Saturday, 12 November 2011

Calling Creative BookCrossers

I've managed to get hold of a space for a BookCrossing Xmas Tree at my local Community Christmas Tree Festival. Loads of local businesses and organisations will be decorating trees to advertise what they do. Since BookCrossing is such a part of my life, I felt it was important it had a place in the community as well.
The festival is raising funds for the Oxford Night Shelter, so its all in a good cause.

I need your help though. To do this I need to have enough decorations related to BookCrossing or Christmas to fill a tree. I'm going to make some myself, but I wondered whether anyone would be willing to send me something to add, so that it really can be full without me collapsing from exhausted.

We will be setting up on Friday 9th December, so there's not long to go.
If you're able to help in any way please leave contact details in the comments (also the place to ask any questions you may have).
Thanks very much.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Craft Stall Number 2

So, my last craft stall went down pretty well with at least 2/3 of people buying something from me (apologies for the lack of pictures, some were taken but they haven't made their way to my computer yet), so I've booked up to do another table later this month. The pressure is on this time as I've had to put down some money for my table, so I'm hoping it goes even better than last time.

For sale will be homemade soaps and bubble bath in various scents and homemade magnetic bookmarks, as well as hand-crafted and photo cards, and a small selection of magnets. I shall also bring along a list of everything I can make and am willing to take orders.

The stall will be part of the Rush Common Pre-School Christmas Fete at All Saints Methodist Church (Abingdon, England) on the 26th November.
Doors open at 10am and will be open for two hours until 12pm.

It would be great to see you there. If you make it do let me know that you're a reader of my blog.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Creating My Craft Stall

If you're in Oxfordshire this Saturday do come and visit Abingdon. Not only do we have a fantastic craft fair running in the Guild Hall, there is also a charity craft fair in Christchurch from 10.30am to 4pm- giving you plenty of time to visit both.

As if that wasn't enough reason to visit- Crafty Creations will have a table at the Christchurch event. I will be there selling handmade goods including soaps, cards and bookmarks (I hope to be able to put some pictures up here on Friday by way of a sneak preview).
I would love it if you would pop in to support me.

Hoping to see you Saturday,

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Stopping of Summer Special

Well, the end is here. Thankyou to all who helped out, commented and visited during my month of summer madness. I hope you picked up some tips of things to do, places to see, recipes to try, authors to read and/or blogs to visit. I'd love to hear what you thought- maybe you could leave a comment or make a blog post to tell me. Hopefully this will be the beginning of more events that I'm able to hold.

Just before I leave you to go back to normal broadcasting, I bet you want to know who won what. Well, here you are:

The Winner of Bloody Jack is Mystica
The signed bookmarks were won by Sahina Bibi
The personalised magnetic bookmarks were won by Jade Walker and Janhvi Jagtap
The Winner of the Hairdresser of Harare is Mazz Nixon
And, finally, Anne was the winner of Murder in the Dark.

Congratulations to all the winners. You have been contacted by e-mail and now have 48 hours to respond.

If you didn't win this time, don't despair- you can still win with my 100 followers giveaway (see the sidebar of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' for more details.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Autumn Overhaul

Just a quick note to let you know that you may spot a few changes on my blogs over the next few weeks. Don't panc- nothing major's going to change, I just wanted to give the place a makeover whilst I have the chance. The main things that will be happening will be to make the blogs more similar,  so that people can (hopefully) clearly see that they're all run by the same person. I'm also hoping to make them easier to navigate.

If you have any suggestions of anything you think could make this blog better do leave  a comment. I can't promise I'll act on them all, but I certainly seriously consider them!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Suggested Activity 16: Cross-stitching


'The Story Factory Readers Zone' readers recommend:
Cross stitching because daylight is always an advantage (as long as it's not too windy) ;)

I can't agree with this one more. Isn't it annoying when you're sewing and the night begins to fall?! Well, why not make the best of that natural light. Cross-stitching is relaxing and you can make many interesting and/or pretty things.

Check out the next suggested activity on 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' tomorrow morning.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

GIVEAWAY- Homemade personalised magnetic bookmarks (international)

Hello and welcome to a 'Summer Special' giveaway that will interest both book-readers and craft-makers alike.
For the first time, I'm offering to give away some of my own homemade magnetic bookmarks to some of my lucky blog-readers. These bookmarks have previously only been available during one charity-drive at my church and to my relatives.

There will be 2 winners and each will recieve 2 specially-made bookmarks.
These bookmarks will be designed specifically for the winners- they can provide their own image, or suggest a theme and I'll find an image for them. This can also include their name or other writing should they so wish. This means that they are truly personalised and unique!

The rules
  1. Open internationally
  2. You must ask parental permission if under 16 to enter
  3. To enter, fill in the form below
  4. Closing date is the 31st of August

 The next 'Summer Special' post will be over at 'Living in A Time Warp' tomorrow morning

    Wednesday, 17 August 2011

    Summer Sharer: Craft Capers

    This is the part of 'Summer Special' where you get to show off what you're doing this summer. Today we're asking the questions:

    What craft project are you working on at the moment?
    Do you have any interesting (or funny) stories about craft that you'd like to share?

    As usual, answer on your blog (please leave a link back to this post) or in just in the comments if that's easier for you. Then leave a link so that we can all take a look and admire your handiwork. 

    My reply:

    I have a few sewing projects going on at the moment:
    A horse patiently waits to become a cushion
    Zebras storming across a tapestry
    1. A cushion with a cottage on it. I sewed the picture a few years ago across many holidays. I've sewn the zip on and the next step is to sew together the piece of material currently tacked onto the back of it with the sewing machine.
    2. A cushion with zebras on it. This was a more recent piece of sewing, and I've yet to actually start making it into a cushion
    3. An Egyptian tapestry. You may remember me posting about this when I first got it. Well, now its about half way and I'm quite pleased with the progress so far. I plan to mount this and hang it next to my other Egyptian tapestry.
    My Egyptain tapestry (in progress)
    I'll try to remember to show you some more pictures when I finish these projects.

    Tomorrow's  'Summer Special' posts are on 'Blog for the Thought' in the morning and 'Living in A Time Warp' in the afternoon.

    Suggested Activity 13: Do some painting

    Do some painting

    'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers say:
    "Painting is good, but if you're using acrylics, work fast as it dries quickly."

     Over to you:
    Do you enjoy painting?
    What's your favourite medium?

    Do pop back later today to share your own artwork in our 'Summer Sharer'

    Monday, 8 August 2011

    Summer Sharer: Recipe Resort

    I've been sharing some of my favourite recipes within 'Summer Special's 'Recipe Resort' posts. But, truth be known, whilst I love experimenting there are only a few recipes that I actually enjoy following. So, I'd love to know what recipes you enjoy making and then (maybe) I'll try some for myself. As usual, fell free to post on your blog, twitter etc (wherever you want really), but don't forget to leave a link here so that we can check it out.

    What are your favourite recipes?

    Look out for more recipe resort posts coming soon. In the meantime, pop over tomorrow to 'Music Helps The World Go Round' for the next 'Suggested Activity' post. 

    Saturday, 6 August 2011

    Suggested Activity 6: Visit a market

    Visit a Market

    'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers say:
    "I love going to the markets in Summer. The days are bright, it's hot and usually, the markets I go to are by the ocean (where I vacation)."

    We have farmer's markets once a month in our town, as well as weekly local markets and occasional local excellence markets. I love going into town on market day, especially when its sunny. If you go to your nearest market then you're bound to bump into lots of people you know. It also supports your local economy, as well as small businesses.
    When we go on holiday we often find ourselves in the local markets (we usually self-cater). Its just so much more relaxing than shopping in the big supermarkets. You can get a feel of the local environment and can often buy locally made goods as well.

    Over to you:
    What sort of things are for sale at your local market? 

    Pop over to 'Living in a Time Warp' this afternoon to join in with the first 'Summer Sharer'

    Wednesday, 3 August 2011

    Suggested Activity 3: Relax on the veranda or patio

    Apologies to any followers who got this a day early (I accidently published instead of scheduling originally)

    Relax on the verandah or patio

    'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers say:
    I like using my mother's verandah and just lie and soak up the sun or read or cross stitch.
    I don't have a verandah, but I do have a patio where I enjoy sitting and watching the butterflies. There are so many things you can do just outside your home, whether it be reading, sunbathing, cross-stitching, writing, or just simply watching the world go by.

