Monday, December 6, 2010

FriendshipBooks - the blog

The Internet is an amazing place where you can find lots of things! That is if you search right and have a dose of luck. For me, it was probably a combination of both with a huge dose of the later, when I stumbled upon a blog that deals with FriendshipBooks (FB's). It sounds quite promising as it promises to give from general information about FB's in terms of what they are and how they work to much more interesting issues such as how to make FB's, tips and tricks about making FB entries and more! Since I haven't seen in a long time anything as useful as this blog, I decided to share it with all of you. Hope you will enjoy it!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sandbook: The PenPal Magazine - inside look

Hello, everyone!

Here are some images of pages from our issue 1. Be on the look out for issue 2 - which is going to be released on Dec 11, 2010. How to get it? :) Follow this link www.SandBook.Net and select the Magazine button and choose from the menu - "This issue". When we release the second issue, we will move issue 1 to the "Archive" section that is part of the same drop down menu.

Letter Insider: The Do's and Dont's in PenPalling:
Cover Story: How to make nice and neat FB's:
 Simplicity Embellished - the best lifestyle blog that also happens to deal with correspondence. Check our the blog itself here:

Samantha's Thoughts: a mother, a penpal and a writer:

Facebook Discussion: How did I start PenPalling? 
For more interesting articles, traditions and correspondence tips, check out the whole SandbookNet PenPal and Swappers Magazine - issue 1, available for download on our website. 

Traveling Notebooks & Pen-Palling

Traveling Notebooks

Whether you have heard about them or not, you can participate in the one that SandbookNet is organizing. The idea behind the Traveling Notebook is that you will receive a notebook in the post from someone (either the Sandbook.Net team or another player in the game) and you will have to:
1) Decorate two pages - you can either tell us something about your culture, country, customs or even your lifestyle, share inspirational thoughts or anything at all that you find worth sharing. You can use whatever your heart desires to decorate the pages - clippings, deco tape, ribbons, postcards, photos, glitter, etc.
2) Take a photo of your entry and send it to us at fun(at) so that we can keep track where the notebook is and if you have completed the first task.
3) Send it to the next person who have signed to join the game.
Once all the people have signed, the notebook will be returned to us and we'd make photos and upload them in our Traveling Notebook Section. We'd have them in picture formats and also available in pdf format so you can look through the whole notebook once it is complete.
To sign up for the "real" Traveling Notebook - you have to fill out the form on our website. Click here to do so: Participate in Real Traveling Notebook.

Virtual Traveling Notebook
(Traveling Sheets)

We realize that the project of the "Real" Traveling Notebook is very ambitious and that it might face certain difficulties in terms of getting lost in the mail or someone breaking off the chain of the Traveling Notebook. 
Travelling sheets
Moreover the decorated Traveling Notebook will progressively get heavier and it might present unexpected postal fees/costs for the people later on in the list, so that's why we decided to come up with an alternative, called the Virtual Traveling Notebook. For this project you will need to: decorate any number of A5 sized sheets of paper (that is 6 x 9 inches). Again you can present your country, lifestyle, customs, or any message you want to pass along and send them to our SandbookNet's postal address. As soon as we receive the decorated sheets, we will make photos of them and then tag them with your name and country (and email if you choose so) and finally upload them on our website so anyone can view them. Also when we have more sheets together, we will be making "virtual notebooks" (by combining the sheets that we have received) and making them into pdf files that you will be able to download.
To participate in any of the traveling projects you will need to state your interest by filling out the application form on our pen pal site or click here: Participate in Real Traveling Notebook.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SandbookNet is updated!

Our New Look is out: Have you explored it? If not, head to Sandbook.Net and check it out! Then don't forget to voice out your opinion about our latest update!

You may be asking or already aware why such a change was needed and made. Ever since SandbookNet's birthday on Nov 11th, 2010, we have been having a new bubbly website layout. The new design was compact, but there were issues surrounding it.

Firstly, the mailing system was misbehaving and not working. For some reason it refused to work with our design. The problem was rather annoying, since we were relying on the mailing system to distribute the magazine. Our IT Specialist was working on the mailing system and he finally managed resolve the problem. However, the magazine's size did not allow us to send the first issue as an attachment to all of our subscribers. Instead, we used the mailing system to send out a link to our website so anyone can download their copy of the magazine.

Secondly, as we understood it the hard way, the design was prone to hackers attacks as there were some unresolved problems with the code towards the website. That might sound a bit abstract, but in short it meant that we had to start working on a new design and to write a new "code". As we were in the process of updating our website, it was sadly hacked. The site was down for several hours and later on restored. That made us speed up our work.

Finally, people complained about the navigation menu, so we decided to redo it. Our new website has easy to handle menu with less drop down menus. We also took in mind the suggestions that were coming in from our Survey, so we finalized the looks and gave the site a final brush. We are looking forward to your comments on our new look!

So to all of you, from all of us: hope you will enjoy the new look and functionality of our website! :)

PenPal of the Month - November 2010 - Winners!!!

