Erin nominated this week as yellow week. My offering today? Some spring sunshine to say thank you for all your wonderful words of support on the last post. We truly feel very lucky to know you.
I have always loved the simple joyfulness of daffodils - so unpretentious.
When I was pregnant with Johnny, Mark (who was three) kept asking when the baby would be born. And my answer was simple - when the daffodils come. For me, they will always be his special flower.
1. To say I dislike having my photo taken is putting it mildly. I'd much prefer to remain in the shadows.
2. So it is utterly mystifying to me why I allowed myself to be filmed for television this week. Thankfully it is being aired on a cable channel which I don't get, so I don't have to re-live the trauma.
3. When I am under pressure I occasionally loose control of my thought processes and my powers of speech. This is the only reason I can come up with for having called the central character of the novel I was discussing, by the wrong name. Not once, but twice. On camera.
4. The sleeve of the cardigan I am attempting to knit is too short. I am terrified that my efforts to rip out the shaping at the top of the arm and make it a bit longer will lead to the whole thing unravelling.
5. I found 3 grey chest hairs on hubby. For some reason, I find this enormously depressing. He refuses to let me yank them out. I may have to pounce on him with a marker pen instead.
6. Today, the first bunch of daffodils of the year found their way into my shopping basket. The thought that Spring is not far away makes all the above seem less hideous
Courtesy of Allison and the 'six things' meme that just will not die.
So, it's Christmas Eve and I am snatching a few quiet moments alone to visit my little blog space. The boys and Granny are tracking Santa on NORAD, hubby is home from work, Grandad is stacking the dishwasher. The house is full - of family, of food, of noise and of future memories.
I have some wishes for you all this Christmas - you friends who share this space with me.
I think these wishes were granted for me on the day I began blogging and started to meet you all.
A very Merry Christmas to you.
Turkey Feathers tagged me a little while back with a Kreative Blogger thingy - Six things I love and six nominees.
If it's fine to cannabalise it a little (creative, surely?), here are six things I loved about yesterday.
1. The pleasure of a train journey all alone.
2. The way that meeting bloggers in real life is never as scary as meeting other people.
3. Walking about in November with no coat (and still being too hot) - London is always at least 5 degrees hotter than here.
4. Sharing in other people's passions. I know nothing about beads or beading, but I loved the treasure trove that was this shop.
5. How small babies really are (and how perfectly sweet and patient they can be).
6. Taking off my boots as I walked through the door back home.
I'm supposed to tag six folks, so how about Dottiecookie, Stashbasket, Silverpebble, Moogsmum, LucyLocket and Vicious Chicken - thank you for a great day. You lucky non-bloggers amongst our throng today, consider yourselves saved (though it was of course lovely to meet you too).
Not entirely sure if that title refers to the passage of time, or sanity. Both probably. We've squeezed in a quick trip to my folks for some sea air and a little buttony goodness.
Some garlands, made from the bounty that lurks in my Mother's Charity Shop button box. When a garment donated to them is not fit for sale, they recycle it for rags, but always snip off the buttons first. Sets get carded up and sold on, but the odds and sods make it into a giant tin. I've been thinking of ways to up-cycle them and am hoping these garlands just might hit the spot with the charity shop punters.
Then a whizz home, a re-boot of the washing and a cross country scurry to meet up with Karen and Monica (and assorted offspring, all male!). You'll have to see Monica's post here for all the details, because Karen doesn't have a blog (though she does have an amazing craft room, so there's still hope) and I forgot to take a camera. Which was ridiculous. Especially given how much fun was packed into one day.
I blame it on a stinking cold - one of those ones that begins just as the pressure of real life eases off, thereby perfectly timed to co-incide with all holidays. I'm having difficulty stringing any coherent thoughts together at all - can you tell?
For some time now, I have been interested in how blogs run the course of their natural lives. There is so much excitement in the birth of a new blog - watching a blogger find their voice in a strange new medium, make friends and connections and flourish. There's a special place in my heart for the blogs I have followed right from their very beginnings.
But what about the other end of things? When blogging no longer earns it's keep in life. This week I read the most graceful exit post from Junie Moon. And my (now in real life) buddy Alice made a similar decision to take a step back. And then there are all the lovely people I came to know, whose blogs have tailed off - sometimes with explanations, and some whose backstories gave clues as to why they may have chosen to stop. But every time it happens, I find it a little unsettling.
Perhaps there a time frame, particularly in the 'craft plus life' blogging niche, when it starts to all feel a bit same-y. When I look back at my own archives, I can't help coming to the conclusion that there are only so many iterations of the 'back-to-school' post, or the 'autumn is drawing in' post. Only so many times that 'six random things' manages to inform or surprise.
