Pen Pal Introduction & Etiquitte Guide
The Ink Well
I started Pen Paling in the Summer of 1994, & I do mean pen paling, as in Snail mail through the postal service etc..
I started a pen paling Introduction and Etiquette guide a few years ago when I was thinking about how when I started no one explained to me what the little books they were sending to me were with all the address labels in them. (Friendship books)
Also all the Abbreviation and Acronyms, it's a totally different language when you first start, and I could not find a place to go or a book on what all this was.
So therefore I made my own guide and here's a taste of it. Unfortunately I cannot include all of it as I was given permission to include a few articles in the guide that another one of my pals wrote for her magazine, and did not get permission yet to post in anything other than the guidebook itself. So if you like the information I have included and you are interested in reading the rest, please contact me.
January --- Letter Writing Month
February --- International Friendship Month
February 11, is Make a Friend Day (in some circles)
February 17- Random Acts of Kindness day
March---National Craft Month
June 1st ---- Pen pal Day
August 5----International Friendship Day
(see more in the Calendar Below)
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Pen Pal Intro(duction) & Ettiquitte Guide by Kim Marie Otrowski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on my guide I've written up. Contact me if you'd lke the whole guide
Sorry I'm behind on up keep
Domestic (state to state) .47 cents
Canada &International Forever stamp $1.15
Canada is for up to 2oz)
each add'l ounce for either is 20 cents
Domestic Priority/flat-rates etc
box size Rate
Large APO/FPO $
Reg to Padded envelope from
a History of Pen Paling
I did try to find something more official on the history of Pen Paling online which I thought would be a nice touch. But I'll have to wing it along with including some postal service history.
In medieval times, a letter was carried ahead by horseback to the next village to note when they shall visit, inquire about one's health, or send word of death. I noticed in a show, that sometime latters or documents were delivered in a leather folder to keep the ink from bleeding.
Pen Paling probably started before the post office, I'm sure some sort of messenger would volunteer, or when someone went to do business in a certain area,
that they would be asked to carry the letter(s).
The first postal service in America was erected in in February of 1692 that Queen William and Queen Mary empowering Thomas Neale with a grant to erect, settle and establish colonies and plantations in America offices for receiving and dispatching letters.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) was started and the roots trace back to 1775, in Philadelphia, PA when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General. The post office used steamboats to carry mail between post towns, where no roads were available. After awhile it became clear that the postal system would need to expand to the rest of the country so in 1832 use of the railroad was introduced to transport the mail, tho on one line in Pennsylvania. In old western movies they'd show that a mail bag would be on a hook near the tracks so that it could be 'easily' grabbed.
Now with the post offices we get our mail the next day if its local, within a week if it's from another state or Canada (thank goodness for planes) or within the month international. However we have what to some seem like the mob is running the post office. Charging money for items already purchased and the postage already paid (I mean you Italy).
The Zip Code or Zoning Improvement Plan started on July 1, 1963 (or 1964). (one of the 2, this date I know of thanks to a show called Comic Book Men, where one of the guys was apprasing a cover picture, which had a year made (1940s), but also had a zipcode on it and that' how they knew when it was made. This was to help with an overflow of business letters, but was not made to use the new code, however come 1967 made it a requirement for at least 2nd & 3rd class
In the 1990s email became available and another option however not many families could afford a computer yet, let alone, added service for 'dial-up' Now (2000s) there's what some call a 'keypal'. The exchange email addresses as well as or instead of paper letters. This has an advantage of saving money and being more immediate allowing many messages to be exchanged in a short period of time. The disadvantage is that the communication can be very ephemeral if the email messages are not routinely saved. Many people prefer to receive paper letters, and getting the satisfaction of seeing their name carefully printed on a thick envelope in the letterbox.
Using postal mail, it is possible to trade postcards, stamps, & anything else light & flat enough to fit inside an envelope often called 'Tuck-ins' (or now a swap)
Besides email there's MySpace, Facebook and various other networking site, (which is a sort of email, it's a way to network with friends old and new, without actually giving out your email address unless you have the privacy settings that way) Twitter you can even count tho' Those are some tiny letters!
Who knows maybe there were pen pals back in the Stone Age & Egyptian days? Using a rock and some sort of 'writing' instrument (like in the Flintstones) We've used feathers from birds as 'pens' with a bottle of ink (made from fruits for colors?) Didn't they know about the Squid? (That squirts ink in defense) back then & a blotter? (That 'dry's the ink, or more so dabs it so that it wouldn't bleed through the paper or smudge) Then we have the 'fountain pen' with that lovely decorative point, but still bottle of ink and a blotter. Now we have them where they have refill cartridges, and they're in Calligraphy sets,& made very decorative looking (Sometimes quite expensive, but a great gift for anyone who pen pals or who's a writer.)
The current varieties of Pens & Pencils novelty, that advertise have your name, or souvenir. Feather & Flower decorations or just a plain Bic stick pen, and more! (Preferably, I like the thicker pens as they don't bother my hand when I write esp. for a long time. I'd say they are great for those with arthritis. The thin ones, start to hurt to quickly and probably not a good idea for those with arthritis, heck they probably give it to you)
Oh yeah there was once this 'thing' called a Typewriter which eventually became the Computer, & so for some of us who think our handwriting sucks, or just like using the fonts can use the keyboard as our 'pen' and print it off for a nicer more creative looking letter, with paper that can make it look even more creative, with various prints, thickness, foils, parchment looking paper and more.
