Saturday, September 24, 2011

Being Crafty doesn't come Cheap.

Sometimes it is cheaper to make things than it is to buy them new, but I have been finding that some things are still cheaper to buy pre-made from the store. Seriously, like quilts, unless you find all the material at 50% off and stockpile a ton of it over the course of the next few months, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars for fabric. You will spend that much at least if you plan to quilt a blanket big enough to cover a real size bed, even for just a twin. I've looked, fabric is not cheap.
A glimpse of my own little crafting space. In my closet.
Like it, check out more about it here.

Another project that is turning out to be not so cost effective for me right now - crocheting a blanket for my daughter's twin bed. By the time I'm done I probably will have spent over $50. That is even with me only buying the yarn when it goes on sale. (you can get yarn cheaper, but it is crap and all scratchy and pills up when you wash it, don't go cheap with yarn if you want it to last)

Lastly, scrapbooking and cardmaking. By the time you buy the stickers/embellishments, papers, and tools, you will have spent way more than you would if you had just gone to the dollar card rack at Walgreen's Pharmacy.
So why do I still craft?

Because handmade is special and making your own stuff is memorable and a form of good pure enjoyment. Sure, I spent like $50 bucks to crochet my daughter's blanket, but when she asks about it when she is old enough to appreciate it fully, I can proudly say that I made it. The project itself has also provided me with a lot of spare-time entertainment. I can watch the prayer room and crochet and sing to the Lord all at the same time. It is truly glorious.

So then why am I making my huge quilt? That will not be cost effective either, will it?
Well this particular quilt is being made out of scraps that have been donated to me over time. I think I've only spent maybe $20 on a few extra fat quarters of fabric. So even though this blanket will fit my King size bed, it will have been achieved at hopefully very little cost to me.
Most quilts however do not end up being so cheap. My last quilt, big enough to suit a toddler bed, I spent over $100 on the fabric, and that was after using my 50% off coupons at Joann's. Still, it is beautiful and my first half way decent looking one. I will treasure it always.

Scrapbooking is another memorable one. Nothing says special like handmade memories set in stylish papers and embellished with love.
Card making is less memorable, because in my opinion a card is only as memorable as what is written in it. A card that is simply sent to a loved one is appreciated for the moment, but is later discarded, but if it has a memorable and loving message handwritten inside, it tends to be cherished longer. So who really cares what is on the outside of the card? Wouldn't it just be cheaper to buy one at the dollar rack at Walgreens?
Well, for most people I would say yes, go to the dollar rack, but if you are also a scrapbooker, then you already have most of what you need to make cards also, so make a few and save that dollar. That is me, the savvy card maker, using scraps from my scrapbooks....most of the time.
Why am I even writing this post?

As a possible rant against all the other crafts that are not cost effective. Like wreath making or silk flower arrangements. I can go buy a silk flower arrangement already made at Big Lots for half the cost of making my own. I can buy my own beautiful wreath already made at Michael's for cheaper than I can buy all the materials to make my own. Unless of course you are use to shopping for these items at places like Crate&Barrel or PotteryBarn, then making your own might be cheaper.
But again, that is not me, I am not the Crate&Barrel, PotteryBarn kind of girl - although I do enjoy looking at their catalogs for inspirations. Still, I can do most of what they do in their catalogs for half the price! It is my opinion that their market must be to the creatively challenged or the extra-time challenged (as in no time to create).

Here are a few more crafts that I find are not cost effective....making your own clothes, painting, crocheting/knitting (even though I do enjoy it enough to fork out the dough), and jewelry making.
Perhaps I have been living in a thrift-world-sort-of-reality for far too long, but I just can not digest the idea of forking out $40 for anything I might want to wear, let alone spend that much to make my own which will take up my time also.

You know what, I think I should just stop there. What is the point of all this rant? My main point has been stated.
It costs a lot to craft! People should craft because they like to craft, not because they think they can make things cheaper than they can buy them in the store.

It is a huge misconception: Don't buy it, you can make it for less.
Most of the time that is a false statement, but one I have fallen into often.

I grew up with a dad that had that as his motto for saving money. Remember those topsy-turvey pony-tail things that easily helped you to flip your ponytail back through itself to make a cool yet simple hairdo. Well I wanted one when I was in grade school and my dad was convinced he could make it. I love my dad, only a man who truly loved me would have went to so much trouble. He was convinced they were a rip off, that they were cheaper to make than what was being charged.
So he found an old ink pen, hot glued a piece of weed whip cord looped into the empty pen and there you have it, a home-made topsy-turvey ponytail thingy. However, the hot glue came loose the first time I used it and it has forever been a joke in our home.  Love you dad, most dads would have just said, "no, we don't have the money right now for that new-fangled thing," but no, you went the extra mile and tried to make what I wanted and although it didn't work, I love you for it.

Back to my point though. Most of the time you can not make what you want for cheaper.
When I realized this, I wondered if I should quit crafting, but to me that felt like I was saying I should stop breathing. So I craft, but with the full knowledge that it is just for fun.
If the store you are looking in is too expensive, don't fool yourself into thinking you can make it for less. Some other store, probably on the wrong side of the tracks, has already thought of that, and they are creating what you want in bulk for half the price you would spend on the supplies. So go on, check out the thrift stores, the discount stores, the less than trendy stores. You will find a smorgasbord of less than perfect and total knock offs of what you were just ogling in that high end store.
I've been there, I've done that! I only go to the trendy, high end stores for things I need in quality (like shoes & bras), and to get inspiration for what I want to look for in the low end and thrift stores.
So, I end with, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle........................and Craft if you must.
I do :-)
By the way, here is my next crafty project, a wreath
made of old book pages.
I can hardly contain my excitement.
Want to make one too, check out the tutorial here.

1 comment:

Jody Aldridge said...

hahahahahahaha...your dad and I are laughing so hard our bellies hurt. I will never forget that...we were so poor and he really did want you to have one, but homemade doesn't always all turn out the way you want it to. Too funny!!!
You know, Katrina, when you give a hand-made gift, you are really giving part of yourself, your heart...that is more valuable than anything else in the world!
Love you bunches, funny girl!
Mom <><