The DIY Postcard Swap 2010 is closed for signups and most postcards have been sent out, some already received around the globe. Thank you! I’m breathing a bit easier over here, thinking that this was a great experience and trial for me.

Sending 2

I have been wanting to host a swap for a few years, inspired by 10 for 10 handmade postcards on a theme that Myra set up a few years back. I just didn’t know when I would have the time and energy to do it… It was quite by accident it finally happened, as I mentioned it on #craftsocial gathering at twitter. That idea, simply thrown out there, were encouraged by a few women who twittered their interested back to me. In the spur of the moment I promised to set it up on my blog, and a few days later I did. I too needed a little push.

And then the storm was set in motion. I’m not writing this to complain, or to get sympathy or more thanks. I’ve been thanked enough, you are all very generous with your praise and by sending me kind words. I simply want to write about my experience and about what I’ve learned from arranging this swap, up until now. It’s true that you learn from everything, and organizing a big event is a great teacher, even if it’s just a virtual one.

Post Office after hours (Copyright Hanna Andersson)

From the beginning I knew I had to be organized, so I set up a spreadsheet in Excel with three fields for information. Email, home address and URL for bloggers. And every time I got an e-mail I copied the information to the “database” and e-mailed back to inform about the rules and that they were signed up for the swap. I was thinking that if I did that it would also be a reminder that you should start making 10 handmade postcards. I know myself, I sometimes visit blogs, sign up for interesting stuff and then forget about it because there is so much going on inside my head…

It is quite funny that many US citizens didn’t add their country to their address in this international swap, while all other nations did. I’m not going to speculate on what that means, but I have an idea… hehe. In the swap there were people from Sweden, New Zealand, Wales, UK, Germany, France, Norway, Lithuania, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, Italy, Poland and Finland. As one person is in Cape Verde it’s safe to say all continents were represented.

I got just a little bit irritated some days with folks sending requests saying Is there room left in the swap? and Fun! I want to sign up! etc etc. to which I had to reply that 1) there is not a head limit but 2) you do have to send your home address to sign up! It sounds so easy… How did so many find out about the swap if they didn’t read the simple rules? I know they couldn’t know I’d already gotten five of the same question that day… hehe. I’m most grateful for everyone who helped spread the word about the swap on blogs and twitter. A big thank you to everyone who helped! Many came from well visited Alice of Futuregirl that was kind enough to link to the swap, along with many other great people!

Sending, sooon (Photo by iHanna - Hanna Andersson)

Maybe the rules were too easy or written in a confusing way for some of you? But I wanted to leave most things open for interpretation. I guess those that needs guidelines find that hard. Some people have painted both sides of their postcards, others sent them anonymous without a word of hello, others have written encouragement and kind regards. I got a cute one with a hidden surprise sewn in on the side! Handmade postcards are comfortable in envelopes but awesome when they travel lighter. I think it’s all good, and up to you!

It was totally my bad that I did not look in my calendar when I decided on an end date for the sign-up period. I had to close the signup a few days early, so some of you where left out, so sorry about that. Some if you were disappointed by not signing up earlier, but please know that there will be plenty of opportunities to swap in the future. I’ll get to that part in a bit. I got a bit stressed as I sat there, sending out 160 e-mails just before leaving for a few days of skiing. I went cross eyed a few times, but I think the few mistakes I did are taken care of by now! Everyone has got their 10 swap addresses along with the e-mail I wrote. Phew!

I got help with a specially-made-for-me Excel programmed script that creates a copy-paste field with everything I want to include – in each e-mail! All 10 addresses are included, along with a blog link (if existing) and my e-mail text in the right order. All this is exported with just one click. Without that there would’ve been many (more) mistakes from my side in this swap. I’m so lucky to know a geek who thought it was fun to write a script like that for me. :-)

Postal Bike NOT in use right now (Photo by iHanna, Copyright Hanna Andersson)

In a way we are all geeks, right? Creative geeks, yes. Mail art obsessed geeks even. Getting a kick out of making messy postcards, putting together collages, drawing and writing messages to strangers. As I wrote my own postcards I was thinking about how the postcard is like a IRL web of connections, and that was before I had even seen Diana’s video! I feel like I’ve spread my creativity into the world with these postcards, and I’m very very grateful to all of you for signing up, participating, being creative, parting with your beautiful creations and following through on your end of the swap deal.

In conclusion. I could do a swap again, but I’m not making any promises! Another swap will probably be a year from now if it happens. I need to do other things too! I need to get back to my Art Journal now!

Be organized

If you decide to host a postcard swap, or any swap, this is my advice: be organized from the beginning. File away answered emails in a special swap folder for reference. Write back to everyone, take time to answer questions, make sure you have time for organizing a swap, because it does take some time from your day. If you’ve got a well visited blog and don’t want lots of work, have a shorter sign up period! If you don’t have many visitors coming to your blog each day, expect less work but put some time into market your swap by telling your friends via email and twitter etc.

Some of the very first people to sign up to this swap were my BFF, my cousin, me, my mom and my moms co-workers! :-) My cousin came here for a crafternoon, working with papers and collage while I cut up my own cards and sorted through papers. Mom’s postcards are sewn roses, they are just amazingly beautiful. Lucky me, I got to pick one too!

On the roof (Photo by iHanna, Copyright Hanna Andersson)

I got three postcards in the mail box today. How many did you get?

Join the DIY Postcard Swap

If you want to join my Do it Yourself Postcard Swap, you can and you’d be most welcome! The more the merrier. The best way is to subscribe to my Newsletter and I’ll let you know when the next one is. It’s easy to join the newsletter and I don’t send it out very often, so join now!

Cool DIY Postcard Videos

* Diana Trout made a beautiful video about how she painted her cool postcards for the swap, it’s called Connected – check it out!

* Yolie has made several video’s about her postcards, check out her first at youtube: Postcard video where she says: If I can do it, you can do it!

I ♥ that!