A Pen pal relationship is often used to practice writing and reading in a foreign language, improving literacy, to learn more about other countries and life styles and to alleviate loneliness.
OMG I thought this would be really cute for any of us as a decoration
see picture below
(Photo by Me)
Pen Pal Supplies - Basics you need for pen paling?
It is pretty simple and everything is probably already in the house!
For some people that write long letters as well as their pals. Some use audio tapes, others use a composition book (or those exam books so that you have their last letter to refer to as well.)
read through this lens for a list of some other supplies
Writing paper (Stationery Sets, or printer paper)
Return address labels or a rubber stamp with your address or if you need some cheap.. contact me
Pens (maybe even different colored ones)
Stickers (or something to swap or decorate your envelopes & letters)
Rubber Stamps (for fun) or Envelope Seal stickers (or the real wax kind!)
Sometimes it is easier to purchase a stationery set. They look nicer, come in a variety of tastes and styles and usually come with both paper and Envelopes. However you could also just purchase 'printer paper' which comes in plain white and add your own touches via a Print shop program, images from an image search on the 'net or just use some washi tape to make a boarder.
There's also the printer paper that comes with a design already on it. So endless possibilities. White envelopes only? Scan a copy of a blank sheet of the designed printer paper & print it onto the envelope.
Return address labels are a MUST! Besides using them on your envelope, You can use them in the Friendship books, I also send some to pals so they can use them on their envelopes to me or for friendship Books.
It's also easier to read your address especially if you are from another country, especially if that country is say Russia or Greece and you use a cyrillic type alphabet.It makes it easier that I can just cut it out and put it on the envelope.
Parts of a Letter
The Friendly letter
The 5 parts of a letter
Heading- Includes your address & date you are writing letter some people who have written to me have also included what the weather is (drawing a little sun, or storm cloud etc) what they are watching or listening to etc. and is located in the upper right hand corner
Salutation (or Greeting) - Usually starts with "Dear.......," appears a line or 2 below the heading and on the left side of the page.
Introduction- (this is really part of the body but its good to note) The introduction most often in a friendly letter starts with things like Good to hear from you, Hope (or glad) you are doing well, I've been well (or not & why)
Then you can go into
Body- The main information part of the letter witten in paragraphs and where you also ask questons besides replying & telling your side of things.
After the intro you can then go into what you have been up to since writing last and then start your reply (or even better a mixture of what's been going on with you with replies to your friends letter so its not all one sided & sounds more like a conversation.)
Closing- the good bye of the letter and is usually found on the bottom right of the letter and usually followed by a comma. Oh & the first letter of the closing is usually capitalized. Some closings include:
Your Friend, Take Care write soon, sincerely Yours, Best Wishes, your friend, your pal, Love, etc.
Signature sign your name it can be your first or first& last. (normally just your first.)
The Social Note
another form of friendly 'letter'
This is a short messege with a quick greeting that can be a thank you for a gift or some form of help or an event invitation. They usually mostly take on the form of note cards, but Post cards & decorated paper have been used as well.
usually only includes the date, greeting, brief messege, & closing & signature.
invitations usually include an R.S.V.P. which is French Repondez s'il vous plait which means please reply
If its an invitation.. be sure to include the following information in the picture
The R.S.V.P. usually has a date to respond by and the host's phone number. Its frowned upon to not R.S.V.P. weather you will show up or not, but more so if you do not call & show up.
Scaling new heights - MOST REcommended Paling Equipment
aside from your supplies the only Equipment beside your hand & brain that you need.. is a scale.
after a few times of having a little less than I thought or more postage than needed I purchased one of these for myself.
it's especially great if you are writing to Canada so you can take advantage of those full $1.15 worth of 2 ounces. Or be sure that you don't go over for something overseas.
if you have any sot of shop where you send small packages or just regular mail I GREATLY recommend getting one of these.
This one I got & has a few different units So if you use grams or oz. you are good. There's some others on there I have no idea what, (but then again its actually a jewelers scale) as I only needed to know up to 2 lbs.
Calendar!~ - The lesser known holidays
As in the introduction, I included a list of some 'Pen paling holidays' (or those of our interests) so here I will include any other days.
January --- Letter Writing Month
This is NOT complete, I will add to this as I find out more of these lesser known holidays, if you know one or more or just know of a website please contact me & I will fill them in.
I will go through this and add more (if have) once I get them together on my calendar. If you know of any of these sorts of 'holidays' please let me know in the comments, thank you.
for more wacky holidays
Letter Writing Month ~*~ National Hot Tea Month~*~ National Candy Month~*~ Egg Month~*~
Meat Month~*~ Oatmeal month~*~ Soup Month~*~ & Wheat Bread Month
3 Festival of Sleep Day
8 Elvis' b-day
14 Dress Your Pet Day
16 Dragon apperciation day
19 National Popcorn Day
20 Penguin Awareness day
21 National Hugging Day
23 National handwriting Day
27 National Chocolate Cake day
- February --- International Friendship Month, Berry Fresh month, Canned Food month, Celebration of Chocolate month, Great American pies month, Nat'l cherry month, Nat'l Fiber Focus month, Na't Fondue Month, Heart Healthy, Hot Breakfast Snack Food, Potato Lovers & Sweet Potato Month.
