Sunday, 8 February 2015

Adventures in swapping

Ah, I love a good swap. And January is a particularly great time for swapping, extending the excitement of Christmas - with gifts to wrap and parcels arriving - well into the New Year. I'm still working on my box of goodies for the #DICraftswap so that'll have to wait for another post, but in the meantime I also took part in Gemma's Bloggers Snail Mail project and Emma's Fuck Off January Thrifty Swap. 

For the Snail Mail swap I was paired with Kerenza, who I sort of knew from her ocassional commenting here and from reading her blog. Kerenza turned out to be a teacher, too, and we had a good time getting to know each other via email before sending our parcels. I didn't take any snaps of her gifts before I sent them, but you can take a peek here. I knew she was a Dr Who fan so I ordered a print from Etsy, and then made a small zipped coin purse, into which I popped a Burt's Bees lip balm, and found a secondhand copy of a book I'd loved last year, Burial Rites, and thought she'd enjoy.

For my parcel, Kerenza did an incredible job of working out what I'd like. Firstly, each gift was wrapped in amazing paper made from the opening page of I Capture The Castle (one of my favourite books) overlaid with my blog logo. I squealed when I saw it! And the gifts inside were perfect: a crime novel, a gorgeous lace collar, a mustard-coloured bangle (I'm obsessed with mustard yellow at the moment), handmade map envelopes, a book coaster, a bookmark and, I think my favourite item, a homemade Scrabble tile brooch.

The thing I particularly liked about participating in the Blogger Snail Mail was being able to get to know the person a bit first, and I hope to stay in touch with Kerenza in future.

When I'd almost finished putting together Kerenza's parcel, I saw Emma promoting her Thrifty Swap on Twitter and thought I'd get involved. The rule for this swap was simple: a spending limit of £5, including postage. Well... challenge accepted.

I was given Sarah-Beth and told a little about her: that she preferred geometric patterns to florals, that she was a vegan who loved indiepop, receiving mix CDs and stationary. I had so many ideas of things to make but sadly time (and money) got the better of me and in the end what I sent was:
- A 'Feminist As Fuck' embroidery hoop, using fabric, hoop and buttons from my stash (total cost: 80p for thread, of which I used a tiny fraction, so maybe 5p?)
- A mix CD of some of my favourite songs
- A novel I thought she might enjoy (from charity shop, 99p)
- A homemade pencil case (fabric from my stash, zip cost 60p) containing a roll of washi tape, two pencils (both from my craft stash) and some speech bubble post-it notes (from a pack of 3, which cost 99p, so individual cost 33p)

The total cost of the gifts was £1.97 and postage was £2.80, so the under-£5 challenge was successful! I loved putting this parcel together, it was fun to see how much I could make and do for very little money.

The Fuck Off January swap wasn't a straight swap, so while I sent to Sarah-Beth, Lori sent to me. I opened my parcel yesterday and loved it! A cool zine, a book cover greetings card, two tiny soaps, the cutest pocket mirror covered in amazing retro fabric (and just the colours I love, too!), some vegan gummy sweets, which I'm having to jealously guard from The Boy, and a book I'd never heard of but that looks great. 

I love the process of making, thrifting and finding awesome gifts to send to people. Not to mention, receiving a parcel full of well-considered goodies is brilliant fun. There's something especially powerful about swapping with people you've never met, to think that someone has taken the time to put together such lovely things for a stranger is a nice feeling.


  1. Such thoughtful and lovely swaps! :-) I covet that Scrabble brooch!

    1. It's ace, isn't it? I've already worn it to work a few times.

  2. That Thrifty swap sounds a great challenge! You did brilliantly, what lovely crafted items you made- the embroidery hoop is SUCH a good idea! Your craft items always look so professional- like you'd buy in a shop! The Mix CD is a cool idea! You did well in the gifts you received- I really like them!

    AWWWW, sorry, I posted about the swap yesterday as I had the draft waiting and wanted a crafty post for the weekend (trying to avoid too many outfits- boring!) so I'm sorry I posted it prematurely. I wasn't sure whether you always posted swap parcels or not.

    1. Don't apologise, I was long overdue with my post about it! And thank you, I tend to be quite slapdash with crafts so I'm glad to hear I'm improving!