2015 Holiday Gift Donation Drive

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Did you know? Over 25,000 children are sleeping in New York municipal shelters tonight.

It is that time of year again when we can help brighten the holiday season for some of NYC’s homeless youth. Help us by donating to our 6th Annual Holiday Gift Donation Drive to benefit The Partnership for the Homeless!

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The Partnership for the Homeless is a NYC charity committed to building a just and equitable society and creating lasting community change through solution-oriented programs and policy initiatives that eliminate the root causes of homelessness. They provide all sorts of services, support, and advocacy for the homeless in NYC and they would greatly appreciate our donation of new, unwrapped gifts and gift cards to be handed out to children at their Children’s Holiday Party in Brooklyn on December 12th, 2015.

Message from The Partnership for the Homeless: _</p>

Want to help make the holidays a little merrier for children and families who are homeless? Support our Annual Children’s Holiday Party!

Every December, The Partnership throws a gigantic celebration for over 400 children and families who are struggling with homelessness, providing holiday cheer through food, games, face painting, Santa, and of course — presents!

Every year we organize a festive holiday celebration for families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, providing a much-needed respite from the daily challenges of poverty in some of our city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Pulling off a party of this size is no small feat. It takes the hard work and dedication of many staff, sponsors, donors, and dozens of volunteers to make the magic happen.

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Let’s put together a huge donation of gifts for The Partnership!!

We can accept the following items for donation: Gift cards in $10 or $20 amounts to stores like Target, Barnes and Noble, H&M, Gap, Old Navy, Forever 21, Aeropostale, and Best Buy. Gift cards must be new and unused and must be to stores that are accessible in NYC. Gift cards are the most requested item by The Partnership for the Homeless because they are versatile and good for older kids, but we can also accept new, unwrapped toys, books, and winter gear (hats, gloves, scarves, etc) donations. Read more info about what can be donated here.

Send your donations by Friday, December 4th to:

**Rachel Johnson

Swap-bot.com

285 5th Ave PMB 415

Brooklyn, NY 11215**

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And here is the extra-special holiday bonus reward for your donation: Each Swap-bot member who sends in a donation of a gift card or item will earn the removal of one low (1 or 3) rating from their account!! You must mail your donation to Swap-bot headquarters (address above) by Friday, December 4th. If you do not have a poor rating on your account, you will receive a credit for one future rating removal. Each person can only earn one rating removal credit during this donation drive –- although you are welcome to donate more than one item!

The Fine Print: All ratings removed in exchange for a donation must be at least six months old and/or the user must have exhausted all options for making up the swap. The rating removal credit is meant to remove unfair or unfixable ratings — it is not a “free pass” for flaking. Everyone who donates will receive an email from me with the details of the rating removal credit. You can reply to that message any time to “cash in” your credit. I also make a permanent admin note (only visible to admin) on each donor’s account stating that they have a rating removal credit.

International option: If you are unable to purchase appropriate gift cards in your area or ship other gifts, I am willing to accept cash donations via Paypal. I will then buy a gift card in your name to donate OR donate the money directly to the Partnership for the Homeless, depending on their greater need. Use the button below to donate OR send Paypal donations to rachel -at- swap-bot.com. (Replace the -at- and spaces with @.) All Paypal donations of $10 or more will count toward a rating removal.

Use this button to donate via Paypal:

The 2015 Donation Drive is now closed.

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

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Check out our past five Donation Drives:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

10th Anniversary Mail Art Swap Items – Part 2

Our special 10th anniversary mail art swap has now concluded, and all of the awesome mail art is reaching its destinations. The requirements of the swap were easy: send one piece of Swap-bot themed mail art to your partner. Many of the swap participants were kind enough to send along images of their creations so that I could share them here for everyone to admire.

There were so many great pieces of art that I had to split them up into two blog posts. Check out the first post of images by clicking here.

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Mail package and interactive journal by PrairieKittin: ” I made a journal for my partner to use. The mailing label has Swap-bot on the front and back. When you open it, the first thing you see is the “I love Swap-bot” logo. On the title page is the Tree of Life. The next page has an envelope.. but not just *any* envelope! When you open the flap, it says PULL on the inside of the flap. You pull it and a bi-fold note page is attached. The facing page has room to write another journal entry.The last page has another envelope with Zentangles on it. Inside that envelope is a letter.”

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Mixed media postcard by marymary914:

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ATC and envelope by dodothefairy: “I did an ATC, that is quite symbolic because there is the world, a stamp, the number ten and a set of pencils. It represents the letters that swap-bot let go trough the world since ten years. I decorated the envelope using drawings of imagined stamp.”

