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In the four years that I've been living in Greece, I have never been able to make anyone understand exactly what it is that I do. Apparently, digitizing designs for machine embroidery is just incomprehensible. Today, our landlord came to do a preliminary inspection before we move out next week. He brought his wife with him, and she saw the sewing machine I have set up in the living room. She told me bravo, which means good or great in Greek. With no prompting, and with no English, she managed to ask me if I do embroidery, too. Translating through her husband, who's English is not very good, I was able to make both of them understand exactly what I do.

DIY Craft Essential #1: Washi tape

You'd be surprised at how many things you can do, and how many tutorials out there are obsessed, with washi tape. The versatile paper tape with adorable designs makes great wall decor, paper crafts or can even spruce up your furniture.

DIY Craft Essential #2: Needle nose pliers

This tiny tool is great for small projects. "This is not only your go­-to tool for opening and closing jump rings, bending wire, and securing crimp beads and ribbon ends, but pliers are also great for cutting through jewelry chain and wire," said Morin.

It was such a fabulous moment. The inspection was set aside as we had a three-way conversation about machines and embroidery designs. Usually, when anyone asks what I do, I just tell them I'm a designer, but don't mention embroidery at all. If I mention embroidery, everyone always asks if I do production work like logos on shirts and hats. They never seem to understand that someone actually has to design those logos or that something other than logos can be designed. So, I choose to sound a bit pretentious by saying I'm a designer, intimating that it's in fashion.

DIY Craft Essential #3: X-acto knife

If you love stationary crafts, jewelry crafts or any delicate work -- you'll need a proper cutting tool. Not all scissors can do the job. "Remember first using scissors and cutting along the dotted lines in grade school?" Morin asked. "Hopefully, you’re attempting more challenging crafts as an adults."

DIY Craft Essential #4: Spray paint

Acrylic paints are also great for any DIY starter kit. However, if you're looking for a perfect, seamless finish on your furniture, art and home decor -- make some space to spray. It doesn't hurt to keep some cans in your favorite colors (as long as you store them properly).

It's better than the frustration of not being understood. When I decided ten years ago to make my living through machine embroidery designs, I knew it was a niche area, but I never thought that it was so misunderstood, especially by those who sew or make their living through sewing. I was shocked, when I offered free embroidery designs, to be asked if my designs could be done through hand-stitched embroidery, including free-standing lace designs. I always try to be diplomatic and encouraging in my responses, but some days it's just too funny.

I felt like a late-comer to machine embroidery when I started, so I thought more people would be way ahead of me on their knowledge. When we moved to Greece, I stocked up on my embroidery supplies ahead of time, knowing that my choices would be limited here.

Well, my choices here are so limited that a better description would be non-existent. I ran out of a specialized thread in the middle of some embroidery patterns. Thread is a big thing here, along with buttons and zippers, so I thought I could get some locally. I wasted two weeks trying, and only gave up when a shopkeeper got mad at me because they thought I was trying to sell them something.

I turned to my favorite embroidery design gallery for the thread I needed and never again looked for any supplies downtown. It's been kind of lonely not having anyone to really chat with about what I do. I really wish I had known that my landlord's wife had such an interest. The language barrier wouldn't have stopped us for long! As it is, I think our household shipment may end up being a bit lighter. My first embroidery-only machine and some supplies could be finding their way to a very appreciative home. And, the next time we come here, I know I'll have someone who shares my interest; all the more reason to come back to our beloved new home in Greece.

DIY Craft Essential #5: Painter's tape

Painter's tape is "perfect for for attempting the c​olor block trend," said Morin. Plus, you'll need something to keep your projects neat and tidy, no matter what type of paints you use.

DIY Craft Essential #6: Hot glue gun

There are some tools that are too functional not to have. "This is one DIY workhorse tool you shouldn't do without," said Morin. Hot melt glue works on a variety of materials.
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