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Old 09-22-2012, 07:06 PM   #1
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Question Is It Just Me??? Help!

At the urging of a friend, I participated in a local Bazzill swap several months ago.....make ten cards....receive ten cards, etc. Anyway, I made some really nice, detailed cards and had fun doing it. I couldn't believe the cards I received in return because 8 of the 10 were more than disappointing. They used Bazzill paper, but other than that, they were just bad! Is there something I am missing?? Are swap cards supposed to be less than a card you'd send to a friend?? Am I being too picky? I want to do the Christmas swap, but I am afraid of the same result. Has anyone had a similar experience???
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:34 PM   #2
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My good friend Sherry used to participate in swaps all the time, but quit for exactly that reason - she was spending enormous amounts of time and energy (plus the expense of materials and mailing) and receiving crap in return (sorry - that's an accurate description). I've really enjoyed the "virtual swap" with others here on SCS, making Christmas cards for weekly challenges and posting them to share, rather than making one for everyone and sending them around. It's fun to see what everyone comes up with, and it doesn't matter at all if some of the cards are less than spectacular - totally takes the pressure off!
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by gr8cards View Post
At the urging of a friend, I participated in a local Bazzill swap several months ago.....make ten cards....receive ten cards, etc. Anyway, I made some really nice, detailed cards and had fun doing it. I couldn't believe the cards I received in return because 8 of the 10 were more than disappointing. They used Bazzill paper, but other than that, they were just bad! Is there something I am missing?? Are swap cards supposed to be less than a card you'd send to a friend?? Am I being too picky? I want to do the Christmas swap, but I am afraid of the same result. Has anyone had a similar experience???
I have been disappointed in some swaps I've participated in. It irks me to get images where they caught an edge, or wildly irregular layers, etc. when I sent pristine cards out. (I've also gotten AMAZING things in some swaps too) It seems to me that knowing you don't have to come face to face with the other swappers seems to allow some folks to go ahead and sent whatever. I only participate in swaps here on SCS where I either am acquainted with the hostess and know she will reject badly stamped items, or have heard from others that the hostess runs a good swap. It really depends on the hostess in any swap to lay out the rules, and actually stand by her standards. This means mailing back things that are really not acceptable- or swapping like for like. I did a swap once here where I asked the hostess privately about some of the things I was seeing posted, and she assured me that she sorted the swap items, and sent back equivalent items, good for good, poor for poor. That seems very fair.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
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I didn't realize there were vitual swaps on SCS - I will have to check that out. Might be fun !
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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I haven't participated in Swaps so I'm not sure how common that experience is. I'm going to play the devil's advocate here:

I wonder if the expectations you had might be very different from the expectations of the other swappers? If your swap guidelines indicated the number of embellishments and layers required for the cards and the other swappers didn't use them, then the hostess should have contacted the swappers who didn't play by the rules. However, if there were no such guidelines for what should be included, then perhaps the other swappers chose a CAS (Clean and Simple) style rather than the "detailed" style you used on your cards, or perhaps they were new to stamping or cardmaking.

I also think it's really hard to compare one person's creative work to another, and would like to think that whatever the other stampers sent out was something they considered acceptable to send to their own friends.
I can also imagine that when the other swappers got your beautiful cards, they were inspired and probably surprised to get something so polished and detailed. Maybe you have inspired them to put in extra effort next time!

As far as signing up for another swap, it might be advisable to contact the hostess before signing up and ask her to put you in a group of stampers with a similar style and experience similar to yours.

I am sure it must be frustrating to work so hard and get something that isn't what you were expecting, but if I enjoyed swapping I wouldn't let it stop me from continuing to participate.
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:50 AM   #6
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Amy, I think it's difficult to advise folks when you have no personal experience.

My advise for swappers with concerns is to do what makes YOU happy.

One of the things I do is what Pat does: I regularly sign up for swaps with hostesses whose swaps I have enjoyed previously.

I also don't hesitate to join swaps of hostesses who are new to me and, if I enjoy the swap, I'll look for more swaps from that hostess and if I didn't enjoy the swap, I won't look for more swaps from that hostess.

I have come to learn what an integral part the hostess is to a swap and let me say how much I appreciate the wonderful hostesses out there in whose wonderful swaps I have participated and in whose swaps I will continue to participate (as long as they'll have me LOL).
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:55 AM   #7
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Amy, you make very valid points about setting expectations, "playing by the rules", and CAS vs more embellished styles. However, from my friend's experience (since I don't have anything personally to go by), her disappointment was more along the lines of contrapat's - irregular layers, mis-stamped images, etc. I think that the swap hostess that she indicated was smart - exchange like for like.

Having said that, though, I'll also say this: maybe the makers of the "poor" cards are new to stamping, excited about their first swap, and just don't have the skills (yet) to do better. I personally know someone who has been stamping for a long time and LOVES it, but her abilities will NEVER match her enthusiasm! Bless her - she churns out card after card of mismatched papers, wonky images, weird embellishments, etc., and I would never dream of telling her anything negative about any of it - she's having too much fun! (She doesn't participate in swaps, though )
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:56 AM   #8
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I stopped participating in swaps for this reason. I was getting cards back that were of poor quaility. I did get some nice ones, but for the time I spent and money on postage it just wasn't worth it any more. Now I use Pinterest and Splitcoast for inspiration.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:18 AM   #9
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Oh dear I just joined my first card swap. I thought it would be fun and help take my mind off my worries. I love what I came up with and so hope others will too. I did do a calendar swap and when reading the after post some people were disappointed with their own work. Our hostess and other were very encouraging to them. One comment that stands out in my mind is; "that we all started there". I found some cards I had done when I first started stamping and they were so awful they made me laugh.

