This past year I’ve been participating in the FMS Photo-a-Day monthly challenges. The organizer, Chantelle, of these monthly prompts also has a great blog! This is something I follow as well… so when I saw in October she was arranging an International Secret Santa gift exchange I decided to sign up!
Participating in this has been heaps of fun. It was pretty easy…you had to respond to the emails and get an “Elfster” Account. I didn’t even know this kind of website existed…it’s perfect for setting up a gift exchange…it is able to ‘randomly’ set up partners and then you can ask anonymous questions of the person you are buying for to get to know them a bit more. It has other features like creating wish lists and stuff, but I didn’t use them. Then you had the fun of going shopping and spending about $30 on your gift for your partner.
The main way to get to know your partner was done via Facebook. There was a “private” group set up…where we all spent time asking and answering questions. To participate you had to have an instagram account and/or a blog! This allowed for your Secret Elf to do some festive stalking to get to know you to buy you a gift! There are just over 300 people participating in this exchange.
I did my shopping and sent off my gift before I came back north to Pang. It was just easier to do it and send it rather than try to fit my purchases into my already over-packed suitcases!
My gift went to Australia on the Sunshine Coast…pretty close to where I lived 10 years ago when I was in Australia.
I knew doing this exchange it would probably be uber expensive for postage… and I was right. It cost me around $70 to mail this box off to Australia with a tracking #! To me this was just part of the gift, and that’s ok… but seriously…postage has gotten so expensive!
Here’s my gifts… I didn’t take a photo of them before I wrapped them! So I took this photo from my partner when she posted it on the Facebook page. (thanks for letting me ‘borrow’ the photo!) I ended up sending a photo I took of the Hudson’s Bay Company buildings and the Pangnirtung mountains in the background. (I framed it too!) I sent home made chocolates from Lindsay, Ontario where my mum lives! I sent a handmade Ulu (Inuit woman’s knife) it was embroidered a Christmas ornament. Last but not least I sent a fun decorative bottle filled with Canadian Maple Syrup (how could you not include that in a package overseas!?)
So that solved the mystery of the gift I sent…. but I also received a gift from a Secret Elf that lives in Ireland! One of my first posts in the FB page was to talk about how I was concerned about the December 10th cut off date for mailing. See I knew with how slow sometimes the Canada Post is sending things from the south to the north…I might not get the gift before Christmas! So I posted a message about this.. and my secret Elf saw it and made sure she posted it early for me!
After a few emails last Monday…(She had to reveal herself, because she was afraid my package had been attempted to delivered and didnt’ want it sent back…) I bundled up and walked down to the post office and my package was sitting there waiting for me! The sun was just setting as I walked down to the post office after lunch.
I must admit, I didn’t open it until yesterday. See I have this problem, I NEED to figure out what is in the box…and didnt’ want to spoil the surprise. I thought the longer I kept the box all packaged up…the less temptation it would be. HOwever, my secret elf did let me know that I should open it up before December 25th…. she sent me a small Birthday Package & Card. Those still aren’t open but let me tell you on Friday it sure will be…
WOW! what an awesome bunch of gifts…now that I’ve seen them the temptation is pretty strong…but I’m not going to give in. This is because I’m staying up in Pang for Christmas..and some family members gave me their gifts while I was in the south in November…and I want to have something to open up on Christmas morning…so waiting, I must wait…no snooping allowed!
My secret Elf was so thoughtful…and did her research! One of the things I miss living in Pang is trees… and she sent a few leaves from Ireland for me! Those are so cool… thank you again for your thoughtfulness!
I quickly moved my presents to my Christmas tree…where they will wait until December 25th…except the Birthday Gift and card… I’ll open that on Friday!
I will have to post what is inside all of these wonderful gifts once Christmas is over. So far this exchange has been so much fun! Thanks to all Chantelle and all the team of Admins that have been running this international exchange… Merry Christmas to you!
Tonight I went out to look at the northern lights…it was the first time out with my new camera. I got all bundled up…and grabbed my gear and off I went! Tonight I just went out behind my house to get a few shots. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed taking them!
I can’t wait to go out the next time the lights are hanging out over town and capture them with my camera.
Happy BIRTHDAY to YOU…
HaPpY BiRtHdAy to YOU…
Happy Birthday dear KAT..
Happy Birthday to you!
Hope you have a fabulous day. So glad we got to go out for an ‘early’ sushi birthday dinner when I was in Toronto last month!
Thanks for being such an awesome friend and sister. Even if you have to put up with my annoying questions…and ramblings from way up north! I’m so thankful you are part of my life.
