I will be taking a brief break due to so much happening right now in my life. I will still be running AWG, and checking in often though. I will try to pick up a swap here and there as I am able. Thanks for the prayers and support I have been receiving!
Please note that recently I've had a great many swaps mailed within the USA that have taken up to a month to reach me or reach the person I've mailed to. If I've not rated you, I've not received it, and I'd like to allow at least 5 weeks before having you resend. I will be happy to resend to you at any point that you request it, but know that most mail does indeed show up. I have spoken to my local post office as well as filing a report online, but I do not know if that will help delivery times. Thank you for understanding! Also, I care for my ailing parents, and I travel ALOT to out of town medical appointments, so I may not always be home to get mail. I rate as soon as I am home and open it, so if you see something has been delivered, but not acknowledged, then it is likely at home waiting for me. Please don't hesitate to ask though, and I'll be happy to confirm its receipt with my hubby and kids.
I have a pretty extensive profile, which I update often, (05/18/18) last update,) so grab a cup of coffee or tea and stay awhile...if you've been here before, you'll likely find a few new things...or if you prefer, just jump right to the most relevant information pertaining to the swap we are in! Above all, I hope that you find something that makes you smile while you are here!
I live in a rural area, and our post office isn't always as precise as it should be with placing postage on envelopes, or handling packages. If you ever receive a swap or tag from me with postage due, or simply do not receive a swap or tag, PLEASE let me know! I always send my stuff, and unless it's a simple card, I always take it to the post office. I will always reimburse you postage costs, and work to find or replace lost mail! Likewise, things do not always get postmarked when I drop them off, sometimes they are postmarked at the sorting facility which can be several days after I've dropped them at the local office. If you ever have any question as to when something was mailed, you can note the date it was marked sent. I do not mark things sent unless I have physically placed them in the mailbox, or dropped them at the post office.
If you've sent your swap to me, and haven't received a rating, please let me know! My life is crazy, and sometimes it may take me a few days to open all my swap mail. I always rate each one as I open it. If you haven't received something from me, please let me know because it has gotten lost in the mail. I ALWAYS, ALWAYS send out swaps of time. I don't sign up unless I can complete them!
I'm an extremely blessed, Christian mom of 5 beautiful children, aged 15, 13, 13, (twins) 7, and 5. My youngest two children we adopted from China, so international adoption and advocacy are a huge part of our lives! We love the Chinese culture, and hope to be able to go back one day to visit.
Adoption is a journey. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about adoption, please let me know and I will help you with some resources!
Four of our five children have special needs, (all pretty minor,) so I always love connecting with other moms who have special kids! I'm married to my soulmate, and we just celebrated our 19th anniversary in January. We are 4 years into our homeschool journey and are having a blast teaching our kids in a real "hands on" way with lots of nature walks, and visiting new and interesting places. We also love pets, and currently have 4 cats, 2 guinea pigs, 1 dwarf roborovski hamster, a Lionhead bunny, and 25-30ish chickens. Even though I'm allergic to dogs, we've now added one to our menagerie. She was a stray who wandered up and took up residence on our porch, and she's a perfect fit for us! We raise chickens for the eggs, and have some that lay white, blue, green, dark olive green, light brown, and chocolate brown eggs. I also love to cook (especially bake,) and I hoard recipes! I have about a dozen Pintrest boards devoted to recipes of all types from beverages to desserts to snacks to international. I adore good quality dark chocolate, reading, coffee, and anything art related! I'm an artist at heart, and I have taught mixed media classes, and classes on making ATC's and Inchies in the past. I love to alter almost anything, so you'll see me either participating or hosting lots of these type swaps ;-) If you're a mixed media artist, send me something you've made, and I'll adore it! I also love to sew, although I've not found time recently to do any. I've completed 3 bubble quilts, and a queen sized quilt top so far! I believe art takes many forms, and tattoos are one form I adore. Want to hear a funny story? Ask me how I got my first tattoo! (And if you have asked before and I never answered you, let me know, lol, sometimes I simply forget to sit down and write ya back, so please, pester me at will!!) I currently am working on a full sleeve on my left arm, and have the next piece in my head...I am getting it done sometime in 2017! It's the Great Wall and will be done using a picture my hubby took when we were there last. Eeeeeeee!!!!!! Another way I express my artistic side is through my hair. For pretty much all my life I've loved crazy hairdos, and currently it's red and white!
