Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Swap Update and Wrap Up

Hi folks. I just sent out an email to all you with a few questions to help wrap-up this year's swap. If you didn't get it, it might be in spam. Here's what it says:

* * * * * * *

Dear Swap Friends,

Thank you for your enthusiastic participation in the Holiday Ornament Swap! To help wrap up the 2011 Holiday Edition of the swap, we have three important questions for you:

1) Did you receive your ornament yet? Hopefully many of you have started to receive them. If you do not receive your ornament by Monday, December 19th, please contact the team and we will investigate.

2) If you did receive your ornament, will you please email us a picture of it? Feel free to post it on the FB page if you like, but since the photo quality on FB is very limited, we’d love to get the file directly from all of you in order to make another beautiful slideshow like last year.

3) Would you like to be notified by email of any future swaps that might be organized? If so, please “opt in” to my mailing list by replying to this message and saying something like “add me!” We still plan to delete everyone’s contact information on December 31, as previously agreed; we will only keep the email addresses of those who agree to be contacted in the future. (If you missed out on this swap and would still like to be notified about future ones, please email us and opt in as well.)

Thank you again for helping to make this season a little brighter for another grieving family.

Wishing you all peace and love now and in the New Year,


On behalf of the Remembering Together Swap Team.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2 days until mailing deadline!

Hope all the crafting out there is going well. Just a quick reminder that there are 2 days until the swap mailing deadline. I can't wait to see all the beautiful ornaments we have created in honor of our children.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ideas to help you get started

Thank you so much to everyone that joined us this year for the ornament swap!

For those that don't consider themselves artistic or even those who may just need some inspiration as a good starting off point - check out the links below to get those holiday juices flowing :)

Check your local craft stores (Michael's, Jo-Ann's. A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc.) they often have kits, precut wooden shapes to paint, even plastic ball ornaments that you can fill with things. Be creative :)

All in all just remember to have a good time! This is not about who can be the best artist it's about swapping ornaments made with love to other moms who understand the journey of grief and appreciate the gift to remember their sweet child.

Here's some links to help you along your crafting journey!

on this blog to find the other ideas on this site)

http://www.iheartnaptime.net/crafts/ (the Christmas section is at the bottom of the page)


Remember to have your ornaments out by Dec. 9th to insure delivery by Christmas :)

Remembering Together Swap Team

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sign up is closed

Sign up for the 2011 Ornament Swap is now closed. Look for an email with the details about the ornament you will be making to arrive in the next 24 to 48 hours. Thanks to everyone who signed up, we will me making ornaments for over 70 babies this year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2 days left

Just under 2 days until the sign up deadline and as of right now, we will be making ornaments to honor 51 sweet babies.

Monday, November 14, 2011

4 days left to sign up

Just a quick reminder that the deadline to sign up for this year's swap is this Friday. Right now we are sitting at 36 sign ups which is only 1 third of what we had last year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Welcome to the Ornament Swap Holiday 2011 Edition

Here we are again. It’s November and the holiday season is quickly approaching.  Along with all the traditional trimmings, the holiday season can bring those of us in the babyloss community a fresh round of grief and longing for our children who are not here to celebrate with us. No matter if this is your first Christmas, second Hanukkah or fifth Winter Solstice without your child; we all deserve some extra support at this time of year.

The Remembering Together Ornament Swap is back for a second Holiday season to bring some light and love to what is literally the darkest time of the year. By participating in the swap, you will receive an ornament with your baby’s name, hand-made with love, from a fellow bereaved mother (or father or family.) You will also make an ornament honoring a lost child to send to another family. 

We are hoping to make this year’s swap even better than last year by including more families in the swap. If you are new to the swap or just can’t quite remember how things worked last year, here are the important details you need:

How does the swap work?
It works “secret Santa” or “secret swapper” style. To join the swap, sign up using the form here. You must sign up by Friday November 18. Last call for swappers will be at 6 pm (EST) and we have to stick to that deadline to allow each crafter enough time to make their ornament and ship it to their assigned family.

