Thursdays With Selena

As wide reaching as the blog world can be, if you’re a blogger who’s been at it for some time, no doubt you’ve made some incredibly special friendships. It’s nearly impossible to be involved in this type of a community without forming wonderful relationships from behind a computer monitor.

But in real life, that is, the world that revolves physically around us in the form of home, family and loved ones, blogging can prove to be quite isolating. In physical social settings, mentioning what I “do” leaves some a bit perplexed,  and others asking, “How do you make money doing that?” Assuming that’s the point. Blogging as a social outlet has come a long way in the last few years, especially with the business and corporate communities embracing its value for networking and marketing, most people I know in real life are still unaware of its incredible and far reaching power.

A friend and I traveled together to our first bloggers’ conference earlier this year and I was quite impacted by the awesomeness of being in the presence of so many others who value their blog communities as much as I do. Being conference newbies had its own challenges, but having a friend to share it with was priceless.I learned many things about the business end of blogging, (much of which I have trouble remembering today as there is so much to know), but still feel that a conference designed for bloggers specifically was a fabulous idea.

Although I work full-time as a graphic designer, and do paid blogging for SC Johnson, our family’s finances are hardly in a position to send me off to all the places I would love to go in order to continually nourish my blogging passions, such as other conferences, or even returning to another year of Blissdom. But my desire to connect in the real person with other bloggers has in no way diminished, but grown stronger. I have enjoyed a few lovely breakfasts in town with Kate, aka: CentsationalGirl, after getting all of our kids off to school. We could talk non-stop about living a blogger’s life.

Avid blogger, Selena Cate and I met in the blogoverse and, also being local to one another, chose to travel plane-train & automobile to the Blissdom Conference in Nashville together. We became fast friends. Fast. A weekend of travel, conference and bunking together can do that. And we’ve been buds ever since. (Of course, good chemistry never hurts!)A couple of months ago, Selena and I began meeting regularly on Thursday mornings at WiFi coffee shops somewhere between our two towns as a sort of business meeting. We catch up on each other’s blog happenings, ideas, aspirations and share advice, business info, motivation and encouragement. Selena has a few more years of blogging than me under her belt and writes both the popular Apron Thrift Girl, and her fabulous new food blog, Flavorstitch. More often than not, Selena brings me a fun gift or two to our Thursday meet-ups, like last time when she shared her homemade pluots ice cream sauce!My Thursday morning calendar is completely blocked out for these meetings as they have proven to be so valuable both socially and professionally, not to mention a good reason to get out of the studio (read: cave). After our meeting, I drive back towards home, with lots to think about, and on to the Petaluma Kitchen where I wash the food-service lunch dishes once a week, something I truly look forward to. It’s the perfect place to get away from emails, housework, design projects, and daily stresses and enjoy the company of others outside of my own little bubble. All the while I knowing I’m giving back, if even in the smallest way. I finish the pots and pans just in time to pick up the kids from school. IThursdays!

Selena just returned from a weekend at BlogHer Food ’10 in San Francisco and  I can hardly wait for this Thursday to pick her brain about all that she learned while she was there! (And she promised some overflow swag!)

Do you have a blog that you invest a lot of time on, and if so, do you have a real-life blog friend to talk to? How do you connect on a regular basis outside of emails and social networking? Have you attended a blog conference and can you give a review? I would love to read about any of it, and thank you for reading this.

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22 Responses to Thursdays With Selena

  1. #1 - Nell says:

    I do have a blog I put everything into. Sometimes I feel weird talking about it with people because they just don’t understand how great it can feel to write and publish something for so many people to see… I wish I did have a friend to share this stuff with. Whenever I talk to my friends about Nellie Cakes, I can see their eyes start to glaze over. Of course, it helps if I bring them some cake!
    If there are any bloggers in the Buffalo area that would like to chat, let me know!

  2. Hey Cathe, I really enjoy blogging. I am new to it and trying to find my niche. I enjoy looking at all the creative blogs out there and it’s fun to showcase what I do as well. I have not made any real friends as of yet. I understand from others that is crucial in this business but have not managed to do that yet. I comment on others blogs but just haven’t built up a repoire with anyone yet. Any suggestions on that? I didn’t know there were blog conferences. I have been amazed that this whole world existed and I knew nothing about it! I would love to have what you have… a friend nearby!

