Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why join a peg doll saint swap? - Top 10 Reasons

During Lent some friends of mine (and their friends) joined together for a peg doll saint swap. If you haven't heard about how it works, basically each family chooses a saint to paint and paints multiple copies of the same saint. Then, we get together and swap to get a finished set of diverse saints. I figured I could get 20-30 families together, and we could create a set of saints as Easter gifts for our children. In the end, much to my surprise 47 families joined, mostly from Texas but not all from San Antonio. I just couldn't turn anyone away! Here is our almost-completed set (a few families fell behind on their timeline, and that's okay in my swaps!):

So many of us enjoyed the swap and had so many friends and family members asking about how to do it, that I am coordinating another swap this summer. This one will have several options, subdividing families into groups based on if they participated in our Spring swap or not, quantity of saints they are willing to paint, and even some Old Testament figure swap groups!

Why did we enjoy adding one more thing to our plate during Lent, especially those of us who are less than artistically gifted? After talking to several of the moms over the past couple of weeks, I have compiled the top ten reasons I have heard from our swappers for participating in such a swap. Lacy has a great list of reasons, too!
  1. It was time well spent! There are many things we do that, in the end, are not really worth the time we invest, but both the process and the outcome were so fruitful that it was a good use of our time.
  2. It required sitting down! Or at least remaining still for relatively long periods of time. Our lives as moms are busy, and we always seem to be moving. Focusing on painting our saints was a gift to our weary bodies.
  3. It provided time to think and pray! Many of us stayed up late at night to paint when our little ones were in bed, and it gave us quiet time to ponder our own thoughts and spend time in prayer with our saints and the Lord.
  4. It was affordable! Except for the women who lived out of town and had to pay postage to ship their dolls, each family paid around $40 for the materials for a set of 48 saints. One saint on Etsy, while definitely painted by exceptionally talented individuals, runs about $30.  
  5. It resulted in a finished product! Most of our work as mothers is undone just as soon as we do it (think laundry, cleaning, cooking), but standing back and admiring our saints has been quite gratifying.
  6. It forced us to be creative! Being creative has been linked to all kind of therapeutic benefits. Those of us who aren't naturally artistic were still able to create saints with unique personalities, even if some are much simpler than others.
  7. It brought beauty into our homes! These are wooden toys, which are solid and beautiful. Beauty truly brings us closer to God, the source of all beauty, and our children are drawn to them.
  8. My little children love them! To see their little hands grasp these saints and for them to choose their favorites for play is remarkable. They are a great size for little hands and inspire them early to make friends with the saints.
  9. My big children love them! Not only do they study them and name them and ask about them, the bigger children even want to paint their own, releasing their creativity and cultivating craftsmanship.
  10. My husband even loves them! This is a totally personal note. My husband hates clutter and knick-knacks, but even he is proud of our collection, allowing them to be prominently displayed in our home.

So if you are interested in joining us this summer or have any questions about how to organize your own swap, let me know in the comments below! I'm not going to post links to our guidelines and sign-up form, because I do need to know a bit about you before you join us, to make sure you're legit.