The next day the Remembering Together team will compile all the participant names and conduct a random drawing to assign “secret swappers” (though they don’t really have to be secret!). We will send you an email with the contact information of the family you are making the ornament for, their child’s name, and some other preferences. Then you can get crafting!

At the same time, another participant will be receiving your contact information, your baby’s name, and your preferences. So keep an eye out for your ornament in the mail. Please try to complete and ship your ornament to your assigned recipient by Friday, December 9th. Sooner is better, but we understand that we are kicking things off a little late and you need time to make your ornaments.

I don’t celebrate Christmas—can I still be included?
Absolutely. Even though we are making “ornaments,” this is a non-denominational swap. When you sign up, you'll be required to list the holidays that you celebrate. Although there are plenty of lovely secular winter images that can be used in ornaments, knowing your religious preference could help your crafter design an ornament that works for your family. (For example, your crafter will probably want to know if you celebrate Hanukkah but not Christmas.)

How many people can participate?
We would love to spread the love as far as possible this year so as many people as sign up can participate. Please spread the word by forwarding the sign up email, linking to our blog, posting our button on your blog or liking our FB page.

I’m not very artsy-crafty—can I still participate?
Yes, please do. Your ornament does not have to be perfect. It really is the thought that counts. Some of the larger arts and crafts stores have ornament making kits for kids, which are a great option if you are not a serious crafter. Or you can buy pre-cut, unpainted wooden shapes to personalize by painting. We will be posting ornament ideas on the blog to help out anyone who needs inspiration.

What should my ornament look like?
Almost anything appropriate to the season. There are just a few rules. You must include the baby’s name (part of what makes these ornaments so special). The information collected during your sign up will also include significant dates, and any symbols or colors that you associate with your baby. Crafters are not obligated to include these, but may use them to get an idea of what the receiving family would like. Also please respect the parents’ religious/non-religious preference. And please try to include some kind of hanging mechanism (hook, string, etc.), so that it can be hung.

I have more than one loss. Can I receive multiple ornaments?
Of course. If you have multiple losses and would like more than one baby remembered, please fill out a separate sign-up form for each child. (This means that your babies’ ornaments will each be made by someone different, so they won’t necessarily match.)

I have a question about what my recipient would like. Can I contact them, or do I have to stay secret?
You don’t have to be “secret” swapper. You will have their mailing address and their email address and can contact them if you choose. Most likely, though, they will be happy with and touched by whatever you choose to make for them.

How much does participating cost?
It costs whatever you choose to spend on supplies, plus the cost of shipping the ornament to its recipient. (The organizing team will not receive anything, except an ornament from their individual secret swapper.) In order to reduce shipping costs and times, this year we will be attempting to keep swapper assignments with the same countries or at least the same general area of the planet.

Where do I send the ornament when it is done?
Mail it directly to the family at the contact information provided in the email that I will send you.

Am I guaranteed to receive an ornament?
I wish I could say yes. I am 99% sure you will each receive an ornament. Unfortunately there is no accounting for weather delays, family emergencies, things getting lost in the mail, or best intentions gone awry.

What if I sign up, and then can’t complete my ornament on time or at all?
Please let us know as soon as possible. We will try to find someone to cover for you, so that your assigned family receives their ornament. (However we cannot guarantee this.)

It sounds like I have to send you my private contact information. Is that safe?
I promise we absolutely will not distribute your contact information to anyone other than the person assigned to make your ornament. I promise we will not sell your contact information to any business or individual. Your contact information will be deleted from the swap team’s records by December 31, 2011.

If you prefer not to give out your information over the interwebs, just email the team at rememberingswap at gmail dot com. Someone will reply your email and we will work out a way to collect your information directly.

The holidays are so busy—I feel like my head will explode if I add anything else to my To Do List. We understand how you feel. Making these ornaments is intended to be a meaningful activity to bring comfort and provide a framework for processing difficult feelings. But it may not be what you need right now. Our wish for you is that you find the comfort and support you need, whatever form that takes.

What were those deadlines again?
Sign up by Friday, November 18. Ship your ornament by Friday, December 9.

The Remembering Together Swap Team

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2011 Holiday Swap Update

Hello all,
Just a quick update to let you know that a team of ladies has come together to bring you this year's swap. We are working on getting things organized so look for sign-up information to come your way very soon.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ornament Swap: Looking for Help

Dear friends,

For a variety of reasons, I won't be able to run the ornament swap again this season. I was hoping too, but unfortunately it's something I just can't take on right now.

We had so many wonderful participants last year, and in the Mother's Day swap for spring. So I'm putting out a call to see if anyone is interested in taking over the swap to run it this year. I can hand over all my notes and give you access to this blog and to the swap Facebook page.

If you might be interested in taking on this project this month, please email me at roseyjenni AT gmail.

My best to everyone!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Closing Up Swap

Thank you everyone for another successful swap! I'm planning to run the Holiday Ornament Swap again this year, so look for some information about that next November. If I get inspired with another swap idea for the summer, I'll let you know. xo

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pretty Things on Display

First of all, THANK YOU to each one of you for joining this swap. I love how the babylost community, under some of life's worst circumstances, continues to share so much love and support. You are all amazing.

It's been really cool to see all of your flower projects - a lot of creativity on display! I only received about fifteen photos, but I put them together in a slideshow here so everyone can take a peek:

A few of you also got in touch to let me know that your gifts have not yet arrived. Hopefully I've responded to each of you by now. I'm hoping your crafts arrive soon! If you still want to send in a photo you can - I can post individual photos here. Or you can put them on FB.

If you want to be contacted when the next swap is starting, please send me your email address (roseyjenni AT gmail), and I'll put you on my list. If you participated in the ornament swap last December and asked to be on my mailing list at that time, you don't need to send me your email again. Apart from that mailing list, I'll be deleting everyone's contact info from my records shortly, for privacy's sake.

Love, gratitude, and warm springtime hugs to each of you!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


A few people have asked me for the swap's FB page, and I just realized, duh, that I don't have an FB badge up on this blog! So there is one now, if you are looking for us over there.

A lot of people have posted their craft photos on FB - that's totally great, I love that we can all share our work this way! Also it seems like not everyone has received their craft yet (yikes!). Please feel free to check in on FB if you are still waiting for yours. This weekend I will be spending some time trying to track down anything that has gone missing, so do let me know, here or on email or on FB if you are wondering where yours is. Thanks!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mother's day

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there, especially the mamas whose children are not with them today, the mamas with an empty seat at their tables.

I know of you have not yet received your bouquets. I am hopeful that they will arrive in the mail tomorrow. If you are missing yours and it does not show up by later this week, you can let me know and I will try to help you track it down.

Wishing everyone a peaceful day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Saying Thank You + Photos

Hello all. "Bouquets" are starting to arrive! So nice - thank you all for the thought and care you are putting into these projects. If you would like to say thank you to your swapper, feel free to leave her a message in the comments box below. (Or on our Fac.ebo.ok page, but I'm not sure that everyone in our swap is on F.B?)

Also, I would love to do a video collage of the crafts, like we had for the ornaments in December. I think it would be best for the receiver to take the photo of their girft and email it to me. This is optional: some people may not be comfortable having their craft shared publicly--for example, if it includes a baby's name that they don't like to share online, or something along those lines... But if you'd like to, please email me a snap (roseyjenni AT gmail). I'll put the collage together over the next couple of weeks. I'm so curious to see everyone's creative work!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mail Drop Date Today

Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed making your crafts. I'm so touched that so many of you wanted to participate in this event, and by how you are supporting one another. Hopefully most of you got your crafts in the mail today. If not, I'm guessing that Monday will be just fine, especially since nobody has to ship internationally. You can always send "priority" to ensure it arrives by Saturday. Thank you all!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How's it Going?

