Thursday 3 July 2008

Frugal Crafts – Turning To Your Imagination Instead Of Your Purse

I think I have touched on this topic before, but crafting and taking care not to be wasteful are two of my favourite things. Also, it’s a great way to bring creativity into our lives without buying it in – which you can’t really do anyway. My favourite way to craft is to salvage things you would throw away otherwise and creating something old from new. Some of the materials I have used are:

Cards and Postcards - I save pretty cards and cut out any hand-made/3D parts or any nice pictures on the front to re-use on my cards, any I don’t need get given to
Paper – I keep paper from good quality wrapping paper or parts of gift bags. Often boxed gift’s and packaging will have good-quality coloured card used which can be saved. I also use bits/pages cut from magazines and brochures. There is a wedding card on the left side-bar with bells which has a blue background cut from a magazine.

Buttons – I always save the spare buttons you get inside clothes and have picked up a jar of colourful ones at a boot-sale for 50p. My sister used different coloured and sized ones to decorate a black cord across-body bag and a friend has a very pretty plain beige cropped cardigan with different coloured giant buttons on the front.

Old or Broken Jewellery – I have taken apart jewellery that I wouldn’t normally wear to salvage beads, charms, clasps. My exception is if it’s far better than anything I could make, then it gets passed to family or friends.

Boxes – sturdy shoe boxes, gift boxes, perfume boxes. I use these for storage and as jewellery boxes. Card toppers and gems are great to decorate. Better still hand them over to the kids and their toys won’t get a second look.

Other items of interest - Fake tattoo’s or body gems (used on cards), sequins (often a little pack comes inside clothing), broken hair bobbles embellishments (stars, hearts, flowers, little people and animals, usually have a nice flat back so easy to use)


Boot Sales: We have these across England and I am sure there is something similar in the US too, if not, I would definitely recommend someone start one. The biggest one we visit at Dunton has over a thousand "stalls" and many thousands of visitors, so the farmer who holds it on his field (£10 for sellers, 20p for visitors) must be a very rich man by now. This being the case, the chances of a bargain are endless. You very often find crafters who are having a clear out so will get your hands on beads, ribbon, card, paper, embellishments, peel-offs and stickers for next to nothing.

Pound Shops (Dollar Stores): I have found card-making packs, topper stickers and boxes of bead (which cost £5.99 at Hobbycraft) at these shops. They also sell scrap-booking materials and art supplies. Very hit and miss, but I have a look every now and again when I go by in case something new is in.

Thrift/Charity Shops: Or what we call the good old second-hand shop. The only thing of use I have picked up here are some nice crafting books. The jewellery is usually junk and not always much cheaper than the shops.

Ebay: Most of the stuff is cheaper than in the shops and the variety is infinitely greater, but there is the potential to overspend. I look for people having a craft room clear-out which occasionally yields a bargain and a host of new materials. However I keep this to a minimum as the purchase/spend is only a click away and this is a slippery slope to go down.
It’s good to save money and use your noggin instead, but it’s also good to know when to spend what you have saved. My own exception’s are Happy Eid/Eid Mubarak peel-offs and elasticated jewellery cord which I buy new.

What I like most is that you are creating something that you like from stuff you would normally throw away, you end up with lots of materials for your kids to play about with and you’re tapping into your creativity and ingenuity which spills over. I don’t like clutter in the house, so I try to keep sifting through the stuff and give away or selling anything I won’t use. My only issue is one of storage and I will do a post for that once my craft corner is re-established (if my beloved leaves the house standing).

"Lack of money is no obstacle, lack of an idea is an obstacle" (Ken Hakuta).

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