My belief system is basically this...treat others the way you want to be treated. I believe all people, should have the same rights and privileges. I understand not all people, especially Christians agree with that. I only share this because it's a huge part of the person that I am. I believe God wants us to love one another, and I strive every day to do that through my actions, and to share what I can through the abilities He has given me. I do not tolerate people who are judgmental and I abhor intolerance.
I have always been a very open minded, and I like to think, open hearted person. Through my years, I have done loads of volunteer work, everything from working in a vets office as a child, to volunteering at homeless shelters serving meals, to a semi permanent volunteer job at an HIV/AIDS clinic in my college days. I have donated blood most of my adult life, and am part of the bone marrow donor registry, and I try to raise awareness about adoption. My latest volunteer job was to manage one of the local tornado relief centers for 6 weeks when a rash of tornadoes swept through our state on April 28, 2014. I enjoy being able to help others in some small way, and feel the Lord has blessed me in the ability to help.
I love to share my passions through private swaps, so if you see something in my profile that entices you, shoot me a message and we can work one out! I'm not a stickler for rules, but if you are sending to me and know you will be late, communication is vital. In all my time on swap-bot, I have only been flaked on a few times, and I know life happens, but please know I will rate according to swap-bot policy in almost all cases. I live with fibromyalgia, and chronic migraines, so my crafting sometimes takes a back seat when my body doesn't want to cooperate. It's yet another reason I almost always send my swaps quickly. I usually always have a start, especially on labor intensive swaps before I even sign up. I will never send you something that I think is of sub-par quality, and it will never be quickly thrown together, rather I know to allow myself a few extra days in a swap in case my body needs them ;-)
I swap for the joy of swapping. This is my happy place, and I try to embody the true spirit and joy of swapping without being too critical or nit picky! If you receive something from me, it's something I've put time, thought, and love into. If for any reason it fails to meet your expectations, let me know and I will do my best to make it right. If you take the time to send me something, I would appreciate it if you show me the same curtesy. I love opening my mailbox each day and seeing what treasures await. Some days it's quite literally what gets me out of bed lately with all we've been going through! I'm quick to rate a heart if I can see you've put your best foot forward, and any effort into the swap, and I don't rate a 1 or a 3 unless you force my hand. I'll always try to work with you before rating down.
About my swap name...I am called Barbara by basically everyone who knows me. I once had a dear friend who called me Babs and that's where I got that part of my ID. The "mom of 5" part is pretty self explainatory, lol! So few people explain their choice of swapper ID but I find it interesting to find out how people chose one, so I figured why not explain my own for anyone else who might be curious!
I am an avid reader and I've always got a few books going. Currently: Reading The entire works of L. Frank Baum. While I am working on art projects, I am listening to the Harry Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher, and am currently on Changes. While hubby and I are in the car or just having a quiet moment together, we are listening to the audiobook version of Stephen King's Needful Things. I also listen to several podcasts including Lore, Serial, Serial Killers, Rabbits, Tanis, and Welcome To Nightvale. I also have subscriptions to Better Homes and Gardens, Woman's Day, Flow, and Daphne's Diary, and occasionally pick up art journalling or mixed media books and magazines....especially Somerset Studios and Paper Scissors Cloth. I also generally read any book my three older boys choose to read so we can discuss it. I have actually found they are more apt to want to read if they can openly discuss their book with me! I will read just about anything other than regency romance type books, (honestly any romance, though I did finally break down and read the Outlander series which was very good,) and anything that makes you cry. My favorite genres/authors include: Stephen King, Ted Dekker or spooky or horror related things, vampire/witch/elves/magical such as The Paper Magician, The Night Circus, or The Weather Warden series by Rachael Caine. I also enjoy true crime, and biographies on occasion. Additionally I love reading about historical places, such as castles, especially in the context of the lore surrounding them. Science fiction is not really my favorite genre either...but I'm open to suggestions of things you love! As you can see, I am almost always immersed in some sort of reading, lol!
