I have been nominated by Noémie from the Focal Heart blog for two blogging awards: the Liebster and the Blogger Recognition Award. I was nominated for and accepted the Liebster Award in June 2014 so I cannot accept that one again, though I certainly appreciate Noémie nominating me. In the spirit of community building, however, and in order to direct my readers to some of the many blogs that I read and enjoy, I will happily accept the Blogger Recognition Award. I cannot recall how I stumbled upon Focal Heart but I certainly recommend that you stumble upon it too. Noémie’s enthusiasm for creativity is infectious and I always enjoy the way she integrates her son into her creative life given how woven into my creative life my own sons are.
To accept the Award, I am tasked with answering a series of questions. I hope that you find the answers informative.
1. Tell how this blog got started.
I started this blog almost immediately after emigrating in October 2013. A friend had suggested that I might start blogging in order to keep everyone informed about what I was getting up to across the ocean and I thought I would give it a bash. I soon found that blogging helped me process my thoughts and feelings about all my new experiences, the highs and lows, turning the jumble into some sort of order. Then I found that I enjoyed the interaction with my readers and other bloggers. I have now been blogging regularly for two years.
2. Give some advice to new bloggers.
I don’t think I am in a position to offer any particular safe advice on blogging. Just write and keep writing. That’s it. Some bloggers have a very tight focus for their subject matter and some post regularly and can schedule their posts in advance. Since my primary blog is inspired by my daily life, I blog whenever I feel like something has happened that is worth writing about – an experience, an observation, an activity – so my blogging is more haphazard. Some days I can post multiple times but I probably post two or three times a week on average. I do schedule posts on my art blog, Pict Ink, but I actually prefer the more organic posting on this blog. So my secondary advice is to blog about the things you find interesting and work out what style of posting works best for you.
3. What’s your favourite animal and what do you like about them?
There are lots of animals I really like but my most consistent favourite is the pig. I think they have sweet faces and I like how smart they are. Pigs turn up a fair bit in my art work. The animal that turns up even more frequently in my art work, however, is the rabbit. I think it must be my creative spirit animal.
4. Have you discovered any new music this year? what is your current favourite musician/band? and why?
I have apparently reached that age and stage in my life where I am totally out of touch with contemporary music. I don’t watch any music television and I listen to NPR on the radio so I just don’t hear contemporary music in passing. I have become that parent who does not recognise the music my kids are listening to or singing. I mainly listen to music when I am doing chores that involve me wandering around the house or when I am drawing or painting. I listen to a lot of older music – largely stuff the same vintage as I am – and a lot of folk music. What I have mostly listened to this week is Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and the Child Ballads by Anais Mitchell.
5. What is that smell?
Right now I can smell freshly baked banana bread.
6. What books are on your bedside table right now?
My kindle is on my bedside table and it is loaded with books. I have just read a few thrillers in a row but currently I am reading through a few issues of the magazine Family Tree.
7. What do you do when you want to relax?
Art is what I do to relax. I try to grab some time for art most days. I break almost all my art projects down into stages so that I can fit art around my priorities and my other commitments and obligations. That makes it easier to find time for creativity in every day. I also relax by watching movies with my husband and kids.
8. What should we do with the drunken sailor early in the morning?
Make him a large bowl of porridge.
9. What’s your favourite place in the world and why?
I completely admit to bias and will answer with Scotland. It is a fantastic country, rich in culture, history, and breathtaking landscapes. If you have never been then you should go. Pack layers though, including waterproof ones. If I am to pick somewhere other than my homeland, however, I would not hesitate in saying Rome. I love Rome and would go back in a heartbeat if given the opportunity.
10. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
A cup of tea.
11. Where are you going dressed like that?
I am in my standard mum uniform of jeans and a t-shirt and cosy slippers.
12. Where is your favourite place to go for a walk and why?
I just like walking and exploring whether it is in a city, a town, the countryside, the woods, the coast. I love travelling, seeing and experiencing new things. When I think of taking my kids out for a walk, however, I do tend to think of walks in the woods. There are lots of opportunities for fun in the woods.
13. Why do men have nipples?
Men have nipples because for some reason their nipples develop before their bodies figure out they have XY chromosomes and won’t be needing them. It’s like nature embarks on a construction project before reading the whole instruction manual.
14. What’s your favourite drink (hot or cold)?
Tea. Always tea. I drink tea every day. At least once but usually more.
15. Why do they do that?
I ask myself that about my kids all the time.
16. That creepy looking Nosferatu-esque character behind you… who is that?
I love Nosferatu. He should introduce himself. We can hang out. I will pop the kettle on.
17. Goslings are pretty good. Aren’t they?
Multiple Ryans or the birds? Thanks to my husband’s nerdy obsession with ancient Rome, geese always make me think of the sacred geese that acted as guards for Rome, alerting its people to an invasion by the Gauls.
I follow a diverse and eclectic selection of blogs and I enjoy them all – hence my following them in the first place – so it is impossible for me to nominate specific blogs to pay this award forwards. However, if you read this post and yours is a blog that I follow and you would like to receive the Blogger Recognition Award then please do consider yourself nominated by me. Perhaps you could write a little about what inspired you to start blogging and what you feel is the best aspect of blogging.
Meanwhile, here are a few of the blogs that I find most diverting at present and which I recommend you check out, certainly not an exhaustive list and in no particular order. If you like my blog because of my observations about the differences between America and Britain then you will enjoy the witty observations and writing of the authors of This British-American Life and Notes from the UK. On the subject of wit, you should definitely check out My OBT because Donna’s weekly Etsomnia posts guarantee a good chuckle – and her other posts are always worth reading too. What I love about Claudia McGill’s poetry – and her art work is wonderful too – is her ability to transform the mundane and everyday into something profound and engaging. Similarly, Van of Van By The River has an ability to spin deeper truths out of her everyday life and is always worth reading. Joy’s posts at Joy Loves Travel are also well worth perusing as are the photographs at Fife Photos & Art. If you are interested in mixed media and art journaling then I heartily recommend Krisje’s posts at Art is my Favorite Color and Carrie Lynn at Carrie Cordero Designs. Penny’s uplifting drawings at Motivating Giraffe always make me feel happy. Inspirational photography can be found at Mike Powell’s blog with its beautiful nature photography and informative posts and at Leanne Cole’s photography blog. I also always enjoy the writings of Glasgow Dragonfly and Mara Eastern. Do check them all out.