Cabin Fever Reliever 'Day' varies this year is noted)
7 Send a Card to a Friend Day
11 Make a Friend Day
13 Change your Name Day
16 Cabin Fever Reliever Day (or the closest saturday to the 18th/19th)
17- Random Acts of Kindness day
20--love your pet day
22- Margarita day
23--International Dog biscut appreciation day
26--Tell a Fairy tale day
28--Public Sleeping Day & Tooth Fairy day
- March National Craft Month, Nuttition, Noodle, Peanut, Sauce, Frozen Food & Flour Month
Caffine Awareness month.
1 Peanut Butter Lover's Day (that's me!)
2- Banana Cream pie day
3- If Pets had thumbs day & Cold Cuts day
4 A Great Day to start something new day (Ie: 'MARCH 4th'= FOURTH) & National Grammar Day
5 Cheese Doodle Day & Absinthe Day
7 Cereal Day
11- Be Cruelty Free week
14--Pi day & Potato Chip day
15 Ides of March
18- Awkward moments day
19 national Quilting Day
20 Alien Abduction day & Love your pet day
22- Nat'l world water day
25 International Waffle Day & SOmething on a stick day
3- Take a walk in ght Park day
310 tater day
National Poetry Month & Animal Cruelty Prevention month National Garlic, Grilled CHeese , Soft Pretzel & Soy foods month/
1- In't pooper Scooper week
2 national Peanut Butter & jelly Day
9 Name yourself Day
14 International Moment of Laughter Day
16- Nat'l Golf day
3rd Sat of the moth Husband Appreciation day
22 Earth/Yggdrasil Day
National Jelly Bean Day
23--St. Georges Day
25 Administrative Professionals day & Red Hat Society Day
26 Poem in your Pocket day & National Pretzel Day
Hug An Australian Day (if Its Chris Hemsworth I'm first in Line)
27 National Arbor Day
Tell a Story Day
28 Great Poetry Reading Day
30--Nat'l Honesty Day
- May National Hamburger, Salad, B-B-Q month, starwberry,egg & salsa month
3rd week NEw & Old Friends week
4 Star Wars day
5 Cinco De Mayo
8 Teacher Appreciation Day
9 Lost Sock Memorial Day
11 Twilight zone Day
13 Mother's Day & WOrld Goth Day
16 Wear Purple for Peace Day
17 Pack Rat Day
21 Victoria Day (Canada)
National Maritime Day
22-- National Memo Day
23 Lucky Penny Day
28 Memorial day
3rd week of the month & New & Old friends week
- June Dairy Month & Adopt a cat month
1st ---- Pen pal Day
5 World Environment Day
9 DOnald Duck Day
10- Makers' Day (vampire holiday)
10-16 (might be july though) National Flip Flop week
12 National Peanut Butter Cookie day
16 Fathers Day
19 Juneteenth or Freedom Day
20 International Surf Day
26 Beauticians day
29 Camera Day
- July BlueBerry Month & Nat'l watermelon month
2-- World UFO Day
3--Dog days of summer begins
11- 15 National Flip Flop Week (June or July)
13--Embrace your Geekness day
23--Vanilla Ice Cream day
27--Take your pants for a walk day
28 Parents Day
30 National Cheesecake day
31- J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter Author's & Harry Potter's Birthday)
?--International SMile week
3 --Women's Friendship Day
5----International Friendship Day
10--Banana Split & S'mores Day
13--National Southpaw day
16-- Elvis Week
17-- Black Cat Appreciation Day
Cat Nights Begin (harks back to when the population believed in witches. Irish legend says that a witch could turn into a cat eight times the 9th was permanent, and how we get the phrase "a cat has 9 Lives"
22-- Tooth Fairy Day (may have been ina previous month. They got mixed up sorry)
26--Women's Equality Day
30 Frankenstein Day (Author Mary Shelley's Birthday)
31-- INternational Trail Mix day
Chicken Month~*~better Breakfast Month~*~Breast Cancer Awareness Month
3 Labor day
5--National Pizza Day
6-- Read a book & Procrastination day
9 Grandparent's Day
10-- Suicide prevention Day
13- Nat'l Peanut day
15- In (2011) was named Yonkers, NY Kardashian Day by mayor as they vistited The Sears stor in Cross Count shopping center
16--Wife Appreciation Day
19--Tak like a pirate day
20--Stephen King Day
21 International Day of Peace
22- Hobbit Day, Elephant Appreciation day, Jess Buzzuto (The Yonker's Leprachaun )Day (in my city)
25 National Comic Book Day
National Bully Prevention Month ~*~Lupus Awareness Month (U.K.)~*~ Breast Cancer Awareness month
National Popcorn Popping Month~*~Squirrel Awareness month
1--World Vegitarian Day
2--National Boyfriend Day
5-- World Teacher Day ~*~ World Animal Day
7--Edgar Allen Poe Rememberance Day
7- Teacher appreciation week
9- Leif Erikson day
11- MY name day
19--13 Frights of Halloween start
20- Bela Lugosi/Dracula Day
23- Mole day
25- Frankenstein Friday
30 Frankenstein's Monster Day ~*~ Mischeif night
31 Halloween~*~Samhain~*~Feast of Bast
"Mo"vember (grow Mustaches month)
Write a novel month
13- World Kindness day
19 My Birthday
28- National French Toast Day
8-date john Lennon Died
9-- Big Cat week
11- International Mountain day
16- National Chocolate Covered Anything day
21-Winter Solstice YULE starts
25 Feast of Bast ~*~ Xmas
26- Boxing Day
31 Feast of Bast
- be Courteous
- legible (clean/neat) writing
- Complete letters (not 1 sheet front and back)
Cigar Box Dollbed
100 year old Norweigan package from 1912 opened
Abbreviations/ACRONYMS - As seen in some 'FBs'
as with Text messaging, Pen paling somewhat has its own abbreviation Lingo.