  3. #3 - carol turner says:

    You are so right, the outside world does not get what we do! My son calls my blogging friends my “invisible friends” I have one blogger in town I talk to, she has a brick and mortar store and I think I am going to start putting some of my mosaic work in her store. No one in my real world gets what I do, thrifting, shabby, crafts etc. My blogging friends are the only ones who understand. It is a crazy tight sorority and I think bloggers would do almost anything for each other. An odd odd world! It is so important to get feed back from people who “Get Me”


  4. Hi Cathe-

    I have been blogging for about 11 months now. I have been to two conferences. Bloggy Boot Camp in Baltimore held by the SITS girls and BlogHer this past August in NYC. I enjoyed both, but learned so much more at Bloggy Boot Camp than I did at BlogHer. BlogHer was filled with fun things to do, but for learning the things I wanted to know the smaller Bloggy Boot Camp was much better. BlogHer was too big and I felt I just got lost in the crowd. Came home with bags of swag, but I really wanted to come home with new found knowledge, but didn’t.
    I met one person at BLoggy Boot Camp who I still am in touch with, but she lives far away. I would love to meet up with someone in the Phila area to discuss the things you and Selena do. Hopefully it will happen as I think I would enjoy such a freindship.
    My best- Diane

  5. Hi Cathe,

    I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now, and while I’ve met lots of wonderful bloggers through Etsy I don’t have any blogging friends in real life. I have two blogs, but I’m really only dedicated to one right now. It’s a bit of a cross between a writing and photography project in which I chronicle the lives of my children’s toys. Each entry is written from the toy’s perspective.

    I love your blog, by the way. Keep up the good work!

  6. #6 - Caroline B says:

    I’ve been running my craft blog for a few years now & have just started one about life with Down’s Syndrome. I’ve ‘met’ some wonderful people and have 2 very good blogging friends, one of which I meet up with for the occasional day out in London (usually knitting shows!) and the other pops by my house whenever she is in the area. A third lady I discovered on the net and then realised our children went to school together and she lives five minutes away! My only gripe is that these like-minded people do not live closer!

  7. #7 - Elise says:

    On top of your WONDERFUL talent for turning found items and graphic bits and baubles into TREASURE…!!! You have SUCH a gift with “pen” as I adore your reviews of blog adventures, IRL and otherwise! I live, vicariously, through you, sweet {and SO photogenic} friend! So happy to hear you enlightened by your experiences… HILARIOUS pictures and warm REAL life imagery! YOU are one of my faves, of blogland, and well, I wouldn’t be typing right now if not for “Kate!” Thanks, for reminding me how grateful I am for ALL of these wonderful connections… (*Swoon!*) I adore you!

  8. #8 - SewLindaAnn says:

    I am really touched by your post. I haven’t started my own blog yet but plan to, and I will. I read and participate for the same reasons as bloggers though. Likemindedness in what we care about and do. Most people in my area are more into stores and things while personally I fit in with the thrifty, crafty, vintage inspired artsy blog world filled with sewists, quilters and others who aspire to more fulfilling pursuits.

  9. #9 - Sheila Holland says:

    I blog, but because of health issues, it really got neglected. I am better now and try to put up regular posts – mostly about making miniature quilts, but other stuff as well. Reading other blogs about diet and health has really helped me, but your blog is for sheer fun and inspiration and you are one of only a handful of blogs that are listed on my blog. I try to keep the list short and not overwhelming, but you are a keeper!

  10. #10 - jen says:

    I have a blog, and I’ve been thinking alot lately about what I want it to become. I’m so inspired by bloggers who have found ways to share their talents with the world {and even make a bit of money at it too!}. I’d love to be able to go to conferences, but I don’t think I can quite justify that. I’m just a very, very small fish in a great big sea! I have made many friends through blogging, but none that I can call real-life friends. {except for my best friend, who has a blog, but I think our goals are different}
    I know you have been so very kind and helpful at answering questions, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it! I still haven’t taken the leap into freelancing, but I have your email tucked away, waiting til I have the time and courage to put your advice to use. 😉

  11. #11 - Amy says:

    I have made some truly wonderful friends through blogging. I’ve been at it since 2003 now and I never tire of it. Since I live in Petaluma, I hope you and I can run into each other someday!!!


