Thursday, 28 April 2011

Do's and Don'ts of blog writing

Over on Shimelle's class yesterday the prompt was all about what NOT to post on your blog. Reading the prompt this morning I found it to be highly informative and I was pleased to see that for the most part I don't do most of the stuff she was warning about. Things like:

Don't make your readers nod off
Don't turn your blog into a whingefest
Don't forget to credit your inspiration or sources
Don't post just for the sake of posting. Rambling on about nothing in particular does not make great reading.
Don't write with your emotions in control. You could regret it later.

etc, etc.

 I thought I was doing ok with all of them as for the most part I'm only posting when it's important (to me) or if I think my readers would be interested. I read on a bit further.... and then it hit me. One of the final points was "Having too much to write" and subsequently making multiple uses of exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!! LOL. Oh dear, this is where I fail completely. I am a serial !!! user. I got the bug baaaaaaad. I sometimes look at what I'm typing and think "oh my!!!! I'm on the happy juice again!!". LOL.

I think my problem is that typing just doesn't have the vocal nuances that speech has. It's difficult to stress certain words or get the inflection and intonation absolutely correct. Other than higlighting specific words in bold, but then I'd be highlighting my whole post because I'm just super-excited about everything. Which wouldn't work. At. All. And so, I hide in the refuge of the exclamation mark. A little too much.

So the question I have for you today.... how do you get off Cloud Extra-Extra-Happy!!!!! and back to the real world where people talk normally without going Extra-Extra-Boring?? There's got to be a way of reducing the !!!'s without reducing my sense of excitement (or stress) in the post. I've got to find a way because if I don't my SHIFT and 1 buttons are going to stop working soon!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A Day in Photos

** WARNING! Photo-heavy post. Please be aware that it may take a while to load. **

Join in on Shimelle's site!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Top 5.... posts!

Ok, today I'm going to start with saying "Today Shimelle has asked us to look at...." Only because it's difficult to introduce this topic any other way. At least I can't think of any other way to introduce it! Anyway, I'm having a little catch up session with the class because I'm procrastinating with the masses of photos I'm supposed to be Scrapbooking for the album I have been commissioned to do. Let me say this, as much as I enjoy scrapping.... it is a completely different kipper when you have to do it 'to order' or 'to a deadline'. Suddenly my mojo has fled the building and taken inspiration with it. I'm worried the the whole album is going to be plain, boring and very dull. So here I am, procrastinating! I am very very very good at procrastinating. Ask my Mother. So....

Today (okay a couple of days ago, actually.... but I'm good at procrastinating aren't I?!) Shimelle asked us to look at our blog and analyse which 5 posts we loved. Which ones got the creative juices flowing? Which ones got the comments going and discussion happening? Five. Hmmmm, I'm not sure I'd come up with that many!! Let me go back over the blog posts and see what I can come up with....

Oh yes, here's one! Handbag Envy. It was one of my early posts when I first started blogging. It very accurately described my view on handbags at the time! However, a while later I revisited the topic and blogged this post. This is my current handbag. A bit bright and in your face, but I luuuurve it!

I'm still amazed at how my life has changed soooo much in the past few years! And I'm loving the fact that this blog has charted that change even though I only blogged sporadically during that time.

Another post I did was inspired by a prompt from the last time I did a class by Shimelle. She knows how to get the most out of you! In fact, I think I need to hire her as my personal inspiration. Hmmm, that might be a little expensive! Still, I love the results when she gets me thinking about the mundane!

I love blog hops, don't you? Being able to see everyone's posts on a particular topic or crafting technique? I'm not sure if blog hops are something just crafters do or not. Afterall, I don't ever recall having seen a blog hop on the topic of  "Far Left politics and it's effect on today's society". I took part in a blog hop to commemorate Elvis' birthday. Not that I'm an Elvis fan, but I am a musician... or rather I was!

Lastly, in a blog full of really random posts... nothing is more random than LEGO. Or rather my husband's love of all things building-blocky and multicoloured!

