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Old 05-16-2006, 08:06 AM   #1
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Default Are swaps worth it?

I just mailed in my first swap, and now I don't think I'm gonna do any more. Not because of the quality of cards (I haven't gotten any back), but I just spent $8 for five cards that will forever hang in my stamp room. I could have gone to the gallery and gotten the exact same ideas for free. I'm not the type of person that needs to "see" a card to copy it, kwim?

I *never* send out cards made by someone else, as I just don't feel comfortable doing that. All the cards I've ever received from people go up on my board to look at or in my card organizer for inspiration.

Am I the only one that feels like this?
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:10 AM   #2
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You aren't the only one. If you need them to show to customers, then maybe it's worth it. I've had bad luck w/card swaps, so I'm not doing them anymore.
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrightIdeas
You aren't the only one. If you need them to show to customers, then maybe it's worth it. I've had bad luck w/card swaps, so I'm not doing them anymore.
As a customer I probably wouldn't do card swaps. As a demo, I do a few, mostly with my upline group when a new mini/catty comes out. Like Sara, most of my inspiration comes from the gallery here, however I can't carry my computer with me to workshops and I don't have a laptop. Swaps are the best way to get samples of cards/styles I might not otherwise do myself.
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:13 AM   #4
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Whoops, forgot to mention, I'm not a demo, so that isn't a consideration!!
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:13 AM   #5
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I agree that swaps served a purpose more when online card sharing wasn't as popular. I did swaps like crazy years ago, but then got seriously burned out by receiving low quality stuff in return. I just got frustrated and quit all together. I have no desire to even do swaps to send to convention with someone (since I'm not going). I really don't need any more samples right now either.
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:15 AM   #6
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I would add, that if you are a demo, I think it is an awesome way to get a different variety of cards from different stampers. I know that most of my cards tend to look the same (same colors/styles), so I think it would be beneficial as a demo, just not a customer!
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:30 AM   #7
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I don't do them all the time, but sometimes I do swaps as a way to get inspired and for pure fun. Nothing like a challenge to get me stamping! Each year I donate cards I've received in swaps and RAK's (some online groups send unsigned RAK's so you can re-use the card) to my son's school auction. Others I keep forever. I love having the actual card in hand. And it's fun to get the mail!
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:39 AM   #8
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I wouldn't swap at all if I wasn't a demo. As a demo I have been burned too many times--I've received poor quality swaps. I do swap with my upline and sidelines and will do a few swaps for convention, maybe 50-75. I have no need for the 200 plus swaps that many convention goers do. What do you do with 200 swaps??? Making 200 swaps is a huge time and money investment, I need to spend my SU time on things that grow my business. JMHO
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ch
I wouldn't swap at all if I wasn't a demo. As a demo I have been burned too many times--I've received poor quality swaps. I do swap with my upline and sidelines and will do a few swaps for convention, maybe 50-75. I have no need for the 200 plus swaps that many convention goers do. What do you do with 200 swaps??? Making 200 swaps is a huge time and money investment, I need to spend my SU time on things that grow my business. JMHO
I agree! I only made 50 for AC Regionals and feel that was WAY too many.... I was overwhelmed with what I got back and the work is great, but what do I do with them now?
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:50 AM   #10
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I now swap with the members of my monthly stamp club and have received some very good cards. I've stopped doing the online swaps because I would get back poor quality cards. I was going out of my way to do really nice cards with embellishments and was getting back very simple items.
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:51 AM   #11
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I stopped doing swaps because I got burned EVERYTIME! I know not everyone is at the same level stampin wise, but some of these I would get back looked like someones 4 year old made them. Totally NOT worth my time or energy or money!

