Tuesday, 25 March 2008

A meme about blogging...

The lovely Jo from Today We Are... has tagged me for a question-and-answer meme about the act of blogging...so here we are:

1. Why did you start your blog?
In the early Summer of 2007 (which is when the above picture was taken...just in case you begin to wonder later about what the relevance might be) I finally bought a book that I'd had in my Amazon wish list for some time. It was the Crafter's Companion, edited by Anna Torborg. I had no idea at the time what an impression it might have on me or even of the existence of the online world of craft and sewing that it is based around, and that I would soon choose to become a part of. There was an overwhelming feeling of relief as I devoured the words on its pages and then followed the links online to the blogs that it talked of - it opened up to me a community of people whose thinking so often felt familiar and recognisable to me; a need to constantly create, when logic so often might say that it would be easier, and even cost less, to buy the same thing from the shop; as well as so many who share an obsession with colour and order - a people who will be delighted by a rainbow of cotton colours, tactile wooden toys, the ordering of colouring pens, a haul of vintage buttons or the satisfaction of storing a fabric stash in an aesthetically pleasing way....and a general willingness to preserve a little more of the 'old-fashioned' in their lives.

2. How did you come up with your blog name?
When I was about eight my mother read to me a short series of books about a little girl called Flossie Teacakes...and I suppose Flossie is a variation on Florence, so I identified with the character and carried the idea of her with me past the age of reading the actual book . However, despite calling my blog Flossie Teacakes, which may seem like an open invitation to call the author 'Flossie', that is something of a self-created undesired side-effect that I hadn't thought through when choosing a name for my blog - as an adult I've found being called Flossie somewhat undignified. I wonder whether anyone else feels similarly, but I find the whole idea of name shortening a troublesome ground (she said, straightening her petticoat...yes, I know that statement probably makes me sound freakishly stuffy and formal) for unbidden name shortening with anyone other than close family and old friends feels like an imposition, unless the person has introduced themselves, or signed themselves off in that way, in which case name lengthening seems equally inappropriate! Does anyone else feel the same...oh please say I'm not alone on this!?

3. Do your friends and family know about your blog? What do they think of it?

My family and closest friends know about my blog and all read it from time to time, and their reactions have been lovely. Zebra-girl enjoys scrolling down through the pictures and seeing bits of her life on there, but also likes looking at other people's blogs. I think the idea that you can get such a snapshot of someone else's world fascinates her. I sometimes question how it looks to family and friends that my blog is very much focused around the things that I create and the edited highlights of our family life which can create the appearance of a sort of vacuum....I worry that it may look as if the other things that go on in our lives are of no consequence...but it's not that at all...just a lack of desire to bare all about either myself or those around me.

4. How do you write posts?
I always start with a picture...and I don't think I've ever done a post without one. Normally, once the image is uploaded, I start writing and a lot of things that I hadn't even been aware that I was thinking, or thoughts that were only half-formed, spill out onto the page jumbled up with some bits and pieces that I've been making or thinking about making.

5. Have you ever had a troll or had to delete unkind comments?
I can remember deleting one comment that was about 2000 words long and rather religious in tone and completely unrelated to my post, but that's it.

6. Do you check your stats? Do you care how many people read your blog? If you do care, how do you increase traffic?
I used to check stats often when I first started blogging, until Mr Teacakes pointed out to me that site traffic is rather irrelevant, as you only know that people liked what they saw and read if they leave a comment or return again. I think that's a slightly simplistic view, as there are lots of lovely blogs that I choose to only lurk on, but even so, his words have seeped into my subconscious somehow, because I only check occasionally now. I think site traffic is probably increased by doing tutorials...but to write or order my blog in a way that purposely increases site traffic would most probably be at the expense of how much I enjoy just using it for what it is...so yes, I'd really like people to read my blog, but I wouldn't change it to make that happen. Having said that, I really appreciate it when people share sewing tricks and tips that they've found helpful, and so I do try to do that when it occurs to me.

7. What kind of blogs/posts interest you?
Probably the same things that most others are attracted to: I love blogs that are well written, have nice photos and are full of the author's personality. I like it when you have a sense of the place that they might be writing or working from and what the hustle and bustle of their daily life entails. I like blogs that feel like the owner has taken the time to make their page feel like a virtual home...so many with their colourful headers and busy sidebars feel like a familiar and favourite armchair to sit down in when the page first loads. And of course...lots of sewing inspiration is always good too...