Desperately seeking Moomin and Irina Zeniuk Blue Cat postcards sent blank in an envelope
I am really easy to please. If you put any time and thought into what you send, I am sure I will adore it, and I always appreciate anything that is sent my way. This list is is not me asking for you to send me things...Its simply for those looking for ideas, of things I like and can use, or for anyone wanting to know a bit more about my likes and loves. I never expect extras In a swap, and I always rate based on the effort you put into the swap itself!
Just a quick lil' FYI... I marked things that really make me jump up and down and squeal with joy in bold ;-)
My very favorite color ever is Pantone 318u It's nearly impossible to find as most things are more teal or turquoise, or a softer sea foam or mint green color, but I'm feeling love for pretty much all greens and blues and purples...and rose gold and copper are my favorite metallics! I honestly love just about all colors though earth tones tend to be my least favs.
Postcards, handmade embellishments, handmade postcards, ATC's, granting wishes, and RAKS
I am looking for ANYTHING bee, honey, hive, or bee keeper related for an art journal I am creating in memory of my Dad. Ribbon, papers, images, stamps, stamped imahes, hand drawn or painted things, fabris, charms, truly anything would be greatly appreciated and used!
I am also collecting seeds of happiness. Any and all are welcome, and gets shelved with your info so I can see them from my art table, and will never ever forget who sent me the happiness! If you are not familiar with them here is their website. You can do a search to see local stores that sell them, and many places also sell individual happiness seeds.
Whimsical yet soft artsy styles like vintage Winnie the Pooh, or Jane Davenport.
Anything unusual and fun
Anything uplifting, such as quotes or stories.
Also always into Fairy tales and Grimm Fairy tales..images, book pages, stickers, postcards, anything at all!
Honeybees, hives, and beekeeping
Anything and everything Pittsburgh Steelers related. I'm a huge NFL fan!
Cool, funky, artsy, whimsical anything...images, stamps, art you've created
Beautiful Mail...any and all, nothing makes me happier than opening the mailbox and finding something amazing waiting for me!
Articles or full magazines on tattoos, or any type of mixed media art or papercrafts. I currently have subscriptions to Flow and Daphne's Diary and would be happy to trade articles or goodies from these that I won't use!
pretty pieces of tissue paper (gift wrap type tissue) Tissue paper can even be used and folded! I use these for backgrounds in a lot of the art I create
Clean "grass" typically found in sushi takeout plates
Parking, movie, dry cleaning, public transportation ticket stubs, anything and everything.
Clean interesting food packaging, (like buck wild chip bags, or the images of the retro Dr. Pepper ot Mt. Dew boxes) Anything really that has an I testing image on it
Interesting images cut from magazines, books, or other sources to use in my art journals, or on postcards or ATC's
FDC (First day covers) old or new
DCP (Digital color postmarks) especially searching for the cats from the "pets" collection and the aqua and orange from the "colorful celebrations" collection!
Playing cards...I love collecting different ones, as they are all so unique! I have quite a few vintage ones as well as lots of more current but still cool ones...send me one or two of any suit, I just like the backs ;-)
cigar boxes, or used tins that I can alter
pressed pennies and quarters
Anything fun that is cat or chicken themed
Interesting or vintage high quality images to use in ATC, APC, PostCards, and art Journal pages I create
Tarot cards, singles or a full deck needing lots of these for a project
Maps or pages from a map book
Edward Gorey anything
fibers, interesting ribbon, interesting yarn...for making tags and bookmarks, especially in shades of blue, teal, and yellow!
holiday shaped sequins which are also called table scatter, and micro beads in any color or theme (at this time I have an abundance of Christmas themed scatter, but would love any other holiday or shaped sequins)
Sticker flakes... love using these on postcards, so any and all, especially Pusheen
Unused Postage stamps, especially the lick and stick kind!