However I will do supply swaps. Everyone buys a roll of ribbon and then you get 1 yd back for each color you put in. Or Prima flowers or even Neutral CS. Those I have no problem with, because as long as everyone follows the rules, you know you're getting bak exactly what you put in.
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:53 AM   #12
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Well I am not a demo (yet that is) but have to say that I have really enjoyed the swaps that I have participated in. That is why I thought that I would post to this thread. Ok, now the reasons why I personally join and am now hosting swaps. You do get some good ideas and sometimes having the card in person can help more than just seeing them online because they do generally look better in person. I also do swaps because I can't afford to own all the stamp sets that I might like to and then I receive cards with different stamp sets. Time is another factor for me. It is easier to make a large number of the same card than to make that same number of different designed cards. I intend to fill up several different lunch tins with cards and give them as gifts for Christmas and birthday so I will need many cards. I personally do not have a problem with giving cards made by other people but I understand that some people do. When I do decide to join a swap I tend to check out who else is participating and check out their galleries to see if I like and share their creative style. I also try to join catagories that I use often like thank yous and I like the special techniques a lot because they are time consuming and I don't have the time to make say a shaker, slider, waterfall etc at the same time. Truthfully that would take me weeks to accomplish. Well thanks for listening and I just wanted to give a thumbs up for swaps so as not to discourage others from participating since my experiences thus far have been good.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:09 AM   #13
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Although I have loved the swaps I have done, I won't do any again. I don't send out any card I didn't make and won't use a scrapbook page that someone else made so I found they just sat here and collected dust. I would rather go online and find samples that I like and make them myself
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:23 AM   #14
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I have done about four swaps but will not do anymore. I wont send them out as they are all stamped with the other persons name "handstamped by.." so the hust sit there anyway. If you dont have the exact stamp you cannot case them either. It took a lot of time and postage for me.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:24 AM   #15
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Being a demo, I only do swaps for the mini catalogs. That way I don't have to buy every set...yet my customers get to see cards made with those sets.

In my club we swap amongst each other each month. Now that my club has grown so much ...that is even starting to get overwhelming for me. I just don't have time to make an extra 14 cards a month, on top of prepping all the projects.

Once I did a Disney swap for scrapbook pages...I will never do a scrapbook page swap again. That was a lesson well learned. I guess I am too particular about my scrapbook pages, 75% of the pages I received were not my style at all. I gave them to my daughter and she added her own touches to the pages for her disney scrapbook.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:25 AM   #16
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I also do a swap with the member of my Stamp Club, in the months we don't meet. I have found there are a couple people in our group that really need some help. I would think that after a year of Stamp Club they would at least have a paper trimmer to cut straight lines. But it makes me feel good that my card inspires them. I think that makes up for the poor quality cards I have gotten in return. Not everyone has the same ability/skill, no matter how much they love stamping! But I have never done a swap on SCS, and don't think I will. I am not a demo, so I get all the inspiration I need from the galleries.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:25 AM   #17
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I'm not a demo, so I feel the same as you. I'd rather get free ideas off of this website, than to have a bunch of cards sitting around my house that I won't ever mail out.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:27 AM   #18
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I enjoy doing recipe swaps because I collect recipes. I find that sending them out with the return postage is very expensive so I only do a limited amoung of swaps. I also find that if I'm in a stamping slump, it is a way to get me motivated. But, if yo aren't a demo and don't use the cards you get then I can see why it isn't worth it for you.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:27 AM   #19
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I like the supply swaps too (embellishments, ribbon, etc). I did one card swap, but I felt too much pressure to get it done, so I won't do anymore.
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Old 05-16-2006, 09:45 AM   #20
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This thread is making me really nervous now, I have never swapped before and have sent off 3 SWAP sets this month. And just a few minutes ago signed up for 2 more sets to SWAP. I haven't received any cards back yet due to the fact that the SWAP's have not closed out yet. Maybe I should slow down & think things through...
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Old 05-16-2006, 10:17 AM   #21
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I have learned from my upline that when you get a swap back adn you do not like it you change it. Stamping adn adding to thing is always great.

I do some times give them to my kids to play with. They write me little notes. I have also given them to the local retirement home I give allot of things to.
Those laddies Just love it when I give them cards to give away. i have also given them to the local preschool that my kids attend and they play post office with them. It is very cute.

I am always a worrier that my stuff is not good enough.
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Old 05-16-2006, 10:23 AM   #22
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I'm not into doing swaps anymore--unless it's a group of people who I know put out quality work. I know, I'm a snob! It's just that I spend a lot of time (sometimes money too) and put a lot of work into what I do. When I get stuff back that someone hasn't done the same with, I feel cheated. So, I stopped doing them. Anyway, that's my take on it!

