Dream vs Blog

I am the only artist at an outdoor business convention. There are people everywhere with booths giving things away, selling stuff, demonstrating – but there are no aisles or rows, everything is everywhere, chaos. I’m trying to decide if I should get my credit card laminated with an image of my face. Everyone else is. There are two exhausted people doing this continuously for free at one of the booths, as crowds hover around.


I wake up feeling overwhelmed and wondering, what was that about? Then I remember that I fell asleep after an evening of surfing craft and quilting blogs. By the end of the night I must have had at least 30 tabs open in my browser. I was completely lost, and not in a good way. I had no idea there was so much out there.

It’s interesting to think how my immersion into the virtual blogosphere translated into an embodied dream. I didn’t dream about typing, clicking, posting, commenting, or avatars surfing the internet. My 30+ tabs and countless clicks turned into an outdoor convention with recognizable people, talking loudly, selling things, sharing things, bumping into each other, interacting.

Rowing the Boat:

I am curious to hear your experience with art/craft/creativity blogs. Do you write, read or both? What is your ratio of reading blogs to writing blogs to making things? What are your favorite blogs and why? What keeps you reading? What turns you off? How do you keep track of your favorites? etc! If you are a blogger and have written about this please include a link to your post.

Post photo: from a painting in my bedroom made by Holly Blake

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25 Responses to Dream vs Blog

  1. anna says:

    i write and i read. i try to keep it in that order, but both really do go in fits and starts. i try not to read too much at a time because it tends to make me feel depressed and overwhelmed and small, rather than inspired and energized and connected. The latter is my great hope for the internet, what it can do for artists. Art making is such a solitary activity, often. To be able to so easy reach out and find solidarity and a community of creative individuals, all struggling with similar demons, dancing with similar muses — on days when that happens I thank the gods for blogs. On days where my own writing has touched or inspired someone (rare, but it does happen) it is a moment of such profound grace and goodness that I persist with my blogging even when it seems silly and futile.
    Hmm, maybe this isn’t really an answer to your question. I use google reader too – a boon and a curse because while it makes keeping up on my favourites (most favourite: http://geninne.com/) easy, it makes it almost too easy; too easy to lose an entire evening to blogs and a bottle of scotch. eep.
    thanks for your though provocation – your writing is lovely. keep dreaming,
    anna

  2. Jill says:

    Like many others, I found your blog through Whip Up. Your blog looks like one i’ll enjoy reading; i like reading craft blogs that have tutorials and pictures of the whole process, and am looking forward to your upcoming post on being creatively present. I have “2 in diapers,” a full time job, and a husband and house to tend to, so right now i’m definitely more of a reader than a crafter.
    My main pet peeve is bloggers who get a little too smug about themselves – the type that makes cute little cupcakes and a bunting for every single holiday out there. However, it is these same blogs that have inspired me to take more interesting pics of my kids. Go figure!

  3. waterrose says:

    Lovely new blog. Wow that is a lot of questions. I write, read and love blogs. I have a lot of favorites that I’ve been collecting for two years. I don’t get a lot of time to read them anymore, but I do try. Congrats on your new blog….just added you to my list!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Like many responders, I’m a crafter, blogger, and reader of blogs. I read almost daily and post sporadically (4 times so far this month, but only once last month). I craft whenever I can but, being 7 months pregnant with an 18 month old madman running the house and part time job, that also come in spurts.

    I keep track of my favorite blogs in the sidebar of my blog. That way I can find them regardless of the computer I’m using.

    My blog started as a way to document craft projects that I was working on and has evolved into a combo craft/family blog. It’s a great way to keep the fam in the loop on old baby/new baby progress, and, of course, I still keep track of my FOs too.

    I also have a photoblog which I was very diligent about before baby #1, but it has been untended for ages. I started that as a way to “remind myself” to take more photos.

    I too check my favorite blogs first thing. Just a quick peek to look for inspiration.

  5. Connie says:

    I write a blog and read lots of blogs. My blog is really just a running comentary of the projects I am working on and some of the things my kids and I are doing. I love to read blogs about knitting, quilting and crochet – some of the things that I like doing. I usually use the RSS feeder to subscribe to a blog – I read WAY too many – it’s how I wake up in the morning with my cup of coffee. I like blogs that show successes and failures and I love, love, love tutorials!! I craft everyday – it is the way I unwind at the end of a long day.

