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Warm blankets and self-blended herbal teas are great alternatives to store-bought gifts

POSTED: December 9, 2011 1:30 a.m.

No-Sew Blanket

To make the blanket, you lay two pieces of fleece on top of each other, cut strips into all four sides and then knot them together. Easy breezy.

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With the No-Sew Fleece Blanket, you don't have to be a master sewer or crocheter to create something special.

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Store-bought goods have their place, but nothing warms the heart quite like a handmade gift.

With the holidays still weeks away, you have plenty of time to create a heart-felt gift for the ones you love. Since the temperature is steadily dropping, a thoughtful and useful gift would be a handmade blanket.

If you’re thinking you don’t have the skills to pull it off, think again. If you can use a pair of scissors and tie a knot, you can make a blanket.

With the No-Sew Fleece Blanket, you don’t have to be a master sewer or crocheter to create something special. Perhaps even better than that, you can make one from start to finish in less than two hours, so it doesn’t require a major investment of time.

Since there isn’t any sewing involved and no seams to hide, your blanket is reversible — keep that in mind when selecting your fleece. You could use two pieces of the same color or pattern, but where’s the fun in that? Try mixing things up by using a patterned material on one side and a coordinating solid color on the reverse.

To make the blanket, you lay two pieces of fleece on top of each other, cut strips into all four sides and then knot them together. Easy breezy.

A single knot will keep the pieces together, but you’ll be better off making a double-knot so that your blanket holds up in the washer.

You can up the ante by adding a few embellishments to your finished gift. Try personalizing it by adding the recipient’s initials. Since this is a "no-sew" project, you don’t have to pull out the embroidery machine. Instead, visit the local craft store and purchase monogram embroidered letters. Most of these are iron-on appliques, but use caution when using that much direct heat on your blanket.

Instead, use a fabric glue to adhere the letters.

If you’d rather your present warm the recipient from the inside out, consider gifting your loved ones with a decorative container filled with your own herbal tea blend.

Not only will your tea show your loved one that you were thinking of them, if you combine the right herbs, your mix can help them release stress after a long day.

"Herbal teas can have medicinal purposes, but they can also be very relaxing," said Jean Schilling, a Dawson County resident and certified herbalist.

"They also have lovely flavors."

According to Schilling, mint, chamomile, rose petals, lavender and lemon verbena are all prime candidates for tea making.

"A true herbal tea doesn’t have any tea leaves in it," she said.

If you’re not sure how do it on your own, Schilling will be leading a workshop at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Cedar Hill Enrichment Center, 5735 Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville.

During the workshop, attendees will learn how to blend herbs for tea, what tea plants can be grown in Georgia and how to go about preparing a mix as a gift.

Attendees will also be able to create their own blends and leave the class with four small and two large tea bags of their own mix.



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