I remember when I first started Pen Paling I had no idea, what a friendship book I hate to confess but the first ones I got, I actually threw in the trash, because I didn't know what they were & well they were made of scrap paper & I may as well have been trying to read Greek with the 'weird language' I found inside.
Dates with no meaning A/A LLP or SNNP What's it all mean.
And that is one of the reasons I started a Pen Paling Guide.
- A/A= Answers All
- A/M= Answers Most
- A/S= Answers Some
- A/O=Answers only/other -------------------A/O SI= Answers others with same interests
- A/F= Answers Few ----------------AVF=answers VERy few
- Addy=Address------------------- E-addy-Email address
- DOB= Date of Birth -----------------BD= birthdate
- FB=Friendship Book -----------------FS=Friendship Sheet
- LL=Long Letter------------- LLP=Long Letter pals----------- LLO=Long Letters Only
- Lb=Label Bag---------- SB= Sticker bag
- SWA=Swaps with All --------------SS=Swap soon
- BBFn-bye bye for now
- PC =postcard-------------- PC=Post Card (aka View Card)
- ICR= I can Receive
(people who are willing to return the Full FB home, NORMALLY those who already write the person the FB is for)
- NPW= New Pals Wanted -------------------NSW=New Swappers Wanted
- NAZ= Name address and Zip code
- NNPP=No New pen Pals -----------------SNNP= Sorry No New Pals------------------- SNNLP= Sorry no new letter pals
- SAHM=Stay @ Home Mom----------------- Wahm=work at home mom
- LSASE=Long Self Addressed Stamped Envelope --------------------------SASE= Self addressed Stamped Envelope
- T/C= Take Care ------------------------W/S= Write Soon
- ICHR= I can help return
(person knows someone who is a pen pal of the owner.)
- PC or VC= Post Card/ View Card
- =30= usually means age or year born
- N/M=no men--------------------- N/P = No Prisoners
- WA=Wedding Anniversary------------------------- W/D= Wedding Date
- WW=World Wide
- EmS= Email Soon
- =1976= Birth year (usually) or wedding anniversary when noted
- BBFN=bye Bye for Now
- LOL= Laugh out loud or LOTS of LOVE
- IRC=International Reply Coupon
(you can send them to your NON-usa pals, they are gift certificates for postage stamps, ask for them at larger post offices)
- US ONLY= ONLY wants pen-pal/Swappers in the US
- NTP or Newbie=New to paling
- WWUC= Write when You can
- TTFN= Ta ta for Now ------------------TTYL=Talk to you Later
- TSW=Taper Swaps Wanted
- PWS=Please write Soon
- VP=View Card (another name for post card)
- OMNA=Open Minds Need Apply
- No Chains= Do not send Chain letters (games etc)
- No Religious Mail = DO NOT send pamflets, Preaachy letters or anything with religious beliefs in it.
- ROFL=Rolling on Floor Laughing
- LSASE - Long self addressed stamped envelope
- SASE-Self Addressed Stamped Envelope
- Small Flat Rate - Small shipping box from Post Office
- Stamps Back - Some people request their stamps back as they collect them or use them for crafts
- Cram - small version of FB. You 'cram' all addresses onto a small paper with out including all your collection/swap information
- Bags- are actually envelopes. These are games. [sticker bag, label bag, used postage bag, fb bag, postcard bag, surprise bag]
- Excess - any extra items you have to pass on i.e. fbs, decos, chains, bags, etc..
- No cons - No prisoners/ex cons
- No Men - do not want to correspond/swap with men
- Females Only - only want to correspond/swap with women
- Moms Only - only want to correspond/swap with moms
- No Religion - does not want any religious correspondance
- DB-Dear Boyfriend
- DD-Dear Daughter
- DS-Dear Son
- DH - Dear Husband
- C/O= on Envelope means CARE OF & In a Fb means COLLECTS ON
Writing a letter
Here's some tips
Whether you are writing an Introduction letter
or just a regular letter to a long time friend..
*Begin your letters with a nice greeting, (just not always the same over & over, it sounds like a form letter)
*Respond to the Information your friend shared in their letter first, or a little of theirs & some of your own.
*Then brief your friend on your news. If your letter is an introduction letter, keep it short enough that it would be read in one sitting.
Putting too much personal info out there sometimes scares some away.
A few tips..
If writing by hand, try to keep it legible, Ink is best not pencil, & most important, Do Not give out information to someone you just 'met'/began writing
When replying to a pal weather it took a week month or year, answer them with part of the question or something pertaining to what you were talking about. (If they asked a question, then phrase your answer in the form of the question.)
If you mention that you purhchased a movie on video mention the title (& if there' smore than one version what year) Same with 'Cds' Artist & Album title
WE all get letters on either stationery with a design or white paper w/ stickers or something like that, & frankly sometimes that just gets a bit boring. Try to use other surfaces & textures. Maybe paint the paper & let it dry, Then write over it even if its in a thin permanent marker type pen. Use a bottle to mail your letter put a little confetti in it! is it Halloween? Put Halloween confetti in it & maybe have a couple pieces of paper w/ a dancing skeleton on it. Just use your imagination.. a Ransom note, those visual puzzles called Rebus (pic of an eye + <3+u= I Love you)
If you have ideas for this please include them in the comments.
although it may be expensive, use an audio tape to record your voice for a letter, use a Cd include a typed letter & maybe some pics of you & maybe some funny emails, internet pics, even a list of links & a couple of Mp3s! You can also include a video letter just be sure your friend has a computer or vcr! depending on how you record it.
