Handmade Gift Exchange June 2012

handmade gift exchangeHappy Friday, Crafters!! Guess what today is….June 1. Which means the Summer 2012 edition of the Handmade Gift Exchange starts today! yay!!

This is my 6th exchange. crazy huh! How many of you have participated in the previous 5 exchanges? I know there are a few of you!

For those who are new here {welcome, welcome!!} twice a year, I host a Handmade Gift Exchange that is loads of fun!! It gives you the opportunity to meet a fellow crafter AND the perfect excuse to get your craft on! There is no skill or cost requirement, that way everyone can participate! {if you want to see what people have made/received in the past, check out previous gift exchange linky parties: Summer 2011 and Winter 2011.}

*******Sign ups have ended. So sorry we missed you! We would love to have you join the next Handmade Gift Exchange that starts Nov. 1, 2012. If you’d like an email reminder when the next exchange starts, click here and enter your email address. **********

Keeping it Real

Now I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know if I was going to continue hosting these gift exchanges. The last round in November 2011 did not go smoothly. I had lined up a programmer to help write a program that would pair up and email participants their assignments because this had become very time consuming with 800-900 participants. But at the last minute, this person backed out on me and I was stuck doing everything manually once again.

For me, this meant I had to copy and paste partner assignments into 450+ separate emails in a matter of days. All I did for hours every day for an entire week was copy and paste my fingers and eyeballs out. I got very little sleep because each email took almost 2 minutes to prepare and send. {yes, i timed it} But I was determined not to let it get me down and enjoy the fun.


But then, I found out a Spoiler had signed up for the exchange. I was devastated. I don’t make a dime for the hours I spend doing the back work on it {remember the copying and pasting?}, so it was a huge blow. And I was sure I would never host the exchange ever again.

Fast forward to April 2012

I was at a blogging conference in Utah and was chatting with some of my friends about the Handmade Gift Exchange. I explained how I didn’t think I was going to do it anymore, which made me sad because I really enjoyed it. {i have an obession with pen pals…} And then my friend Mallie told me about Elfster, a site that helps organize gift exchanges, and told me I should contact them to see if they could help. Well, she beat me to it. She emailed Peter at Elfster and told him about the bind I was in.

And then I got the best email ever.

Peter said, they would “love to help!”. I seriously teared up. Here was a great site that was willing to write new code for  me and tweak things to meet the needs of the Handmade Gift Exchange, in a very short amount of time. I couldn’t believe it, Elfster saved the Handmade Gift Exchange!


elfsterOver the past 5 weeks, I have worked closely with Peter and we have made some improvements to how the exchange will run and put in measures to prevent some of the issues from the past. It will be a little different than previous exchanges, but I think these changes will make it better. Elfster will be a platform where you can communicate with your partner, ask questions/preferences, and see your partner’s wish list {if they create one}. This will be a great way for participants to interact and get to know each other.
HOW IT WORKS: To sign up, you will use the drop down menu at the bottom of this post by selecting the gift exchange you want to participate in. There are 5 different exchanges: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and All Countries.{these were the most popular countries in previous exchanges. in the future, we can add more} Click “next” and you will be directed to Elfster to finish your sign up. I will walk you through it below:

Click Yes and then if you’d like, you can choose to answer the Naughty or Nice question. {not required} Then click RSVP. ****IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure the box next to “Notify me When People Reply” is NOT checked or else you’ll get about a million emails. Trust me.****

>If you are getting all those emails, this is how you fix it: Go back to the exchange page and click “change reply” in the left column, uncheck that box to stop getting all those emails.<

If you already have an Elfster account, go ahead and login. Otherwise, click Join. You will then see the screen above and can either create an account or login with Facebook. {if you have an issue with creating an Elfster account, you can email me}

After you have entered in your info, you will then be directed to the home page of the gift exchange on Elfster. Once there, you can send email invites to your friends {more the merrier!}, share something with the group {a crafting tip?}, and add your picture to your profile. You can also put a link to your blog, Facebook, or Pinterest page on your profile, if you’d like. You can also create an Elfster wishlist so that your partner can get an idea of what you like and what your style is. {Etsy would be a good place to find items for this}

***Please note: the Wishlist feature on Elfster is a great tool to show your partner your taste in color and style. You can also put things on the “Do Not Need” list to show your dislikes. Another fun feature of the Wishlist is your partner can ask you questions through the “Secret Q&A”. But please do not think that your partner is asking you to buy that particular item on their wishlist! They are just showing their taste and style and trying to help you get ideas of crafts to make for them.