8. What do you like and dislike about blogging?
For me, blogging is a catch-all for many of my favourite things - it involves writing, photography, sewing, and the opportunity to record the best bits of my life with Mr Teacakes and our children. Although when I first started to write a blog my reasons for doing so were fairly straight forward, my continuation of writing a blog is partly because the idea of leaving some document of our daily existence for our children appeals to me.

The most unexpected delight of blogging though has been meeting so many like-minded and lovely people through doing it - a passion for sewing can be a solitary thing...what loveliness to find that reading the blogs of others so often makes it feel otherwise.

What don't I like about blogging? Sometimes I'm not very efficient in answering emails quickly and then I feel awful about how rude and ungrateful of people's lovely comments that may look.

So, who to tag? I've been meaning to share some blogs that are newish to me that I've been enjoying reading recently, so I'll put links to them here and if they want to join in on the meme then that would be most lovely! They are: Erleperle, Tilly Moss, Girl Number Twenty, and The Philosophy of Lists. Some provide wonderful sewing inspiration, others are fantastic reads. If you aren't already familar with them, I hope that you enjoy them too!

26 comments:

  1. You are not to the only one who is slightly old fashioned about name shortening (only people who love me can call me Jen, I never trust people who call me Jennifer) We have called our children un-shortenable names to avoid this and only people who really love them tend to lengthen them; Anna (spanner) and Will (berloo).

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  2. I feel the same about names. No one ever shortened my name until I was 20 and at university, and suddenly I was Jo. I was bemused by it at first, and I still find it odd when my mum calls me Jo. I really loved it when Isaac used my full name when we first met, as he often still does, because it felt as if he knew who I really was.

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  3. How lovely to read this - and I am so glad that you decided to start blogging.

    I cannot imagine anyone shortening my name or MrM's name. MissM is called something quite different at school and it was a bit of a shock the first time that a teacher referred to her by this foreign, shortened name.

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  4. LoL! I must be one of the ones you never quite manage to get round to responding to. Good answers though particularly number 1 which I thoroughly relate to. I also hate it when "unfamiliar" people call me Joolz or something which they often do, but I hate it even more when they call me Julie, even after seeing my name in print. Grr.!

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  5. Thank you for the tag! My daughter has the same skirt and t-shirt that your daughter is wearing in the top photo - both beloved items of clothing for her!

    I'm the other way with names. My parents gave me and my siblings names that couldn't be shortened, and I hated it! So I've given my two names that can be shortened or lengthened as wished. I use their full names only when I am telling them off!

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  6. I love your answers and reading your blog and looking at your photos are something I look forward to
    xx

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  7. I felt just the same way when i read The Crafters Companion. It was a birthday present and it almost made me cry to realise I wasn't the only one out there who enjoyed making things! Then I found a whole new world.

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  8. Great answers - I love these Meme's as you get to know so much all in one post. I love looking at your blog most days, and totally agree with having a sneak peak into people's live without feeling like you are invading
    Take Care
    Clare x

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  9. Oh, I understand the name thing completely. I am Ali to everyone from university and beyond, but Alison to very old friends. If any newer friends call me Alison, I feel as if I am being told off.

    At work before children, I was a professional Alison and my e-mail uses my full name. I am Alison to my brother, but Ali to his wife and Auntie Ali to his children.

    Is it any wonder folk get confused?

    Then we throw caution to the wind and christen our second John, but proceed to call him Johnny. Thank goodness Mark is straightforward (in name at least).

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  10. I am Lou to some and Louise to others - quite funny hearing the wrong people calling me the one they normally wouldn't if you know what I mean. It's very Australian to shorten or lengthen people's names and I guess it's just meant to be a friendly thing. I for one love full names as they were meant to be. And my blog name is from a nickname I gave my daughter Lucinda. She is lululollylegs - not me but I still get the occasional 'lulu' reference in other people' blogs! Great post Florence - you write so well!

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  11. I am Lou to some and Louise to others - quite funny hearing the wrong people calling me the one they normally wouldn't if you know what I mean. It's very Australian to shorten or lengthen people's names and I guess it's just meant to be a friendly thing. I for one love full names as they were meant to be. And my blog name is from a nickname I gave my daughter Lucinda. She is lululollylegs - not me but I still get the occasional 'lulu' reference in other people' blogs! Great post Florence - you write so well!

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  12. Most everyone calls me Lisa, except my brother and sister who call me 'Lis' and Al who calls me by a pet name (which will remain undisclosed, but needless to say it's lovely and not saccharine).

