Friday, December 2, 2011

Wrapping Paper? Use Fabric Instead!

Fabric! Hundreds of choices in colors, subjects, seasonal.
       Too often Christmas is about spending money when it should be more about making memories. Here's a way to save money and make memories. Instead of buying expensive wrapping paper that will be torn to pieces Christmas morning and tossed in the trash, consider using fabric.
       You might argue that fabric is more expensive than paper. It can be, but not long ago I found two yards of new Christmas print at a thrift shop for two dollars. More often, thrift stores offer used items that can be used whole or cut up for wrapping. Sheets may be the best buy. Garage sales and in-store after-season sales are great sources for material.
       Even if you pay more for fabric than paper, fabric can be used again and again. Fabric pouches for holding gifts are easy to make. Merely cut out two pieces measuring a few inches larger than the gift, with right sides together, sew around three edges, turn the raw edges at the opening and stitch them down. Use string or a ribbon to close the package.
       Make memories by using the fabric that gifts came in to make a quilt. Don't let the idea scare you! Quilts don't have to be complicated or take years to make. Strip quilting is one answer to the quick and easy quilt top. Sew strips diagonally onto pieces of muslin measuring, for instance, eighteen inches square. Sew the squares together, after experimenting with their layout. Tape a backing piece (a sheet works) right side down to a flat surface, lay batting or an old blanket over the backing, then lay the quilt top down right side up. Working outward from the center, use yarn to tie the layers together. Finish the edges. Get more ideas and details on quilt making from a library book, the Internet, quilting store, local quilting guild, or a friend.
       I like the idea of collecting fabric over the years, noting on each piece the year, what it wrapped and who it was from and for, then later making quilts using the fabric. This would make a marvelous gift! Imagine the memories such a quilt would invoke. The problem is every family member will want one.
       One hundred percent cotton works best in quilts. You can find colorful, humorous, seasonal, nostalgic prints to fit any occasion, so consider using fabric year round. For my adult daughter's last birthday, she received a kitchen scale wrapped in a two dollar snuggy. I'm not sure which gift will get more use.

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