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Topic: Meet our New Featured Organizers - Leslieshappyheart and susanab!  (Read 6143 times)
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« on: June 05, 2012 12:46:01 PM »

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 organizers 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.  This time we have chosen to feature a dynamic duo who have co-organized 15 swaps together in the past year!

Without further delay, let's give a warm, hearty Craftster congrats to Leslieshappyheart and susanab, our newest featured organizers!



What made you two first decide to start organizing together?

(Susan)  It's a crazy crazy story. Leslie and I were randomly teamed up on Words With Friends and I think I had a scissors logo at the time and she asked me if I sewed. I said, "Yes", not realizing that this wordsmith was also a REAL sewist and after a couple of moves then I was pitching Craftster to her. How crazy is that? I mean what are the odds?

(Leslie) Thats the story of how we ended up knowing each other on Craftster.   After I had been on Craftster for a while, Susan had the impulse to try hosting a swap of the Ninni monster stuffies, and since we chatted daily about Craftster-related things anyway, she asked me to co-organize.  From then on, organizing swaps has been something of an addiction for us both!

What is your favourite thing about organizing together?


(Susan) Co-organizing with Leslie has always has a feel of "Thelma and Louise" to it. We love the adventure of thinking up swaps, seeing what happens on the idea thread, then posting it, partner day, send outs--when you organize with someone who you work great with, every part of the swap has its thrills, really.

(Leslie) I love the "Thelma and Louise" comparison! I have to say that the best thing about working with Susan is the security of knowing that my friend is there in case I need something, or if something goes wrong (which it sometimes does!)  Having her to discuss the swap with is really what makes organizing fun for me.

How do you split up organizing responsibilities, do you switch it up for each swap?


(Susan) We started out thinking that's how it was going to go--Leslie would organize, then I would. But it really made more sense for Leslie to be the official organizer for us. I travel for business throughout the year but, even if not, Leslie is the more organized of the two of us and she really plans the timelines and is really on the lookout that everything is running smoothly. And she's just amazing on the boards. She's naturally encouraging and helpful and if there's a snag--and they do happen when you organize as many swaps as we have--she takes all the right steps.

(Leslie)  Thank you, Susan!  So yes,  since I have more free time, now I do most of the set-up of the swaps, such as starting the idea thread, opening the swap, matching partners, and sending questionnaires.  Susan is in charge of setting up the gallery, and if it is a small swap (less than 20 swappers) Susan will also give all the feedback.

How do you match up partners in a swap?

(Susan) That ones yours, Leslie.

(Leslie)  Matching up partners is the hardest part of any swap, and this question is always the one I read the most closely in every one of the organizer features!  Im such a hands-on person that I need to have the information in front of me, so I print out all the questionnaires, then highlight the information I use to match the swappers:  location and willingness to send internationally; allergies and allergens;  then likes, dislikes, preferences, styleI try to match people who are most similar to each other if possible, so they will be comfortable crafting for each other.  So if I have two roller derby players who both like Harry Potter, thats a perfect match in my book!  I paperclip the questionnaires together if I feel that they are a match, and once its a sure thing, I staple them together.

Any particular tricks or tips you'd be willing to share with other organizers?
(Susan)  Thats you again, Leslie!

(Leslie) I would say, one of the key things is to have all the important information about the swap right at your fingertipsso I keep a swap notebook next to my computer.  For each swap I list the name, start date, and send-out date of the swap; then I list each swapper, including the Craftster username, real first name, location, and whether or not this is their first swap; and the list of partners.  Thats all I need to know to address any issue that comes up.  The other thing you have to do is make a label in your pm inbox for the swap, and move all the questionnaires there as soon as you add a person to the swap.  When they are in a separate folder like that, you can access them quickly to send them to the partners, and if there is a question later about anything that was on a questionnaire, you can locate it easily.


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


(Susan) In making it fun? I think you have to be posting on your swap board, really. Organizing is like having guests in your place and you should want to be there welcoming first time swappers, welcoming back regulars. There's a lot of real fun and a lot of real caring going on in the swaps because you're together for a period of time and on a creative journey together. AND you're going to give that creation to somebody in the swap. There really is a lot going on in swaps.

