Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grow Your Blog

Mugging with a mug I made for
National Craft Month
Hello, and welcome to the hoppers who are here via Vicki's (Two Bags Full) Grow Your Blog Party. My name is Nikki but I blog as Anna van Schurman. The short answer is that when I started blogging, I was in an industry where I would likely be googled and a very popular blogger had recently been fired for blogging. A nom de blog was just the thing. Anna van Schurman was a 17th century advocate of women's education, an artist who was also proficient in 14 languages. You can read more about this choice in the "About Me" page.

I started stitching 27 years ago...actually, I started cross-stitching 27 years ago. I think I did my first embroidery in the early 70s. When I was a kid, we spent summers at the beach in a rickety old house (with an outdoor shower) with two other families. (Our mothers scrimped and saved to have this trip, but we were kids and we didn't care about the accommodations.) Anyway, the rainy summer days were filled with card games, manicures, and embroidery, especially crewel which was all the rage back then. That's how I became proficient in French knots. I started doing them when I was a kid and didn't know they were supposed to be difficult.

My craft tendencies including starting with a gung-ho attitude that sort of peters out. In the end, though the important part of crafting to me is the doing--it doesn't matter where I am on a project. I'm in it for the "flow state," the relaxation, the yoga-ness.

I've been blogging for almost 12 years. Blogging gives me a way to think about crafting and to share those ideas with others. I share my works-in-progress, stitching tips, and news stories that start with the premise that stitchers are all a bunch of old ladies. Most posts are about needlework, but I am also a card maker, knitter, and general crafter. In March, I (try to) celebrate National Craft Month by posting a new craft every day. A new kind of March Madness, it's like Pinterest came to life. I appreciate the connections I've made with some of my readers over the years. I hope you will find something to enjoy here.

26 comments:

Barbi said...

Great mug!

Margaret said...

Fun post! I should have looked at your "about me" long ago. I always wondered where Anna Van Schurman came from.

Charlene ♥ SC said...

...with a real sense of humor!

Susan said...

I knew who Anna von Schurman was, but not why you posted under her name. Nice to know how you came to make that choice. Love the mug--a real mustache cup!

Alice said...

I love your blog! I get especially indignant at the whole notion of stitching as an old lady activity. I had a friend in high school who gave another of our group no end of grief about her cross stitch hobby and nicknamed her Grandma. Needless to say she didn't stay my friend for long and I eventually tried stitching too....and it's the zen feeling of stitching that grabs me too.

Katy said...

Love following your blog! And no way is stitching an old lady activity! Totally get that!

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Great explanation of your pen name (keyboard name?)
I do enjoy Craft month and love the mug. Have you seen Face Mats? They are coasters with the bottom half of a face printed on and you hold them up to your face and take a photo. Surprisingly realistic! Bearded ladies and everything.

Beth W said...

It's lovely you can find that zen in the doing of each craft. I do, too, but then it's overpowered by the guilt and stress of finishing one before starting another (or, just finishing one). How do you combat that weight??

Linda said...

Loved learning a little more about you Nikki. Awesome picture. Its nice to put a face with a name.

Linda

Paula said...

Nikki, I enjoyed today's post. I never realized you used a nom de plume. I must not be very observant because I have followed your blog for a long time.
My roommate in college taught me to cross stitch our freshman year. We definitely weren't old ladies stitching. :)
Love the mug, can I ask what kind of marker you used and do you put your mug in the dishwasher?

Mouse said...

love the mug ... and how you got your nom de plume .... and your holidays sounded so much fun and french knots are easy peasy heheheheh ...love mouse xxxxx

Kerri said...

I enjoy your blog. It reminds of all my smart snarky friends from NJ. I learned fren ch knots when candle wicking was popular! We must have grown up I. The same era! Can't wait for craft month. I couldn't come up with or do that many project.

Cathy said...

Just started following your blog through the GYB party. It looks like we have a lot in common craft-wise, so I look forward to visiting often!
Cathy
CraftyCat

Elizabeth Braun said...

Hi Nikki!

Thanks for your visit to Sew in Love.:)

I love the idea of your 'namesake' being proficient in 14 languages. That is impressive! I need to work harder.... ;)

I sympathise with the being Googled bit. I remember just sending an e-mail enquiry about a job to someone, forgetting my e-mail sig. line had links. The contact looked at my blog before replying!! Thankfully, she must have liked what she saw as she said she hoped I would apply!!! I always make it a strict policy NEVER to let off steam or discuss personal things or controversial stuff on blog, as one can just never be sure it won't backfire, no?

Carol said...

Good to read more about you, Nikki! I got my start with crewel embroidery, too, back in the 70s. I still have the eyeglasses case that I made for my grandma (along with her spectacles!)... Pretty poor work, but a fun introduction to something that would eventually become a passion :)

Threads of Inspiration said...

Hi Nikki, Your post was really fun. I dont do a lot of cross stitch but rather embroidery - not the counted kind. Enjoy the blog party! Susan

Thoeria said...

I quite enjoyed reading this post about you Nikki :)

Sue Kosec said...

You throw a great party. Thank you for inviting me!

What this party is all about is to GROW your blog and I'm hoping to do the same. When you get to Section One, check out A Country Chic Retreat and SuZeQ Creations, my personal blog, in Section Fifteen I'd love for you to follow and subscribe to.

Happy crafting!
SuZeQ

Stitchinowl said...

I first started visiting your blog to read about your stitching. Your smart, snarky posts are just the icing on the cake :)
Carolyn

Marie said...

And i always thought your were Anna…Nickki. :-D

Love your fun mug.

I too started stitching at a young age while summering on Cape Cod each year. I need to post a picture of one of my very early stitching projects…A little dog.

Hope you are making progress on that By The Bay Needlearts VT Covered Bridge. I just signed up for the Serenity Harbor Sampler SAL.

KimM said...

Hi, Anna! Popping in from GYB. You are so funny - not to mention creative. We kind of know each other...hoping to get to know you better this year.
Keep yourself surrounded by stitches ;0)

Hazel said...

Nice, interesting post! I also have a Pseudonym that I use for other forums which started off as Lucinda Wainwright!! Which then became Craftylucyloo! I know - right!!! It was all because I got "burned" online a long time ago and got scared so I created this new name etc etc and it sort of stuck. xx

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I can understand why you would be blogging under a pseudonym if there was any chance of your being fired. Why would a business feel threatened by a blog? Anyway...thank you for inviting us in for a visit with you - enjoy the tour!

Chris said...

Nice to know you a little more :)

Connie Cain said...

Love your blog. I too am a multitask crafter. I have quilts, x-stitching, embroidery and crocheting going all at once. :) It's funny you say you don't crochet, I don't knit (would love to, but just can't get the hang of it) :(
Will be keeping up on your blog. :)

Ariadne said...

Anna thank you for the comment on my blog!I mean Nikki thanks! I love the part of the many languages as I love languages and learning about other people! I love cross stitch of course! I will be around!AriadnefromGreece!