Hmmm, 5 posts that I enjoyed writing. They're all.. completely. random. Does that say something about me? For someone who started off blogging to keep friends and family in the loop and then progressed to blogging about crafting; it seems weird to me that not one of those posts are about crafting or family life. Is it weird?

Leave me comment please! I need some pepping up and love how special comments make me feel. (I'm not going to go into WHY I need pepping up... that would just open up a whole can of worms!!)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

WOYWW and thinking about blogoversaries

Gooooooooood Moooorrrrrning Wednesday! Yup, WOYWW is back again and I'm playing along with Julia at the Stamping Ground. Sorry I didn't do so last week, but although there was lots on my Workdesk, I just didn't have time to share. Sometimes that happens I guess. Mind you, I don't really have time today either but I didn't want to miss it again... last week felt wrong. Really really wrong.

So, today on my desk is my preparation for tonight's class. I'm so excited! Granted, I haven't had the uptake I was hoping for but still, it's started! And we all know that from small acorns, mighty oaks grow! Here, have a look....

I'm loving the colour combo. It's Pumpkin Pie and Rose Red... both Stampin' Up colours. Well, what else would it be? D'oh! I *think* in Stampin' Up! colours nowdays. In fact, a while ago I was trying to describe the colour of a car to Himself. I'd seen it driving on the motorway and thought it was really fab and I quite fancy having one in that colour myself. The only problem was that when he asked me to describe it, all I could come up with was 'Pear Pizzazz'!! The blank look that crossed his face was pure class and I ended up getting out a piece of cardstock just to show him what I meant. Comprehension Dawned. Am I sad or just sad? LOL.

Yesterday I was discussing Blogoversaries with someone in Shimelle's 'Beyond Blogging' class and realised that I'm coming up for my One Hundredth post. It's taken ages to get to that figure because I've always been such a sporadic blogger. So, as I'm blogging more regularly now, I'm expecting to get to that magic 100 sometime later this week or early next week. What would you think to having a Giveaway for that post? I'm going to have a rummage in my vast collection of stash and I'll come up with a goodie bag for a lucky commenter. Does that sound like a good idea? Any particular sort of stash that would appeal to you? I'm sure I've got papers, ink, ribbon and maybe some stamps that could go to a good home. Anything else that you'd like to see in there?? Let me know and I'll have a look to see if I've got it!!

Leave a comment please so I can feel special! Who doesn't like to feel special? Nope, I can't think of anyone... so leave me one and I'll pop round to your blog tomorrow (remember I said I don't have much time today??) and leave a wee comment for you too. Because we're worth it!

Monday, 18 April 2011

A very important question for you!

Remember last week I said I'd signed up for Shimelle's Blogging for Scrapbookers class? Well this is the next one! I'm hoping that it will help me with the whole design of my blog, what I'm writing about, how it looks, how we interact with each other etc. So over the next three weeks there will probably be quite a number of changes here on this blog... and probably over on my business blog too! Is there anything you'd like to see happen or change? I'm open to suggestions! After all, that is the whole reason for taking this class!!

Like a lot of scrapbookers I started my first blog (dont' worry all the stuff I wrote then is now on this blog!) with the aim of keeping in touch with family and friends who live far away. Then I discovered that none of them were reading it... but my crafting friends were! So my focus changed to show more of crafting projects that I'd completed. However, then life got in the way and needed to be blogged about - with the full intention of scrapbooking it at a later date of course! -  and then slowly this blog morphed into a "life, the universe and everything" type of blog instead. Lately most of the "everything" stuff has been about my weightloss journey. So now, I'll admit that I am confused what this blog's general topic is supposed to be. It's not really a crafting blog anymore, but I'd still like to include that if I ever get any crafting done that I can actually show you! It's a little bit about life, kids and holidays... but it's also a little bit about weightloss. Oh and perhaps a touch about my faith?? Basically it's a confused mess. LOL. So as we're making changes over the next three weeks I'd like to ask you a question... what would YOU prefer to read about?

