Crafty one you are

Lisa Juilet Mc Donough praises the money-saving power of coloured paper, glue and a little imagination.

Express readers, we are in a time of recession. Though we would all love to be able to spend £300,000 on decorating our flats like Princess Beatrice or have the cash to spend it like Beckham and splash out £80,000 on a handbag for our significant other, the bottom line is, we’re living off noodles and cider from a plastic bottle, and we can’t afford to spoil ourselves or the ones we love.

But, fear not! There is a way we can make our flats beautiful and the ones we love happy at those oh so special occasions in a cost efficient way.  This, my friends, is where the wonder of craft comes in. When we think about crafts what comes to mind? A shower of old ladies painting by numbers? A bunch of children making mother’s day cards out of glitter and pasta?

Well, I hope to break the stigma that seems to be attached to crafts. They can be so much more than just those useless (though cute) trinkets that your little sister brings back from scouts. Be it a pencil holder, a photo frame or cushion covers, you can do it yourself at a fraction of the retail price.

For your flat: Recently friends of mine decorated their sitting room and though there are 4 of them and they shopped exclusively at discount shops, their total came to a whopping €125, that’s over €30 each.  Insanity! So, what do I propose? Firstly, don’t waste your money on paintings or anything like that.  €3 a pop may not seem like a lot but when you’re buying a few of them, it adds up.

Instead but a couple of sheets of card of craft paper and fill them with pictures of friends and family.  Not only will this cost less it could also be a bonding exercise between you and your new roommates! With that you can make bottles into vases with a lick of paint.  Obviously, as students, we can’t afford fresh flowers.  Tissue flowers my friends!  You can find a You Tube tutorial at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFi0tAMbq4s that shows you exactly how to create these tissue flowers.

They’re really fun to make and in your funky painted vase-bottle you can be house proud and it gives you something to do to keep your mind off that essay you haven’t started just yet.  Using old wine bottles as candle holders is a great mood setter for a party and it’ll add a touch of class to any room!

For your loved ones: Christmas is coming up and though it may be The most wonderful time of the year for some, for a lot of us it is the most stressful and expensive. But you really don’t need to spend top euro (Is that even a saying?) to can give someone a really meaningful gift.  For my mother’s birthday I made her a photo album entitled Your Life at 50 full of pictures of her throughout the years.  Though it took me countless hours and visits to my nanna’s house to compile all the pictures, my mother absolutely loved it and my total expenses were €8.

If you don’t have time to make a photo album of the life and times of your friend/family member, you can simplify this idea by making them a book mark.  Just get pictures of them through the ages, get a slim piece of cardboard and stick the pictures on and have it all laminated (which you can get done at most stationary or craft shops).  This will be a sweet gift that they can carry around with them at all times, as a reminder of what a good friend/family member you really are!

I’ve barely skimmed the surface of all the crafts you could make as gifts or to spruce up a dull room.  All over the internet there are ideas for fun things that you can make for little or no money. To clean up you flat with little crafts makes a place really homely and that you made the things can give you a real sense of satisfaction.

The important thing to note is that when it comes to gifts money is not what’s important. Though it sounds so cheesy, and you’ll probably laugh at this, it is the effort that really counts and the meaning a gift can have for someone.

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