Even if Thanksgiving is small

this year, you can quickly make up this runner for a beautiful table. Made up of just a few squares and half-square triangles, the ends add length to a 1/2 yd. of beautiful fall print, up to 65″-68″, depending on fabric width. You can easily shorten it or lengthen it to perfectly fit your own table or buffet. On sale for $3.50 until the end of November–click here for more information

Maple Sugar Table Runner cc2405 by LJ Christensen

Notice how well it coordinates with “Autumn Maple Platter Pad cc 2201” —more infor

The lovely large hot pad is still on sale as well. While the pad design is “on point,” and the table runner is not, if made in the same fabrics, they are very complementary.

Autumn Maple cc2021

If you don’t have the time or the fabric, go to the Market Shoppes in downtown Wetumpka, Alabama, and you’ll find them both for sale! First come, first served!

I feel like I’ve been juggling 4627 things at once, from masks and wine gift bags to photo to jewelry made from yoyos to full quilts, with way too many UFOs (quilter are all too familiar with UnFinished Objects!) However, I find it exhilarating to be planning Christmas presents and objects to sell this time of year. One design begets another, and I simply don’t have time for any bad tidings.

So I’m thankful that my new knees have healed and that I have my new studio and plenty to do to keep busy and happy. But time is an issue, so here are just a few tips.

Like Nancy Zieman pointed out in her well-known 10, 20, 30 Minutes to Sew series and book, you have to get organized. That’s one reason my patterns are all organized with a good old-fashioned outline structure–ABC, 123. It’s simple to do all your cutting, making half-square triangles or other mini-blocks all together at one time. You assemble tools just once, focus, and get to work.

I pre-wash fabrics in color batches. In fact, I even sew in color batches. This may sound silly, but I look for several things I can sew with one color thread instead of re-threading. For instance, if I’m making masks (yes, I’m STILL making masks!), I sew several red Christmas ones, then maybe switch to some with back backgrounds or green. Even though re-threading takes barely a few seconds, for me it’s psychological, a feeling of checking something off.

I look for ways to streamline. For instance, I have two wastebaskets, one for left hand and one for right. That may be overdoing it. However, I recently found a wonderful weighted bag that hangs off the side of the table for threads/scraps. (Hobby Lobby). It can be moved from cutting table to sewing table as needed. I have a magnet on a long pole to pick up pins, “Wonder clips” and even seam rippers. (EXTRA HINT–never buy a seam ripper the color of your floor–my brown one seems to disappear too easily!) AND my 4’10” mother taught me the wonder of long tongs. (May be available in medical disability supply stores?) She called them “devil-catchers,” and I inherited several pairs. I never caught a devil, but Wow–they pick up rolling thread and other paraphernalia that always seems to roll under tables or fabric pieces that fall off.

I keep a little bag of my most frequently used little tools and sewing machine presser feet right beside my machine. Fancier ones are put away in proper containers, but there are some I use all the time. I have a couple magnetic pin “cushions,” which I’d never do without, and I’m back to using a pin cushion on my wrist. The pins kept getting knocked off a magnetic one, so it IS a cushion, and it IS convenient.

My NUMBER ONE time-saver convenience is my ironing board. It’s set up waist-high to the right of my machine. I have a swivel office chair, so I swivel to press and swivel 180 degrees to an old breakfast table, where I can trim and stack. My husband calls my chair and surroundings my “nest.” Yeah, that’s about right, but when thread is on a rotating holder and all your tools are an arm’s length, you can keep your eye on the prize, eliminate distractions and really get things done! (unless, like me, you are sitting at your computer blathering)

Have a peaceful Thanksgiving and get ready to shift gears to Christmas.

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