General Blog

Blog Sprucing

Yesterday I wrote a general health update and discussed how I plan on blogging differently in the future. This weekend I was library “security” for a high school yearbook camp. Translation = lots of down time when students were in classes, which afforded me the ability to plan and jot down ideas. I thought I’d share what I accomplished in case any of you find it useful:


  1. I created a blog binder. I love the internet and computers, but I think better on paper. I made a blog binder out of a 1″ binder, some dividers and some super cute (AND FREE) printables from Enchanting Details. I also included a monthly calendar and some loose leaf notebook paper for ideas and notes. Flair pens are a must for blog planning, just sayin’.
  2. I developed a rotating schedule for the following post topics:
    1. Monday: Readerly Rambles
    2. Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday or List Love
    3. Wednesday: Works in Progress or What I’m Loving
    4. Thursday: Book Reviews, Thursday Thoughts, or A Day in the Life
    5. Friday: Fashion Friday or Weekend Cooking
    6. Saturday: Snapshot Saturday
    7. Sunday: Sunday Scribbles
  3.    I made some new images with PicMonkey for the “features” that didn’t have buttons; here are a few: WhatILove dayinthelife fashion friday
  4. Then I made templates. I created drafts with the general “look” I want and information I need for a post. Now I can copy and paste what I need and fill out the details. It should help with streamlining my posting and create a more uniform look. I also put notes in when I didn’t have an image (for example, that book covers go to the right on the post) and I loaded tags I knew I would use.
  5. Next I signed up for HootSuite and loaded my Twitter, Fig and Thistle Facebook page, and Instagram. I’m not really pleased with how Instagram loads, but it does make responding and keeping up with followers easier.
  6. The big thing for me was finding the time to blog. Now that school is in session I don’t have the hour or two in the afternoon for blogging. I leave straight from work and pick up the kids. I know for blogging to be successful I need to learn to blog in batches. I decided on Sundays and Wednesdays I would focus on blog content. My goal is to write 3 to 4 posts on Sundays and 2 to 3 posts on Wednesdays. I’m allowing myself the freedom to not feel like I need to just write for the week at hand. For example, I may do a large batch of book reviews and then stagger the publication out.
  7. To help prepare me for my writing days I printed off some blog content planning sheets (not showing as now I cannot find the link). I’m blocking off my 30 minute lunch breaks for outlining, sketching out ideas, and making a list of things to do for the posts (for example: take pictures of cooking, find the link to blah blah, etc…). I’ve tried to use my 30 minute lunch for reading, but everyone in the world stops by to talk and it doesn’t seem to matter where I hide and how much bitchy resting face I give. I can at least jot down ideas while I eat.

Let’s see if this works. If you are a blogger, let me know how you organize your writing. I’m always fascinated to learn how we all have different creative processes. I have some more blog sprucing ideas, but I’m saving those for September’s Bloggiesta (go sign-up now!).

Remembering September and Looking to October

For photo credit, click on pic

October is here and it is one of my most favorite months; I adore fall weather.  September was disappointing as far as autumn goes — we had temperatures in the upper 80s most of the time.

Now the air truly has a bite of apple crispness and find myself perfectly content to stay home with a large mug of warm milk and and an even bigger book.

Now, for retrospect followed by exciting plans….

Remembering September:

  • I began life as a soccer mom (gasp!); and Hope is really loving the sport.  It is so nice to see her working hard and making friends.
  • Baking:  a made some fall favorites (pumpkin bars and espresso brownies) and baked a new recipe, Cranberry Honey Drop Cookies.
  • The adoption was finalized!  Sam is Hope’s daddy for ever and always!
  • I began a new embroidery project
  • I had a wonderful date day with Sam to Athens.
  • Several wonderful trips to the library and a phenomenal library book sale
  • Celebrated Sam’s 29th birthday
  • Began taking Prepared Child Birth Classes
  • Readying the nursery!
  • Finally I have internet at home
  • Craft night with friends featuring yarn, Thai food, coffee and gossip
  • Read three books (only three!), Mary Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley by Alison Weir, Anatomy of Deception by Lawrence Goldstone, and The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Looking to October:

