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1  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / Matchbox Swap Rd 5 - 1 Angel Needed - FOUND on: August 09, 2011 04:29:31 AM
I am looking for an angel for a very patient cinnamoon for the Matchbox Swap Rd 5! She lives in the US, no allergies relevant to the swap and would love a matchbox around one of these themes:

1 - Steampunk
2 - Flowers
3 - Robots

Quote
Details of the Swap:

Find a matchbox that holds between 30-40 wooden matches and fill it as full as you possibly can with tiny supplies and/or crafts. You'll be amazed by how much you can fit in it! You can put anything you want in it, as long as it is craft related.  Supplies such as beads, paper, ephemera, postage stamps, brads, buttons, fibers, embellishments, stamped images, stamps, ribbons, stickers, foam shapes, fake flowers.  Handmade goodies such as, earrings, magnets, a necklace, charms, pins.  If it fits and can be used in a craft, or is a craft it's fair game. You can have 1 or 2 partners -- you will decorate  a matchbox for each partner, and you will receive a matchbox from each partner. One suggestion would be to stalk your partner and decorate the matchbox to their likes and dislikes but if you have an idea in your head already, decorate away. Just as long as you decorate and cram as much into the box as you can all will be good.  This swap is meant to be a quick, easy, and cheap swap so no extras, if it doesnt fit in the box do not send it, unless you and your partner agree to personal swap at the same time. "Decorations and wrapping" are allowed.  You can also make your own "matchbox" as long as it is the appropriate size. Here's one template you could use: http://blog.swap-bot.com/rachels-matchbox-template/

This is an easy angel opportunity! Preference will be given to someone who can send quickly and in one of cinnamoon's requested themes.  Please PM me to volunteer!

Thanks. Smiley
2  FIBER ARTS / Dyeing: Completed Projects / Waldorf-Inspired Nature Table Playsilks on: July 14, 2011 05:13:06 PM
It's been a long time since I've pulled out the ol' dyes, but I've been wanting to make hand dyed playsilks for my son since before he was born!

I got all the silk blanks for Dharma Trading - I had about 12 35"x35" silks and then I picked up a small ton of 11"x11" handkerchiefs.  I used Jacquard Acid Dyes (since I have a small collection of them) and found that the silk LOVED the dyes.  They absorbed practically whatever I could throw at it and then some!

Anyway, these are some of my favorites:










They are a super fast and easy project and the results are awesome! I can't wait to get my nature table started with these!
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Knitting Featured Member Archive on: April 06, 2011 04:13:33 AM
Here's an archive for all of our fabulous featured members!
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Meet Our Featured Organizer, DesignVigilante! on: April 05, 2011 03:00:31 AM
Many of you have seen (and contributed!) to the "Great Organizers I have Known" thread.  We love hearing about what makes a swap run smoothly for you and we love all the positive energy that the thread has created.  

In that spirit, we've created this feature to highlight some of our special and outstanding organizer from the swap boards.  We'll meet some of our amazing organizers and pick their brains about how they keep on top of everything organizing requires.

Without further delay, let's give a warm, hearty Craftster congrats to DesignVigilante, our newest featured organizer!


What is your favorite thing about organizing?
Pairing up people with the perfect partner. It makes me very happy to think that a lot of people have made friends on craftster because I partnered them together on a swap.

Do you prefer a huge swap, or a small one? Why?
I like a nice big swap. Its easier to find the perfect match for the participants if there is a big pool to grab from. On smaller swaps, I find I end up having to partner people by default not because they were the best match for each other.

Do you like using a co-organizer?
Yes. I hate denying anyone entry in a swap, so having co-organizers to help me makes it easier.

If so, how do you split up organizing responsibilities?  
Evenly. They do everything I have to do except input the feedback in the feedback form. They even write their own feedback for each person in their group and  I just add it to the feedback form at the end. I especially like taking in co-organizers that have not organized a swap before, but would like to someday. I use this opportunity as Swap Boot Camp.

How do you select a co-organizer?
Mostly based on how many swaps theyve been in and the type of feedback theyve received. If they send early/on-time a lot, that generally means they are organized people, haha.