Cut paper into different shapes & use that, use different colored pens etc. along with the letter maybe you can include clippings from magazines of what you did or where you went. (Hershey Park in PA. Then include a pic (or the little flag) from a Hershey Kiss.
You can even use the magazine clippings to make a collage & write the letter on that!
Purple star Awarded
This lens has been awarded a Purple Star
Think of it this way. What goes with the stores (more likely) goes with the rest of us who sell items.
If there is anything by a buyer or seller stand point I have not thought of Please let me know your suggestions!
- All RETURN Inquiries must be (Postmarked) within 30 days of purchase. (But ALWAYS ask first)
(not everyone always has room to include these things in brochures or thinks to note them
even if they have a policy in effect
- Magazine Subscriptions No return requests past the first 3 months of your order
(& one reserves the right to refund ONLY the difference)
- Try ordering a sample issue or Trial offer (like first 3 issues)
- those who do have Pen Paling Magazines PLEASE do offer a SAMPLE issue & TRIAL subscriptions.)
What are they? Types, and how to make them
What are Friendship Books
Friendship books, or FBs for short, are small booklets that fit in standard size envelopes (but are made in a variety of sizes, shapes & colors, having a 'personality' of their own) and are very common among swappers. These are handmade booklets small enough to fit into an envelope, usually no more than five or six pieces of paper stapled together. Its quite interesting to see what countries they traveled to. On the front of the FB will be a FOR address and a BY address. Sometimes these are the same; if the person made the FB for themselves. On the last page is something along the lines of "When Full, send home" The FB can be decorated with pictures, stickers, labels, drawing, glitter the possibilities are endless. But if its just a Friendship book, its pretty much jsut for addresses to find new pals.
The person who creates the FB mails it to a pen-pal or swapper who trades them. This person adds his or her name and address, as well as a short bit of personal information they want other potential pen pals to know. (Like: Fave music, Movies, Bands, hobbies etc what gender, age etc) Since there isn't much room on an FB, this information is usually abbreviated to almost code like phrases. Once one person has signed the FB, either with their address or words "passing Through" (meaning they are no longer looking for pals or just aren't interested) then they mail it onto someone else. The idea is so that those behind you can write you. Or you can send an introduction letter to anyone who interests you.
It passes through the mail like this, from person to person sometimes going all over the world before its completely filled. The last person to sign it sends the FULL FB to the Name & Address that it is intended for. The main thing with FBs is to pass them on as quickly as possible. Sign them or not, but don't just throw them out or let them sit in your room forever. Mail them to someone else and keep them moving until they are sent home. If you get an FB and don't have anyone to send it to, pick someone's name out of the FB and write to them. Or you can mail it to the owner, even though it isn't full. People would rather get them back than never see them at all.(see Etiquette /peeves & Swapping section)
MADE & FOR & BY:
sometimes at least a month & year are included when the FB slam etc was made.
You will know who the Friendship book is for by the "FOR' & "BY" (whoever made it) Sometimes its for and made by the same person.
The For is whoever it is to be mailed to when the FB is full, or you can mail it to the one that made it as well.
Some also include a list of their Interests: Favorite type of music, Hobbies (writing, reading etc) Things they collect.
PLEASE Be Fair and REMEMBER 'What goes around comes around' so PLEASE return Fbs to their owners. Also do not add or remove pages from the FBs (if the staple falls out, glue is dried out, or a decoration is falling apart then please repair it properly)
Ideal FB size= able to fit into a business size envelope (the long wide one)
If it's a themed Friendship Book or Slam, Please keep with-in that theme (Ie; Cat Fb then Please do not sign if you have a dog or dog stickers etc. Animal)
TYPES OF FB's aka Friendship books
SLAM -Usually the booklet has a question on each page; for instance, What's your favorite vacation spot, have any siblings, Pets? (what kind) That you fill in your answer. There's also the what do you like more (This or That) or experienced type slams that just have like Men vs. Women, Cats vs. Dogs, kids or no kids etc that you can just initial, or sign your name in that sport or use a small stamp to signify that's the one you like/agree with. There's also sticker Slams where you add a particular theme sticker on the page. ('Puffy sticker, Glitter, Scratch n Sniff Superhero etc)
LYRICS - Usually have to write the lyrix/Lyrics to your favorite song it can be a verse or the whole thing depending on the room you have. But always be sure to write the name of the song & the band, its by. There might be themed like 'Dark Lyrix', by band, music, or a word in the title. (Dark as in Brooding, Melancholy. Depeche mode, Smashing Pumpkins & Nirvana are some that have these types of lyrics)
DECO (short for Decorative or Decoration) you have to decorate your page in some way. (there might also be a theme on these, you may have to decorate with a certain color, animal, interest etc)
QUOTES - Write your favorite quote heck you can even make one out of a song lyric! IE: '.Life's a Journey Not a destination' Cryin' (oops I think that's the song its from) by Aerosmith
Mommie or Mommy- an FB created for the 'mums' of the world.
