Easy Handwork Ideas

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In terms of decorating, whether it is your home or your person, I am a firm believer that less is always more. Too much of a good thing just spoils the whole endeavor! Unfortunately, I get hopped up on the power of the sewing or embroidery machine and stitch until my original project idea is barely recognizable. I know I should stop, but I just can't seem to do so.

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.

If the project is for the home, I quietly remove as much of the additional “decor” as I can before using it as intended. If I'm unable to salvage it, it becomes a new fixture in my sewing room to remind me not to do the same again. As for clothing items, they sit in my closet, never worn, looking beautiful and embarrassing. I would never actually wear them outside the house. From the looks of my fellow crafters at times, though, I don't think all of them share my less is more philosophy.

Matching tees, totes, jackets, wallets, hats and more welcome me to any crafter's venue I attend. Quilted fabric, machine embroidery designs on every available surface, appliques and 3D objects adorning ladies who are happily unaware of how, well um, colorful they look. Actually, their happiness at their handiwork does give them a certain glow that is beautiful, so there is definitely something to be said about that! And, maybe they just have more confidence than I do.

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).

Maybe I just need better self-esteem in order to wear some of my own more, um, creative outfits. While my own fiendish little heart refuses to allow me to follow them, there are some basic fashion guidelines that we should follow in order to look our best and not draw undue attention to make our kids squirm. When using a favorite embroidery design, it's best to only stitch one or two motifs on a shirt or skirt; not both. The item not embroidery embellished can then match any color of the machine embroidery thread, adding versatility.

Just as one's top and bottom pieces shouldn't be matchy-matchy, it's definitely a fashion faux paux to make matching jackets, totes, and more. One tends to look like a tourist, even in one's own back yard. What I do like, is making a matching tote, wallet, makeup pouch and anything else that can be put into said tote. I don't care what the fashion police say; some embroidery patterns just cry out to be made as identically as possible. Sometimes matchy-matchy is cute, especially when my embroidery supplies include several yards of fabric that I can't find another use for.

On a recent visit to my favorite embroidery design gallery, I picked up a free embroidery design that I simply adore. I like it so much that I stitched it all over my comfy, faded chambray shirt. Once again, the embroidery imp just wouldn't let me stop with the pocket and collar points! When I showed it to my friend, who dropped in just as I was about to cut the whole thing up for rags, she exclaimed that it was just the cutest thing she had ever seen.

Can you guess what she's getting for her birthday next month? No, she's not getting my shirt. Instead, I'll make her one of her own. Then, I can wear mine at the same time. If my embroidery machine won't stop me from stitching a hot mess, then I will just have to enlist my friends to wear my creations. There is safety in numbers after all. Maybe I'll even stitch us some matching hats.

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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