I just read this tip from one of my favorite web sites (and an on-line shop), Real Women Quilt. A woman wrote in to say that she belongs to a block-of-the-month club where she only gets just enough fabric to complete the block (with no errors). Hmmm. Sounds familiar. Anyway, she first makes a sample of the block using her own Christmas fabrics. When she is sure that she knows how it goes together properly, she makes it using the given fabrics. Good idea! Then when the series is completed, she has enough blocks for a Christmas quilt too.
RWQ is a great website with all kinds of articles and features. You can get a monthly (and now also a weekly) newsletter full of new things and lots of humor. Check it out if you have time!