Friendship Sheet- another version of an 'FB' but on a sheet of paper usually Standard U.S. size. (like the size of printer paper) & will have room to include some info then there's…
CRAM- the smaller version of an Fb usually used with a single heet of writing paper, the smaller the labels used the better, and not much room for info
POEM/STORY - the maker starts a story or poem (say maybe a line or the first paragraph for the story then each person writes one. Just as in they might write the first stanza (a 'paragraph in poetry) or the 1st line & to go on that way. Some other poetry ones are that you include one of your poems on the page along with your addy)
X-SLIPS - These are not FBs but a way to swap items. They are either a little piece of paper with 1 item that a person is looking for, also comes in the form of regular Size sheets with list of items up from 3-50 or 100 that a person is looking for and wants to do an exchange. (some examples are included in the actual Guide)
*(the following is from a note i received included w/ some Fbs & exchange slips) an Idea to remind others (including if you send FBs/exchanges to a new comer & they don't know. copy & print out
'Hello Pen pal/Swapper.
Just a note to remind everyone PLEASE do not keep or throw away FBs & ALWAYS return them to the sender or ICR (I can return) when full. Please always play exchange slips fairly & pass them on. If you are not interested, do NOT throw them away. It is disrespectful to those that play fairly. Oh & please shred or tear up the addresses on envelopes, exchange slips etc. of fellow pals/swapper before discarding when they are finished. This protects everyone. Thank you & Happy Pen Paling (please pass on)
Pen Paling WARNINGS -breaking the unwritten rules - Have a problem with a current or former pen pal.
I don't mind & I'm sure others won't if you want to be creative with how you mail your letter, or write it. However I do mind when you are a rude letter writer and mailer. If there's something I've heard anyone complain about that's why I started the printed Pen Paling Introduction & Etiquette guide, as well as this page.
While I know its not proper, and bad to talk smack about others, this area is for any 'warnings' of BAD APPLE pen pals.
My friend Debbie and i have a problem with an Yvonne Bell from Florida. She's one of the reasons that the post office keeps upping the costs, if you look at the picture,
1. she only has 2 penny stamps (& a little piece below one where it says forever & you can tell its from a Christmas stamp) That other stamp is NOT under the penny stamp. Debbie mentioned to me she ends up having to pay to receive this person's letters as she never puts proper postage (& we are both reporting her)
(Debbie has mentioned to me other problems with his person)
2. She wrote my name wrong; my name is NOT Marie its Kim (my Middle Name is Marie, but I write my name as Kim Marie) nor does any of my return address labels say Marie alone.
3. This is supposed to be her introduction LETTER. You include a NOTE that only says "Hello, saw you in an fb My birthday is......more upon reply if not interested please pass on. I'm sorry you can't even put proper postage on & you expect me to write you!??! let alone even if there was the proper amount of postage, this is a waste of paper, stamp etc.
4. sending me what looks like her trash (the paper used as the 'envelope' )
do I actually need to say I am not passing it on. If YOU see someone in an FB you are interested in, You write something about yourself; Don't put the responsibility on who you wrote....You wrote me, I didn't write you. (You don't write at least one sheet front and back, thats a waste of a stamp and paper, weather or not you paid for the full postage.
There's plenty here to help (& if you're still not sure you can always leave a comment or contact me if you go to my profile)
eveyone has their definition of a standard or long letter, but for the masses let's make it official
Here, let's just agree to agree; a standard letter to be
2 U.S. standard size (8 1/2 x 11") sheet written on the front AND back. (anything shorter is not worth the stamp)
so if using A5 paper you need at least 4 pages front & back to = a standard size letter (& that doesn't mean writing by taking up 2-3 lines)
Ettiquette DO's & Don'ts
PHOTOS & miscellany
Here I will include any of the newer things I think of to add to the printed version of the guide, & will only be posted for a limited amount of time.
Send a picture of yourself right away.
Do Wait until you have written at least five letters to each other then ask your pal if they would like to exchange photos. Also agree upon what type of photo to send. Headshots, somewhere on vacation
Do NOT send NUDE photos (even if its only your stomach) &
Do NoT...Make that NEVER send pictures of yourself to prisoners
DO NOT keep writing letters to your Pal if you have not heard back from them yet. (if you forgot to include something, then if you can afford to send it in a seperate pack, & just note that you forgot to add it) but other than that don't keep on doing it. (Its harassment)
a friend of mine in Germany mentioned someone doesn't wait until he gets a letter from her, & is sending stuff like 3 times a week. The Last one she got "had a close up picture of his Tummy, 'a Huuuuge tummy'"
*Do Not write the same type of letter over & over unless you want to bore someone. (I hope I am not repeating myself, as I cannot find the information I thought I included (somewhere on this lens) about
'Types' of letters.
Schedule / 'Calendar' letter - this type of letter the person writes each and every date down and what they did! (sometimes even with the times)
Form letter- this is where its just generally written, to no one in particular and the name is just written in. The ONLY time this is acceptable is if you've been away & haven't written in a few months to catch up, however it should still be accompanied by a handwritten /personal letter to your pal.
did you even read my letter reply- This is where you may have asked questions in the last letter to your pal, but none of them are answered, or has any of the previous conversation in it.
the 'Outline' - I've had a pal like this for years, the letter always seems to sound the same, and I swear she has a page somewhere that she has an ouline on, as to write about the weather, talk about any life events, the same sport we like, etc.
