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) (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!