Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The cost of stash!

It would be quite amusing if one of the magazines did a survey on how much scrapbookers and cardmakers spend on stash. Given that one of the magazines runs a regular challenge on creating a scrapbook page for less than a fiver, it could be quite illuminating.

I must confess that I have at least one spend a week, either online or going to a shop. Where I live, in NE London, it's a crafting desert. There are no shops whatsoever. I have to drive to Romford, which is a good 30 minutes away, or Southend, which is even further.

This week I placed an order with the Stamp Bug for the kit they put together to support one of the projects in the latest issue of Craft Stamper. Last week, I was in Boston and miraculously didn't spend a penny (or cent) on stash, despite my best efforts. I searched all over Google looking for craft shops in the city, but came up with nothing until I got there, bought a magazine and found one advert for a shop called Lily's. I didn't make it there in the end, it wasn't near the tube, so I went home empty handed.

Still, going to Phoenix next week for a very quick visit and I've already researched a craft shop there.

The best places for me at the moment are Swindon and Plymouth. I work in Swindon one day a week. It's become a craft hotspot. Hobbycraft reopened a few weeks ago (they closed a store in Swindon a few years ago when I lived there, before scrapbooking had become so popular), and I see there's a new shop in the designer outlet, plus a shop in Old Town quite close to my company. I was drooling in Hobbycraft because, being new, it's fully loaded. The Romford branch is very weak in scrapbooking supplies.

Plymouth, where mum lives, also has several shops. I went to a big place called CDS recently (doubles as a garden centre) and bought lots of heritage scrapbooking supplies. Endleigh garden centre, on the A38 near Ivybridge, is great for scrapbooking and stamping (as well as garden furniture and Christmas tree decorations!).

I also have my online favourites, some of which are mentioned below. I've also made some good buys on eBay, although sadly they're all "Buy Now" and you rarely get any bargains.

For me, the gratification has to be more or less instant. If an online retailer takes several days to send my order, they don't usually get repeat business. What drives me really crazy is when you're told that something is out of stock, after you've placed the order.

Some of the websites have a lot of room for improvement. It's great when scrapbooking websites allow you to search by theme, by colour and by manufacturer. And let's have some UK centric themes too. A good sales opportunity I would have thought.

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