Do not Rush
My letters usuallly aren't rushed (tho I do try to make only one stop to the Post office a month for anything to be weighed) sometimes my brain works faster than my hand can write or type. Maybe you are like this as well, but weather its my version of 'rush' or any other here;s a few steps to try & help. (if you have any other ideas please let us know)
I know some of us sometimes get a stack of mail (especially during the holidays & vacations) and are not always able to keep up between work, visits, cleaning whatever but that
1. doesn't mean to write shorter letters than you would. &
2. Only in this time (think how some family might write a yearly newsletter) you may write a general letter & send it; BUT must be accompanied by your written letter to your pals reply. (this way the letter won't be a sloppy mess.)
3. if you ARE handwriting it, if you need to take an hour or a day break because your hand hurts or to read the 'novel' your friend sent & write some responses, each day to it. That is fine.
Learn about Owney
Owney the Postal Dog
New FOREVER stamp in his honor
Owney was the mascot of the railway mail service. The Clerks on the sorting trains at the end of the 19th century loved him and considered him good luck. The Stamp is new illustration onethe stamp of Owney is by artist Bill Bond of Arlington, Virginia
See Links for more information as well as a link to check out all of Owney's tags and some pics of him with all those tags (what a well 'decorated' dog) http://postalmuseum.si.edu/owney/
Introduction letter SAMPLE
Ideas for that Introduction letter
- Make a list of your interests & Hobbies..
- Topics that fascinate you
- If you are writing someone for the first time, write a short description of yourself
- What activities you engage in, do you jog, go to the gym, volunteer work? After school stuff? Mention them & just in case explain what they are or the Organization does
- Personal details.. include some personal facts about you but don't make the letter all about you.
- Talk about your city what it looks like maybe a little history on it. you can also include something you might take for granted about your area. If you've moved mention something you miss from your previous city, state etc
- Family ~ mentions any brothers or sisters parents husband/wife kids etc. in your introduction letter.
pets as well regardless of what some people think THEY ARE FAMILY. They're furry babies, & sometimes the parents. After this its up to you what you want to mention.
- Your Hobbies. When it comes to your hobbies don't just say you like watching movies give a list of your top 3 faves all time or 3 you recently saw in the theater or rental. Same with reading talk about the book you currently reading. Why do you like your hobby(ies) Did someone get you into them, mention that too.
- You can ask a few questions or better yet phrase it that 'I like such a subject, How about you' & maybe to elaborate in what genres styles etc of that topic.
- In Regular letters its up to you if you want to talk about Love/Work/Family life as some hold those a little more private than day to day matters. Or might not want to talk about one of them (like work) because they don't like it, or a situation happening that' snot good (or depresses them)
- (if agreed upon) Current affairs
- Your Pet(s) ther names what they are & breed (intro letter)
- any of your current news. Concerts movies etc you went to,maybe even reviews of the movie yiu recently saw int he theater or on video, a book you just finished or that new album.
- Tell them what projects you have been working on. Writer? Any new poems? or a story maybe you like making jewlery or scrapbooking. Talk abiout your project as you work on it or once you've finished it. maybe even include a picture (on the page of your letter if you have a digital camera & a computer)
- Have you met any of your pen pals? Did they come to you or you to them. What did you do for the time you spent with them? ( 2nd or 3rd letter)
- What do you like about pen paling (intro)
- (did I mention) How long have you been paling, about how mnay pals you have and where they are from? (intro)
- How did you first start pen paling (Intro)
- Have a garden? mention a couple things you've planted
- What kind of Music do you listen to?
Books (fic. non fic? genres (Horror, romance sci fi etc)
What kind of Movies & tv shows you like (and ask them)
- What you do to relax
- Favorite color, food, drink, smell sound, season, month, day of week
- are you an early bird or night owl
neat freak or messy
What to write about - introduction letter & your regular letters
Sometimes we have a bit of writer's block when it comes to writing our introduction letter, or even just a regular letter if somoee doesn't write enough. So here are a few points you can cover in your introduction letter, or just mention what you are doing w/ your hobies like any special projects etc. you are working on)
Also please be sure to indent each paragraph, or as some do make a line between them like i did here.
a couple of questions you can ask in a regular letter:
*What was your favorite Tv show as a child?
*Do you remember if you had an idol as a child? Who was it?
*What do you usually spend your money on? (<--sorry if this may be a bit rude, I'm just including some samples of what I've been asked.)
you can also ask any of the following as well
did I forget anything? please let me know use the contact button near my picture in the profile
There is more in the Print/PDF version of this contact me if interested (I keep forgetting to post it)
Sanrio Pen pals
I wanted to use a cursive font on this to give the impression of an actual written letter but it didn't work with trying to screen capture it etc.
Its hard enough to read as is.
Here I introduced myself, Talked a bit about where I live as well as my cat, then went on to mention my Hobbies & a short list of some of the things I collect on.
Another idea... include your profile pages or just make one specific page for anyone that may be interested in becoming a pal, & you can include the page with your address in friendship books if there's not much room (like Crams which you don't include you're info on)
there's one on me in the Featured lenses (Kim Marie O... aka ZodiacImmortal)
Sully Pen paling
sorry to say but the site is no longer available
ORDER the FULL Pen Pal Guide
makes a great gift for those new to pen paling
This online guide you are reading only includes updates which are taken down from time to time, though some information is permanant for the site.
The actual Print version of the Pen Pal guide (which is added to each time I receive new information and ideas) is around 30-40 pages at the moment, self bound and is $25 (postage included anywhere)
just scan the QR code at right (& set to send payment as a GIFT and include your
address (street & number)
City State zip code &
Country (if other than the United states)
I will mail it out within a week or 2 of the request.
