Weekend Of Swaps

Work has been a bit hectic as of late, to the point of taking some work home last weekend. However, I made a point of setting some limits on this work and spent the rest of the weekend working on some craft projects for a few swaps that were due this week. It was really nice to just dive in and focus on them, especially since I’d already figured out what I wanted to make.

First up was the Matchbox Craft Swap, which required making something tiny enough to fit inside a matchbox. I had some blank matchboxes that I’d bought for a past project, and I thought about making a miniature scene inside of one of them. I didn’t really know what to make the scene out of or where to find the right items for it, so I scrapped that idea and made a cross-stitched pin instead:

Cross-stitched Pin for Matchbox Craft Swap
The pattern is my own creation, though I have to give proper credit to another crafter for the inspiration. I was browsing Flickr for cross-stitch and embroidery photos and found this lovely set of cross-stitched pins:

Very cool, and definitely not like the sappy cross-stitch stuff you find in local craft stores. I decided to start with this and play around a bit, and this will hopefully lead to some variations and further patterns. And if anyone’s interested, I’d be more than happy to share my pattern, either in PC Stitch or image format.

As for the pin itself, I basically stitched out the design and then sewed the fabric around some layered pieces of template plastic. I wanted to add a fabric backing with the pin back, but I got tired of sewing and just hot-glued the pin back on. Maybe not the best approach, but it gave me a reason to finally use the hot glue gun I’ve had sitting around for a few years. :)

I was still in a cross-stitching mood after this project, so when I moved on to the Coloriffic Swap-O-Rama October Swap, I worked in another piece. This month’s colors were orange and purple, and after reading that my partner likes elephants, I combined the two into this framed cross-stitch piece:

Orange & Purple Elephant Cross-Stitch Piece
I found the elephant pattern online and modified it slightly, dropping the border and filling out the background to fit inside the frame. The frame came from a $1 bin cross-stitch kit I found at Michael’s; it was some awful candy cane pattern kit, but it was worth it for the frame alone and I tossed everything else aside. Stitching the elephant part was easy, but working on the orange background took forever, so I probably wouldn’t do another one like this, or at least not for a swap with a looming deadline. :)

My other handmade items for this swap included collaged postcards and mini envelope/card sets (my old stand-by), plus a bunch of drawing supplies and candy for my partner. Here are a few photos of it all:

October Swap-O-Rama Swap - Orange & PurplePurple Squares Postcard
Orange Squares Postcard

And now I’m all done for a little while at least. I signed up for a Japanese-themed swap on Craftster, which I have yet to start, and then I think I’m going to take a break from swaps for a bit. Or at least the rather involved ones that require a bit more time than I feel like dedicating right now. It’s hard to keep up the motivation to do things when I’m not at work, and I think a project without a due date would be more relaxing and easier to get into.