August 15, 2011

Tip of the day—Getting crafty

Yesterday, I browsed through the a•muse | studio catalog that one of the vendors for Ladies Night Out had left us at the church for presales.  I was so inspired by the super cute cards that daughter and I pulled out some of the stamps I had purchased when making coasters for Christmas gifts.  I didn’t quite nail the proper way to make coasters—the embossing powder that I used melted when people would put warm cups on them, thereby defeating the purpose of having a coaster—but I still had all of the materials.  I thought it might be fun to try and make some note cards with our daughter.  While nothing we made was nearly as fancy as what I saw in the catalog, both she and I were thrilled with our projects.  I’m planning to order a few Christmas stamps and different colors of ink so that we can make gift tags for gifts and maybe even our own wrapping paper. 

I’m not really all that crafty.  I come by it naturally.  My paternal grandmother was the only one out of all of her sisters who didn’t regularly sew, and when my mother was newly married there is a famous story of her becoming so frustrated with a sewing machine that she threw it away.  I had people around who were willing to teach me, but I never was that inspired to give it a go.  I’ve taken a few classes here and there, and I enjoy quilting.  The problem is that I’m erratic in my crafting.  I’ll put it away for months and then pull it out again and make a quilt in a day or 40 rice bags to give as gifts.   I’m not one to enjoy the process of crafting but rather the end result. 

Now that our daughter is getting older things might change.  I want her to know how to knit and crochet and how to use a sewing machine and…  Perhaps she’ll be the good influence on me that inspires me to craft more. 

What are you crafting?  How do you use your crafts to save money?  Do you give them as gifts or sell your work? 

Below are a few craft tips I’ve picked up from friends:

  • Watch for deals on craft materials at estate sales and yard sales.  Sometimes you can even find free things on Craig’s List and Freecycle. 
  • Use coupons from craft stores to reduce your OOP expense.  There are regularly 40% off coupons for 1 item in store circulars in the Sunday paper.
  • Share with friends.  I have friends who knit together.  They share ideas, knitting books and patterns, and tips. 
  • Buy in bulk with friends.  The same friends who I mentioned above will go in on bulk orders of yarn to save on shipping.
  • Repurpose.  Sometimes I’ll save pretty sweaters or shirts that might have a stain on them.  I’ll cut away the parts that I can’t use and make a pillow or rice bag out of the other parts. (In case you are wondering what rice bags are, click the link to learn how to make them.  They are basically an old fashioned heating pad). 
  • Take advantage of free classes.  Sometimes craft stores will offer free classes.  I guess they figure that if you start crafting, you’ll buy more at their store.  You can also find free classes at local senior centers and libraries. 
  • Use group buying sites to score deals on classes and gift certificates.  I’ve seen deals every so often at sites like Groupon and Living Social. 

Any other tips you’d like to share about crafting?  I’d love to hear them!  Be sure to add them to the comments section.

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