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Friday, March 13, 2009

Super-Special Double Interview with Lucy and Shawnee, the Apron Swap SuperStars!

In honor of my birthday today, I have a special present for you! A Double Interview with two of the nicest, most wonderful apron swap hostesses around! They are the Apron Swap Superstars Lucy of My Byrd House and the Sassy Apron Swaps and Shawnee of Shawnee's Tangled Tales and the Flirty Apron Swaps! These busy ladies have so much going on! Lucy also has 2 shops, Mama Byrd and Sexy Apron Day. Shawnee writes Chill MAMAS and Thyme for Fun. Let's learn how they got together to combine their apron-swapping powers to form the Sassy Flirty Apron Swap!

SwapDex: Tell us a bit about you.

Lucy: I am 36 year old, I live in the Ozark Hills of South West Missouri (more than that and you can find me on Map Quest or in the phone book) :o) I am happily married now for over almost 13 years. I have 5 kids ages 3 to 12, I have 12 dogs (10 puppies), 3 cats, 25+ chickens, 5 goats, 2 bull calves. I am a breastfeeding peer counselor, my degree however is in Early Childhood Education. I sew, design apron patterns, quilt and embroider. I wish I knit but just can't remember the stitches.

Shawnee: I'm 43 years old, been married to my honey since 1985 and we have four children aged 26 to 10 (eleven years between the last two - T4 was a bit of a surprise). We live about 20 minutes south of Portland, Oregon, in a vintage farmhouse on 2 acres, with an orange tabby mouser named Oliver, and a Bocker (beagle/cocker spaniel) puppy named Molly. I work full-time outside the home as an Executive Assistant to the HR Director in a regional education agency.
I have also taught freezer cooking seminars over the years to churches, moms groups and through Portland Community College. Several students and I formed a supper swapping group last fall and our group was interviewed by a local tv station recently, which was VERY fun. I'm working on a Supper Swapping eBook that I hope to publish soon. As far as other crafts, I also crochet and won several ribbons at county and state fairs before aprons took over my crafting time.

SD: How did you two meet? Where you friends before starting you won individual swaps or did swapping bring you together?

L: Shawnee missed my first swap in January 2008 by just days. She started her own swap then and communicated with me often. I joined her swaps and she joined mine and we became fast friends sharing the same ups and downs of swap hostessing. Many emails back and forth on how to handle swapping problems and we talked about co-swapping enough times that we finally did it.
I have made several friends through the swaps. The ones that communicate regularly and well tend to stick in your memory and work their way into your heart and you have to just love them and be their friend. :o) I love my swapping friends. They have a special place in my heart!

S: Lucy was so sweet and gracious every time I emailed her. I remember being so enchanted by her swap button and very disappointed that I missed the deadline. I began my own apron swap, but you can bet I signed up on the FIRST day when her next swap came around! It's been so fun to share the hostessing with someone and Lucy is such a dear. We've chatted on the phone and online A LOT during this past swap, and I feel fortunate to call her friend.

SD: How long have you been swapping? How did you first learn about swapping, and what made you decide to start? Do you remember your first one?

L: I actually started swapping with my soapmaking friends a few years ago. We would all join up and then send the swap mama a sample of something we made, enough for each member of the swap and then for Christmas we would get a big box full of stuff from our soapmaking friends from all over the world. It was so much fun. Soon I started swap swaps of my own. That led to a fabric swap and that lead me to looking for crafting swaps. I was always a day late on finding them so I decided to start my own last year and made it open to everyone because I was so tired of being left out myself.

S: I've been swapping since 2006. I first heard about this strange concept at Crochetville and I made a crocheted bag for my first swap. I was hooked (no pun intended)! I've swapped felted bags, books, kids packages, magic yarn balls, notions, craft items, Harry Potter goodies, yarn, sock kits, wizard of oz, ... and of course, aprons.

SD: What is your range of swapping? Do you stick to swaps hosted by people you know or are you likely to swap with anyone, anytime?

L: I swap soap, miniquilts, aprons, fabric, bags and Christmas packages. I chose swaps that look interesting to me. I am ADD and tend to jump in without thinking much about what I have to do. I don't recommend that. I joined a Doll swap once in the middle of the night. I can't sleep sometimes and that is when I read or surf the internet. Well I saw a fabulous doll swap and joined up immediately. I have never made more than a rag doll in my life.

In the morning I read more carefully and discovered it was an Art Doll swap. I
almost croaked but went through with it and made a cloth lizard doll. She was adorable and I loved her but that swap stressed me out so bad because I had got in way over my head and my ability level. I recommend that people READ the swap rules before they join. I read much more carefully now and try to look at my calendar when I join and make sure I will be free enough to fulfill my obligations! That is very important.

I do swap with people I know. I have 2 or 3 other swap mamas that I will swap with. I just can't keep up with very many swaps at once. Since I host the swaps myself I don't have much spare time to play they way I used to. I also watch SwapDex for swaps that interest me and I check out their blogs and check out their track record.