Pretty used postage stamps, especially from outside the USA
Unusual or pretty mailing labels I can use on packages and letters
Long interesting or pretty list pads to use to include a short not in swaps
Stationary with or without envelopes to use with my penpals
Any empty packages from seeds you've used (I love to use these as envelopes in my art journals, or to include extras for swaps!)
dresden German scrap or trim, any style, any color
vintage or boho funky jewelry (can be broken) beads, metal pieces, charms, old typewriter keys, game pieces, etc... like this
Seeds of happiness here is a link to what these are, and you can do a search to see if there are stores in your area that sell them. I collect these and love every single one regardless of color or style!
I don't wear make up, but I do love Burt's bees lip products, with or without color...anything but powder puff pink...Walgreens has a great Burt's Bees generic lip balm too! Again, please consider our temps if you happen to send this!
Toys for our cats, dog, guinea pigs, or rabbit
small wrapped gifts for My Christmas stocking(I collect gifts all year, and open one on days I really need a pick me up. I try to save as many as possible for Christmas!)
Dove dark chocolate plain or with pretty much anything except chili pepper. Trader Joe's speculoos cookies, or dark chocolate bars with speculoos butter Ã¢ÂÂ¤Ã¯Â¸Â I've also recently discovered I enjoy Russell Stover milk chocolate boxes chewy with nuts! The only dark chocolate I dislike is Hershey's Special dark, and the only milk chocolate I like is Snicker's bars or the above mentioned RS. Please don't send me chocolate from mid April-mid November though as it will just become a puddle in our southern heat.
Fresh Made taffy (if you live near a place that makes it daily...we only get it when we go to the mountains every 3-4 years.) -not saltwater taffy, but the pulled kind!
My hubby collects foreign currency (both paper and coin,) so any and all foreign currency is welcome. (We do however have plenty of Chinese currency.)
Things for my kids:
Decorative Wooden pencils. This may seem strange, but we go through pencils like water, and so they all love having fun new pencils because mean ole Mom only buys the boring old Ticeronga brand yellow ones, lol
Early reading books for my two youngest
Fuzzy socks (adult size) for my three older boys
Nail polish, fun pencil sharpener, or send a pretty card for my Mom who has dementia
Recipes for home brew beer or non alcoholic ginger beer for my Dad (he likes to make his own home brew and frequently makes root beer for my kids,) or easy one pot/ dish recipes. He tends to like anything with sausage, or ground beef, most, but would try just about anything!
Between our four cats, they love pretty much all cat toys. Spohie prefers soft toys filled with catnip, Molly prefers hard balls with bells, Sadie likes things that crinkle, and Stonewall likes anything to bat across the floor. They aren't picky about treats either, but a bag of catnip is their favorite!
Our dog, Freckles, loves anything that squeaks, or that is long that she can sling around, as well as pretty much any type of treat though we do not give her rawhide
Our guinea pigs, Miss Moo amd Heidi, love tiny stuffed animals (only cotton, no beanie toys) they like Timothy hay twists, whimzees dog chews in any shape or size, wooden and sisal toys, and any sort of cardboard tubes or hides
Our dwarf Robo hamster, Spaz, loves any small animal wooden toys to explore or hide under, millet sprays, and unsalted nuts of any kind.
