When I was thirteen I got heavily into pen-palling. My school had set up a pen-pal exchange with a school in Sweden and we all got given random letters. Mine was from a girl called Viktoria. It was very exciting to hear about a whole different type of life. In many ways she was the same as me, a typical 13 year old girl, but her day to day life was intriguingly foreign. That was it. I was totally hooked.
For the next four years I wrote religiously to a variety of pen-pals from all over the world. Every day after school the FIRST thing I would do was check the mat by the front door for post. And every time there was a letter I was rewarded with a fuzzy warmth in my belly. Oh, those letters were magical. I still have every single one in a box in my parents attic. And I still check for post every day - hope crisp in my mouth. It's a habit I'll probably have forever. Although these days, sadly, I don't get so many letters. Everyone is busy, no-one has the time or energy quite like a thirteen year old girl for writing letters.
One of the most exciting things my pen-palling introduced me to was the concept of swaps. This is where everyone signs up to swap things with each other. In those days it was mainly pictures of bands we loved with "I love you" written all over it in pink glitter pen. Or stickers. Man we loved stickers.
So imagine my excitement at seeing a 'Swap' section in the TLC Coffeehouse! It was empty though. Bereft of swaps. Only one way to fix that! I started my very own first swap. You can see it here.
It has the theme of 'birds' and is very easy. Basically you sign up, make something (could be a drawing, a model, a story, some music, a puppet, a badge, a button, a poem, a bead, some printed fabric - anything), and then post it to where I tell you to. And you'll get something amazing, beautiful and unique in return. Brilliant?
Come join us! The more the merrier! Exciting post is guaranteed!