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1  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Return of the Secret Santa Wishlist Swap! on: September 12, 2017 05:50:10 PM
I want to make this happen this year! It's normal Secret Santa in many respects, but you post your wishlist to the swap thread (like in OWS), and anyone can secretly claim you for something. You can take on as many giftees as you choose, and you may have numerous Secret Santas sending you things. Every claim is assigned a code name, and I, as organizer, keep track of which code names go with which person and claim, and I act as an intermediary if a Santa has a question for their giftee. It is sneaky, benevolent mischief, and I love it!  Cheesy

Here is the thread of the other round I organized, so many years ago:
https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=279836.msg3167910

Crafting and gifting would be for 2 smalls or a medium, and wishlists for swappers' family members are also welcome. Crafted items do not have to be seasonal/holiday-themed, unless that is what the giftee wants. Assuming all goes well and I don't get waylaid by life, sign-ups would begin in early November, and send-outs would be during the first days of December. International swappers more than welcome, as are first-time swappers, though there would be a limit on how many pending claims a new swapper could make at one time.

I would need a back-up organizer for emergencies, and to handle the claim of anyone who wants to be my Secret Santa.

I had so much fun with this swap and I know other people enjoyed the mystery of it too (as well as the loot they received)! Feel free to ask me any questions. Now I'm posting this, I'm accountable to all of you to follow through on  it!
2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Ireland altered journal on: September 03, 2017 10:58:36 PM
I made this altered journal for a personal swap with LeapFeetFirst, who, lucky person, is headed to Ireland. The book itself was rescued from the discard pile at my library.



The front cover gold Celtic design was already on the book. I spent so much time dreading learning how to draw a Celtic knot for the back cover, because I knew it would be wonky. I'm just thankful I was able to erase my many pencil marks on the fabric cover.  Cheesy

I did most of this on vacation; for supplies I brought gesso, glue, a mini tray of watercolors, a couple little tubes of gouache, a few brushes, a handful of pens and markers, and a container of small paper scraps with images and words I've collected over time. I carved some stamps from potatoes in the process, which allowed for some much-needed layering (plus, Ireland and potatoes go together  Grin). I added maybe 15% more oomph to the book when I got back to the States (and my supply stash), but I was pretty happy with what I put together using my finite travel art supplies; it forced me to be more creative and resourceful. That being said, a lot of ideas did get pulled from the internet, but I had to find some different ways to pull them off.  Smiley  

Some of my favorite pages:






3  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Fictional time capsules and historical diaries on: July 12, 2017 11:26:42 PM
If you're a history (or alternative history) fan, and enjoy world-building and multi-component craft projects, consider this one:

Create a historical diary documenting a series of events in the era and place of your partner's choice, from the perspective of a real or invented individual living through them (partners can select specific historical figures and events as well). Then, whatever size box you use to ship, turn it into a time capsule and fill it with both the journal and primarily handmade artifacts that connect with your character's story, culture, and time period.

You would pick something from a list of your partner's desired historical figures, eras, events, or places. Then you would research that history and the arts/crafts/aesthetics of the surrounding culture, to inform the story, characters, and crafts you create. We've had some historical figures/eras swaps in the past (there's an England one on right now, incidentally), and participants have enjoyed learning new things about people, history, and cultures in preparation for the crafting.

The storytelling is interactive, cohesive (it really is telling a story throughout, regardless of the medium), and made to look relatively authentic (though there is no expectation of writing in languages you don't know). You can create correspondence between characters, artwork documenting events, news clippings, audio recordings, etc. Consider Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine, or see this article on epistolary novels for more examples: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistolary_novel

Time travelers' diaries would also be awesome and welcome! If your partner specifically seeks alternative history, then the sky is the limit in what you create; if they don't, you would need to keep the important historical details correct.

If paper/book arts are your thing, the book and what is inside it would probably be the only crafting requirement (making the book yourself would count as a crafted item), but it would still be nice to include a couple relevant extra goodies. If you aren't a paper/book arts person, no worries: the diary part can be straight text if you want, and then craft up some other things to go with it.

Whatever your craft of choice, it probably existed in some form during your character's era, so you would create something that seems appropriate for the time, place, person, and story -- there's no need to be thoroughly authentic and accurate.

The preparation, design, and care that would go into this swap would be equivalent to 1 XL item and 2 smalls. Whether or not it becomes a swap, I really hope some people do this and share the results. I would love to do this again (I was originally introduced to the idea in high school), but it's much easier to get motivated for a big individualized project when it is going to a recipient, you know?
4  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Silly Santa White Elephant Swap on: November 25, 2015 07:15:34 PM
Hi! Im considering bringing back the White Elephant/Silly Santa Swap for the holidays. Here is the link to the original round: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=207579.0

It runs similar to the raffle swaps, where finished items are offered up-front...Except once the items are assigned to each person, we steal them from each other, back and forth, and it goes around and around for a set period of time. The actual mailing doesnt happen until the very end.

