Bookalogging (new TangleClub freebie)

In between projects, I’ve been reading a lot, lately.  Despite the fact I lived with my nose in a book when I was younger, it always feels very decadent now to spend a day with a comfortable chair and a good novel – but sometimes it just needs to be done!  Do you ever think back on the books you read years ago and find you only have the sketchiest memories of the details?  I’ve been lucky enough to be selected as a World Book Night ‘giver’ this year (one of thousands of people across the country – & I believe in other countries, too, this year – giving away free copies of books in order to ‘spread the joy and love of reading’), and the book I chose to give was Small Island by Andrea Levy.  I read it and really enjoyed it probably 5 or 6 years ago, and of the available titles, it was definitely the one that spoke to me.  But I realised that I only had the vaguest recollection of the actual plot, which isn’t really the best way of convincing somebody else they also want to read that book…  I’m currently re-reading Small Island, and relieved to say I am enjoying it just as much second time around!

With this in mind, I have just added a brand new TangleClub freebie: the Bookalog!  Maybe you have a journal where you keep track of the books you read, maybe a spreadsheet, maybe a blog, or maybe you just rely on your memory (all I will say about that is, I hope your memory is better than mine! 😉 ).  Whatever your preference, the Bookalog is designed to supplement rather than replace your preferred method of record-keeping.  Simply print & fold the mini-zine ‘blank’ – maybe use as a makeshift bookmark (I don’t know about you, but I always lose nice bookmarks & end up using business cards or till receipts, instead) or just stuff a couple into your purse or handbag.  Then when you finish a book, wherever you might be, you can jot down a few notes to keep everything fresh in your mind until you have chance to update whatever other system you might use.  You can, of course, use the Bookalogs as a record system in their own right, but if you read a lot, be warned that this may soon become impractical! 😉

The Bookalog includes spaces for:

  • your name!
  • an index of titles
  • dates read
  • a log of your thoughts about 3 books
  • space to add doodles or pictures or extra notes
  • books similar in style/theme
  • ratings
  • books added to your wishlist

(Please note, if you are not currently a TangleClub member but you wish to partake of the TangleClub freebie goodness, membership is available here, or is FREE with any purchase of £5 or more from the TangleStore!)

In the meantime – have you read any good books lately?  These are my favourite reads from the last month:

Ella Minnow Pea by Matt Dunn
A clever & enjoyable fable set on an island where an overzealous council bans more and more letters from daily usage as a historic monument begins to decay.  If you enjoy word puzzles, this is a really fun read, but more importantly, it’s a good story, too!

The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki
A career conman reflects on his life as old age catches up with him, in this surprisingly touching portrait of a charming egomaniac and the lives he has touched.  This story could easily have produced a caricature but instead revealed a very perceptive look at human nature.

War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen
In this sharply witty tale, Gloria looks back on life with her sister during the war, and discovers why certain memories are more reluctant to re-surface than others.  I was relieved that the ‘twist’ (evident that it would be coming from early on in the story) was slightly different than I had imagined.

TangleClub November Update

Yes, I know I’m a day late, but this time I have a good excuse…!
The latest TangleClub Freebie is a printable, customisable Booklet of Golden Tickets (both A4 & letter-size versions available) – all you need to do is print off the PDF, fill in the tickets with your own selection of special offers, and you have a unique gift/stocking stuffer for somebody special!  So why should this make me a day late with my post?  Well, today is my own somebody special’s birthday, and this very morning he was the ‘lucky’ recipient of my own Booklet of Golden Tickets.  I didn’t want to post the pic below yesterday as obviously that might have spoiled the surprise somewhat… 🙂

I had lots of fun with the tickets (which included a bottle of wine, a ‘decadent day of reading’, and a day trip, amongst other things), especially devising the Terms & Conditions, where the recipient was advised whether certain tickets could be used in conjunction with other offers & to contact his local Golden Ticket Representative to check available dates/pre-book certain options.  I feel I must confess at this juncture, however, that the impressive calligraphy on the tickets is not my own
but rather a free font.

The printable version of the Booklet for TangleClub members varies from the one shown above in some minor details but is essentially the same.  I thought with Christmas fast approaching, now would be an appropriate time to share!

If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie-ness,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend £5 or more in the TangleStore or TangleStore UK you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!  
You will see there is also the newly added option of a Bonus Bundle – a TangleCrafts ‘starter’ package for new members including a variety of mix & match options.  There is more new stuff in the pipeline, so as always,
watch this space for updates!

TangleClub October Update

We are currently in the midst of a beautiful Indian Summer here, so in keeping with the summer spirit, I am offering TangleClub members a slightly out-of-season Leftover Lavender cross stitch project, designed to use up the leftovers from your lavender harvest as well as your leftover off-cuts of embroidery threads.  This pattern is from a revised reprint of one of my first mini-zines, now available as a TangleClub exclusive e-zine.