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A Zendoodle envelope and ATC by purple24:

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(Read more on her blog, The Embellished Artist.)

Mail art from ktina in Hungary:

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Decorated envelope and the included goodies (postcard designed with Swap-bot graphics, patterned paper, and bookmarks) from grandmaroro:

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Package mailed by Artistic: “My partner likes postage stamps, so that’s why there are so many, including a couple of vintage ones. My blue watercolor pen was a little too dark on the postcard replica, so I added the blue and orange mats and the curling ribbon. I should have known that “indigo” and “tangerine” wouldn’t be spot on. :)The packet is big because I included two little “anniversary” gifts wrapped in white tissue paper with blue and orange ribbon.”

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Front and back of the mail art sent by swan:

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Colorful and textured postcard by Deidreart:

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A beautiful envelope create by UrsaMinor in Finland:

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Check out this awesome Ernie package that Babytreese received from DeBovine:

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Cool striped enevlope by thebragal:

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The awesome mail art postcard I received from gruskal:

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And last, but hopefully not least… the hand-painted envelope I sent to Ky for the swap:

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The thing I love most about art is seeing how creatively and how uniquely each individual expresses a given theme. I LOVE all of your creations. Thank you so much for swapping on Swap-bot and for celebrating our 10th anniversary with us. xoxo

10 Anniversary Giveaway Winners!

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Thank you to everyone who entered our 10th Anniversary Giveaway! Nearly 200 responses! It has been so fun to celebrate this milestone with you all and learn more about what you all enjoyed as 10-year-olds. So many fun and kooky favorite foods and toys!

I used Random.org to select our 10 lucky swag pack prize winners. And our winners are…

**HeideC // Nnyla // Renate // arythia // FritosMom // Mushka2010

Sherry71 // Briarstitch84 // ReadMoreBooks33 // froggy2974**

Their responses to “What was your favorite food or favorite toy when you were 10 years old?”:

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Yay! Congrats! I’ll be mailing out a prize pack containing all of the swag seen below to each of the winners this week. Hooray!

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10th Anniversary Mail Art Swap Items – Part 1

10th Anniversary Swap

The celebration of Swap-bot’s 10th Anniversary continues! Our special anniversary mail art swap has now concluded, and all of the awesome mail art is reaching its destinations. The requirements of the swap were easy: send one piece of Swap-bot themed mail art to your partner. Many of the swap participants were kind enough to send along images of their creations so that I could share them here for everyone to admire… This is the first of at least two big blog posts full of images. Enjoy!

The front and back of the envelope by brianfuchs:

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Decorated mail art by armadillogal:

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Awesome Ernie portrait by dardarbinx:

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Beautiful stamp-covered envelope by amandacase:

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A “hot, but fun, mess” mail art envelope with a Swap-bot pocket letter inside by beenebag:

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I think this is the very first Swap-bot-themed pocket letter! Cool!

Ernie-inspired mail art by Nnyla:

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A painted Ernie by Gwillisinc:

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A fun doodled envelope by Xira:

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Ernie ATC and mail art by crazipurplelady:

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A fun washi tape envelope created by CarolWestcamp:

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_Isn’t it amazing to see the wide range of artistic expression?! I love everyone’s unique interpretation of the Swap-bot theme! And I have lots more to share! Stay tuned for a second installment. </p>

If you have images of what you sent or received for the 10th Anniversary Swap, leave a link in the comments, or email them to me at rachel-at-swap-bot.com. We’d love to see and share any and all Swap-bot art! </i>

Ambassador Introduction: twobluecrows

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program has been going strong for a year!! And I regret that I still have not introduced all of the awesome participants yet… but I will rectify that over the next few weeks with ONE more intro blog post. The Ambassadors are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities. If you are interested in representing Swap-bot in your area and sending out Swap-bot swag, stay tuned for info about our upcoming second round of Ambassador applications.

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me-200Meet our next Ambassador, twobluecrows. Twobluecrows is from Norwich, Connecticut, in the Southern New England region of the USA. She is a chef who loves Doctor Who, Johannes Vermeer, collage, miniatures, tea, and of course, crows!

Ambassador Region: Connecticut, USA

How twobluecrows found Swap-bot: “Back in 2006 I was swapping in a lot of crafty Yahoo Groups, and someone brought it up and it sounded interesting!”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “It’s allowed me an outlet for trying a lot of new crafts, learning new skills in making good swaps, and introduced me to a lot of new friends.”

