Crafters all over the United Kingdom are getting groovy this summer as they exchange tie dye and rainbow-inspired items to spark some creativity in each other. The guidelines for their exchange: Send supplies with some idea for what they could make. You can also send made items. Retro Summer is cheesy, bright in your face summer. Your idea of summer, say in the 70’s; you can put a modern twist on what you send also.
The elves at Elfster think this exchange is pretty “far out!”
These crafters, all part of the “Secret Craft in the Cavern” Facebook group, are not new to Elfster. According to exchange organizer Tracy Wade, “We have simple rules: create a themed mood board, answer some simple questions on the Facebook group wall and send before the end date so everyone’s gift is received on time.” All are followers of the website (www.cavernofcraftiness.com) and many are contributors to that site’s blog as well.
Tracy explains that “many members sew for themselves and/or sell, plus most have children. We run the swaps usually over 6 weeks with 1-2 week break before the next starts. [We always use] a different theme, but we’re getting more and more members joining in.” The group was originally based on sewing only, but it was later expanded to include many other crafts and Tracy says they now have a “fab mix of mostly women who do all sorts of crafts.”
“I’ve been organizing swaps on a Facebook group for a few years when someone introduced me to Elfster,” Tracy explains. “It seemed a perfect solution, meaning me as admin could join in and still have the element of surprise. This year I decided to open a sister group to our craft group concentrating on swaps.”
“Elfster is a fab place to save item links, share likes and dislikes easily and of course access addresses of friends to send surprise gifts outside of swaps without letting cat out of bag,” she says. “It’s also meant admins can join in without having separate lists of who is swapping with who making it easier as main organizer to deal with any issues or questions.”
The theme of Retro Summer was chosen for their current exchange because the group has recently held a very successful Vintage exchange, so the “retro” theme was a natural choice. Tracy says her favorite theme the group has used in the past is Magical Land because it’s what got most members involved and each crafter’s interpretation of what was magical was so vast.
“The last swap of this year will be a ‘Christmas Decoration Swap.’ Everyone loves homemade decorations and will be like a mini early gift to display for years to come,” Tracy says. “The next swap is a ‘Budget Challenge’ to encourage members to still join when things might be tighter after Christmas and also abolishes the guilt of using their own stash, as it’s actively encouraged.”
And this group of U.K. crafters is quite organized, with exchanges planned well into next year, including a Colour Swap to exchange craft items in a person’s favorite color, a Turbulent Nature exchange inspired by a twist on nature’s fury, and a Try Something New exchange. All these great themes are sure to inspire each member’s inner-crafter!
Tracy says, “The introduction of Elfster has certainly made the swaps more fun. It’s meant admin can join and still get a surprise and I have found it runs a lot smoother because all the info needed is in one place and I get to relax more and enjoy sending out to my Elfie.”
“The secret questions are invaluable when your elf doesn’t comment on the group wall and it’s a more direct route to an answer. Also, many members have started to use it to save things they see and like outside of swaps and I’ve found that helpful too,” she adds.
Tracy hopes to continue with regular exchanges up to five a year. Her goal would be to shorten the time the members have to complete their gifts to be able to squeeze in more swaps through the year. “I’d even like to run multiple swaps alongside each other, but not sure I’m ready for that challenge yet!” But don’t worry, Tracy, that’s what the elves are for!
Tracy says the group is willing to expand. “We’d love more members, as long as they’re willing to participate. A large part of running these swaps with aid of social media is trust in the members to send items on time and keep in touch! Quiet members give me the most worry especially if they’re new. So make yourself known and have fun. Share your ideas and your excitement.”
If you are in the U.K. and you’d like to join the Secret Craft in the Cavern group, click here: https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=759021797450608. Also, be sure to check out our great Gift Ideas for any occasion just for our U.K. shoppers.
We love these bright ideas for fun, creative exchanges. Why not start your own unique exchange at www.elfster.com ? And we’d love to hear from you, too. You can visit us on Facebook , tweet us @elfster, or follow us on Instagram @elfstergram.
photo credit: Erin Singleton