Craft Swapping

My girl Tia does a lot of awesome shit with her mad craft skills. She makes confetti to stuff into cards so I can confetti-bomb my OCD-clean mom. She makes custom greeting cards. Scrapbooking supplies. Ornaments. She sews stuff. In short, Tia is amazing.

I would buy up so much of her finished objects if I had an unlimited supply of cash.

I do not have an unlimited supply of cash. Yet Tia has found a way around that problem. See, I have skills that Tia doesn’t have. Like, I can crochet. And I have a yarn stash that’s pretty extensive, even after all of the cleanouts and purges this year.

So Tia and I swap crafts. I made her a basket, she made me a custom-painted wall hanging from an old record album. We did a swap for a bunch of supplies I snagged her out of that estate sale. I shipped her a semi-truck-load of goodies and she made me some high end gift tags. I’m making her a scarf and earwarmer set, I forget what I asked her for in return.

Gratuitous pictures of my finished objects:

It isn’t just Tia. Mrs W recently asked me how much I would charge her to make some Christmas stockings in LSU colors. I told her that if she’d pay for the yarn, we could swap skills. Mrs W can sew. I need sewing done. I haven’t decided what to send her to help me with in exchange, but I’ll make sure it’s easy. I don’t want to be rude, or take advantage; it’s not like the stockings were difficult. I’m also sending all the leftover LSU colored yarn to her, since she knits and might want to make her little dog a sweater or something.

My friend Dawn made me a thank you gift for some yarn I sent to her. This whole craft swapping idea is going continental, and that’s cool.

I like this craft swapping idea that Tia came up with. It goes hand-in-hand with the idea of time-banks and bartering. These are all ideas that are perfectly suited to localized economies and simpler living. Craft swapping keeps me from buying as much mass-produced stuff. I wind up with one-of-a-kind items, items that have meaning to me beyond their mere function. The meaning behind each of these items keeps them from becoming more stuff in a landfill.

The benefits go beyond just sustainability and simplicity, though. There is a connection that is forged between us, a common bond of sorts. Even though our craft skills are different, they’re all artistic and beautiful and we connect in deep, lasting, and meaningful ways through them.

I’ve always had a hard time connecting with people and making friends. I like that crafting helps me make meaningful connections with other people. To me, connections are central to simple living. Connecting with others; connecting with the land, my food, my clothes. I spent a lot of years in active addiction, and those years were devoid of any deep connections. Today, I celebrate the opportunity to connect, and I’m grateful for it.

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