In the previous swap we swapped highly desirable handcrafted goods, but for fun we could make silly or tacky (but well-made!) items instead, like a standard White Elephant swap.  Smiley I'm open to whatever people want to do. This does not require holiday-specific crafting, and I'm thinking minimum 2 smalls OR 1 medium (crafted, or a valuable art/craft supply, if participants agree to it).

It's a swap that runs best with 10+ participants. Let me know if you're interested!
5  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Needlepoint-covered, toteable notebook on: August 11, 2015 12:00:48 PM
In the first Make-A-Friend Swap, I made this book for my partner, Fabric:


It could be carried like a purse, or it could be a regular journal without the purse-handle too. I drilled holes in the bookboards and put metal scrapbook screw-posts through (see the metal door lock plates? They're functioning as washers...and as tiny frames for international postage stamps, less importantly  Smiley). Then I attached a ready-made purse handle to the two posts (the purse handle was also received in a swap, incidentally). It's a little clumsy for getting the book open and closed, but not difficult, and it helps keep the book secure when traveling.
 
A small 3-ring binder base is drilled into the spine/base. The book really was made from scratch--I didn't just cover a binder (though that might have been a smarter choice, now that I'm thinking about it  Cheesy).


The brown cover was an adhesive-backed faux suede I found at the hardware store. It's essentially shelf-liner, but it worked great.

What really made this a "large" was a quote on both covers of the book that I did in needlepoint. Here's the first part:

(The tiny steampunk bits at the bottom of this side were not entirely useless -- they camouflage the screwposts to make them look like they're part of the design  Wink)

Here's the 2nd part, on the other side:


Here's what it says in its entirety:
"Be wicked, be brave, be drunk, be reckless, be dissolute, be despotic, be an anarchist, be a suffragette, be anything you like -- but for pity's sake be it to the top of your bent...Live fully, live passionately, live disastrously. Let's live, you and I, as none have ever lived before." - Violet Trefusis, 1918

The purse-handle idea came after I'd finished the book, so unfortunately the needlework pieces are upside down when it is carried like a purse.  Roll Eyes The art nouveau patterns came from old books found on the Antique Pattern Library website.

Here is the inside of it, with the screw-posts that make the book stay shut and hold a purse handle.



The first page is a sheet of scrapbook paper folded to become a carrying pouch for loose materials.

I also decorated a couple of Altoids tins to go with the book, but didn't get photos of those; one was extra small and I attached it to the book to hold the screwposts when they're not in use. The other was full of journaling prompts on little cards. Since the book structure had a 3-ring binder, I included different "refills" like a dream journal and a list-making set that helps bring awareness of the cycles of one's life. Those refill packets were found at a second-hand art supply store, along with the metal 3-ring binder piece, and I hole-punched blank and decorated pages as well.

In retrospect (it's been seven years!  Shocked), there are things I would have done differently, but I still like the idea/concept overall. It was scary to mount the needlework in between bookboards, and then turn those bookboards into a finished book, knowing that it all had to be right on the first try. Tearing things up to start over would have ruined the needlework (which took forever), and there were swap deadlines approaching, so it had to be whatever it was going to be. The fact that it turned out okay was a huge relief!
6  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Fiber Friday, 8 May 2015 on: May 08, 2015 02:48:06 PM
We're due for a Fiber Friday! Here's something I finally finished...Actually I finished it a couple months ago but was too busy with other stuff to post it...


It's 106 yds, a thick-and-thin plied with an all-thin  Cheesy, then I wound some black-and-gold metallic thread around sections that needed more definition. I still have a lot of this Ferndale Fiber roving left, and I'm going to leave all of that thin and single-ply, and this skein can be worked in for an accent row on whatever the finished object becomes.

Please share any pics you have from the last month, there hasn't been a Fiber Friday in quite some time!
7  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Bumble the Abominable Snowman on: January 13, 2015 08:54:28 PM
My first post on this board!


Raaawr!

I made this Bumble for Shop the Swap, but then he ended up going to my mom instead.



I didn't follow a pattern, and I goofed up and improvised and experimented so much that he's a little too wonky to try to chart. But that's part of why I like him.  Grin I have the arms going in different directions and they aren't attached symmetrically since that just seems more monster-y. I had a little yarn left so I tried to make Bumble II, but he needed some changes (especially the terrified look on his face!) so I frogged a lot of this one and he's still in-progress:
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Vintage pinup pattern modified into Bride of Frankenstein on: January 13, 2015 08:25:17 PM
I forgot to post this tea towel I made for a friend in 2013.



