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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Interview with Chookyblue

Organizer of the Secret Santa Christmas Swaps the past two years, ChookyBlue has had to master hosting large swaps with very few under her belt. She's got some great suggestions and guidelines for those thinking about hosting a swap of their own.

SwapDex: Tell us a bit about you.

Chookyblue: I'm a married mum with 2 kids living on a beautiful property in rural NSW Australia. I love stitcheries, patchworking, bags, cross stitch embroidery.........sewing in general.........I also love taking photos and have recently started printing photos onto cards. I take them to local markets and in the last few weeks opened an etsy shop.

SD: How long have you been swapping?

CB: I have been blogging since Feb 2007 a few months after that. I have only joined swap organised by bloggers I follow.

SD: How did you learn about swapping, and what made you decide to do your first one? Do you remember your first one?

CB: I decided to join in a swap and step out of my comfort zone........very nerve wrecking for the first couple but much better now.

My first swap was a pincushion and needle case swap organised by Angela from the Country Cellar........then I did Sweet P's stitchery swap............this year I did both of Linda - All Stitched Up's swaps - pincushion then bag swaps.....Red Geranium Cottages - Polkadot and Ric Rac Swap..........I have had an excellent time in all my swaps......................oh and of course the Secret Santa Christmas Swap (SSCS) last year and this year.

SD: Do you swap with any groups?

CB: I don't belong to any other groups. Only have joined in blog swaps. I only take people into my swap that have a blog also. I know there are lots of lurkers out there who would love to join in but as they just don't have live in "blogland" it is hard for secret partners to see what they like/dislike and it gives participants a "face/location" so to speak.

SD: What's your favorite type of swap or favorite swap you've ever been in or hosted?

CB: I like swaps with plenty of time to make and send your gift out. I have started my (Secret Santa Christmas) swap in August both years but could leave it til Sept if my excitement could hold. No luck there.

I love hosting the SSCS. The idea first came about after I had joined a couple of swaps and was enjoying making things for them. Thought it would be great to receive a present in time for Christmas and leave it under the tree and have a present to open on Christmas Day.
I talked to two blog friends and we decided we would have a swap. Worst case the 3 of us could swap around. Maybe I would get 20 people and that would be great. Hopefully someone from overseas - that would be fun...........well I put the post up saying I would leave it open for a few weeks and had to close it much sooner with 80+ people. I was blown away. Anyway I was thrilled I only lost one person from the start and one present didn't arrive.

With such fun and success from 2007 I though I would try again. I have been getting emails occasionally from people in the swap last year asking if I was going to run it again so I decided to go ahead. I thought I may get quite a few sign up pretty quick but nothing like double last year............within a few days.........156 Santas OMG..........this is going to be heaps of fun...................I don't need a present I am having such fun with all the blog girls getting so excited planning and making their gifts.

SD: Wow! You've had great success! What's you favorite type of package to get in the mail?

CB: I love anything I get in the mail.........I appreciate all gifts handmade by someone else especially for me.

SD: Do you have a good story about hosting or participating in a swap?

CB: Several girls from the SSCS 2007 made new friendships and still maintain them now....When I lost one girl another one offered to also send a gift to her. Very thoughtful.

What totally surprised me is the little thank you gifts that some of the girls sent appreciating me running the SSCS. Totally unexpected. But very loved all the same.

SD: How sweet! So what do you think is the most challenging part of hosting a swap?

CB: * making sure you don't loose anyone through out the swap.
* if making it a secret, matching up and then sending out all the emails to notify people who there swap partner is.
* people reading and following the rules
* towards the end making sure all gifts are sent and arrive safely
* it does take a lot of time
* Basically you have no control so if your frame work is clear and concise to start, here's hoping all goes well.
* Getting people to stick to the time frame.........very very important

If they are not happy to follow the guidelines set by the Swap Mamma, then don't bother signing up.............

SD: Any advice for someone who is thinking about hosting a swap?

CB: * Don't have too many people for your first swap.
* Only let people join who have a blog
* get your rules clear before you post about it.
* name anyone who does not participate as they should.
* give plenty of time to make/send (month to 2 months)
* Make everyone email you there details.
* Send out an email before you pair people up and if they don't reply leave them out. If they are challenging to contact at the start odds are the same thing will happen later and you may never hear from them again. Don't feel bad about them missing out.
* send out a couple of emails during the swap as reminders..........how long til sending etc............people get busy and time flies....

SD: Any plans for the near future? Swaps, projects, new products?

Hopefully all goes well with the SSCS this year and I will go again in 2009..........and I won't be doubling the numbers again next year

1 comment:

rachel griffith said...

yayyy donna.
here's to next year baby!!!