Wednesday, September 30, 2009

new fun stuff: swap-bot!

while reading through comments and posts for my online art class, someone mentioned swap-bot. I had never heard of swap-bot, so I looked it up on google and found a whole new community of fun arty people and ideas!
The "bot" is an automated system that randomly assigns partners for a "swap" set up by various moderators throughout the world. Swaps are quick and inexpensive (Favorite Candy Bar) or elaborate and expensive (Disney Scavenger Hunt) with specific themes and requirements. Some swaps allow the participants to share handcrafted items while others are designed to clean out stashes of art supplies. One trait is common among many of the swaps - participants must be "rated" in order to participate. It's sort of the catch-22 of looking for work right out of college where no one will hire someone without experience, but how do you get experience without first being hired? Since you must participate in swaps to be rated (the partner you send to gives a rating after receiving their packages to show that you completed the swap in a timely manner and according to the directions of the swap), there are some swaps aimed specifically at "newbies" to try out the swapping system and get ratings in order to join some of the more fun and serious swaps.
I decided to join one of these "newbie" swaps in order to see if I have time to participate in something like this between caring for sweet Leila, keeping the house somewhat clean (ha) and completing projects for art class. The requirement of the swap was to send one item of each color - red, blue, yellow, green and black - and also one "surprise" item based on what my partners shared in their user profiles. I was floored by the detail that some people gave in their profiles to share their interests, likes and dislikes, but I guess if you want to like what you receive in the mail, you need to be specific.
I sent one of my partners the five colors of embroidery floss and also two fat quarters of fabric in designs I hope she likes! My other partner had specifics in her profile that were unusual, but fun to strive for. She collects bottle caps of unusual beverages so I took a trip to Rocket Fizz (my new favorite place, more about that later!) and picked out sodas based purely on the color of their bottle caps. As I enjoyed the sodas, I saved the caps to send to my partner. She also indicated that she loves kitchen accessories such as hand towels and aprons, so I was excited about the opportunity to embroider a towel for her. Here are pictures of the finished product:

The pattern is from Sublime Stitching, one of my favorite places to find patterns. The picture on the left shows a cupcake with two battered spoons crossed underneath. I thought it looks like the skull and crossbones of pirates :) On the right is a clumsy waitress spilling cups and bowls off of her tray.
It was fun to participate in this swap and send off packages and also receive things (I got some great stickers, stamps and also a really pretty bracelet!) but since I have so little free time to myself these days, I don't think I'll be joining too many more swaps right now. Though I did sign up for the candy swap! I couldn't resist :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


been waiting all week for online art class login and it just came ... right as it's time to feed Leila and get ready for Bible study! argh! I don't think I'll mind waking up early tomorrow ... I'll get my supply list ready before I head north for lunch with Kristen and shopping at The Treasure Hunt in Carpinteria! yay :)

there are two projects already posted ... both would make adorable Christmas presents, I just need to decide who the recipients will be :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to "School"

this morning I enrolled in an online craft class put on by Elsie, creator of my favorite embroidery patterns! It is an eight-week class and by the end we'll finish 30 projects! Thankfully, the instructions and class outlines will be available oneline for a year, since I am still very busy being Leila's Mom and Wesley's Wife every day, so I'm not sure if I could get everything done in the eight weeks. However, I have so missed being crafty and now that I am getting some energy back (recovered from giving birth and regularly getting 6-7 hours of sleep at night) these projects will give me motivation and inspiration to make some cute projects and get back into the swing of creativity. I am so excited!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

back again!

lots of changes since February ... and lots of UFOs too ... after Lola's jumper I started a Dale of Norway hat for the baby, but had trouble reading the pattern and in the crankiness of my pregnancy, didn't really have the patience to figure out what exactly went wrong. Same with my other projects ... but now baby Leila is here AND we've moved into a new house with lots of rooms to decorate and projects to work on! The nursery is painted green and mostly finished except for curtains. I also want to make a bed skirt for the crib so we can store still-too-big clothes in spacebags underneath. But my main focus now is for the guest room ... we just painted an accent wall in that room "Fairy Tale Blue" and the bedspread is Nautica's Huntington pattern. A while back I bought elsiecake's Wonderland craft kit and plan to use that as inspiration ... there are a few cute prints that I'll put on the wall and also scraps to make a great collage. Pictures to come as I make progress! Warren and Jasmine are coming to stay with us in a few weeks, so I have some good motivation to get it done!

Eventually, I'll get back to knitting, but it's too hot to really think about yarn at this point anyway :)