  • Blogtoberfest! The goal is to post every day in October.  I didn’t accomplish this last year, but I sure did post a heck of a lot more.  My goal is to post every day, even if it is a tiny writeup, rant, or link.
  • Finishing Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendour.  This is a fabulous book, but nearly 1,000 pages long.  This is my “I must finish this book before Atticus gets here” challenge.
  • Speaking of Atticus he *might* be here by the end of the month.  Needless to say I’ll be nesting, baby prepping, and finishing childbirth class.  I’m looking forward to this being my last month of pregnancy and having my little man soon!
  • Thrifting!  Tomorrow is the huge community thrift sale, because of Hope’s soccer game I won’t make it there until noon so I hope some deals are left.
  • Working on my new embroidery project and finishing the blanket for Atticus.
  • Organizing my photo albums.  I feel compelled to tackle the box of pictures and put them in order.
  • Breaking out the sewing machine
  • Making holiday plans and beginning my baking and gift plans early
  • READATHON!  Next Saturday!  Yay!
  • Staycation!  Hope has fall break week after next and we have plans to see a movie, have lunch with her Dad at work, take walks and watch plentiful amounts of Dark Shadows.
  • Possibly a foray into Once a Month Cooking…. possibly
  • Organizing my bookshelves.  I’m saving this for my nesting spurt.
  • Baking big loaves of crusty bread and making jar after jar of pumpkin butter and apple butter.
  • Audiobook stockpile!  I’m stocking up on audio books for when I function as a milk tank in late October / early November.  Pass on any recommendations!

There we have it, lots of stuff to look forward to!  In my immediate future I see a shower and hitting the pillow.  I’m tired and I know I’ll be up 5o0 times in the night since Atticus has decided my bladder is the perfect squeeze toy.

Remembering August and Looking to September

Yesterday Hope stayed home from school because of a sore throat, sinus headache and some sniffles.  By two in the afternoon she was feeling much better and I began feeling crappy.  My throat hurts and I’ve been blowing my nose in Starbucks for the past hour (I’m sure the other customers are more than thrilled).

While I was feeling ill yesterday, I flipped through my journal and found something interesting.  On January 31st I listed accomplishments and memories from the month and then made another list of things I was looking forward to in September.  Seasonal allergies aside, there are many exciting things happening in September and August was a good month for me so I thought I’d revive the list.

Remembering August:

Sam's DIY Dali moustache...

Looking to September:

  • another baby shower
  • Hope’s soccer season begins
  • Carl’s R.I.P reading challenge (more on that later)
  • finishing the baby blanket
  • Autumn baking (pumpkin and apple everything)
  • leaves changing and cooler breezes
  • breaking out my Docs
  • getting internet at the house (hopefully next week)
  • baking bread with friends
  • completing the nursery
  • adoption finalized
  • library book sale
  • new embroidery projects
  • pumpkin spice lattes
  • black fingernail polish
  • childbirth class
  • crafting thank you cards
  • paying off my credit cards
  • Sam’s 29th birthday

I’m ready, September!

Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award:

1.  Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award

2.   Share 7 things about yourself

3.  Pass the award onto 15 bloggers you’ve recently discovered

4.  Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award

Thanks, Bahnree, for nominating me!  I honestly don’t think I could list 15 blogs to nominate, not having the internet at homes mean that my blog time is extremely limited and I haven’t discovered any new blogs in quite a while.  Instead, leave me a comment on this post if you have a blog you love or you want to share your blog with me.  I’ll add you to my reader and — if you tickle my fancy — I’ll nominate you for the award!

Okay, 7 things about myself.  I’m going to change it up a bit and tell you 7 things (okay, 8 things) that have happened in the past week since I last posted.  I’ve been VERY busy and I feel that I’ve neglected Ye Olde Blog.

