Sunday, January 25, 2009

Being Creative on the Cheap

Last month I bought a handful of "special" holiday cards to accompany gift cards for my family members. When the cashier rang these cards up, I nearly fell over. I'd spent nearly $20 on greeting cards. Umph. I'm far too cheap for that. I vowed, "Never again!"

So last week I was in Target. (That's TAR-GZEY in case you're sounding it out.) I found a package of 50 blank, brightly colored cards with matching envelopes for $14 and change. Now I can easily make cards, but I hate making envelopes. This packet was right up my alley.

To make the whole shooting match even thriftier, I decided to challenge myself. I decided I would only use materials from my "extra" stash box. (At least, I'd start with my extras and then add to them, as I needed more loot.) See, I keep a cheap plastic container on my scrapbooking table, and when I make an extra embellishment or cut too many letters or whatever, I toss the extra in my stash box.

Over the course of an hour, I was able to create 8 fun greeting cards using my new blank cards and my "extras." Even more fun, because I'd challenged myself to start with the old homeless pieces, I had to really be creative. I had to look at all the old stuff with new eyes.

The cards don't have sayings on the outside of most of them, but that's fantastic. I can customize them for whatever occasion comes up!

And not only do I now have a fun new set of cards, but I also cleared away some of my old odds and ends.

What do you think? How about challenging yourself? Use up your leftover materials and stretch your creative muscle.


Camille Minichino said...

I love to use up supplies like that, Joanna! Such a good feeling. The activity stretches your mind as well as your budget, and also the product is so special.

Your samples are wonderful!

Ellen said...

I do the same, by different methods. As a publisher sort, I have layout programs, lots of images on my computer, and a capable color printer. So I got some nice cream paper, and matching envelopes.

No variety on the input, plenty on the output. And for Christmas, I send out a small magazine.

Monica Ferris said...

I've been using leftover yarn to practice my crochet. Pretty soon I'll be good enough to start making dishwash cloths and potholders. It does feel good to use up the "orphans" in my stash drawer.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

See? Thrifty is fun. I love knowing I'm using "waste" materials. In fact, I've been running a feature in my ezines on recycling for scrapbookers. And stretching our creativity by working outside our comfort zone is just an additional plus.