    Over to you:
     If you have a patio or veranda, what do you like best about it? 
    If you don't, do you ever dream of having one and what would it be like? 

    The next 'Summer Special' post will be at 1pm (UK time) on  'Blog for the Thought' where you can read my recipe for a cool peach sorbet

    Monday, 1 August 2011

    The Week Ahead: Week One

    Welcome to the first of 4 'Week Ahead' posts during my August 'Summer Special'. The aim of these posts is to keep you updated with what will happening each week, including any changes from the published schedule. They may also include my response to the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme (I don't do this every week, just when I have new reading to announce).

    WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!
    This week is all about getting the feel for what the 'Summer Special' is about. As well as the launch post, I'll be taking you round all my blogs as I share with you some suggested activities for the summer, one of my favourite recipes and a place to visit. The week ends with the first 'Summer Sharer' and blog feature.
    Click on the blog titles to be taken to their main pages.

    Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                        The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Crafty Creations)
                        Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                        Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Crafty Creations)
                        Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    Over to you: What does summer mean to you?

    Summer Special Starts!

    Apologies for the late start to this 'Summer Special'.
    Who knew it would take me over an hour to write this post!?

    Welcome to the first ever 'Summer Special' taking place across various blogs run by Abigail Ann (aka neeuqfonafamai).

    So, what is 'Summer Special'?
    Basically, its a change to our regular schedule where you can hang out during your summer holidays. Or, if they're already over, then you can use the opportunity to imagine them back again and begin planning for next year. Every day in August, I'll be leaving you some ideas of  things that are good to do in hot weather. They'll also be giveaways, blog features, author interview(s), recipes for you to try, and a chance for you to join in during our 'summer sharers'. That's in addition to all my usual book reviews and memes. And, at the end of each post, will be an 'over to you'- something to spark discussion in the comments, or to post about on your own blog (if you want to).
    Let me now tell you some more about the types of posts you may come across during this month:
    • The Week Ahead. At the start of each week in August, I'll be putting up a post saying what's happening that week. This will be an updated post and will include the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme. 
    • Suggested Activity. These are posts talking about activities that myself or my blog readers like to do. They contain ideas of things that could be good to do in warm weather. 
    • Places to Visit. These are brief posts telling you about various places that could be good to go and visit. These are specific places that you might want to see if you live nearby, or to go to on holiday in the future.
    • Blog Feature. Telling you all about some of the blogs that our readers run. 
    • Giveaway. Your chance to grab a prize. Thanks to the generousity of our readers most of these are international! Plus, I'll be adding a surprise giveaway if the followers of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' hit 100 followers during this event!
    • Author Interview. Your chance to find out more about an author that may be new to you. 
    • Blogger Interview. Your chance to learn more about a fellow blogger.
    • Summer Sharer. Essentially a series of one-off memes, these posts are your opportunity to join in by sharing your photos, summer exploits, or writing. Let us know what you're up to this summer on your own blog, or via the comments.
    • Recipe Resort. I'll be sharing some recipes that I've found to be good for the summer.

    Enough of the posts, where do I find them?
    They'll be spread across my blogs. But don't worry, they won't be hard to find as each day I'll leave a note for you of where you can find the next post. Plus, there's a list below of what will be happening when and where, which I'll leave (and update as necessary) on the new 'Summer Special' page of each of my blogs.
    Just to make sure you don't miss anything, here's a list of the blogs participating:

    The Schedule
    These are the posts that I've already got planned for the 'Summer Special' event. Also, look out for all my usual posts, as well as the possible additional giveaway or interview.

    WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!
    Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                        The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Craft Creations)
                        Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                        Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Craft Creations)
                        Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK TWO- Giveaways Galore!
    Day Eight-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                        Suggested Activity 7 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                        Summer Sharer: Recipe Resort (Cradt Creation)
    Day Nine-    Suggested Activity 8 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Ten-      Places To Visit 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Eleven-  Suggested Activity 9 (Blog For The Thought)
    Day Twelve- Suggested Activity 10 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
                         Giveaway 1: Bloody Jack (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                         Blog Feature: Ann's Reading Corner (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Thirteen-Suggested Activity 11 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                         Giveaway 2: Assorted Signed Bookmarks (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Fourteen-Giveaway 3: The Hairdresser of Harare (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK THREE- Sharing the Summer
    Day Fifteen-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                         Suggested Activity 12 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Sixteen- Places To Visit 3 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Seventeen- Suggested Activity 13 (Crafty Creations)
                         Summer Sharer: Crafty Capers (Crafty Creations)
    Day Eighteen-Suggested Activity 14 (Blog For The Thought)
                          Recipe Resort: Beetroot Cake (Living In A Time Warp)
    Day Nineteen-Suggested Activity 15 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Twenty-  Suggested Activity 16 (Living In A Time Warp)
                          Summer Sharer: Holiday Snaps (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-One- Giveaway 6: Magnetic Bookmarks (Crafty Creations)

