doing to get ready for Easter and to chase off the Winter blues?
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing