What to do about the Birthday Block Exchange for 2012 ?

sandlapper_roseJuly 23, 2011

We are asking those who have been participating in the Birthday Block Exchange this year and in the past and those who may be intereted in signing up for 2012 to give us some input. I started discussing this under the July 2011 discussion heading. We got many comments so far that indicate it might be good to take a year off from doing this and return to take sign ups again towards the end of 2012 for the birthdays in 2013.

...but we want to know what everyone thinks about this!!!

If you want to see this take place next year, we begin with the sign ups early in the fall so we would like to get some feedback and make a decision. Did you like the rules that were in place this year? Do you want to see some changes? Is there someone (or a team of two) who would like to be coordinators for next year? That is not to say that Kristene and I will not do it, but we have never felt that it is our birthday block exchange. It was here before we stepped in and belongs to all those who participate. New coordinators are certainly welcome to step in here.

Everyone seems to think the Birthday Block Exchange is fun and wants to see it continue - we just wonder if a break for a year might be a good thing - allowing us to participate in some areas we have not done like the lottos, a challenge, a row or round robin, or maybe just take the time to complete quilts from the birthday blocks we have on hand. (For several years now, some in the exchange have graciously agreed to be in multiple groups so we had enough participants. When you do that for several years, it takes awhile to get the quilts made!)

It is my suggestion that even if the usual exchange does not take place next year that we should still have a heading here and have some activites like charm or fat quarter swaps, maybe a contest or two, and continue to keep in touch and share pictures of our Birthday Block Exchange quilts as we complete them. That thread would be here for all who have been members of the exchange. I will also suggest that for 2012, we could have signs ups to send to a "Birthday Secret Pal." The coordinator of that would assign someone to send one quilt related package to you on your birthday month or we could have a larger group that sends out cards. Either could be grouped by the full year or by the quarter to simplify things. With any of these, do you want to see guildelines in place for who can join? Should it be open to people regardless of when they have joined the Quilt Forum?

Ideas... ideas... ideas... These are just some that have been tossed in for our consideration.

Quilters, we want to hear from you. Let's discuss what we want to do. Okay?

Thanks so much!


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I was going to take off this year but ended up filling in for a drop out. I have many UFO's I need to finnish and like doing the block lottos so I'm ok with taking the year off.
there is also the idea of doing several holiday block swaps through out the year. I would like to do another row robin, and maybe getting the fat quarter swaps going again.
just my $.02 worth.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 10:01PM
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I enjoy the birthday block exchange a lot, but would totally understand if there are lots of people who want to take the year off. I was also thinking of possibly taking a year off to finish up some older projects that I haven't gotten around to, and it would be nice to have the time. Lottos would probably get more participation, and those were always fun as well and I've not had time to participate in them lately and would love to get back to it.

I would suggest that if we decide to take the year off, that we consider michelle's suggestions of holiday block swaps or something like that. Possibly also a quilting challenge (like the black, white and ___ all over) which gets lots of people participating, and the rest of us who don't always participate still love to hear the process and see the finished results, they are always so creative and inspiring!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Although I have really enjoyed the BDB exchanges I have pretty much decided to give it a break. A year off might be just the thing. Simple challenges would be interesting eg. candle mats, runners, placemats. A challenge but not too time consuming. MHO

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 11:24PM
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I have enjoyed the BDB exchanges, but think I, too, would really like a year off. I have so many projects I need to get finished.


    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 11:37PM
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I have really enjoyed the Birthday Block exchange. I would love to see it continue next year even if we just have one group. It lets me try out different blocks that I normally would not try.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 12:30AM
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I am on the fence doing the B'day Blocks. Count me as a maybe. I enjoy receiving them and like making them.
I liked the rules this year and selecting easier - faster blocks.
Personally, I am not interested in sending or receiving quilting trinkets, cards,etc - I have a difficult time getting those to my family.

