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Monday, December 14, 2020

7 Ways to Better Enjoy the Holidays

This post was originally posted 11/21/2018

If you are like me... and I'm sure we're not that different... you have big plans for holiday sewing.

Right now you think you will make all the finishing deadlines, no problem.

But the day after Thanksgiving, you'll be peacefully munching on a turkey and cranberry sandwich, thinking all is right with the world, when BAM!

Reality will crash into your tryptophan induced food coma and scream into your consciousness:
 Oh Holy NIGHT!! Christmas is in 30 days! Where are you on your sewing?
Your heart will skip a beat and you'll feel the panic rise into your throat.

Yes... You will.

Take a deep breath and try not to freak out too much. I'm here to help.

First thing we're going to do is change the mindset. Repeat after me:

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” -Edward Everett Hale

What I hear Mr. Hale saying is: 2 weeks before Christmas is no time for heroics. Do what you can to make your loved ones feel remembered. Don't let their memory of Christmas be Mom hiding in her sewing room frantically finishing quilts for all her children's teachers.


I may have paraphrased a little. The spirit of the statement is the same.

Now let's get to work:

 7 Tricks to Finish Your Holiday Sewing AND Enjoy the Season

1. Clean your machine and change your needle.
Yes! it's that important. One of the 7 Habits of highly effective people, as outlined by Dr. Steven Covey, is to "sharpen your saw". Take that few minutes to keep your machine running at it's best, with the least amount of "down time" and aggravation. This will prepare it for some hard work and long hours. Give it a good cleaning and a new needle to keep it at its prime. And do it again after about 8 hours of run time.

2. Wrangle scraps and keep your workspace tidy.

Few things slow down sewing progress like shuffling piles of stuff around your working surface. Get everything you are not using TODAY off your table. Even if it means putting stuff in (labeled )boxes until after the season. Scraps don't need to be trimmed and organized, but they do need to be in one container that's big enough to hold what you already have, plus what you'll be adding in the next few weeks.

3. Finish ONE project at a time.

Nothing will bring you holiday cheer better than seeing the pile of FINISHED gifts stacking up. Nothing will create holiday burnout faster than seeing a dozen projects that still need attention. Finish one, move to the next, then the next. And don't forget: Finished is better than perfect.

4. Don't start anything that can wait until January.
This seams obvious, but there are times you just want a break from what you are doing. Don't give in to temptation, it won't make you feel better. If you need a break, ditch the Christmas music for a couple hours. A change is as good as a rest and the Holiday tunes may be reinforcing your stress. Save the actual breaks for times when your family is together.
5. No fabric or pattern surfing.
This goes along with number 4. I can get lost for hours on Pintrest looking for a new project to add to my ever-growing "Someday" pile. And the Black Friday Deals are sooo hard to resist. Don't fall into that trap! The only way to finish your sewn gifts is to sew them and them only.
6.  Assess and Prioritize
At some point you may discover that you really won't be able to finish everything before the deadline. The first quilt I pieced as a Christmas gift for my adult son wasn't ready for Christmas. I didn't know how to machine quilt, and the LQS had a 4 month turn around time. So I wrapped up the flimsy (pieced top) and gave it to him with the promise of getting it quilted when I could. I know not every relationship has that luxury. If yours doesn't, you might want to get a box of chocolates for some folks on your list, and finish the quilt for next year. I re-gifted the finished quilt to my son for his birthday in July.

7. Get real - Scale back
I know you wanted to make cute quilted book bags for all the ladies in your literary society. That's probably a pipe dream at this point. Scale back to bookmarks. They'll be grateful for the remembrance. You don't have to provide the grandest gift of all be worthy of friendship.
Most of all, don't spend the season in your sewing room. Your greatest gift to family and friends is your presence, not your presents. No handmade gift in the world can make up for time missed.
This time of year is supposed to be joyful...

Time to spend with family and friends...

Time to bake snicker-doodle cookies and enjoy the aroma of cinnamon and pine trees...

...and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

I wish you the best during the Holiday Season.

No matter how you celebrate, make sure you take time for yourself, and time for your loved ones, and time for your neighbors.

What you are sewing this Holiday Season?

What is your favorite holiday tradition or memory?

I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment.

Don't forget to FOLLOW!

Love to all


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