Welcome To Tipnut's Craft Room: Inspiration / Resources
I know design trends are always changing and other than throw cushions and maybe a piece of diy wall art, home reno shows never really have much for handmade goods displayed in their re-designs. Yes, the presentations look so gorgeous and fresh and new...but...
I can't be the only one who "ooohs" and "ahhhhs" when I step into a space that has a gorgeous crocheted lap blanket folded neatly on the arm of a sofa, or a pretty yarn bowl on the table with a couple knitting needles poking out, or delightful hand-stitched tea towels hanging in the kitchen...and don't get me started on farmhouse-style aprons! These charming little touches bring a cheeriness to the space but they also transform our dwellings into a "home".
Spending too much time on the 'net? Social media? Netflix binging out of control? Pick up a hobby and ditch those idle habits in no time flat! You'll start noticing how satisfying this new productiveness is when making DIY pieces for around the house and personalizing gifts for loved ones. Odd bits of fabric and lace will be looked at in a whole new way!
I'm not an artisan-expert at any one type of handicraft but prefer mixing it up, getting creative juices flowing with all sorts of different activities and mediums. I like to do a little knitting (I'm better at crochet), greatly enjoy sewing (but mainly smaller projects...fashion garments THAT LOOK GOOD are a bit above my skill level) and am so fond of vintage embroidery and collecting a wide range of retro patterns (delighted to share them too!).
This section reflects my appreciation for all sorts of inspired goodness. I've gathered together a wide assortment of handcrafts and techniques...everything from sewing to crochet to paper activities using a wide variety of materials, including repurposing items.
Is there anything more rewarding than filling a home with lovely bits and bobs that you made? Handmade items are a splendid solution to perfect the exact color, size and style desired. Discover hundreds of free patterns, tutorials and "How To" projects that are sure to spark creativeness.
In This Archive
- Baby Goodies
- Crafty Ideas
- Vintage Embroidery
I find it beneficial to have a small cutting mat at the side of my desk to use for all sorts of things: measuring, gluing, assembling projects & some cutting too. A piece of parchment paper over top will keep it clean for messier tasks.
I really like these blocking mats, they feature grid lines, can be arranged in custom shapes & break down into individual squares for easy storage. They don't smell either! (Common issue with some brands).
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Plastic Condiment Squeeze Bottle: Fill with water & keep close to the ironing board--convenient to refill the steam iron.
Lint Rollers: Run across rotary mats, the sewing desk, ironing board, cutting table to quickly pick up fuzz, snipped threads & wee fabric bits.
Flexible Cutting Boards: Cheap packs from the Dollar Store...so easy to cut & whip up custom, reusable templates.
Fabric Pot Holders: Keep a stash on hand--when needing to hot press something that's potentially messy (usually involves kids creations), protect the top of the ironing board by pressing the craft on top of a pot holder.
When starting needlework, make a few small running stitches along the line to be embroidered, then one back stitch. (No knots should appear on the wrong side of fabric).
When the thread becomes too short, acquires a fuzz or untwists, finish it off as follows: Draw thread to wrong side of canvas, weave needle in & out of the stitches of the completed embroidery, cut the thread close to work.
The wrong side of project should be as neat as the right side, do not carry thread from one design to another.
Cut two pieces of material about 12 by 12 inches. Sew seams 1/2 inch apart down length as shown.
Cut whole packages of embroidery floss into manageable lengths (most prefer about 27 inches long).
Lay strands together, fold in half, insert a hairpin at fold and with it thread the entire group of strands through a channel in the cloth. Remove hairpin, and floss is ready for work.
To remove thread, pull out one loop at a time.
(Source: The WorkBasket/1952)
Care Tips For Self-Healing Cutting / Quilting Mats
- Does the new mat have a strong smell? A bit stinky? Submerge it in tepid water that was first mixed w/white vinegar (ratio is 50/50 vinegar & water). Soak for 10 minutes. Rinse well (clear water), wipe dry then hang overnight in an open area. This should help freshen things up and remove any strange odors.
- Artgum erasers come in handy to remove ink & pencil marks, also helpful removing embedded fibers in the surface. Try a bit of regular Crest toothpaste to remove marker stains. Test a small area first to ascertain it won't discolor the surface in any way. With some gentle pressure, apply by making small circular motions using your finger.
- Perform tasks/work by moving around the surface & the back too! This way you're zipping all over and not in danger of gashes developing by always slicing in the same spot, over and over again. Rotary blades have an uncanny ability to slip into/find those deep scratches & grooves!
- Keep things in tip top shape by getting rid of lint trapped in surface by running a lint roller over top after every use. A hand wrapped in painter's or packing tape does the trick too (sticky part facing outwards). A soft bristle toothbrush can also be effective on stubborn spots.
- How to stop it slipping around while you're trying to cut on it? Stick a thin piece of shelf liner underneath and voila! the sheet will hold its place.
- Store flat or hang them (pant hangers, binder clips/coat hanger will do the trick), never roll or stand them up. Keep away from direct heat since this can cause warping (furnace vent, sunny windows, etc.).
If getting dirty, marked up and seemingly beyond its best years, try arranging it in a tub (1/4 cup white vinegar per gallon of room temperature water mixed in) then let soak for about 20 minutes. Empty tub & rinse clean (tepid water). Next, tepid water to cover & a good squirt of gentle dish soap. Take a soft bristle brush to carefully clean surface (a mushroom brush set aside just for mat cleaning works fantastic), moving in a circular motion. Rinse well. Pat dry with a lint-free cloth.
Hang to dry in an open area for at least 24 hours. It can also be laid flat on a terry towel, flip over every 12 hours until completely dry. If edges begin to curl, place weights along edges while drying.
I've come across several recommendations that soaking is a good method for moisturizing the mat to extend its life and should be done occasionally.
How To Fix If Warped: Likely to happen if a cup of hot coffee or tea was set on top or if stored standing on edge or rolled up. As mentioned above, keep away from heat sources to prevent damage and/or warping (hot sunny windows/vents/etc.).
What to do: Try at your own risk! Technique shouldn't cause further damage but it hasn't been tested on every brand of cutting mat or newer/older variants in manufacturing process.
Cover mat entirely with a heated wet terry towel (heavy enough to hold the liquid but not pooling water everywhere) and press over it using a hot HOT steam iron for about 10 minutes to get the mat surface quite warm. Take a thick piece of plywood & cover both items (placing on top of the towel) and weight down with cinder blocks or heavy book piles. Leave alone for at least 24 hours. The mat may have to be flipped over and process repeated.
Dollar Store Hack: For small $1 mats from the Dollar Store, arrange six, nine or more together, edge to edge, then secure in place with Duct Tape along all connecting seams.
Flip over & voila! A large work surface. Not pretty, but it does the trick.
Ideal for messier projects where you don't want to put a good (and more expensive) one at risk. Bonus! Although the back is taped, both sides are still functional.