Ambassador Introduction: mariadastrouxas

ambassadors_miniThe new Ambassador program has just begun and I am excited to introduce each of the participants individually over the next few weeks. They are all enthusiastic, fun, active Swap-bot members who all have 5.0 ratings and who have all been members for more than a year. They are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities and to be active, positive members of the ‘bot.


Say hello to our first Ambassador, mariadastrouxas!

Ambassador Region: Portugal

Her packaging design Pinterest portfolio:

maria-das-trouxasHow mariadastrouxas found Swap-bot: “Once I searched on google for international swaps and I found the website On that website I contacted a portuguese swapper and she recommended the Swap-bot forum. When I checked it out, I never let it go.”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “It’s so much fun. It’s such as a fantastic feeling when you receive a package from someone you don’t know physically but they spent their time to send you items you may like. It’s wonderful. I learned so many things about cultures from around the world, without traveling. It’s beautiful and true!”

Her favorite type of swap: “I prefer private Type 3 swaps (food, toiletries and stationary), usually large packages decorated with different postage stamps and calligraphies (mail art packages). For private swaps I can choose partners with a profile like mine so it’s more personal than public ones.”

Note from Rachel: mariadastrouxas is an amazing mail artist! Her packages are incredibly detailed and colorful, and she packages everything in ingenious ways! I have been very lucky to receive two of her beautiful packages in the past, including the one seen below.


Interesting facts about mariadastrouxas: “Before I found swap-bot, when I was a child, I remember a School Program, an exchange connecting my (Portuguese) school and an international school. Some children swapped a shoe box with cute things and supplies we didn’t have in Portugal. I wasn’t selected to be a part of that experience, but I never forgot it because I would have loved to be in that program.”

“In middle school, my english school teacher told me about a Penpalling Program. The whole class wrote letters to English children, but i never received a reply. I was a kid and felt so sad about not receiving any response. Much later I registered on Flickr (maybe 2003), made a profile, and did some swaps with Brazilian crafters. The packages from Brazil took a long time to arrive, one year at least!”

“When I went to university I forget the feeling of receiving snail mail because the lessons took so much time and effort, and I had to move from my home to study, so it was difficult to manage the mail in other addresses. After I started working I finally had more money and I registered on a Portuguese forum for free mail stuff and I received so much cool snail mail, like coupons and cinema tickets, but it was only suitable for Portuguese people and not so creative.”

“When i meet swap-bot, my life changed! There are so much creative persons and different cultures. I hope to continue swapping for my entire life!”


I hope you liked our first Ambassador interview and introduction. If you are interested in swapping high quality mail art packages of goodies, mariadastrouxas would make an excellent partner! Contact her via the Swap-bot message system if you are interested.

friday link love: June 27th, 2014


Links, links, links! Just for you…

Have a fun and fabulous weekend!

saturday link love: June 21st, 2014


Hello and welcome to the weekend! Your links are a little late this week, but they are just as fun… Enjoy!

I hope you all have a fun weekend. We are still hard at work at Swap-bot HQ, but I plan to go out in the sunshine soon! xoxo

Swap-bot Time Zone Changes AGAIN to PST

Last weekend we made some infrastructure updates and we also switched the site to the UTC time zone. You all (our users) have been SO COOL and helpful regarding the time zone change. Travis and I were extremely impressed with your willingness to roll with the change and we really appreciate all of the feedback.

And your reward? More confusion! Ugh. Sorry. We know this is a little crazy… but…

Today we switched Swap-bot back to US Pacific Time.

Swap-bot was originally created in the Pacific time zone (years ago) and in listening to your feedback and concerns about UTC time, we feel that this will be a good solution. Putting the site in Pacific Time will mean that most of the world will be AHEAD of official Swap-bot time. This will give everyone (except for those in Hawaii and Alaska) a little extra leniency and time when signing up for and sending swaps. Unfortunately, it will also mean that our international swappers will have to wait a little longer (according to their local time) to assign swap partners.

The time zone issue is tricky and confusing since each international swap is technically being coordinated simultaneously across the globe. But being in Pacific Time will mean that very, very few swappers will ever have to worry about their swap being marked late (if they send on time in their own time zone). The corner “Swap-bot Time” clock will stay, and we hope to add some info explaining why it may be different than your current time zone.

Thank you again for all of your help and patience. Please continue to keep us posted with any questions or concerns.

friday link love: June 13th, 2014


Friday the 13th! Ooo! Spooky. Don’t get into too much trouble today! Check out these fun links instead…

Have a super-fun weekend. (We at Swap-bot HQ are going to keep working through some of the site bugs and try to make a decision about how to proceed with the time zone situation.)

