It’s time to highlight the utter loveliness that was the Secret Valentine Exchange!
In total, we had 39 participants including me and my indispensable co-organizer Ute – amazing! There were ladies from the U.S., Germany, Canada, Australia, Singapore, India, France, Spain, Ireland and Italy. So international, right? I’m overwhelmed that these are all — in some capacity — readers of this little blog. One of my favorite aspects of this project was that I got to know the various folks that stop by here a little better. Blabbering to the great interwebs can sometimes leave me feeling slightly ridiculous, like I’m that demented lady talking to herself again. But through this exchange, I got a better glimpse of the wonderful women behind the comments and visits. I loved reading all the questionnaires and getting acquainted with all the blogs and checking out the Pinterest boards and browsing through the flickr accounts.
Of course, the best part was the making and receiving and celebrating an untraditional Valentine’s! Before I launch into what I made and what I received, I thought I should briefly go over how the partners were selected. It was an ad hoc method involving K, a lot of little pieces of paper, and a good dose of bribery (K got tired of selecting the names after the fourth one. Chocolate is a powerful motivator). I created little pre-sorted piles roughly by location so that shipping wouldn’t take too long. I’m not sure that we were completely successful, but we tried.
I was assigned Asmita, who authors the lovely Elephant in the Study blog. What a thrill to ship all the way to India! Great procrastinator that I am, I worried that I wouldn’t finish in time but luck was on my side and I was at the post office two weeks before Valentine’s Day. Unheard of. Then I ran into a snafu when the post office guy told me that customs can cause all kinds of problems, and I needed to get a phone number. So I had to email Asmita pretending that I wasn’t her secret valentine. Sneaky, sneaky. Fortunately, Asmita responded right away so I skedaddled back to the post office and happily shipped off the gifts. What I made: a little fabric pouch/organizer with hearts-emblazoned fabric (I tossed in some sewing goodies there), a house-shaped hot pad (or potholder? it’s made with wool batting), and two small colorful cotton zipper pouches (one stuffed with bookmarks). Asmita’s favorite colors are red, orange and yellow, so I tried to incorporate the colors and also kept in mind that she’s a bibliophile and loves to bake. I was filled with relief when I received an email from Asmita confirming receipt just before the big day. And what an email – I got a little teary-eyed by the sweet note.
And the teariness continued when I opened the door to find a package for me. Sonya of Fashion Fragile drew my name, and as much as I loved the gifts (a beautiful cowl/neck warmer in my fave color, a brooch made out of what looks like kimono fabric, handmade cards), it was the handwritten note that got me all choked up. The considered care that goes into handmade gift-giving has powerfully uplifting qualities. Another participant, Gita, included a quote as part of one of her photos that perfectly encapsulates what I’m trying to say.
“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Thank you, again, Sonya, for the thoughtful gifts. I will treasure them!
The talent factor of everyone involved is enormous, and I was in fact a little cowed by the projects that started popping up in the Flickr pool. Which you can see just below. I embedded a Flickr slideshow for easy perusal, and friends, you know this is embarking into extreme high tech territory for me, so I hope this works. Let me know if it doesn’t.
The variety and creativity are so very inspiring! I also saw some trends: buntings, lots of pouches, and hearts, naturally. Below, I’m including the list of awesome participants; some have blogs and where available, I included fun links to their blog posts about Secret Valentine Exchange (look for the “SVE blog post” links). Please give me a holler if I missed any posts, blogs or any other info!
Ute and I are already plotting for next year – what do you think? Would you be in?
Thank you to everyone who joined in the exchange! We hope it made Valentine’s Day and winter a little extra special.
Here are the participants:
Amy F. // pinterest
Ginnie // pinterest
Jordan // pinterest
Kristi A. // flickr
Michelle D. // flickr
Many, many thanks again to Ute for her general rock star-ness, and that’s a wrap!