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Christmas is a time of tradition, and each family has its well-loved customs, treats and decorations. This Christmas you may want to add to those traditions with some clever decorating ideas that are economical and also recycle some of our precious resources.

This craft idea is one the whole family will want to try. And these decorative cans can be used as small Christmas tree decorations, or filled with candy for tray or party favors.

The larger cans are excellent for holding small presents, which will save on the use of boxes, or they make great-looking table centerpieces.

The cans pictured are the 6-ounce and 46-ounce juice cans, but the craft can be adapted to any size juice can.

Other materials used are felt squares, 2-inch Styrofoam balls, ribbon, pipe cleaners, package tie yarn and household glue. You can, however, substitute construction paper or scraps from your sewing and knitting baskets.

Start by cutting a rectangle of paper or felt to form the outside of the can. Cover the surface of the can with glue and cover with the material. To give the Styrofoam head a flesh color, cover 1/2 -inch strips of light pink tissue with glue and mold to the ball. Features can be drawn with paint or pen, or made with sequins or beads.

To attach the head to the can, cut a circle of medium-weight cardboard the size of the diameter of the can and cover with material to match the body. Attach the Styrofoam ball to the cardboard with stiff wire or a straightened paper clip. The cardboard circle can be taped to the top of the can or will serve as a lid.

Decorative touches are as varied as the imagination: hands cut from flesh-colored felt or construction paper; cuffs, belts and ties made with ribbon or scraps. The hair for an angel can be made from yarn used for tying packages. To make the angel's wings, cut from a sheet of Styrofoam that is covered with foil. Her halo is fashioned from a yellow-pipe cleaner.

White package-tie yarn forms the plump body of a snowman; cover the can with glue and wrap the yarn. "Coal" features can be cut from black felt or paper.

Substitute for Sweetheart

Ellie Kornlau of Lisbon, Ohio, writes: "Hope this will help all of the people who make crafts using soap. There is a substitute for the Sweetheart soap. Caress has the same shape as Sweetheart and can be used for all the same craft projects previously used with that bar of soap."

Guide for buntings

Deborah Simich of Holland writes: "I've been knitting baby buntings for friends and relatives and wonder if there is some 'universal' guide for making them with a slit to provide for the infant car seats. Any information would be greatly appreciated."

If anyone can help with this request, please let us know. Send information or directions to Craft Exchange, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.

Quilters found

Several columns ago we were asked for information on groups that did quilting. Here are some groups:

The Kenilworth Quilters meet every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. at Kenilworth United Church of Christ, 45 Dalton Drive, Kenmore. They quilt four or five quilts a year and all proceeds go to charity.

The group will put on your top, batting and backing, and hand-quilt it together. The members have been doing this for 14 years, and can design patterns or use an individual's design. Interested parties can visit, if they phone beforehand. Phone Mrs. Clay at 833-7745 or Mrs. Barry at 834-3105. The group does have a waiting list.

A group from St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 256 Riverside Ave, has been quilting for more than 30 years. The quilters meet every Wednesday in the church parish hall. Anyone is welcome to stop and see their work, or phone 875-8374.

There is a small group of quilters at Bethany Lutheran Church, 2930 Bailey Ave., that meets every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 832-3374.

The Martha Circle Quilters are located at the Friedens United Church of Christ, 174 Schenck St., North Tonawanda, N.Y. 14120. For information, write them or phone 692-7267.

The Grove Street Christian Church of Tonawanda has had a group quilting tops for more than 16 years. Inquire about them at the church or phone 542-9163 or 695-1572.

A group at the Kenmore Presbyterian Church, Delaware and Hazeltine avenues, has been quilting since 1976. You can stop in any Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Chapin.

Kathy DuFrane of Henrietta (near Rochester) performs quilting services and can be reached at 334-9698.

The Wesley Quilters, 1420 97th St., Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304, has been quilting for 20 years. Lois Rowe is coordinator and can be reached at 297-2539.

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