How do you match up partners in a swap?
Oh man, that is a very laborious task. Once a swap closes, I make up a chart. I have a column for each of the following items: Username, Location, Willingness to ship Internationally, Allergies, Allergens, and specific notes pertaining to the swap in question. First I usually look at the international swappers and those willing to ship internationally. I do them first because it can be disastrous if left for last, you could end up with an international swapper and no one who would want to ship internationally. Then I look at allergies/allergens, making sure i dont pair a cat person with a person with cat allergies. Then I look at the specific quick notes at the end. For example, if its a Yarn Crafter versus Needle Crafter swap, I will usually put information like which group they fall under, what specifically do they enjoy doing, and what they are hoping to get out of this swap. So if a Needle crafter would really prefer a knitter over a crocheter, I will do my best to keep that in mind when pairing them up. Once I have what I think is a good match, I will open up their entire questionnaires, place them side by side on my computer screen, and take a final quick look to make sure they seem like a good pairing before putting them on my Partnered list. This can take hours, especially for a bigger swap.

Any particular tricks or tips you'd be willing to share with other organizers?
My biggest tip to any organizer is Google Documents (http://docs.google.com). There are so many advantages to using it. First of all, it is free and easy to sign up for. You dont have to create a new account for it if you already have a Gmail email address. The biggest advantage is that all of your documents are centralized in one place and can be accessed from any computer, across all operating systems, and anywhere you have Internet access. Secondly, if you are like me and like to have your co-organizers split the work with you completely, you can create all of the documents yourself in google docs then share it out to your organizers so that they can then edit the documents. And of course, any updates your co-organizers make to the documents are instantly available to you so if there is a problem with a participant in another group and your co-organizer isnt online, you can check their notes on that participant. It is amazing and I recommend this to EVERYONE.

Quote
Ok, normally we don't interject, except we thought DesignVigilante's use of GoogleDocs for her upcoming Make-A-Friend Round 7 swap was too awesome to not mention. Check out the swap calendar she created, with sendout dates, participation notes and more.  She also has created documents for package requirements here and here. We love it!

What would you say is the most important element of making a swap fun for everyone?
Other than making sure you give everyone the best possible partner (which isnt always easy or always works, this system isnt perfect), I also think that organizers need to have a balance of being a leader and a friend. You want your participants to feel like they can approach you with their concerns, but you also dont want to bombard them with messages asking them every five minutes to update their status, post on the threads, etc. Thats not to say you shouldnt ever message your participants, but please dont spam them either. You want to keep it casual, but keep an eye out for any problems. As they say, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Where do you find your swapping AND organizing inspiration?  
Most of my ideas for swaps come from my own life and the trends in the crafting community. I started the Make-a-Friend swap because I wanted to make a crafty friend, and figured others did too. I also like to take a look at what is currently trending in the crafting community, things that people are currently interested in making and receiving. Finally in addition I like swaps that purposely pair people of different crafts with each other, it makes the gallery more diverse and people tend to be more excited about receiving a craft they them selves dont do. My organizing inspiration is technology driven. Technology is there to make our lives easier, so why do things the hard way? I like finding new, easy, and free ways to make things easier, more centralized, and standardized. Those are the keys to keeping organized!

What was your favorite swap you organized, and what do you think made it a success?
I think my favorite was Make-a-Friend Round 5 in particular. I wished for more participants but on the other hand all the rules I have implemented since Round 1 has helped reduce the number of flakers. This particular round I had an excellent group of co-organizers that I hope to reenlist for Round 7, a great group of crafters, very few problems and no flakers what so ever. I think this swap overall has been a lot of trial and error, and I take all feedback from the participants to me on how this swap can be improved upon seriously and I think the improvements are noticeable in Round 5.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think my final piece of advice is to learn from your experiences. Allow yourself to be criticized on your organizational skills, but dont take it personally. Take it as an opportunity to be a better leader. The skills you learn by taking this on can be applied to your daily life. The job of an organizer is very time consuming and takes a lot of effort, but the things you learn are priceless.
5  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Previously Featured Organizers/Swappers! on: April 04, 2011 09:31:31 AM
Take a look at some of our past featured organizers for tips, hints, and tricks to being a fabulous swap organizer!

pinkleo

kaz814

DesignVigilante

Samsara

LesliesHappyHeart and susanab

TroubleT

underthemountain and Homer0f2
6  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / [April Fools!] CRAFTSTERLAND'S BEGINNING KNITTING CLASS : FAIR ISLE SOCKS! on: April 01, 2011 06:37:34 AM

