Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Busy This Week Being ATC Swap Host

Here is what I have been up to: hosting an ATC swap. A swap I was hosting is coming to an end. I was busy in this last week updating my spreadsheet with list of participants in the swap. I was emailing people who were late or very close to the deadline with sending in their ATCs. Once I firmed up the last minute drop-outs, I was ready to swap out the ATCs. Only two were late, and they were just one mailing day late.

Sunday night after the kids went to bed I spread out all the envelopes on the floor and looked everything over. It was the first time I looked at all of them as a whole.

Monday night after the kids went to bed I again spread out all the envelopes and ATCs and swapped them out. I realized I hadn't labeled the backs of the ATCs that I made, nor had I scanned them. Darn.

Tuesday I made the backs for my own ATCs. I scanned my ATCs also.

I made one ATC for each participant and I was able to then keep the equivalent of one ATC from each participant. I glued the backs to the ATCs. I also gathered the special cards that I made which have the date and the name of the swap on them. Later I added one of my own ATCs to each swap and the other card that I made. I also wrote a little note to each person thanking them for participating in the swap. After a final check, I sealed each envelope. (I just realized I didn't do a double-check to make sure that I didn't swap a card to its creator, darn!)

Using our digital kitchen scale I weighed each envelope and noted the weight. I then went on the Internet to check postage rates for each envelope on the USPS website. One came up short and two came out exactly right. I had to add my own postage to the one that was short. I will have the post office recheck those three packages just in case my scale is a bit off from the post office's scale. I am trying to avoid paying extra money out of my pocket to make up for not-enough postage sent by the participant.

I have three swaps to be sent to other countries, so those will necessitate a trip to the post office as well.

Last night after the kids went to bed I sat down and looked at the goodies that some of the participants sent me. As a gift some participants sent me little gifts such as cancelled postage stamps, scraps of interesting paper, embellishments, and other ephemera. The international participants also had to send me ephemera in lieu of the postage that I have to pay out of my pocket to send the package to them. It was interesting and fun to get some papers from other countries. I hope to use these things to make some ATCs. I am itching to make ATCs but just haven't had the time!

The plan for today is to go to the post office, post to the chat list that the swap was sent out, and then to relax!

I also now have yet more scans of my own ATCs that I have to reconfigure in Photoshop before I can upload them to this blog or to the chat list photo albums. I also have some left over ATCs of my own that I can trade privately with other people.

The most fun thing about hosting a swap is seeing lots of other people's ATCs and being able to not just view them on the Internet, but to hold them in my hands and look at them closely. From experience I can tell you that sometimes things looks better in real life then on a scan.

This was a 5/5 swap, so they send in 5 ATCs and they get back 5 ATCs. The benefit to me is that I get to pick my most favorite ATCs to keep so long as I make one for each person. One thing that was interesting was that I was choosing the printed messages that I liked the best and then realized that I had three ATCs from three different people with the same message on them! I then re-swapped them around so that I didn't have three nearly idential messages.

The ATCs varied greatly in style and method. There were some very creative ideas and I learned one new technique as a result of hosting this swap (using clear ultra thick embossing enamel as a top coat which I blogged about last week).

I hope the participants are as happy with this swap as I am!

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