. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and have gone through lots of changes as blogger. How did I start? I had taken a trip to Paris alone with my one year old to visit my friend. As I sat in a cafe, I realized I wanted to write a blog about sewing and living a sustainable life. A couple years before we’d gone toThailand where I saw a run down clothing factory and that had inspired me to start sewing my own clothes. Starting a blog was the next step. When I first started blogging, I was so excited to share a new way of life for me. Sewing, thrifting, using vintage fabric and patterns, and making jam. I was meeting lots of other new friends online and it was so exciting. I was a handmade convert, ready to.spread the gospel of the goodness of handmade living.
Before we moved to the country, I’d led a very fast paced life. I went to lots of parties and night clubs. I was a young hip LA native and it was important to get on “the list.”. I had nanny to watch my kids as I pursued my dream of becoming a film actress as well. The competition was intense and I realized it was not something I could keep doing with two toddlers. I was gone at nights at class, and spent my days going to endless auditions. The rejection was fierce and it really started to get to my head. I quit. Soon after that, Richard had an amazing year in LA commercial real estate and we bought a summer house in France. I spent five amazing years taking my kids there every summer. After 9 11,flying became seriously expensive, we had Lily and the house was a 17th century death trap for toddlers. So we sold it. That’s when we decided to change our lifestyle and move out of LA. I had been living a fast lifestyle since I was a young 13 year old punk rock kid in Hollywood and wanted out.
Moving here and the coming recession was good for me. I needed to let go of that old image of who I was and create a new one. And that’s what the blog was about. Less consumption and more creation. And inspiring others to do the same. I was sewing and gardening and home schooling and making jam. I felt like a refugee who had finally found peace. Life was slow now and I loved it. Moving here was like magic for my creativity.
Somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to become a big blogger. I signed up with Blog her, i went to SNAP and The Sewing Summit where I learned how to work with brands and optimize the SEO of my blog and how to use social media to grow it. We even had an organized blogger meet up in Los Angeles. That was fun. I started joining pattern tours to get traffic, and started a link party. Sew & tell Saturday. I met lots of cool bloggers on my Sew &Tell Saturday link parties but it wore me out, hosting every week so I quit. But I miss that sense of community.
I started getting paid writing for other bigger blogs, magazines and craft company blogs and also sponsored posts. Suddenly I was working a lot. There were stressful deadlines to be met and posts needed to be shared across all the social media channels. This took up lots of time, obviously, and I wasn’t spending enough time with my girls. If I wasn’t making something, I was photographing it or editing photos. Then of course the writing and time taken up on social media. Then there was the two weeks I spent designing ten kids sewing projects, and taking all the photo’s with a photographer for a craft kit that never was released…
I decided I was going to become an indie designer too , since that seemed the logical progression. I produced one pattern, but don’t really possess the meticulous attention to detail needed to be successful in that business. I love to design, but creating sewing patterns is so much more than drafting a pattern. I’d need a partner for the business stuff.
One day Lily cut off Gigi’s hair, without asking, and we started going to counseling. I learned I was spending too much time online . It felt like an addiction. I had a problem. I decided to cut back on my outside writing gigs and slow down on blogging a bit. Yes, my numbers would drop, but it was what I needed to do. I needed to be present with my family, not be some person on the computer saying “in a minute,” all the time. My income wasn’t enough to be sacrificing time with my family.
It was paying for my supplies and fabric and a few fancy sewing machines. And the trips to Los Angeles. Buying binges at Mood and Micheal Levine and the jobbers. And fabric shopping in Tokyo. Not to mention the thrift shops , flea markets, and estate sales where I bought oodles of vintage patterns and notions. I was doing a lot of consuming. Was sewing an addiction that was just replacing my former shopping addiction ? Bins and bins of fabrics in the spare room answer a resounding ,”YES” “please make us” they seem to whine, as I pass by on my way to the closet.
So I’ve quit the pattern tours and sponsored posts, and link parties. I don’t want this blog to be a commercial for the companies who send me free stuff. Although getting free stuff is fun! But there is a price to be paid. I was recently sent a shaggy fake fur coat, and I’m supposed to put it in a blog post. Loss of integrity? You decide. If I like a pattern, I’ll try to buy it and sew it and let you know how it went.
Last month, I flew out to Denver to be a guest on Sew It All TV. It was a bucket list moment for me. Being on a sewing TV show . A show I used to watch too! I wouldn’t say no to that opportunity if it came again. What it did do was validate the idea that if I choose to pursue a more professional route, I can.
Then there was a certain post I wrote in the heat of the moment that pissed a lot of people off and made me lose lots of readers. A black smudge on Sew Country Chick. How I wish I had never pressed publish on that one . In one day I became known as a sizist, ageist, bigot, and ignorant jerk. I even got my own hate thread on Gomi. I apologized on the blog but the abusive comments kept rolling in. So I deleted the whole post. If any of you read that post and were offended, I apologize for my callous remarks . Obviously, I didn’t get the point I wanted to get across, which was how I felt the whole blogging scene has become a bit gossipy and unkind. My post was also unkind. The moral of the story is sleep on a potentially controversial post and edit it carefully before you press publish.
So now here I am blogging still after 5 years. No book deal, no pattern line, but that’s OK. I quit my all consuming costume design job. I had a disagreement with the director. I’m a little sad about it because I love making period costumes. I suppose when one door closes another one opens.
I’d just like to create with joy again.
Merry Christmas and see you in the new year.