Full Craftsterland Announcement and Details here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=377142.0


Class: Beginner's Knitting Class :: Fair Isle Socks

"Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence."
Elizabeth Zimmermann (Knitting Without Tears: Basic Techniques and Easy-to-Follow Directions for Garments to Fit All Sizes)

Teacher: Lapoli

Location: Craftster Compound Humidity-Controlled Wool Storage Closet 2A

Class Size: 10 students of below-average intelligence, or 20 students of above-average intelligence. (See IQ testing pre-requisites, below, and the formula to determine the proper mix of BA and AA students.)

Class Description:  Have you been envying the look of those fancy, handmade socks but never had the guts to cast on?  Do double pointed needles scare you?  Do you like the idea of being asked to make socks for all your friends and family who don't realize how much work is involved appeal to you?  If so, this class is for YOU!

In this class, we'll discuss the basic mechanics of sock-knitting including casting on, knitting in the round, heel and gusset shaping, and the kitchener stitch. Peppered throughout our two-day class, we'll have bits of video and book readings from Elizabeth Zimmerman.

At this end of this two day, 10 hour class, you will have made a pair of fair isle socks for your father in fingering weight yarn.  

Prerequisites:  Participants are subject to rigorous IQ testing prior to class approval.  Testing must be completed 10 business days prior to the start of class in order for the instructor to guarantee a seat.  IQ test results will ONLY be used for creating an ideal class environment - they will not be shared with administrators, commercial interests, etc.  Failure to complete this prerequisite will result in class enrollment termination.

Formula to determine final class composition:

Cost: $100 per person for the class cost plus $500 per person for materials (This material fee is in addition to required equipment/supplies, below)

Supplies Needed:  Bamboo DPNs in the following sizes: US00, US0, US1 and US2, fingering weight yarn in at least two colors.  Yarn should be at least 80% wool and NOT superwash.  Please do not bring orange yarn.  Scissors.  Darning needle.  Stitch marker of appropriate proportion.  

Other/Misc:  You may want to consider bringing food/meals that you can sip with a straw, so as to avoid taking important class time away.  Bathroom breaks are also optional, so please, plan accordingly.
7  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Homemade Herbal Tinctures with Instructions to Make Your Own! on: March 23, 2011 06:55:16 AM
After giving birth to my son last September, our midwives suggested I take herbal tinctures several times a day to help normalize the post-partum period.  The tinctures were an absolute godsend and, since it was the first time I had ever taken them, I became increasingly interested in learning how to make my own.  Smiley

Purchasing tinctures through a natural foods store can be pretty pricey - they are usually between $10-15/ounce and if you take one several times a day for weeks, well... You see my concern.

What I found in my research is that making homemade tinctures is REALLY SIMPLE!  In fact, so simple that I won't even call this a tutorial because most of the process is just waiting.


Basically, you just need a couple of ingredients and a small handful of supplies that you already have in your kitchen.  It couldn't be easier!

Ingredients:

fresh herbs - I used organically grown herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs
vodka - Yes, vodka.  Cheesy 80 or 100 proof.

Supplies:

glass jars/bottles with lids - I used sterilized canning jars.
coffee filters/cheesecloth - something to strain the herbs from the resulting tincture

Procedure:

You ready?  Add herbs to your jars, top with vodka.  You can let them sit for as little as two weeks, but the longer you wait, the better.  I steeped mine for six weeks in a cool, dark place.  For the first week or two, shake the jar daily.

After the tinctures have steeped for at least two weeks, strain the herbs out of the tincture.  I used a coffee filter suspended over a glass jar.  Though the jars above are a good short-term storage, I'd recommend finding dark glass bottles to avoid the damaging effects of sunlight.

Miscellaneous:

Herbal folklore suggests that you start your tinctures on the new moon and harvest on the full moon.  I didn't want to risk it, so I started mine with the correct moon cycles. Smiley

I made tinctures from both yarrow (left) and calendula (right). 

Calendula is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory effects.  You can spray it on cuts, bruises, wounds, etc.  I'm going to keep a small spray bottle ready for my yet-to-be-created "boo boo" kit (once my son starts walking around).  The rest will be bottled and shared with friends and family.

