Sharing my search for inexpensive crafts, craft storage and general craft therapy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Splurge Worthy

I am cheap - very, very cheap.  I don't pay retail on very many things and often turn away from crafting products that I deem too expensive even if I think they are gorgeous.  I am also pretty creative.  I can make some really cute things out of the cheapest supplies imaginable and I like to hand-make my own card and scrapbooking embellishments if it means saving a few bucks.

Over the years, I have discovered, though, that some things are what I deem "splurge-worthy."  These are items that are of such high quality and usefulness that I go to them over and over.  This makes the per use cost minimal even if I spent more at the outset.

High quality crafting tools are an investment.  When it comes to quality paper punches, Martha Stewart's cannot be beat.  Not only are the designs intricate and beautiful, but they cut clean every time.  I am especially fond of Martha Stewart border punches and I reach for mine over and over.  They command a premium but they are simply worth more than other punches I have tried.  Of course, I still use a coupon and if they go on clearance?  I am so there!

I am less picky about stamps - rubber, foam or acrylic - and have been known to buy every brand imaginable if I liked the design.  I find that they give a unique feel and texture I can work with even when they are cheap.

Still, we all know which stamp brands command a premium for a reason.  You've already seen that I love The Stamps of Life - clever clever clever use of multi-step stamping and I use them often.  Totally splurge-worthy.

I also love Close to My Heart stamps.  I'll buy them when I can get a special (buy two get one 50% off, etc), but if I find them on Craigslist for $2 per set, sign me up!!!  (Yes, I found 26 sets on Craigslist for less than $2 per set - some were used, but that doesn't change how they function.)

My newest splurge-worthy?  High quality cardstock.  I used to happily pass the Bazzil booth at the CKC convention - yikes, the prices!  But, I've now gotten a real taste for the stuff.  Bought some through Craigslist and used it for a couple projects.  Let's be honest, Bazzil card stock is just pretty.  OK, so I'll still hold out for a Craigslist Bazzil haul.  Fortunately, I've got enough on hand to satisfy my Bazzil craving - for awhile.

What's "splurge-worthy" for you?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Toy

I'm having fun with my new toy - my Making Memories Slice die cut machine.
I know it is a little late for holiday cards, but I had some holiday colored
Bazzil scraps that just begged to be cut.

I used The Stamps of Life Penguins4Christmas and Butterfly2Build sets,
some embossing powder and bling to decorate the negative cut of a present.

Thought it came out pretty cute.  Can't wait for some new design cards for
more fun with my Slice machine!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How to be a Miser

I am a big fan of discount stores like Big Lots and Tuesday Morning.  They are generally a good deal in comparison to retail for the same brand but certain brands charge a premium - some deservedly so and some not so much.

I find it is always important to have a price point in mind of what I am willing to pay for an item.  My rule of thumb is no more than 10 cents per sheet of scrapbook paper/cardstock; less than $10 for a full scrapbook kit (12x 12 album included); $1 for a sheet of stickers (5x7); $6 for a sheet of acrylic stamps (5x7), etc.  This keeps me from going overboard even when the product is adorable.  I'm not tempted by a price tag that boasts 40% off retail.  Retail is often over-priced.

My latest toy is one example.  My local Tuesday Morning has had the original Making Memories Slice starter kit (with embossing tips, embossing mat, 3 pens/pen tips, etc.) for $129.  Original retail was $149.  It went on clearance for $99.  Score, right?  Not really.  It is not their newest model.  I just couldn't justify a hundred bucks especially since I would have to invest even more money in design cards to make the Slice really useful.

So, I waited and waited and this President's Day, Tuesday Morning offered an additional 40% off clearance prices.  I grabbed it and am very glad I did.  The little machine works great and there are good Ebay deals on the older design cards ($10 per versus the original retail of $50).  All good things to those who wait!  Skrimp N Skrap!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Craigslist Addict

I love Craigslist.  I mean I really LOVE Craigslist  It is such a great place to pick up scrapbooking supplies in bulk.  Oh and it's also a great place to get a 5th wheel RV, a truck to tow the 5th wheel RV, an oak futon and a dog - yes, I said it, got one of my dogs through Craigslist and couldn't be happier.  Her name is Millie and she is almost the sweetest dog I've ever met - a pitbull mix by the way.  They get such an unfair rep.

Anyway, this is about scrapbooking!  So, what have I gotten on Craiglist in the way of scrapbooking?  First, I got a mega haul from a lady who was getting out of doing customized home decor projects:  ~500 sheets of 12x12 patterned paper, ~100 sheets of neutral 8.5x11 cardstock, over 50 wood mount stamps, a heat gun, a huge divided organizer full of metal embellishments, ~10 embossing powders (nearly full), a few decorative scissors and punches..truthfully, I can't even remember it all.  I just remember taking several trips to my car and it only cost me $84.  Then, calling on another ad got me 5 cropper hoppers (~1000 sheets of 12x12 and some 8.5x11) full of Bazzils solids and patterned paper/cardstock.  That cost me $60.