S: I've had such fun with swapping and received so many wonderful surprises that I
will join any swap that sounds like a fit for me. I do try to take a step back and not just join, join, join. Which is hard -- I'm a joiner!! I prefer swaps where
the coordinator has put attention into the details so I know everyone is clear of expectations up front. I have so many interests and there are so many FUN swaps out there that I have exercise considerable restraint to not spend my entire food budget on swaps. =)

SD: Do you swap with any organized groups like yahoo groups, flickr, groups on swap-bot, other message boards, etc? Why or why not?

L: The only organized group I swap with is the Soapers at The-Whisk. I just am not in that many other groups that actually swap. I am also just so busy with the swaps I run.

S: My first apron swap was through Swap-Bot even though I don't use them as
much any more because there isn't as much control over partners. I've also swapped through Ravelry, Crochetville, Apronista and I'm in one right now on MaryJane's Farmgirl Connection. Mostly, I've been participating in swaps that I've found on SwapDex that are run on personal blogs. I really like how personal those are, with lots of opportunity to communicate back and forth.

SD: What's your favorite swap you've ever been in or hosted?

L: I really enjoy the quilt swap I am in at The 4 Seasons Quilt Swap. It is
always a huge challenge and so fun to see the other quilts people make. I also
really like the swaps where everyone sends in several things that are re-distributed by the swap hostess and shipped out to everyone. It is so fun to try everything everyone made.

S: I had lots of fun a Mother-Daughter apron swap I put together last fall. I want to host another one in the near future. I LOVE involving my daughter with the happy mail I receive.

SD: What do you do to make your packages special?

L: That is my weakest point I think. I try to have a fabulous apron and then hope my other add ins aren't too pathetic. I am not that creative when it comes to packages. I have to confess. I do get fabulous fabric for the aprons though and do sew them well.

S: Oh, I think I stink in this area! I spend a lot of time putting together my packages but then seem to really end up stuffing things in rather than making it all cutesy. And I LIKE CUTESY! That's my main area I want to work on, because I know that packaging matters.

SD: Do you have a good story about hosting or participating in a swap?

L: One of my first swaps with Shawnee was really special. The lady I sent an apron to sent me a huge box of goodies as a thank you. Totally made my day out of the blue. She is one of my favorite swap friends. :o)

S: I was in a swap once and my partner NAILED me! She obviously spent time reading my blog and she sent me an assortment of gifts that I loved, and included treats for my daughter too. And, I've been sent little thank yous for hostessing before, which was so nice. I have also been flaked on before, once by a former swapping partner that I thought was a friend. I've still not received a package but I'm not bitter. =)

SD: What do you think is the most challenging part of hosting a swap? Was hosting a joint swap more complicated or did it help to have an extra hand to help with all the coordination?

L: Oh my! I love swapping but it can be so hard sometimes! The communication is a pain in the neck. My dream swap would be one where I don't have to constantly remind people and one that every participant made and sent a good quality apron.
I loved hosting the joint swap. Shawnee is fabulous. I think we really complimented each other on the work load. This swap was different too because we charged an entrance fee of $5. We didn't know how that would go over but our swappers showed what they thought of it by joining. :o) That fee gave us both some freedom we never had before. We were able to get prizes we couldn't offer before and cut out the costs we have on our end out. It payed for postage for the prizes and things like that. It also gave us money for angel projects if they were needed instead of having to find angel package makers or do them ourselves.

S: Before my first swap, I had no idea how much time it takes to coordinate a good swap! I think I make more work for myself sometimes by requiring so many communication points, but that constant contact also keeps the participants active so that a swap commitment doesn't slip through the cracks. This club swap with Lucy was so different and lots of fun. We were able to share the duties and it worked out that the times she was busy I was more available and vice versa. I had so much fun bouncing ideas back and forth with a like-minded lady, and it was a delicious treat to be able to buy lots of goodies to shower our swappers with almost daily giveaways.

SD: Any exciting plans for the near future?

L: We are thinking of maybe doing another joint swap later this year. We will see. I will also be coming out with several more apron patterns and possible a dress or two this year. I am pretty excited about them.

S: I am so happy to announce that the next round of the Flirty Apron Swap is open for registrations! I made another sweet friend in EllyAnne Giesel and she has a wonderful new Kitchen Linens book that will be published soon. In honor of this historic author, my latest swap will involve finding wonderful kitchen linens (tablecloths, placemats, runners, towels) and re-mixing them into Flirty Aprons. I cannot wait to see all the creations!!

Awesome to get to know both of you a little better, ladies! Thanks so much for helping me celebrate my birthday with a great interview!


Wanda said...

Happy Birthday, Jenna! I hope you have the best birthday ever. :)

Harley Dee said...

Happy Birthday! Thanks for a great interview with two great gals :)

alissa said...

Happy Birthday!!

alissa said...

Happy Birthday!!!