Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Am Not Dead, and a Clay Tutorial

Just trying to finish writing a novel. I simply lack the headspace I need to actually do all the projects I have planned, let alone photograph and blog them. I'm hoping this is a temporary situation.

I'm also a little burned out from the Christmas Knitting. Nothing is fun when there's a deadline looming. So I've decided to start keeping a gift stash--a bag of finished items I can simply hand over when the time comes. They won't be made with the recipient in mind in most cases, but they won't be imbued with all the stress vibes I send out when working under pressure either.

I suggest you do the same for the sake of sanity, as well as frugality. You can buy supplies on sale instead of 2 weeks before someone's birthday. Plus, you'll be able to hand over a gift without thinking, "You damn well better like this thing because I was pulling my hair out over getting it done on time."

Until I get my brain and mojo back, I'll be linking to other people's clever tutorials.

Marie Grace, of Marie Grace Designs shared a fantastic tutorial for making homemade clay and turning it into Christmas tree ornaments. I can imagine this would also work for making a bunch of non-holiday ornaments to be hung around the house as well. Or make a batch of clay and make 1 or 2 for each holiday throughout the year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frugal Crafters Do It With Duct Tape

Ooh, I may need to put that on a t-shirt.

So I bought myself a new winter coat at the end of last winter because my old coat was driving me crazy. It's a puffy-on-the-inside dealy, so mostly, I got fed up with feeling so bulky everywhere I went. But although the coat was in pretty good shape, the cuffs were a mess and I decided I'd had enough with looking shabby.

I mean, c'mon. Look at that.

But the new coat I bought was wool and the first time this fall when a strong wind cut right through it, I decided it was time to figure out how to fix my old coat. Cut off the raggedy cuffs? Knit some sort of cover? Drag the thing to the tailor looking for suggestions? What did they do back in old timey times? If I knew how to sew I'd know. Why didn't I learn in anticipation of this very situation?

And then it hit me. I own black duct tape. I used it to repair the strap of my backpack and it's held up nicely.

So I cut short bits of tape and wrapped them over the edge of the cuff in a not really scalloped effect. I also did the edge of the coat and the trim of the pockets.

Here are 2 shots showing the before and after.

Behold! The finished product.

It's been holding up fine. The trim on the pockets has started to come off, since it was so narrow to start with. I can live with that. If I can get the duct tape cuffs to hold up for the whole season, I'll consider it a major victory. If I have to re-do them in January, I'll still be pretty happy.

It's enough to make me want to apply to Tim Gunn's Guide to Style just to see his face when he peeks in the closet and finds my duct tape coat.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Can Make That

The Long Thread has a post about store-bought toys that she and you could make at home for much less money.

Have a look and let me know--what fancy thing do you see in stores that you could make yourself?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Craft Leftovers

If you're into Frugal Crafting (and of course y ou are because why else are you here?), then you should visit Craft Leftovers. Kristin shares many projects that you can make with things you probably already have. You can also subscribe to her Craft Leftovers Monthly and get, among other things, reclaimed craft supplies.

Just this week, she gives a good review of Martha Stewart's Holiday magazine and says that many of the projects do not require shopping for anything. Repeat, you can make these projects without having to run out and buy Martha Stewart brand glitter. (I initially typed "bran glitter". I wonder if that would be shiny, edible stuff you put on your food to add fiber, or inedible craft supplies made from bran. Thoughts?)

And then she has a tutorial on quilling leaves, which I may be attempting to try myself. It's a challenge to come up with new handmade holiday gifts every year and these might do the trick, provided that I can make them without ending up in a tangle of paper and glue.

And today, she's posted a free template for paper snowflakes.

So go visit. And if anyone subscribes to the Craft Leftovers Monthly, I'd love to hear how you're liking your monthly package. I don't subscribe myself since I have too many craft supplies already. I dream of a day when I've worked my way through all this stuff, so that I can subscribe (and re-accumulate a copious craft supply stash through a variety of methods).

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giveaway Winners & Thanksgiving Crafts

Congratulations to Amber/Rayne and Kenyetta. Since there were only 2 entries, I'll be sending the Seasonique case that's ready now to Amber/Rayne and Kenyetta will get the one that'll be ready in a 2 months.

Thanks for playing, ladies.

Stay tuned for more frugal crafts, including more using excessive pharmaceutical packaging.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mini-Photo Album and a Giveaway

One of my biggest pet peeves, and a large motivation in starting Frugal Crafters is how much plastic we're bombarded with that can't be or just isn't recycled. My biggest annoyance comes from the pharmaceutical industry. Now, I know that they want my pills to get to me undamaged, but I wish they'd give a thought to how much they're making me add to landfill. 

I used to be on monthly birth control pills, the kind that come in a plastic case with a dial in the middle. The pills themselves came in a foil pack that could be snapped in and removed when it was done. Yet, I was given a new pink plastic case almost every single month. Sometimes I was able to give it back to the pharmacist successfully, but if they had placed the prescription sticker on the plastic, they made me take it even though they could've easily removed the sticker and put it on the foil pack like they did other times.

And so years passed and I threw away a lot of plastic and my doctor put me on the pills where you get your period only 4 times a year. They come in cases with 3 months of pills. They look like this:

To me it looked like a little book. So when I finished up one case, I turned it into a little photo album. 

I made a photo album from my birth control pill case.

Oh, yes I did.

First, a closer look at  the pages.

So one side could have a picture slid into it and the other side had some flat spots where I could glue a picture. Add the inside front and back covers, and that means 8 pictures.

I popped out the foil packs and threw them away. I also gave the case a good cleaning since it had been sitting on my bathroom sink for 3 months.

Next, the pictures. I decided to use some photos of food from my honeymoon. My husband and I roll that way--looking at these pictures makes us sigh with the memories.  Besides, my mom didn't go to all the trouble of finding the perfect mother-of-the-bride dress just to have a photo of her wearing it end up inside a former birth control pill case. 

After selecting the pictures, I edited them online at picnik.com. I cropped them and re-sized them. To figure out the correct size, I went to auctionrepair.com to see how many pixels big my picture should be to print out the correct dimensions. (I used the default option of 75 dpi on the page when converting.)

I pasted the pictures into an MS Word document, so that I could get as many on each page as possible to minimize the amount of wasted photo paper.

I printed, trimmed and either popped or glued the photos in place. The glue soaked through the photo paper I used, so I'd suggest using double-sided tape instead.


And now the giveaway. I have another empty case ready to be turned into another photo album and I'll be sending it to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment to enter. I'll draw a name on Wednesday, November 19 at noon, EST. 

You could make a fun little album for yourself, or how about a photo album for a child with pictures of relatives? Or an ABC book or counting book for a child? Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Felted Sweaters

tongfengdemao commented on my post about recycled yarn with this:
Do you know if this will work on a sweater that shrank? I have a cardigan I loved and it shrank and I bet there'd be enough yarn to make a vest that fits.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is No. When a wool sweater (or any knitted item) shrinks in the wash, the individual fibers get matted together and become impossible to pull apart without ripping.

This doesn't mean that a shrunken sweater is garbage. If you don't know anyone small enough to wear it, you could buy an inexpensive teddy bear or doll, dress them in the shrunken sweater and you have a gift.

Or you could cut big squares out of the front and back and stitch them together to make a pillow. Repeat with the sleeves for a smaller pillow.

Ellen of the long thread has done several recycled crafts, including some that involve shrunken sweaters (scroll down). two kitties has quite a few felted sweater projects.

Google "felted sweater" and you'll get tons more ideas.

Any other suggestions?