This past Friday was my latest find, a lady was clearing out inventory from her on-line store in a garage sale.  For $37...yes, just $37, I got a gallon sized bag full of chip-board letters/numbers, 3 foam stamp sets, 2 Tim Holtz sets of embossing folders, a 7 Gypsies border punch set, 2 large and 6 small acrylic stamp sets, 2 stencils, 5 packs of 6 paper flowers each, 2 packs of overlay shapes, 1 pack of ephemera chipboard, 3 packs Thickers, 4 sets of rub-ons, 7 sheets of 2D stickers, 1 vellum quote book, 12 packs of brads/bling/buttons, 6 packs with 1 yard each of 6 different ribbons/trims, 3 journal tag books and 6 packs dimensional stickers.  Whew!  The lady running the sale just kept bringing me bags to stash my stuff.  So embarrassing...hi, I'm Laurel and I'm a crafting hoarder.  Who cares.  It was great stuff and jaw-dropping prices.  Here are just a few pics.  Sorry the picture quality is so bad.

I know what you are thinking...yeah, I'm getting a great deal, but the people I buy from often paid retail.  So, I'm getting them to subsidize my hobby.

Well, I look at it this way, everyone makes purchases they regret.  Then, those purchases sit around, taking up space and staring at them making them feel guilty.  So, really, I'm helping them get the stuff out of their space and giving them back some of their investment.  I make it a point not to try to talk them down on price.  I know what things are worth retail and what they are worth to me.  If the person has their ad priced out of my range, I don't bother to call.  I want both parties to feel good about the transaction.

So, now all this stuff can sit around my house, taking up my space and staring at me.  I just don't feel guilty about it.  Skrimp N SKRAP!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Skrap Card

Made this card out of scrap paper from my "leftovers" file, the new The Stamps of Life Umbrella4You set, a bit of ribbon from Michael's and very inexpensive buttons I got from a small 98 cent store.  Total cost, not including the stamp set I will use over and over, less than $1.  Can't beat that, even at Walmart!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Craft Candy

I love seeing all of the creative ways that crafters store their goodies.  I especially love to see them stored in pretty glass jars.  I call it craft yummy.

But, true to my blog name, I do not want to spend a lot on those pretty glass jars.
Here are the ones I found for my craft room. 

All but the jars in the last picture are from the Dollar Tree.
These are not something they keep in stock and they go fast.
Be on the look out at your local store.  They are worth the wait!

I use them to store silk flowers, ribbons, buttons and other odds and ends.
They make me smile just to look at them and certainly serve as inspiration.

I could find more space-efficient storage, but it would probably make my product less visible.
I need visibility to remember to use my stash!  Besides...jars are so pretty!

The jars in the next picture are from Walmart (bottom back), clearance Bazzils through and, obviously, old baby food jars.  Wish I could get more baby food jars but my kids are 9.  Baby food jars make great small flower storage.

Wish I hadn't bought the Walmart jars - got them before finding the ones at the Dollar Tree - they were $1.99 each which is not bad but not great considering they are smaller than the ones I got for $1.
Oh well.  They are still nice.

I hear a lot of folks get jars from Ikea.  They have a nice selection - especially if you want something really large, but Dollar Tree is generally cheaper for small to mid-sized jars.
Goodwill and other thrift stores are also a great option.

Looking at my pics here, I'm thinking, jars could use a little more bling.  Guess I need to break out some pretty tag supplies and make some labels.  So many Skrimp N Skrap projects, so little time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Skrimp N Skrappy Gifts

This year, with the best of intentions, I decided to make all my holiday gifts.  Well, that goal was a little easier said than done, but I was able to finish a few projects that I am particularly proud of.

I found this collage frame during one of my Goodwill 50%-off-day trips.  It was a little beat up but a decent price (around $4).  I touched it up with black Sharpie, added matted pictures of my girls and then embellished with with some chipboard letters/shapes, metal letters and some silk flowers with large rhinestone centers.  I really like the way it turned out and it made a nice gift for my dad.

My mom has been trying to set up her craft room and has really struggled on how to organize it.  I came across this adorable spice rack during my Goodwill trip for a couple bucks - although it wasn't this adorable when I found it.

I painted it with some leftover trim paint from my girls' bedroom, added a painted wooden flower shape (Dollar Tree), decoupaged some paper scraps onto it and then hot glued some flower (Dollar Tree) and butterfly embellishments (Creating Keepsake Convention bulk buy).  I added the little silver buckets - got tons of these at Goodwill for just a few bucks, too.  Then my daughter tied on little bits of ribbon to the handles.  Too cute and a great addition to Mom's craft room wall for small embellishment storage!