Giftee Assignments

Sign ups close on June 7, 2012 at midnight. On June 8, 2012, you will get an email with your Giftee {person you will make a gift for}.You will only be able to view his/her info during the exchange. Once the exchange is over on June 30, your Gifter {person making a gift for you} will not have access to your information.

*Please note, you will NOT be paired up in twos. The person you make and send a gift to, will make and send a gift to someone else. For example: Jane Crafty will make a gift for Dawn Glue. Sally Scissors will make a gift for Jane Crafty. This is different from past exchanges, but I think it will be a fun twist. You will be able to make friends with 2 crafters instead of 1!


Reading this entire post BEFORE signing up is Mandatory!

If you have any questions, PLEASE email me at craftaholicsanon@gmail.com before signing up.

  • If you commit to participate in this exchange, you will be expected to make a thoughtful Handmade Gift for a fellow crafter and have it post marked no later than Saturday, June 30, 2012. In return, you will receive a Handmade Gift from a fellow crafter in the mail.
  • Use the drop down menu below to officially sign up. Please do not email me to sign up. Sign up ends June 7, 2012.
  • Make a gift for your assigned partner. Need ideas? Check out my Craft Tutorials or my Pinterest Board.
  • Take pictures of the gift you make! there will be a linky party and posts featuring YOUR gifts. You can link up both the gift you MADE and the gift you received. The gift  linky party will start on June 15. There will also be a Flickr group for those without blogs to upload their gift pictures.
  • Please have your gift post marked no later than Saturday, June 30, 2012. Please put that on your calendar right now. This is crucial to the success of this exchange! If you make and mail your gift early, that would be amazing!
  • Participating in this exchange means you will need to go to the Post Office. Please take this into account with your busy summer schedule.
  • If you own a handmade shop, DO NOT simply tell your partner to pick out what they want from your shop! I ask that you customize the item for your partner {i.e. color, design, style etc} this exchange is to promote handmade and friendships, not your etsy shop.
  • If at any time you are unable to follow through with the exchange, PLEASE email me ASAP!! I understand life happens and that some things are out of our control. I just ask that you send me an email so that I can make other arrangements.
  • **I have absolutely no way of patrolling everyone’s participation….usually, people are honest and do their part.**

Please tell your friends, family, co-workers or that crazy lady in line at the grocery store about the Handmade Gift Exchange! I would love for you to blog, tweet, or Facebook about the Handmade Gift Exchange to help spread the fun! 

Sign up for the Handmade Gift Exchange! hosted by @CraftaholicAnon  http://www.craftaholicsanonymous.net/?p=7278 #HandmadeGiftExchange

If you tweet, please use the hashtag #HandmadeGiftExchange  so others can join the conversation….. and I’ll totally retweet you :)
*If you’d like the code for the Handmade Gift Exchange button, its on my sidebar!*

Frequently Asked Questions

  • There is no skill level required. A handmade gift is always wonderful, no matter how technical it is!
  • There is no price minimum on the handmade gift. If shipping costs are an issue, you can make a gift that is light weight and fits inside an envelope.
  • You do not need a blog to participate!
  • How will I know who my partner is? You will get an email on June 8, 2012 with your assigned person’s name and information.
  • There is no official theme for this Gift Exchange. If you feel so inclined to do a Christmas in July theme, go for it!
  • Can I make a gift from a kit/pattern? YES!! If you made any part of the gift, that’s perfect!
  • Can the gift be in digital form? No. You can create a printable or graphic for your partner, but please PRINT it off and send a physical copy to your partner. Part of the fun is actually receiving a gift in the mail.

