friday link love: December 19th, 2014

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Hello and happy holidays!! I’ve got quite a few holiday and winter-themed links for you this week… add any more fun projects or recipes you’ve found in the comments.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, and Warmest Winter Wishes to you all! xoxo


Ambassador Introduction: LauraAust

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program is going strong and I am excited to introduce each of the participants individually over the next few months. They are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities.

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Meet our next Ambassador, LauraAust! LauraAust lives near Des Moines, Iowa, and she has been swapping on Swap-bot for more than four years. She is nearing one thousand 5 ratings and she loves rainbows and bubbles!

Ambassador Region: Iowa, USA

LauraAust

How LauraAust found Swap-bot: “I was wanting to swap inchies and found Swap-Bot while looking for a way to do just that.”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “I enjoy ‘meeting’ all of the people and interacting with them. Some of them are so nice! I have met a couple in real life – that was very exciting. I can say that I have found couple of my NEW best friends on Swap-Bot. I am co-founder of REACH FOR SUCCESS and it’s great to see how supportive members can be! Swap-Bot has encouraged me to try a few new things. And, it always seems I can find a swap in which I wish to participate – if not, I just create one myself!”

“Before Swap-Bot I had never heard of Kawaii – now I have a pretty impressive collection. I also learned about Zentangles here!”

“I enjoy trying to help out others when they are looking for items, products, or needing help / input / advice on a project. I really like turning people on to new crafts – I recently got my Swap-Bot friend addicted to paper / foundation piecing (quilting)! Yay!! I like to consider myself a ‘helper’ although others call me an ‘enabler’.”

“I also love that we can help each other out in daily life issues like depression, death of a family member, child raising issues, etc.”

Her favorite type of swap: “It varies on the day! I used to do a lot of ATCs, inchies and twinchies, rolos – mostly paper crafts. Then I was doing some crocheting swaps. I love to swap fabric! Lately I have been doing monthly weight loss journals. I also really like to do private swaps when I see something on someone’s profile or Flickr that is incredible – usually I can find something to swap with them to get it! For example, I once crocheted a “naked” doll for my partner to accessorize – in trade she made watercolor paintings of my four cats. I’ve also sent a large crocheted afghan in exchange for a Blythe doll (I named her Meredith and she sits on our TV stand).”

Check out LauraAust’s crocheted Dotee doll goddess made for a profile based swap:

lauraaustgoddess

See more of LauraAust’s craft and swap photos on her Flickr.

Interesting facts about LauraAust:

  • “I was a finalist in a Better Homes and Gardens Patchwork and Quilting design contest in 2001 – the theme was “State Fair”. My quilt toured the country for a year and I got my name in the magazine and a photo of my quilt on their website. I also got a really nice box of prizes valued at $250+.”
  • “I own enough quilting fabric to open my own shop (but continue to add to it).” (See photo below!)

lauraaustfabric

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. If you are interested in quality, time intensive quilting, paper craft, or crochet swaps, LauraAust is definitely the member to contact.


Holiday Postal Deadlines

wintercraft

As if you didn’t already know, Christmas and New Years are approaching very quickly!!

The USPS published their deadlines for mailing DOMESTIC items to arrive by Christmas Eve on December 24th:

December 15th (today!) – Standard Post®
December 20th – First-Class Mail® & Priority Mail®
December 23rd – Priority Mail Express®

Many of the deadlines for international Christmas mail have already passed. Although, you could still try their pricey Global Express Guaranteed service.

The postal services of most other countries offer similar deadlines, but check with your service’s website for their official dates.

Happy holiday mailing!


Ambassador Introduction: TheWhiteSquirrel

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program is going strong and I am excited to introduce each of the participants individually over the next few months. They are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities.

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Meet our next Ambassador, TheWhiteSquirrel! TheWhiteSquirrel lives in “The Deep Freeze” aka Fargo, North Dakota. She loves mail art, stationery, and all things Air Mail-themed… and squirrels, of course! She has been swapping on the ‘bot for well over a year and has nearly five hundred 5 ratings!

Ambassador Region: North Dakota, USA

TheWhiteSquirrel

How TheWhiteSquirrel found Swap-bot: “I truly just stumbled upon it while searching online for some sort of pen pal site one day (and SO happy I did).”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “I adore Swap-bot….Mail gives me a chance to travel and open my world to learn new things from the comfort of my own home. I get to meet such wonderful people who, despite our differences, all share a common interest — Post! It’s such an inspiration and an outlet for creativity that gives us all a chance to lift ones spirits. Each new swap I sign up for is a new challenge that keeps me going. There are days when I simply don’t know what I would do without these connections — I just love it so.”

Her favorite type of swap: “Type 3! Thought, care & a little effort goes a long way with me. I really enjoy swapping Mail Art — it’s my favorite. I love to see other people’s creations and read their stories. (I imagine what their life is like and step into their world for a brief moment.) I also trade tea often, chocolate from time to time, coins/currency, and am thrilled with anything Air Mail related or anything covered in postage stamps!”

Check out TheWhiteSquirrel’s owl-themed mail art:

TheWhiteSquirrelmailart

Interesting facts about TheWhiteSquirrel:

  • “I’ve been to 3 continents and 5 countries.”
  • “I like to eat pickles out of tea cups and drink just about everything out of a stein.”
  • “Oh! — and did I mention I <3 Squirrels?"

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. If you are interested in snail mail swaps for things like postcards, mail art, old books, silverware, books, or coins, TheWhiteSquirrel is definitely the member to contact.


2014 Holiday Gift Donation Drive UPDATE

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I have an awesome announcement… 2014 was our BIGGEST YEAR EVER for our annual Holiday Gift Donation Drive for The Partnership for the Homeless!!! We collected even more than during our epic 2012 Donation Drive for Hurricane Sandy relief! Wow.