Is there anything else that you would prefer? Granted, I'm not going to turn into a pro-blogger overnight but I'm hoping that this class will bring about a few improvements over the next three weeks.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving me your opinion and comments! I always love reading them. In fact, I was thinking of doing a post in response to some of the comments I've had lately. Would you like to read that or would it be too boring??

See you soon!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

One Little Word 2011 and other such online classes!

You know what? I'm a complete sucker for online classes. I love the idea of signing up to learn something new and that I can be delivered directly to my inbox. I don't have to pack up bags of books, drop the kids off anywhere and I can do it when it suits me. My idea of Utopia. Except...... when the emails start coming, I get behind. And then I get frustrated, and depressed and cross with myself because I've shelled out good money for something that I'm not actually getting any benefit from! Still, sometimes one or two come along that say "hey, it doesn't matter if you're not keeping up with the prompts right now, just do it when you can!" I love that. Which is one of the reasons that I love classes by Shimelle and Ali! They're both like that. Which is why I don't have any regrets signing up for Shimelle's latest class, which is called 'Blogging for Scrapbookers'. I've done this one before but it's great to have a refresher course in preparation for her next class 'Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers'. I've been re-learning a lot and I'm hoping to learn a lot more! This time round I've been a bit behind on this class, but I'm not stressing... because unbeknownst to you all I've been following her prompts! I just wasn't starting with 'Today Shimelle has asked us to blog about...' Which is good.

My other class that I signed up for this year is being taught by Ali over on BigPictureClasses. It's called 'One Little Word'. Although this is my first time taking the class, you might still recognise the title as I have played along unofficially several times before. Last year my word for the year was 'Self-Discipline'. A rather tricky word for most people but I needed it and saw great results from it. A few years ago my word was 'Create'. That year I created loads, including my second child! I love that the words start off with one intention in your head and then as you live them loads of other things start happening as a result too. So this year, I decided to sign up with the class that runs through the year. It's more for creative ideas on how to document the word and the results. I signed up late because I was umming and ahhing about whether I should or not. So I started out behind! However, I'm taking photo's and pondering and mulling and in the meantime I'm trying to live my word for the year. This year my word is 'Reclaim'. Tricky, I know but I think it will be interesting to see how it all pans out at the end of the year!

Things I want to reclaim:

  • My weightloss
  • My self-discipline
  • My self-confidence
  • My creativity
  • My kids
  • My husband
  • My home
  • My faith
  • My fitness
Amongst other things!!

We've been set a task to take photo's of things/people/places that would encapsulate your word or things you associate with your word. I'm struggling a little on that one!!

So far, I have only got a few photographs including this one.

Have you got anymore ideas on how I would photograph the word 'Reclaim'? Any suggestions would be gratefully received!! Thanks for your comments!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

March Weight Watchers Update!

Wow, things have been sooooo busy this past month (and a bit!). I've only just about been keeping up with the WOYWW posts and that's been about it. I had been intending to post an update on my weightloss at the end of March but it fell by the wayside in the mad rush to get ready for various workshops, mini catalogue launches, training events and well, life in general! I took the photo's and then they just sat there!

So, a quick summary of March?.... not great. LOL. Sorry. Truly though, I ended up only making it to my Weight Watchers meetings twice and neither time did I come back with good news. Which has also contributed to my lack of posts. Why post when it's just bad news all the time? I don't particularly want to end up depressing my readers!! At the last meeting, though, I had to face up to the facts that I just don't have my head in the game anymore. My leader, Mandy, asked me a question in the class and as I heard myself give the most ridiculous answer on the planet I was actually thinking "Why the heck are you saying that? You know what the answer should be and that ISN'T IT!!" Still, my mouth replied with the stupid answer and Mandy looked at me like I'd gone mad. Then she said: "Well, now we know where you've been going wrong!". Too damn true!! It made me really come away from the meeting knowing that I had completely lost the plot.

The good news is that after that hiccup, I went back to basics and studied the blurb they give us when we first start and I've done it all from scratch. Then I went away this weekend to Leeds and didn't get to weigh in, but I feel better in myself again. So I'm hoping that I'll be losing weight when I weigh in on Saturday!! Fingers crossed!

