Give the Gift of Time

Lisette Root 2011

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As the major holidays draw near, naturally our thoughts turn to friends and family, and to the gifts we want to give to them. One of the most precious gifts we can give is the gift of time. There is something truly wonderful in receiving a gift someone has taken the time to make for you, and it need not be big, only full of love, warmth, and caring.

Crazy quilters know that a crazy quilting project can take many, many hours to complete, and it would be impossible to give everyone a masterpiece, no matter how much we would like to do so.

How about working in a few projects which can be completed in time for giving, using a few out of the box ideas? For those crazy quilters who have to work full time, time is especially precious and scarce.

Why not give a beautiful card as a gift? Think of a card as an opportunity to crazy quilt on a smaller scale, but with a big impact! A card is a tiny little canvas just waiting for the embellishment to begin.

A sewing machine can be used if you are really short of time; because with pretty threads and a touch of lace and ribbon, you can make something special! I sometimes like to use my sewing machine without thread to design a pattern such as a Feather Stitch, or even using a simple Straight Stitch to evenly pierce my card stock, and then I use threads to hand stitch the patterns. However, you can make some beautiful patterns using threads in your machine. I especially love my Madiera rayon threads, but all kinds of threads are just waiting to be used.

The cards I made to share were created by taking a piece of sturdy card stock and spraying one side with Elmer's Craft Bond spray on glue, and then layering the front with pieces of scrap mulberry paper, carefully placed. Using my sewing machine with my decorative machine stitches, I sewed along the overlapped joins. I might have done even more stitching, and I also could have layered the papers in a more freeform style, but I wanted the other elements to stand out, so I kept it simple.

I raided my Christmas cards from years past, read and appreciated them one more time, and then I used them to create new cards. It would be a nice touch to give a re-made art card to the original sender!

Both of the cards I made for demonstration were constructed the same way, but with different elements. I chose to tear the elements on the card with the kitten, and I tore the paper away from myself so the edges would still be covered with color. If you tear the paper towards yourself, the white torn edge will be visible, and can also be used as a design element.

After the stitching was completed, I sprayed the inside of the cards with Elmer's Craft Bond spray, and covered the inside of the card with flocked velvet, cut to fit. The reason I like using flocked velvet is because it does not fray, and the colors are lovely. I used Fabri-Tac glue and added lace along the edges to pull everything together.  I used the springy type of clips to hold the glued lace until it set. With Fabri-Tac, that happens quickly, so I had my lace cut to size first and ready to glue.

I glued the pictures and words into place with Fabri-Tac;  they could also be stitched into place rather than glued, if you so desire. For the angel card, I used deckle cut scissors to cut the words and angel, and I tore the golden dove, so it stood out. I love the weight of the cards, because they are heavy and lush, and they are so pretty up close.

Another sweet project is a beautiful bookmark, again a tiny little canvas waiting to be filled with pretty stitches! I love using thick card stock as a bookmark base, and the addition of mulberry paper or vellum can be very elegant!

I do not use glue when embellishing with vellum, I use needle and thread to secure the vellum layer. The mulberry papers are so much fun to work with, and they can be glued if desired.

The bookmarks I made for demonstration were fun and easy, but they took enough time to create to be a special little gift! I used the same technique with the spray glue, mulberry papers, and machine stitching, and I glued the pictures of Santa on with Fabri-Tac glue, and then lined the back with green flocked velvet. I used festive sequins and stitched them to the front of the bookmark using sturdy thread, and tying on the back of the bookmark, like you tie a quilt; it was a cute touch.

If you have a little more time, how about an 8" x 10" sampler which can be put into a frame before giving?

I have been exploring ways to speed up the process without compromising the best part of crazy quilting, which to me are the embellishments and the stitches.

This little project I have designed uses a solid piece of 8" x 10" flocked velvet fabrics treated like a pieced crazy quilted panel, without the piecing. I call it Faux Piecing and it was fun to do!

It is not a traditional crazy quilt panel, but it is a fun way to share your work, show off your stitches and add the yummy embellishments such as lace, ribbon-work and buttons too!

I did a combination of stitching along the lace, and then I added components I had already finished just waiting to be used, such as the tiny iris garden done in hand dyed silk ribbon and Anchor embroidery floss, and the pre-made tiny flowers and bird.

I like to learn new techniques, and I then make practice pieces and have them ready to use. I have little baggies, each filled with tiny blossoms, leaves, etc., so that I have plenty of pre-made elements to work with! Of course, there is nothing wrong with using a traditional crazy quilt pieced panel if you have the time and so desire.

If you are a fast crazy quilter, consider a beautiful decorative pillow, something that will get a lot of special attention! Really, the possibilities are very numerous, and just waiting to be used.

I enjoy making eyeglass cases as a fast, fun and useful gift; they can be quite ornate or very simple, catered to the taste of the intended recipient. Or, if you simply have no time to make gifts, consider taking a photograph of one of your works and turn them into cards! There are several companies that make cards for you.

The most important thing about giving a hand made gift is to enjoy the process of making that gift! I believe you impart an energy to your work which can be not only seen, but felt as well. I hope you can find the most precious thing of all to give, the gift of your time.

Happy Stitching, Lisette

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