Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating – 2013

Once again following the lead of Diane and Tammy, I’m rounding up the “Five Posts I’m Proud of Creating in 2013” as part of their “Share the Link Love” mission.

I started blogging in February of this year, and what an adventure it has been! I honestly had no idea of exactly what I was getting into, and to be honest, I still don’t as blogging seems to be constantly evolving (just read Diane’s post on the topic). Creating posts takes more time than I originally thought, but I’m happy to be writing again after a gap of many years. I’m also trying to emphasize quality of posts over quantity of posts, and that seems to keep me motivated and to be working. With all that in mind, here’s five posts I’m proud of (in no particular order):

#1 FIRST POST!

Hitting “publish” the first time was a pretty interesting experience. It was nerve-wracking and thrilling while I was being hopeful and curious all at the same time. It was also the result of a failure (but a fail-forward type failure).
Computer keyboard and touch pad

(Insert sound effect here: “Yeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggghhhhh!”)

[Photo by darrenleno via Flickr]

The first AncoraCrafts.com was an e-commerce platform that I had spent a lot of time and money on setting up, customizing, and maintaining. And after an extended period of time, I never sold a damn thing on it. Not one. Hardly got any views. Obviously, I had to make a change.

Moving my listings to Etsy was the easy part, but changing the .com to a blog took a lot of work, mentally and digitally. Switching to a new web host and learning WordPress were two big hurdles. But the biggest challenge was in making the commitment to blogging – a decision I did not take lightly.

I’m very happy to say that ever since I hit “publish” on the first post in late February, although it’s a lot of work, I’m having a lot of fun with this blog!

#2 Followup on my ACrafty Interview with Betty Busby

acrafty interview - betty busby with her quilt disco urchinI published an interview with quilt artist Betty Busby in June. I have been in awe of her work since I first saw it and I was so curious about her process. In August she was gracious enough to give me, my husband, and our dog Scully a tour of her home and studio space in Albuquerque. It was a real honor and treat for all of us, and I’m really happy that I was brave and took the chance to ask her if she was available.

#3 Making a Better Blog

The Better IdeaMost of my very early posts on the blog are about my own projects and products, and that was fine. But in May, after doing a lot of reading about blogging, I had a kind of epiphany about the direction of my blog. I’m sure it will shift again someday, but this post sums up my current bloggy path.

[Photo: The Better Idea by (the brilliant) Peggy Dembicer via Flickr]

 

 

#4 Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

As part of Rosalilium’s Blog Every Day in May project, I put more information about myself out on the internet than I ever thought I would. Of all the 31 topics that month, I really enjoyed creating this post about my favorite books.Bill the Cat for President

 [Bill the Cat for President from Bloom County. Photo by tjosephson2 via Flickr]

#5 My Hexie Madness Series

I had done a few other crafty roundups before, but the hexagon series really stands out. I dug deep, spending days on the internet to find examples of hexagon crafts in all types of disciplines. I ended up finding some really outstanding hexies in interesting places. I tried to find as many tutorials and patterns as possible, but where those didn’t exist, I did find some excellent sources of inspiration. Love the leather pouffe and these popsicle sticks – so fun! [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4]

How about you? Share your “proud five” post over at CraftyPod!

Favorite Books – Crafty and Otherwise

When I was young I was a voracious reader, and I read some books I probably wasn’t quite ready for at certain ages (reading Orwell’s 1984 at age 9 was a bit mind-blowing). I still love to read, but now most of my non-computer time is taken up with stitching. Unless I make the heavy investment in audio books, my reading time is limited these days. The last book I finished was Ender’s Game, shortly before I knew it was going to be a movie. Now I’m slowly reading The Devil in the White City, which has some great history about Chicago (probably my favorite city in the States).

Here are some of my favorite books and some reasons why they’re on this list:

Fiction

  • DUNEDune – It’s incredible what Herbert imagined would be possible for people to do with their minds and bodies. From a Guild Navigator’s ability to fold space, the strategy, control and timing necessary in a knife fight, to the Bene Gesserit’s ability to control their own metabolisms and use “the voice” to control others actions, it’s interesting to think if any of it is really possible.
  • Jane Austen – Aside from the obvious attractiveness of the male leads in the movie versions, her books show some of the status of women and the slower pace of change at the time. She also shows how being a selfish and inappropriate douchebag like Lydia Bennett can hurt yourself and others.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers – Her four book series from the 1930’s, Strong Poison, Have His Carcase, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon, are an unusual romance set in mystery novels. The author and her two lead characters are smart and tough, making these anything but pulp fiction.

Non-Fiction

  • 67picGonzo: the Art – Ralph Steadman’s art speaks to me like no other. But he’s not for everyone…
  • Creating the Not So Big House – Smaller houses and minimal stuff in them is GOOD.
  • Essentials of Geology – It seems to me we get into a lot of trouble when people don’t understand the scientific method. Geology is everywhere and it’s a great way to start understanding how real science works.

Craft and Design

Needlepoint Stitch Sampler - 1996

  • 101 Needlepoint Stitches and How to Use Them – I made this fabu sampler using this book. The text has clear diagrams and tips about how to use and how to perform each stitch.
  • Design and Make Your Own Contemporary Sampler Quilt – I made my first quilt using only the instructions from this book. It’s a great place for new quilters to start.
  • Altair Design (now called Images and Images 2) – When I was growing up, as soon as I had markers and color pencils, I had Altair Design books, and I can say that the effect was profound. As you can see from some of my pieces and inspirations, I still have a strong inclination toward geometric patterns. You can see all kinds of different shapes and possibilities in the lines. These books can really let the imagination open up and the creativity flow!
  • This Persian Flower Needlework is based on a very small element from a historical design book.The World of Ornament – THE resource for historical design inspiration. Covering design from the Ancient Egyptians through the mid 1800’s, this massive tome is colorful, fascinating, and idea-generating. Ancora Crafts Persian Flower pattern and kits are based on a tiny flower on one of it’s pages

Humor

  • Bloom County – A very funny comic strip that was both sweet and cynical at the same time. It was highly influential on my current vague mistrust of politicians and the media. I still have my Opus and Bill the Cat stuffed animals 30 years later.

Bill the Cat for President

  • A Fistful of Fig Newtons – Jean Shepherd is probably best known for the short stories that combined to make the movie A Christmas Story. Stories from his books In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories and Other Disasters were combined to make the movie script. And while I love these books, I love his book A Fistful of Fig Newtons even more. His takes on summer camp (“The Mole People Battle the Forces of Darkness”), dorm life (“A Fistful of Fig Newtons or the Shoot-Out in Room 303”), mess hall duty on a troop train (“The Marathon Run of Lonesome Ernie, the Arkansas Traveler”), and algebra (“Lost at C”) are hilarious. Shepherd always weaves a vivid and funny tale.
  • Scary - Gallery Of Regrettable FoodThe Gallery of Regrettable Food – I about wet my pants from laughter when I first read this book (at work, no less – a coworker had brought it in the office). James Lileks is a funny writer, and he found inspiration in some of the most disgustingly photographed food of all time.

 

Have any of you read these books as well? Do you have any suggestions based on what I’ve recommended above?

 

Disclosure: Ancora Crafts is an Amazon Associate – your purchases from the links above will help support Ancora Crafts. I own every linked book and product in this post with the exception of the geology book as I already own a heavy duty geology textbook. I will only endorse products that I believe, based on our personal knowledge of the products, are worthy of such endorsement.