I am giddy with excitement to announce an idea that’s been brewing for a while! One of my loveliest readers and friend Ute contacted me a few months ago wondering whether I’d be up for hosting a sewing/craft gift exchange based on the idea of Julklapp, which is a Scandinavian version of Secret Santa. We decided that the holidays would be pretty crazy, so we agreed that a Valentine’s-themed secret exchange would be spectacular. Thus, the Secret Valentine Exchange was born. It will be somewhat similar to the clothing swap that I participated in, but this time, we’re focusing on the grown-ups!
The idea is simple. You sign up, then Ute and I will assign folks (Ute and I will also be included in the fun). You’ll get helpful information on the person who will be receiving a gift from you via a little questionnaire we’ve drafted, but your recipient will be in the dark in terms of your identity. We’re keeping things loose and easy, and the gifts need not be sewn, though we figure most of you will want to give your sewing machines a little workout. All that matters is that the gifts should be handmade. In the spirit of reduce/reuse/recycle, we ask that you use materials you already have on hand. We don’t want this to be an expensive project for anyone. International participants are welcome, naturally, and shipping costs were an issue we discussed. We’ll have some helpful hints about shipping once you sign up, but basically the gifts should fit into a big envelope.
Ute and I are a little nervous — will anyone sign up? We think it would be such a fun and unconventional way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and I for one LOVE to send and receive mail.
I need to point out that Ute is the star here. Have you seen the gorgeous clothes and bags she’s sewn? In fact, she just won the Coletterie’s Cooper contest! Not only is she a sewing guru, she’s far more tech savvy than I am and she’s created the email account, an awesome Flickr pool, and was the mastermind for the idea — I’ve had a blast collaborating and brainstorming with her so far. For my part, I created little tags that we thought would be so cute to include as part of the gift exchange and a way to unify the theme. I made the tags heart-shaped that you can fold into an envelope, origami style. Instructions are included, and I’ve even tossed in a few versions that are generic tags that can be used for Valentine’s Day in general! They end up as tiny envelopes, so should you prefer your tags to have more surface area presence, you can use them without folding them up or enlarge them when printing.
Oh, and another thing about the Flickr group – it’s open to the public, and if you decide the actual gift exchange is not for you at this time, feel free to sew/make along and post your own Valentine’s-inspired projects!
Interested? We hope so! Here are the simple steps to take part:
1. Click here to get the questionnaire. Please send the questionnaire with your answers to this email. Sign ups will be open until this Friday, January 17th.
2. We’ll take care of assignments and send out the Secret Valentine info to all participants by January 21st.
3. Make something fabulous and ship it by February 7 (if you’re shipping internationally, you might want to add a few extra days). Don’t forget to download the tags here! And we’d love it if you could upload your creation to the Secret Valentine Exchange Flickr account here. Shhh, don’t reveal who the gift is for though!
4. Receive your Secret Valentine gift!
Please feel free to contact me or Ute with any questions here in the comments section or at secret.valentine.exchange[at]gmail.com. So excited!
**A couple of updates: just want to point out that you don’t need a blog, and that we will keep all the email/address information secure. Also, if you are having trouble submitting the questionnaire, please contact me directly. Thank you!!**