Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
As the summer draws to a close, we inevitably, wistfully, find ourselves trying to hold onto the last few weeks of the season; enjoying barbecues, picnics, bike riding or just relaxing in the sunshine whenever we have a spare moment. As back-to-school shopping winds down, it is hard to believe that fall is just around the corner. The fall season moves at a frenetic pace, perhaps, because so much of it revolves around homemaking; baking, craft projects, decorating and sprucing up the house in anticipation of the upcoming holidays. Without careful budgeting and organization, all of these activities, no matter how fulfilling (and exhausting!), can quickly put a dent in our household budget.
Whether you make home décor pieces from plastic canvas or crochet your original designs into blankets, sweaters and ponchos to give away as gifts, crafting can quickly become an expensive hobby. However, persistent, organized bargain-hunters who are willing to think “outside of the box” will be able to fund their craft projects at substantial savings.
1. Start planning your projects early. Determine the type of materials you need and the quantity.
2. Gather and organize mail circulars and keep track of any on-going sales and clearances at large arts and crafts supply stores and hobby retailers. Shop at dollar stores or closeouts. Stock up on key staples such as beads, boxes, buttons, felt, glass jars, glue, needlepoint and plastic canvas, yarn and other supplies. Purchase in bulk whenever you can.
3. Shopping online from your favorite retailers may yield additional discounts. You can also exercise the option to sign up for their free newsletter or email alerts that can inform of you of special promotions or offers.
4. Do not just limit your hunt for craft supplies to retail stores and craft fairs. Consider purchasing yarn and craft supplies at rummage sales, house or yard sales. Shopping at consignment shops is another alternative. Holding a crafts supply swap can enable you save money and provide an opportunity to meet new people and exchange ideas with fellow crafters. For nature arts and crafts, you can purchase a wide range of materials at fairs organized by lapidary organizations and “rockhound” clubs.
5. Recyclable craft projects. Making items from “throw-aways” or recyclable materials can open a new window in terms of creativity and purpose. Getting the kids involved in recyclable craft projects not only encourages their imagination but can also spark their interest in green living and environmental issues. Virtually any scrap or remnant can be used to create a multitude of decorative and practical items. One can easily find a new purpose for dryer lint, juice cartons, old corduroy slacks, denim jeans, socks and various clothing, plaid material cut from discarded tablecloths or shirts, fur scraps clipped from outdated winter jackets or coats, tissue boxes, used wrapping paper and wallpaper samples.
6. You can avoid spending money on craft patterns by obtaining free patterns online. Vintage patterns can be found in old crafts books and magazines. Browse the websites of yarn manufacturers as they may also offer free craft patterns.
Helpful Links/Info; crafting for charity, community service, etc.
American Needlepoint Guild Inc., needlepoint.org
Annie’s Attic, anniesattic.com
Coats & Clark, coatsandclark.com
Crochet Guild of America, crochet.org
Lion Brand Yarn, lionbrand.com
Red Heart, redheart.com
The American Sewing Guild, asg.org
The Knitting Guild Association, tkga.com