In further TangleClub news, the very last TangleClub edition of the Mulberry Digest is currently going to print and will be sent out to TangleClub Deluxe members over the next 7 days or so.  TangleClub Deluxe is no longer available to new members (but existing members can continue to enjoy the benefits for the duration of their membership) but some alternative, new TangleClub membership options will be available in the near future, so watch out for updates!

 If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie goodness,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend £5 or more in the TangleStore or TangleStore UK you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

TangleClub September Update

Yes, it’s that time again, already!  I can’t quite believe it is suddenly September – where did summer go?  I don’t really mind, though, as autumn is my favourite season, and today is one of those beautiful bright, crisp September days that I love. 🙂

Back to business: TangleClub members will find the latest freebie now available over at the TangleClub Archive. This month, I’m offering an exclusive preview of a forthcoming zine called Borrowed Time.  Long-time followers of TangleCrafts might remember that one of my earliest zines was based on the classic children’s novel The Borrowers by Mary Norton.  That very zine has undergone a complete overhaul & re-design (including lots of additional content).  I’m still putting the finishing touches to it, but look out for the new version – complete with even more ‘added extras’ – sometime in the next month or so!

 If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie goodness,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend £5 or more in the TangleStore or TangleStore UK you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

TangleClub July Update

July’s TangleClub freebie has just been added – hop over to the TangleClub Archive for an exclusive-to-TangleClub-members printable Mail-Craft Mini-Zine!  I spent a lot of June playing with my lovely collection of Machin stamps (and making badges from them!) so this mini-zine was the natural progression.  It includes some very easy ideas for making your own, personalised stationery by using & upcycling your own collected postage stamps, plus some Etsy links for further inspiration.

 If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie goodness,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend $10 or more in the TangleCrafts Etsy Store, you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free!

TangleClub June Update

A day late (and a pound or two short), June’s TangleClub freebie is now available!  Just hop over to the TangleClub Archive for your printable pebbly labels!  Use as address labels or whatever else comes to mind…  The border/corner doodle is one from the daily doodle project I mentioned in my previous pebbly post.  If you are not currently a member of the TangleClub but want to share the monthly freebie goodness,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend $10 or more in the TangleCrafts Etsy Store, you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free! 

In other news, I have been updating the review section of  the Enchanted Times blog.  It is still a work in progress with much more to be added. but if you are interested in revisionist fairy tales, you will now find indices installed so that you can browse by author surname or look up relevant stories by character/tale.  If you find your own favourite has been omitted, or not given sufficient weight, please feel free to submit a short review using the guidelines on the website.  Alternative viewpoints are welcome!

TangleClub May Update

Hurrah!  At last!  With sincere apologies for my tardiness I am happy to declare that the latest issue of the Mulberry Digest (Neverendings issue) has been sent out to all TangleClub Deluxe members today.  Updated TangleClub membership cards have been included (& will be rolled out to TangleClub Basic members with June-onward join dates throughout the rest of this month).  Having moved house & finally settled in, I think things are at last getting back to ‘normal’ around here.  Thanks for bearing with me!

Although I neglected to stop by and say so, I did add a new freebie to the TangleClub Archive on Sunday, so please hop over and check it out. 🙂  I’ve been reading a lot lately, so I’m hoping my fellow bibliophiles will appreciate the printable bookmarks I have designed.  They include spaces for you to add your personal recommendations, for those of us who cannot resist evangelising about our favourites.  Include a bookmark when you donate a book to a charity shop, or take a leaf out of the BookCrossing book and leave one in a book surrendered to the wild, for somebody else to discover serendipitously.

Oh, and if you’re still not a member of the TangleClub,  click here for all current membership options, and remember, if you spend $10 or more in the TangleCrafts Etsy Store, you will qualify for TangleClub Basic membership absolutely free! 

Books grow on trees

In my last post, I mentioned how much I love books & reading.  It is one of my greatest pleasures.  But I do feel a measure of guilt, because as we all know, books are made from paper, which in turn comes from trees.  So my conscience was eased ever so slightly, when I stumbled across this great concept:
Eco Libris!  With Eco Libris’ plan, you can plant a tree for every book you read, and therefore help to replenish the world’s resources.  The more you read, the more you help!  Through the Eco Libris site you can make a payment to have any number of trees planted; and for every tree planted you will receive a “One tree planted for this book” sticker made of recycled paper to display on your book.

Another great site, if you are in the UK, is Green Metropolis.   The site allows you to recycle old books through their marketplace: there is a fixed price of £3.75 for every book; a donation is made to the Woodland Trust with every book bought/sold; the Woodland Trust in turn plants trees to replenish the woodlands.  Everybody wins!

A quiet week?

