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"Fool-proof Christmas Project Method"! 

by Paula Connaghan, Weather or Not Fabrics  


Christmas is just around the corner! I know, you're in denial. "It can't be that time already!" you whine. But alas - for many of us who are bound by the "meaningful gift" code, Christmas means "Hand made by myself!" So I'm here to get you started early with the "Fool-proof Christmas Project Method"! 

To get you going on those great hand made gifts for loved ones and friends, you will need to start a list!! Yes, I know, but this time it WILL work! Try not to make the list too long. If you gave the person a hand made gift last year, maybe a store bought gift would be appropriate for them this year. That would free you up to put someone else on the list or even make the list shorter (imagine a shorter list)! 

Get your pencil and paper and go thru the clothing, quilt and craft catalogs - write down items and who would "love!" this or that. Try to select just a few items that will make several folks on your list giggle with delight. Remember to KISS (keep it simple…). Be realistic in your goals. Do you really have the time for 6 queen sized quilts or would several small wall quilts be just as meaningful. The idea is to get the projects done, still be sane and maybe even enjoy it! 

Now make a list of the fabrics, notions and craft items that you will need to complete the projects. Go to your favorite stores and gather all the items you will need to complete the projects. You will need to package the gifts, so purchase the packaging items as well. 

Divide and conquer! Separate and recombine all of the articles that you purchased into piles of individual projects. Put each project into plastic bags, boxes or even the packages in which they will be given. Put the person (s) name in the bag with the project. You may have several names on one "pile" of project material. Put a completion date on the ones that need to be mailed.

Here's the hard part. Put all of your own personal projects in the closet! This is a time for giving, so just focus on your Christmas list. Put the Christmas projects somewhere where you can't miss them. I use my dining room table - and yes, I hate to have clutter there - but I'm a "top of the mind awareness" person. And if it's "in the way" I tell myself that the sooner I get it done the sooner I can put the TV trays away! 

Now you're ready to go! Everything you need is in one place and you shouldn't need to "stop to shop". (Something I find pretty difficult to do at midnight!) 

The "Fool-proof Christmas Project Method" is also a good way to get the kids and husbands involved! After dinner they can help cut, paste or trim. Have them put the packaging together or use the projects as an opportunity to teach the younger ones "how to". Have kids do homework while you work. It can be quality time together. 

If you need to work alone - send the kids and dad to the high school football game or a movie. Set an amount of time aside each evening to put your heart into each project. Explain to the family why they will be eating Hungry Man Dinners for a short time. It's amazing how much you can get done if there are no distractions and you have all the items you need to complete the project. 

Remember - you can eat anything - even if you hate it - if you eat it in little bites! Each day, pull out one project and work on it until it's done. Be sure to package it and tag it! Stay focused! You might have to miss the monthly Bunco game or one of the kids' activities, but if you take it a little at a time YOU WILL SUCCEED! 

OK - so you think that this might work - and you go out and get all your "stuff" and then something happens (like always). You're getting down to the wire. Aunt Jane's doll dress needs to be in the mail by Thanksgiving! Agghh!! Well, here's where "The Fool-proof Christmas Projects Method" really works!! If you have all of your stuff together in one spot, you can work 'til your 2 or 3 AM easy! I know this is true, cause "something" always happens at my house too! And ya know what, it WILL GET DONE! Always! 'Cause we have Christmas dinner at my house and I DON'T HAVE THAT MANY TV TRAYS! 

Happy organizing - Paula 

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