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11  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / 2015 Shop the Swap discussion thread on: February 11, 2015 03:39:05 PM
The 2015 STS Discussion Thread

STS Winter Market 2015
sign ups Sept 15 - 30  Swapping open to November 22 (catch up week for over/under 3 points November 15-22)


Outstanding Claims

SkyWookiee to Mlsocci74 - #2 hat #3 neck warmer  sent Nov 22

12  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / Angel needed for Disney Swap Round 12-FOUND! on: January 23, 2015 10:58:43 AM
Swap Name: Disney Swap Round 12
Original Thread link: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=434554.0
Gallery thread link: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=435281.0#axzz3BX5NMy5r

We need 1 angel for RebeccaJay for a Disney themed swap!  International shipping to England  Thank you to emisaurus

This was a 5 pt swap (one large and either 2 smalls or a medium) of Disney themed items!

Rebecca wanted to receive items for her home in a "grown up" Disney theme and loves Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and a lot more!

(She does not care to receive clothing, jewelry or dolls)

The original send date for this swap was August 29, 2014 so RebeccaJay has been waiting a very long time.  For this reason I would like a send deadline of 2 weeks.  Please pm me if you are interested in angeling for this very patient Craftster Smiley

13  Calls for Swap Angels / Swap Angel Archive / FOC Second Chance Swap 2015-a chance to redeem negatives! on: January 07, 2015 03:53:01 PM
The FOC Second Chance Swap 2015 is now open.  Please carefully read the instructions as this "swap" differs from regular swaps.  Good luck!

eta:  the FOC second chance swap is now closed.
14  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Shop the Swap Winter Market 2014 - Gallery on: September 26, 2014 06:18:34 PM
Show us what you've sold!

Shop thread  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=435866.0
Discussion thread  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=431768.0

Outstanding Claims Winter Market 2014

A2K to Grab a coffee - custom sewing  sent Dec 4

15  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / STS Winter Market **Shops** (SU to Oct 10; closes Nov 24) on: September 26, 2014 06:17:15 PM
Have lots of crafty items to "sell"?  Want to "buy" fantastic crafts and supplies from a bunch of super cool crafters? Then this is the swap for you!

Swap name: Shop the Swap Winter Market 2014  
Craftster member who is organizing this swap: alteredmommy
Craftster members who are the backup organizers for this swap: loves2experiment
Sign-up date range: 09/26/2014 to 10/10/2014
Date to send item by: Once someone claims from you, you have ONE WEEK to mail the item. The swap runs through to November 24 (**Please note that the last week November 17-24 will be for over/under 3 point shops only)
Limited to a certain number of people? 50
Non-U.S. participants allowed? Yes! Be aware that by signing up for this swap you are agreeing to ship items internationally if they are claimed by someone outside of your country

Additional Age requirement? YES **This swap is open to crafters who are 18+**

Discussion Thread!

Swap Organizer himself/herself meets these conditions:
- Has fully read the Swap Info Guide: YES
- Has successfully completed two swaps as a participant: YES
- Is not organizing more than three swaps right now: YES
- Will recruit a co-organizer or give all details to a Swap Moderator if this swap has more than 25 participants: YES
- Is at least 18 years old: YES

Swap Organizer will check each participant to make sure they meet these conditions:
- Has been a member for at least one month: YES
- Has posted at least 15 times: YES
- Has completed one swap successfully before signing up for multiple swaps at a time: YES
- Has completed 2 swaps with positive feedback YES
- Is not currently signed up for more than five swaps: YES
- Does not have any negative feedback: YES
- Participant has agreed that he/she is at least 18 years old: YES
- If within the US, understands that Delivery Confirmation number is required for this swap: YES
- If outside the US, understands that a mailing receipt copy is required for this swap: YES

All swappers MUST be pre-approved for this swap!

The Shop the Swap (or STS) is a different kind of swap in that we start with finished items.  We use a point system in which you price items in points that you receive when you sell your shop item to another swapper.  Once you have sent your claim out , you can use those points to buy any available item from any open shop in the swap.   Like the real world, you cant spend points that you dont have (no overdraft here) and you cant hoard your points under your mattress (you must close and go shopping when you have +7 points).  
**Please note that the format for this round is a little different.  Signups will be 3 weeks until October 10/14 with the swap running to November 24/2014.    Unlike the past Shop the Swaps, you will not be able to leave before the end of the swap and you must be at 3 points upon the close of the swap.  If you are traveling or otherwise unable to keep your shop open, you can close for a short period of time (a week)

