Monday, August 6, 2012

Free Stuff From Plaid and some introspection

When I started out blogging a year ago, I wasn't really sure of my purpose.  Why blog?  I already had a crafty facebook page to show off my creations, but I also wanted to teach and inspire.  I wanted to share and connect with other artsy-fartsy folks like myself.  Was that all I wanted?  I'm sure deep down I wanted to be recognized as a crafter/artist.  I'm sure I fantasized about how Martha Stewart was going to knock on my door offering to co-author a craft book with me.  But after having one year of blogging under my belt, I've learned some hard truths and faced some tough realities.  Well, maybe not so hard and tough, but truths and realities all the same.  :)

I grew up in tiny town where I always stood out as artistic.  I was asked to paint signs for local businesses, I won ribbons for my artwork, and it was no surprise when I said I was going to art school.  I stood out a bit as an artist in college, which only spurred me to believe that I was pretty hot shit in the art department.  While I never was able to make a career out of making fine art, I contented myself with creative jobs in catering and youth art programs.  I got married, had my kids, bought my house, and then what?  I started sewing/selling purses via a facebook page which eventually took me to blogging.

What are the hard truths I was writing about earlier?  The truth is I'm not really THAT cool.  The truth is there are TONS of cooler folks out there than me.  I'm not going to rock the craft world and be the next Martha.  I'm not going to get tons of money and renown for writing about zippered pouches and hosting online sewing challenges.  I could try, but effort I'd have to put forth to market myself and my creations would have to be monumental.  An effort of that magnitude would make me and my family miserable.

Because at the end of the day, I'm not an artist.  

I'm a wife.  

I'm a mom.  

Unless you're married to a famous actor, political figure or a felon, or given birth to one, you'll never get famous for being a great wife and mom.  I'm OK with that.

For me, blogging has presented some unexpected obstacles as well as rewards.

The obstacles being:
  1. HTML.  Thank goodness it's mostly cut and paste.  
  2. Fragile ego.  I geek out on my stats daily.  My head inflates when the traffic increases.  But not all my posts become as popular as I thought they would.  I really worked hard on all my Tudor rose posts, but they never really caught on.  On the other hand, my No Dye Tie Dye post, took off like wild fire.  Go figure.
  3. Time.  Here I am sitting at the computer for 1.5 hours.  I originally just wanted to share what Plaid sent me in the mail and now I've completely changed directions and am off on a totally new tangent.  I've rewritten the first three paragraphs several times and feel like I'm wasting my afternoon sitting at the computer when I could be sewing.  Time.  There is never enough to say all I want to say.
  4. Ideas.  Every time I come up with what I feel is a radical and useful and wonderful new idea, I google it.  Chances are someone else has already blogged about it.  It's very difficult to come up with something original and new.
The rewards being:
  1. Meeting people like me.  Not everyone is into making yarn out of t-shirts or Mod Podging old purses.  I treasure my blogging friends.  You rock!  You make me feel like I'm not alone, and you've taught me so much!!!
  2. Having an outlet.  My husband and friends, bless their hearts, do not always want to hear about the inner workings of my sewing machine nor can they relate to the supreme frustration felt when I cut my fabric wrong.  
  3. To inspire others and be inspired in return.  Sometimes you just need a jump-start to get your creative juices flowing.  Crafty blogs are great for finding inspiration.
  4. A tiny trickle of money.  For my entire first year of blogging I made just under $200 for my ads and some paid posts.  That's after 140ish posts and a bazillion hours on the 'puter. Nothing to write home about, but better than a stick in the eye.  
  5. Free stuff!!!  As you can see from the photo in this post, Plaid sends me free stuff from time to time.  I've amassed quite a collection of Mod Podge and such.  I've been approached by numerous companies and corporations to get free swag or articles in magazines, but Plaid is the only one who has really pulled through for me.  I love the products and the people are great. 

So what was my point?  I've written about identifying myself as a wife and mom, rather than an artist.  That is a hard truth that I have faced and accepted and embraced and am proud of.  I've written about the obstacles and rewards of me blogging.  Did I have a point?  LOL, not really.  But I do hope to learn some things from all of you.

What do you identify yourself as?  Has it changed over the years?

What are your biggest rewards and obstacles when it comes to blogging?

Thanks so much for your comments.

Happy crafting and big hugs from Montana,
a.k.a. My Love or Mama
Pin It


  1. You are you and that's more than enough for me!! I wish people would send me free stuff! (HELLO PEOPLE!!! ;-))
    Have a great week and please keep posting,

  2. Hey, at least you get free stuff :)
    Seriously? Sometimes I feel exACTly like this (minus the husband/kids part). I'll sometimes think "Why am I even bothering????" but then I get a good comment or someone links to me and I think "Oh! THAT's why!" I resigned myself long ago to not being one of those lucky duck bloggers who actually makes bank from their blog. I'd love to have oodles of sponsors and all that jazz, but then I think about me and my life and what I enjoy doing, and then I think that the more of that "other stuff" there is to your blog, the less "you" it becomes and definitely more stressful. I've found that I like having a "catalog" of my life.
    However--I will say this--I do get irked when I write a tutorial and think "Oh this is great!" and then nothing, but I post something dinky and that's what gets the visitors. I don't think it will ever be figured out so let's just keep on keepin' on :)

  3. Rikka, you are a wife and a mum, but you are also an artist. OK, so there's lots of artists out there, more than you realised, but that doesn't stop you from being an artist; an artist who thinks outside the square; a blogger who encouraged me to enter an online challenge. That friendly, enthusiastic email made me think that, yes, I did want to be a part of the blogging world I had not long since joined. Keep sharing your infectious enthusiasm.