I also found the large shelf unit below for about $5 at Goodwill, but it was set up very strangely.  The top silver bar did not leave much room for hanging anything and the bottom one was originally across the top shelf.  So, at my daughter's suggestion - she's very crafty, by the way - I had my husband drill new holes to move the bar down so that it could accommodate ribbon.  Then, my daughter suggested that I hang more of the metal buckets on the nearly useless upper bar.  She is just too smart!

Sitting on the top shelf - and intended to hang on the wall once installed - are three wooden "baskets" from the Dollar Tree.  I also painted them and added wooden cutouts, decoupage, flowers and butterflies to match the spice rack.  I am just thrilled with how everything turned out and it probably cost me about $25 for everything!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pushing My Comfort Zone

I've been doing some "sperimentin'" lately.  I totally love cards and scrapbook pages with lots of ephemera and pattern mixes done by other people but when I work on my own, I stick with simple, symmetrical, matchy-matchy and, well, boring.  With the best of intentions, I will pile on a bunch of embellishments and patterns and then...slowly take them away, one by one, until I am back to simple, symmetrical, matchy-matchy and, well, boring.

I say, BORING NO MORE!  I am committed to interesting.  I am committed to leaving the multiple patterns and the bunches of ephemera!  I refuse to listen to that symmetry-loving dictator in my head!

This card is the closest I have come to living this vision.  Notice the patterns!  Notice the off-set!  Notice the - gasp - completely unrelated use of purple in the flower, rhinestones and ribbon when it can be found no where on the paper!  Okay the dark stripes on the background paper are almost purple - but not quite.
This was a real stretch for me.  My twin daughters stood by my side, cheering me on as I permanently glued the pieces in place.  And, guess what?  I kinda like it.  So I still only put a couple embellishments on this steps, right?
Flower and sentiment:  thanks4oneyear from The Stamps of Life by Stephanie Barnard 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Check These Out

As I mentioned in my welcome post, I am a Dollar Tree regular.  Here is totally why...

Got 8 packs of these dimensional stickers for a dollar a pack.  I think they are gorgeous.  I'm not the only I was checking out, another shopper asked me where I got those beautiful stickers.  I happily told her.  And now I'm telling all of you...check out your local Dollar Tree often.  It is like a treasure hunt!

A closer look at each package:

How cute would these be on a simple card or scrapbook page?  Check out the dimension and detail in the larger photos below!

They are a great example on where you can save money to spend on other things.  Imagine what these cost in the big box craft stores.  I love those stores too, but they would bankrupt me if I bought this volume of stuff there!

Skrimp and Skrap!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I am a Stamps of Life Fan

Thought I'd share a quick card idea today.  This one is pretty simple but highlights a wonderful stamp design company...The Stamps of Life by Stephanie Barnard.  If you haven't checked them out, you really should.

Stephanie does a fantastic job both with her stamp designs and incredibly entertaining videos.  Her stamps are total "go to" tools for me and they are reasonably priced as well:  $10.95 each if you are a member and only $12.95 if not.

Stephanie's strength is designing stamps for multi-step stamping.  Most stamps sets come with an outline stamp and a matching background stamp for the primary design.  As you can see from the flower below, the set came with outlines as well as multiple petal/leaf patterns.  

I love the 3 dimensional effect possible with these stamps.  A little fussy-cutting and voila!  Now Stephanie is adding on dies for use with her stamps - even better!

Stephanie's stamps are an investment in versatile crafting.  There is no end to the possibilities using her products!  If you are looking for the sets used with this card, they are:


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Crafting Cred

As a new crafting blogger, it is time to build some Crafting Cred (like "street cred" just for crafts).  In other words, share some of my projects to prove I don't just collect (hoard), organize and store craft supplies.  (Although my daughter did express shock that I was willing to part with so much of my beloved stash to make this baby scrapbook!)

Here is an envelope mini that I built from left over invitation envelopes from my wedding (seventeen years ago).  They were still pristine white so I figure they are acid-free after all this time!

Please forgive the photo quality - I'm a crafter not a photographer but I promise to get better!

The envelopes were made from a white paper embossed with flowers and leaves.  I inked them with a pink pad, intending this to be a baby girl photo display.  I made all of the double mats from scrap paper I had on hand and then added some additional embellishments made from the same scrap paper.  Finally, I added rhinestones, crystals, ribbon, silk/felt flowers and metal fasteners from EK Success. 

All of the supplies were purchased on clearance/sale, from dollar stores or in bulk at the CKC convention.  The whole display probably cost me less than $3 not including my tools - which I also only buy dirt cheap (buy them cheap, not buy cheap tools - smile). Skrimp and Skrap!