- Post a shop in this thread with at least 5 finished, handcrafted items for the other swappers to choose from.  You can also post a small amount of craft supply items at the bottom of your shop.  **Custom items can be offered, but must be finished and sent in a timely manner, so keep this in mind and only offer custom items that you can finish quickly.  Please let us know if you will be sending late.
-Handcrafted items from other people may be offered in your shop, BUT  be aware of the potential of hurt feelings when selling items made for you in other swaps.  This is a high profile swap that many people see.  Crafted items from others must be credited with the name of the creator or you will be requested to remove that item.
-Each item should have a SHORT identifiable title, description and picture.  Each item should be priced between 1 and 3 points.  Groups of items can be priced at a choice of 2 for 1 (or 3 for 1 etc).  Charge what you think is fair for your crafted item, considering time/supply cost/popularity.
-Check peoples wishlists and use the discussion thread for brainstorming any new items to offer in your shop.


-all persons new to the swap receive 3 points to spend.  This is a STS loan and you must leave with 3 points (in effect pay the loan back) for positive feedback.  
-Your shop must be open before you can spend your points in other shops.
-Remember there are no guarantees that claims will be made from your shop.  To make a sale you may need to adjust your prices or offer new crafted items/supplies.
-Everytime someone claims from you, you will get whatever point price you have listed for it.  List the claim at the bottom of your shop and add the points into pending and to your points total.  You cannot spend pending points.
-Once you have sent the claim, move the points into current.  All current points are spendable so go shopping!
-When you have +7 points (a TOTAL of current and pending) you must close your shop temporarily.  Edit your shop post to put CLOSED at the top in big bold letters that people will see.
-Once you go shopping (with your current points, you may have to ship first)and spend your points down to 5 or less, you can re-open your shop.
-Each round  claims to and from you should be listed with your point tally at the bottom of your shop.  See the next post for the proper shop format.


-If any prior claims go missing you may be required to remake/refund the points/offer something else in your shop if you have no DC# or shipping receipt.  If you have a valid DC# or shipping receipt it is your decision whether you will replace the item or have me arrange an angel

-Positive feedback will be given after the swap closing date of Nov 24 if you have 3 points and all your claims have been received.
-Negative feedback will be given for closing this swap with less than 3 points and/or not sending claims made to you.  If you need points, have a sale, let people know in the discussion thread, offer some supplies.  
-Spend your points down to 3 before the close of this round.  If you leave with more than 3 points, any points above 3 will go into the inflation fund.  Again, reminder pm's to join will not be sent out.  These points will not be returned to you should you join the STS in a future round.  So go shopping!

-Remember that you have ONE WEEK to ship from the day you receive a claim.
-All items are to be shipped AFTER an official claim is received; please do not ship custom items before we receive an official STS claim for them.  Items shipped before they are claimed will not be covered under our angel policy should they go missing.
- DC# are required on all claims if eligible AS PER CRAFTSTER SWAP RULES; if sending internationally please keep your postal receipt until your item is received.   Thin items can be padded with a plastic grocery bag or something similiar to make them thick enough for a DC#.  If your item has not been received within a reasonable time (3-4 weeks domestic; 4-5 weeks international) an angel can be arranged if you have a DC# or postal receipt.  If not you will be required to remake or offer something else from your shop and resend.
-Also remember to read the Swap Info Guide to find out how to ship your item and other details about participating in a swap.

-It is your responsibility to keep relevant people informed of your shop and claim status  
-all claim/send/receive pms must be sent to both organizers as well as to the person you are claiming from/sending to.  Please check you're outgoing pm's to ensure that everyone has received a copy!!!!!!
-Poor communication will be noted in your feedback.  This includes not informing the organizers/other swappers of claim status via the correct claim format; not posting in the discussion thread.
-Do join in the lively conversation on the discussion thread which can be found here:   http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=431768.0

PLEASE PM THE ORGANIZERS alteredmommy, loves2experiment WITH THE FOLLOWING

(Make the title of your PM -  STS Winter Market 2014 SIGNUP)

Name of swap: Shop the Swap Winter Market 2014
Craftster username:
I am at least eighteen years old:
I have completed 2 swaps with positive feedback:
Email address:
Real name and mailing address (formatted for mailing):

Do you have at least 5 crafted items to start out with?
Have you read through the first 2 posts of guidelines/rules?
When will this swap be closed for claims?
What information needs to be kept current at the end of your shop?
What is your favourite thing about Winter?

Feel free to ask alteredmommy or loves2experiment if you have any questions!!