Despite a lack of blogging activity here which may suggest the contrary, I have been busy busy busy all week!  Well, I took a week’s holiday from ‘real’ work – caught up with a friend, saw my mum & dad (my dad has been in China for the last 6 months or so, so that was an especial treat), and went on a day trip with Corey – the highlight of which was probably when he left his umbrella behind on the train there, but found it again on the train back!  But around these brief outings I have been working non-stop.  There are some new things very nearly ready to tell you about, but the most immediate, are 2 new zines (& something else a bit different), now available in my Etsy stores:

Contours cover shotThe first is ‘Contours’, my first art zine, which is all about doodling.  This is where my brief encounter with Zentangling led me.  I suddenly realised how the majority of the patterns I have designed as an adult all stem from one basic doodle that I used to doodle all the time.  The zine looks at how that doodle has emerged in the various crafts I have worked in, considers the possible origins of the doodle, and leaves lots of spaces for you to doodle away to your own heart’s content.

tiffanyacorns1As you can see from the photo, there are some extras included – hand-doodled bookmark to stitch, and a hand-doodled ‘fingerprint’ of lino to carve & print.  Inside the zine you will also find a 4-way Acorns cross stitch chart, Bobbin Along freeform bargello pattern, plus 4 postcards (2 printed, and 2 blank for you to doodle yourself) printed on gummed paper, freeform-bobbin-alongso that you can turn any piece of scrap card into a postcard, (these come with 4 postcard reverse labels which could also be used as envelope re-use labels, if you prefer).  Check out the TangleCrafts Etsy Store for more details.

Papertrail #2 cover shot Hot on the heels of Papertrail #1, you can now also find Papertrail #2.  Papertrail #2 is a zine full of questions and books and reading habits, with answers/opinions from me, Corey, and spaces for your own responses, too.  It’s all about books, and how we live with them.  Alongside everything else is a Papertrails ‘map’ of routes you can take from novel to novel, spaces to design your own book jackets, plus copy-&-cut bookplates & bookmarks.  And as if all that wasn’t enough, Papertrail #2 also includes a free membership pack for the Papertrail Reader’s Club!

The Papertrail Reader’s Club is there for everyone who loves to read.  The Basic Membership Pack includes:Club Package

  • 2 pre-gummed Ex Libris plates
  • 2 recommendation bookmarks left blank for you to personalise
  • and the Member Book:

The Papertrail Readers’ Club Book is a membership card and reader’s record book combined! It is a 20 page, staple-bound mini-booklet, printed on high quality recycled sugar papers. Each book will be personalised with your name and membership number, and date stamped with the start date of your membership. It includes spaces to list all the books you want to read alongside dates started & finished, and there are even pages to fill in with your own mini-reviews! Club Book

Each month, a different book is chosen as a feature title, with review printed inside the back cover.  Club members are eligible to submit their own reviews of the club titles which may earn them a free Papertrail zine!

If you buy any issue of Papertrail, you will receive free membership to the Reader’s Club, including the current month’s club review.  If you don’t want to buy the zine, you can still buy a one-off membership to the club with a Basic Membership Package.  And if you fill your record book quickly, or just want another, a Renewal Membership Package is available at a reduced price.

Told you I’d been busy ;-).  And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Nigel Peake

Peake MapsOn Sunday, I was very decadent and bought myself a new book.  It is only 24 pages long and cost £8.95, but it is so beautiful and enticing that it is absolutely, definitely worth every penny.  It’s not a craft book, or even fiction: it’s a book called ‘Maps’ by Nigel Peake.  It’s full of, well, maps; but not your ordinary, everyday atlas-type maps: these are out-of-the-ordinary, everyday, stylised, hand-drawn to the tiniest minutiae maps, filled with colour and pattern, and – well, they’re just awesome. Peake Maps 2See left for a couple of pages from inside this book.  There aren’t many pages in the book, but it’s not something you can just flip quickly through: you need to really study the pictures, to see which details have been picked up.

Peake Map 3I just stumbled upon this book as I was browsing the shelves – it’s very thin and there is not even any wording on the spine, so could easily have been missed, but that’s probably actually what made me notice it.  I was just mesmerised, as soon as I opened it.  The example to the right, here, is more representative of what I love about the amazing use of line, and pattern.  (The image shown is a print, but it does also appear in the book, ‘Sheds’ – I just didn’t want to break the spine of my book, to scan it!).  Slightly off-topic, but something to think about, I can totally imagine this kind of image converted into blackwork embroidery.  Hmm…

If you check out Nigel Peake’s blog, it’s obvious how the detail of the ordinary things we often just walk past without really seeing is being plucked from obscurity in his work.  It’s not that it is enlarged or prettified, but itjust makes you actually look at the detail, makes you aware, instead of being blind to it.  I love the photos on his blog.

There is also a website where you can actually flip through his publications, and see even more of his wonderful illustrations; then when you can’t take it any more, you can also buy prints and zines online.  Go and do it now.  I insist.