(Leslie)  Well said, Susan!  I think the most fun thing in every swap is Susans famous partner day dancethe regulars know to expect it, and those who havent swapped with us before quickly realize that its okay to be silly with this group!

Who comes up with the swap ideas, where do you find your swapping AND organizing inspiration?

(Susan) I come up with a lot of them and most of those either come from or are inspired by crafts and tutes I see on the web. But it's Leslie who test drives everything to see if it will work AND to improve it for the swap.

(Leslie)  Yes, Susan is the idea person, for sure.   She is always emailing me links to things she finds online that might work for a swap.  We both prefer sewing to other forms of crafting, so thats the type of thing Susan looks for.  When we both get really excited about an idea, I will make a sample of it to make sure its do-able for a swap (and that sample will usually end up being the picture for the swap thread).   Its so fun to share an idea that excites us with this crafting community, and when others get excited about it toothats what inspires us to keep organizing swaps.

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

(Susan) I just looked at the list of what we've done and it made it HARDER to decide. Swaps where Craftster's can really add their own touch and personalize for their partners--like Monster Ninni, Mystery Critter, Fabric Jewelry, Journal Cover, definitely others, -- were very successful.

(Leslie)  Without question my favorite swap was the very first one we organized, the Monster Ninni Swap.  It was HUGE and we were total newbies at organizing, and there was so much to think about and keep track of, that made it really exciting for me!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?


(Susan) If anyone has that thought of organizing a swap dancing in their head, go for it. Remember that you can cap off how many people are in the swap so, if you want to start real slowly, stop at 10. And STILL get a co-organizer even if you don't have to. You can start an amazing friendship this way.

(Leslie) Organizing a swap with a co-organizer is a lot of fun!  I would suggest that anyone who wants to give it a try should ask offer to co-organize a swap thats just opened for sign-ups; you can learn the ropes that way, with the experienced organizers help.

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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012 01:22:53 PM »

 Cheesy  THESE TWO GALS ARE AWESOME AT CO-ORGANIZING!!  I've been very lucky to have participated in all of their swaps, from the very beginning Monster Ninni Swap.  If ever there has been a snag or difficult moment in their swaps, they evidently are very effective at taking care of it; because all of their swaps, and I can speak from experience, are fun and upbeat and happy from the beginning to end!  Way to go, Susan and Leslie - I love you gals!!  I know I'll always have a great swap when these two are at the helm of the swapping ship!!!  And they totally deserve to be featured!!  Thanks, alteredmommy!!   Cool
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2012 01:27:31 PM »

Congratulations, girlies!  I'm not big into swapping, but I've admired you both for your general awesomeness--you both deserve recognition!
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012 01:36:40 PM »

Congratulations to you both!! You really are the Thelma and Louise of swap organizing Smiley!! It was great to read your interview.
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012 01:37:21 PM »

What a great interview! Defintiely Organiser Superstars!
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2012 02:04:23 PM »

Congratulations Leslieshappyheart and susanab!
Love the interview!
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2012 02:53:10 PM »

These two really are organizing superstars.
Thanks for all the fun and looking forward to more (Ninnis)!
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2012 03:58:17 PM »

The hardest job of swapping is being the organizer. Thank you ladies for doing such a great job! Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012 04:01:07 PM »

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! This is very exciting!
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012 04:10:18 PM »

This really is a thrill, thank you!

I am stoked, Leslie! Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2012 04:26:37 PM »

Thanks for being such great organizers, and thanks for the great interview. You two rock!
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012 06:29:23 PM »

Great interview!
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2012 07:55:19 AM »

WOOHOOO!!! Oh you two make every swap a little party! You know you do!!!

And thanks to this great interview and being featured, everyone on Craftster will know you two are such great organizers!
I so like swapping with you two and even had the great opportunity to co-organize with Leslie as my teacher.

You two are very communicative, which makes you feel very welcome in a swap. Susan is always so funny and Leslie works out every tutorial that might come in handy!

Hahaha, I think I can write a book about swapping with you  Grin But I will leave it to: CONGRATULATIONS or GEFELICITEERD!!!