Shops from previous rounds:
Spring Market 2014   http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=432211.0

Winter Market 2013   http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=427289.0

Spring Market 2013   http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=419802.0

Winter Market 2012   http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=414351.0

16   / MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / Meet our new featured member andralynn! on: August 28, 2014 11:09:42 AM
I'm pleased to announce our new featured artist in More Art, Less Craft andralynn!!

A member of Craftster for almost 4 years, andralynn has shared many of her whimsical animals and monsters with us.  I enjoy the little back stories she includes with many of her creations, here are some of my favourites:

Storybook painting

A Little Monster

The Housekeepers

I live in Paris, Texas (which has its own Eiffel Tower complete with a big red cowboy hat!) and work from my little home studio as a full-time artist and writer. I have sold art to two major TV shows, have been commissioned to create art by children's hospitals, designed art for some children's textile companies, and just recently finished illustrating a children's book that will be available at the end of the year. Oh, and I love broccoli.

What mediums do you work with and which is your favourite?
I mostly work with acrylics, but I also love to draw using ink and markers.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I have two VERY imaginative little girls who provide endless inspiration with their stories and antics. Every day is an adventure filled with dragon hunting, picnics in magical forests, and tea parties with unicorns and fairies -- it's impossible not to be inspired with those two around!

Have you had any formal art training?

No, not really...but I have been making art for as long as I can remember, starting with scribbling on the walls of my bedroom (Sorry, mom). I only started my career as an artist about three years ago, and it's been a crazy ride ever since!

Do you make time for regular art making?
I paint or draw every day. I am a complete and total art-aholic. Yes, that is a word. I'm sure of it. 

Some of your best tips for aspiring artists?

Just make art. Forget what everyone else says or thinks. Just make art. If other people love what you make, that's great. If they don't, who cares. Just make art. If you love what you do, everything else will follow.

Of everything you've posted on Craftster what is your personal favourite?
I love creating monster paintings, because they're just pure imagination with no rules whatsoever. The Housekeepers are a particular favorite of mine. Not only are they friendly, they are noble and good too. 

What is your favourite project posted by another Craftster member?
That is a really hard question, because they are so many awesome projects to choose from. But if you twisted my arm, I'd choose this one because I am a HUGE Doctor Who fan and I am in awe of anyone who can sew like this:The Tenth Doctor Doll by FabledStitches

Thank you for sharing with us andralynn
17   / MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / Featured Projects 2014 (Jan - April) on: July 17, 2014 07:53:12 AM
Featured Projects 1st part of 2014 (Jan -April)

Thank you for your wonderful contributions to the More Art, Less Craft corner of the Craftster community!  Our Featured Projects were chosen by the Craftster community via the "this rocks" button and they do indeed rock!

Birds and Bugs and Butterflies by Smeddley

First Stippled ATC by My_RubySlippers

Moonlit by Cryssoleil

This Hedgie Presents "The Countess of Craftasticallness" by jillybeans

Dreamcatcher Art Piece on Driftwood by Eveamlizya

Recent Soft Pastel craze - Animals! by TheDaytimeHeroes

Painting with pink by andralynn

Pet Portraits-A Greyhound and Two Italian Greyhounds by gotgrey

18  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Green Chile Chicken Tamales on: May 04, 2014 12:06:37 PM

Tamales are my absolute favourite Mexican food and something that I rarely if ever see up here in Northern Canada.  I crave them more often than my once a year tamale gorge fest disguised as a vacation down south so I found a great Rick Bayless recipe and have been making my own for Cinco de Mayo, Christmas and other special occasions like Tuesdays Wink  They are a bit time consuming and a helper or two will make your tamale day go way faster!  Here are the ingredients you'll need:

1-8 oz pkg of dried corn husks (I found some at Trader Joe's last time I was in the states) or you can use squares of tin foil which will do the trick.   If using corn husks you will also need some kitchen string cut in 8-10 inch lengths to tie them shut.


4 cups of shredded chicken (I use a rotisserie chicken)
2 small cans of chopped green chilis
1 bottle of green Mexican sauce (tomatillo)
2/3 cup rough chopped fresh cilantro
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
salt to taste
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons of oil


1/2 cup Crisco vegetable shortening.  If you want to go authentic use pork lard
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups dried masa harina mixed with 2 1/4 cups of hot water
1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Prepare the corn husks
First of all you need to cover the corn husks with very hot water in a big pot, weigh down with a plate to keep them submerged.  Let them soak a couple of hours to soften up and become pliable.

