Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Blooks and Blogs

I began following blogs in 2010, the first blogs I followed were doll blogs; Jess Brown, Tiny Concept and the Black Apple. The blog I've admired most is Emily Martin's 'Black Apple' blog, I feel it is full of good, creative ideas and has been going since 2008. When I started doing the occasional craft fair, people would ask 'do you have anything I can look at on-line?' that's when I thought seriously about doing a blog myself. The best bit of advice I found was give yourself a few months to figure out what you are going to put on your blog. So I spent a few months over 2013 (intermingled with a lot of bereavement, I had 3 significant deaths to deal with over the space of a year) thinking about my blog. Anyway, I had various questions to find answers to, before I began.

1. How frequently will I post? I thought once a fortnight, once a week sometimes, but at least once a month.

2. How many years will I keep going? Five years seemed good to aim for in the first instance.

3. Do I have enough material to keep a blog going for about once a fortnight for five years? Once a fortnight for 5 years is actually 130 posts. I didn't begin my creative blog until I had ideas for one hundred posts I could put on my blog. I also have a 'hidden theme' for each month, based on a collection of short stories I wrote in my twenties and I thought other ideas for my blog would occur to me in the fullness of time.

4. How important are followers and comments? Well, obviously they are important and this area needs a lot of thought and development.

Another good piece of advice I found is also another question, above and beyond the number of comments and followers you get.

5. Is your blog something you like and are proud of? Well, I quite like my blog, and some posts are much better than others, and there's bags of room for improvement. So it's a little like life really, you carry on doing your best even if you sometimes feel very insignificant, maybe God is watching us after all.

Anyway to continue my blog in a positive way I have now joined Bloglovin'. Above are a few books I've purchased specifically because I love the blogs they're associated with and below are two good books on how to use Social Media to get the most out of it.

Blook Bibliography

Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin. New York, Random house, 2012

The Dazzling Darkness by Paula Cappa. Milwaukee, Crispin Books, 2013

Fairy Tale Food by Lucie Cash. Illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova. London, Preface, 2012

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Retold in pictures by Becca Stadtlander. London, Frances Lincoln, 2015

Kiki and Coco in Paris. Photographs by Stephanie Rausser. Doll by Jess Brown. Story by Nina Gruender. Petaluma, Cameron and Company, 2011

Social Media Books

 Blogging for Dummies by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley. Indianapolis, Wiley, 2010, 3rd ed.

The business of being social by Michelle Carvill and David Taylor. Richmond, surrey, Crimson, 2013

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Pop Up Craft Stall

'ALF Creations at the Star Heart Cafe' took part in a summer fun day in Willow Tree Marina, Yeading. We were out in the open, so the wind became a bit of an issue, but we were otherwise blessed with a sunny day. We were one of two craft stalls there and were in competition with live music, a bouncy castle, a barbecue and a fire engine. It wasn't terribly successful for us, but I enjoyed the experience.

It was also a rare occassion where I had the other half of ALF Creations, Amy, with me. She had the idea of drawing bespoke pictures of interested customers, but things being what they were, at the end of the day she had just produced a rather fetching picture of me.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Grace and her daughters

After creating the original Star Heart Dolls I began to create dolls inspired by virtues, starting with the rainbow coloured contrary virtues followed by the primary coloured theological virtues. Grace is grey and her daughters are the cardinal virtues of Fortitude, Prudence, Justice and Temperance. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Faith goes to church

It's always good to take part in the St. Mary's church art exhibition. This year they asked for craftwork as well as artwork, so I took my Star Heart doll, Faith, along. I exhibited some of my old pictures and also a new copy of The Cellist.


Amy also had her own collection of her old pictures and also two new abstract paintings.

Other painters exhibiting were Jean Higgins with her accomplished oil paintings, the exquisite Japanese, floral inspired paintings of Phyllis King and the intricate artwork of Carole Shirwell.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Out of my Window

'Out of my window' started life as a project for my O'level art. It explores feelings of freedom and envy relating to the girl and the bird. The girl is based on the German singer Nico as she looks on the cover of her LP 'The End'. The idea later inspired my poem 'Out of my window' which later turned into song lyrics.