Our lionhead rabbit, Snowball, loves Whimzees dog chews in any shape or size, dried pesticide free flowers and herbs, wheat and oat grass sprays, bendy bridges, and hay based treats ,
I participate in Stocking stuffer swaps year round. Generally I prefer Santa to Snowmen, but I'm quite happy to receive winter themed goodies since Christmas ones will just get packed up for a year before I can use them. A few ideas of goodies I would love to unwrap Christmas morning...
Anything mentioned in or inspired by my above likes
Warm fuzzy socks
Address labels for packages
Good smelling hand soap or hand cream
Bath or shower bombs
Dark chocolate, or Ferror Rocher, or Reece's Pieces
Knitted or crocheted Scarves or hats
Miniature blank canvases
Chalk, paint, puff or sharpie pens or markers
Unmounted, cling mounted, or wood mounted rubber stamps (see my ETSY Wishlist for ideas, or gain inspiration from my "Art of Inspiration" below)
Fun tweezers (the kind with painted ladies, lol!)
Itty bitty weather stickers found at The Sticker Attic Shop on etsy
Winter or holiday themed or nice Washi tape (Again, lots of inspiration on my ETSY site)
Succulents, or gift cards for the website Leaf and Clay where I order most of mine
Those tiny kits you find at the bookstore checkout, like mini bonsai kits, etc I have always had a strange fascination with them!
Bottles of essential oil for my oil burner, I like most everything aside from patchouli and anything tree related like evergreen and cedar.
Rolls of terrifically tacky tape or refill rolls for scotch ATG gun (I use both the archival and non archival kind)
Any kind of paint brushes, even foam ones
Art kits...think ATC kits, or project instructions and supplies needed for tiny projects, such as macrame braclets... definitely can be handmade
Winter themed stickers...not Christmas, more like snowflakes, snowmen, etc
Pretty or interesting alphabet stickers
Packages of microbeads
ATC's for my collection
Christmas ornaments... but not the flat plastic kind, they can be dollar store ones, but make it something you'd hang on your tree, most of mine are glass in a variety of colors, shapes, and themes
Interesting Decks of playing cards or an assortment of vintage ones
Things from my ETSY or Amazon wishlists
Lucky star paper
Pretty pot holders and kitchen towels, dollar store ones are great, and Walmart often has them for .98 too! And I adore handmade ones!
Knitted or crocheted hats or scarves
Nail polish in any color, with or without glitter or other fun stuff, though yellow is my least fav.
Purse sized activity books, can be adult coloring, word search, sudoku, etc.
And, just FYI, I don't use a stocking I place my gifts into a large decorative box, so it's ok to send any size item. I've been asked that a few times as people have sent me larger sticker sheets, and dollar store coloring books, and just wanted to put it here for the future ;-)
Here are a few artists whose work inspires me in different ways. Click the artist's name to go directly to their website.
Click each artists name to see their website!
Aren't these artists amazing?!?!
And here are a few of my favorite websites for art supplies:
I love the beautiful image sheets and fun ATC kits found here at Your ATC Store.
The blog Artfully Musing found here is just breathtaking...seriously! They have extremely beautifully detailed projects, that they show you how to create yourself using products forums mostly on the website Alphastamps
I also adore shopping on ETSY where some of my favorite shops include:
The Sticker Attic Shop which sells a huge selection of planner and happy mail stickers. If she doesn't have what you want, simply send her a message and she will create it for you, and quickly! The customer service is top notch, as is the shipping speed...and don't get me started on the extras! Tell her I sent you and you may just get a deluxe sampler sheet for free with your order!
Another ETSY fave is 32 North Supplies which has a huge selection of vintage and dresden trim for a great price.
I also love the Etsy shop Vera Lane Studio and think they have the BEST digi stamp selection anywhere online.
And for those who love to color, at The Chubby Mermaid you are sure to find something you can't live without! She sells a variety of mail order coloring books, as well as a huge selection of instant download pages in subjects varying from Bible verses to zombies and everything in between!
And last but not least, if you are a stamper, my two favorite stamp supply websites can be found at:
Deep Red Stamps where every order always nets a free stamp and excellent customer service...
and Red Lead Paper Works which has a beautiful variety of stamps, stencils, and collage sheets.
