Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Start at the Beginning

Good advice, right? Whenever you start a new endeavor, there's a lot of build up to that moment of commencement and a lot of options. BUT, once started, the options and possibilities become instantly limited. This makes starting, for me anyway, the hardest part. After all, who wants to limit their options or possibilities right off the bat?

Even so, one needs to start if they intend to go on. In fact, that is podcast episode title based on an interview of one crafty person by another, the podcaster, on a favorite (albeit on hiatus) podcast that I adore. Brenda Dayne, who produces Cast-On titled an episode: "Start as you mean to go on." Hopefully the "start" to my blog does not mean that I will go on to "babbling" incessantly. No, I hope instead that it conveys an eagerness to get started while somewhat setting a relaxed but energetic tone.

Many blogs don't start with any type of introductions or prologue, and that's fine. I felt like this one might need it to set some ground rules, including some disclaimers to "cover my 'assets'," so to speak (you'll see them further down, if you actually make it to the end of this post).

Why A Blog - Why THIS Blog?

I am starting this new blog on my website to keep track of cool sewing, arts and craft-related stuff (a technical term, I assure you) in the world and around the web, to make a record of creative things I've tried and inspirational adventures experienced and generally to express the crafty side of my personality with wild abandon (Whoa! Watch out world--she's knitting...again!).

While I could publish these posts on my main Over Coffee blog (which I do hope to resume soon), I wanted to create a place that was uniquely about the sewing, arts and crafting.  There also may be overlap with my photography blog. HOWEVER, often when I'm taking quick shots while creating something--from cupcakes to curtains--they're not my best or most interesting photographs, and aren't worth showcasing on my Mugging...Over Coffee photoblog. In addition, since that blog serves as a gallery for my work (and is formatted as just that), it doesn't allow the space for me to point out and/or discuss some of the mega-talented photograph-makers. Nor does it lend itself to sharing some of the amazing advise sites/posts, many of which include tutorials on how to craft "things" (there's that word again) for your shooting. This blog does and will.

Finally, part of my day job is blogging, but it is writing for another party and represents their voice and only a part of my own. I've discovered often in my past that as soon as I start doing something I love professionally, I stop doing it for pleasure. I hope to turn that around a bit because I want and need to express my own voice. I've lost that a bit in recent years, and I miss it. Because this is just me and not a corporation, I am anticipating that this blog will be less formal...after all, it's about what I'm making and hopefully inspiring others to try making or at least enjoy virtually...and maybe drool a little over the food crafting bits.

Expect Change

"If you're not changing, you're dead," or so I've heard it said. You can expect the look and feel of this blog to change, probably dramatically. As I'm trying to jump in with both feet, I'm grabbing a template to start and fully intend to change the layout and appearance of the blog itself. Also, from a post perspective, I hope to include variety and let you learn along with me. While food crafting is my most often participated in craft, I also knit, crochet, embroider and sew and hope to include anything and everything creative that catches my fancy.

Material Sources

Here's that disclaimer I promised. Let's just get this out of the way for all those FTC rules: Books, magazines, tools and supplies are likely to come from a few limited resources.

Me, Myself and I (and my husband, technically) -- The first being my own limited resources (i.e., things I/we buy and pay for myself/ourselves). With a day job working for one of the largest fabric and craft retailers in the country that includes an employee discount, you can rest assured that most of my sewing and craft supplies will be purchased there for both affordability and accessibility.

For the record, food crafting products may come from a host of different resources and may not mention the specific source unless it seems useful. I will state from the start that one of my favorite places for "hardware" related to food, cooking, baking, etc., (besides my own employer) is William-Sonoma. You pay for quality and quality is what you get there, period. 

Since this is NOT a company blog nor is it endorsed or supported by my employer, I will spell out for perfect clarity that I'm not blogging here on their behalf and all opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, I will be abiding by company policy regarding personal blogging as well as FTC best practices by disclaiming my relationship, as appropriate and proper.  When I use products purchased from one of my employer's stores, I will note it for clarity and to avoid an FTC entanglements.

Gifts -- Some tools and/or supplies will be gifts from family. My mother-in-law especially and occasionally my seester-in-law (her preferred title) love to give me foodcraft-related gifts.  My grandmother-in-law has reached a point where she can't do a lot of the crafts she used to do, so I'm slowly but surely inheriting her stash.

OCCASIONALLY, I will receive a gift are from work. Because of my day job, I occasionally have access to or may receive a sample of products or books. Most often this is in the form of outdated magazines set for recycling--I adore magazines almost as much as books. Samples or review copies that I am permitted to accept must be worth less than $25, according to corporate policy.

For example, a meeting with a representatives of Martha Stewart Living yielded the latest issue of the magazine. Later, I was sent a copy of the Martha Stewart book "Cupcakes." Each of these was under $25, even if the latter was just barely (retail: $24.95). If I share a recipe, review or comment that mentions the book, you now know that I did not pay for it.  On rare occasion, I may be loaned tools or machines that exceed that value or may borrow a book from our resource library, which are not my to keep. I'll make ever effort to note when that occurs.

The Public Library -- I cannot extol the virtues of the public library enough. I am a bibliophile and a dataphile (if that's a word). I love to pour over books, words, photos and research--gathering information, ideas and insights from as many sources as I can. I cannot even begin to afford the number of books and magazines I borrow from our impressive Cuyahoga County Public Library system. I thank them for being a resource and often "donate" to the cause by forgetting to renew or return a plethora of books on time...from time to time (10-cents a day ads up quickly when you take our 24-36 books at a time!).

My Stash -- Like so many people and especially crafters, I spend a lot of time both collecting things I love and trying to make do with things that I have. The combination, and current budgetary restrictions, means that I am using a lot of supplies that I have amassed over a long period of time or items that are reclaimed and reused from other areas of my life and home. T-Shirts provide a plethora of material, for example, that can be used as fabric or made into string that can be knit, etc., and who doesn't have a gajillion (not an actual accounting) t-shirts lying around?

Since I abhor waste and trash, I make every effort to recycle (thanks to the great city of Cleveland Heights) or repurpose as much as I possibly can. My moto, if I had one, might be: Go green or go home...and when you get there, go green AT home!

On a related note, this dedication to the planet, means that I also strive to do the least amount of harm with materials, cleaning products, etc. Typically, I opt for fresh ingredients when I can and local and/or organic when we can afford it for cooking and baking.

I Got Some Catching Up to Do

I have a backlog of crafted projects to talk about ranging from creative cupcakes to puffy pillows, small embroidery projects to knit/crocheted scarfs aplenty. While I hope to blog about what I'm currently working on, I'll probably start with and throw in occasionally creations from the past to assemble them in a single space (see also: Why THIS Blog?). Many have been documented in some form, including being shared on Facebook and Flickr, but I'd still like a more complete accounting of them.

Without any further ado, I take a deep breath and jump in...knowing that the very posting of this introduction means I've already restricted my options regarding how to start my new blog.

C'est la vie!

p.s. OH! And I reserve the right to edit any blog post after it is published to correct typos or grammar errors that might make me look like a total tool. As every writer/editor (myself included) knows, it's nearly impossible to proof yourself as you would others, and often errors only becoming glaring obvious after pressing that "Publish Post" button. I wonder what mistakes I'll find in this post once I hit...

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