Congratulations to Johanna Tarrimaa & Anne Lanto who have been choosen for our PenPals of the Month November 2010! Here is the nomination for our penpal of the month Johanna, submitted by her pen pal Anne:

"Hello Sandbook, I would love to nominate my best (pen)pal Johanna as a PenPal of the month. We met online threw some pen pal site last summer and started talking over e-mails. The e-mails got longer and longer and more personal by letter coz we just have such a good connection. It is very easy to tell her my deepest darkest secrets, problems, fears and of course happiness and joy. she is never rude and has never been judgmental. she is very good in giving advice and making me feel better with great jokes. We both live in Finland at the moment, but we have never met though I am sure it will happen one day really soon and then it will be the greatest day for both of us because it will be full of joy and laughter. Just like our e-mails and MSN chats are. I can really honestly say that I see her as not only my e-mail pen pal, but also as a very dear and close pal. I hope we stay close pals for ever and ever and I am sure she feels the same." Anne Lanto 

Exclusive interviews with our PenPals of the Month Nov 2010 Winners are coming soon!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

SandbookNet PenPal & Swappers Magazine issue 1, Nov 2010

SandbookNet Magazine
The first issue was officially published on our website on Nov 11, 2010 and features articles on various topics, ads from pen pals and swappers from all over the world and presentations of online stores and blogs that you will enjoy. Click here to download your issue of the magazine!
To place an ad in the coming issue you will need to go to our website, then click Magazine and select Place an Ad, you can place an add for a Lost PenPal, or seek advice from Viv and Davina in our Relationship Column. Hope to see you in issue 2 (coming out December 11, 2010)!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

SandbookNet PenPal and Swappers Magazine

MagazineHello Sandbook-ers!
Are you tired of placing your ads all over and over again so that they are in the most recent ads? From my personal experience I know how annoying and time consuming that can be! That's why I decided to come up with the idea of a magazine, which will collect ads for penpalling and swapping and present them in a more organized matter. Interested?

All you have to do is to email us your ad at magazine@sandbook.netThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with you ad,name/country/email addy/twitter/facebook. Also if you have a little business, blog or website on the topic of PenPalling or something that deals with it - we want to know about it - send us your ad, together with a banner or a simple logo.Let us know how long you want us to keep your ad in circulation 1 or 2 or even 3 months! You will also receive the magazine for FREE in your email box. If you want to further get involved into the production of the magazine, write an article on a topic that deals with PenPalling (your choice) and we will print the best ones in the magazine.
We are hopeful to release the first issue in mid to late Nov 2010 for the birthday of Sandbook.Net - we are going to be 2 years online on Nov 11, 2010.

So come on and email us your ad!

Happy PenPalling!

Video Tutorial on how to make nice and neat Fbs!

High Quality (or Nice and Neat) FBsHello, everyone! :)
I am working on a video tutorial on how to make nice and neat Fbs (yeah, those really cute Fbs with cover that we all love to swap). It's my attempt to make a quest against sloppy Fbs as I am sure that people would totally fall in love with the high quality FB's when they see them (and know to how to make them). That's why, I need your help!
I will be collecting photos/pictures of the FBs that you are making/have made to add in the video. That way, the video will contain various ideas about cute Fbs made worldwide, not only my own tips and decorative solutions. If you are as excited as I am, just send the photos to: fun@sandbook.netThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at my personal email raiasandbook@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I will give the credit for your photos by placing your name and country (and facebook profile/email if you want to) and putting them in the video. Let's make the video as colorful and diverse as we know that high quality Fbs can be.
We will be collecting photos all October till early November, so you have time to make your creations! You will be given the credit for your photos - we will publish them with your name/country or your facebook account so others will know how creative and resourceful you are! Don't be surprised if many decide to swap with you seeing your cute Fbs.

The video will be released on Nov 11th, when our humble site will become 2 years old. We will also reveal our new website design then which will offer a lot of more interactive features.

So get crafty and creative! We are waiting to see your Fbs!
Happy crafting!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Enrique Iglesias live in Sofia, Bulgaria

Enrique Iglesias live in Sofia, Bulgaria

Most of you might have already heard the good news. Enrique Iglesias sang live on Sept 28, 2010 in Sofia, Bulgaria! And of course, I went to hear him play and sing. He was here on a free concert for the 15th birthday of one of the major cell phone companies - Mtel. As it was a free concert, I thought that he'd go on the stage and sing just a couple of songs. For my surprise it was everything BUT that! :) The show started weirdly since Sugarbabes had canceled their part of the show in the last moment, so some house Djs were trying to take their time. Then Sonique was on the stage and she made quite a show, singing for over half an hour. Then after a little break, guess who was on?! Yeah! It was Enrique.