    WEEK FOUR- Writing and Reading the World
    Day Twenty-Two-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                                   Places To Visit 4 (Living In A Time Warp)
    Day Twenty-Three- Suggested Activity 17 (Crafty Creations)
    Day Twenty-Four-   Suggested Activity 18 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                                   Summer Sharer: A World of Writing (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-Five-   Author Interview: Karen Tyrrell (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
    Day Twenty-Six-     Places To Visit 5 (Living in A Time Warp)
                                   Recipe Resort: Bread-maker's Bread (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Twenty-Seven- Suggested Activity 19 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
    Day Twenty-Eight-  Blogger Interview: Hilde (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

    WEEK FIVE- Reaching the End
    Day Twenty-Nine-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                                   Giveaway 7: Murder in the Dark (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
    Day Thirty-              Places To Visit 6 (Living in A Time Warp)
    Day Thirty-One-      Wrapping Up The Summer (all blogs)

    I hope you'll be able to join us for some summer fun this month!
    If you want to be certain not to miss anything, please consider following one (or all) of the blogs

    Over to you: What are your plans for August?

    Monday, 25 July 2011

    Countdown To Summer Special

    LESS THAN A WEEK TO GO until our 'Summer Special' event!

    Spead across 6 blogs that I run throughout August, 'Summer Special' will be full of suggestions on how to make your summer just that little bit more fun.

    Look out for:
    • suggested activities
    • book, arts & crafts and other giveaways
    • featured blogs
    • blogger interviews
    • author interviews
    • book reviews
    and more.......

    It's not too late to get involved as well! Simply fill in the form below before next Monday to get your activity suggestions or blog featured, be interviewed, or donate a giveaway item.

    Friday, 15 July 2011

    Aloha Friday

    Hosted by An Island Life

    What is your favorite Summer drink?
    Probably lemonade and ribena.

    How about you?

    Thursday, 30 June 2011

    How Do you Make Your Summer Special?

    I'm hoping to run a series of posts on things to do this summer. But, in order to make this a success I need your help? I want to know if you have any activities, places you enjoy, or things that you do in the summer months. I would especially like to know about your favourite summer crafts and where you like to do them in sunny weather. Maybe you go to the beach, or sit by the side of a swimming pool. Maybe youlike to attend craft fayres. Whatever it is, I'd love to hear from you.

    Friday, 24 June 2011

    Crafty Cards

    I've been making cards for some of my family for a little while now, but I've never shared the results other than with my 'real-world' family and friends before. Now that I've got a craft blog I thought it was about time that changed. So here are two cards which I made recently. Read on to find out how I made them:

    This card was made for father's day. I cut and and then glued handmade paper (bought from a craft fete at Blenheim Palace) onto a blank card. I then added two layers of die-cut decopage sheets with a bird on them (bought from Millett's Farm craft shop). To complete the card I stuck on two stickers- the one on the left says 'Its' Your Day'.

    This one was for my Mum's birthday and is a great example of reusing and recycling. Onto a blank card I added some homemade paper- this time rose-petal paper (made from old rags and rose-petals). I cut out the corner of a vase of roses from an old Valentine's Day card and then used sticky pads to attach this to the card. The only thing not reused on this card was the sign 'Mum' at the bottom- this was pre-cut.

    What sort of cards do you make? Do you have any ideas for reusing materials in your card making or other crafts?

    Monday, 16 May 2011

    Flying away with a bargain

    On Saturday, after trying to sell it on a secondhand charity stall (unsuccessfully) for 2 and a half hours, I bought this long-stitch for myself:
    As you can see, it is pre-printed and haas all the threads you need to complete it.
    Here's what it should look like when its finished:
    So, my question is, how much would you pay for this kit?