This image started its life as Vogart 138, "Pin Up Girl with Powder Puff":


...but my pinup-loving friend also loves Halloween and classic movie monsters, so I wanted to make some modifications.  Smiley I printed out the original image, drew the changes on it, and then punched through the paper with a light-colored gel pen at many intervals so I could follow the dots and then eyeball the details.

9  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Page-a-day calendar full of Craftster ATCs - disappointingly few photos! on: November 19, 2012 04:39:08 PM
Every year I end up embarking on some giant project that has called to me (its not something I seek out, honest), and some years I manage to finish. Since this one is a 2013 calendar, I had to get it done quickly! After having worked on this steadily since July, I have a 365-day calendar full of prints of ATCs (artist trading cards) Craftster artists allowed me to use for the project.



I have made several page-a-day calendars for Craftster swaps over the years, and after each one I swear I will never make another! But somehow, eventually, I come back around to them. I put them together in Microsoft Word (I dont have any fancy desktop publishing software), print 4-6 days on standard size sheets of paper, cut them apart, and assemble them with adhesive or binder rings (after hole-punching all the pages). When I came up with this theme, I knew it would be an insane amount of time and work, but it had to be done. I couldnt pass up the chance to get a bunch of great people involved in an all-Craftster community creation.

It doesnt look like much in the picture, but theres so much work and almost a hundred Craftster artists work represented within it!  Since its primarily other peoples art inside, and I just organized the project, compiled and cleaned up the images, and printed/assembled the pages, all thats really mine to show you is the overall project.  (That's also why I'm posting it here instead of the ATC board.  Smiley) But heres a page with a favorite from my personal ATC collection, created by HappieHina.



I am working on a basic tutorial for making a page-a-day calendar using Microsoft Word and Excel, but so far that tutorial is far too long to be of any use to anyone so I have to revise it extensively. I should be adding it to this thread, with screenshots, before the end of the year. In the meanwhile, here's what the pages look like before I cut them apart (the other artists' cards aren't in my possession, so I didn't want to take the liberty of reposting them):



The first point I need to make in discussing this particular project is that I gained proper permission from everyone, and included (or excluded) attribution according to the artists wishes, as well as I could. I was relieved to find that everyone who granted permission was friendly with no ego issues and many were really excited about the project (I love Craftster people!!  Kiss). Unless someone responded to my request and told me I could use their work for this project, I did not use their ATCs or their posted photos of others' ATCs.

So, the organization of this project was the big task. First, I sent a PM to people from whom Ive received an ATC, asking if I could include these in the calendar, and if they would be open to allowing me to use images of other ATCs theyve made. I probably could have made a 365-day calendar between all of these artists work and my own, but the desire to make this a Craftster-wide project was just too strong so I kept seeking more people to include. I advertised the project in relevant discussion threads to see if there was any interest or big legal considerations I hadnt come up with, and got good feedback there as well. But I knew there were also a lot of people who have made ATCs on Craftster who would probably never see these posts, and many who hadnt been online for quite some time. And so I stalked the ATC board, as well as the galleries for ATC swaps, and PMed a bunch more people.

Since it would be impossible to contact everyone on Craftster who has made ATCs and include that many peoples work in the calendar, I set the guidelines that I would reach out to those who had a) been online within the past 2-3 years, b) no negative swap feedback, and d) at least 1-2 usable images of their ATCs somewhere (later, I had to further narrow it down by only using vertical-format ATCs). Sad to say, that ruled out a lot of people. But when I sent a PM to various people asking permission, well over half of them responded and agreed to let me include their work.

Gathering and deciding on the images to use was great fun and also very difficult, especially with those artists who have posted a prolific amount of awesome ATCs, because I had to exclude so many that I really loved. I was juggling a pool of probably 1000 images. In order to get everyone represented, no artist has more than 5 ATCs in the calendar. I used Microsoft OneNote to sort various peoples images into holidays, seasons, and themes, and after these kinds of cards were assigned to their appropriate days or seasons I added cards without these kinds of themes to other days. In this process I also searched for those weird holidays/observances that dont show up on most calendars but which related to the content of an ATC. For example, there is this ATC by Queen of Fools on Talk like a Pirate Day.  Cheesy Not all such days are marked on the calendar, but many have a card that is somehow relevant.

I turned the finished calendar into a PDF file for participants to download. (And for those of you who did download it last month, I made one additional correctionmy apologies to gozerso I can send you the improved PDF if needed.) Because most of the artwork in the calendar is not mine to share, I cannot make that PDF available for public download.

