Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Latest Promo Video!

Awhile ago I had talked to Kerry about how we should make a promotional video. The visual element, music, and text could really enhance our ability to show what a free swap is.

Problem was: neither one of us had training/experience in video editing.

I tried to teach myself for awhile, but life happened and that tutorial got put on hold.

But Kerry came through! She grabbed some of the time-lapse video her husband had recorded last year and put it to music, some still shots and some text, and bam! Video.

So check out our new YouTube video and share it around!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fall SWAP Coming Up in Orem!

Saturday, 26 September, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion

Pass the word along! You can point people either to:

Blog: http://freeswap.info (takes you right here)


you can print out flyers and pass them around or post them up at work, church, school (get permission first, if necessary)

English flyer

Spanish flyer

Looking forward to it!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lehi SWAP Report

Our first franchise.

I really wanted to be ready for this.

I set my alarm for 5:30 so I could get up, pack the car and arrive at the venue by 6:30 for set-up. Now, I felt I had to stick to this arrival time because I had told potential volunteers that I would be there. At. That. Time. One wee challenge: the night before, I had gotten home pretty late and was exhausted.

After a few hours of sleep, I heard a mysterious knocking...which was concerning because my children were at a sleepover with my parents and my husband was in Tokyo on business. I was alone in the house. Annoyed about waking up prematurely, I took a quick peek at the clock to see how long until my alarm was set to go off.


Well, *that* woke me up. (A big "Thank You" to my Subconscious for knocking on my brain's door!) Clothes. Pack. Drive!

{mysterious donations I found outside my garage--if this was you, let me know. And thanks!}

I left my house at 6:18. When I pulled up to the curb at the park, my phone showed 6:30. Miracle.


Anyway...after a few mishaps with the city sprinklers (I hadn't showered for the day yet, so, bonus!), Kerry and I got everything set up at the new venue.

The fella who lived kitty-corner to the park was curious about what it was that we were doing. We told him. He came back with...

{Thanks for your support, Kevin!}

Talk about a great start! Wow!

It was a lovely day and the venue was nice. Though it's a well-known park in Lehi, it doesn't have the volume of car-traffic that we're used to seeing at the Orem location. Overall numbers were lower than we had hoped, but some great donations came in and some great folks came in. Not only local folks, but people from up north in West Valley, Cottonwood Heights, and Midvale.

{I was just about too slow to get this: a donation of a sleeping bag and tent came in and were snatched up immediately!}

{This was delightful: these ladies, interested in possible other donations that might still come in, passed the time by playing a Jr. Scrabble game that had been donated. Perfect! I loved it.}

It was fun to see old friends and previous Free SWAP volunteers--didn't get photos because I was too busy chatting--and meet knew folks and hear their stories. From the mother on a fixed income trying to support her family to the woman who told me about the food shortages that her parents and others are experiencing--that's right, present tense--in Venezuela. (Look it up. I was stunned. What?!)

And the diversity of donations always puts a smile on my face. From our first donation of a large TV, seen here with its new owner...

...to the humble and somewhat comical donation of a fully-loaded kitty litter box. (Thanks, Jill!) And, yes, someone, ahem...scooped that one right up! I love it!

One of my personal favorite donations was the antique sewing table/machine. I'm not qualified to determine its value, and I don't know how well it actually sews, but it was a beautiful piece of history. The donor had tried to make sewing work for her, but her time and energy were already claimed by her small children (and one on the way), so she had decided to simplify her life and pass along the machine to someone else who could give it a good home.

{Thank you for sharing!}

As things wound down for the day and we started to pack up remaining items, one guest remembered that her friend had been gathering donations for the FLDS refugees in Southern Utah/Northern Arizona. Usually these women and children have nothing but the clothes on their backs and nowhere to go. 

Yes! We would love to send the women's and children's clothing for that cause!

It's easy to think that there is no genuine *need* in the richest country in the world. Not true.

On Facebook a couple of weeks ago a friend posted a link to a speech given several years ago by Arthur C. Brooks at Brigham Young University, "Why Giving Matters." Interesting read.

While finishing, I found this T-shirt:


Thank you to all who came, who donated, who brought their friends and families, who shared their stories. Thank you, Belinda, for volunteering pretty much the whole day!

Go to our Facebook page to see a photo of a young guest who had fallen into a puddle and needed a new, dry outfit. Free SWAP to the rescue! Her creative mom found a dress-sized black T-shirt, black belt, sparkly black tights--a rockstar was born! Darling.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Free SWAP Lehi--Tomorrow!

