Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Hello, lovely swappers!
All evidence to the contrary,  I have not fallen off the face of the earth.

I know it's been awfully quiet around here.  So quiet that you've started sending me emails, asking if I was okay.  I'm happy to report that I'm doing very well.

You may remember that I started a new job at the beginning of November.  All of October was spent wrapping up my old job and hiring/training my replacement.  With that behind me, I launched immediately into my new job and have spent an intense month cramming in as much learning as I can.  I feel like I'm finally coming up for air, and I can see that I'm really going to like my new position.  I'm excited and energized (and slightly exhausted) by its possibilities.

All of this day-time intensity has made me want to do nothing but read, watch TV, and sleep during my non-work hours.  
And now it's the holiday season, in which I historically remove myself from all things swap-related so that I can focus on time with my family.

So what does this mean for MMSA in 2015?
I don't know.

In early October I had quietly made up my mind to stop hosting, but now, after a number of swap-free weeks, I'm having second thoughts.  I think I will miss it if I go cold-turkey.

The thing is, swaps take a lot of time.
Each one takes at least 10 hours when you factor in all the scanning, tracking, blog posting, and actual mailing.  It's a huge time commitment, and it's kept me from working on my own art, and my personal correspondence.
I've absolutely loved doing it, and it's brought me a lot of joy, but as soon as my life got stressful this fall my feelings changed.  Swapping started to feel like a burden and a chore, and I resented the time it took away from my own pursuits.  I never want to feel this way about this group, so it's time to scale back.

We'll see what January brings.  Maybe a once a month swap will strike the right balance for me.  In the meantime, if you know of any other swaps going on out there, send me an email, or leave me a comment and I'll post info about them on the blog.  And I've been working on a detailed post about how I organize the MMSA swaps in case any of you are thinking of hosting your own swap once in a while.

Finally - the round postcards went out in Monday's mail.  I hope they start arriving in your mailboxes today!

Thanks for your friendship in 2014.
I'll see you in the new year!


  1. Thanks for the update, and thanks for all your hard work on the swaps this year - I appreciate all your effort. Somehow you managed to get me to do things I've never even considered possible, and some had results that, to me, were incredible (the transparency challenge in particular).

    Have a great holiday break, and even if you don't continue this project I'll continue to check in on your personal art blog (we're still waiting to find out which red/white/black your mother-in-law chose, and which one you didn't like - if it is my favorite one I would give it a loving home!).

    I also want to thank you for the great mail friendships that have spontaneously blossomed out of MMSA - I have made some wonderful connections and received some amazing mail art.

    Best wishes for 2015.


  2. I can totally relate, Karen! (Also having just started a new job.) You've done such a great job with this site, but it does have to be fun. Whatever you decide will be just fine, of course. I hope you have a restful (and creative!) holiday season.

  3. Life often has a way of moving you on. Easing out of swaps for the time being sounds like a good idea for least until you have really settled into your new job. I appreciate how much time you spend on swaps, and am grateful to have been an infrequent participant. Many thanks for that, and I do hope you still have the occasional (very?) swap.

  4. So glad to hear you're taking care of yourself! While I will miss your enthusiasm and energy you give to swapping, I totally get the need to change your priorities. Best wishes to you and your new job with new possibilities! Happy Holidays! Peace, Valerie Kemp

  5. You have been an amazing, encouraging, and creative force in many of our lives. You certainly have been in mine! I have always marveled at how you could juggle family, work, art, and these swaps (with spreadsheets to boot!). Congratulations on your new job! I am delighted to hear that you like it very much; you deserve every happiness. Although I have not been able to participate in a long while, I greatly appreciated the swaps and chances to make art friends. Thank you for the community you created, and perhaps we can continue to peek in on everyone's projects through blogs, flickr, etc. Sending you a big hug, warmest wishes, and many thanks! karenm

  6. Karen, whatever you decide about swaps, I want to thank you for all you have done for us MMSA-ers. It has been great fun. I can't imagine all the hours you worked selflessly on all the swaps. Time for you to take care of you!

  7. Karen -- You have done an A-mazing job of hosting all the swaps and I, for one, just don't know how you do it! As you say, it takes time away from doing your own personal mail art too. I bet you will find the right balance when you have a chance to breathe......(yoga breath)......maybe once a month would be just enough to keep your hand in....and people could still post ideas for personal swaps on MMSA page too. Whatever you decide, thanks for all your efforts in the past and good luck with the new job and the holidays. When in doubt, eat some pie! xo

  8. Karen, I can only echo all of the wonderful comments above, you have done an amazing thing for us all! I like the way Joan stated it, "Life often has a way of moving you on." I can certainly understand your need to step back and make some adjustments. This has been a wonderful supportive community and I have been enjoying the motivation your swaps and deadlines bring. I wish you well, and have my fingers crossed that you will continue to have swaps now and then. All the best...Trudy

  9. Karen, I would sincerely be sad if you gave up doing the swaps, but, like the other posters I fully understand. If you were to decide on a once a month swap, I would be satisfied with that. Until you decide what you want to do, what is best for you and your family, I wish you the best of luck with the new job, and I'm delighted that you're enjoying it. Having a job you like makes life so much easier.

    Hoping you and your family have a wonderful holiday season,

  10. Thank you for all you have done. It is because of you that I learned some things, met some great people, and of course received great art.
    If you do consider in 2015, maybe we could host once in awhile.
    In any case, enjoy your time off and holidays.

  11. Karen, MMSA was one of the most wonderful discoveries I made on the I'net. It opened the door to some good friendships, and blessed my post office box with such an amazing variety of mail art. I echo the comments above mine. Thank you for investing so much of yourself into this group. Wish I were able to help carry the load. We do go through seasons in our lives... And I'm wishing you all good things as the holidays approach. Looking forward to next year. Honi C.

  12. thanking you for your hard work....just enjoy your own art time now!

  13. Thank you for your past dedication to your wonderful mail art site, Karen, and best of luck in your new job and all future endeavours. Happy Holidays!

  14. Karen,

    Can only echo each of the above comments. Life does move us on as Jo Murray suggests and nothing lasts forever. Just wish I had discovered MMSA sooner and benefitted from your generosity and enthusiasm! Will keep an eye on this blog....just in case..... but if it isn't fun you need to spend your precious energies on other pursuits.

  15. I received 2 big fun cards from Valerie and Karen! thank you!
    I certainly understand the time it takes to organize, send and keep track of monthly swaps. Would love to continue if you are able! Thanks for letting me join up!!!
    Merry holiday !!!!