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Old 05-16-2006, 10:30 AM   #23
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I love swaps (the deadline for the most recent was yesterday) - I analyze, scrutinize and pick over each one I receive, and really work hard on the ones I send. For me, I learn by both those I make and those I receive. I'm not really interested in actually "using" the cards for anything.

Added later: But this last swap was for Demo Displayboards - hopefully a number of people in different parts of the country will see my best work.

Nina

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Old 05-16-2006, 10:47 AM   #24
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I love swaps! They help me get an assortment of cards for various purposes. I am not a card snob I guess. There's always someone who will appreciate a card, even if it's not up to my personal standards. I don't mind that they say who they are made by on the back. I have had very good swap experiences here on SCS and the ones I organize with my friends. The few cards that were either just not my style or too childish looking, I gave to children who love everything! I love passing on creativity.

My main reason for doing swaps - getting a variety. I make the same types of cards over and over and that works for me, but I do want some different cards to give to people who don't necessarily like my style. I love seeing the ideas in person as well. I pass along RAKs that are not written in as well. No need for cards to collect dust when they could be spreading joy - imho.

I just wanted to say - I'm not a demo. I do this for me.
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Old 05-16-2006, 10:53 AM   #25
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Let's start by saying that I am not a demo. I used to do quite a few swaps here at SCS. I stopped for several reasons.

1. It got to be very expensive materialwise, postagewise, and timewise.

2. Life started intervening and found myself getting behind and the stress level rising to get them out on time, which is not fair to the others in the group.

3. Would find myself sending them out Priority and once overnight (VERY expensive) in order for them to arrive on time to the hostess(es). Then in turn taking up to a month to get them back while they waited for the others in the group to get theirs in. So in other words, I could have ended up sending them via regular and MUCH cheaper mail had I known that it didn't really matter when they got there because the hostess was going to wait for everyone else even though the original post said something totally different.

3. Quality.......OY VEY! Okay, I know not everyone is at the same level of stamping and that is okay. But as someone said before, some looked like a child made it or they didn't follow the rules on what materials to use.

4. Since I am not a demo, I don't need all the samples but thought having them on hand would be nice to have when trying to come up with ideas. I don't send them out unless they are mine. I was also getting several of mine back with every swap because there were always flakers. I will and do send out my own when I need to send someone a card. So tell me why did I have to mail them all over the country just too get them back again? I should have just made them all and kept them if I am just going to get them back again....so it just made economical sense to stop doing the swaps.

5. And since I was always doing a swap, I never seemed to have a card on hand for most occasions, I would always find myself in a frantic hurry needing a card for such and such occasion, I would be furiously trying to do one on a moment's notice or *GASP* going to the store to buy one.

So all in all, it just made sense for me to stop. I am not trying to discourage anyone from doing any, just do your homework before joining any.

I made an agreement with myself that if I saw a swap that was intriguing to me, I would just *ACT* like I joined it and make the cards as if I joined it and then I would have the approriate cards on hand for future use.

I will add that the last one I joined was excellent, though!!! It was a scrapbook one with each page corresponding to a letter of the alphabet. It turned out awesome! And since I don't scrapbook whatsoever, it helped me out of a jam on having to design a page for each letter. All I had to do was come up with one idea and mass produce it and in turn get a whole scrapbook back!!

Sorry to ramble on and write a book here. Not meant to scare anybody, but that is why I stopped.
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:11 AM   #26
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I have participated in a few swaps, & have enjoyed them. Granted I have received very, very basic single layered cards w/ a stamped image centered. I have also gotten some beautiful cards, that had to take a considerable amount of time to make!!!

My biggest complaint would be the poor quality of card stock used by some swappers, but, again it's just a few individuals & it hasn't changed my mind about participating.