Saturday, August 15th
8:00 a.m. to noon
Wines Park, Southeast Pavilion 
100 E 500 N, Lehi
Lehi Main Street exit from I-15

Volunteers are welcome to help set up starting at 6:30 a.m., taking and sorting donations during the event, and with clean-up starting at noon. Call your friends--make it a fun group activity. 

*Volunteers can also shop while working.*

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Introducing the Free SWAP Logo Design

Earlier this year we were approached by artist/designer Kim Bateman (my brother-in-law) with his proposal to design a logo for the Free SWAP. Kerry and I heartily welcomed the idea. We knew that creating a brand identity could greatly further our efforts to spread the message of community sharing.

It was a very interesting process, to say the least. He met with both me and Kerry to ask us about how we came to be involved in this idea of the Free SWAP, about our values and interests and where we find inspiration. This is important for a designer to know his client so he can tailor design choices. Otherwise he could take a logo in a million different directions and still not find what speaks to the client.

Interviews done, he started sketching up pages and pages of ideas--from bold and graphic to fluid and organic, from text-based to image-based. It was all so fascinating to see the process unfold and see the diversity of logos he came up with.

We wanted to include so many concepts in the design but we knew we wanted to keep it fairly uncluttered. Symbolism, colors, shapes all have meaning when create a brand identity--we talked a lot. 

It was very much a collaborative effort (all the adults and even some suggestions from some of my kids) and in the end this (above) is where we all landed. We are very happy with the results.

  • The symbolism of circles supports the idea of both community (circle of friends, circle of influence, circling the wagons--Utah pioneers know about that, for sure) and also the planet earth. 
  • The hands forming the "S" reinforce the concept of sharing--giving and receiving. So the hands can be seen both as sharing an item and as cradling the planet.
  • Green is often associated with the environment and with prosperity--both concepts that fit well with the Free SWAP philosophy.
  • If you look at the hands upside down they look like stylized half-arrows which hint at the well-established recycling logo. 

We have registered our trademark with the State of Utah and everything. We are official. Now for incorporating it into our work.

Aside from this blog, our latest printing of business cards (in English and Spanish) and our Facebook page also feature the new logo. Yet to come are vinyl signs to be used at SWAPs and for promotion at farmers markets.

Thank you, Kim, for your experience, your professional, courteous nature and your creativity. It was a pleasure to work with you and we are delighted with your design.

If you are interested in seeing more of Kim Bateman's work or to contact him, please visit: 


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Promoting the Lehi SWAP at the Wasatch Front Farmers Market

{Our little helper demonstrated the concept of Free SWAP by handing out free suckers. 
She loved her job; and was very good at it}

Since we're opening up our first "franchise" this year--in Lehi, Utah--we thought the Wasatch Front Farmers Market (Thanksgiving Point location) would be a great choice for promoting the upcoming swap.

Lovely day to be out talking with folks. Pleasant booth neighbors. Yummy food from the Taiwanese place across the way. And Kerry and I both went home with luscious fresh produce to boot. (We'll see if enough berries survive long enough to be turned into a pastry; I keep eating them.)

{our booth--homegrown fun with a couple of women who love to do this}

{Kerry with the finished set-up}

 Some of the things we heard today: 

"I have about 8 bags of clothes that I've been meaning to take to the thrift store." 

"We just bought a new couch and now the old couch is just sitting there in the garage."

"We have *so* much stuff."

"We have a dryer we could give away."

Perfect. Bring it on down to the Free SWAP next Saturday!

Saturday, August 15th
8:00 a.m. to noon
Wines Park, Lehi, 100 E 500 N
(Main Street, Lehi exit from I-15)

{Kerry and the Sugar Dealer in action}

Thanks, Wasatch Front Farmers Market, for letting us join the gang this week! And to the folks we chatted with today, hope to see you Saturday!

Friday, August 7, 2015

June 2015 Report!

Rockstar set-up crew (minus one or two camera-shy rockstars)

Well, my dear Free SWAP partner, Kerry, was off in New York at a work conference during the opening swap. I was going to miss her; and she was going to miss out on all the fun here. But I had all kinds of volunteers show up to help out; it was fantastic! Again, we had volunteers I knew--long-time friends and neighbors of mine--and volunteers I just met. (The volunteer at the left of the photo organizes swaps as well--I believe in Provo somewhere--so it was fun to meet her and have her energy and set-up skills. *I was hoping to get your contact information before you left, but we were all so busy the whole time, that I looked around for you and you had gone. Contact me--would love to chat more about free swaps.*) 

Before the swap even got started we had a lot of donations. 