Yarrow is mostly used as an immune booster and helps with fevers.  I'm going to rebottle this in a dark glass bottle and store away for the next time I start feeling under the weather.  Since 5 ounces of a tincture is a LOT, I think I can also safely share with friends and family, too.

I have lots of other tinctures planned to keep my family and friends healthy and happy!  Lemon Balm is next on my list, followed by elderberry. 

To use the tinctures, you simply place a few drops into a glass of water.

How cost effective is this?  Even purchasing organic herbs, I only needed a few ounces of each which were a few dollars through Mountain Rose Herbs.  A large bottle of vodka cost about $16 and I used half for these two tinctures.  My total cost was probably around $15, which is about 10% of what I would have spent had I purchased the same volume of tinctures through a natural foods store.

With any herbal product, PLEASE research and/or consult a doctor or herbalist before taking.  Herbs do have healing properties and you want to make sure that anything you ingest is safe for YOU!

Happy tincturing! Cheesy
8  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / WIP Wednesday 3/23 : Share your WIPs Here! on: March 23, 2011 03:42:07 AM
Now that I'm looking at it, shouldn't it be WsIP?  But, then again, I think WIP is a stand-alone word, right?  Anyone care to weigh in?

So, we haven't had a WIP Wednesday for awhile.  I usually remember it's Wednesday on Thursdays which doesn't really do us any good. WIP Thursday doesn't have the same alliterative appeal that WIP Wednesday has.  Smiley

What are YOU working on lately?

I'm juggling working FT, taking care of Sprout more than FT and now, we're in the process of buying a house and packing so... yeah, not much time to knit.  I do have several projects on the needles that are staring at me from across the room, however:

This blanket has been a WIP for a long time.  I'm making it for my new nephew who is expected to arrive mid-April.  The colors a little off in the photo - it's actually a traditional baby blue for my brother whose nursery is pretty traditional. Smiley



Stitch Close-Up


I think I'm going to wrap it up here shortly.  The pattern calls for 23 repeats but I think doing about 18 will be plenty big for a baby.  Besides, if I stick with it through 23 repeats, I may never finish.

And, as I realized once I had started on this blanket, I haven't knit a blanket for MY son.  So, I cast on this simple garter striped blanket for him.  This is exactly the kind of knitting I have time for - easy and no pattern required.  I also used it as an excuse to order some Madeline Tosh Vintage yarn.  I love her yarns luscious colorways and the fact that it's superwash is nice, too.  I ordered a total of 8 colors, so you can see I'm just a tad over 25% finished with his blanket.



What's on your needles? Cheesy
9  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Waldorf Kids / Nature Table Swap? on: March 17, 2011 03:39:54 AM
I've been toying with the idea of starting a waldorf children's / nature table swap.  My son is still really, really young but I've been so inspired by reading books about waldorf and would love to start an evolving natural table for us once we get settled in our new house.

Are there any like minded mamas and families around here?  I think it would be fun to have a swap that's waldorf or waldorf-inspired in theme and involves natural materials/toys/etc.

10  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Meet our Featured Organizer - kaz814! on: January 22, 2011 08:27:08 AM
Many of you have seen (and contributed!) to the "Great Organizers I have Known" thread.  We love hearing about what makes a swap run smoothly for you and we love all the positive energy that the thread has created.  

In that spirit, we'd like to begin featuring a special organizer for the swap boards.  We'll meet some of our amazing organizers and pick their brains about how they keep on top of everything organizing requires.

Without further delay, let's give a warm, hearty Craftster congrats to kaz814, our newest featured organizer!



What is your favorite thing about organizing?

The Type A part of me wants to say that it's the actual organization aspect (which really, is fun), but really, I think it's getting to know so many fabulous Craftsters.  I never would have guessed that I'd make friends on Craftster when I joined, but I have thanks to getting to know people through swaps and organizing!


Do you prefer a huge swap, or a small one? Why?

I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a big swap.  The first one I organized had 67 swappers and it was madness.  I loved every minute of it, even the insanity of trying to match people up.  Then again, I've organized a couple smaller swaps and the closeness of the swappers in a smaller swap can't be beat.  So can I say both?


Do you like using a co-organizer?