Her favorite type of swap: “In the past eight years, my favorite swap has always been the most recent. Though, I look back on them sometimes and would like to start all over again!”

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Winter ATCs made by twobluecrows.

Fun fact about twobluecrows: “I’ve been a lot of things in my life: daughter, sister, wife, mother, grand and great-grandmother, cook/chef, taxi driver, gardener, woodworker, butcher, baker and candlestick maker, LARP-gamer, drycleaner, painter, potter, sculptor, silversmith, store owner, seamstress/costumer, quilter, crocheter, SCAdian, embroiderer, multi-medium artist, cake decorating instructor–and it’s only just begun, I’m not even 60 yet and it’s all about the Journey, not the Destination!”

Another fun fact about twobluecrows? A few years ago she sent me an AMAZING crocheted Ernie the Envelope!

Visit twobluecrows’ Swap-bot photo album.

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. We are so lucky to have so many awesome crafters, artists, writers, and snail mail lovers participating on Swap-bot! Twobluecrows is taking a break from active swapping right now, but if you have any old CDs, she is collecting them for an art project.

Ambassador Introduction: KateKintail

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program has been going strong for a year!! And I regret that I still have not introduced all of the awesome participants yet… but I will rectify that over the next few weeks with two more intro blog posts. The Ambassadors are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities. If you are interested in representing Swap-bot in your area and sending out Swap-bot swag, stay tuned for info about our upcoming second round of Ambassador applications.

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Meet our next Ambassador, KateKintail! KateKintail lives in Virginia and is a serious fangirl. She loves all sorts of scifi and fantasy — like Star Trek, Supernatural, Lord of the Rigs, Harry Potter (a proud Hufflepuff!), etc — and she makes awesome crafts and swap packages around the themes. (Like this giant Star Trek swap and this amazing Geordi LaForge peep. I’m in love!) She is a vegetarian and a collector of postcards and all things Eeyore. She is also an avid reader and writer.

KateKintail2Ambassador Region: Washington D.C. area, USA

How KateKintail found Swap-bot: ” I got a Swap-bot postcard in my goodie bag at the international BookCrossing Convention 2011. My friend melydia did swap-bot and was always raving about it. I hadn’t crafted in a while so I wasn’t sure it was for me. Once I got the postcard in the bag I decided to take a look. I poked around and was hooked! Melydia was actually the one who emailed me and told me I should apply to be an Ambassador (so she sort of is one already!).”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “There’s something for everyone, even people like me with a billion interests can find a home. I’ve learned so much from other swappers -— not just techniques and new crafts, but friendships and advice. There’s always something fun going on somewhere on Swap-bot, and if you don’t see something you like you can make a new swap! I love seeing the creativity of others and being inspired to try something new or refine my skills. I also like having deadlines to work toward and I like the accountability aspect. I love getting things people have written or created, but even more than that I love creating things that will put smiles on my partners’ faces!”

Her favorite type of swap: “I’m a fangirl at heart, so anything to do with my favorite books/tv/movies. I’m partial to whimsy jars as my favorite craft.”

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An Autumn Whimsey Jar and a Lego Advent Calendar made by KateKintail for swaps.

Fun fact about KateKintail:<ul

  • “I painted my craft room light purple like my childhood bedroom wall color. When I’m at home or not sleeping, you will almost always find me in my craft room—it’s where the laptop and gluesticks live (though they are located across the room from each other)!”
  • “When not at home crafting or writing, I hunt down historical markers with my trusty stuffed sidekick Eeyore and log them on Markeroni.com.”</ul>

Visit KateKintail’s links:

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A giant Disney-in-a-bag swap sent by KateKintail.

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. We are so lucky to have so many awesome snail mail lovers participating on Swap-bot! If you are interested in any type of fandom swap, KateKintail is a great swapper to contact.

Swap-bot’s 10th Anniversary GIVEAWAY

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Hello snail mail lovers! We have big news… October will mark Swap-bot’s 10th Anniversary! Wow. 10 years of postcards, letters, crafts, gifts, art, and lots more traveling all over the world. We hope this decade of snail mail swaps has helped make the world a slightly more friendly and fun place.

Our impending anniversary inspired me to create a few new Swap-bot postcards and some other fun swag. And I want to get it out into the world…

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To celebrate our decade milestone we are hosting this awesome giveaway!