Prepare the filling:

Puree the chopped green chilis and the garlic cloves in a food processor until smooth.  Add in the jar of green sauce, process till it is a smooth sauce again.  Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium high.  When its hot, add the puree all at once and stir until it looks thicker and darker, about 5 minutes.  Add 2 cups of chicken broth and simmer over medium heat until thick enough to coat a spoon, at least 10 minutes.  Taste and season highly with salt, around 2 teaspoons.  The filling will balance out the blandness of the masa dough so you can add a lot of taste to it.  Stir in the chicken and cilantro and cool completely.

Prepare the batter/dough

A kitchen aid mixer is invaluable for this step!

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the shortening with 2 teaspoons salt and the baking powder until light in texture, around a minute.  Continue beating as you add the reconstituted masa in 3 additions.  Reduce the speed to medium-low and add 1 cup of chicken broth.  Continue beating, check the dough after a couple of minutes - a 1/2 teaspoon dollop of batter should float in a cup of cold water.  If it doesn't float yet, beat another minute and check again.  Then beat in enough of the remaining 1/2 cup of broth to give the mixture the consistency of soft (not runny) cake batter; it should hold its shape on a spoon and be more like a thick, soft paste.  Taste and add a bit more salt if you want.  

Make the tamales!

First pick out 24-30 of the largest and most pliable husks-that are at least 6 inches across on the wider end and 6-7 inches long.  If you can't find enough good ones you can overlap a couple to make a larger surface.  Pat the husks dry on a clean kitchen towel.  I set up area on my kitchen table with husks, pre cut strings, filling and masa dough and a tray for the finished tamales.

Spread about 1/4 cup of the batter into about a 4 inch square on the corn husk leaving at least a 1 1/2 inch border of open husk around it.  Place it a little closer to the wide top of the husk.  Then put about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling down the center of the batter.

Pick up the 2 long sides of the cornhusk and bring them together in a rolling motion so the batter meets and wraps around the filling. Try and make sure all the filling is enclosed so it doesn't leak out while steaming.  You can fix any little open spots with a spoon and a bit of batter but I warn you, tamale batter is sticky so you don't want to fool too much with it.  

Then fold each side over the filling and fold up the bottom 1 1/2 inch empty section (the skinnier pointy part) and use a piece of string to tie shut.  You should have a fairly tightly closed little tamale package with an open top (be careful not to squish the filling out of the top though-there should be an inch or so of open space)  Don't tie the tamales too tightly as they will need a bit of room to expand.

Set up your steamer

I don't have a giant tamale steamer so I use my big stock pot with a round wire rack set on a smaller steamer insert (you could use custard cups or sturdy coffee cups.  I like something metal personally, but the steam does need to go through whatever you choose)  I line the pot with some of the leftover corn husks, leaving a few tiny spaces between them so the steam water doesn't pool under the tamales.

Steam those tamales!

Stand the tamales on their folded bottoms in the prepared steamer.  I use small rolls of tin foil to both help keep them upright as well as separate them a bit.  Cover the tamales with another layer of leftover corn husks then put the lid on.  Steam over a constant medium heat for about 1 1/4 hours-depending on the size of tamales you make.  Giant tamales can take up to 4 hours to steam.  Watch carefully that all the water doesn't boil away, I add boiling water from my kettle as necessary.  You can tell that the tamales are done when the husk peels away from the masa easily.  If it still is sticking, steam a little longer.

Once they are done, let them stand in the steamer off the heat for a few minutes to firm up.  Then crack open a cerveza,  unwrap your tamales and serve with more green sauce.  Try and share with worthy people Grin

19  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Harry Potter Box Swap - Gallery! on: April 30, 2014 10:55:13 AM
Post your awesomeness here Smiley

Original thread http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=432452.0

Sent/Partner received
sending late with communication
Feedback given
uh oh contact organizer

pinkleo <---> DaphadillyArt  seeuudee angeling
3200Runner <---> rockingbearranch
mariak <---> seeuudee
Inselaeffchen[/color] <---> NathanielM93
<---> lmseeley
chrmisha <---> smileyyogini
milkeway <---> blushingbluegrass
20  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / Talk About The Swap Process / Super Organizers of 2013's biggest swaps!! on: April 16, 2014 05:03:46 PM

Swaps are a big part of the Craftster experience for many of our members.  There are all kinds of themes and formats for eligible Craftsters to choose from!  This first quarter feature will highlight a few of the largest participant swaps from 2013 and the fabulous organizers who ran them.

IYP 23 Summer Do Si Do
   49 participants
luckdragon organizer 
Calabazza co-organizer

This was the 23rd round of the famous Invite Your Partner swap where you invite your own partner or accept someone's invitation.  Themes and package size are decided on between each partner pairing which results in a truly varied gallery of awesome!  Here is what luckdragon had to tell us about running a giant swap:

Any organizational tips on managing a large group of swappers? Communication, a big old spreadsheet, a separate swap folder for PMs and an amazing co-organizer! And for me, the co-organizer is the most important of these!  I have to say that I have had some awesome co-organizers that help keep track of send/receive status and feedback for up to half of the partner groups.   That helps keep the swap much more manageable and I can focus on any escalations if necessary (but with craftsters, it isn't necessary often).

