craft blogging

September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

I want to kick start this special guest blogging series with an essay about blogging from my hometown compatriot Bianca. Bianca blogs at Sadie and Lance where she collects and recollects many fleeting crafty pursuits, cooking adventures and the odd observation. Bianca is also responsible for the goodness that is the toy society.

I’m delighted to be writing a guest post here on Whip Up. I’ve been racking my brains for what to write. Something personal was requested. Hmm tricky, I’m not usually all that personal on my blog. But after returning from an amazing craft camp weekend, with relative strangers, it’s suddenly so obvious. I want to celebrate the amazing connections this online world of craft brings.

Recently my blog ticked over into its’ sixth year. During these past five years I’ve shared many things on my blog, new (to me) craft, the odd how to, triumphs at the sewing machine, motherhood and whatever yummy food is my current flight of fancy. You know, all the usual suspects. My blog is nothing special, it is my personal notebook of my fleeting craft hobbies, started to keep in touch with my real life craft friends when I moved interstate. What is special about my blog, and no doubt yours, is the mysterious way it has brought unexpected friendships into my life, kicked me out of my social comfort zone and unlocked a whole new world of shared experience through craft.

The blurring of my online/offline lives first started when I swapped a jar of my homemade chilli jam for a jar of homegrown and homemade pesto. We sent the jars via the post. The night I received mine, I sat down to a dinner of chicken and pesto pasta – as recommended by the maker. As I ate the first mouthful I realised, that other than being an apparently talented crafter and keen cook who has a blog, I knew nothing about the person who made the main component of my dinner. It was an odd feeling.

Turns out that dinner was delicious – and the maker is now counted as one of my good friends. It was so unexpected, but at the same time so welcome. Obviously we had things in common, shared experiences, a love of craft and food and a common online craft community.

It’s not only the friends that end up spilling over into our offline lives, there are plenty of real friendships felt online too. I never imagined a connection via a computer could feel so real. But you must have felt it too? The joint celebration when a fellow blogger receives well deserved recognition for an amazing piece of work, the shared outpouring of grief when a fellow crafter suffers a personal loss, the chorus of outrage when a favourite blogger has been copied – it’s all so real.

When I started my blog, friendship was never a consideration. Now, five years down the track, it’s what keeps me blogging. The thrill of finding a new blog I “click” with, the nerves before meeting a complete – yet oddly familiar – “stranger” in person. Friends once only ever known via a series of words and images on a computer screen are now people I invite into my home for my son’s birthday party, to hang out at the park, to my birthday drinks or who I share a house with for an indulgent weekend away of craft.

I feel so lucky.

[Image courtesy tutti frutti]

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tipscraftblogging

Starting a craft blog can be a fun but also daunting prospect. If you are a blog lurker and eager to start your own blog but not quite sure what to write or if you already have a craft blog and would like to build your audience and participate more fully in the craft blog community – then tune in over the coming weeks for tips and ideas on how to build a better craft blog.

Writing tutorials on your craft blog is one really good way to gain new readers to your blog. Sharing your knowledge and skills is not only generous, but it shows that you are an active participant in this big craft blog community. Readers appreciate your generosity and you will gain a new and ever more loyal audience.

Good writing and illustrations are important – not only must readers be able to follow and understand but your photos and/or illustrations need to be clear and attractive too. [bella dia has a good post on how to write a tutorial here and I always think that the purl bee has very clear and attractive tutorials too, oh fransson’s quilt along was an excellent example of good tutorials with clear and easy to follow instructions]

1. Clear and concise: This is where your writing needs to be pared back – and instructive rather than essay like. Use clear headings and lists to get across your points.

  • Start with a simple introduction – what is the point of this project – where/when/who will use it – how difficult is it? And what level of skill is needed in order to complete the project.
  • Next a photo of the finished project – perhaps an image of it in action – make this photo really luscious – this is what will draw in the readers make them really want to make this project.
  • List of supplies and materials – if there are any tricky or unusual materials make sure you explain them – give alternatives. Give exact measurements if you can – how much of each material will be needed. If you have some resources for these materials/supplies then let your audience know.
  • Do you need a pattern – feel free to provide illustrations via a pdf or image that can be either downloaded or printed at the correct size.
  • 2. Break the instructions into bite sized chunks: If you need to break the tutorial up into sections in order to make it clearer and not too long and unwieldy then do that rather than having one very long post.

    If this is a very long project or has many parts to it – then you might want to turn it into a series. Make sure you break it into logical sections in a way that you would actually make the project.

    3. Good photos or illustrations: This is really important to a good tutorial – the images must be clear and understandable. Don’t even bother with dark or blurry photos. Get rid of any background stuff that is not relevant to your tutorial. Use a plain background that will not distract from your topic. Take photos of each step in the process – or at least the main steps that are difficult to explain in words. [see this post of taking better photos for your craft blog].

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