Friday, November 20, 2009

A reallly, REALLY fun swap

A couple of weeks or so ago, I joined a matchbox swap over at Pat's Ooglebloops blog. In fact, check out her matchbox and everything in it.

Here is what Pat said about the swap "I'll put everyone's name on folded up scraps of paper in a bowl, have a disinterested party close their eyes, and pick out names, 2 at a time, to match everyone up.

As soon as I get everyone's address, I will let you know the "mail by" date.

The rules are - there really are no rules of design. Just decorate a tiny matchbox- the ones that are about 2" long. Fill with ephemera, vintage pieces of this and that, things that could be used in altered art some way. If you like it - I'm sure your swap partner will like it too!!! As many items as will comfortably fit in the box - there is no prize for having stuffed the most in there!!!"

In the e-mail to my partner and myself, she wrote to "Alter the box however you desire. . . " I was simply delighted to learn that I had gotten Patty's name (of course I can't pronounce all of it, but who cares, right?). She is one of my favorite artists and I love everything she makes, including her amazing photos. In fact, she assured me she's taken photos of my box and hers. Hop on over to her blog and look at her photos. I promise they will look so much better than anything I can take.

Isn't this wonderful? All these goodies arrived in Patty's box to me, except for the lovely vintage handkerchief, which the box was bound in. The hanky has beautiful yellow flowers on it that reminded Patty of the sunflower photos I used from her blog one Sunday.

I was simply tickled with everything, even if it is hard to see. On the left is the gorgeous box and a handmade piece of inchie art made by Patty (which means SO MUCH to me). Below that is a tiny hand charm, a small card with words, and three shells. To the right of those are a phone staple with a fuzzy thing stuck in it and two teeny tiny tags. To the right of those are Patty's awesome hand stamped shrink art, which has images on both side, three tiny buttons, and a metal key.

At this point, we need to go back to the top and look at the totally awesome handmade cinnamon applesauce gingerbread man, which smelled so good when I removed it from the box. In fact, I wondered why my craft room smelled so good even before I spied the little guy!!

There is a tea tag with a love quote on one side and below that is a gold four leaf clover charm. Back at the top, is a postage stamp from Bhutan. I already have a layout planned for it. To the right of the postage stamp is a bingo marker. Below the postage stamp is a metal thingy that Patty assured me was a metal curling rod. I love it and will keep it in my special pieces. An acorn, a bee, a tack, and a safety pin are grouped close to each other.

A bejeweled flower on a piece of ribbon is shown next to a metal piece with "friendship" written on it. Now what could be better than that as the final piece?

Well obviously that was not all. Patty also included some totally wonderful pieces, including several that have hand images on them. I was totally tickled.

I was totally mesmerized by the circular sensor charts, which brought back memories of my metrology lab days. And since Patty is a stamper, she couldn't let that envelope go undressed. Sadly, the one I sent her was naked as a jaybird.

My apologies for the quality of the three photos above, but my camera batteries were all dead and I just HAD to take photos of everything I got from Patty. I know the photos are not the best, and that is because I either didn't hold the camera steady, or had it on the wrong setting. Regardless, I apologize. I personally thought the smaller photos were better, but if you click on them, you can see everything, even if everything is a bit blurry. Please be aware, Patty's address is blocked out on the envelope.

For my box to Patty, I must have overlooked the "Vintage" part of Pat's message (above), but it doesn't matter because anything I have can be used in vintage pieces, with the possible exception of the shrink plastic pumpkin. But I digress!

Although you can't really see it in the photo, the box is covered with some card stock I colored using Blazing Red Staz-on reinker and 91% alcohol. I only had one ribbon that even closely resembled the embellishment I had chosen, a vintage pink porcelain rose in an antique gold setting, so I made the card stock to go all around the piece, although I've seen several that were covered using images the size of the box width and length. The box is opened with a little red heart.

Did you notice that Pat said to fill it with whatever was comfortable? Well, I did just that. Actually, it's nice to know something about the person you are making the gift for, so I was really lucky. I put in a few things I knew would have special meaning to Patty, including the antique sewing machine charm, the elephant, the bird, a tiny feather, the crown, and a couple of rubber stamps.

There were 33 discrete pieces in the box and I had so much fun packing them over and over until I got it right.

What's so funny is, the pieces went together so easily the first time around. They fit perfectly. Then I removed them to photograph the items. I had to put them in the first time to make sure they would all go in. In fact, I had to leave one set of clock hands out because they just wouldn't fit the second time around.

If anyone who is a stamper knew how long it took to stamp these words, they would laugh. I even got one of the "s's" upside down. I attempted to stamp other images on the back, but there just wasn't enough room given my limited number of rubber stamps. As an aside, you can see the ribbon I added to both sides in the above picture.

I purposely kept the box plain. I didn't want a lot of bling and embellishments on the outside. I wanted to save it all for the inside of the box. I didn't even cover the inside tray of the box, leaving it plain so I could add more items. The only alteration I made to the tray was to glue the ends so they wouldn't fall apart with the extra weight.

Patty's secret stash will surely change over the years and each time she adds and removes items will bring new memories.

I want to thank Pat for allowing me to play in this swap and Patty, without whom this swap would never have materialized (on my end). Thanks to both for a truly wonderful and fun swap.

7 thoughtful remarks:

Vicki Holdwick said...


Thank you so much for the link to Patty's blog. I used to subscribe to hers some time ago, when in frustration I deleted all my subscriptions and started over again.

I had yours on my new subscription list, but somehow never ran across Patty's again. I am now a subscriber to hers again and am so pleased.

Love the matchbook swap and your lovely treasures, both what you sent and what you received.


Findings Art by Donna said...

How did all that get in there? What a great concept. :) Happy for you and happy for new places to go see what is going on.

ooglebloops said...

Great post and pix!!! I love what both of you stuffed in the boxes!!! Glad you could play - we must do it again sometime!!!! :>)

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

Dear Elizabeth ~ your post is so delightful and interesting to read and I already knew some about our special stuffed matchboxes ... now I know even more (i.e. the phone tack, liked it, included it...just because...didn't know what it was exactly LOL).

Oh, the gray fuzzy thing is a Pussy Willow :)

I enjoyed your package very much, from the unfurling of the velvet drawstring bag to each tiny thoughtful treasure you managed to tuck inside your artfully decorated matchbox. I could almost not get the bits all back in when I tried.
My blog post is a little slow in coming (I am supposed to be cleaning house = ack!!!), but I promise it will happen before the weekend ends :)
Thank you for being such a fun and generous swap partner and for saying such lovely things about me.
I am plum tickled and can't wait to try the exotic tea too!!!
Many Thanks! oxo

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

oh and I thought and wondered what special font you used to print Patty's Secret Stash! no kidding!!!
I am VERY impressed, alphabet stamps intimidate me most often!

purplepaint said...

Elizabeth, I had to come over to your blog, I saw the matchbox you sent Patty and it's awesome! Love all the treasures you squeezed in there! Off to look around your blog some more... Marva

Nathalie Thompson said...

ROFLing! You got a GIANT ENVELOPE too!

That Patty has some very cool stuff in her stash!