Sometimes when it is hard to feel good about the world you have to make the decision to throw yourself in the path of goodness. You know, make a little joy and faith restoration unavoidable.
I dragged myself out of my sick bed and mood funk on Friday and spent a day with the lovely folk working and visiting the Melbourne Stitches and Craft Show. I'm not going to fill this post with links - there are lots of others doing a wonderful job on that front - but having a wander and then lending a hand at the Ink and Spindle stand gave me a chance to chat and talk craft and generally feel useful and purposive. And that was good.
A number of people who were at the show were wash the dishes tea towel swap alumni and as we reminisced about how happy we were with that swap* talked turned to what's next?
For a while now I have been mulling over the idea of a green on the go swap, but I haven't been able to work out exactly how to define it. I read this post on Sew Green and immediately thought about the proliferation of ideas about produce bags and shopping bags and eating and drinking out paraphernalia, but I didn't want the swap to be too restrictive and complicated, or risk swap items failing the green or useful test.
And that was when I realised that what is important to me, and what it seemed so many people appreciated about the last swap, was that the items swapped were not hugely onerous or expensive, but were extremely useful. Scope for creativity is important but many of us like to use our craft time, skills and budgets to contribute to our day to day lives. While re-useable produce and shopping bags are something I definitely need more of, there are many other practical items I use that could be moved into the handmade and more sustainable realm.
And then I was talking to one past swapper and she mentioned a swap she had participated in where everyone sent ten items to the swap organiser, along with their return post parcel. The organiser then divvied up all the goods so everyone got 10 things in return from a range of swappers. I love this idea and if you were the original swap organiser my hat is off to you for thinking it up - I hope you don't mind me doing (in fact I hope you'll sign up too!)
So I think it's time to get going. Another swap. Sign up details in this post.
*It's yukky to have to mention this but as a swap organiser I believe accountability is very important. Swaps are based on trust and when you lose that the whole swap dream is tainted. I am totally fine with swap partners agreeing between them to change the rules, to go late, to send something different, or even to give up on the swap altogether. I also understand that life can interfere with the very best of intentions and no one should be sanctioned for that I have happily waited for literally years for swaps to be returned in some cases. But when swappers do not communicate with their partners or me, when they receive gifts made with love and sent in good faith and do not acknowledge those gifts, do not explain the absence of any offerings of their own or respond to requests for explanations I'm afraid I need to name names. I have tried hard to avoid doing this but I feel I have no choice - Nyssa Rae of http://surrealdesign.squarespace.com, you are no longer welcome to participate in swaps I organise. I also apologise heartily to the 5 swappers who were partnered with Nyssa and got stiffed. One of the things I like about this ten items model is that since everything comes to me first no one will receive anything if they don't give first - yay!