“Mmmmm!” exclaimed Sally, as I opened the front door. “I’ve haven’t been able to think of anything else since you told me we were having those yummy pumpkin cookies and hot spicy apple cider. I’ll need those recipes, you know!”
“Of course! Come on in,” I said, “and let’s just indulge to our heart’s content while I tell you about The Swap Thing.”
“The Swap Thing!” shrieked Sally. ‘Is that anything like “The Swamp Thing?” It’s almost Halloween, you know…..time for scary movies and all that sort of thing!"
“Nooo,” I soothed. “The only scary thing about The Swap Thing is not knowing if your secret swap partner will like what you make to send to her or him.”
“Oh?” remarked Sally. “Tell me more.”
We dipped the hot apple cider from the crockpot, took the plate of freshly baked pumpkin cookies to the table, and sat down.
“You talk,” said Sally. “I’ll eat,” she laughed.
“Well, first,” I began, ”The Swap Thing means a surprise gift for one of your team members, totally cool and totally free……….something made from your heart to give to someone else. In return, you also receive a special gift from someone else on the team. And, you don’t know until you get it who made it. That is part of the real fun. You wait for days in anticipation, watching the mailbox, and just waiting! While you are waiting, you see photos of all the swap creations posted on the team flickr site. You get to comment on how terrific they are and how you hope every one of them is coming to your house. And people sometimes leave little hints……but you can’t believe them…..they just do it to throw you off the track!”
“Well,” said Sally. “How do you even know where to start to make these swap gifts? How do you know what the other people like?”
“Before the first Swap,” I explained, “There was a questionnaire on the team’s message board where each of us could tell our favorite colors, our favorite materials, whether we liked silver, gold, or copper; whether we were allergic to anything; what our decorating style is; whether we wore bracelets, earrings, necklaces; and more. That helped the people who wanted to join in the fun to know what we might like. There were also guidelines, such as for the first two Swaps, the item we made was to be valued at $15 or more. For the third Swap, it was to be $15 or below. During the first two Swaps, we knew the name of the person who would get our gift. For the third Swap, there was a real twist……we didn’t know until the end!”
“So, how many of your teammates participated in the Swaps?” asked Sally.
“Twenty- four in the first, 30 in the second, and 45 in the September Swap,” I answered. “You can see the excitement is growing with more people participating each time!”
“Do you make the same thing every time?” asked Sally.
“No,” I replied. “The first time I made a large red tote bag; the second time a purple tote bag with an orange flower (items had to have a flower the second time); and the third time I made two butterfly washcloths. Butterflies were the theme for this last Swap we did. It was to honor Pat from Precious Quilts (her avatar is a beautiful butterfly) who was stepping down as an administrator to devote more time to creating.”
“And what were your secret swap gifts?” she asked.
“Oh, they are all beautiful!” I exclaimed. “The first time, I got two beautiful pendants from Lemachi Designs. The second time, I got a beautiful long teal necklace with matching earrings from Maggie’s Handcrafted Studio, and the third time, I got a gorgeous silver butterfly necklace embellished with colored beads from Magdalene Jewels, whose name is also Pam, by the way!”
“That is sooo cool,” replied Sally. “Sounds as if you really enjoy participating in The Swap Thing!”
“Oh, yes!” I exclaimed. “I love making things for other people and anticipating their pleasure at receiving their surprise gift. I think The Swap Thing is one of the neatest things our team does!” I said, as I took another bite of my pumpkin cookie. “By the way,” I said, “Here is where you can find the recipes."
Hot spicy apple cider