Elfster loves the many creative users that are building community and having fun on the site. Every once in awhile we share fun and unique gift exchange stories like Joy to the Dorm and Secret Olympics Swap. Recently Linda Gardner, the blogger behind the awesome crafting site, Craftaholics Anonymous, hosted an international gift exchange for over 600 Craftaholics worldwide and her exchange is the focus of this Elfster customer love spotlight.
Linda has “an obsession with penpals” and has been organizing gift exchanges for the past few years on her own. We heard from an Elfster fan that Craftaholics Anonymous would make a perfect match and we were thrilled that Linda agreed!
Linda’s site is dedicated to crafting. The gift exchange was a way for these talented crafters to exchange handmade items. The rules for the exchange simply required each person to send something handmade to the person they drew. The participants were all encouraged to let each other know a little bit about themselves by adding items they liked to their wish lists, and using the do not need list as a way to prevent undesirable items from being sent.
There was no specific skill level needed, or spending requirement for the gifts. According to Linda, the participants, “love creating a gift for someone new and receiving a handmade gift in return in the mail!” As most people can attest, handmade gifts are always wonderful, and can be some of the most meaningful things you own.
We were lucky to work with Linda during the exchange and she had some great ideas for how to improve the experience. We love getting this great feedback, and were thrilled to be able to put these ideas into action for Craftaholics Anonymous!
For example, as a lot of these crafters are also bloggers, Linda suggested that we add a place in the profile information to include a link to a blog. Also, the community wanted a way to keep updated on activity even when away from Elfster.com , so we now have available an activity widget that can be copied onto any blog to your friends know what’s going on with the exchange. Make sure you thank Linda and the Craftaholics for helping bring these nice new features and more to come for all Elfster users!
Reading each other’s blogs proved to be a fun way to get to know more about each other, and their common love of crafting. “The Handmade Gift Exchange connects crafters all over the world and many of them create lasting friendships!” said Linda.
Since the group includes people from all over the world, the community was split into different exchanges to help people with mailing. The total group for the Summer Exchange was 643, and was broken down into smaller swaps for the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
The gifts that were created for this exchange were amazing. They included handmade art, sewn projects, home decor items, and many more. We have included a few pictures below of the beautiful gifts, and you can see many more here: Handmade Gift Exchange Linky Party. Anyone looking for inspiration for a crafting project, or how to get your online community or other group of friends involved in a gift exchange, can find plenty of ideas here!
1. Hair Pins and Rice Sack made by That’s Sew Taylor
2. Scallop Leather Clutch made by Me Sew Crazy
3. Family Sign made by What’s New
4. Crocheted Flower Hat made by Crazy Little Projects
5. Retro Apron and Bib made by Bluejeans and Sunbeams
6. Burlap Flower Wreath made by Sugar and Stitches
7. Remade Lamp made by Swooning Haven
8. Embellished clothespins, Bookmarks, and Glitter Ring made by Adventures in Candyland: The Fudge Family
9. Handbag, Coin Purse, and Keyring made by Eating, Running, and Loving Life in CBus