Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thrifty Acres: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly - Part Two

In today's installment, I'll discuss what I feel is the "bad" from my 1968 McCall's Christmas Make-It IdeasIn some cases, the ideas are decent, it's just that the materials used had a certain "ick" factor to me. In other cases, I just happen to think the craft is, well, plain bad.

So, let's get started. I'll lead off with this:

The designs on these "snow-white bells" (they're labeled as such in the magazine) are nice enough, but those "snow-white bells" are foam coffee cups. No thanks; I'll stick to using these for drinking coffee! 

And here we have "charming angel candle holders". They were made by using balloons for plaster molds. I'd agree with the magazine writers that this is a "unique craft technique", but couldn't they have done better with the faces? 

I wouldn't call these faces charming! But maybe that's just me. 

These chenille dogs "are pins with walnut faces". Yes, just what I should be wearing - a pin that has a weird-looking face painted on a walnut! 

The next craft project is really bad:

Now, why should I think this is bad? For according to the magazine's write-up, "dazzling tree, trimmed with rich red and white, is elegant accent for a table. Foil-covered styrofoam base gleams with gold trims, cotton swabs, ball-fringe pompoms. Plastic finial sparkles with glitter". 

Sorry, folks, you can dress up the description with fancy prose all you want, but it's still a tree shape made - from Q-tips. Ick! 

After buying Christmas gifts, they need to be wrapped, of course. Here's one example of a gift-wrapping project:

Those designs on the gift boxes? They're made from grains of white rice - glued on one at a time, then painted over. Did anyone actually ever bother to do this? If so, why? I can only imagine how time-consuming this project must have been! And I'm sorry (actually, I'm not), but using rice to decorate a gift package rates another "ick" from me. 

If gluing rice on a gift package isn't your thing, then maybe you could try this instead:

This design was made by gluing yarn to a shoebox lid - one strand at a time, in a rather peculiar wavy pattern. The folks at McCall's  proclaimed that the finished result makes this a "boutique" package. I'd say it makes me tired just looking at it and thinking how long it would have taken to do this. 

In fairness to the designers of these projects, I realize that in 1968 there was less variety in craft supplies than there is today. I also realize that the use of common household items and discards in craft projects is huge today. Whether it be called "green crafting", "upcycling", "creative reuse" or what have you, there are books, magazines and blogs devoted to this trend. In my own blog, for example, I have shown off decorative pieces made from a softball, a vinyl tablecloth, a restaurant menu and a shoe stretcher. And I'm always on the lookout for things I can repurpose into greeting cards.

But the use of foam coffee cups, Q-tips  and rice to decorate one's house and gifts at Christmastime? Bad, bad, bad ideas!


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