Category Archives: crafts

I’m Going Into Collections

I bet you thought this was a post about a bill I didn’t pay. As if! Instead, this is an article about collecting things as a hobby.

Collecting can be fun, educational, and sometimes profitable. But some collections are prohibitively expensive both in terms of money spent, and the wasteful amount of stuff one acquires. Not to mention the toxic “collect them all” mindset that can plague compulsive collectors.

For a collection to be frugal, it needs to meet the following three criteria.  Collectables must be…

  1. Cheap or free to acquire
  2. Easy to store
  3. Useful to own

Examples of frugal collections:

  • Shells, or other beautiful artifacts from travel (be sure to Leave No Trace in protected areas)
  • Postcards (Mrs. Foundry collects these)
  • Keychains (The Mini Foundries collect these)

Examples of non-frugal collections*:

  • Guns (fails test 2)
  • Sports cars (fails tests 1 and 2)
  • Antique bureaus (fails tests 1, 2, and 3)

When I was a boy, I collected pins and baseball cards. I was unwittingly part of the baseball card bubble of the early 1990s, which means crafty grownups got rich on my allowance money. Pins are a great frugal collection, but baseball cards are in a frugal grey area (at best), since they’re inexpensive (unless you have a taste for Babe Ruth rookie cards) and easy to store, but not very useful on their own.

Now I collect two things: bookmarks and rubber-bands. The latter I store in an ever-growing rubber-band ball, which I admit is very silly in a Peewee Herman kind of way. But they come in handy now and then for craft projects and grouping stuff.

On the other hand, the bookmark collection is over 20 years in the making and very dear to me. Since I’m an avid reader, it comes in handy literally every day. It’s fun to sort though the collection and choose a bookmark that fits the book. They were mostly free (from bookstores) and the collection easily fits in a small box. People who know me bring back bookmarks from trips. It’s a very easy way to get on my good side.

You can even make your own bookmarks, like the ones pictured above. Try doing that with sports cars! Does anyone else have interesting collections?

The most frugal collection, of course, is money. Collect enough of that and you can retire, which will give you plenty of time to start many other frugal collections!

* I have nothing against cars, furniture, or guns. I own all three. I’m talking specifically about collecting lots of them.

Turn onesies into t-shirts

Lillia is potty training now, so she can’t wear onesies any longer. It would be a shame to get rid of them, so we just cut off the bottoms and turned them into regular t-shirts. Bam! New wardrobe!

That zig-zag pattern is accomplished by cutting with pinking shears, and it helps prevent the fabric from fraying. If you don’t have a pair of pinking shears, get a solid used pair and they’ll last forever. They probably feature in a craft project at least once a week around here.

(Dudes, I know it has the word “pink” in it, but they’re just scissors with sawtooth blades and that’s pretty manly when you think about it.)

DIY Halloween Crafts

Americans plan to spend an estimated $6.9 billion this year on Halloween decorations, costumes, and candy. To put that into perspective, the Titanic was built for about the same price (in 1910 dollars).

DIY candy is out of my league, but here’s a cute DIY decorations craft project: egg carton bats.

Just take an egg carton, cut it into 3-egg sections, and trim it into the approximate shape of a bat. Paint it black, then add eyes with white paint or stickers. Spooky!

DIY costumes are left as an exercise for the reader…