Swaps and exchanges don't have to be b'day related - so no ongoing coordinator responsibilities or obligations - Jeanne & Kristene have done so much work we don't see to make the B'day blocks run smoothly.

I really enjoy seeing the pictures of the blocks people receive - we see too few --hint-hint! I am always curious what the other blocks look like and how they all play with each other. I still like my idea of a Birthday Block Club where you post what you did with your past B'day blocks you received during the month of your birthday. It would keep us connected if people participate.

Simple challenges would be good. We have some really talented people here. I would (selfishly) like to see a tutorial combined with a small challenge with pictures posted of what is made. Like the mug rugs , Christmas ornaments, beading & embellishments- fancy bindings - whatever - someone teaches it & we apply it however & post pictures.

Sadly, the rows and robins that are being held hostage and caught up in someone else's drama makes it difficult to promote having another. This is a plea to return them, so the group can move on!

So, back to the original question, I am okay with taking off a year - but may participate if you have enough people.
This is a close group of people (as proven by the popularity of the retreat)and I would like to do my part to keep in touch. Plus, it is my diversion from 'life'.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 8:53AM
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I plan to take the year off.....I had planned to take this year off, but ended up filling in, which I really don't mind doing. I, too, like the idea of showing a quilt made up of our BD blocks and showing during our BD month. I have three sets of them and will have 4 by the end of this year!! So, my plan for next year is to get at least 2 of them completed.....sigh.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 9:32AM
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I've loved the birthday block groups but I'm ready to take a year off.

LOTTOS: I've missed participating in the monthly lottos and want to get back to that.

CHALLENGES: I would participate in a challenge and even have a couple ideas to suggest for them if no one else does. I love the suggestion of the tutorial challenge (mug rugs, Christmas ornaments, etc)!

EXCHANGES &/or HOLIDAY SWAPS: I don't think I would participate although I know people have enjoyed doing these in the past.

ROBINS: I think I was their biggest fan, but I need to take a break from that too. Last year's experience was too sad.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 3:34PM
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I too would like to take a break from the birthday block exchange. I still have blocks from 2006 that need to be put into a quilt top. I am also finished with the Robins. I did receive my quilt back but I know at least 2 of the others in my group have not.
Linda OH

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 6:29PM
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This was the first year of the BDB for me and I've enjoyed it. I've never mailed anything outside the US, so that was a first for me. There was one month where I had 3 birthday's back to back and that was a little rough, but overall, I've really enjoyed doing them.

I will participate in one next year if a group would like to form and you will have me :-)


    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 9:10AM
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Sorry to hear that about the drama concerning the Robin. It happens in all groups, believe me.

I love the Birthday Block exchanges, but need to sit out in 2012 to finish up that which I have wrought!

I would be interested in a one-time fat quarter swap around the holidays, but not just for holiday fabrics, please. If we each listed our preference for FQ fabrics, then our Secret Santa could send us a few FQ's. Three or four FQs would not cost too much to mail. I love to receive squishys in the mail!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 3:32PM
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I participated in birthday blocks for 3 years, and have taken the last two off. I loved making blocks - especially when the recipient gave general guidelines and allowed for some creativity - and receiving was really fun too. But I still have not made any quilts from my blocks. I told myself that I CAN'T participate in any more birthday block swaps until I make quilts with all of my beautiful blocks.

For what it's worth, I had a very positive experience in my Robin group. That top needs to be quilted too.

Several years ago it seemed that there were more swaps, and I have nickels, strips, and FQs from all of you. I enjoyed those especially as my stash was non-existent to small when I joined this form and now it is "healthy." LOL

I probably wouldn't participate in a challenge, but I would enjoy looking at the pictures that you all posted.

I would enjoy tutorials and/or quilt-a-longs.