Here's the photo's I took at the end of March.... not much change visually at all!!

I'll post these up on the Fat to Fit page along with my weigh in results later this week!

Anyone got any tips or ideas on how to keep my head in 'the game' at all? I could seriously do with it!! I don't know how I managed it last year, but I certainly don't have it this year at all!!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

WOYWW et al.

Wednesday again! Gosh, it really does come around quick. So here's my desk for this week....

So, on my desk today is what is left over from designing my stuff for the Blog Hop my SU blog took part in on Saturday. PLUS I also made some Mother's day cards and a birthday card to match. Well, the stuff was all there so I just went with the flow! If you'd like to look at the projects I did for the blog hop then pop over to my other blog and have a peek. I'm quite pleased with my finished projects, but not so happy with the photo's. I took them in a hurry and only later realised that there was definitely something weird happening as they're a) shining and b) ghosting. To all you photography bods.... maybe you could advise me how to NOT take pictures like that again? It would be much appreciated!

Also, I thought you'd maybe like to see what was in that little box I had on my desk about 2 weeks ago? This one! Well, here's the finished project which I'm now advertising as classes. We haven't had the class yet as it's scheduled for next week so I'm hoping it will go well. I thought you might like to see what was hidden inside though. As for the project I had hidden on my desk back on the 9th March, well it still isn't properly finished! I've had to put it to one side as I got stuck into prepping for classes, workshops, team training events (this coming weekend) and blog hops! There's not much chance of it being finished anytime soon either as I've got more workshops and classes coming up, PLUS I've been commissioned to do a 12x12 album! Eeek!! So I'm afraid that an update on that particular project will be .... erm, somewhat delayed. LOL. Still, it's good to be busy!

Have you joined in with WOYWW this week? No? Quickly take a picture of your desk and then pop into Julia's blog and let us have a peek too!! If you have then leave a comment and let me know which desk is yours and I'll pop by in a bit to have a peek.

Thanks for your comments! I love reading them all!!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Things I love about Mother's Day

1. Breakfast in bed! This year.... Toast, Bacon, Scrambled egg and Mushrooms. Yum! All very Weightwatchers friendly too which is definitely a good thing.

2. Presents! Ok, just one this year but it was good! Poach Pods! Brilliant for my newly discovered higher protein breakfasts.

3. Hugs from my girls! Need I say more?

4. Handmade cards from the eldest! I definitely think she's got her Mummy's passion for creating.... and a certain 5 year old flair.

5. Sunday lunch cooked by someone else! This year, my Mum.... and rather delicious it was too!

6. Being able to have a lazy day.... Priceless!

PS..... I'm not sure why this post didn't publish on the day! I've only just noticed that it was saved to 'Drafts' instead of being published. Sorry!! (10/04/11)

Redefining our Family

When I started this blog... ok, not THIS exact blog - the previous one: Creating Space- I realised fairly quickly that although I didn't mind showing pictures of my family I still didn't want to include their names. In this day and age of identity fraud, web-savvy criminals and internet paedophile rings, I just didn't want that sort of information floating about. I figured that as the main reason for my blog was to keep friends and family up-to-date with our happenings that it wasn't really necessary to mention names either. Simply because anyone who might need to know that information... well, already knew it! So I settled on calling us Myself, Himself and Herself.

Easy enough to remember. Just a little bit confusing to write!

But then this one arrived!

Now, for a while my blog just referred to her as 'the Baby'... not a problem! But babies have a habit of growing up like this:

Can you believe that is the same child in both pictures? They just refuse to stay small!!

Now, this presents me with a problem. I can't really call her 'the Baby' anymore, can I? She's determined to be 'a big girl' and I feel I ought to honour that. So what do I call her here in blogland?

Myself, Himself, Herself and ..... and?... and? Nothing rolls off the tongue at all! I'm thinking that I might have to redefine ALL our blogland names, but that presents further complications!

Any ideas would be most welcome please!

For all those people out there that think I have completely lost the plot... you may just be right! LOL.