Friendship Day was originally promoted by Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark cards in 1919, intended to be the first Sunday of August and a day when people celebrated their friendships by sending cards. The first Sunday in August was chosen as the centre of the largest lull between holiday celebrations.
Friendship Day was promoted by the greeting card National Association during the 1920s but met with consumer resistance - given that it was rather too obviously a commercial gimmick to promote greetings cards. By the 1940s the number of Friendship Day cards available in the US had dwindled and the holiday largely died out there. There is no evidence to date for its uptake in Europe; however, it has been kept alive and revitalised in Asia, where several countries adopted the tradition of dedicating a day to friends. Today, Friendship Day is enthusiastically celebrated in a number of countries across the world.
In honor of Friendship Day in 1998, Nane Annan, wife of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, named Winnie the Pooh as the world's Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations. The event was co-sponsored by the U.N. Department of Public Information and Disney Enterprises, and was co-hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford.
(disclaimer...I've asked my friend for permission to include this, and she says she wrote it herself so I take NO responsiblity in any copyright problems)
Letters to Video
can you think of any other 'letter' related titled movie?
Letters to Juliet
Around the world
Where are most of your Pen Pals from?
Did you know 89% of FBs get Lost, Thrown away, or Kept?
The Point of Fbs is to find new friends and ONLY keep them when they are made for you.
Please do not keep FBs, or take off the covers. If you receive a full FB please pass it along to the owner.
If its NOT full but it has been in circulation for more than a year or 2 please mail along to the owner or maker.
In what order do you write your letters?
*When I look through Fbs If I see an address of someone who I know has moved or died, I cross their address out and mark deceased or Moved & if i have it write in the new address.
*I've received many FBs where names or addresses were illegible, and if a person wants their fb returned to them they should be sure their names are legible. (note from Kim if you do not have a computer have someone make labels for you or just order them. Have a type writer? Make up some of your own labels that way & then just xerox off a few sheets)
*Of course people shouldn't gossip if they share common pals. However I appreciate it when one of our mutual pals notify me if someone has moved or died. I've had pals tell me when other's have stopped writing.
*I think one of my pen pals has the same intro & ending in her letters.
*I quite often receive ltters with no date on them so when I receive them I put the date I received it (another idea might be to also include the postage date if its readable)
*I address a person by the way they sign their letter
*one time a pen pal sent me something on a band and it arrived Broken.
I told her about it and I thought it wasn't packaged well. She still expected me to send her something in return, I'm not sure that was right of her to do."
(if you receive something through the mail & its broken deals are off on swaps. (unless you want to give a clue how it feels, send something else back that's broken ..tho' that would be quite childish!)
Pen Paling Magnetic Poetry
My Favorite Stamp
Pen Paling sites
Don't give me that "This is the only way I can find pals"
If you have snail mail pals.. There are friendship books, slams etc. that you can find new pals in, let them know you are looking for them.
If you decide on using an online paling site to find new friends weather for snail or online pals. You usually need to make up a screen name & password, as some are created as a forum. Some look like they would be for pen paling but are really dating sites in disguise. Be very careful.
Stay away from Sassocciations, as I was signed up to this and is the reason I'm leery of other paling sites. I would get really odd emails. Some asking for marriage, so some person in another country could come over & live here (sorry NOT going to happen!) Others write as if they've been friends with me since kindergarten, just really odd ways of writing a first note/letter, as well as asking things I wouldn't even help a real friend with, when you have no idea who the person is. (& very uncomfortable feeling)
Only include the City you live in (they're big, so hard to find you) if it's a small town, Only write the county or state you live in.
Do not give out too much personal info about yourself other than your first name (or just the screen name)
Do not release what age you are, only your month & date of birth.
DO not release your last name at all as well as parents & other immediate family members names.
If you should meet your pals, esp. if they are only ONLINE make sure it's a public place. Like a coffee house, restaurant, etc. (a place that's usually busy but not that crowded as to not notice you were there.)
Talk about hobbies, maybe current events, pets, garden, weather, events etc. then once you've built up a rapport (after a few letters etc.) then you can share the more personal stuff.
If at any time the person makes you feel uncomfortable, let them know, & what it was.
If they keep asking or doing something to make you uncomfortable tell them you will no longer write.
If they continue to, (can you say) 'stalker', you can report them to their Postmaster General. Same especially if they are not adding proper postage to their letters
Letter Storage and Ideas
mine are on a shelf in my nightstand as the 'to be written pile' mine are not stacked but upright in order.
But if a local cigar shop will let you purchase or take an empty box big enough that 6x9 envelopes will fit in it, You can use that as well as make a kit~!
(Include a pen, Envelopes, Paper, stamps, stickers, and an address book)
It might not be good for storage but this is really cute.
Do you keep your paling letters?
Reply times among people vary. I've had them all, one or 2 through the years that responded as soon as they received my letter. The overzealous every week' (at least when I was able to write right away) if I wasn't I'd still get a letter (me guessing) they thought it was lost in the mail.
Then there's what I call 'Regular' penpals which you hear from once a month, then I have others that are bi or tri monthly even up to semi annual. I've had a few that would write like oce a year.. WHAT IS THE POINT IN THAT?
Pop art to POST ART - Deorative Mail Correspondence
Weather you already decorate your envelopes and need ideas, or You want to start to here's some help for you
I hope you liked my lens, and have covered everything possible Then why not nominate this lens as a Lens of the Day. (or for a purple star?)
If you would like the full Pen Paling & Intro Guide please contact me for information.
If you have any questions or ideas please leave them in the comments or contact me.