But when I contemplate the inevitable end, I come up against the unsurmountable barrier of friendship. How could I stop, when doing so would mean leaving behind people who I have come to regard as friends? The lure of an in-box, regularly filled with nuggets of kindness and insight.
These are possibly just the rambling thoughts of a slightly edgy mother, who hasn't had nearly enough time to herself of late. Perhaps I need to step away from the keyboard for a moment and breathe. And remember why I began in the first place.
Manda was asking about blog preferences today. How we all love wading in on this topic - unsurprising, given that blogging (or at least blog reading) is the common element we all share. Anyway, I'm feeling particularly opinionated today, so here's my tuppence worth. I would love to hear your take on this stuff too.
What makes you enjoy a particular blog (not just this one, any one that you read)?
Honesty, reality, humour and the opportunity to raise my game. I want to have a garden as gorgeous as yours, a wonderful relationship with my children when they are as grown up as yours, to cook the same foodstuffs as you do - simply and beautifully and to have a magazine spread worthy house. Oh and knit all my own socks, sew clothes and have a quilt on every bed, handstitched by moi. Just don't be too bloody smug about it or I might stop sighing wistfully and want to throttle you instead. Remind me occasionally that you too are human.
What type of post is your favourite?
Something that really makes me think. The very very best of posts stay with me all day. Posts which generate discussion around our community. Posts which make me determined to try something new or do something differently.
How important are the photographs?
They help. Because I suppose we're all a bit lazy and pushed for time. Bad photos are a bit of a turn off. Sarah+h gave me some great advice on blog photos ages ago and it really helped me. I unearthed her e-mail so I could pass it on to you in her own words:
The beauty of the digital age is that you can take a lot of pictures without wasting a single frame of film. You should see the number of pictures that I delete. Occassionally even when I've taken dozens of pictures I don't end up with anything that I consider useable. I'd like to think the same is true for the bloggers whose photographs I admire.
Second, get up close and personal. I almost always like the way a closely cropped photo looks better than one taken from a wider angle. Framing a picture as your taking it takes practice (another way that taking billions of pictures comes in handy) but if all else fails you can always manipulate the image with your photo editing software.
If photos are not your strongest point, try to find a blog whose photographic style you enjoy and work out what it is they are doing. Is it their lighting, their use of macro, their colours? Then have a go yourself. In my opinion, photographic style is an area you can copy completely without guilt.
Does the design of the blog attract you or even stop you from reading it?
Not really - probably because I tend to read in bloglines and just pop over quickly to comment. I have never stopped reading a blog on the basis of design. I have, however a big issue with blogs whose whole feed doesn't show up in bloglines. It drives me mad!
Do you like blogs to be colloquial/regional or fairly generic?
I like to be able to place a blog. Feel comfortable enough to use your native vernacular. We don't all have to call it a Thrift Store. I'm sure readers are intelligent enough to figure out what a Charity Shop or Op-Shop is. When I first started blogging, most of the people who stopped by were from North America or Australia. I think because craft-blogging wasn't terribly established in the UK then. But these days, I notice that more and more of my comments come from fellow Brits. Are we more insular than we like to think? Or is it just that when someone talks about buying shoes, we like to know we can get our hands on a pair without International Shipping. I would never want to read only my own nationality blog - diversity is king! But local has charm too.
An equal amount of craft and family, or does too much of talking about the kids put you off?
If I only wanted to read about crafts, I'd buy a craft encyclopedia. I love love love the backstory. Why you made it, what your Dad said about it, how you fed the children cereal 3 meals running, just so you could finish it. And while we're on the subject of children, don't brag too much about yours. Because then I just think you're a big hairy fibber - they are never perfect all the time. At least, mine aren't.
What else? What are the best words of advice you can give a blogger?
Enjoy the process of connecting with like minded people. A 'successful' blog doesn't need a certain number of hits or comments - it just needs to make the owner happy. Do it your way.
Did you get this far? Even with no photo? Bravo! What's the most memorable post you've read of late? Pop a link to it in the comments. Blogging - it's good to share.
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to my blog, (and to my lovely sister-in-law)
Happy Birthday to you.
Two years today. But I'm not in the mood for reminiscing this morning - it's all about looking forward. Care to join me? And help yourself to a cupcake too - they're a marbled chocolate experiment, but I know you won't judge me too harshly if they haven't turned out quite right. Because we're friends, and that makes me happy.
I was all excited when Alice tagged me with this Archive meme. But I've found it much harder to do than I thought. I found that my posts in isolation make me cringe slightly - the same embarrassed feeling that prompted me to throw away all my teenage diaries a while back. Now that was cathartic decluttering!
