Nana has tales to tell, and thoughts to share.

Frugal Craftiness

Like so many other folks, I enjoy various hobbies in the Arts and Crafts department.  Let’s see; I’ve dabbled in sewing, crocheting, knitting, quilting, calligraphy, card making, photography, framing, woodworking, painting, home decorating, stenciling, floral arranging, and collecting collectables.  I’d be hard pressed to say which is my favorite.  I’ve enjoyed them all.

In my attempt to partake in any crafty hobbies, I have run in to several road blocks.  Years ago when I had 4 little ones zooming around the house, I found it very difficult to engage in my crafts all by myself.  The kids always wanted to join in on the fun.  Of course, I now have some very crafty kids.  When I was teaching school, I never had time for creative hobbies.  My crafty outlet was creating bulletin boards, and interesting lesson plans.  After 20 years of teaching, I am  semi-retired and have lots of time for enjoying  hobbies.  But that leads to another problem.  I have time, but I don’t have money. And as most of us realize, hobbies can be rather expensive.

Did you realize that what we often refer to as hobbies, or arts and crafts, use to be necessary chores in the old days?  Candle making, soap making, ceramics, pottery, sewing, crocheting, knitting, quilting, calligraphy, woodworking, and on and on.  Interesting.  I wonder what our great grandparents would think of their frugal chores being expensive hobbies today.

So, how does one enjoy hobbies with out the need to spend lots of money? Frugality partnered with craftiness.  My sister-in-law loves to crochet, but good quality yarn can be expensive.  She goes to thrift stores and buys sweaters or afghans  made of good yarn.  She buys them for a pittance,  then takes them home and unravels the sweater or blanket.  She rolls up all the unraveled yarn, and she’s good to go on another project.  Thrift stores are great places to find material for sewing.  If not by the yardage, then clothing items, sheets, or  table cloths, that can be cut apart and the material used for another project.

I cut apart my daughter’s Confirmation dress and made a baptismal gown for her first baby.

There were times when I got the itch to paint.  Paint, brushes, and canvas runs into some serious money.  So I looked around the house for things that I could paint.Hey, my very ugly and chipped  base-boards under my kitchen counters could serve as a canvas for my creative urges.

Our old dining room table that we bought at a farm auction for $5 was really looking like an old farm table worth $5.  For this piece of canvas, I enlisted the talents of  my artistic daughter.

My daughter’s version of Apple Blossoms, by Georgia O”Keefe

If you are like me, and like to paint; just look around your home!  There are so many possibilities for some frugal, crafty painting.  How about stenciling your walls, (or baseboard)?  Got an ugly trash can that would benefit from some art work?  Painting lamp shades is an easy and simple way to change the ambiance of any room.

Several years ago I got into a hankering for sewing totes and purses.  I like to change my purse now and then.  But they are too expensive to buy, so I began making my own.  I had neighbors who worked in a furniture factory, so I asked them if they ever had upholstery scraps that could come to my house instead of the dumpster.  I ended up with a large cabinet filled with all sorts of upholstery.  Five years later, I’m down to a tote of material.  I got a lot of use out of those throw away scraps!

A knitting bag for my daughter.

Even today, I have the sewing itch, but not the finances for purchasing patterns and materials.  However, I do have a few scraps, and a granddaughter whose baby dolls need new outfits.  I think I see another way to soothe my itch!

So, there you are.  Just a few examples of how to enjoy crafting without breaking the bank.  Figuring out how to make a craft frugally just may be half the fun of the project!


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