Making on a budget – Buying Supplies

I have two rules for my own craft purchases: Do I love it and Do I need it?

As a quick aside, there has in the UK been a lot of talk about stashes of craft supplies (often wool with knitters) being hidden in the mainstream media. And then I read a great article by Maddie at Badass Quilters Society, which basically summed up my personal opinions on the need to hide a stash or purchase. The first point is simple, if you are hiding something because you couldn’t afford to buy it, you shouldn’t be buying it. The second is that why should you be ashamed of buying supplies for your hobby. The word stash is always associated with hidden so even if the stash isn’t actually hidden, there is still the connotation of being hidden. Anyway Maddie definitely describes it better than I do,but my takeaway point was that I’m going to try and use the word collection for supplies rather than stash. It implies a little more pride in my supplies and also recognises that they are important and necessary. It doesn’t hurt that ‘a collection’ is often associated with valuable items. I don’t personally know the value of my collection of supplies but I do know it would be well beyond my means to replace it if where lost or damaged.

And back to the topic of buying supplies. I don’t have specific crafting budget, the money I spend comes out of my monthly ‘free money’. Which means if I make a big craft purchase, I can’t spend the money elsewhere and vice versa. So the amount I spend fluctuates a lot but my spending falls into the two catagories mentioned above: love and need.

The latter is actually the key one. I try incredibly hard to only buy things if I am actually about to start a project which will use them. I used to buy supplies if I had a project in mind for them, but I just ended up with small piles of supplies, without the time to actually make them and often I was no longer inspired by the time I got round to it. So now as one project is being finished, I start planning the next one and picking up any supplies I don’t already have. I do also try and start projects that maximize use of the supplies I have.

Modern life means it is very easy to get supplies and pretty quickly. I’m incredibly guilty of using amazon prime to get emergency supplies delivered the next day. I am aware that this doesn’t do actual shops any favours so I do try and be organised enough to buy stuff in advance from real and preferably independent shops (although I still do most buying online).

I personally don’t collection build (formally known as stash building), mostly due to lack of space and the ever looming threat of having to move that haunts every renter. I do have a collection of beads bought over the years and a small pile of fabric but as I am a beginner quilter/sewer who is fairly inconsistent with how much sewing I do, its not really necessary for me to have a large collection. Also while there is plenty of fabric I love and would happily buy given a bigger budget, I don’t know where my sewing journey is going to take me, and don’t want to end up saddled with materials I’ll never use. I also find that with each project I complete, there’s leftovers – from scraps to significant bits of fabric, so I am slowly building a collection. This also provides enough material for an emergency projects.

Which brings me on to the other category of things I buy: Things I’ve fallen in love with. It happens – no matter how good you try and be with planning and deciding what you need, sometimes you just want to own that bit of fabric or wool or colour of bead. My opinion is if you can afford it, why not. If you make something as a hobby its because it brings you happiness and making with a supply you love will only make you happier. If you can’t afford it, then its time to start saving or hinting madly at people who can afford to buy you presents.

Do you have a proper craft budget? or if not how do you control what you spend on your supplies?


An update on my beading adventures

I’ve done quite a bit of beading recently, but neglected to mention it on my blog other than in my  monthly  updates.

My journey back into beadweaving started because I got a job at a local beadshop and wanted something to take to my interview, which was perfect motivation to make the ‘gem of a spiral‘ necklace designed by Marcia Balonis (pattern in Bead and Button April 2016). I’d bought all the beads necessary pretty much as soon as I saw the pattern – albeit variations what was suggested. Because I used slightly different beads the sizing is a little different giving my version a more open structure – I think it looks quite spinal.


I also whipped up a pair of matching earrings. I’ve had so many compliments on this necklace – it is quite an eye catching piece. And yes I got the job, which is an added bonus. When I was putting the findings on the necklace and earrings, I also got out some lampwork beads I’ve had for years. I bought them in New Zealand about 12 years ago, and originally had them all strung on a leather cord together. But while I loved the beads, I never wore the necklace so a couple of years ago I took it apart and kept the beads. I had an idea to do something simple so I simply strung them on some chain, its a style of necklace I wear a lot. And I’ve worn both necklace more than once since making them.


Then I moved on to another beadweaving project of sorts: a beaded chainmaille necklace. I was fascinated by this project and decided to make it in a classic cream colour. I only made the chainmaille section and attached chain to fasten the necklace. This was pretty fun to make even if making all the hoops at the beginning at the beginning was a little boring.

When I was doing the findings for this necklace, I had recently been given some very cool disc beads by a friend at my craft meetup. So I took the opportunity to turn them into a necklace as well. Initially I was going to use all the discs in one necklace but all the black discs made it quite heavy. So instead I used some simple glass beads as spacers so the colours really shine and used the spare black discs in a second necklace.

I also bit the bullet and attached chain to my bezelled seaglass necklace. It looks really stunning on.


I’m starting to learn what style of handmade jewellery I actually wear:  Mostly I wear simpler pieces in fairly neutral colours, as I have a pretty bright wardrobe. I’m trying to keep what I make on those lines and mostly these pieces are successful in that regard.


November 2016

I did much better with my blog posting this month, managing to tell you about my socks and how I make do to save money. I’ve also managed to make quite a few things or at least put some good hours in – it’s felt very satisfying to have some me time again.

I’ve got quite a few things going on at the moment but that’s ok.

  1. Christmas cards. I’ve started early in a bid not to be stressed by them
  2. A winter sparkle ATC. I’ve signed up again and I was pretty inspired by this one.
  3. Epp Cushion. I’m adding to this one slowly.
  4. Fringed Handbag – No Progress
  5. Bead Embroidery Purse – No Progress
  6. Learning Curve Sampler Quilt – No Progress
  7. A lacy scarf – I’m nearly done
  8. Weaving – I did a tiny bit more then put it away
  9. Shoulder heat packs – I’m making these as presents and have cut out the pieces
  10. Lip balm cozies – these are destined to help my sister and her fundraising and again I’ve cut out the pieces


  1. My Socks
  2. A beaded chain maille necklace
  3. My bezelled Seaglass necklace – I finally bought the right coloured chain to put this together
  4. Some simple necklaces with some cool glass beads I’d been given
  5. Snowflakes – again for my sisters fundraising

Hopefully I’ll keep up my good work and carry on posting this month, I definitely want to tell you about all the bead weaving I’ve been doing recently.