A free drop in session at the Early Bird Cafe in Chalk Farm, London NW1Image

Come along and be inspired to create your very own one!


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Here’s a new take on preserving photographs of your pet.  Instead of pasting photo after photo of your pet on FaceBook or in an album, use the wonders of Photoshop to create stunning works of art out of ordinary snap shots, create a Blurb book, find relevant quotes and instead of a boring (to everyone else) set of images, you have an interesting, thought provoking book that everyone will be interested to peruse!  To learn tips and tricks of the trade, come along to a Blurb Tuesday session to learn!

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There are just 38 days to Christmas!  This year do something that will touch the hearts of your loved ones: make a book just for them using and their free software BookSmart!  There are so many ideas to create that very special book that may mean nothing to publishers, nothing to your neighbours but will mean the world to the person you have made it for.  That look on your parent’s face, your child’s reaction, your best friend’s smile is a priceless gift in itself and worth all the effort. Come along to a free workshop next Tuesday!

I don’t know about you but as I grow older the pure commercialization at this time of giving bores me.  So get cracking and let your imagination go wild!  In the following weeks I intend you go through the many categories of books that I think make great gift ideas.  From memory books to remember your parents by to special little books to mark your child’s, spouse’s, sibling’s or friend’s achievements, to creating books out of your childrens’ school work rather than stashing it in the attic to making family cookery books… it’s endless! I will give you tips on how to completely personalize books with subtle touches.

This week I’d like to feature a book concept that I think is completely unique and I hope will interest parents as presents.  It is a childrens’ book that I wrote.  I was inspired by Ricky the Rockhopper penguin at London Zoo and by the fact that when I used to take my children to the zoo the one thing that niggled was that my kids never really read up on the habitat of animals and the full experience of going to the zoo was somewhat lost.  So this book is making up for that!  A fantasy based in reality.  The child is transported to Tristan da Cunha, on of the natural habitats of Northern Rockhopper penguins to learn how they nest, groom, feed, which predators prey upon them and how they nurture their young.  It is not Sir Richard Attenborough’s Frozen Planet but it does teach us how the penguins live beyond the penguin pool at the zoo!

What makes the book unique is that it is completely personalized.  The child is the central character along with Ricky in the book – not just in name but in imagery too.  Therein lies the unique quality of the book.  A photograph of the child is used to create illustrations throughout the book.

There are two versions: one for a younger readership and one for older (say 7 – 9 years – although I have had orders from 15 years olds!).  In writing the story I couldn’t decide on target readerships because the fact is that if parents read the book to their children early on, the complexity is diluted by the fact that intially the child’s interest is held by the fact that he or she is in the book.  As the child gets older and is able to read the book on his or her own, the text takes on more significance. Please do take a look at the previews of the book below and let me know what you think!

It is a time consuming process creating the individual book but I do enjoy doing it so if you are interested do get in touch with me and let me make for your child the most exclusive gift this Christmas!  But do hurry as the last day to do so would be 8th December to ensure it arrives in time! The books cost £25 to create and then are available for purchase online for £10 +p&p for a paperback and £20 +p&p for a hardback. Check out hard copies of the books in Central London at Tann Rokka or The Toy Cafe in Primrose Hill.

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Filed under Aruna Khanzada, Blurb, BlurbNation, book publishing, Open and Shut Ltd, self publishing

Opening up WordPress

Cyberspace is an exciting but rather daunting experience for a technophobe like me so as I float around in the dark, bear with me…. I will get there!  I have been told that the way forward is  blogging so blog I will!  This, my first blog EVER, is an introduction to what I do and where I think I am going to take this blog………

I set up a company,  Open and Shut Ltd as a platform from which to launch my photography business.  Along the way I discovered and was excited to find a vehicle from which to drive my business.  Self publishing my own work was a start and from that I began publishing for others using Blurb.

With the support of BlurbNation I have met new clients with their amazing ventures from amazing chefs, talented artists, incredible jewellers, many photographers with many a brilliant project, oh, a wonderful DJ with his own take on food and several vintage car owners.  I’ve spent the day with Dolly at her home at Tann Rokka.  I’ve met QCs, architects, art dealers, bankers,  rare book dealers – can’t share all the work with you as much of it is private.  I’ve had interesting conversations with people from all over the world… the last  one with a lovely lady from St. Kitts.

One area that I have tripped into is cooking.  I made a recipe book for my good friend Ruthe Wainman – it was a christmas gift of curry recipes.  I called it Curry Base.  It’s got the base recipe from which I have created all sorts of curry dishes.  Ruthe showed it to people, people asked for copies then people asked me to show them how to make the curry base and before I knew it I was running cookery classes and making curry paste to order. I’ve even had a little mention in Woman and Home magazine!

So, this blog is going to be my sounding block…. going to put ideas out there relating to making books, photography, cookery and hope to get responses…..

The next post is about starting a curry club in Primrose Hill……. speak then!

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Filed under Aruna Khanzada, Blurb, BlurbNation, book publishing, Cooking, Curry Base, Open and Shut Ltd, Open and Shut's Blog, Photography, self publishing