My intention was to print a few for organized or personal swapsLamentably, printing more than 2 of these is not financially reasonable. I found a nice coated color copy paper that works great (Mohawk Pegasus Color Copy, Super Smooth, 24 lb., acid free), but even with the highest quality setting on my home printer the images are justblech. These ATCs deserve better. I had a professional printer print out a copy with the same paper, and it looks incrediblebut it cost almost $40!  Shocked  Cry Though some participants wanted to pay me for printing and shipping, no calendar is worth $40, so I have to rescind on that idea. I should have checked on the price for printing before I even started the project, but then it might have never happened at all.  Undecided

I should mention, the other supply I used in this project is something thats brand-new to me: padding compound. I dont know why it has that name. Its only been mentioned a few times on Craftster, so maybe thats why Id never heard of it before. Plus, Ive never seen it in an art/craft supply store; I bought it at a paper/printing supply store. I had always used PVA glue to glue-bind the pages of my page-a-day calendars, but Im now sold on padding compound instead. Both are expensive, though, so if you have to choose and you have a lot of gluing to do (not just binding the edges of papers together), choose the PVA. If youre binding notepads, thick calendars like this, or little journals, padding compound is better. It looks like white glue but it dries as a clear, dense, rubbery solid without bleeding into the papers margin. So it doesnt warp the paper the way other adhesives do when you spread it along the edge of a stack of paper.

The printed and assembled calendar has a piece of paperboard (cereal box) on the back, which I glued to a patterned bookboard from a mid-century Readers Digest Condensed book. Then on the bottom of that, I affixed some fabric so it would look a little more finished. And now it is complete and headed to its new home!

I did not intend for this project to be a showcase of the best ATCs on Craftster, since Im in no position to judge that kind of thing. Since it is a calendar, having ATCs that are relevant to seasons, holidays, and days was a priority, as well as showing a variety of styles and media (though some kinds of media do not show up well in photos, so that was a limitation). We are a community that values creativity, heart and effort in ATCs most of all, so thats what I wanted to reflect, along with the community itself.

Making an actual published book featuring high-quality images of Craftsterer ATCs, through a service like Blurb.com, would be an awesome thing, but I dont have plans to tackle that project because the legal issues get more complicated. However, if it did get off the ground, I think it would actually cost less than printing these calendars, with much less work!

Bottom line is that the idea had to be brought to life, but its too expensive and time-consuming to do it again (I think Ive said that about many projects Ive taken on Cheesy). Im glad I was able to do it; I just wish it were more affordable to create and share them with the people who contributed. The best thing about it is that several of the artists told me that even though they hadnt created ATCs in quite some time, finding out about this project was inspiring them to start making and trading ATCs again I couldnt ask for a better outcome than that!
10  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) / Altered playing cards (APCs) on: August 27, 2012 10:00:30 PM
Over the past couple years (mainly in wild spurts of activity many months apart) I've finished almost a full deck of altered playing cards. But considering the old saying about "not playing with a full deck", maybe it would be most appropriate if I didn't end up completing the deck.   Grin

If you're interested in making altered playing cards and trading them, the size is still supposed to be 2.5 x 3.5 inches -- I'm told that poker cards are these dimensions, while many other playing cards are not. Some people are fine with other sizes, but unless it's discussed and agreed upon ahead of time, they're expecting to receive a card with standard ATC dimensions.

The other guideline is that the card's number and suit need to remain visible (uncovered) somewhere on the card (otherwise no one knows it's a playing card!  Smiley). This deck I have is a U.S. Civil War replica deck, which has no numbers. Instead, I've added the number in some other way, either writing, collage numbers, puff-paint, or embroidery.

Two techniques that I had good luck with were these melted crayon backgrounds (link is Youtube slideshow of how it is done), and layers of thin papers with melted beeswax. Beeswax is on pretty much all of these cards. I printed various images on tissue paper and with the beeswax they just melded with the other elements on the card. Because of the coating on the cards, it's easy for glued and melted items to pop off, so it can take some patience, and getting a feel for how much beeswax it takes.

I keep tinkering with some, but here are some of my favorites (all traded unless noted otherwise)...

Clubs:


(still available) (still available)

Diamonds:
(still available)



Hearts:
(My late Shelbe-dog!)
(still available)
(Back-story on this one: Dr. MLK, Jr., and the three civil rights workers who were abducted and murdered in the 1960s. As I was starting this card I encountered a poem from the 1920s which said that instead of grieving those who took a stand and died because of it, we ought to grieve the apathy in the masses, still alive and unmoved. The words were put together from photos of 2 separate pinback buttons that people wore during the '60s.)

Spades:



Now, get yourself a deck of cards (or just a few stray cards), play around with them, and share what you come up with! Here or in a new thread, it's up to you.  Smiley
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