  4. I don't blog but I do read blogs and I am always in awe of all the time;effort and care that the bloggers put into their sites I greatly appreciate all the hard work you take on upon your every day lives.I learn so much and enjoy reading the blogs.I thank-you for all you do.Becky

  5. Great post Rikka! I think all of us get caught up in looking at our stats, and being chuffed when something is a big hit, and dejected when people don't rush over to gawk at our latest fabulous post!

    I've been thinking a lot about my blogging lately. The whole point is that I love sewing and blogging, but I also want to make it into a business. Trying to do that without losing sight of the enjoyment is a hard balancing act. Blogs take a lot of work - and figuring out how to make lots of money from them...well I'll let you know when I've figured it out!

    I identify myself as a wife and a mum too - but as my kids are now both at school and I have my days to myself, I'm defining myself more as a 'blogger'. Only problem is that when people ask me what I 'do' (meaning my job), I still find it hard to vocalise this! Maybe when I start making a steady income from it... Who knows! I'm still working on defining who exactly I am!!

    Thanks for making me think Rikka!! :)

  6. Rikka, what a lovely post. I think that many people (I included) dream that they are one thing, some star or talent, but reality (family, finances, resources, life) take them someplace else. I too want to write the best blog posts, sew the most exquisite clothes, learn sewing techniques, practice creating art, but time and energy create a different reality.

    My biggest obstacle in blogging is taking photos. I just don't enjoy it! And my latest camera won't connect to the computer, making it too much of a hassle. I also don't like writing and putting an effort and seeing no comments or interest from readers. There were days when I posted once a day, but now, I am too busy either working or sewing or running errands or spacing out and unwinding. I am not one of those energizer bunny types that never sleep :-) I also don't want to push my blog commercially - it's too much effort and not my style.

    I think you did an amazing job in terms of getting to know people and having readers and writing useful posts and showing lovely and inspiring creations. I appreciate your curiosity, I like that you try new things, and I enjoy reading your posts. I too love having crafty friends, IRL and online. Without them, I would feel lonely and I would bore my other friends and family even more with my sewing talk! I am very happy to have you as my sewing friend on the other side of the planet.

  7. I absolutely relate, Rikka. I too a lot of the times feel silly blogging because I think I have done something so original and in reality, it didn't really phase anyone. Sometimes the silliest things get the praise and the things I work my ass for get nothing. (i.e.: I did a whole collection totaling in 8 or 9 different pieces for the signature look of PR&P sew along last season and I got a big goose egg on comments! I did it all in a week and was so proud and nada!) It really pains me to think that I have trailblazed my own style and that the crafting world (peers) don't like it! I have been burned time and time again creating something that I think is going to knock the pants right off you but even my very best stuff doesn't seem to get as much recognition as some other more mainstream looking things. And that makes me so. damn. FRUSTRATED!! I create (mostly) because I want to put things on my girls (or others!) that you are almost certain to not find in a store (at least the big ones like Children's Place, Target, Gap, Gymboree, Carters, or even J. Crew...); things that reflect how color and print effect me and that make my girls radiate! I hate super matchy stuff and it just bothers me when I make a prismatic happy dress with thoughtful details and secrets and the beige dress with one slight change to an otherwise ordinary pattern gets all the comments in the world! It takes so much time from my family sometimes, because I too would like to make money off my blog someday (btw I am completely in awe that you made the money that you did with you blog! I must pick your brain someday!!!!), but on top of it all I work (albeit part time)nights, so I never seem to have enough time in the day! I think about all the time running a craft blog takes and I try so hard to not let it take over my family time (because kids are only kids for so little time!)... it's all overwhelming sometimes you know!?
    I can also relate to the whole being the only artist in my town thing growing up. But these days, I am a little flea on the artistic scene here in Portland. It makes being creative motivational, but sometimes a little futile. I want to have internet bffs but find a lot of bloggers can be super cliquey and I was never a cliquey girl!
    I know I am super ranting here, but I'm particularly vulnerable today, and your post was just so perfect (something that is always on my mind) and honest, which I love. Sometimes I think the blogging world should be a LITTLE more like craftgawker, in which you'd actual feedback and criticism instead of pats on the interwebial back or just nothing. At least then I could see what "they" are looking for and decide if I even think I want to be that at all.
    For what it's worth, I am so glad I found your blog (via Craft Gossip originally ;-), because I really appreciate what you do with it! I am not always a great "follower" as followers go, but I do find myself more and more interested in a few blogs that I can relate to and yours is definitely one.

    Thanks Rikka, talking about it all makes it better and it helps knowing that others feel the same way. Thank you thank you thank you! Take care!!!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! No-reply commentors don't get to read my witty replies, and that's just sad.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...