    • Sherri Lynn Wood says:

      Like Connie, others have mentioned reading their favorite blogs first thing in the morning. I remember my mom met with her fellow neighbors every morning for a cup of coffee, after all of us kids were off to school. I guess the blog community has become the new coffee clutch.

  6. Aileen says:

    Hi, found your blog through whip up, which I follow closely. I’m also a reader and crafter (mainly quilting). I spend more time crafting than reading but am a hobby crafter, as I work full time as a law professor and I’m also a single parent. Crafting is my creative outlet and I couldn’t live without it. The Internet has entirely changed my craft life. I read blogs for inspiration and instruction. There is a world of both out there. I follow four blogs daily. Others are bookmarked and I turn to them less often but regularly. I prefer blogs that are only about crafting, not day-to-day eg parenting or cooking. My dailies are sew mama sew, mr xstitch, true up and whip up. I also visit craftster everyday. Thanks for the opportunity to share!

  7. Nancy L says:

    i do not blog.. I dream.. of taking a workshop with you! someday .. I read many blogs daily. and am very happy that you now will be on my blog list. I quilt.. gees bendy.. I carry around knitting.. and I embroider like a fool.. I make weird animals out of socks.. and i check in on whipup.net daily. other sites i frequent are: purl, knitting iris. yarnstorm alabama chanin, I have just read an amazing book by Ellen Langer on the tyranny of evaluation!! right? You are a bright spot in my day.

  8. I started blogging after a move to a semi-desolate area. I needed inspiration and blogging (the reading of others) was a way to keep me sane. The creativity of others keeps me going.

    I list my favorites in my right side bar for easy reference.

    Turn-offs for me are:
    advertising
    flash
    slow load time due to too many posts or photos (I love photos, just think the number of posts should be limited on the page to below 20. Some bloggers don’t limit and the load time is too long….I get impatient)
    music (I have my own playing-so I don’t care to have other music blast when I pop in)

    Fresh, fun posts keep me coming back for more.

  9. blair says:

    I am not much of a blogger. Despite my interest, I have not yet found an efficient way to manage this activity and still keep everything else going. I wonder how others do this, particularly artists who already have too few hours in a day for the ideas floating around in their heads. What do they give up? One thing that one would have to give up for sure is the imperfection / perfection of the writing process. Or maybe this is a question. In order to blog and not get sucked in day and night, do you have to give up all editing of your work and just throw it all out there? It’s interesting that my fiber work is so much more “edited” than my painting. The process is the product for me in painting, but in fiber, I have ideas I want out there in a particular form. And as a writer, I am even less serendipitous. So what to do? I’m not at ease with my writing being as free flowing as a phone conversation.

    • Sherri Lynn Wood says:

      Thanks for the insights and questions about editing blair. I’m not a painter but I can see how quilt making lends itself so easily to editing. When I make a quilt so much of the outcome depends on editing. Quilt making and writing have so much in common (when the quilt making process is improvised and not totally preplanned).

  10. Katy says:

    Oh my, I just counted up and I read 60+ blogs! I do it through Google Reader so it’s more manageable.

    I started reading blogs as a way of keeping me focused on making things. I was temping at the time and trying to find a way out of the 9-5 un-creative slog. Once I started reading it seemed that the next logical step was writing (http://creatingmisericordia.wordpress.com).

    I find that having a blog makes me take photos and make things because I feel I’m letting my ‘audience’ down (and if I’m not letting them down, I don’t want to know!).

    I like knowing what happens in the blogger’s life, possibly not in excruciating detail, but enough to feel that you could ask after their partners/kids/pets if you met them in the street.

  11. Sherri Lynn Wood says:

    Thank you all for sharing so generously. I totally enjoyed reading each of your posts and found your points of view insightful and helpful. I checked in on your blogs and I can see that at times it’s a joy and at times a soul searching chore. I don’t feel alone! I also appreciate hearing from readers about how much you love keeping up with your favorites. An amazing poet, Eileen Myles, once told me that reading and writing are the same thing. THIS is another post for another day, and something worth thinking about.

  12. S says:

    My daily routine includes clicking through a file of 30 or so favorite blogs – might take me 1 hour. I don’t like to subscribe because I don’t want to fill my email inbox.

    Maybe on the weekend, I might peruse another folder of my “Occasional” blogs – 50 or so. Those blogs may not post as often so I don’t want to click on them everyday. If I really like a blog and they post 3-5 times a week, I might move them “up” to my daily folder and then weed something out that doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

    The picture of your mended jeans is the epitome of what attracts me to a blog – something hand hewn and visually pleasing! Two of my favorite blogs are mayamade and annekata.

    I like a few good photos – not a plethora. And I don’t expect it, but I certainly feel more connected to the blogger when they respond to my comments on occasion. When the focus is on the crafting with some family life woven in – that’s a good balance. After some time of reading a blog – I like when the blogger has a “I’ll answer your questions” post.

    While anyone has a perfect right to say whatever they want, I won’t read a blog with swearing or bad language. Just don’t like it.

    I don’t have a blog because I think it would get my blogging/making ratio completely out of balance!

  13. Maggie says:

    My reading of craft blogs does get in the way of my making of craft, the ratio might be 90% vs 10% (seeing that in black and white, I think I need to change something). I have a blog which I started in hopes of being a crafty blog, but really I don’t finish projects regularly enough. I use NetNewsWire to keep track off and subscribe to my favourites, yours is very new in my reader, it was a link from some elses blog that is happy you’ve just started blogging. I can’t remember who off the top of my head.

  14. Claire says:

    Hi Sherri, I write my own blog and read creative/craft/textile/interior blogs (mainly). I love to share what I’m making (with my very few readers!) and I really enjoy reading other blogs. I subscribe to 140ish blogs through google reader. I do have favourites – and I think they are the ones where I feel engaged with the blogger’s creative process…. a few that come to mind are Spirit Cloth and Contemporary Embroidery. Or have an engaging way of presenting ideas/thoughts eg At-swim-two-birds and The Golden Smith.

    I recently had a rethink about my blog (I’ve been doing it for over 5 years!) and I’m taking a break, due to a big move but also because I began to feel a bit directionless with my blogging. Bt after a few months, I’m starting to miss it!

  15. I have a blog. I post on it occasionally. Usually, when I am super proud of something I made or really down in the dumps about how life is going. It seems to get really muddled and confusing, I think I’ve given my blog a multiple personality disorder – is it a crafty blog, or a diary, or a blog about living and dealing with anxiety/depression? So, for the time being, I have given up on blogging altogether.

    However, even when I was trying to make regular posts to my blog, I was always much more of a reader than a writer. I have several blogs that I check in on every single day. My internet routine is – check emails, check faceboook, check my favorite blogs, (oneprettything.com, Craftster.org and whipup.net) and then spend some time cruising around on my other I-really-like-these blogs.

    I find myself drawn to those three sites in particular because I have crafting ADD and need lots of new ideas and inspiration. I love to see what others are up to in the blog world, and all of those sites are really good at giving links to great tutorials, great ideas, etc. It’s like shopping at a supercenter Target or Walmart – one easy stop gives you access to all kinds of different things that you didn’t even realize you needed!! ;)

    Okay, now that I’ve written a small book on your blog comments, I will shut up and go read your Modern Mood Quilt Craft-along post.

    Oh, and I also have a folder in my bookmarks that’s called ‘Crafty blogs’ and each blog I come across gets put in there. Then I go back and tag them as quilting, sewing, home decor, etc. I have way too many and just added yours!!

  16. kim whitten says:

    Found you through a Whip Up post – on my Google Reader (which is how I keep up with my blogs). I have mine organized according to different categories that I am interested in…that was if i I get behind on my reader, I can go through and see what I want.

    I so feel you on being overwhelmed. I am amazed by the sheer number of blogs out here on the World Wide Web.
    For me, it depends on my mood…sometimes I want to read, sometimes I just need some visual stimulation. Other times I need a new idea (to add to my ever-growing number of art/craft/sewing projects!)
    Great post.
    You are now added to my increasing amount of blogs to read. :)

  17. j. says:

    I spent last night much like yours in the sense that I was surfing until past 4:00 am for the best (easiest) way to bind a quilt. That is my absolute favorite aspect of the craft blogs out there; how wonderfully generous so many are to share their knowledge.

    To your questions:

    I currently have two blogs of my own, although I am quite negligent towards my main one, http://www.midwestpsyche.blogspot.com. I also own my own business and generally work around 65 hours per week there; which makes fitting creative projects into my day rare, much less finding time to write about them.

    The second, http://www.rookiepainter.blogspot.com was born out of my desire to practice painting and requires much, much less of my time to maintain.

    My ratio of reading/writing/making is prolly fairly close to 60/10/30 as I spend each morning surfing my faves while pouring coffee into my veins. In fact, I’m writing more here than I have on my blog for months!

    I have several favorites, and my favorites have favorites that I discover on a daily basis. I would guess my top three are:
    http://www.annamariahorner.blogspot.com. http://www.differentstrokesfromdifferentfolks.blogspot.com
    http://www.fivegreenacres.wordpress.com

    I like AMH because her visuals are fantastic. And somehow, she seems to pull off complete bliss and fulfillment without making me want to vomit out of envy. She has the ability to convey she is one of us, not someone living with fairies baking and eating English tarts all day long, you know?

    I like DSFDF because I am constantly in awe of Karin J.’s talent and willingness to share her work and ideas. I am determined to get that chunky brush stroke thing down!

    I like FGA because the author and her family are living a life somewhere between PBS’s Frontier House and modern day. It is extremely well written and the photography is fab.

    What keeps me reading most blogs is the continuous sharing of their author’s environment and the manner in which they convey it. I visited a blog yesterday for the first time and looked through tens of German vacation photos! I wouldn’t want to look through vacation pictures of people I know and love! I don’t know why the difference; but it’s there just the same.

    My turn offs are generally the same as in real life, I suppose. I do tend to get put off by the types of blogs that read like a family Christmas newsletter, i.e., “Johnny has been accepted to Harvard, Jane is dating the football captain and will soon be off as well and mother is wondering whoever will she bake for!” A dramatic interpretation, but you get the jest.

    Another turn off for me is to have an author only blog once or twice a month. I can’t say much about this, as I am quite guilty of this very thing.

    I keep my faves bookmarked!

  18. Amy R says:

    I’m a reader, not a writer. I follow using RSS feeds. I follow quite an array of artists. Most wouldn’t call themselves artists. I do. I follow the spectrum: the artist who does ribbon embroidery and beadwork; the modern quilter; the home crafter; a pioneer woman; the reproduction quilter; the knock off wood designer; the decorator; the renest and the kitchn. I don’t fall into any one genre, why should the blogs I follow? I’m rooted in the past – watching my grandmother hand piecing and hand quilting – and the present – my life, my kids lives – and the future – living sustainably in this world that is being used and abused daily. I so appreciate those of you who can put your thoughts into words and inspire. I am inspired by your art, your thoughts, you life. I’m so glad to have found each and everyone of you.

  19. Amy says:

    I myself do not have a blog. I think I read crafty blogs to get inspired and to learn. I have two small children and a very small house so I don’t have a lot of time for making. I cram it in during the between times. I like to learn how folks do it with their children at their feet, or how to include them. I am also a stay at home mom, future homeschooler and I like knowing there are others out there doing the same thing.

  20. Christine says:

    I’ve tried to write a blog. I do ok when I am on summer vacation but can’t keep it up when school is back in session. (I’m a teacher). Unfortunately, I spend more time reading blogs than I do making stuff. My favorite personal blog is Alisa Burke’s. She has a nice mix of tutorials and posts about her inspirations. I also like One Pretty Thing (for things to make) and Polymer Clay Daily. I do not like having to look at pictures of your cute kids (dogs, cats, geckos, etc.) to find the meat of your blog.

    Good luck with your blog.

    Christine

  21. Sarah says:

    I’ve just found your blog – it’s really cool.

    I only read other creative blogs – I dont think I have enough creative output to sustain a blog. Having said that, when/if I get more time to be creative (more knitting, sewing, painting, baking), that may change….

    What keeps me reading is fresh ideas or things that other people come up with. I’m contemplating getting into quilting so your blog is a great place that may allow me to see what’s possible. Look forward to seeing more of your works in the future.

  22. Lisa Ferguson says:

    Hi Sherri! I am a reader and sewist. I don’t have a blog of my own – the main reason for this is that I don’t have a decent camera or anything even vaguely resembling the skills required to take reasonable photos. I think that’s my round about way of saying my favourite blogs are the blogs that have good photos. Not lots of photos, just good ones, of finished pieces and of the process towards those pieces. I love blogs where the writer writes about their process, not just the physical how but also the why and the why not. I like seeing pieces that have not worked to the writer’s contentment too, and reading why this is so. I like a writer who lets you into her life, but not so much that you know what her kids ate for breakfast. I find it awkward if I feel I am intruding on someone’s life – even if they are inviting me to! I do like to ‘know’ the writer though, to feel the personality through their writing. And my ratio of reading to creating – well I read more than I create, but I do create quite alot. I’m happy with the quantity of my creative output (mostly patchwork and quilting, some embroidery and dress making) given the time I have to devote to it. As for quality…I’m working on it! Hope that isn’t more information than you wanted to know!

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