D Holiday and Christmas Tree Fire Safety indicate that this is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch. Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended! Holiday Decorations Use Only Nonflammable Decorations. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant. Do Not Block Exits. Ensure that trees and other holiday decorations do not block any exit ways. In the event of a fire, time is of the essence. A blocked entry or exit way puts you and your family at risk. Never Put Wrapping Paper in the Fireplace. Wrapping paper in the fireplace can result in a very large fire that throws off dangerous sparks and embers that may result in a chimney fire. Candle Care Never Leave a Burning Candle Unattended. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles. Use Care with Lit Candles. Make sure candles are in stable holders, and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Keep candles at least twelve inches from anything that can burn. Avoid using candles in bedrooms and sleeping areas. Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree. Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame – no candles, lighters, or matches. Reprinted from the U.S. Fire Administration Web site Threads continued from page 19 ecorating homes and businesses is a longstanding tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage. Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever-popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season. Holiday Lights Maintain Your Holiday Lights. Inspect holiday light sets each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting lights up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets. Do not link more than three light strands unless the directions of Americana. The very word brings to mind the lively family or social gatherings that were once associated with its creativity. The memories of Grandma’s love, of laughter, industry and pleasant chatter, and the mouth- watering aroma of home baked goods all seem to be preserved for us in the simple and yet complex beauty of a homemade quilt. Quilting also embodies the great pioneering spirit of our nation – the art of “using what you have to make what you can.” This is why I love patchwork quilts that are created from misfit clothing and odd pieces of fabric. A local teacher with great pride shared her experience with quilting, saying “It was a lot of work, but I had such a feeling of accomplishment upon completion. I felt like: I am woman! I have finished this sewing project for my daughter!” Others find making memory quilts form children’s clothing is an item they cherish as they leave for college, remembering the shirt they wore their first day of school or on their first date. Knitting and crocheting can be equally as rewarding as quilting. Once you have mastered a few simple stitches, you are free to sit back, relax, and chat with others as your knitting needles gently go clickity-clack. Children love to learn how to crochet long chains of yarn or knit little sampler blocks. If this interests you, a great way to learn new stitches and handy tips is by joining a knitting group. “My aunt taught all my many brothers and sisters how to knit socks,” recalls Elizabeth, a knitting instructor. “When I knit, I think of all the good people who taught me along the way. For me, knitting is a journey into the past, both happy and sad…in short, knitting has become a part of my very life.” Rose, a neighbor of 78 years, shares that she has never worn a pair of machine-made socks in her life. “Nothing beats the comfort and durability of a pair that I made myself!” she says. These good women convinced me, and I’m knitting socks now, too. The first steps in learning to knit were quite confusing, but the effort most certainly paid off in the emotional satisfaction that it gave me. So join a quilting, knitting, or craft group or historical society. Share your interest and enjoy your favorite hobby with family and friends. Rianna Von Rodeck lives in Fauquier County and enjoys quilting, knitting, inspirational art, and writing. She is a member of the Southern Fauquier Historical Society, Inc. 2013 • Issue 6 Piedmont Family Magazine 23