Hi, I’m Crystal. I live in Minnesota with my boyfriend and our two mischievous cats. I’ve always been into crafts and trying to be creative. I love to keep busy in my spare time making jewellery, sewing, writing to pen pals, I crochet a little now and then, scrapbook, Art Journals (collaborations with pen pals), I love taking photos, being outside, playing online (Swap-Bot, WordPress, Facebook, Interpals, etc.)
If you have to describe yourself in only 5 words what would they be?
Caring. Trustworthy. Responsible. Fun. Funny.
Tell us something about your town, city or country
I live in Lakeland. It’s a small town along the St. Croix River. It’s very beautiful and peaceful. It’s a nice neighbourhood with a lot of wildlife. I see foxes, deer, rabbits, eagles, the occasional coyote, possums, etc. I can walk to the beach from my house and go swim in the river in the summer to cool down.
How did you start penpalling? When was that? And why did you decide to start Penpalling?
I started to pen pal when I was in elementary school. I was in a community online called International Pen Pals Club. I loved it. There was a newsletter and I would sometimes submit a random knowledge question and whoever answered right, I’d send a prize to (stickers, stationary, etc). I loved “meeting” people from all over the world. I still love it when I find a pen pal that’s a perfect friend match. There’s not always a connection. It’s so cool to find someone with things in common with you and a similar personality living their life somewhere completely different.
I like when I get the mail and there’s a decorated letter with some goodies inside. I like to learn about other places around the globe. I dislike when someone stops writing or asks me to write them the first letter, so I do, and then they never reply. Postage is expensive. And I don’t like to get a note card with one sentence, I prefer long letters.
How do your friends react when they discover you are into Penpalling? Are they also into it or they give you the “strange” faces?
At first they say, “What?” and give me a weird look. But when I show them the cool things (maps, postcards, fabric, trinkets, jewellery, books, photos, art journals, etc.) that my pen friends send me, they think it’s pretty cool.
Do you still stay in touch with your first penpal?
Tell us about your first penpal even if you have lost touch with them. We might be able to help you locate him/her: My first pen pal was Kirsten. I was in elementary school and on vacation with my family. I met Kirsten and her sister at the beach. We played together the whole week and exchanged addresses. We stayed in touch for maybe 2 years.
How many Penpals do have? Where are they from?
I have 8 active pen pals that I correspond with regularly. I just started writing to a couple new people so hopefully it works out and we stay in touch.
Are you searching for new Penpals? If yes, please give us some contact information that we can publish in the magazine so that people can write to you back
I’m always open to new pen pals, but I am being more selective because I only want to write with people I think I’ll make a connection with.
What are you looking for in a penpal?
A friendly person, who writes long letters, swaps fb’s, decos, and other interesting things (like music cd’s)
Where do you find new Penpals from? Do you rely on FBs or Facebook or other websites/blogs
Swap-Bot.com Interpals.com and Friendship Books
Well, as sort of an interesting story, I can say that I’ve learned a lot of new music through pen palling. I’ve received some mix cd’s that I fell in love with and listen to on my ITunes all the time.
How do you keep track of your mail? Share your tip on how to organize ourselves
I just keep a cute decorative box to hold my incoming mail from pen pals. I have a separate one that holds incoming bills. After I reply, I put the letter in a large box I keep all of the letters I receive in.
Do you swap things? Do you like sending gifts to friends? If yes, what is the funniest gift you have ever sent/received?
I swap Friendship Books, Decos, Music CD’s, Art Journals, Journal Pages, Photos, Stickers, Postcards, Maps, and other things I pick up. I do like to send gifts to my pen pals for their birthdays and on holidays.
Have you met a penpal? If so, let us know how the meeting went
Yes, I had a pen pal when I was in middle school. She was from Minnesota too, but about 8 hours away by car. After writing for a while, she mentioned she was staying with a friend in a town closer to me and we decided to meet at a mall. I brought a friend with and she had her friend with. It was a great time. We had fun that day. After that, once we could drive, she came and stayed with me a few times. We’d go to concerts or just hang out all weekend. And then after we graduated she moved down to the cities (St. Paul) and now we see each other more regularly and don’t pen pal anymore with each other.
What do you usually like writing/reading about in the letters?
Events happening in their area, what they and their family are up to, dreams, hopes, fears, new music or movies they find, old school favourites they have, something funny, a recipe, anything interesting.
When it comes to making cute and personal letters, everyone has his/her own style. Tell us your trick how to make a letter/envelope unique? Do you decorate it? If yes, how. Give us some tips on how to make the letters more interesting
Sometimes I make envelopes from magazine pages. If I use store bought ones, I like to decorate them with stickers and stamps and maybe cute tape. I reuse envelopes too, I just tape paper over the addresses. I decorate my letters with drawings and doodles, song lyrics, stamps, stickers, photos, etc. I like to use markers and cool stationary.
Where do you buy your stationery supplies from? Do you prefer traditional shops or e-shops? If so, give us some links:
I buy my supplies from Target, Wal Mart, Michaels, JoAnns, and The Dollar Store. I really don’t order craft stuff online that much. Sometimes I get stamps from EBay.