This year I started following a blog titled Fat Mum Slim found here – I came across it because of a photo a day calendar I found on another blog or Pinterest (or somewhere…) I’ve really enjoyed reading the blog as well as doing the photo a day (although I seem to fall behind on  many occasions).

In October or November I found out that Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim (also here on Facebook) was hosting an Around the World Gift Exchange so I decided to sign up – I mean, it sounds like so much fun, doesn’t it?! There were 4 groups you could choose from including shipping all over the world, shipping just in Australia where Chantelle is from, shipping within Europe, etc. I decided to do the “Around the World” group.

Part of the gift exchange included interactions on Elfster and within a Facebook group just for the event. If you haven’t heard of Elfster – it’s a super fun way to create a gift exchange for any occasion. You enter the names of all participants and their e-mail address and then you send them an invitation to participate.  Once everyone accepts the invitations you can do the “draw” and Elfster will send each person who was randomly selected for them and then the stalking begins. Within the Elfster website and on their iPhone app (not sure if they have an Android app or not) you can send anonymous questions and notes to your recipient so you can get to know them better and select a great gift for them. They can create a wishlist and include links to their favorite things on their favorite websites.

The person who I was selected to send a gift too, unfortunately had some illnesses in the family and was unable to be very active so I was really going out on a limb selecting a gift for her, but from posts on Facebook I did good. I found out she has 3 children and lives in Australia. I searched Etsy for a lovely gift from an artist in Australia to ensure that shipping was handled correctly and the package arrived in a timely manner. The lovely shop on Etsy – Bead Inspired had some beautiful pieces to choose from. I selected a dainty birds nest with 3 turquoise beads to symbolize my secret elf’s children. I contacted Lisa at Bead Inspired and explained the Around the World Gift Exchange and asked if she would be willing to wrap the gift and write a card for me and she graciously accepted. You can find Bead Inspired here on Etsy and on Facebook.

Lisa sent me a picture of my gift all wrapped up and ready to ship…

Once it was shipped is was out of my hands and I had my fingers crossed my giftee would love it. Well… a few days later I saw this on Facebook and it made me happy.

Lisa and I corresponded back and forth quite a bit so I decided to ask her some questions about how she got started making jewelry and if she minded if I posted about her lovely business on my blog.  And her is what Lisa had to say (December 15, 2012 3:32 am ET)…

Kerry and I are two friends who live around the corner from each other. We met at the park with our 18month old babies. (Mine turned 9 yesterday and Kerry’s turns 9 in January). We have been the best of friends ever since. Our kids went to the same kindergarten and have been in the same class at school every year. When they were younger the two kids (mine is Stephanie and Kerry’s is Samuel) were going to get married. Samuel was saving his pocket money to buy a house for them. Unfortunately that has worn off now, but the two of us are secretly hoping that we will become sister in laws.

A few of years ago my Mum saw a jewellery making course advertised and thought I would love it. How right she was. I discovered that while I was creating it was the most relaxing thing and found it the best ever stress relief, a bit like meditation.  I told Kerry about it and she came and immediately got the bug as well. Before we knew it we had way too much jewellery  and didn’t know what to do with it. Our kid’s kindergarten had a “ladies night” so we decided to set up a stall and sell some. We received great feedback and haven’t looked back since.

The perfect thing about my partnership with Kerry in Bead Inspired is that we both are very different and have different styles. I am the random, asymmetrical messy one. Kerry is the more symmetrical, delicate and organized  one. It’s been great because we have learnt a lot from each other and our strengths and weaknesses are opposite. I must drive her crazy with my messiness when we are at markets. We can laugh at each other and ourselves which is great.

If you ever need/want a gift from Australia I highly suggest checking out Lisa and Kerry’s Etsy shop and picking out something extra special!  I’m pretty sure if we lived nearby we’d be friends!

I should also mention…if you are looking for a fun blog to follow you should look up Fat Mum Slim, and be on the look out for next year’s Around the World Gift Exchange (I have my fingers crossed she will do it again)! You might meet a few really great people along the way!