A HUGE Thank You to Elfster for donating their time and efforts to help this gift exchange happen! You can find them Elfster on Facebook here.


There are 5 different Exchanges: USA, Cananda, UK, Australia, and All Countries. Use the drop down box to make your selection!

*******Sign ups have ended. So sorry we missed you! We would love to have you join the next Handmade Gift Exchange that starts Nov. 1, 2012. If you’d like an email reminder when the next exchange starts, enter your email address here. **********

happy gifting!

Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When I'm not DIYing something, I can be found taxiing around our 4 crazy kids or working out. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥

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  1. 1

    Hello! I hope I signed up right for this. I participated last year and had a blast! Can you let me know if I messed it up? :)

  2. 2

    Oh that is so great that they help with the code and make this gift exchange possible! So happy that it gets to go ahead, but so sad I can’t take part. I live in Europe (not UK) and postage to outside of Europe got so expensive now I can’t chance I would get a non-Europe partner when picking “everywhere else”. I look forward to see what everyone else is sending and receiving though!!

  3. 3

    So glad you decided to do this! I saw your exchange in November but didn’t join (I don’t celebrate xmas) I am glad to hear you do another one. Not sure how I missed this one last year, but I am joinig this year! Thanks for continuing it!

  4. 5

    I am so glad you decided to continue doing this! Last November was the first one I had participated in, and I had so much fun. I have been looking forward to this since then!

  5. 7

    What a great idea! I can’t wait to sign up!

  6. 8

    I’ll miss this one because I’m traveling in June, but I’ll look forward to the next one.

  7. 9

    YAH! So excited to join in again! THANKS for all your hard work, girl! And thanks to PETER too ;)

    xoxox, Kelli

  8. 10

    I have never participated in one like this and it sounds so very exciting!

  9. 11

    What do you mean a “spoiler” signed up and ruined it? We use elfster for secret santa, no more excel files with a non-participant organizing it! I’m glad small talk networking led to a solution!

    1. 11.1

      Hey Minday, The spoiler was an individual that signed up multiple times with different names and then convinced their partners to send her multiple gifts {one sent 3 gifts} without ever sending them anything. {with a little detective work, I found out it was the same person doing the same thing to several people.} So disheartening that someone would do such a thing. BUT Peter and I have put into place some features to prevent this from happening again! :)

      1. Wow – I was wondering what you meant by “spoiler” too. Crazy the lengths some will go to to take advantage of others. I missed this exchange but hope to participate next time. I met the sweetest person on the other side of the country. :)

  10. 12

    Yay! Elsfter is such a GREAT service… My friends and I use it Secret Santas, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, etc.
    I’m so glad they were able to help this Handmade Gift Exchange, and hopefully all others, happen without a hitch!

    Gonna go get on the list now!

  11. 13

    I just signed up for the gift exchange!!, love these!

  12. 14

    Yay! I did my first exchange last year. I’m from the US but can I sign up or a different area or should I stick to the US? :)

    1. 14.1

      Hi Brittany,
      You can sign up for the USA or the All Countries exchange, whichever you prefer!
      happy crafting,

  13. 15
    Jennifer H

    Yay for Elfster!!!!! It was so easy to sign up and I am so glad it makes the exchange easier for you! I cannot imagine how you managed to manually sign up so many people for the past exchanges without pulling your hair out!!!!
    Thanks for hosting these Gift Exchanges! I love doing them! The most anxious part for me is wondering if my partner likes the gift I make!!

  14. 16

    Hey Linda! I’m so excited to participate in my first Handmade Gift Exchange, however I’m a little confused :( Do I just pick someone on Elfster to send a gift to? And then does someone just pick me? Just need a little clarification I guess. Thanks! And I can’t wait to send my first gift.

    1. 16.1

      Hi Sarah,
      Yay! I’m glad you’ll join us! Sorry for the confusion!! On June 8 I will close the sign ups and you will get an email with your person’s name and info. If you have any more questions, just let me know!