First a foremost, I always check out the due date & try to think what do I have upcoming, so as not to over stress myself over a swap commitment!!!
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:17 AM   #27
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I don't participate in a lot of swaps, but it is a great way to get a kick in the butt to work on your craft. It makes me go and get some cards made and some time away from life. I also agree that not all cards you receive are good and I wish people would follow the rules of the swap. But, I have received some amazingly talented works of art. I have stopped for the time being because I had so many cards for awhile just sitting. I went through and pulled out the ones I wanted to CASE and sent the rest to the troops. They are great just to get a layout or color combo from as well.
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:18 AM   #28
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Wow, everyone! Thanks for all the great viewpoints on swaps!
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:19 AM   #29
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I use to do a lot of swapping online.

I stopped due to cost invloved. Very expensive to send it and have it sent back.

Another was quality. I was finding at least half of what I got was not following the rules of the swap and not the quality I was expecting.

Finally, time involved. Lot and lots of time went into making the swaps. I just couldn't spend the time anymore.

I use to swap a lot more with my local demo group. After four years of being a demo I have so many samples that I don't need anymore. I will participate in a few per year with this group. Usually the new catalog swap, technique swaps and anything but a card. Those are always worth it to me to spend the time on.


Now I do one-on-one with a few people. This has worked out great!! We like each others work and have a great time making stuff to send to each other. It is also less expensive and stressful. You might want to give that a try verses a large scale swap.
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:22 AM   #30
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You all have given me much to think about! Some points are very valid,
especially the one about being stressed to get cards made and sent out and then not having enough time to work on cards of your own. I think sometimes I join too many and then get VERY stressed in trying to complete them AND do a really good job on the cards I send.

I do use a lot of the cards I receive in swaps. I never send something as my own if I did not personally make it though - that would be like stealing!

I do like having the actual card for inspiration and "hands on" experience. I love looking through stamping books, magazines and catalogs at the samples, but sometimes the examples don't give enough instruction to duplicate them, adding my own stamp, colors, etc. That is where having the actual card in hand is very helpful.

The supply swaps are great! I love being able to have some of everything without the expense of buying it all myself. Then, if I use something I really like I can just buy that item.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and input. This is definitely something that I will ponder over, especially the time commitment.
Rhonda
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:25 AM   #31
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I'm still participating in swaps. It does take me a lot of time to get the design "just so" and I do get some back that are less-than-deluxe, but it's still fun for me. I like the 3x3 and trading card swaps - less effort and less postage.
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:41 AM   #32
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I Love the 2 card clubs I am in. I do one about every 6 wks we exchange 10 cards and I started a monthly swap with some friends/co-workers. I love it, its been a great experience for me. and if someone does a card that is not up to par, per say, I just add some embelishment to it... I love seeing the variety and I don't mind at all sending out cards that others make. I love receiveing cards regardless who made it, I know my family and friends feel the same. I have no postage to pay we hand deliver, so I give Card Swaps a 10!!
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:53 AM   #33
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I seldom do swaps but when I do I like to keep the ones I can use for inspiration and if there are others that don't inspire me I send them on to someone else who could use them.....Like the troops or other stamping friends who may like them... Of course, if you join the RAK group you will quickly get and send more cards than a normal swap and it makes someones day... Besides who doesn't love getting mail???
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Old 05-16-2006, 11:58 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavyWifeArmyMom

Thanks to everyone for your comments and input. This is definitely something that I will ponder over, especially the time commitment.
Rhonda
PS - Hi Leah!!
Hi right back at you DSS!!! I loved every one of the cards you sent me so that's my favorite reason to join DSS and RAK and Swaps.
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:01 PM   #35
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I just wanted to add that with my Stamp Club swap, we just mail the cards to each other, rather than sending them to one person and that person sending them back to us. Since there are only 8 of us, it only costs $2.73 in stamps to send them out. Then I get 7 cards at random times during the month, which is really nice also. I still don't think I would do one here on SCS, but I like my Stamp Club swap!
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:31 PM   #36
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Swapping with strangers can be fun as long as you know going into it that you aren't going to love everything you get back. You keep what you want, toss or change what you don't and remember, as many people may not be exstatic over something you sent..I don't mean this nastily, I just mean everyone's tastes are so different that you can't possibly please everyone no matter how good a stamper you are.