I am meant to revisit my archives for something relevant to the following headings:
Family - well, here we are. The best thing about my family - they know me. There's no escaping the truth with them around to point it out to me. Keeps me honest.
Friends - I don't write too much about real life friends. I figure they are entitled to a bit of privacy. Blog friends are free game and I'm lucky enough to have heaps of blog chum meet ups and parcel exchange posts in my archives. But for me the purest example of blog friendship was the Minimoopy love experience. For my 100th blog post, I asked for some help with a charity project and was totally overwhelmed by the support which bloggers gave. That's friendship for you.
Yourself - This is the category I find hardest to revisit. Some of these posts are the most personal and painful, but they are also where I know from your comments that my ramblings have reached out and touched other people. Focus on the comments not so much the posts if you read these. Because the wisdom and support of the people who come and visit me here is a beautiful thing.
Anything - The most commented on post? This one - because I guess blogging or reading blogs is the one element of what appears here that we all have in common. And it taught me humility, because replying to and connecting with all those comments took a very very long time.
Tagging folks feels a bit like doling out work because this took me a loooong time. But perhaps I'm just slow and you may enjoy taking a trip down through your own archives. So if you fancy doing it, I'd love to see your highlights. But I'd especially love to see the things chosen by Florence of Flossie Teacakes and Megan from The Scent of Water. The reason? In common with Alice, who tagged me with this, they write things which often stick in my head and flavour my thoughts for the day.
A Flickr pro account was one of my Christmas presents and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed it to the full this year. A Photojojo article on New Years Photo resolutions also caught my eye and I signed up to Project 365. The idea is to take a photo every single day. It's quite a challenge for me - usually I save picture taking for days when the sun finally decides to show it's face or when I am bursting to blog about something I have completed.
I expected the discipline of taking a picture, regardless of how pretty life looks to be a new one for me. But I didn't expect to find that the pictures I am taking are very different from my comfort zone. I am making an effort to keep it real - not to stage shots, but simply to snap something that captures an element of my day for real. So there's more of the grey, the mundane, than I'd normally capture. And in a weird way I like that. I seems more honest somehow.
The longer I've blogged for, the more my blog seems to have become a 'thing' in it's own right. Not really so much a reflection of my life, as a stand alone project. I find that a bit strange. And creepy. And it's not that I deliberately keep everything in my blog-world all pretty and shiny-happy. I talk about my fair share of mess, mishaps and mayhem. But it has taken this photo thing to make me realize that it's still not reality.
Autum wrote a really great post about this phenomenon the other day.
I wonder if it is something we will all come up against as our blogs age. Whether self-censorship and "happy-blogging" are a natural consequence of knowing that the numbers of people reading our blogs increases and comments begin to come from people less familiar to us.
It always slightly freaks me out to appear as a link on the sidebar of a blog I haven't already come across by following up on a comment. Don't get me wrong, it's flattering, but for me, this odd little cyber-world is about relationships. Saying 'hi' to someone whose quilt you like or whose house you've been admiring. Asking questions and getting answers. Celebrating someone's milestone or cheering their success. It's the human element of these connections that give blogging its value and uniqueness.
Of course I don't always comment on every single post I read (because let's face it, who has time?), but I feel uncomfortable as a permanent lurker too. It's too voyeuristic.
So today, when you are skipping through that huge number of unread posts in your bloglines feeds, I challenge you to do something. Stop and make a human connection. Something real. Something honest and from the heart. Because otherwise I am afraid that this wonderful outlet that we share may me reduced to something like a junk mail catalogue which we feel justified in flipping through and discarding. No matter how pretty it is. And the thought of that makes me sad.
So, it's time for a new blogging platform. Blogger, you drove me to it. I'd been loyal to you for almost 2 years, 344 posts, 4659 comments. But then you stopped my chums from commenting. You hid their blogs from me. What was a girl to do?
Have you any idea how long it has taken me to sort this big mess out? Valuable crafting time might I add. Bear with me while I try to get the boxes unpacked over here won't you? And please update your links, blogrolls, subscriptions and what not. Because I'd hate to loose you.
There have been all manner of problems recently with non-blogspot bloggers leaving comments over here. Judging from the last few days, if you don't have a google/blogger
account, you've just given up. I don't blame you. But it's sad without
you. So over the Christmas break, I'm going to be busy with a little
I'll let you know where to come and find me when I've unpacked. Somewhere a bit more welcoming hopefully.
The wonderful goodies in the photo arrived from Jennifer at Scissors Paper Glue yesterday. The boys were very put out that I was allowed to open my parcel when they have to wait for Christmas! If you want some similar booty of your own, she has an etsy shop. With lots of ephemera. I love that word, don't you?