Thursday, March 29, 2012

I am started to do swaps again…

After an almost two year hiatus (yikes that’s long), I am starting to do swaps again.   Yes, I know, I do not net any money off of them, but sometimes you just have to go back to square one.   The Postal service was costing me a pretty penny in the past but I found a solution to the problem.   Do fewer swaps, that way I can keep in practice, but not being nickeled and dimed to death with shipping.
At one time, I was doing 2 or 3 swaps at a time, from page kits to making things I did not know how to make at the time, and learning them on the fly.   I did not know about You Tube, Hulu, U-stream, or any of those sites you can learn how to do crafts and other things like how bad Abby Lee Miller screams at her dancers and their moms?  (Yes, I watch Dance Moms on Lifetime, and was never screamed at by my dance teachers)
Anyway, I lost track of my subject.   When I made my first page kit (oh so many moons ago), the host volunteered to remake the kits for me, and she sent my kit back to show me how to make them when she sent out the others.   Of course, she asked first.   When I altered my first paint can, the person I sent it to thought a 3 year old child made it.    I cried when I read the criticism, and vowed to never do another altered paint can again.  So I had good swaps and bad swaps.
So my first swap after being in hiatus was really simple.   It was an altered CD for a small group of three (me and two other ladies).  I think God sent me this group, and it was perfect for me, and I thank Him for it, because I did not want to mess it up with sending six CDs, and someone has a complaint about it.
 This is the first page:  (sorry for the smallest of the picture)

Side 1's Ingredients:

1 bling heart
1 strip of brown cardstock
cork piece (I have handwritten the word "love" on it.
Scrap pieces of patterned paper (I used some from DCWV's Natural stack and a sheet I bought from Michael's)
cream cardstock.
Copy paper (only to use as a "primer" to cover the writing and the hole of the CD
Brown ink for edging

Side 2's Ingredients:

Recollection's bling Brown and white
patterned Paper from "The Paper Company", and paper I bought at Joanne's and Archiver's.
white cardstock.
Black ink for edging.
Copy paper for covering the hole and the recorded part of the CD

Some tips if you want to get started with a swap group:

  • Do not join at the last minute.   The way I pace myself is I read the email or the website first (it is easy to do if you are one of the many Yahoo or Goggle groups available.   In fact I do two reads:  The first read is when I sound like I am interested.  I take down all the information, and check my calendar.  This is important!  The reason why I said checking the calendar first during this first read of the swap information, is if you have a lot of stuff to do outside of the time you know to complete the project (swap), you are not going to have the time to think about what you are sending to your partner or group, gather your supplies, and actually work on your project.   This should take no more than 5 mins of your time.  Do not fret over it.  There have been many times where I wanted to do a swap, but could not.   This is also the best time to check your finances.
  • Make a copy of the instructions.   Do so in case you are without a computer.   If you have a secondary device, like a tablet (not everyone is blessed with an Ipad), place it there as well, and have a hard copy of the instructions.   Sometimes I have to read and re-read the instructions.  If you are in more than one, get yourself a binder for the hard copies.  You may want to do the project again someday.
  • Once you have read the first time, made a copy (if you are going to join), read a second time.  Get all the facts straight, such as specs, rules, deadline and so forth (the other reason why you need a calendar), contact the person in charge and ask questions.   No question is dumb.  Last thing a host wants to hear is “I did not know” from a swapper.
  • Please, please, please, get the project in on time.  There are some groups who are a little lose on the due date, more often than not, there are some groups who report to a central group list called a naughty or flaker’s list.   This is how a flaker’s list works:  Say you signed up to send out 12 cards, due on April 12, 2012 to Jane Doe of the xyz Card maker’s group on Yahoo groups.  You got all the stuff together, you are right on schedule with your project, and close to the due date, your great aunt Martha dies, the funeral is in Iowa, and you live in California.   The swap itself has to go to Canada, and only 6 are done.  Well you are too upset to finish, so you decide that since xyz is a relaxed group, it could not hurt if you are late by a week.  Think again.   Xyz Card Maker’s group does, and you did not finish the card swap on time and by the time you send the cards out, they are two weeks late, and they have reported you to the flakers group.   The problem is if you join ABC Scrapper’s group, they do swap, and they check the flakers group for your name, you may not be able to get into the group.  If you had notify the host of the Xyz Card maker’s group that you had an emergency (yes, funerals count as an emergency), that host may have let you off, and either assign someone to take your place, or allow you some time to finish and send your project.  Everyone knows that life gets in the way sometimes, but some groups are not understanding if you do not let them know of the situation.  This lead to:
  • Keep in constant communication with the host:   Send little post like: “I understand everything that is written here”, “I am having a problem”, or “I am almost finished”.   This will avoid the above situation.  If it is a swap where you have a partner, do the same thing.  Also with a partner swap, find out what things they like and what they do not like.  You do not want to send something with blue and birds on it, if she likes pink and cats, unless it is a themed swap.
  • Thank the host.  Send a personal note along with the swap if it is a group one, or a personal note to your partner. Some people like to send a little extra to their partner. This is totally optional, and it depends on your budget.

I hope you enjoyed what I made for my partners in my first swap in two years CD swap, as well as the tips.   If you have any questions, place it in the comments below.   Take care of yourself and be sure to check out my other two blogs, Tricia's Baskets and My Blessed Life.

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