I think that in general the swaps, challenges, etc. should only be open to people who join this forum. It's easy enough to join, and I think the point is that we enjoy communicating with each other here. If you have a friend, sister, etc. who wants to join the swap, great, tell them to join the forum. Personally, I don't think that you should have to have been a member for any length of time, as I first found this forum because I was looking for an eye-spy swap, so I joined just to participate in that swap and I stuck. But I understand that a host/hostess may feel differently, and I would respect that decision.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 4:44PM
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Everyone is posting great ideas so please continue. I have not been a member as long as some others have, so I love hearing about what has been done in the past. (Actually I was on GardenWeb for a long time with the gardening side before I ever found out there was a quilting side.)
I feel so sad about the problems with the row and round robins. I have never done one and hoped another opportunity would come along... maybe after some time has passed it will be a good idea again.
I think we will have some people who would like to have the block exchange in 2012. I wonder if those who want to do it might be willing to swap six blocks with two people instead of sending one block to one person 12 times. Just a thought I had and we can see if it would interest those who want to do a birthday block exchange. (Maybe you could have at least 4 months to make 6 blocks and mail the 6 blocks so they would get there for the person's birthday? If I am counting right, that would work with as litte as 4 people signed up.)
...and you know, I have never requested just a "theme" for my blocks, so I might do that the next time we start up again. I remember someone receiving blocks that related to the Wizard of Oz back before I joined and they were so creative - one of the things that got me interested in doing the birthday block exchange!
Keep 'em coming.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 6:00PM
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Even though Jeanne and Kristene did a great job with the BDB exchange this year, I'm another one who was planning to take next year off, but I would love to get involved in some of the other things that have been mentioned. Perhaps not challenges, although I certainly do enjoy seeing the finished items. I would definitely enjoy tutorials and quilt-a-longs and would like to give the block lotto a chance as well.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 10:40AM
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I am one who has participated in multiple BB groups - so I have several batches of blocks that need to be made into a top & quilted! I am definitely taking next year off for that purpose. I have to make quilts from these piles of blocks! The blocks I've rec'd are so beautiful! The quilts are bound to be too.

I also love the Lottos - & haven't participated as faithfully this year as last - so I'm thinking by not doing BB it would free up some time to be more involved w/that again.

I see a benefit to Secret Pals or whatever, I've done those in the past & they can be a lot of fun. But I wouldn't want to receive from more than one person - that seems excessive. Holiday swaps too are fun, as long as they aren't too close to the holiday -- we know how crazy
life gets around holidays!!

I wasn't aware of drama or difficulties w/the RR - my experience here was great. I'd love to do one again. On another forum it was a disaster, but that was there not here.

I haven't been on the GW in awhile for sev'l reasons (unrelated to GW) but I'll check back now & then - the responses have been very interesting. From what I'm reading the BB swap is a huge success! A tribute to those who came up w/the idea, those who host & those who participate. You all rock!!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 1:12PM
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I have been in BD block groups for at least 4 years (maybe 5) and have really enjoyed it. Always got and sent all my blocks. The rules set up this year were great & Jeanne & Kristene have done a fabulous job. I would be happy to participate again (even though I haven't finished all of mine).

I like the lottos - will continue to participate when I am in town.

This was my first year for round robin and our group was FANTASTIC! Everyone did a super job & love my finished quilt top. I would do a round-robin again - especially if Cindy is in my group! :)

Would consider challenges - did black& white & ? - it was fun.

Always open to swaps - have participated in the 2-1/2" strips/ I-spy / & several others. I thought reading about the one that Dan-the-mailman organized was interesting, but I did not sign up for it.

Even though we will be traveling the first 3-1/2 months of 2012, I am open to just about anything! We do have an incredibily talented group of quilters here and for the most part are really good about fulfilling their obligations.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 2:55PM
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Sounds like there should be a challenge to complete a quilt out of past birthday blocks!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 4:34PM
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Kate already won that challenge :~)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 6:08PM
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LOL! I feel like I won! But lets do another so everyone with birthday blocks can feel like they won, too.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:33PM
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kate dont be too upset about the robins, I just heard my row robin is moving to another person, I have faith it will be home befor the end of the year. I think the rest will be floating around and end up home eventualy.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 9:22PM
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I've thoroughly enjoyed helping Jeanne co-ordinate the BB Exchange this year. We are both very organised people and work well together. Overall it has been a lot of fun and great to get to know more quilters personally. Just wish I were a lot closer and could attend the quilting retreat to meet many of you in person. I've found such co-operation, care and kindness from members towards each other - willing to help out whenever they could. Thank you all for being so supportive and co-operative.

