a crafter’s essentials {my toolbox must haves}

So, did you see me on the Martha Stewart show yesterday?

Okay, technically I was not on the show, but rumor is when Grace Bonney was on talking about the Design*Sponge book…she shared a photo of FireCracker’s bed. I had no idea, but some comments were left on my facebook page about it. Now I have to figure out a way to see the episode!

On Tuesday, I shared my camera related recommendations. Another question I get frequently via email and in person is related to craft supplies. Not everyone has the space in their home for a dedicated studio or office space, myself included. I can’t spread out my projects or my supplies. A lot of you are the same way and have asked me about what I think are the ‘essential’ craft supplies. So, I decided to do a little round up of my own supplies.

I am going to include a lot of links in this post…so you can find where to purchase your own. If something is written in red, it is a link. Click on it for more info.

Here is my crafting space. The majority of my supplies are in that little white cabinet or piled on top of it. Surprisingly, I can fit a lot of stuff in all those drawers. If you look back at my old post on that cabinet, you can tell I am in dire need of cleaning up this space again. Some of the supplies, like Martha Stewart glitter, is very much not an essential, but sure is fun to have on hand.

So now I am just going to list some of the things I think are more ‘essentials’ to always have on hand. Most of these could all fit plastic box under a bed. Obviously, I have a lot of other stuff on hand, but if I had to narrow it down to a few things…these are my ‘essentials’…my most used items.

Tools: My most used tools are a standard pair of scissors, glue gun, 1 1/2″ hole punch, standard hole punch, rounded corner punch and a ruler. All of those can be purchased at any craft store. Whenever I am out of town I try to find a locally owned shop that sells rulers…I picked this one up on Kauai. Makes me remember the beach each time I use it.

Old Book & Scrapbooking Paper: I have two packs of Amy Butler scrapbooking paper (hard to find, I found mine at Micheals). I’ve had them for almost 2 years. I just use a little bit at a time. Last year I somehow managed to keep a book my friend Kara had used for a project. I use pages from this little book for all kinds of things.

Scrapbooking tags & embellishments: I don’t scrapbook, but these are small so useful for many things. I get a lot from the Martha Stewart line at Big Lots…for $1.00 or less! I also have some from Elle’s Studio.

Scrap Paper: I keep some of my favorite paper scraps….and paint samples….and cut up vintage postcards.

Ribbons, Baker’s Twine & Ropey Stuff: This is a great thing to look for at estate and garage sales. The large spool of brown & white yarn like stuff was $.25 at an estate sale. Score. The polka dot tulle is from Hobby Lobby. The Baker’s twine is from Pretty Lil’ Package. The other ribbons and trims are from random places….

Embroidery Thread & Clothespins: I use both of these all the time, but can’t remember what I’m always doing with them! The clothes pins are great for holding things in place while you are working, for displaying pictures and for sealing the bags of chips when you are done snacking. The thread is just a great thing to have on hand.

Washi Tape: I need to think of a way to display these…they are too pretty to be tucked in my drawer all the time. I know tape can seem pretty expensive, but it is one of those items that goes a long way if you use it wisely. I just use a bit at a time, but I use bit all the time. I really, really like this stuff. Mine is from cutetape.com

Letter Stamps: Great one time purchase. I used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby and they were cheap. Big size. Small size. Use all the time.

My Sprays: I prefer spray finishes to spray tans. These don’t fit in my little white cabinet, but they are a must to have on hand – in my opinion. Easy Tack. Clear Finish – glossy. Clear Finish – matte. Decoupage. And now we can conquer the world.

Random stuff: These don’t really go together, but they all fit into one picture. A sanding block found at any hardware store. When you paint wood, you should always lightly sand the first coat of paint to smooth the wood fiber down. E-6000 – the super glue of super glues. I’ve reattached FireCracker’s boot soles with this stuff. Black fabric paint. White acrylic paint. The last 3 items can be found at any craft store.

Paper Trimmer: I use a paper trimmer all the time…such a must for me. Okay, so I admit to thinking all paper trimmers are the same. I mean, they cut paper…how many ways can you cut paper? I was wrong. American Crafts recently sent me their newest cutter, The Cut Up. All paper cutters are not created equal. This thing is amazing. Forget special scissors, I can slip in a variety of blades to cut my paper numerous ways….it is really cool. I gave my old paper cutter to the kids.

Vintage lace and trims: I can usually find bags of this stuff for under $5.00 at flea markets and estate sales. I use it for embellishing projects.

Fabric: Again, a little fabric can go a long way. Since we don’t all have space to keep tons of fabric, I recommend keeping little bits of your favorites to keep on hand. I used to keep these in a box, but I found myself carrying the box downstairs or somewhere else all the time. A sweet friend gave me this gorgeous Gussy bag….now I use it all the time for my favorite fabrics. And it makes me think of my friend.

A GREAT pair of Fabric Scissors:  If you don’t own a great pair of fabric scissors…you should. These are the heavy, solid metal kind. They cut fabric like you wouldn’t believe. My kids steal my craft scissors, but they know not to even attempt to touch these. Mine are from JoAnn’s.

So there you go. That is my short list! I tried to limit myself….apparently, that little metal craft cabinet has way more inside than it appears! I hope you all have a great weekend. I’ve got several emails asking if I am going to do the Best of My Days notepad again…the answer is “Yes!”. I will post the 2012 version next week!

And while we are on the topic of crafting, my sister is working hard on my new DIY page. It is so pretty and so easy to navigate. I can’t wait to share it with you all…along with some other big blog design changes that have me giddy!

*If you are a Google Reader user, I updated my rss feed which has caused a hiccup with Google Reader.

It should fix itself eventually. For a quick fix, you can unsubscribe and subscribe again.

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