Crafter’s Gift Guide

(This ruler is a European brand I got here in Israel, Le Summit.)

When we moved to Israel a year and half ago I really couldn’t figure out what to pack.  I brought a lot of clothes, most of which are too warm to wear 10 months out of 12.  I brought bed linens because I was convinced I would somehow not be able to buy them here.  I brought books and stationary, and have yet to write more than a couple letters home.  But I did not bring any of the craft supplies and tools I now use almost every day.  So here is a list of tools I wish I had brought with me.  Use this list to shop for your favorite crafter or even a new college student or homeowner.  Most of this stuff is pretty handy no matter who you are.

1. Hammer:  Crafter’s need real tools too.  No matter what I’m working on, I can always find a use for a good hammer.  I picked out this one because it’s the same weight as a standard hammer, which means I don’t have to have huge guns to sink a tiny little nail, but it takes up less space in my already over stuffed craft drawer.   Need some inspiration for hammer-worthy projects?  Check out this blog: Hammer Like a Girl.

2.  Screwdriver:  Same concept here.  You gotta have one, but it doesn’t have to be super complicated or difficult to use.  I recommend a ratchet and I like one that carries its own interchangeable parts onboard.

Can you believe these came two for one with my husband’s toenail clippers? They’re so cute!

3. Scissors:  The very first thing I missed was a pair of Gingher fabric shears my mom got me for Christmas a few years ago.  When I opened them up, I cried pretty much exactly like I did when she gave me a string of my grandmother’s pearls and they are just about as beautiful. They cut fabric like a hot knife through butter, but they don’t do detail work, so it’s a good idea to have a pair of little embroidery or nail scissors around as well.  John bought me this flowered enamel pair in the manicure section of the drug store and I love them.

4.  Ruler:  I have only recently discovered the clear quilting ruler and it has changed my life.  It’s a big Lucite ruler that you can lay on top of a project (not just quilts) and actually see what you’re doing!  Seems like a no-brainer right?

I don’t use this for every project, but you never know when you’re going to need it.

5.  Tape measure:  Yes, I know, you’re thinking this is a little redundant, but I promise you it’s not.  You can never have enough rulers and tape measures and they all serve a different purpose.  Personally, I can use a seamstress’s tape measure to substitute for a metal construction one, but not vise versa, so go with one like this.

6.  Pliers/cutters:  I don’t know why, but I always end up needing a pair of these for something or other.   Normally, I would be tempted to just use the scissors laying next to me to snip a little craft wire, but if you own those nice Ginghers listed above, do not, I repeat, DO NOT use them to cut anything but fabric.  My mother will personally come over and punish you for breaking the number one scissor rule.  Just get a simple little pair of snippers instead.

I used to use the dog’s nail clippers for this task. I think I probably deserved the upgrade.

7.  Iron:  The majority of crafts I have been working on in the last two years involve either plastic or fabric, both of which need to be ironed at some point along the way. It’s a good idea to have a dedicated craft iron, as my husband tends to get a little miffed when he ends up with weird plastic and ink stains on his dress shirts.

8.  Needles and thread:  This is obviously a classic stocking stuffer for just about anybody, but let me encourage you not to get the pre-assembled sewing kit.  These are fine for your office desk or your purse, but the thread is weak and so are the needles.  Instead, pick up a card of varied size needles, a couple of basic thread colors and one of those dime shaped needle threaders and throw them into your own little container.

9.  Toolbox:  Keep it simple and just give the gift that keeps on giving; a good toolbox.  I still have the pink tool box my friend Deena gave me for my high school graduation over a decade ago.  She said at the time, and she was right, that if my tools ever went missing, I would know who took them because they are all bright pink.  Cute duct tape on all the handles might serve the same purpose.

Projects go awry.  Life gets in the way.  Time runs out.  If all else fails, just pay someone craftier than you to make the thing you were trying to make.  Etsy is now selling gift cards that I would love to have for that shameful day when I can’t figure out how to make a beautiful