By Donna di Natale
Thanksgiving week is traditionally the beginning of the holiday season at our house. That means there are three weeks left to make gifts – two weeks if I’m going to mail them. It also means deciding how to decorate the house, inside and out, for the season.
We like to keep things simple when it comes to decorating. And natural or nature is usually the theme, with lots of small lights tossed in for a bit of bling.
There was a time when I thought all decorations had to be real – a real tree, real wreaths and real evergreen garland. A couple years ago, I finally got tired of still vacuuming up pine needles in July and switched to fake greens. A lot of artificial greens are very real looking, and there aren’t any needles to fall off before the holiday arrives. Each year, I add something new to freshen the look. This year, I’m adding garlands of tiny triangles.
Strands of triangle banners for birthdays and other celebrations are quite popular, so why not make seasonal banners? I decided to make small banners that would look nice across the mantle and could also be used as garland on a tree.
To extend the season, I took two fabrics – one fall and one festive – and cut them into 2 ½-inch strips. I calculated that I could get 16 – 2 ½-inch triangles out of one width-of-fabric strip. I fused the fabrics together with some thin cotton batting in between. A bit of free-motion quilting to hold everything together, and the strips were ready to be cut into triangles.
Using the Strip Ruler by Creative Grids made this job quick and easy. You do need to exercise caution, though. I’m right-handed, and cutting the right side of the triangles was easy. Turning my wrist to cut back down the left side meant keeping my left hand out of the way in case my right hand – the one with the really sharp rotary cutter – slipped. In no time at all, I had my triangles cut with all my fingers intact.
I found this lovely cording in the drapery department of my local craft store. It is 100 percent cotton and comes in white or natural. I came across the miniature clothespins in the hooks and hangers aisle of the same store. These can also be found in some art shops or scrapbooking stores.
You can attach the banners to cord with glue if you wish, but I chose to simply pin them to the cording using the miniature clothespins. For now, I’ve strung my banners across the mantle with the fall fabric facing out. This goes well with the (fake) fall leaves above the mantle. The cording shows because I’m lazy and didn’t want to rehang the banners for Christmas, plus I don’t mind the primitive look at all.
In a couple of weeks. I’ll turn the string over and display the festive side. I’ll add some miniature lights to the greenery and possibly a candle or two, and that should do it.
This project went so quickly and smoothly that I decided I wanted to make more for after the holidays. A trip to the thrift store resulted in a lovely set of quilted pillow shams. I cut these into larger (4-inch) triangles and embellished them with some of my vintage buttons. I used my handy hot glue gun to attach the triangles to some of the cording left from the holiday banners. Won’t these look nice on the mantle come February and Valentine’s Day?
Donna di Natale is an author and editor for Kansas City Star Quilts. She writes every Wednesday.