Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Beach in a Box

A little while ago I took part in a project called The Curiosity Project. It's basically Secret Santa for people who love crafts, handmade and vintage-style things. I thought it was a really cute idea. You stick your address in the pot and the organiser passes it on to another participant. You receive the details of your partner and you exchange boxes of lovely things that you feel represent something of who you are. There was a budget of no more than £20 and it's great to feel part of a group of people who enjoy the same things as you, so I got in.

I took a lot of time and care in putting my box together. I spent just as much time, if not more, trying to make the box itself pretty. I decided to give it a theme - Beach in a Box. I truly love the seaside and thought it would be easy to find nice things to match the theme. I even started again after my first attempt, which I hand covered in small pieces of tissue paper, didn't look as good as I wanted it to. The second one, which I covered using the same time consuming method, looked great.

So, I filled the box with all the treats I'd gathered up, wrote a personal note to my mystery partner and posted it off. I had become so fond of the box and its contents that I even felt a pang of loss as it started winging its way to my partner. I had plenty of time to start again and keep it for myself. Still, I figured it was going to a good home.

I waited to hear from my partner via the project blog. Participants are asked to send photos of what they receive so that senders know their parcels have arrived and are being loved. Every day I visited the blog hoping to see what I'd sent. There was nothing. It was like being at the airport and watching as everyone elses luggage passed by. On top of that, I had received nothing in return. I kept waiting and became increasingly disheartened, especially when the organiser announced that no more boxes would be blogged after November 10th. As the deadline grew close, I tweeted them asking if there was any way my partner could be given a nudge, but I didn't get a reply.

I had sent the parcel by Recorded Delivery to be sure it arrived and I checked online to see if it had been signed for. It had. Only a few days after I'd sent it too. And so the deadline passed. I had received nothing in return and had no idea if the recipient even liked what I'd spent time and money putting together. To say that I was disappointed is a huge understatement. The organisers offered to make email addresses available if required, but it would feel very uncomfortable to contact them directly myself.

A new Curiosity Project has already started. Actually, it started before the first had even finished, which seems rather odd. Lots of people have had a positive experience and I wish them luck taking it forward, but having had my fingers burnt once, I don't think I trust it enough to take part again. The weird thing is, I care less about receiving something than I do about what I sent. I'm gutted that I didn't keep it for myself and send something else instead now.

I figure that even if what I sent can't be seen on the project blog, I can post it here. As I mentioned, the box itself was covered in small pieces of tissue paper and I did it so that the outside would have a beach hut and cloudy sky design. It's a Beach in a Box, so I made the inside just that. I painted waves around the inside, used some sandpaper to make a beach, cut some foam to form rocks, made and glued in some 'seaweed' and painted a little rock pool:

I carefully filled the box with a nautical striped scarf and matching bracelets. I also put in a hand thrown mug, which I chose because it had a perfect sandy feel to it. I added a book - The Hand That First Held Mine - which is both important to me and partly takes place on a beach, and I threw in a big seashell for good measure.

I finished it off with a hand written note and some cord to keep it all in place.

Whoever has it, I at least hope they enjoyed receiving it.

UPDATE: Since writing this post the Curiosity Project's main organiser, Tiffany, has been in touch to ask if I wanted any help contacting my partner. Tiffany got in touch with her and apparently the box was indeed received and they could see how much effort I'd put in. There was apparently some misunderstanding over the requirement to send photos of what you receive to the blog and I wasn't sent anything because my address went missing and they're just generally forgetful. So there we are. 

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1 comment:

  1. How rude! I can't believe your partner wouldn't even acknowledge the box. It is so lovely! I did something like this once with a fabric exchange ( a lot less work than you went to though!) and it annoyed me not to get anything in the packet except fabric...not a note or anything.