Just checking in. How's your crafting going? I'm a bit behind on mine, due to vacation, but looking forward to really getting into it this week.

Mother's Day feels ages away, because it is dreary and not very flower-ful in my part of the world, but it's a bit heavy on my heart. While that will be a busy weekend for my family, and while I'm very much looking forward to participating in a memorial walk with my support group on the Saturday before, actual Mother's Day is looming like a big blank spot on the calendar. Another day through which I simply need to breathe. I'm looking forward to making my craft though - I think it will help.

I found two more paper flower crafts that I wanted to share with you - here and here. Again, if anyone else has suggestions (or needs help!) please post in the comments below. Drop date to mail crafts is a week from today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Swap Assignments Done

I have made the swap assignments and emailed everyone in the swap. If you did not receive an email from me with your swap assignment, please let me know by email or on our fac.ebo.ok page. (But please check your Spam box first.)

I will be out of town with limited email access from Thursday, April 14 through Thursday ,April 21 (vacation at long last!), but I will check email when I can, and if you have problems I promise to get back to you. As this is our second swap, I hope the logistics will go a little more smoothly for everyone, but you never know - life is crazy!

Happy crafting everyone!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Swap Closed, Assignments to Come

Thank you to everyone who signed up for the Mother's Day Swap! I have to check the numbers, but I think we have around 50 people - so lovely. I've disabled the sign-up button below and am compiling names today. I hope to send out assignments soon.

Special thanks to Wyatt's Mommie who posted some great links to crafts in the comments section of the post below. Be sure to scroll down and check them out.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Swap Deadline Tomorrow! (Sunday)

We have 35 beautiful mamas registered for our swap!

If you know of anyone else who might like to join us, now is the time to spread the word. Registration will close at midnight tomorrow, Sunday, and I hope to be distributing swap assignments by the end of the day on Monday.

I went searching for some easy-peasy flower projects and found these
. Paper and glue and awfully cute. Anyone else have some suggested craft ideas or good links to share? Please post in the comments below.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A New Swap for Spring

Spring is not a particular grief season for our family (Angel Mae was born in winter, with a summer due date), but it is the time when I grieve most for what we would be doing together now. The world wakes from winter, and babies and kids of all ages emerge to play and enjoy the warm sunshine. Our family makes plans and becomes more active. And she is missing it all.

Here in the states, spring brings Mother’s Day—an awkward holiday in our house. Lilly goes away to spend it with her real mother. Brian and I spend it with my mother-in-law. On that day, I play the role of daughter, not mother. Even though Brian buys me cards and pastries, what I really want is to be given a big bouquet of flowers (and breakfast in bed, thank you very much) by my child.

On Mother’s Day I remember other loss mamas, and wonder about the awkwardness in their own homes. The absence of children who should be signing that Mother’s Day card or bringing in breakfast with their siblings… The wondering, where there are no living children, about whether we “count” as mothers…

Carly Marie created a wonderful alternate holiday, International Babylost Mother’s Day (May 1 this year), for us to remember and remind one another that we are mothers—-whether our babies are in our arms or in our hearts. In that same spirit, I'm putting together a craft swap, with a floral theme, for U.S. Mother’s Day (May 8). I am thinking especially of all the mamas out there having their first Mother’s Day without their babies and how to help them feel supported.

Our holiday ornament swap last December was AMAZING, thanks to the dedication of all of you. If you are up for some more crafting this spring, I hope you'll participate in this Remembering Together Bouquet Swap for Mother's Day. Details and deadlines are below.

What are we making?
Any kind of craft with a floral/bouquet theme: a collage of flower images, some knit or needle-felted flowers, a watercolor painting of spring blossoms, a pipe-cleaner bouquet—-whatever inspires you! It can really be any kind of craft as long as it conveys the beauty and meaning of Mother's Day flowers.

Why a “bouquet” theme?
So we make sure that every mama in our swap circle receives her “Mother’s Day flowers”—the customary gift—no matter what else is going on for her.