He sang for over a bit of an hour and well, he managed to put up quite a big show - effects, interaction with the audience, song list - everything was simply awesome! So despite the drizzle and the mud (the concert was in one park downtown Sofia and with the rain the grass was kind of patchy from all of the people who came out to see Enrique), I really enjoyed myself there. Here are some photos, just like I promised on my Facebook user Sandbook Net.
Photos are made by Sandbook Net Team.
Enjoy! :))


Kayla's Handmade Letter Writing Sets

Kayla's Handmade  Letter Writing Sets


If you are looking for out-of the ordinary letter sets and envelopes, then perhaps you are already very familiar with the designs offered by Kayla at her Facebook Group: Kayla's Handmade Letter Writing Sets Stationery
Her idea about setting up the Facebook group begins with her own experience as a penpal and swapper just like all of us. Most of the shops out there that offer lettersets are theme specific but also quite popular and widely seen. However, if you a member of the small but very vivid group of penpals that prefer to have your own and very unique set of stationary, checking out Kayla's designs will be the right thing to do! She offers you the chance not only to customize your own stationary, but also provides quite diverse pre-made designs – you’re your favorite TV series and actors through stationary that are movie specific to the usual cartoon characters that you always wanted to have. I just randomly picked few of her designs that I personally love. As you can see my top 3 would be from the TV screen: Twilight design and True Blood (Yeah, vampires are very popular these days!) and lastly but not least the supernatural David Borreneaz in Angel. They are super cute and on very reasonable prices. I would say even very cheap prices. The payment is done through paypal or through stamps (you have to ask Kayla about the last option).
TwilightTrue Blood

Janet's Store

If you are a fan of Kawaii stationary, you would probably know that it is really hard to get hold of. But not anymore! I was cruising on and searching for nice and neat stationary, when I discovered Janet’s store. I was amazed that it offered simplicity of the whole website, competitive prices and great variety of products.
Firstly, I was impressed for the diversity of the products that were offered. Fact is that I was searching for stationary for my correspondence, but to be honest with you all, the moment I saw the product’s listings, I wanted to buy everything. Yeah, as you all know me, I am addicted to shopping and online shopping makes no exception. But let’s put it out there – how often do you find a nice online store that offers items that you have always wanted to buy, but never actually found? Yeah, that happens really often. Far too often that I might want to. So when , by the luck of the stars, I ended up at Janet’s Store I had to look around and satisfy my curiosity. Online-Window shopping is really fast and you don’t have to deal with those sellers that ask you “How can I help you?” or “What can I do you for?” when you have not yet had the chance to look around and see things for yourself. How can you want to buy something or need help picking out something that you don’t know that the shop is offering? So having that in mind, I looked around the categories and friends, I must say it – Janet has it all. Whether you want to buy stationary (like me) or you are up for some accessory shopping spree or you wish to get some cool new designs on clothes – Janet’s shop is where your search should begin. There are a lot of interesting ideas (combined with photos of the products) how to make your life more “kawaii”-wise.
In addition, the prices are really down to Earth and very competitive, when compared to other online shops. As I think about ordering from Janet’s store, I discovered this cool feature of her site – estimated shipping calculator. Yes, indeed, the prices are without shipping, but have no fear – you can calculate the shipping yourself and do not pay for those “overrated” shipping expenses. Just select your country and the “weight” of your purchase and you will be able to estimate the shipping costs even before you place the order.
Finally, the navigation across the site is really easy to handle and straight forwarded. You simply can’t lose your way throughout the checking out or while browsing the site. An interesting point is earning  bonus points with your order. They can be later used / exchanged for gifts. Sounds great, huh? Shipping and checkout are done easily and the payment is handled with PayPal, so there is no banking information that is exchanged – everything is done so conveniently and it is simply ready to use.
Having said all this, you might be wondering where the shop is. It is linked directly to the Logo that I got from the site. What is left for me to say but only – HAPPY SHOPPING!

Michelle’s Memorial Bracelets

“I came up with the idea of my memorial bracelets when I lost my baby due to a miscarriage. It was a way to help create a memory”, says Michelle Dayson when asked about how her idea of her Memorial bracelets came to light. She continues: “A lot of people have memories of their babies being born, but unfortunately they don’t have the opportunity to spend much time with them. I didn't get to make many memories, so I decided to create some myself!”. Using her creativity, she started working on the Memorial Cards, then started customizing them for other grieving families. Later on, she started making Angel Bookatrixes and Memorial Bracelets. Her message is moving in its simplicity “Cherish every memory you can make or have made”.
I took the liberty to show you some of her handcrafted creations on the pictures bellow. I Hope you will enjoy them. And for everyone out there who wants to contact Michelle and have a bracelet, card or Angel Bookatrix customized – just follow the link to her Facebook Page.
Memorial Angel Bookatrix Memorial bracelets and the cardsCreate a Memory Facebook Group
bracelets bracelet2 box bookatrix bookatrix2

Creative cards!!!

Creative cards!!!

Cheerful Creative Cards
Corresponding is not simply writing letters, it is about bonding with the other person, being there for their special moments in life, sharing your life with your penpal. What a better way to do so than keeping tap of your friends’ special days with wonderful cards. What about handmade cards? If you are too busy to do them yourself you can simply order them. For example, you can visit and find the seller mrsvaught, who is selling wonderful cards. Here’s the link to her site:
If you are more of the creative types, then you can just look around and get some ideas to make your correspondence cute and welcoming, just like MrsVaught’s cards. Hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

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