Sunday, May 8, 2011

My name is Tracy, but you can call me Martha: Coupon Art

A Crafty Mother's Day Post, in honor of my mother-in-law:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I just invented a revolutionary new art form that I am unveiling for the first time ever to my exclusive readership: Coupon Art! <roaring applause>

I hope someone out there in blogland is as excited about this as I am! It all started a few weeks ago when I decided to clean out all of our closets. As I went around to each room in our home and cleaned out, organized and decluttered 6 closets in total, my husband sat down in his "man-cave" and worked on the piles on top of piles in his office closet. The majority of his day was spent shredding a gigantic tote of receipts, some of which dated back to before I graduated high school. Periodically throughout this task, our tiny paper shredder would overheat and I would hear muffled sounds of frustration (and perhaps a few remarks regarding the fact that it was MY request that resulted in this horrific situation).

I really should have known better, but I entered his bunker to see if there was anything I could do to improve the situation. As it turned out, there most definitely wasn't. But, while attempting to swiftly exit the room without being shredded myself I spotted it- the most incredible archaeological discovery found in my husband belongings to date (which, believe me, is saying quite a lot since I have found a few items thus far that might qualify for Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum). It glowed like sunbeams, I heard angels and harps and my heart filled with happiness- there it was... my mother-in-law's coupon organizer!

My mother-in-law passed away when my husband was younger. I never met her but I have a few of her possessions that I treasure greatly. My husband has six boxes of her recipe cards and a few years ago, for Christmas, I sorted through them and picked out what appeared to be the favorite or most used & loved recipes, which I scanned and compiled into a cookbook. This project was a special experience for me. I know that my mother-in-law was an amazing woman and mother but I never had the opportunity to interact with her. Instead, I learned much about her through her handwritten recipes- the notes she wrote on the sides and backs about alterations to the recipe, special dates certain cakes were made, who her closest recipe swapping friends were, etc. Through that project, I felt that I met her. So, needless to say, I was ecstatic to find her coupon binder and have the opportunity to bond with her once again over something I loved so much: coupons!

I can't even tell you how awesome these coupons are! Most of them date to the early-mid 1990s and the graphics are phenomenal. I, obviously had to find some way to display and enjoy them. (Though, believe me... the thought did cross my mind to use them. Apparently, once upon a time, coupons were frequently printed with no expiration date. Many of them literally said NO EXPIRATION DATE across the top.) I sat on this project for a few weeks trying to find the best way to use them. I even googled "Coupon Art" which is how I discovered that coupons have apparently not be used as a medium for art before but confirmed that using coupons for shopping is an art form in and of itself, which I already knew- performance art, you could say.

Here is what I had to work with:

I knew I wanted them in my kitchen, but I don't have much free wall space considering that the one large wall we do have in our kitchen is occupied by two wine racks and a flat panel television. (A story for another day!) The soffit is really the only place they would fit. I also knew I didn't have much to spend on this project. My mother and I spent Mother's Day at a local "antique" <cough, cough- indoor yard sale> store looking for something I could use to display them. I didn't know if I wanted a bunch of small frames with one coupon per frame or a series of horizontal frames. Eventually we gave up and went to Michael's Craft Store.

I love Michael's for frames because they are almost always on sale (usually 40% off) and most of their Sunday paper ad's have an additional 25% off coupon. I had one framed engagement photo already hanging on the kitchen soffit so I wanted to get a frame that was long and skinny and would compliment the existing frame. So, I bought the one pictured below, which was originally marked $24.99 - $10 (40% off) -$3.75 (25% off coupon) = $11.24. My mother and I played around with ways to arrange them for a bit. I ended up pulling out my favorites and sitting those aside. Then I used the remaining to make a solid background on the back of the cardboard insert that came with the frame. I used double-sided tape to stick all the coupons down and finished by scattering my favorite coupons around the top layer. I wanted the final project to look like a scattered pile of coupons blanketing the kitchen table on a Sunday morning.

Here is the final project:

Since I had the double-sided tape and used the cardboard backing that came with the frame all this project cost me was $11.24! If you find a creative way to use coupons as art or decor, I would love to see it! Just send me an email or link to your blog in the comments below.

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  1. I absolutely love this idea! So cute!!!

  2. Very cool idea, and a great way to remember her!

  3. Thank you so much! I appreciate you stopping by!

  4. Saw you at Sugar Bee. Your project is cute! Great way to use up those coupons. I have a receipt from a trip to Kroger where I saved 97%. I want to frame it and hang it up to inspire me to keep using coupons! :)

  5. Hilarious! I think that's a fantastic idea! You should totally do it... and then come back and tell me how you saved 97%!!! I can't seem to break the 50% mark!

  6. What a great way to honor your mil and man, that looks super! I want one!

  7. Super creative!


  8. I love this! I just covered an old paint can I bought at Restore with Monopoly money!
    Found you at Somewhat Simple SYS
    New follower here!