See you in your next hundred swaps!
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2012 05:43:24 PM »

Leslie & Susan are the best organizers ever! I love their swap! I have been in most of them & it's fun & Silly & up beat, I love it!! Grin   Fantastic Organizing Leslie & Susan & keep up the great Swaps & Tutes!!  Awesome Interview!! Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2012 07:41:38 PM »

You gals are so awesome. We are so crazy lucky to do swaps with you.
 Kiss
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2012 01:08:40 AM »

It is because of the fun that so many of us come back to another swap with the two of you!

The girls in your swaps are all so nice and lots of them are very communicative! I like that.
And when you post in the gallery it is very nice to know that others are watching that and will comment on what you made or what you got. That doesn't always go that way in swaps, I have noticed! But when the organizers will post regularly, the rest will follow!

Hahaha, how do you like my theory about this??? I have a degree in nonsense gossiping!  Wink

I know that I'll be swapping with you lots of times to come! (although I'm going to study in September for one day a week, so I won't have that much "free time" left!! But, I will find a way to squeeze in the swapping with you Cheesy )
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« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2012 08:26:45 AM »

Congrats! I LOVE the Thelma and Louise reference! It seems to fit "partners in crime".

I've said this before in swap threads, but I'll repeat it here...
I think these two create such a great vibe in their swaps that they attract awesome people. I've made several friends through the LnS swaps. (I think we need a supercool code name for your swaps!)

Even if I can't join a particular swap due to busy life, full swap dance card, or whatever I always follow the chat and gallery. I know it will be a great pick me up for the day.

Thanks ladies for being here and making my day on several occasions (directly and indirectly)!!!
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« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2012 08:15:54 PM »

I don't think I'd be where I am crafting today if it wasn't for the two of you ladies! You not only inspire but you encourage and foster this awesome learning environment! I frequently find myself thinking how amazing it would be to all sit around a coffee table together! Ahh.... how wonderful it would be!

Your swaps are fun and light and they push me to the next level everytime. I swap to make my partners happy but I also swap to get LnS approval! When they like it you know you did good!

Thank you both! I can't wait for some free time to participate in the next swap!
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« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2012 07:46:39 AM »

Thanks so much for the great comments, wendiek, Sharalee, silentblair and CraftyMamaBee--all of you are such awesome swappers, it makes me happy to read your comments!

CraftyMamaBee--I wish we could all sit down to coffee together!  Or gather in a studio and craft something together!  Thank you for saying that we have pushed you to the next level...I feel that Susan has been the one to push me to be where I am.  I wouldn't be on Craftster if she hadn't told me about it, and it's her enthusiasm for making "stuff" that has kept me inspired to do more, more, more!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2012 08:06:48 AM by Leslieshappyheart » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2012 10:20:27 AM »

Oh yes, sewing together, drinking some coffee or tea (with appropriate mug rugs of course) and having fun!!!
It sound so great!! BUT... we are already doing that, right!

But I agree, CMB and Leslie it would be awesome to actually BE together! But that is really wishful thinking for me! Haha, I don't think I can afford a ticket to the USA just to be crafting with you girls. Not that I wouldn't want to.


You could come my way, you might get a group-discount when you all come in one plane, hahaha! Wink
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« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2012 03:54:38 PM »

Woo - Hoo! Group Crafting Retreat to the Netherlands ... Coming to a crafter in 2013?! Ha ha!!!!

It would be awesome to see some tulips! And have a latte with a cow nearby! I think I saw an episode of Toot & Puddles (a preschool cartoon with little pigs) in the Netherlands.... They went to see a tulip festival or something....
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« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2012 04:08:32 PM »

I love the thought!
ESP that touch about the mug rugs Cheesy
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« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2012 02:03:14 PM »

I love the thought!
ESP that touch about the mug rugs Cheesy

I now dare to say everyone NEEDS a mug rug, I received the most beautiful mug rug from CMB! How is it even possible that I sewed without one?Huh
But yes, the thought of us all together to craft, it makes me smile and keeps me going  Cheesy
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« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2012 06:06:41 PM »

congrats, you two!

keep up the great swaps!!  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2012 10:51:53 AM »

These ladies do run an awesome swap!  Grin
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