  1. Thursday Night: After posting about Arcade Fire I started having contractions.  FOR REAL contractions, not Braxton Hicks.  They only got to about 3 and a half minutes apart and they quit after an hour or two.  I felt quite shitty, though.  I showered and crawled in bed so Sam could rub my back and listen to me whine.
  2. Friday Afternoon: I went to see my midwife.  He said that I was dehydrated (probably from being at an outdoor show, in Georgia, in August, and dancing like a fool).
  3. More Friday Afternoon: According to the midwife, Atticus is kicking like crazy and growing well.  I was surprised to learn that I’ve only gained .9 pounds (not even an entire pound!) in the last 4 weeks.  This is amazing to me because I’ve been eating EVERYTHING.
  4. Friday Night: We took Hope over to grandma’s and stayed for dinner.  Mom made a delicious meat loaf.
  5. Saturday: Breakfast at IHOP, reading, and chatting at the coffee shop.  Saturday night we met up with some of my excellent college friends for Thai food and then everyone came back to my house to hang out.
  6. Saturday Night: I went to the liquor store with said friends.  I purchased a Yoohoo.
  7. Sunday: 3 hours of swimming with Hope and Sam.  I couldn’t quit watching Sam and Hope play in the pool together.  The two of them had silly, happy smiles plastered on their faces the entire time.  I love my family!  Then we had BBQ pork chops at my parents’ house.
  8. Monday Night: The University I work at had a “back-to-school-soiree” and we went to the High to see the Salvador Dali exhibit, heard a faculty / student musical performance, and ate a delicious buffet dinner.

Needless to say I’m exhausted.  The new students are moving in and campus is humming with activity.  Next week classes start, so the library is sure to be quite busy.

Alright, that’s it for this Versatile Blogger!  Let me know what blogs you adore!

Welcome to Fig and Thistle

It may seem like my decision to leave Blogger came suddenly in a bout of mania, but I’ve been ruminating over the move for ages.  Blogger was pretty good to me, but lately I endured several frustrating glitches and I was tired of the entire look of Blogger.   My html experience is lacking (okay, pretty much non-existent) and I thought my layout clunky at best.

I have seriously analyzed some of the blogs I adore to establish what it is that hooks me.   Several of the blogs I enjoy like this one, this one, and this one are WordPress blogs.   The look is very clean and well-organized and that is something that this library girl can completely support.

There were several other reasons why I made the switch to a new blog.  First of all I started The Blog Jar fresh out of college and while I was still obsessing over Sylvia Plath and overall completely frustrated with life.  That was the first Blog Jar (the one I irrevocably deleted after a bout of vodka drinking– long story) and then I started The Blog Jar again in January of 2007.

I feel like I’ve outgrown that blog.  Since January of 2007 I’ve married and am expecting a new baby.  My daughter is fast approaching tweendom and I’ve accepted the fact that I will never find my blog niche.  I’ve struggled with deciding if I should blog about my personal life, or be a strict book blogger, or move to embroidery blogging, or scrap everything else and bake my ass off.

I still love Plath, but not in the same way.  I don’t identify with her personal life quite as much.  There are still some blue days and days I struggle to balance family, work, and creativity, but on the whole I have an amazing sense of contentment my life.  I need a place where I can share my days (not in a spilling the sordid sort of way).  I want to share that blend of work / family / reading / creating that makes time special.  There will still be sarcasm and rants, but perhaps this blog will reflect the balance I have in my life rather than leaning heavily in a certain direction.

The realization has struck that I’m an everything or nothing blogger.  Truly, “my candle burns at both ends.”  I love to be busy and my days are filled with family and friends, baking and stitching, reading, and tons of other things I enjoy.  Compelled to share everything I love, I can’t limit or structure my blog neatly into a specific category.

Some of my friends have asked why I chose the name Fig and Thistle.  It is a name inspired by a favorite collection of Edna St. Vincent Millay poems, A Few Figs From Thistles.  I haven’t researched this to see if my literary opinions are “correct”, but to me the collection captures a vibrancy and excitement with life.  Also, thistles are prickly fellows and figs are juicy and delicious, I think the title implies that even when things are “prickly” one can always find something wondrous.  For example, no matter how bad things are, I can always enjoy a hug from Hope, or nap with my cat, or watch Monty Python skits with Sam, or indulge in a slice of warm bread with a giant cup of tea, or lose myself in a book.  And I’m a firm believer in nothing cures depression like a trip to the library.  My hope is that this blog will be 100% me figs, thistles, and all.

Welcome to Fig and Thistle.