Ornament Swap in July

UPDATE: Ornament swap is closed now (as of July 6, 2010). Thanks for the interest!

Go to this link for the Flickr Group for this ornament swap.

Who wants to swap ornaments? This is it, the ornament swap I’ve been thinking about since last December! I am a very “in the moment” kind of person, so I usually think of gifts I want to make the week of the actual holiday. This year, I thought it would be fun to host an ornament exchange in July.

I changed the button a little to make it more holiday-neutral. (i.e., for those who may not celebrate the Christmas holiday but still like ornaments)

Here is the code for the button if you want to put this on your blog to help spread the word:

<center><a href=”https://terrisnotebook.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/christmas-in-july-ornament-swap-planning///”><img border=”0″ src=”https://terrisnotebook.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/july-ornament-swap3.jpg”/></a></center&gt;

(NOTE: I am html-challenged so I will try to get that code working if you’re having trouble with it!)

I love making ornaments! I used to exchange handmade ornaments every single December.

I used to belong to a group of 12 women that would exchange ornaments and holiday decorations, which meant we each had to make 12 of something and bring our goods to a holiday party to exchange. It was a fun experience, but I got burned out on making assembly-line ornaments.

Last year, I participated in one ornament exchange with Rebecka which was quite fun. She sent me this beautiful fabric cracker ornament, which I use as a little candy dish at my desk. She also included the prettiest patchwork card and fabulous chocolates. The best part of our exchange was becoming friends.

I also asked my friend Cheryl to exchange ornaments. She sent me this adorable set of bears she made, along with a stationary pad, winter fabric, a kitty magnet, and a bag of chocolates.

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If you are looking for ideas and suggestions for an ornament to make, I included some pictures above of a variety I have made over the years. You could also do a search on Google or Flickr for handmade ornaments. Freshly Blended has a couple flickr pools from years past that you could browse through.

May I make a couple suggestions?

If you knit, you could make mini stockings or sweaters (see photo above). These are my all-time favorite ornaments to make. The mini mittens are from an old magazine, and the stocking and sweater are from Joelle’s book Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

If you crochet, you could make snowflakes or stars.

If you sew, you could make a mini 9-patch quilt (see photo above), a mini present or a mini stocking.

If you like to work with felt, you could use a cookie cutter to cut out two matching shapes, embellish as desired, sandwich the two sides, and do a blanket stitch around the edges to hide the backsides (see gingerbread man and cardinal above). You could also embellish a pretty bird or felt stars with beads.

If you are a paper crafter, you could make a little wintery house or a pretty tree.

If you are a photographer, you could mount a mini scene onto cardstock and frame with rick-rack or ribbons or yarn.

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Feel free to include a little something special, whether that is stationary, a notepad, sewing notions, a pincushion, a piece of fabric, some favorite recipes, some candies, tea light candles, whatever you think your partner might fancy (examples pictured above). You can definitely include a store bought item or a handmade item. Think of something you might like to receive.
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If you would like to participate:

Send me an email  to tadawilhelm [at] hotmail [dot] com with your mailing address (and your blog address, if you have one, so your partner can get to know you). Let me know if you are opposed to sending your ornament internationally. Otherwise, I will put everyone in one group and draw partners. I will try my very best to email your partner name within a week after the swap closes. Your partner won’t know you have their name, and you won’t know who has your name until you receive your ornament in the mail.

Sign-ups will close Sunday, July 4. I hope to send your partner’s info to you by Saturday, July 10. That should give you about three weeks to make your ornament and send it to your partner, along with a little something special.

Best Practice – Customer/Reader Appreciation

“The customer is always right.” How many times have you heard that? I used to work in the retail industry, and I always rolled my eyes when I heard that speech. At the end of the day, I think every corporation, small business, and individual maker of handmade goods will tell you that customers (and blog readers) are the #1 most important element to their business (or blog).


I know, you don’t need to hear from me how important it is to appreciate your shop customers or your blog readers. Crafters are kind folks by nature, right?! Just look at the steady list of giveaways taking place every single week as proof of that.

I am not an expert in marketing, and I am generally a shy person when it comes to marketing, making it hard for me to drum up new customers or new blog readers. I try to appreciate the ones I have. I just wanted to share a few of the things I try to do, especially here with my blog.

Comments
If you have ever left a comment on my blog, you have most likely received an email from me thanking you for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I love comments. I love hearing from readers. That has also been the start to a few email conversations that have led to great friendships I cherish.

Offering Tutorials
I think tutorials are a cool way to offer your readers something for free. Who doesn’t love a free pattern?! I wish I were better at offering more tutorials!


Participating in Swaps
Exchanging supplies or handmade goods through swaps is a great way to meet people and share similar obsessions. Some of my blogger friendships began from swaps. (That reminds me, don’t forget about our Christmas in July ornament swap coming up.)

Interact and Engage
Sometimes I can be indecisive, so it’s good to know I can ask you all for advice, such as with my recent patchwork arrangements project. I loved reading your thoughts on which half-square triangle arrangement you liked best. I like it when other bloggers ask for an opinion or feedback because it initiates in a creative conversation, which is beneficial to all of us.


Surveys
Amy frequently posts surveys on her blog, seeking feedback on sewing topics or ideas for content she could offer. I love that! Personally, I think surveys are fun to participate in because they make me feel like I have a say, like I’m contributing to the success of another creative person. I’m all for that!

Giveaways
I adore this little matchbook notepad I got from Randi’s shop with a recent fabric order!


I am going to make a supply of these little drawstring bags to include in orders from my shop. Just a little something extra.


I mentioned above the number of giveaways that take place every week. I’m not telling you that you should do a giveaway. Just saying I like doing giveaways, whether it’s an extra goodie with an order, a giveaway for a blogiversary, or participating in a sponsored event like the upcoming Sew,Mama,Sew‘s May Day giveaway. (Be sure to check back next week for the giveaway I have to offer!)

This series has been fun for me to do. It has challenged me to take notice of and share the things I do to keep myself organized and to keep life running smoothly. It’s also been good writing practice for me. I hope you have found it to be useful in some way too.

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Previous posts about my Best Practices:

Resources

Filing

Notetaking

Bobbins, Pins and Folding

Business Cards

Carry Your Product