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".

Sewing Notions & Supplies

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.

Thread Organizer

Topics
In This Archive

  • Baby Goodies
  • Crafty Ideas
  • Crochet
  • Knitting
  • Paper
  • Sewing
  • Vintage Embroidery

TN Recommends

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).


Disclosure

Sewing

Fat Quarter Fun

Can someone have too many Fat Quarters? Nope! Loads of suggestions for what to stitch with them are found on this page, so don't be shy about stocking up when you find good deals.

Customizing Jeans & DIY Embellishments

Clever (and useful) tricks to modify those favorite comfy denims to fit-just-right! Discover cool ways to add a pit of flair & a dash of style utilizing bits & pieces of crafty goodness.

Easy Pajama Patterns For All Sizes: {Tops & Pants}

A nice assortment of patterns and tutorials to make pajamas for sizes baby to adult. You'll find several for bottoms (shorts and pants), a few tops and nightgowns…most of these are super easy to whip up and suitable for beginners.

15+ Women's Belt Tutorials: Fashion & Style

Easy tutorials to create that perfect fitting belt in just the right color and texture hoped for. Whether wanting something casual, frilly or maybe that screams "fashionista", there should be an idea or two here to work.

Darling Pillowcase Dresses To Sew

This style of dress is not only adorable for young girls, but also comfy to wear providing lots of room to accommodate playtime. Traditionally made with pillowcases but fabric panels are just as great.

Refashion T-Shirts Into Something Pretty {20+ Ideas}

No need to pay a small fortune for designer tees, review over a dozen ways to transform t-shirts into pretty tops that just cost a few dollars each. Some full of ruffles, others with lace or petal embellishments.

Fun With Felt

A popular material since it's easy to manage (cut edges won't fray), comes in many colors and even tiny pieces can be utilized for embellishing. Here are over two dozen different tutorials and ideas, some needing just bits of scraps while others require larger pieces.

Crafty Ideas

20+ Imaginative Projects Using Recycled Items

A great bunch of ways to take advantage of materials normally tossed (plastic milk jugs, ripped sheets, tin cans and more). Also find suggestions for repurposing old shower curtains at the bottom of the page.

8 Recipes For Homemade Bubbles & DIY Wand Tips

Looking for a fuss-free way to get the kiddos playing outside…and doing something that will encourage them to run around and get exercise? Blowing and chasing bubbles is just the ticket. This timeless activity is so much fun!

DIY Home Office Supplies & Accessories

A mix of projects for the home office: basic supplies (several made with repurposed items), organizers, decorative desk items and even a couple furniture ideas. I've organized the mouse pads in their own section.

DIY Shoe Fashion Upgrades: {Both Casual & Glam}

A favorite pair of shoes that are comfy to wear but have gotten a little scuffed and tired can easily be brought back to life. Try covering them with pretty fabric, re-dyeing, adding glitter and even rhinestones!

Matryoshka & Babushka Dolls Collection

These sweet dolls are loved by both young and old with design themes ranging from folk art to fabulous. Matryoshka are sometimes called “Babushka” dolls, but essentially they are the same thing. They are of Russian origin and represent “Mother”…

Fall Decor Featuring Acorns: Tips & Tutorials

Have access to an abundance of free acorns? So lucky! Now what to make...they can be used in a variety of ways and turn out lovely pieces for both Fall and Winter decorations. Here are a few different crafts along with tips for prepping first (cleaning and drying). Have fun!

Homemade Candles For Beginners: Instruction Guide

Whether interested in pouring candles from scratch or working with ready-made ones, this is the project set to bookmark! In the first section find nearly 20 different ideas (some melted wax, others ready made).

Tools & Gadgets
Loose-Leaf Binder Rings: String fabric samples on them--ideal for bobbins, buttons, dangles of all kinds too.

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.

For Baby

Handmade Cuteness! 35+ Booties & Shoes

Ready for cuteness overload? Dozens of free tutorials for making adorable baby booties, shoes and slippers. The collection is separated into three lists: Fabric & Sewn, Knitting and Crochet Patterns. Enjoy!

20+ Cute & Crafty Bibs To Sew

A fun list to put together! Though many are quite similar, plenty of cute ideas and lots of inspiration in this collection. Bibs make great homemade gifts for baby and any mom will tell ya…they are a must-have!

Creative Burp Cloth Stash

Dozens of creative ways to whip up burp cloths for the sweet new baby being welcomed into this world. Most of the designs (if not all) can certainly be given as gifts for new moms. These are so simple & easy to whip up!

Fun, Stylish & Functional: Diaper Bag Patterns

Freshly updated [2019]: It’s been a long time since I’ve searched online to learn how to sew a diaper bag…wow, there are a lot designs to choose from! I had a lot of fun checking out dozens of different projects…

25+ Baby Blankets: {Adorable Collection}

Whew! Here’s the last collection of blankets to make, these focus on sewing tutorials and they’re all so lovely and gift-worthy! I’ve separated them into three groups…first is a selection of projects, next are a few ribbon taggy versions and…

Knitting

30+ Stuffed Animal & Dolls

Really sweet projects in this bunch (and all free too). Organized into two sections for easier browsing (knit and crochet). Mainly comprised of animal characters and dolls but I plan on adding assorted toys too.