  15. 17

    Thanks for hosting this! I can’t believe that experience you had, how awful! How selfish and greedy of that person :(
    I signed up, I too had a bad experience years ago with a swap but decided to do this one :) I even blogged about it to share. Can’t wait!

  16. 18

    has anyone figured out how to add your pinterest account? I signed up via Facebook so that was automatic, but I would like to add my pinterest account too and cant figure that out.

    I have never participated before but I am excited!

    1. 18.1

      Hi Erin,
      Yay! I’m so glad you’re participating! Go to Elfster and edit your profile. There is a spot that says “blog” but you can put a link to your pinterest account there. Let me know if you have more quesitons!
      happy crafting,

  17. 19

    I did it in November and it was so much fun! So glad you are doing it again and you can just enjoy it instead of stressing :)

  18. 20

    How fun! I just saw this on facebook and I’m in. :) I’m so sorry about what happened to you. I can imagine how stressful it must have been. I’m excited!! Thanks for continuing this is going to be fun.

  19. 21

    Yay for Craftaholic Anonymous Gift Exchange!! This is going to be my third. Can you tell how excited I am?? I am so happy that you’re organizing it again Linda despite the craziness last time…By the way..what is a “Spoiler”? lol Can’t wait to get started on it.


    1. 21.1

      Yay!!! So glad you’re coming in for round 3, Christine! Last time there was an individual that signed up and purposely abused the system :( But we’ve put measures in place to prevent this from happening again! I’m excited for tomorrow when all the names are drawn! :)
      happy crafting,

  20. 22

    Woo Hoo I’m signed up! I’d love to put your cute exchange button on my blog. What is the html code?

    1. 22.1

      Awesome! Thank you, Jaime! I meant to put the code in the post, but forgot. oops! Here it is: I’m not sure if it will work on here, so I sent it in an direct email as well.
      I really appreciate that you’re helping spread the word! Means a lot to me!
      happy crafting,

  21. 23

    Oh! Wow!
    This sounds like fun! Thanks for being the hostess, Linda.

  22. 24

    Yay! I’m so glad you are continuing, I didn’t have a great experience with the November one, partner never sent anything, but the summer one last year was great and I was really looking forward to doing it again! So glad that such a huge amount of work is lifted off your shoulders now! <3 Crafting shouldn't be stressful ;)

  23. 25

    Hi Linda,
    I would LOVE to sign up for this swap again this year, but somehow i can’t :(
    Apparently i’ve done it right, followed all the steps, loged in with my facebook account on elfster and everything but i get stuck when i (try) to click the JOIN button because nothing happens, i am not redirected…nothing…my status bar doesn’t move. I’ve tried IE explorer instead (i use Chrome most of time) and i still have the same problem.
    Can you help, plllleeeeaaase ?
    Thanks a bunch!

    1. 25.1

      The Join button i mention says RSVP actually :)

    2. 25.2

      hmm, I’m wonder if Elfster is experiencing some issues. Let me email Peter and see what he says because when you click RSVP, it should ask you to login or join Elfster. I’ll get back to you when I hear from him. I’ll send you an email invite as well to see if that works.
      thanks for the heads up!

  24. 26

    Fun Fun Can a senior with no camera to put up picture join?? I allready went to Elfster & hope I did it right. didnt see choice of where/ USA etc. Doesnt matter to me Linda. i knew you do a lot more then some think etc, Love yaaxxxx Thanks.

  25. 27

    WooHoo! I have joined! I have put it on my Facebook, and will blog about it in a bit! :)
    so excited!!!

  26. 28

    I do a lot of elfster exchanges with the moms of a parenting board I am on, as well as my large family during holidays! So easy and fun. I’m sure you know this already, but if someone flakes out and doesn’t send a gift you can see who the recipients gifter was supposed to be as well as their contact info… although I’m sure with so many participants it would be hard to follow through with tracking them down.