My vote is to have next year off from the BB so I can finish 2 more quilts I still have to put together.

I think it is very important to still be involved with some activities so we don't lose contact with each other, so I'd be happy to join in a variety of small swaps, challenges, lottos - depending on what it is and when it is offered.

Posting photos of our finished articles will be very important and perhaps keep a tally of how many we achieve as a group for the year.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 8:37AM
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This was my first year participating in the birthday block exchange and really enjoyed it. I found that I was making blocks I'd not have thought of making for myself, and then learned that I like a lot of patterns that I didn't think I would. Having the list by the beginning of the year worked well because my heaviest sewing time is winter and I got all my blocks made then. Now I just get to enjoy watching the process unroll. And I got my first block gift from Kate today! I love it and many thanks, Kate!!!

So... that said, I'd be happy to participate in a 2012 birthday block with any who prefer not to sit out this year. Maybe there would only be enough people for 1 group. And I'd be glad to help with coordinating it, now that Michele is handling the monthly lotto.

I doubt that I'd participate in any kind of notions/birthday gift exchange, as, like magothyrivergirl, I have plenty of those, more than I can find room for!

Have never done a challenge, and would have to read the guidelines before committing to participate in one. But I doubt that I would.. I have enough challenges on the shelves of my quilting room!

Just another two cents worth.. and we know what two cents is worth these days!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 4:55PM
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i have loved doing the bd blocks and it helps me to learn new design's if you do have a group in 2012 i would like to be in it. i'm still catching up on everythng and using my stash to make up for my bazzar. i also plan to get back with the lotto blocks now that y health is improving. but i will go with the flow on what is decided.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:41AM
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I am still thinking, quilters, but perhaps we will set up one group for the Birthday Block Exchange for 2012. That will only require 13 quilters and should be easy to coordinate - either by me or by a team or someone else. For 2013, we can go back to having as many groups as we can fill up.
I think those who are indicating an early interest in this, should be first on the list and highest priority given to present and past dependable members. Sue, Kay, and Pat have already indicated an interst and if anyone else has, please remind me and I will start to keep a list to see if we get up to 13 people. Once we see about that, either I will be hostess again or someone else can take this on for 1 year to give me a break so I can complete my blocks into a quilt. I have about 5 years worth to put together and they are lovely blocks, so I want to do that!
Anyway, nothing is settled so continue to post ideas.
Kristene, thanks for helping me out this year. Kristene is a joy to work with as a partner!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 12:49PM
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Jeanne, we wouldn't even need a full 13 people. If each person made one for him/herself, and there were 12 in the group, that would be enough for a nice quilt top. And if we picked a larger size block we could do it with even fewer! I'd be glad to help coordinate.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 8:55PM
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Thanks, Kay. I am normally available, but sometimes like when I travel to CA to visit my triplet grandsons, it is nice to have someone available to keep watch on the message board and help to post the birthday messages on the right day. I really think we will get 13 people with no problem, but you are right - it can be done with less. I will look back to see when we did the actual posting last year. I think it was around Sept. or Oct. However, for now, I will begin to keep a list of the present and past good birthday club members who want to particpate for next year so they do not get left off the list - assuming it goes up to 13 and is less than 26. With so many of us wanting a year off, I think other ideas will be implemented too just so we can have some fun from time to time and keep in touch. A favorite seems to be the challenge to complete your birthday block quilts and post pictures when you do!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 11:51PM
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