I do!  Well, now that I've learned to actually use one.  Admittedly, I got overexcited the first few times I had a co-organizer and posted everything myself.  Only after it had been replied to did I realize my mistake.  Live and learn, though, and a co-organizer is a fabulous, fabulous person.  I love having someone else to bounce ideas off of and split the organizing duties with!


If so, how do you split up organizing responsibilities?  

Generally, I split the swappers into two groups once they're paired up.  One for me and one for her, so we can both have responsibility for half the swappers.  In other swaps, like the Birthday swaps, one person keeps the spreadsheet up to date and the other keeps track of the claims in the thread.

 
How do you select a co-organizer?

Well, so far, I've posted in the swap thread when we're approaching 25 participants and I get a wonderful volunteer.  Sometimes (like for Frugal 3), someone volunteers in a previous round and I hit her up for helping out in the next round.  This is how Troublet and I first met and she is an amazing co-organizer!


How do you match up partners in a swap?

I put everyone into little charts that list their username, country, willingness to send internationally, allergies, allergens, generalities about what the swapper wants, what she can make, what she won't make.  Then I spread all the little slips of paper on the floor around me and sort by country/willingness to ship internationally.  Next I figure out who can't be paired with whom due to allergies and then the remaining swappers are sorted by requested crafts to make and receive.  Then I staple the partners together, if it's at the end of the sign-ups, or paperclip if sign-ups are still on-going and I just wanted an idea of how things could work.


Any particular tricks or tips you'd be willing to share with other organizers?

Googledocs are a godsend when co-organizing because then you only need one document that you both can edit.  Also, don't be afraid to send a PM if you haven't heard from someone or even an email.  Communication is key as an organizer!  The more communicative you are, the better the swap will run, in my opinion.  Also, be excited about your swap.  Answer PMs promptly, post in the discussion thread and gallery, etc.  If you're excited, others will be, too, which makes for a really fun experience for everyone!


What would you say is the most important element of making a swap fun for everyone?

I'd say that the most important element is getting to know your fellow swappers, even if they're not your partner!  Having an active discussion and gallery (without going off-topic, of course!) makes the swap really feel like a community to me.  I love asking how a swapper made something that she sent to her partner and hearing how it's being used, etc.  Teaser pics and posts are fun, too, in discussion threads when you don't want to spoil the surprise!  I'd also second (echoing the wonderful pinkleo) the need for communication.  If partners don't communicate and you don't think your partner is interested, then it won't be fun to create things for each other.


Where do you find your swapping AND organizing inspiration?

My life!  I started the Frugal Living Swap (and Frugal Swap 2: Return of the Cheap and Frugal Swap 3: Have Yourself a Frugal Little Holiday) because I realized that so many of the things I throw away can be reused if they're made of different material, which is better for the Earth and cheaper.  In this day and age, the more frugal I am, the better, and lots of others agreed with me!  The other swaps I've organized are due to my interests - I <3 Autumn, How My Garden Grows. I also tend to prefer swaps and crafts that are more practical and aren't just for decorative things.  I've recently started organizing some of the Birthday swaps, which has been a lot of fun and who isn't inspired by the idea of birthday presents?


What was your favorite swap you organized, and what do you think made it a success?

This required a bit of thought, but I think it was the first Frugal Living Swap because I was organizing with absolutely no idea what I was doing.  (I'm lucky I had an awesome co-organizer, donniesgirl, to show me the ropes!)  I've loved all three rounds for different reasons, but the first was where the collection of links to frugal resources and the list of frugal crafts was initially compiled, which was a lot of fun and the swap itself felt like a total group effort to get running.


Is there anything else you'd like to share?

If you haven't tried swapping yet, do so - it's so much fun and you meet some really fabulous people! Don't be shy!  It's a great way to try a new craft, push yourself, and show others what you can do.  And if you want to organize a swap, go for it.  There's a bit of work involved, but it's totally worth it when you see a beautiful gallery filled with gorgeous crafts and realize that you've gotten to know a lot of really great people.

Thank you to my various partners, organizers, swappers, and last, but certainly not least, the swap mods, all of whom have made swapping such a fabulous experience for me.  Being chosen as a featured organizer is something I never expected and I am truly honored.  Thank you so much and I hope to see you all in a swap soon. Cheesy

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