Decorating with Christmas Cards

There are so many gorgeous Christmas cards that go through the mail these days, each one is in itself a work of art. They’re far too beautiful to just set in a pile somewhere. Instead use them as part of your actual holiday decor to display your beautiful cards and make the house just a bit more Christmasy.

One of the easiest ways to decorate with Christmas cards to run them around a doorway or windowsill. Just affix a little bit of masking tape the back of each one and tape it to the frame of the window or the door. Cards also look good lining a fireplace mantle. Basically you create a “garland” of Christmas cards. Continue reading

Thrift Store Sewing Material

I’m big on recycling, no matter what it is, so one of the things I try to do when I’m sewing is use as much salvaged or recycled material as possible. When I say recycled material, I’m not referring to material that has gone through a recycling process, rather I’m referring to the vast quantities of unwanted clothing that people get rid of every day. Rather than buying new material, getting it from a thrift store is a way to recycle. Not only that, it can also be a great money saver.

At first glance, sewing material in a thrift may not be obvious, but upon closer inspection, it is revealed that everything in the thrift store is material, albeit in a preformed garment. This allows for double convenience. One can either purchase a large item of clothing with the intention of cutting it up to use as material, or the actual garment itself can be used as a starter for something else.

In my area there is both a Salvation Army and a Volunteers of America, so the selection of “material” is wonderfully large. I recently found a huge long sleeved T-shirt with a rather ridiculous picture on the front side (probably the reason it was in the thrift store in the first place!) for a new costume pattern I was trying out. While the hideous front was useless, the entire backside and the large sleeves were prime for the taking. The thick knit material would have cost a lot more in a regular fabric shop, but I was able to purchase it for only 50 cents, which was great as I didn’t have to worry about wasting money if my experiment didn’t work out.

Even better was the white linen tablecloth I found to make a confessor’s dress for the Renaissance festival. I had been looking in the thrift store for a white dress to use as a base, but as long-sleeved dresses are rather scarce to come by in the summer, I had no such luck. It was not long, however, before I found myself in a section with sheets, blankets, and a white linen tablecloth. I ended up getting for $4 at a thrift store what would have been around $20 of linen at a regular fabric store, and as an added bonus, the edges were already finished, so I didn’t have to worry about them fraying. I already had a black tank top and leggings to wear under it, and I was able to get the sleeve trim and lacing for the costume for a $1 at JoAnn Fabrics, bringing the total cost of the dress to $5.

As for finding clothes that can be used as starters, a simple blue dress was the basis for my cousin’s costume. The gown itself was already sewn, all I had to do was add a few ribbonsto the sleeves and the front to make it look “Renaissancy.”

Naturally there are many times when a visit to a traditional fabric shop is necessary, when a certain color, type, or size of material cannot be found in a thrift store. However, it is always worth the time to look in the thrift store first. As an added benefit, purchasing material from a thrift store like the Salvation Army or Volunteers of America supports the organizations that help people. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf