Blogging 101: I’ll Follow You Anywhere

Part I:


Tower of succulents coming back to life

Today’s Blogging University assignment focuses on the other half of blogging: engaging with your community.  We’re instructed to follow five new topics in the Reader and five new blogs.

It’s been awhile since I’ve explored WordPress Reader, not from lack of interest but lack of time.  I know a plethora of interesting blogs await discovery, but I must be realistic with my time.  If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll fall in love with bloggers from around the world. Thirty days from now, I’m flying cross-country to spend a week with four other women, all friends I’ve met through blogging. Extraordinary!

Which brings me to

Part II:

I’m off to find and follow five more blogs:  I’ll be right back. 😉

Please close your eyes and pretend your clock is ticking…You can open them now.

Ok, I’m back. I wanted to write part one before tackling this assignment.

Following Michelle’s lead, I added narrowly focused topics. My list:

  1. Color
  2. Sunflowers
  3. Honeybees
  4. Fashion Over 50
  5. Postage Stamp Art

First up, Sew Katie Did. Isn’t that a clever title? I love her play on words.

Though I’ve sewn all my life, I never learned how to quilt. I admire the skill that goes into each one, as well as the color and artistry.  Sew Katie Did is a feast for the eyes. She’s posted photos of several quilts, both beautiful and eclectic. I’m quite smitten with Tilted and with her Stepping Stone Quilt, but frankly, they’re all gorgeous.

Katie Pedersen says “I’ve always been artistic, but a whole world opened up to me when I discovered fabric as my medium.  My workshops focus on design and finding your own process.  My teaching places a heavy emphasis on the importance of color value when picking fabrics and designing a quilt.  I teach modern quilting and sewing classes in Seattle and provide guild and show lectures, trunk shows and workshops.”

Searching sunflowers lead me to Patrick Mackie’s stunning photography. He photographs a number of beautiful subjects, but the sunflowers called me to his page.

Okay, so I tried to stay away from gardening, but my honeybees search lead me to this:

Lottie Land Girl Kaz Brown “records our journey on our lottie plot 21a through my photography. There’s nothing better than digging on the allotment with my husband Stew and our little dog Jassy (our buns Daisy and Alvin can’t play! They’d eat our veggies.” Her blog is filled with beautiful drawings and photos and…gardening tools. Be still my heart.

Guess what? Two of my Reader searches yielded nothing. Two, entirely untapped subjects. Fashion over 50 for women like me who fear they’ve fallen into a fashion frump and they can’t get up. The fact that no one is writing under that tag sent me further into my frumpy despair.

Postage stamp art didn’t come up either. I recently completed a project using my dad’s postage stamp collection and I wanted to see what others might be doing with stamps. I’ll tag my postage stamp table top liberally so that some future reader will find something on the subject.

So, I’ve added five tags to my reader and I’m following three new blogs. With that, I’m off to bed dreaming of beautiful quilts, sunflowers and the gentle buzzing of honeybees.

Have you followed any new blogs lately? Do you struggle to keep up?

Blogging 101: What’s in a Name?

screen shot blog tagsToday’s assignment is assertive and succinct: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline

The title Gardening Nirvana and the tag line pics and prose sit undisturbed at the top of my blog. They’ve been holding hands since May, 2011.  I briefly altered my tag line last October in honor of Halloween but the following month I put everything back, nice and tidy.  Nearly four years and over 800 posts later, it fits like a well-worn garden glove.

So, what’s in a name? If I were selling something, I might have put more thought into a catchy title.  Instead, I joined two words from the dictionary and called it a day. I planned to write about my experiences gardening and the joy that comes from putting your hands in the earth, hence:

gardening [ˈgɑːdənɪŋ]
noun: the planning and cultivation of a garden

nir·va·na (nîr-vän, nr-)
noun: An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.

When the winter months rolled around that first year, I had a bit of a freak out: what would I write about during the more dormant months?

I needn’t have worried. Once I hit my stride and developed a blogging community, the subject of my posts didn’t matter.  It was more about sharing my experiences in and out of the garden. Local hikes, a trip to Victoria, and our Little Free Library all made it into the blog. I’ve shared personal essays, linked up with other bloggers and even shared one or two do-it-yourself projects.

And with that, I think I’ve written my new tag line: sharing my journey in and out of the garden.

As for a new title, I still don’t know. My tag cloud makes one thing crystal clear: the word Gardening still stands out from the crowd.

Blogging 101: Rekindling The Passion

seal_v2-04Ruts are never a good thing: not in the garden, not in your life and certainly not in the blogging world. If I’m bored, I shudder to think how my readers might feel. It’s time to rekindle my passion for blogging.

With that in mind, I’ve signed up for Blogging University, March 2015, also known as Blogging 101. You can read more about it here. It looks like fun and its free from the folks at WordPress.

Our first assignment is to introduce ourselves. Since I’ve been blogging for a few years, I feel like an open book…or blog. If you’re new here, or perhaps stopping by from the “Class of March, 2015”, welcome!

So…what am I doing here in the land of blogging?

I came for the writing and stayed for the friends. Who knew? I’ve always enjoyed some form of creative writing. I started a blog as a way to express myself, and hoped that others would find and read it. I kept personal journals for years, but the appeal of blogging is the chance to share your thoughts and ideas with others.

I’m passionate about gardening and organizing, and probably inherited both loves from my father, a British horticulturist and hobbyist. He died when I was young, but passed on his love of gardening and his sense of order.

By day I’m a professional organizer. It’s a great profession for someone like me who enjoys helping others while bringing order out of chaos. I get to use my design background and space planning skills as well. Most of my clients have cats, dogs or both which brings me to my next love: animals.

I live in Silicon Valley with my husband of 20 years, our two teenage sons, and three adorable felines. They’re spoiled, one and all, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My love of gardening takes many forms. I grow potted plants indoors and on the deck. Outdoors I tend a perennial garden, with an ever-changing array of annuals, bulbs and herbs. A few years ago I fell in love with fairy gardens and added that to my repertoire as well. It’s a wonderful way to express your inner child.

On the subject of children, my now 15 year-old inspired my love of growing pumpkins. One happy accident lead to our first pumpkin crop: my little one spilled squirrel seed mix on the walkway, and our love of growing pumpkins grew from there. We’ve grown them ever since. I’m taking this year off after back-to-back squash bug infestations. Truth be told, I’ll miss them.

I’m looking for ways to keep my blog fresh and interesting and have even toyed with the idea of a new name and a whole new look. Let’s see what the month brings.

Special thanks to Michelle, Maureen, Alex, and the WordPress team for leading the way.