TEN swappers will each receive a fun swag package that will include:

  • 10 Ernie the Envelope postcards
  • 10 Snail Mail Love postcards
  • 10 Hooray for Snail Mail postcards
  • 10 10th Anniversary postcards
  • 10 Swap-bot mini pencils
  • 10 Ernie the Envelope square stickers
  • 10 Striped Heart swap cards
  • 10 assorted Swap-bot buttons
  • extra surprise swag!

It is a lot of stuff! You can use it all yourself, or include it in your swap packages, or give it out to friends to spread the Swap-bot love!

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How to enter the giveaway:

Comment on this blog post with your Swap-bot username and the answer to this question:

What was your favorite food or favorite toy when you were 10 years old?

You must be a member of Swap-bot to enter. The giveaway will be open for entry until Friday, October 23rd. After that, I will randomly select and announce the 10 winners on Monday, October 26th. Good luck!

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Don’t forget to sign up for the 10th Anniversary Mail Art Swap by Friday, October 2nd.

Ambassador Introduction: susieq11

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program has been going strong for a year!! And I regret that I still have not introduced all of the awesome participants yet… but I will rectify that over the next few weeks with three more intro blog posts. The Ambassadors are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities. If you are interested in representing Swap-bot in your area and sending out Swap-bot swag, stay tuned for info about our upcoming second round of Ambassador applications.

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Meet our next Ambassador, susieq11! Susieq11 is a New Jersey native who now lives in Ohio. She is an extremely avid snail mail lover, sending out post nearly everyday! She also loves poodles (she has two) and Snoopy.

Ambassador Region: Columbus, Ohio, USA

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How susieq11 found Swap-bot: “I was introduced to swap-bot by a friend in 2010. Once I saw it, I thought: WHERE WERE YOU ALL OF MY LIFE!? I have been a letter writer since I was about 8 or 9 — starting with letters from camp or to my relatives. Then I had pen-pals all over. I was always writing to “Big Blue Marble” as they paired you with pen pals! I am dating myself as a 70’s and early 80’s kid, ha ha! Several of my best friends were made via pen-palling. I even have a couple that I met from friendship books in the 80’s — and at 40+, we are still friends in real life! I have a pen pal in Finland that is one of my best friends. We started to write in high school and have met. I have met several swap-bot people too: Rexypants and I have dubbed ourselves “twins” (shhh!). She lives in Vancouver and we have met a couple of times. Once in Seattle and then last year I flew out to visit her in BC! We iMessage waaaaayyy too much and keep USPS and Canada Post in business! Maxbenleo and I are great friends and we have an annual tradition of meeting in Florida every summer now! She and her family visit each year from Germany and this July will be our second visit! I have met people locally, too. I write to a lot of people regularly, we connect on Facebook and whatsapp, etc. I swear we need a worldwide convention to meet up with swap-botters from everywhere!”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “See above!!!! OMG, it is so much fun!!!! I love the connections, even on an acquaintance level. So nice to have a community of fun people that you can share with. I love to set up swaps and it’s exciting to wait and see who your partners are! I love RAKs as I love to share my finds with people — and make their day by surprising them. This gives me a fun outlet for snail mail and new connections.”

Her favorite type of swap: “Postcards, yes!! I am a crazy postcard lady…like cat ladies, but just postcards. My third bedroom is my postcard collection’s home! But so is part of my bedroom, ha ha! I also love note cards, used stamps, scavenger hunts, mail art, and anything paper related!”

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Just some of the mail that susieq11 sends out nearly daily.

Fun fact about susieq11:

“I have been to 22 countries and 37 states. The only place in the world my husband has been that I haven’t is Iowa!”

Visit susieq11’s links:

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Susieq11’s two cute poodles with the Grinch.

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. We are so lucky to have so many awesome snail mail lovers participating on Swap-bot! If you are interested in pen pal, postcard, or mail art swaps susieq11 is a great swapper to contact.

Swap-bot’s 10th Anniversary Mail Art Swap

10th Anniversary Swap

October 2015 will be Swap-bot’s 10-year anniversary. Woah. I am truly astounded. My husband, Travis, and I created this website a decade ago in an effort to make group swapping easier and more fun, and we have worked hard to keep it running ever since. (Check out our very first swap.)

Over the past 10 years Swap-bot has gained more than 65,000 accounts, facilitated more than 200,000 swaps, and received 280 MILLION pageviews! Wow!

To celebrate our 10-year milestone, I am hosting a Swap-bot-themed 10th Anniversary Mail Art Swap. I’d love for it to be a huge swap. Please join us in sending out fun mail art all over the globe!

