Monday, July 15, 2013

A Crafty Shopping Trip

Yesterday I spoiled myself a little bit. I made a trip to Michael's craft store to find supplies for my crafting projects. I try not to spend much money on my hobbies at all, so everything I bought was within strict limits. I love going to craft stores. I feel like I'm in a toy store for grownups. I just want to buy everything and try everything all at once. So I try to buy only stuff that can be used to make actual useful items. I'm not on the financial level to make art just for art's sake, so I'm going with things that can actually save me money on something I'd otherwise have to buy ready at the store at this point. If I buy it, it's got to serve a purpose, and I prefer if that purpose is more than just decorative. I'm not yet a skilled enough crafter that I'd want to decorate my home with stuff I've made myself, and when you're on a budget, useful ought to come before decorative. So I would buy supplies to create or embellish clothing for my children to actually wear, but not stuff like polymer clay, which I love working with, but serves no practical purpose.
So what did I actually buy? First of all I bought some elastic, as I've got some sewing projects in the works, which I'll share later on. Also, I bought a navy blue Sharpie marker. I wanted a fabric marker, truthfully, but I couldn't find a navy blue colored one that wasn't part of a larger multipack, which cost more than I was willing to spend when I just needed the one color. I needed it for two reasons, one because I have an awesome shirt embellishment project in mind to use it for, and two because I had a little bleach spatter accident involving my son's best pair of navy blue shorts and I'm hoping to use the marker to repair that damage and save the shorts. I hate hate hate bleach and try to avoid using it at all costs. The smell makes me nauseous and no matter how careful I try to be, I seem to come to grief very frequently when using it. But in this case it was unavoidable, hence the nasty byproduct.
I also bought some tiny jewelry making parts (findings) called crimps. These are little metal tubes used to seal off the ends of beaded jewelry so the beads don't fall off the wire or cord. You slip them over the wire and pinch them closed with a special tool that creates a groove down the center and then pinches the two upper edges of the groove together so it's a round tube again, with the wire pinched in the groove at the center of it. I have some beaded pieces that have fallen apart, and I'm thinking that this way I can repair them by myself rather than throw them out or have them done by a professional repair place.
I had so many other items in my shopping cart as I walked around the store, but before checking out I forced myself to give up some of my project ideas and pare down to the bare minimum. There were some things on my shopping list that I didn't end up finding, so I'll have to go somewhere else if I want to use those things. But I did buy some things I was planning NOT to buy. I was checking out the clearance aisle and there were some rolls of colorful striped ribbon on sale for $.49 a roll, so I bought two, a wider one and a narrower one. I know they'll make adorable hair accessories. Then, I found myself in the ribbon aisle. I was going to pass right through, because I have a nice stash at home now, but then I happened to notice 3/8" wide grosgrain ribbon in many colors on a 10 yard roll for $2. At my local trimming store, this kind of ribbon sells for $.85 a yard. Ribbon is something I use a lot lately, since I like kids' hair accessories to match the outfit they're wearing, and bows and such tend to be really expensive - $4 for a simple grosgrain ribbon bow, and upwards from there, at least around where I live. As mentioned previously, I'm working on learning to do ribbon sculptures, and have also done quite a few bows and flowers with ribbon. So ribbon gets used a lot, and at that price, I wasn't going to leave it there. I originally snatched four rolls, but one must have stayed behind in the shopping cart, because I didn't find it when I got home and unpacked, and the receipt shows I only paid for 3 rolls. Too bad.
I also got a little package of fake pearls in different sizes. I plan to use them as centers for fabric flowers. Ditto for a pack of rhinestones. I also got two more sheets of felt, in white and pink, for making hair accessories and other stuff. My local store sells them for $.69 a sheet, here I got them for $.33. And they are a nice heftier variety than the type I've bought before. I also threw in a roll of double-sided scotch tape, useful for so many things.
One crafty thing I've done quite a few of is woven friendship bracelets, also called macrame. These are made by knotting colored cord in different patterns to create different designs. I learned to do it last year and found it very enjoyable, and a relaxing way to kill time, especially on long car rides and other situations where I tend to get edgy. I use the method to create other things as well as bracelets. I made a wide chevron patterned one to use as a pacifier holder for my baby, for example. I also think they would make great shoulder straps for handbags, belts, shoelaces, and headbands. I'm been planning to teach my daughter to make them also. I  think maybe by now she might just be old enough. I like to use colorful six-strand cotton embroidery thread for my designs, and on my shopping trip I found a package of 34 skeins of thread in tons of colors for $3.99. I've already started a bracelet to match my daughter's new purple t-shirt. It's a plain, basic candy stripe, the first type you usually learn, but with a nice pattern I thought would look really interesting. Six strands, two dark purple, two light purple, one black, one white. I'm doing the two purple rows near each other, resulting in one wide purple band. then one black, then one wide light purple, then one white. Looks cool so far!
I also (finally!) bought some fusible adhesive. I've wanted this for a long time, and have a few uses in mind for it. My local store doesn't carry it at all. In addition, I bought a gorgeous cream-colored burlap flower clip, just because I loved it. Some people splurge on shoes, clothes, or jewelry...this was mine. For $2.99, I don't think it was unreasonable. It'll make a nice hair accessory.
I also picked up some goodies for the kids - a pack of initialed notecards with  matching envelopes for my daughter to write letters on, and some washable watercolor paints for my son. He's been desperate to paint ever since my mother-in-law sent my daughter an art kit containing watercolors. I wouldn't let him try them because I don't trust him with non-washable paints, and though he got his own present, all he has wanted was to paint like his sister. And now everyone's happy.

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