Introducing Our New Swap-bot Ambassadors!


When we first announced the Swap-bot Ambassador program, we weren’t sure how much interest there would be… but we definitely received more applications than we anticipated! Thank you so much to everyone who applied. It is so thrilling and heart-warming to know that we have so many enthusiastic Swap-bot users!

I wish we could have accepted all of the Ambassador applicants, but since the program is just starting, we had to keep the list manageable. We based our selections on each applicants’s swap history, the age of their Swap-bot account (it had to be at least a year old), rating history, their region need, and their written application.

I am so excited to introduce our very first class of Swap-bot Ambassadors!


mariadastrouxas – Portugal
CaptainAstro – France
Aankee – Germany
MissThundercat – The Netherlands
dodothefairy – Italy
mag – Singapore
dolcxvita – India & Southeast Asia
seraphina – Taiwan
BeeMGee – Australia
Toupti – Québec, Canada
thebragal – Ontario, Canada


doulakk – East Coast Region
chelle523 – Midwest Region
moonlightlaura – Southern Region
KateKintail – Washington DC Area
LadyRose – Louisiana
HeideC – Cincinnati, Ohio
susieq11 – Columbus, Ohio
ColoradoKate – Colorado
Lanie – Florida
marymary914 – Michigan
Rocktopus – Houston, Texas
grandmaroro – Central Texas
TheWhiteSquirrel – North Dakota
LauraAust – Iowa
queenelisheba – Southern California
dyp – Missouri
hollycm6 – Virginia
grimmlynn – Alabama
twobluecrows – Connecticut

Congrats to all of our new Ambassadors!!

Starting tonight, you will see this graphic at the top of each Ambassador’s profile page:


Swap-bot Ambassadors are responsible for spreading the word about Swap-bot, distributing Swap-bot swag, and being engaged, friendly, helpful members of the community. In the coming months, we will be introducing each Ambassador individually on the blog. Look for the first introductions starting next week.

Missed the Ambassador application deadline? Didn’t get selected this time around? Never fear, we hope to keep expanding the Ambassador program and will be calling for new applications in the future. Stay tuned!

Updating Swap-bot HQ Time Zone

Over the weekend we were hard at work making a few improvements to Swap-bot’s hosting infrastructure. With the improvements, we made a few small, but important changes.

First, we decided to move to UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, also know as Greenwich Mean Time) as the official time zone of Swap-bot. Prior to this change, we used EST and EDT, but since we are a community with members all over the world, we needed to use a time zone that all of us could more easily understand. UTC does not spring forward or fall back, it is constant. With this change, we added an official Swap-bot HQ clock to the upper right corner of the page. If you are ever unsure of the time in Swap-bot land, look no further.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 7.52.58 PM

Most of us are a few hours removed from the UTC time zone, which will require some pre-planning and thoughtfulness when swapping. Swap sign ups will still close at midnight on the sign up deadline, but it will now be midnight in the UTC time zone. The same time difference will be true when we are marking swaps as sent. The time difference is not ideal, but using the international mean time is more equitable for everyone on Swap-bot until we can come up with a more sophisticated solution.

Second, we temporarily removed Chat. It was not heavily used or very useful. We have plans to bring it back better and more engaging than ever in the coming months.

We are going to continue to make small tweaks to the site (and have some big ones planned), so if you see anything not working like you would expect, either leave a comment in the Help Discussion Forums or contact us through the admin contact form.

Thank you for you help and patience as we work to improve Swap-bot!

friday link love: National Doughnut Day!


Happy, happy weekend to everyone!

Travis and I have a big Swap-bot working weekend ahead of us. Don’t forget: the site may be inaccessible tomorrow afternoon and evening. We will try to work as fast as possible to minimize the down time.

For now, enjoy these fun links…

Lot’s of recipes this week… did I miss any great craft links out there? Please share in the comments.

Scheduled Site Maintenance on Saturday


Hello! Due to some much-needed site maintenance, Swap-bot will experience some downtime this Saturday afternoon. The site will most likely not be accessible starting at about 5 pm EST on Saturday, June 7th. It could be down for up to three hours. We are sorry for the inconvenience and we will try to minimize the amount of downtime as much as possible. Please plan accordingly for your swaps and let me know if you have any questions.

friday link love: May 30th, 2014


Are you guys ready for the weekend?? I sure am! Have fun with these links…



What other links did you find this week??