May all your dreams to come true today when you blow out your candles…today and always!
luv ya, Sarah
Time seems to be flying by…it’s been a crazy hectic month! Starting off still in Ontario taking care of my mum…then coming back north…after a 3 day delay in Iqaluit then settling back into life and work and normal routines after 6 weeks away! To be honest, this month was hectic and crazy and I *might* not have uploaded a photo for each prompt on the each day. This won’t be that huge of a surprise if you follow me on instagram because you will have noticed my mad rush early last week uploading about 15 photos in one day…to catch up on photos I had missed. I think that’s the beauty of this challenge, that you can make the rules…and if you miss a day or two, or even 15… you can choose to upload them later and it is alright! That being said, I did do all the prompts..and without any more rambling here’s my November photos!
Without any further delay here’s my summary of my photos! Some of my photos were taken with my Canon 50D (particularly the ones earlier in the month before I got my new camera then they were taken with Canon 6D… or my iPhone 3GS!
Day 1: Fruit… yummy oranges, being in the south…I ate so much fresh fruit!
Day 2: i did this today… worked on a knitting project, and have fun doing it!
Day 3: P is for… Pictures of me in old newspaper clippings, my mum and I were going through her old trunk, and found lots of clippings from my childhood! I’m the first girl on the toboggan in that photo!
Day 4: Table… my mum ventured outside of the house for the first time since her surgery and we went for lunch..but had breakfast for lunch!
Day 5: i collect… while going through my mum’s truck I found my valentine’s day cards from when I was in Preschool. (It was something i don’t really collect these things, just made sense when I was at my mum’s!)
Day 6: Music… listening to music on my iPhone!
Day 7. Yes! I love using this new app called Bitstrips to make comics… This one was made by my friend Kennie…and it ROCKS!
Day 8. someone i miss… my grandpa, it’s hard to believe that in December it will be 16 years without him! (This is a photo of my grandpa and I when I was 3!)
Day 9. Mine… my new camera… a Canon 6D… I’m in LOVE!!! (but I actually purchased it on November 14th…but the beauty of not doing prompts on the right day… allowed me to post about it after i purchased it!)
Day 10: book… so excited to start reading this book!!!
Day 11: a memory… thinking about the week I spent on the beach in Mexico in 2011! Wish I was going to a beach sometime soon where it was warm and sunny…
Day 12: clouds… just a shot of random clouds while flying from Toronto to Ottawa! (this again was a picture I took and posted after the ‘actual’ prompt day…flew from Toronto to Ottawa on the 15th~)
Day 13. Part of me… this earring I got the summer I was 17. I was working at a summer camp, and on my day off went into town and got this piercing. About 7 of us got pierced that day…and by the end of that week I think at least 20 had a new one done!
Day 14: eating… all you can eat sushi with my little bro, sis-in-law and cousin…nothing else needs to be said…awesome evening!
Day 15: in my pocket/purse… this is my handy dandy camera bag…with all my camera gear hidden inside I was on my way from Toronto to Ottawa!
Day 16: play… just another day looking to take the car outside for a drive….
Day 17: 5 o’clock… this photo was taken at 5pm it had been dark for hours, and just walking home. (Yahoo for short winter days living in the Arctic!)
Day 18: mirror… I was FINALLY home after trying to get here for 2 days! I must say this is one of my favourite new selfies I have taken!
Day 19: where you ate breakfast… as normal, first day back at work…eating breakfast at work while I read emails!
Day 20: communication… today I spent time fighting with the fax machine, trying to communicate and send information…after a few unsuccessful attempts they finally where sent!
Day 21: i wish i had this… more change for my change purse!
Day 22: behind… my house, there’s a blanket of snow…with a few remaining pieces of dead plants coming through the snow!
Day 23: simplicity… just my front step and some snow that built up on it…
Day 24: a word… that’s my name spelling in syllabics which is the written form of Inuktitut.
Day 25: quirky… to take this quirky photo i put on my toe socks (that I’ve only worn on a few occasions) my Berk sandals… and rolled up my jeans. Perfect get-up for this Arctic Gal in the winter!
Day 26: message… i received my Christmas Cards… and now have to get writing messages on them, and sending them off via Canada Post!
Day 27: no! more sun will come up over this mountain…until February…here comes the dark season for Pangnirtung.
Day 28: i am grateful for… these warm clothes walking home from work. Photo taken at 5pm, and my neighbours car drove by…I think they wondered why I was standing so still in front of my house in -25C plus windchill temps!
Day 29: black… my view from my office window at 2:30pm today.
Day 30: all done… I broke my own rule about no Christmas decorations until after my birthday, and got them out to decorate… my house looks so awesome and it makes me smile, so happy I made that choice! (besides…rules are meant to be broken!)
Hello December! Can you believe it?! It’s the first day of Advent…and it’s my Birthday month as well as Christmas…I can’t believe I’ve made it a whole 11months doing this photo-a-day thing! Well who’s going to join me in snapping a few photos this month? Here’s the list if you want to join along this month…I know it’s a busy one, but why not give it a shout? let me know where you post your photos so I can follow along your snaps!
If you want to check out the first 10 months of my 2013 Photo-a-Day Challenges click on the links below!