I hope you'll check these out and find some inspiration of your own! If you've got a favorite site, I would love for you to share it with me!
I used to wonder why people loved receiving "simple, boring" postcards in the mail...well, I've realized how very wonderful these treasures really are. Postcards are a way to explore art, culture, and the world around you with ot ever leaving your house. I am now a very avid postcard swapper on multiple sites, and have found that I have the following preferences.
I am currently desperately seeking blank Moomin postcards sent in an envelope!
Things that make me squeal
Edward Gorey postcards... Creepy and whimsical
Naughty Little People...Simply hilarious!
Anything snarky like Anne Taintor or Grumpy Cat
Anything from my Etsy postcard Wishlist, (or similar styles)
Maxi cards (postcard designed to match the stamp)
Lenticular postcards (the plastic kind that "move")
Gotochi postcards... Hard to find, but so cool!
Things I love
Pittsburgh Steelers related
Vintage children's story book art like Classic Winnie the Pooh, or Beatrix potter
Unusual Alice In Wonderland (I've got the Dover sets, and Disney... looking for offbeat and odd versions)
Unusual animals...skunks, jellyfish, bats, lizards, etc
Funny, or artistic cat postcards
Weird roadside attractions, or things like "Keep Austin Weird, and Area 51" in other words, real life unusual and quirky stuff!
Snail mail or mailbox themes
Anything related to my likes list such as mermaids, gnomes, fairies, etc
Hand made postcards
Touristy postcards that show interesting sites
Anything quirky, unusual, offbeat
Anything you find beautiful
Animal postcards, any kind
Sea life, especially jellyfish
Not so much into
Ariel views of beaches or cities
Tourist postcards that don't really show anything touristy...you know these type
Greeting card fronts torn off and sent as postcards
Meter strips instead of stamps on a postcard
Other notable preferences
-Naked ~vs~ in an Envie...either way is fine, but if cornered I'd say naked please. If you write on the postcard though, I do prefer it stamped, even if it's just an artist stamp.
-Ad/free cards are fine by me, as long as they fit my list of likes (and for ad/free postcard specific swaps, of course any are fine)
-The Zazzle debate- I LOVE Zazzle postcards! Even if a swap says no Zazzle, feel free to send me one. Yes, I've ordered many, and yes, I've gotten a few that were a bit "off" that I did send back, but overall these are very well made and I still don't understand why so many people dislike them.
-Size matters...I keep every postcard that is sent to me. I really don't care what size they are, but if you're debating between a few different sizes, here's how I store them. Anything 4x6 or smaller goes into a 12x12 album which frequently gets looked through by guests. Anything over that gets put into an open shoebox sized storage box on a shelf in my art room and gone through periodically. Really special and unusual oversized postcards get added into the 12x12 album. (I create custom pockets in 12x12 page protectors to hold them using a fuse tool.) Maybe that will help you decide, because really, I keep them all!
I'm generally easy to please, and appreciate anything you take the time and money to send. I definitely have one steadfast rule...
I hate clowns...please don't send me mail with clown stamps, or stickers, or images.
Other things I prefer not to receive, but will work with you on include:
Please don't send me items with a strong smoke smell. My son has asthma that is triggered by smoke, and I have severe allergies affected by smoky packages, so this isn't merely a request of preference, but for health reasons. If you're a smoker, contact me privately and we can work something out, or at least I know to air the package/letter out before bringing it in.
Please don't send me anything with foul language or that's overtly sexual in nature...I often open mail in front of my kids. However, if you do feel like something in this category would be appropriate to a swap we are in, please mark the outside of the envelope "for your eyes only" and I'll be sure to open it away from my kids.
~disclaimer...none of the artwork featured on my profile is my own. It is of art I've found inspiring in some way. You may view my art by clicking the link to my Flickr page above!
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