    I really loved you way you called people's blog (fronts/templates) familiar chairs in which to sit a read posts from. That's nice imagery.

    XX

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  13. I really enjoyed reading this post! I identify completely with your feelings on discovering the crafting blog world. It was such a revelation to me that there were others out there who found enjoyment just in stacking and restacking a stash of beautiful fabrics! As for the name shortening thing, I don't get that too much as I'm a Helen - just the odd 'Hel' on occasion, though I was always Nel to my parents. My husband, though, is an Anthony, and most definitely NOT a Tony or an Ant, so it's always quite odd when someone just chooses randomly to call him by one of those names - sounds like a completely different person!

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  14. I have to admit i was totally taken by surprise to see fabric when I first read your blog and my thoughts were, 'oh my goodness, someone else loves fabric too!' i have since learned there are MANY of us who delight in all the beautiful prints and shades!

    I do not mind my name being shortened but I can totally understand why people do. It doesn't even bother me if they add an 'e' (Tracy)

    One of our boys are named Otis and it gets shortened to O.T. ! I never thought this could be shortened and I here at school he is called Oats!

    My daughter has her origional name and has a nickname which my Mum called me as a child.(Dolly)

    I really enjoy all the photos on your blog and always try to post a photo on mine although i cannot always get it together to correspond the two!

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  15. My mum's nickname is Floss even though her real name is june!!??!!
    It was the sweet name of your blog that caught my eye and led me here.I am so glad it did as I enjoy reading your blog.
    Pop over and enter my giveaway if you have time,
    take care,
    Natasha x

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  16. Hi Florence,
    It was great reading about you - I know exactly what you mean about feeling the creative itch 'round the clock - my brain, and whole being, really, is constantly in that mode.

    I love your blog name and it is neat to know where it came from.

    I got that same religious comment - it got scarier as I read on - I quickly deleted it.

    Your photos are lovely - the cupcake in this post looks so yummy!

    Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog - I am grateful.

    Susan
    xo

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  17. What a wonderful post, I always find it so interesting to see a little behind the screen, if you like, get to know the author a bit more.
    As for name shortening, I am and always will be just Laura, except to my little bro, who for some reason has always called me Flo!

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  18. Always nice to find out a little more about a fellow blogger. Even though my name is not my real name, I'm constantly being called Nina or Linda...and occasionally people have shortened it to "lean"...can't say I minded that too much!!!

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  19. Great meme Florence! I'm the same about names too, although people can't seem to resist shortening mine, and making up nicknames for me! O has already started, when asked what her name is she almost always says Ollie now instead of Olive!

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  20. What a delightful and informative post. I loved learning more about you and your thoughts about blogging. In terms of the stats, I never ever look at them. I blog to have an open discourse with others of a similar mind. How many people linked to me, looked at my blog, or otherwise affected the statistics means nothing to me. What has meaning is the give-and-take sharing of conversation via my writing and subsequent comments.

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  21. It's nice to find out the 'whys' behind some blogs. I can relate to having a whole stack of books on my Amazon wishlist...some day I'll order them (or better yet- borrow them from the library). I think Mr. Flossy-Teacakes is very wise - too much time 'wasted' on seeing if others are visiting - just doing what you love and seeing what happens is what matters most.

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  22. I'm afraid I'm with you on the name shortening thing.
    Me and my husband are still Alison & James and never shorten each others names at all, I suppose some people may find that odd!

    Strangely enough though, one of my aunty's used to call me Flossie when I was little, I have no idea why! But her mum, my nana ~ was called Florence, which is a name I love, and she used to get called Florie or Louie (as she was called Florence Louisa.)
    I love reading all your lovely blogging facts.
    Love Alison x

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  23. The Crafter's Companion is what put me over the edge too. I bought it last spring, but didn't get to read through it until this Christmas. I felt compelled to start my blog.

    I enjoyed all your answers. I promise to never call you Flossie! I have a problem with shortened names too. My alis is Ollie but my real name is Tracey, which people tend to shorten to Trace. This drives me crazy!

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  24. great meme answers. I have lurked on your blog a few times before but not left a comment... so have decided that from now on where ever I go I will leave comments becuse its the nice thing to do.. and It makes me smile when I get a little comment on my blog.

    I have a short name but always wished to have a long name that could be shortened. Its so intresting reading memes as you get to know a little about how people think...kepp up the lovely work!

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  25. Lovely to read your answers, i have that book too.I think most of your answers would be very similar to mine!lol!
    Sarah
    x

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x