When I was in Grade 3 my mom enrolled me in Ukrainian Cross Stitch lessons. I had always been a creative child, but cross-stitch took my abstract painting and Play-Doh-ing to a whole new level. It required vision, a keen eye for detail, and a lot of patience. I still cross-stitch to this day, and while I tend to keep that fact from all but those who know me well, I credit those lessons for awakening in me my love of crafts. There’s something inspiring about being able to look at a pile of “stuff” and see something beautiful. It’s almost like being a MacGyver of sorts. Some might see a twig and a glue stick. I see a beautiful centerpiece. The thing is, to craft like a pro you don’t just need the desire to do so, but you need the right tools and an organized space.
I like to think I’m pretty darn crafty. But when I decided to make a scrapbook for my mom a few Christmases ago to document a trip she and I took to Italy – my first scrapbook – I quickly realized that there’s a reason every craft store has an entire aisle dedicated to scrapbooking tools. They serve a purpose.
I actually thought I could create the beautiful flourishes and embellishments I saw in blogs and on Pinterest with a regular pair of scissors. I could not. In fact, I think I wasted about $50 in specialty paper just trying to prove to myself that I didn’t need to invest in a die cutting machine and various cartridges to create the look I was going for. I was wrong.
It took some time, but when I finally came to terms with the fact that I needed help and invested in the right tools, the book came together beautifully. It took me about four months to create, but it was worth every minute and every penny. It now sits on a shelf in my parent’s living room and my mother says she flips through it about once a week remembering our trip.
The moral of the story here is that to create crafts that are more than Christmas ornaments made of popsicle sticks (which are still awesome!) you may need to invest in some specialized tools. For cross-stitching I own several hoops that serve various purposes (you can hear the nerd ooze out of me can’t you?). For scrapbooking, you need a wide variety of paper, cutting and trimming tools, and embellishments. For knitting, you need ample wool and several knitting needles; and for any other craft you decided to take on, you need the right tools to turn an idea into something worthy of posting on Instagram.
The other necessity for crafting like a pro is space. I’m not saying you need an entire craft room, but you do need some sort of dedicated space in which to create your masterpieces and all the tools that go into those creations.
For me, as a resident of a one-bedroom apartment, that space is comprised of my dining room table and my couch for the act of crafting, but I have a whole system of organization for the materials associated with crafting. This is where shelving units and drawers come into play. I happen to have a large cubby-shelving unit that I’ve equipped with multiple organizational cubes and storage boxes in which I’ve stored a plethora of crafting supplies.
In some cubbies I store paper. In others, threads and yarns and twines and wire. In yet another, glues and punches and embellishments and wood. To the average observer, it’s a well-organized and aesthetic addition to my apartment. To me, it’s a treasure trove of secrets, all waiting to be discovered.
The bottom line is that crafting is fun. But when it’s time to shut down, go to sleep, go to work, or even just go about being the non-crafty you, you need to be able to close a door, drawer, or cubby on all the tools that are required to make crafting fun. Otherwise the chaos will just get in the way of your creativity, and there’s no fun in that! If you’re ready to get crafting like a pro, take a look at all of the paper trimmers and cutters available on Bestbuy.ca.