  27. 29

    I’m really excited about this :) Last time was my first experience and I really enjoyed it! I have posted to both my business and personal facebook as well as pinned the photo :)

  28. 30

    Hey Linda! I’m glad you decided to do this again. This is the first time I’m joining anything of this kind so I am very excited! Looking forward to doing this with everybody! I made a post about it on my blog. I made a different button that links up to this post, if you don’t mind. Thanks!

  29. 31

    so glad you decided to do it again! I have always loved it! I have to ask what a spoiler is though?

    1. 31.1

      nevermind lol, I should have read the other comments first! Some people are really jerks!

  30. 33

    Aww, this is such a cute idea, just see this the first time ever (I’m kinda new to all this blogging and sharing and… all the other amazing things going on here).
    I would like to join and I already have an idea, but I’m afraid, the postal charges will blast my small student budget as I’m from Germany. Well – if another craft idea which would be really really light, I will come back and join!

  31. 34

    never done this before, but have signed up with elfster – i think? it hasnt got all my details.. may i have done this wrong?

  32. 36

    I’ve never done this before! But I’ve decided to give it a go! I’ve got a few ideas of what to make for my future exchange partner. Once I know who it is will decide what to make. I’m kinda hoping I’ll get someone with a blog so I can snoop around to see what she/he(you never know, who signed up) likes. :)
    one more day! And the wait is over :)

    1. 36.1

      Hi Simona! I’m so happy you signed up! If you have any questions, just let me know :)
      happy crafting,

  33. 37

    Hey Linda! So, I signed up for the all countries exchange on elfster…but I don’t se my name in the accepted list…did I do it right?

    1. 37.1

      Hmm, I don’t see you in there either. I just send you an email invite. See if that works better. If not, please let me know!

      1. Wendy

        It worked! Thankyou!

  34. 38

    Just found this! I’d love to join but will have to wait until the next exchange. I’m also a little gun shy since I never received an item from my first exchange I tried (not this one). Sounds like fun though!

  35. 39
    Susan Jensen

    linda i realized you are busy gal 7 I read comments to get my answer. thank you. I have a red, whit, blue fabric purse started, how much can we send?/ one -3 dont want to be a geek player.xxxooo

  36. 40
    Maggie Hall

    Oh Noes… I can’t believe I missed the cutoff… and I even made put a post-it note on my computer desktop so I wouldn’t forget. Promise. PromisE! PROMISE, that you’ll do the one in November? I was so counting on this. I’ll be back… well, I ‘ll be back before then but I’ll definitely be back in November.

  37. 41
    Sandy Kramer

    Ah Man! I missed the sign up date! I was in last Nov. exchange. Loved it! I’ll have to watch for the next one, so I can be sure to join!

    1. 41.1

      Darn! So sorry we missed you, Sandy!! Let me know if you’d like me to add you to the reminder list so you get an email reminder for the next one.
      happy crafting,

  38. 42

    Ummmmm I just realised that sign up day has been and gone, and I never got assigned a partner, I followed the sign up to a T, sigh…..hope you all have fun and I hope to get my sign up done properly in November!


    1. 42.1

      Hi Naomi,
      I’m so sorry!! If you’d like to still participate, I have someone that needs a new partner. Please email me asap if you’d like to join!

  39. 43
    Joey Phang

    Hi Linda,
    Where can I post the photo to? Today I will send out my gift…..

    1. 43.1

      Hi Joey,
      I’ll be posting the linky party and flickr group tomorrow! Can’t wait to see what you made!
      happy crafting,

  40. 44

    please remind me in Nov.

  41. 45
    Nicki Morris

    Finding this blog today made my day!!! I just found out about Elfster and was looking for a random group to join using a search when I found your blog. After reading it I love Elfster even more and now I have this Handmade Gift Exchange to look forward to!! Thank you so much for all of your hard work in the past and for working so hard to be able to keep this going. I am really looking forward to participating!!

    1. 45.1

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad you found me, Nicki! The next Handmade Gift Exchange starts really soon. Signs up will be Nov. 1-7. Hope you’ll join us! Thanks for the kind words :)
      happy crafting,