Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Craft for My Kids Swap

I am rocking this new swap that I joined on Craftster. In it, I get to make stuff for my awesome partner's awesome kids, and she's making stuff for my awesome kids. So if you're wondering why I haven't been posting my projects, it's because I don't want to spoil the surprise! I'll post everything when the swap is over, however, with tutorials when necessary.

Doing a craft swap is really excellent for a lot of reasons. Chances are, if you have a craft that you really enjoy doing, you do it a lot, and that results in a lot of finished projects...a lot for you, a lot for your family, a lot for your friends, a lot for your kids' friends, etc. For instance--and this is not something I'm making in the swap!--I loooove to solder, and particularly to make pendants out of old postage stamps sandwiched between microscope glass. So I made myself some out of some cool stamps, I made Willow a couple of dinosaur stamp ones, I made all the grandmas necklaces and all the great-grandmas ornaments out of a photo of the girls, I made some of Matt's cousins necklaces of photos of their respective babies (and only received a sweet thank-you note from one of them!), I made a couple dozen dinosaur and superhero ones to post on etsy...and now, whenever another mom compliments me on the necklace I made from the girls' photo, I say, "Give me a little photo of your kid, and I'll make you one, too." I have also offered to do everything from patch another child's torn pants to making my daughter's dance teacher her own no-sew tutu to making my librarian friend's son a [insert item I am crafting for my swap] of his own. So having another recipient (especially a willing one!) for something I love to make allows me to keep indulging in a relaxing and useful pastime.

Craft swaps are also really excellent as motivation for learning new skills. In my very first swap, I learned how to cut out quilt blocks not with a template, but with a clear gridded ruler. I also indirectly learned how to use fusible webbing. In this swap, I've so far modified an existing pattern and created my own take on a certain baby item and learned (sort-of) to sew Velcro (sticky needles!), and I plan to create some new patterns/recipes for new items before I'm finished. It's part of my obsessive personality that I really, really, really like to learn new things, so this, for me, is the best thing about crafting.

Finally, who wouldn't want to have, in exchange for these pleasures, a few beautifully handcrafted items lovingly made just for you (or in this case, your kids)?

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