For Hooks & Needles: 25+ Lovely Shawls & Wraps

Whether it’s something light and breezy for summer or cuddly and warm for cool weather, this collection of shawls has it covered. A few are lacey and elegant for evenings out while others are more casual for running errands or…

15+ Cozy Leg Warmers To Knit (Plus A Few Crochet)

Whether wanting a pair of leg warmers to fend off the chill during the winter months or use to accessorize an outfit, find plenty of good ideas in this collection (they're all free too). Two groups: one for Adult sizes and the other for Children & Babies.

Dog Clothing & Accessories: {Assorted Designs}

Need a chuckle today? Check out these adorable outfits for our furry little friends! An assortment of coats, sweaters and booties that are either sewn or knit (there is a single crochet project to view), with some repurposing material from items like old jackets.

60+ Free Patterns For Coffee Cup Cozies & Sleeves

Why are cozies so popular? Because they protect hands from the heat of the cup while also keeping our favorite brew sheltered a bit from cold winter mornings. They also jazz up favorite, but tired and worn out mugs.

Crochet

Lovely Trim & Edgings For Embellishment

A lovely addition to pillowcases, baby burp cloths, receiving blankets, afghans, dish towels, kitchen linens, etc. A perfect technique to tidy up edges, straighten unevenness and hide imperfections.

15 Glorious Granny Squares To Crochet

Make blankets or afghans, scarves, potholders, wraps, totes…the ideas are endless! Several different designs to check out, use a single pattern for a project or mix them up as desired.

25+ Lovely Crochet Flowers: {Designs & Instructions}

Little charmers to embellish totes, bags, hats, headbands and whatever else desired. Comprised of cotton yarn, wool, cotton and even embroidery thread. Lots of different styles to choose from, many including nicely detailed instructions.

20+ Child Hat Patterns: {Crochet}

So much cuteness all on one page, lol! Nearly two dozen hats for babies, toddlers and young children (many suitable for both girls and boys). Most are designed to fit babies but some include instructions for adjusting to bigger sizes.

25+ Delightful Crochet Hat Styles & Inspiration

A lovely mix of hats to hook, most are for women but I do have a few tucked in at the bottom for men. All kinds of styles in this bunch, some flirty and fun, others chunky and warm.

Paper Crafts

Seed Packet Printables & Templates

A lovely medley of free templates found online, use to collect and organize seeds and to package those harvested from the garden to give as gifts. They're also popular wrapping for wedding and baby shower favors.

Journaling Freebies & Resources Collection

An assortment of cards, notes, bubbles, talk tags and more to download and print--at no charge! I also added a few resources that share tips and pointers for both pros and beginners. I'll be adding more!

Chore Charts To Craft Or Print

Help children both young and old stay on track with their chores by implementing an easy system that will help them remember to do what needs doing. Most of these are free printables but there are a few crafty projects…

30+ To Do Lists To Help You Get Organized

I had several already published on the assorted printables page and it's time now to give them their own spot here on Tipnut. There's surely something to fit the job perfectly in this collection, includes both minimalist and colorful options.

Decorative Envelopes & Liners

Add something a little extra special to stationery items (with decorative paper, doilies, fabric, etc.). Great inspiration here for holiday cards, wedding invitations, special announcements, whatever you like.

20+ Free Thank You Cards & Notes To Save & Print

No matter what style of card or for what occasion (wedding, Christmas, baby shower or just because), what you're looking for should be in this collection. A selection of simple designs but also a few more elaborate--each are lovely.

Free Printable Lunch Box Notes

Tuck little notes of encouragement, love and cheer into lunch bags and boxes to help brighten any child’s day while they’re away at school with these fun freebies. Lots of different designs, characters and messages to choose from in this…

Needlework

Scissor Pouches, Cases & Fobs: {A Great Mix}

Keep treasured embroidery scissors protected and at fingertips with these sweet little pouches and fobs...lovely gift idea for a favorite crafter too. A nice range of designs including beaded, quilted and cross stitched.

Needle Books & Cases

Here’s a collection of patterns and tutorials for sewing / embroidery needle books & cases. Materials vary, there are felt, fabric & cross stitch covers. Some are simple with sleeves of felt or wool to hold needles, others quite elaborate…

The Art Of Smocking: How To Guide

Of peasant origin, smocking is a decorative means of gathering a wide piece of material into a required measurement. The word “smock” comes from the Anglo Saxon–smoce–meaning a shift or shirt, and from early Saxon days men working in the…

Needlework Blocking, Care, Quick Tips & More

These tips were initially published on their own pages and moved here to make one handy reference sheet. You’ll find info for cleaning & care of needlework, transferring patterns, a clever idea for a thread organizer and more. Enjoy! Photocopy…
Assortment of Embroidery Floss Skeins
Stitching Design

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.

Stash Bag Project
Thread Organizer: (click image above to view larger size) Here is a great tip for keeping embroidery thread organized while also preventing it from tangling when working on a project...

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.).

Rescue Pointers:

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.

Rotary Cutter & Tools

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.

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