I swap with people I know now and usually only full cards if possible with the intent of sending them. If I choose to keep the cards then fine, but to me the whole point, as a non demonstrator, is to have a stash of cards for those times you don't have the time or motivation to stamp a card. I teased my mom this mothers day that I wasn't going to have time (I've been sick) to make a special card...she was getting one from 'the box'. She was fine with it. I don't take others work as my own and most of the people who get cards from me know I may or may not have stamped it myself. They love it just the same. The only thing more fun than a RAK is one I can recycle!

Everyone has their own ability and motivation for swapping. It serves different purposes for different people. We just need to be respectful of each others' time and supplies put into it. I see the most frustration with swaps when we don't consider those things....When doing swaps, creativity not considered, at minimum, try to do the following for quality work:

---Quality cardstock, SU or not, just use a good weight...no construction paper folks...yes I've had this happen!
---Nice strait cuts and layers.
---Evenly stamped images
---When stamping backgrounds with stamps like background basics, etc, be organized, start in the middle and work slowly outward in rows so you don't overlap the images, miss spaces. This is a huge step toward neater work.
---Well adhered layers or elements. Use good adhesive or enough of it so your things don't fall apart.
---Follow the directions of the swap. If it calls for a full card, send full cards. I had a swap once for full cards and one person sent an artist trading card. It was lovely, well done, quality work, but it wasn't what everyone else had done...it was like everyone had given a dollar, she'd given a quarter...ya know?
---Take your time and have fun.

Enjoy your next swap!!
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:35 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StampinChrissylea
When doing swaps, creativity not considered, at minimum, try to do the following for quality work:

---Quality cardstock, SU or not, just use a good weight...no construction paper folks...yes I've had this happen!
---Nice strait cuts and layers.
---Evenly stamped images
---When stamping backgrounds with stamps like background basics, etc, be organized, start in the middle and work slowly outward in rows so you don't overlap the images, miss spaces. This is a huge step toward neater work.
---Well adhered layers or elements. Use good adhesive or enough of it so your things don't fall apart.
---Follow the directions of the swap. If it calls for a full card, send full cards. I had a swap once for full cards and one person sent an artist trading card. It was lovely, well done, quality work, but it wasn't what everyone else had done...it was like everyone had given a dollar, she'd given a quarter...ya know?
---Take your time and have fun.

Enjoy your next swap!!
excellant advice!
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:20 PM   #38
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My first swap was a bad experience. I was so worried about creating something cute, "swap-worthy", and timely. I was a little nervous. I mailed my swap early, but I never got anything in return. Turns out, this person kind've fell off the planet. I decided to try another swap and loved it. The cards received were "different". Some were beautiful and some were, well cute! Wish I had more time, I'd do more swaps!
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Old 05-16-2006, 03:15 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipper
My first swap was a bad experience. I was so worried about creating something cute, "swap-worthy", and timely. I was a little nervous. I mailed my swap early, but I never got anything in return. Turns out, this person kind've fell off the planet. I decided to try another swap and loved it. The cards received were "different". Some were beautiful and some were, well cute! Wish I had more time, I'd do more swaps!
I participtate in swaps, usually anything but a card or recipes, some 3x3 cards, my experience is that everyone is unique in thier style. I appriciate their effort at what ever level they reside on. I teach school, I keep cards to give my students, and this gives me a good stash. My second recipe swap the hostess just "dropped off the face of the earth" which made me say I won't do that again. It did not last, but I did look around and found some people who are reliable and keep a fun thread going. I figured activity on the thread that was not bump was a good thing.
I love recipe swaps, which surprised me. All in all, I love to swap. It gives me ideas... cause there are some awsome swappers out there. It gives me a chance to collect recipes that I can share with my daughters and SILs. My stamp group has started recipe swaps, which will be fun.
Janet
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Old 05-16-2006, 03:44 PM   #40
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"Of course, if you join the RAK group you will quickly get and send more cards than a normal swap and it makes someones day... Besides who doesn't love getting mail???"
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I totally agree, Keri! I've done 3 swaps, and I was VERY pleased with 2 swaps, and the other was okay. I've since decided to use my own cards for RAKs instead! I try to do several of the same card when I sit down to stamp, just as if I were making them for a swap. That way, I'm keeping a
good supply of cards at hand. I would do another swap, though--just waiting for the right one to come along!
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