  12. #12 - Jill says:

    Well…kind of…sort of…I’m really tied to my home with my two littlest children. I know just a couple somewhat local bloggers about an hour away but that’s too far for me to connect with very often. I have to say that your Thursdays sound divine! I know what you mean about the “real life” people not quite getting it. I no longer share my enthusiasm with them. It hurt – the lack of interest. I have little contact with anyone outside my home and my blog has been a blessing. I love visiting here!

  13. #13 - Diana B says:

    I just love the effect you apply to the photos that accompany your blog. It gives them such a “painterly” effect. Have you discussed on your blog how you do this before, and if so, could you point me in the direction of that post? Thanks!

    • #14 - Cathe Holden says:

      Hi Diana,

      I’m probably the last person who should be doing a Photoshop tutorial as I pretty much wing it myself, but I will spell out what I did to achieve the image effects to my photos in this post. You may only be interested in how the watercolor/texture effect was created, but I’ll throw in the color info as well.

      1. Open image in Photoshop (I use CS3).

      2. Crop and size.

      3.Image>Adjustment>Black & White (even if it’s already a black and white, I did this to get all my images to somewhat match in the end.) If you want to keep an area non-black and white, such as the computer monitor in one of mine, select all but that area when converting to B&W.

      4.Image>Adjustment> +Yellow and + Red.

      5. Filter>Artisitc>Watercolor! (14/0/1 is the formula I used).

      6. Image>Adjustment>Black> +Yellow + Red.

      7. At this point you can choose to select an area to “color” and play with it in Image>Adjustment>Hue/Saturation.

      Ultimately, No. 5 is the main effect. AND there is also a Watercolor Filter in the much less expensive Adobe Photoshop Elements!!

  14. #16 - Handkerchief Gal says:

    You blog inspired me to create my blog and helped define it into what it is. It combines my passion of being thrifty and creating stuff from ‘junk’. Add a large dose of creativity and there you go.
    My biggest problem when I talk about reading or writing blogs is worried about being judged a ‘blog junky’ and a time waster. Both of which can be true when you enter the blog world. I just want to make sure I don’t cross that line. It would be nice to have an accountability partner like you have!

  15. #17 - Selena Cate says:

    So beautifully written my friend. My 20’s (before the internet) were very lonely. I’m pretty unique and energetic. It’s only since the internet that I have been blessed to find like minded friends that share my interests. My closest friends in life all came about from me being online. To me that is something to treasure. But as you say above, it’s getting together in person that really adds depth to our friendship.
    Thank you for this heartfelt, beautiful post. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.

  16. #18 - Ann says:

    I love updating my crafty/gardeny/photographingy/diary/blog – and knowing I have lovely blog friends and followers keeps me adding posts and feeling a bit guilty if I don’t. But I don’t have any real-life blog friends – everyone I know seems to facebook instead. In fact very few of my blog friends even live in the same country as me! But we are a community and encourage and sympathise and congratulate each other as needed and it all makes us realise there are others out there who think the same way as we do. Long live blogiverse!

  17. #19 - Anna says:

    I do have one good friend who’s also a blogger and while we’re both beginners (I talked her into starting a blog when her catering business ideas started flowing), it’s extremely nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of. She gets my excitement over traffic spikes and comments, and visitors from halfway across the world. Whenever I mention my blog to any of my other friends, their eyes gloss over and the conversation quickly dies. I’d love to actually make it to one of the conferences one day, but right now, I don’t have the time or the money, so I’ve been stalking other peoples blogs trying to glean a bit of info/inspiration from their conference overviews. You’re lucky to have found a friend and mentor that really gets what you’re trying to do.

  18. #20 - Rebecca says:

    I loved your thoughts here on blogging, my wonderful new word to savor ‘blogoverse’ (!), and the fact that you explained how you accomplished those fascinating pics in Photoshop. Thank you! (I’m going to be trying it out) I appreciate hearing success stories from other bloggers.

    I’m new to blogging too, and, while my little patch of real estate is still not where I want it to be, the process of crafting it is going to be a continual challenge–in a good way. Your blog here has been an inspiration to me. And I am truly wowed by your creativity and generosity in sharing your talents. One thing I already know we share in common? Kewpie heads! :o)

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