Love what Amy and Sue said. Your cards probably really wowed some and inspired them to greater hights. I am sorry you had a disappointing experience but if you enjoyed making them and I am sure they brought great joy to the receivers your time and money was well spent. Bless you dear stamper and have a Great Day.!!
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:26 AM   #10
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Thanks for all of your input! I do look back at some of my first "works of art" and I am happy to say I have seen growth in my designs and execution! haha If I look at the Christmas swap through different eyes, maybe it will be a better experience. Or possibly, a virtual swap would be more my style........we'll see. Have a peaceful Sunday!
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:33 AM   #11
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I too stopped swapping ages ago because of the "crap" I was getting in return. After doing a bunch of swaps the only one that I received very good things in return was one where the host was very specific (more than one layer, good quality cardstock, one embellishment and a note to "do your best work").
But all the others were bad - really bad. Poor stamping quality, real cheap cardstock. Some where the image was just stamp haphazardly onto paper and not even colored in. I gave up on the swaps and have been much happier!!
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzgurl View Post
Amy, you make very valid points about setting expectations, "playing by the rules", and CAS vs more embellished styles. However, from my friend's experience (since I don't have anything personally to go by), her disappointment was more along the lines of contrapat's - irregular layers, mis-stamped images, etc. I think that the swap hostess that she indicated was smart - exchange like for like.

Having said that, though, I'll also say this: maybe the makers of the "poor" cards are new to stamping, excited about their first swap, and just don't have the skills (yet) to do better. I personally know someone who has been stamping for a long time and LOVES it, but her abilities will NEVER match her enthusiasm! Bless her - she churns out card after card of mismatched papers, wonky images, weird embellishments, etc., and I would never dream of telling her anything negative about any of it - she's having too much fun! (She doesn't participate in swaps, though )
Sue,

I agree with you about levels of competence. I think enthusiasm for the craft is important, even imperative. However, even a first time stamper KNOWS when they have caught an edge. I'll forgive uneven layers before I'll forgive a bad stamping job.

Unfortunately, nowadays, too many people have "relaxed" standards in too many areas of life. (No manners, no consideration for others, no adhering to the rules, etc.) Look around you, isn't it common to see drivers on the freeway dart across 4 lanes of traffic to exit, or for shoppers to drop items anyplace rather than take them back to where they got them? LOL, me on my soapbox! I do customer service for a catalog company, and every day I am treated to unreasonable people, rude, nasty, impatient, unable to admit THEY made a mistake, always wanting everything THEIR way. Of course, I am expected to be unfailingly polite, keep a smile in my voice, and try to make an acceptable compromise between the company rules and the customer's expectations!

I love stamping, I enjoy swaps. But I'm a lot more selective now than I used to be for all of the same reasons as others have posted.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:47 PM   #13
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This is why I don't do swaps, although I have thought of doing them. My best would be considered bad probably. So I make cards for friends and family. They like them and I like sending them.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bound4london View Post
This is why I don't do swaps, although I have thought of doing them. My best would be considered bad probably. So I make cards for friends and family. They like them and I like sending them.
That would be me, too. I like my cards I make until I see my SU dealers cards. Hers are SO exquisite by comparison I want to burn my simple offerings. But I'm doing the best I can, and I *hope* to be better some day.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:39 AM   #15
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I used to do them, but haven't had time in years to do it. I think you should do your yes work, cuts straight, clear images etc. Follow all the "rules" set. I do know that not everyone is at the same level of stamping in some, and that should be ok. I saw some of my older work I did on a "about me" tag swap and had a good chuckle. I was so new to the hobby, that I can see that I have progressed in my abilities. It can also be a style thing, as some people are more "artsy" or "cute" and others may not like them as much. Sorry you didn't have a good experience. If they were just done sloppy, there is no reason for that.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:57 AM   #16
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It's safer to participate only with people you know, at least virtually, if not in person, so everyone plays by the same rules and stamps to the same level of excellence. I know it is a huge letdown to give away your best work and get crap in return. Don't give up on swaps, just be really selective who you swap with.
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:49 AM   #17
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I used to do tons of swaps. Sometimes I would get back cards, ATCs, etc that were simply magnificent! Other times, they were "barely there". Most often people sign up early, forget to make a note of it, fail to mark their calendars, and reply to my reminder posts that they just forgot and ask if it's ok to be 1-2 weeks late.

I got tired of hosting swaps, trying to be nice and wait on folks. More than once I declined a request to join because I knew that person had a history in my prior swaps of not meeting their commitment.

The best swaps came when I personally invited people who always sent in great work - on time. I also hosted "newbie" swaps intentionally designed for folks who were brand new to the craft and to swaps in general. Funny, not a single one of those folks was ever late with a delivery, though I had to do a lot of 1:1 personal counseling to convince them to send me what they had created instead of dropping out for fear their work wasn't good enough to share.

Swaps can be fun - choose wisely and don't set your personal expectations so high that you will always be dismayed.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:53 AM   #18
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unfortunately I quit doing swaps a long time ago because of less than stellar cards I was getting in return. I think some people just believe that all papers and cardstocks are the same and cannot afford to try the good stuff. I like to believe it is not on purpose that people do not follow the rules.
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:14 PM   #19
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Haven't done a swap for about two years now, I stopped after receiving a recipe divider (suppose to be 4" x 6") and the lady took a lined note card and wrote her divider name on it!! I blame the hostess for that, because she should have mailed it back to the maker and told her to "rethink" her divider. No more for me too after a hostess "flaked" on her own swap, boy do I know how to pick winners or what.
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