How does the swap work?
It works “secret swapper” style. To join the swap, sign up by the deadline using the form below. Once I receive all the names, I'll do a random drawing. This will assign you a mama to make a "bouquet" for. Meanwhile, another mama will be assigned to make a craft for you. (In most cases it will not be the same person, as it's a big circle of swappers, not one-on-one trades.) I will email you with the address and email of the mom you are crafting for, along with some of her other preferences for the project that you can use as guidelines or to make the gift more personal. When your craft is done, ship it! And look out for your bouquet in the mail.

What are the deadlines?
Sign up by Sunday, April 10. Ship by Saturday, April 30. I know this is a super-quick turnaround and that it may not work for everyone. However, my goal is for everyone to receive their craft before May 8, if possible. (I will get the random assignments made and emailed out to everyone by April 12.)

How many people can participate?
Unlimited. We had over 100 people in our swap circle last December. Please pass on this website to any loss families who might want to participate—especially new loss mamas who may be facing a difficult first Mother’s Day without their baby/ies.

But I’m not very artsy-crafty...
Me either. But it really is the thought that counts! I will post some ideas for simple crafting projects here, and you can always check your local arts and crafts shop for pre-packaged crafting kits. They usually have some cute projects that are easy to make.

I have more than one loss. Can I receive multiple bouquets?
In our holiday ornament swap, we made ornaments for all the babies. In this swap, we are crafting for mamas--that’s a fine line emotionally, I know--and will do just one “bouquet” per person. You will have an option on the sign-up form to request that your baby/ies name(s) be incorporated into your flowers. If you are a two-mom family, and you would both like to participate, please do! You will each need to complete a separate form. (I realize we're leaving the dads out. If anyone has any genius ideas for a future dad-focused swap, let me know!)

I have a question about what my recipient would like. Can I contact them?
You don’t have to stay secret. You will have their mailing address and their email address and can contact them if you choose. Most likely, though, they will be happy with and touched by whatever you choose to make for them.

How much does participating cost?

It costs whatever you choose to spend on supplies, plus the cost of shipping the ornament to its recipient. (As the organizer, I don’t make anything from this project.)

Where do I send the craft when it is done?
Mail it directly to the contact information provided in the email that I will send you.

What if the mom I'm crafting for lives overseas?
In our last swap we had ornaments being shipped all around the globe—which was completely amazing, but also a bit complicated, especially with shipping and delays. This time, if we attract an international group of swappers again, my intention is to fuss with the “random drawing” a bit and assign people to one another within the same country or continent. This should reduce shipping hassles, and reduce the pressure to finish your craft early.

If anyone really wants an international assignment, let me know in the form below, and I’ll figure it out!

Am I guaranteed to receive a bouquet?
I wish I could say yes. I am 95% sure you will. We were pretty close to this mark in our December swap. Unfortunately there is no accounting for weather delays, family emergencies, things getting lost in the mail, or best intentions gone awry.

What if I sign up, and then can’t complete my craft on time or at all?
Please let me know as soon as possible, and I will try to find someone to cover for you. (However I can’t guarantee this.)

What should I do when I receive my bouquet?

Leave a comment on this site to thank your crafter! Also, if you'd like to, you can take a picture and email it to me. I'll collect the photos and post them here, so we can all share the beauty.

It sounds like I have to send you my private contact information. Is that safe?
I promise I absolutely will not distribute your contact information to anyone other than the person assigned to make your bouquet. I promise I will not sell your contact information to any business or individual. Your contact information will be deleted from my personal files by May 31, 2011.

If you prefer not to give out your information over the interwebs, just email me at roseyjenni at gmail dot com. At that point, I’ll give you my phone number, and you can give me your info over the phone.

What were those deadlines again?
Sign up by end of day Sunday, April 10. Ship by Saturday, April 30, to arrive before Mother’s Day Sunday. Email me, or leave comments here, if you have problems with the form or have any questions at all. I hope you can join me!

This swap is now closed. Thanks for signing up!