The park grounds crew wanted to wash down the tables for us before we got started so we piled up the donations off to the side and visited with each other before all the excitement kicked off.

Right out of the gate we started with a hearty outdoor recreation inventory. 

Doors opened.

It always amazes me how many donations come and go during the course of each free swap.

Flash-mob of sharing and community togetherness. Love it.

 We had a couple of signs printed up to facilitate the flow in the parking lot.

In the past interested passersby, upon seeing the packed parking lot, would simply leave. This sign, we hope, says, "Don't leave! There's room for more! Come play with us."

Here a patron happily--and comfortably--waited for the truck that would take that futon couch on to new adventures.

Sweetest new volunteer Lili--she was delightful and a hardworking advocate for this little swap. 
(*Loved meeting you!*)


Strangers--met in the parking lot--worked together to share a couch with someone new.

Because we love the swap so much Kerry and I like to brainstorm new ways to spread the word not only about our local events, but about the entire concept. This year we invited local photographer Joy C. to take portraits of happy customers eager to share their stories. These portraits we will use to further the cause. More on that to come...

Young Nathaniel, a veteran volunteer (an umbrella escort at the fall 2014 free swap), was a super helper on this balloon project.

My dear, dear friend Kelly--our friendship is over thirty years old. (How that's possible when we're both only 25?! hmm...) We both grew up 2 states away so the fact that we now live a 20-minute drive from each other is pretty incredible.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feedback, folks.

Fantastic clean-up crew (minus a few more camera-shy helpers) made quick work of everything. I blinked and all was packed up. Thank you, thank you!!

It was a beautiful day for sharing within the community.

Next Free SWAP: Saturday, August 15th, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at Wines Park in Lehi, UT.

Big "Thank You"s to (it really goes so fast and furious that my brain doesn't always compute everyone who might have helped out--for that I am sorry):

Kim B., for the new logo you designed for us (will share more on that in another post--we are excited about having a logo to further the cause); my oldest child, for watching your little sister; my middle child, for being a super awesome helper from start to finish; Jeff B. and Amanda S., for your help on all the Spanish language translations (more on that in another post); Joy C., for being the promotional portrait photographer (looking forward to more on that project); the Toblers, Paula W., the Wilkinsons, the Wayases for packing your cars with, and transporting, all the donations that the neighborhood had collected; Lili, for your cheerful volunteerism; Sarah C., for helping to set up the canopy in the morning (so needed!); Paula W., for helping with set-up and letting my children at home come play at your house; Wilkinsons, for set-up help AND clean-up help!; Roy S., for making time to volunteer a bit even though you had a conflicting event; the Greens, for your lightning-fast clean-up skills, Abby R., for your steady help every free swap; Mystery Woman (who also does free swaps in Provo), for your hard work and experience; Rebecca (with your little one in the stroller), for offering to transport leftover donations to the thrift store; Nathaniel, for being the balloon-design coordinator and eagerly helping out; and Kay J., for helping with set-up (which is what I feel I need the most for a successful swap)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

June SWAP Coming Up!

Sharing . We . All  . Prosper

Saturday, June 6th, 8:00 a.m. to noon
Orem City Center Park, Rotary Pavilion

Donations are welcome—from furniture and home d├ęcor to sporting equipment
and winter gear. (Please limit donations to items that can be carried by one or
two people; nothing that needs special moving equipment—i.e. dollies for
refrigerators, etc.) Simply drop off donations any time during the free swap and
then stay and browse the rest of the selection for anything that you could
use. Items not taken by end of day will be donated to a thrift store.
NOTE: There is *no* requirement to donate to benefit from the offerings
—please take what you can use.
Food donations are also welcome and will be delivered to the Food Bank in Provo.

For more info see:


Facebook group: Community FREE S:W.A.P. (Sharing: We All Prosper) - Utah County

Pass the word along digitally or the old-fashioned way with these downloadable flyers:

Print them out and post them up at work, church, favorite shop (with permission), etc.

Interested in volunteering? We love volunteers. Simply come to the event and we'll put you to work for as long as you can join us. You do not have to commit to 4 hours of work. Even if you've only got 15 minutes, we would love your help. Thank you, thank you!

(We can use special help setting up around 6:30 or cleaning up at noon.)

Feel free to ask questions at:

desertgreengoddess (at) gmail (dot) com