The latest Sampler arrived at my house the other day. For those of you who haven't seen one--and it is elusive--it's a monthly packet of small samples from indie crafters, zines, record labels, and makers of various stripes from around the country. All these little bits of stuff are collected and packaged up at Sampler Central, wrapped in tissue paper, stuffed into a Priority Mail envelope, and sent out to lucky people all over.
For about five months, I would go to the site and attempt to get a subscription, and every time I was too late. Even so, I loved the Sampler in theory. Finally, last fall, I hovered over my keyboard the minute subscriptions went on sale, and I got myself one. Every month for the past three months, a package of surprises--some great and some so-so--has arrived in my mailbox. Hooray! The good things have included: fabulous fabric swatches from Repro Depot; vintage button earrings from tomate d'epingles (I wear em all the time!); random new music. Not so hot: a preponderance of one-inch buttons. I mean, how many of those can one girl use (unless they're Fringe pins, of course!)? But overall, I love the Sampler.
The best way to get one, I think, is to barter. Get crafty and send them some samples (check their submission guidelines first!). It's like trading friendship bracelets in grade school, except the stuff you can make now is probably a lot hotter, and you get to trade with all kinds of folks. You get a one-month subscription when you send in a certain amount of stuff, and it's good incentive to pull out the sequins/ribbon/wood scraps/whatever.