The swap details: You will have just one partner to whom you will send one piece of Swap-bot-themed mail art. It can be a postcard, letter, or parcel, but it MUST be decorated externally with a Swap-bot theme. Think blue and orange, postal mail images, Ernie the Envie, swap terms, etc. Put some time into making something that will delight our mail carriers! It is not required, but it’d be fun to include a note or goodies with your mail art for your partner. I’ve made this a very easy and inclusive swap so that everyone will feel comfortable joining and celebrating Swap-bot. New swappers and experienced members with a 4.9 rating, or higher, are welcome to join this international swap. As always, I will check over participants and remove anyone questionable. Sign up HERE by October 1st!

Please take a photo of your mail art creation and email it (or a link to it) to me at rachel -at- swap-bot.com. I’d LOVE to share your artwork here on the Swap-bot blog. Also, check back here for some fun 10th anniversary giveaways very soon!

Swap-bot’s awesomeness comes from our amazing community of swappers. Thank you all for swapping with us and supporting us for the last ten years!!

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Ambassador Introduction: dolcxvita

ambassadors_miniThe Ambassador program has been going strong for a year!! And I regret that I still have not introduced all of the awesome participants yet… but I will rectify that over the next few weeks with four more intro blog posts. The Ambassadors are all enthusiastic, fun, active, positive members who are asked to help promote Swap-bot in their local communities. If you are interested in representing Swap-bot in your area and sending out Swap-bot swag, stay tuned for info about our upcoming second round of Ambassador applications.

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Meet our next Ambassador, dolcxvita! Dolcxvita is originally from India, but she now lives in Singapore. She has traveled all over Asia and has also lived in the UK. She is an avid snail mail lover and a designer who enjoys experimenting with all types of art and crafts.

Ambassador Region: India & Southeast Asia

dolcxvitaHow dolcxvita found Swap-bot: “A few years ago, I inherited a large collection of postcards addressed to my mother, written by various people who were on their journeys far and wide. To a lot of people, it would be a box of junk from the 60’s. They would be perfectly happy communicating via Skype, Whatsapp and other social networks. But to me, I was more than thrilled to open the box, inspect the contents and read each card which seemed to magically transport me not only to the date and place of its origin, but also to my mothers childhood – something I have always been curious about. So that is when my love for snail mail began, I wanted a box of my own, perhaps to pass on to my daughter or perhaps to one day, open it and read something from twenty years ago – it would sort of be a time capsule, where unlike in a photo or video, this would allow the viewer a creative license to use their imagination a little more! I was studying in the UK at that time and I convinced my family and friends to write to me – real mail, long letters, beautiful postcards, birthday cards etc. began filling up my mailbox.”

“Three years ago, I stumbled across swap-bot, while looking for postcards (I also stumbled upon an International Postcard Show in Nottingham UK – where I ended up exhibiting my work – must have been my lucky day!) Anyway, what a wonderful thing – this website! Here I could not only exchange postcards with people from all over the world, but take this whole creative correspondence thing to a new level. I still remember the rush of excitement when stepping into an art store after a very long time and buying basic supplies to make my first ATC and then making dozens more with the help of some amazing supplies I received from swaps.”

Why she enjoys Swap-bot: “I moved back to India and the little boxes of exciting goodies continued to fly in and out of my home, my puzzled family wondered what was going on. But when I shared with them, candy from London, vintage toys from Madrid, laughs from Melbourne, experiences from New York, travel tips from Moscow, art from Japan, Xmas ornaments from Finland — their amusement gave way to excitement – which now takes over every time I receive a parcel.”

“Swap-Bot combined my love for travel and art. It helped me see places I had never seen before, through the eyes of the people I had never met before and no matter what path I choose, I know that I have found a door into a creative space where I can write, make and learn and share all of it, whenever I want.”

Her favorite type of swap: “I love ATC and postcard swaps, but I feel like I hit a jackpot every time I learn something new about another country – be it in the from a physical souvenir or a book recommendation or random fact on a postcard or a piece of fabric showcasing traditional art.”

Fun Facts about dolcxvita:

  • “I am 20-somehting, recently married, marketing consultant and graphic designer.”
  • “On the weekends, I am also a yoga instructor.”

Two of dolcxvita’s swaps:

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Visit dolcxvita’s links:

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I hope you are enjoying getting to know your fellow swappers with these Ambassador Introductions. We are so lucky to have so many awesome snail mail lovers from all over the world! If you are interested in items from India or Southeast Asia, or want to do an international postcard or art swap, dolcxvita is a great swapper to contact.