Together we collected:

  • $1250 in Paypal and other cash donations. (Half of this money was used to purchase H&M and Old Navy gift cards to give to teens at the Children’s Holiday Party, as requested by The Partnership. The other half was given directly to The Partnership to offset the party costs and to generally support their programs.)
  • $485 in varius other gift cards to places like Target and Barnes & Noble.
  • Many hats, gloves, scarves, books, and toys.
  • 115 Swap-bot members participated in the Donation Drive and our grand total was more than $1735!

I am so impressed with this community’s generosity year after year! Thank you all so much for your support and participation!

donationdrivepickup

Our lovely Partnership contact, Wanda, came and picked up our box of donations today. Our gifts will make a huge impact at the Children’s Holiday Party this Saturday, December 6th. The holiday season will be a little brighter for many of NYC’s homeless youth thanks to you!

Happy, happy holidays! xoxo


Ambassador Introduction: Rocktopus

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program is going strong and I am excited to introduce each of the participants individually over the next few months. They are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities.

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Meet our next Ambassador, Rocktopus! Rocktopus lives near Houston, Texas, and has been swapping for four years. She loves watercolor, jewelry, and collecting lots of things, like nature items and coins.

rocktopus2Ambassador Region: Texas, USA

How Rocktopus found Swap-bot: ” I was searching for a penpal system after seeing an article on the lost art of letter-writing, I was blessed with a link to this site.”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “Meeting new friends from around the globe, connecting on a personal level with so many wonderful people, fitting a swap to a profile, learning a new craft (I bought my sewing machine because of this site!) and of course receiving mail that is not bills! ”

Her favorite type of swap: “It’s a close call between ATC’s and profile-based private swaps. I love to do any swap that is time-intensive, especially if it’s for a new craft. Private swaps are my favorite because you can tailor so specifically to your partner!”

Check out some of Rocktopus’ cool steampunk-style ATCs:

rocktopusatcs

And two of her Harry Potter-themed swaps:

rocktopusprswaps

And her cute mail art:

rocktopusmailart

Interesting facts about Rocktopus: “I Geocache as a hobby, think of it as a giant treasure hunt that spans continents! I collect lots of things, butterflies, coins, bones, stamps and ATC’s. I work as a Title I Aide for an elementary school. I used to be terrified of sewing machines, but the ‘Bot helped me conquer that fear! I have two sweet cats but would love twenty! I am engaged to be married March 2015 to the love of my life. I love to send out elaborately decorated swaps/gifts.”

Rocktopus’ Links:

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. If you are interested in ATC or private profile-based snail mail swaps, Rocktopus is definitely the member to contact.


free, printable Swap-bot mailing label

free Swap-bot mailing label

Hello swappers! I’ve got a special treat for you today… your Swap-bot Ambassador to Portugal, mariadastrouxas has created an awesome, free, printable mailing label using worldwide postal history illustrations. Very cool! You can download, print, and use the label on all of your Swap-bot packages. The label will fit on a standard size sheet of printer paper (8.5 x 11 inches).

Download the mailing label HERE.

Have fun decorating your packages!


featured swaps: Holiday Card & Matchbox Swaps

holidaycardswap2014holidaymatchbox_round7LARGE

Happy holiday season, everyone! Now is the time to fit in your holiday swapping before the season and the mail system gets too crazy. There are TONS of holiday-themed swaps available now, but I wanted to bring your attention to my two public holiday swaps:

Fun & Easy Holiday Card Swap – A simple, international, snail mail swap open to new & experienced users. Send (and receive) one store-bought or handmade holiday card to one partner. So easy! And it is a Top Swap! Sweet.

Holiday Fun Matchbox Swap – An annual, international, paper crafting swap for experienced users with a 4.9 rating or higher. Craft a cute holiday-themed matchbox and fill it with goodies for your one partner.

Sign up for both swaps before this Friday, November 21st. Send your items before December 15th.

Hosting your own holiday swaps? Share the links in the comments!


Ambassador Introduction: dodothefairy

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program is going strong and I am excited to introduce each of the participants individually over the next few months. They are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities.

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Meet our next Ambassador, dodothefairy! Dodothefairy lives in Naples, Italy, and she has been a member of Swap-bot for exactly five years. Wow! She likes drawing, scrapbooking, and reading.

dodothefairyAmbassador Region: Italy

How dodothefairy found Swap-bot: “I really don’t remember how I found Swap-bot, but I liked it very quickly because it let me meet some amazing people and facts of the word.”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “I love receiving snail-mail, every parcel is a great joy.”

Her favorite type of swap: “I try to spend not very much, so I really love the electronic swaps in which we could exchange photos of our city and life. I love also the profile surprise swap and escepially the ones in which you have to send a decorated envelope with a little surprise. I love to send coloful envelope drawn by me!”

Check out two of dodothefairy’s snail mail swaps:

dodothefairyswaps

Interesting fact about dodothefairy: “I love rain in summer. When last summer it began to rain I went under the raindrops and started dance and laugh!”

Dodothefairy’s Instagram account dedicated to her beautiful city of Naples:
Pizza and the City

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. If you are interested in colorful mail art swaps, food swaps, or anything Harry Potter or Twilight related, dodothefairy is definitely the member to contact.


Super Surprise Giveaway Winner

Hi friends! Now is the exciting time to announce the winner of the Super Surprise Craft Supply Giveaway…. and the winner is…. Paige1900!!!

Her prize box of crafty supplies will be mailed out this week.

giveawaywinner

I used Random.org to randomly select the winner out of the eligible comments. Thank you to everyone who entered. It was so fun to read about your crafting plans for the rest of the year.

Stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future!