What is your secret to matching partners when you have so many?  So, since this is an Invite Your Partner swap, that makes things super easy!  People partner themselves - which seems to make for much happier pairing all around.  But, in general, I find that swaps with more participants are easier to partner as there are more options for people who don't have conflicting allergies/allergens and shipping limitations.  And you are more likely to find partners with similar interests.

What is the largest number of swappers that you would feel comfortable hosting in a swap?  The more, the merrier!  I absolutely love the galleries for the bigger swaps!  I might just ask for additional co-org help Smiley

Ongoing Wish Swap round 100   40 participants
Averia  organizer
spikefan  co-organizer

The longest running swap on Craftster, the Ongoing Wish Swap (or OWS) started waaaay back in September 2005!!!  The OWS is a list/chain style of swap, where swappers choose what they want to send from the last posted member list, then post their own.  Throughout the past 8+ years there have been many organizers/co-organizers, here are Averia's answers to the questions we all want to know.  Check out the gallery and big congratulations on ROUND 100!!

Any organizational tips on managing a large group of swappers? Accept the help of a great Co-organizer. I couldn't do it without Spikefan! I am very grateful to her for her calm and constant help, especially when I start to get overwhelmed. A ways back Saintcady generously shared an excel spreadsheet with me for ongoing swaps. Homerof2 and I modified it to work with Google docs for the Ongoing Hoopla Swap. Using it allows both the organizer and co-organizer to update the same records so the load doesn't get too heavy on any one person. Updating the front page of the claims thread with who has sent, who has received and who has communicated that they will be late is a simple matter of cutting and pasting.

What is the largest number of swappers that you would feel comfortable hosting in a swap? I think the 40 we had is about the most I would ever want to organize. It was wonderfully fun, but by the end of the month we were feeling frazzled. I think I would try to get another co-organizer involved if we ever had that many interested again.

Back to Hogwarts Rd 4
  33 participants
pinkleo  organizer
luckdragon  co-organizer

Back to Hogwarts Rd 4 was one of the many Harry Potter themed swaps hosted on Craftster over the years and is the most traditional of our featured swaps, you can check out the gallery here.  There is a common theme, package size requirement and partners are assigned by the organizer(s).   Pinkleo has lots of experience running big swaps, here are her organizer tips!

Any organizational tips on managing a large group of swappers? First, plan beforehand.  Decide on how you are going to track and keep in touch with your participants.  Find a system that helps you be organized, be it paper lists or Google Docs; this will help you out tremendously!  Second, I find organizing my PMs very helpful.  (To organize your PMs, you create a label in your Personal Messages for your swap.)  Then, when you get a PM for your swap, send it into that label.  This will save you tons of time when you are trying to keep track of participants and issues. Third, update your sending and receiving regularly.  This will help you not get confused and keep everyone up-to-date.  Finally, find yourself a co-organizer and use them.  Split up a large group into smaller ones, and let each organizer attend to a smaller groups needs and feedback.

What is your secret to matching partners when you have so many? I like to print out the questionnaires.  Then, I color code important details like international and allergies with highlighters.  After that, I read through the questionnaires, and try to find something that connects people.  I'll look at what one crafts and what crafts one admires.  I also like to stalk participants posts and pinterests to get a sense of their crafts and likes.  When I'm finally ready to start officially pairing, I take care of special needs like international and allergen sensitive swappers first.  And I always try to remember that swaps are for having fun, meeting new people, and going on a crafty adventure.  This helps me not panic about pairing and enjoy the process.

What is the largest number of swappers that you would feel comfortable hosting in a swap? With a trusty co-organizer at my side, I feel I could handle quite a few.  But I would definitely make sure my schedule is free to handle it.  My largest swap so far was Back to Hogwarts Round 2 where Mistress Jennie and I had 73 swappers!   It was lots of work, but so much fun!  Everyone in the swap was very excited which lead to tons of discussions and communication, and the gallery produced amazing projects!  Yup, I would definitely be up to handling that many again.

I'd like to thank luckdragon, Averia and pinkleo for being such awesome, hard working  organizers and taking the time to share their big swap tips with us! 

For more information about joining swaps on Craftster, please check out our Swap Info Guide

Current swaps open for signups can be found on the Craft Swaps board

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