Thursday, May 1, 2014

a thank you, some books, blogging and your feedback

Happy May 1st!




Sadly, these flowers aren't from this year. They're from May 6th last year (in Cleveland, but still). Here the lilacs are small green buds and the hostas are tiny purple sprouts that you have to get down on the ground to see. The tulips do have buds, but it will be a while until I can pick flowers to bring inside. Let's just pretend that I picked these flowers today just for you (that's one of the beauties of photographs, they live outside of time). I picked them for you to say, "Thank You" for all of the kind comments and emails about my interview. Your encouragement and support mean so much to me!


I realized that I haven't shared any books here for a while and lately I've been reading some good ones.




The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente -- this one reminded me a bit of The Wizard of Oz. Episodic and a bit strange. Magical and quirky. I'm not sure how much it would appeal to children (it physically looks like a book for much younger children than would enjoy it, which might be a turn-off to the older, more appropriate audience), but if you're an adult who likes to read young adult fantasy you will definitely have fun with it. There are two sequels.

Thirty Girls by Susan Minot -- I'm only halfway through this one, but I'm recommending it even so because it is powerful and beautifully written. It's the story of a group of girls kidnapped and enslaved by the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and an American woman (with her own struggles) who goes there to write about them.

Modern Top-Down Knitting by Kristina McGowan -- I think I have gotten this book from the library three or four times. I have yet to learn how to knit, but I love to look at the beautifully photographed designs in this book (the sequel is also stunning). The appeal of these designs is their simplicity, their adaptability and their professional-looking finishing details. Once I learn to knit, I will definitely be coming back to this book, possibly to make this or this. What's also appealing to me is that the author taught herself how to knit as a child with books from the library and that she has a doctorate in social sciences (I have a fondness for stories of people moving from non-creative careers to creative ones).

Pretty Pastel Style by Selina Lake -- Selina Lake's aesthetic really appeals to me. She has such a knack for combining pieces from different styles and periods in fun and quirky ways. The colors in this book are lovely. There are flowers. Handmade items. Upcycled items. Painted wood furniture. The look is cozy and livable.

Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi -- Food is one of my favorite things to read about, but I rarely make the recipes I find in cookbooks, blogs or on Pinterest. Either I don't have the right ingredients or something about the recipe just doesn't appeal to me. Instead, what I like to do is get ideas of ways to use or combine ingredients. This book is great for that and it's full of some of my favorite things: vegetables, grains, herbs and it is beautifully photographed (both the food and the people and culture of Jerusalem). After reading through this book I had fun playing in the kitchen, inspired to experiment.

Have you been reading anything good?


Lately I've been rethinking my blog. Up to now I have simply floated along posting whatever I'm inspired to post whenever I'm inspired to post it. And that has worked fine, but I've been thinking about changing things up and giving myself a bit of a schedule. Generally I'm not much of a schedule person, but I think that it could be helpful to set at least a general structure for my blogging. I would like to introduce some new features and include more posts that aren't just me rambling on randomly.

What do you think? Are there topics or features that you would like to see or like to see more of? I'd really like to know.

Also, I often wonder about comments. I love reading all of your comments but I keep going back and forth about whether to and how to respond to them. Sometimes I will leave my own replies in the comment section. Does anyone go back to check for replies to their comments? (I know I usually don't when I'm commenting on someone else's blog). Sometimes if you're not a "no-reply" commenter or if I know your email address I will email you directly to respond. How do you feel about commenting and replies to comments?

I hope you've been having a wonderful week!

8 comments:

  1. Hi Anne - so glad the interview was a positive experience. Thanks for the book recommendations. I'm a bit like you with recipe books in that I rarely follow them completely but gain inspiration from their ingredients. Regarding comments....I think they are an important dialogue for blogging. Like you I wondered if return comments were read and so now I open up one window for my blog & one for email. Then I flit beween the two - leaving a reply on my blog that I then copy and paste into an email (whenever I can find an address) to the commenter. When someone is a no-reply commenter I sometimes seek out their address via their blog/web. I think it's nice to acknowledge the effort people made to leave a comment & strike up a greater dialogue at certain times. When I leave a comment on someone elses blog & I am interested to receive a reply I'll tick the 'notify' button or similar. It can be time consuming but for the most part it seems worth it. Trouble is facebook is so easy for instant contact that people are tempted to only use that. However, I still love blogging.

    Hugs
    Kat Xx

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  2. Hi Anne! I, too, really enjoyed reading your interview. Thank you for being brave to "put yourself out there." I always find it so helpful to read another artist's perspective.

    Your flowers--well, we're in the same boat here, too, if it makes you feel any better. It's crazy how much warmer and flower filled the garden was this time last year! Sigh.

    And as for the comments, I do reply on my blog but I tend not to worry if someone replied again to me on their blog unless I had a specific question. Hope this helps!

    ~L

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  3. I didn´t use to reply to comments but now I do once a day in teh posts that have new comments. One big comment to answer personally to everybody.
    About the schedule: yes. It helps people to know when to be on the look out for your posts. What to post about: your work. Maybe divide gardening, knitting and painting. When you have things to say/show and it´s not in the schedule write it in draft and prepublish for the assigned date. Hope that helps, I´ve been studying a lot about on line work. :)

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  4. Hello!!
    I'm not a schedule person neither, so I really want to see what you're going to do now!! ...maybe it will help me thinking about "scheduling" myself a bit more!!!
    I love your blog! I'd love it even more if you're going to improve it! I love to read about your art, your garden and your walks and discoveries around your new house!!!
    Have a nice weekend!!
    Laura

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  5. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions and thoughts!

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  6. Hi Anne, I use a blog schedule for myself because it keeps me accountable but I also feel its OK to mix it up occasionally by posting more if I feel like sharing. I love the idea of you regularly sharing your thoughts on topics you enjoy, especially if they are process shots (show us the start, middle, end) while you improve your home, garden, crafts, etc. I'm trying to do more of this myself. As for comments, I love the email reply and don't often go back to read the one posted on the blog - I'm too busy reading the next lovely post!

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  7. Dear Anne, I usually do not go back to the comments which I left on the blogs :). Thanks for sharing your thoughts about markets and stalls. you are right that people can ask funny questions. This is exactly what I experienced. But I suppose it is a learning lesson for the future! Thank you also for all your support and kind thoughts, I really appreciate that. Sending you big hugs from green Scotland!

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