    I've seen this sort of kit sold retail in new shops for around £15-30. And yet, no-one was willing to purchase it (unopened and in new condition) from a charity stall for a fiver. Am I the only one that thinks its not right that we expect things to be so much cheaper in charity shops than in 'proper' retailers? Surely we should be willing to pay more for a good cause, not less?!

    I'd love to know what you think. What's a fair price for this sort of product? Should where you buy it make a difference?

    Saturday, 14 May 2011

    Mounting Egypt

    I promised that I'd show you some of my work, so here's a picture of my latest  finished tapestry:

    This 'tapestry' was made using half cross-stitch. The canvas was pre-printed, but I had to buy the threads seperately. It was quit difficult deciding how to mount it because it was an odd size, but eventually I decided to put it on a mounting board. Its hung in my bedroom and will eventually be joined by another Egyptian-themed tapestry which I'm yet to start. Here's a picture of the pre-printed canvas:

    How do you mount your work? Do you have any Egyptian-themed artwork that you'd like to share?

    Wednesday, 11 May 2011

    Flying Away With Card-Making

    Whilst at the Abingdon Air Show on Sunday I bought some cards by a local artist called Peter Bellingham. I was impressed with the range of his work- both cartoons and pictures so realistic that they could easily be mistaken for photos. The result- I ended up buying 3 of his cards with scenes of Abingdon on them.

    I could easily have bought more cards though as there were quite a few different card makers selling at the event. The same was true at the Christian Resources Exhibition which I visited yesterday. So why are there so many card-makers out there? Well, here's a few of my suggestions why:
    1. Everyone needs cards at sometime or other. We celebrate loads of events with cards- birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, christmas and easter amongst them. And they're suitable for everyone, you can even get them for pets nowadays! That means tha there are a lot of potential customers out there.
    2. With a bit of practise almost everyone can make a card. This is because there are so many ways to go about it including sticking photographs onto card, drawing, painting, using pre-printed stickers and cutouts, and collaging (the list seems almost endless). And if you can't make cards then there are even companies where you can sign up to sell ones made by other people. 
    3. Its something that you can usefully practise before you start selling- begin by making cards for less discernable friends and relatives. 
    4. It's fun (or at least I think it is).
    You may have gathered that I make my own cards. I'm not at the selling stage (yet), but that doesn't stop me enjoying the process. And it means that I can always find the right card for even the most tricky relative, as long as I have a bit of time.

    Do you make cards, or do you enjoy buying from others?

    Wednesday, 4 May 2011

    What this blog is about

    Recently I've become very much interesting in dabbling in the world of craft. It all started seriously when I began making my own cards for family. I was fed up of not being able to get cards which suited the personalities of those I wanted to give them to, and so I decided to make my own. Over time, as I've slowly improved, I've started making them for more people and, yesterday, was the first time I made one for my grandma- spurred on by the knowledge that it was very hard to ge a card with both writing and images big enough for her to see nowadays.
    Another craft that I've dabbled in is bookmark making. Not normal bokmarks mind you, magnetic ones. This all began when I wanted to come up with something I could sell as part of my church's talents event. Working with computers being something I felt I was good at, I began to think about how I could use that to make something th would appeal to a mostly intelletual and aging congregation. Combine it with my great interest in books and it became obvious. I now make my own magnatic bookmarks whenever I find myself in need of a new one and am hoping to start sending them out to bookcrossers along with controlled release books very soon.
    But the craft that occupies most of my time at the moment is sewing tapestries. I'm self-taught so my style isn't 100% correct, but I enjoy doing pre-printed tapestries using cross-stitch. One of my favourite things about this is that it can be done whilst watching TV. Its also easy to alternate this and reading. Recently I've finished the very first tapestry which I actually felt good enough to put up. Its a bust of Nefertiti and it was mounted onto a woodblock being hung up in my Egyptian-coloured room. I'm hoping to partner it with another Egyptian tapestry which I have ready to sew. I will share both on this blog at some time in the future.

    And that's what this blogs about really- the crafts that interest me. I'll be showing you what I'm making, have made in the past or plan to make. And, when I have enough followers, I plan to do some giveaways as well. In the meantime, if you'd like me to make anything for you do get in touch and I'll see what I can do by way of a trade. 

    What sort of crafts do you like doing?