RSS Feeds on Probation

Or how I learned to be a better blogger by examining my own reading habits.

There are so many amazing craft blogs. And I physically can’t read them all. I leave it up to,, and to keep me up to date on most the amazing things crafting up around the web. Then, when I see a blog a particularly love, over and over again on the three above blogs, I’ll drop them into my rss feed. And I leave them there uncatagorized until I’m sure I want to keep them around. Then, they get dropped into one of the “keepers” folder. The things that keep a keeper? Consistency, pretty pictures, and something that makes me think.

Pretty quickly I realized, hey, what if other people were doing this with Craft Leftovers (as you should). Putting the blog on probation until you decided it was a good fit for your daily reading or not. Then I realized that I may or may not have subscribed to Craft Leftovers in the past year because of a few key things, a few key things I’m working hard to improve:

Consistent posting

While I really did try my best, this past year tossed me into a mass of random postings. And I know from being an avid craft blog reader, that there is a certain anticipation about knowing every friday or every monday wednesday friday, there will be something new to inspire me from a blog I enjoy. I’m still struggling a bit, but for the most part, Monday Wednesday Friday, you can expect a thoughtful post that is sure to tantalize your imagination. Like Friday’s post about making my own stamp or Monday’s post about the new issue of Craft Leftovers Monthly (Oh my gosh you are going to love this issue). Or even today’s post about making a better craft blog and a bit of self examination.

Quality posting

Oh I hate to fess up to and confront this head on, but over the past year the post quality has been “meh”. It’s not that I wasn’t trying my best, because I was, but I was so busy and my mind so packed with stress that my creative process really started to shut down. It’s hard to be inspired when I didn’t have time for the things that inspired me (reading creative blogs, keeping my house clean, talking bike rides, working in the studio just for fun, reading lots of good books). So, not just posting regularly, but really making every post count. No more filler posts.

Project posts

I love it when people post about how they make things. And I know, those are the posts you like the most too. It’s not just good for “readership stats”, which sure, I’m not going to lie. It totally is.  Going back to my origins of why I started craft leftovers in the first place, before the idea of  “readership” even came into my mind. Making my projects into a post (like the stamp last weekend or the mitten pattern coming up this Friday) really helps me to keep making (and finishing) things using just my leftovers. It’s just as good for me to show you (accountability) as it is for you to see how to make what I make.

A Dash of the Unusual

I am keeping things focused on leftovers and crafting and recycling. For me, it’s always fun to see when a blogger gets a bug in their bonnet and posts about that too (like backyard farming or painting a big mural). I’m going to keep things focused, more than I was over the last year, but not so inflexible that I can’t share with you something I’m really passionate about.

Photos really are everything

And the last point. I’ve been working really hard on this one. And I think I’m getting better. I’m not all the way there yet. Somedays are better than others. But what you see is what you get, so I want to be really proud of what you see. I’ve dedicated myself to taking better photos. And wouldn’t you say I’ve improved! I sure would.

I’ve been listening a lot to Diane about how to make my blog more awesome, she has a great series of ebooks, posts, podcasts, and webclasses on the topic. All are immensely helpful (I’m assuming the webclasses are, but have not taken one yet). If you write a craft blog, or really any blog, go check out her ebook set. Copyblogger has also been giving me a lot of food for thought. It’s always a kick in the pants when they say “10 top blog mistakes” and I’m making 5 out of 10 of them. Well no more.

Happy Crafting and Happy Blogging!


17 thoughts on “RSS Feeds on Probation

  1. I’m a subscriber! I can’t really say for how long, but I will tell you this: a few months back I went through an unsubscribing phase, and this website didn’t get axed. When things popped up on my feed that didn’t apply to me or my life over and over again, they got removed. Craft leftovers didn’t have that problem.

    1. Awwww, thanks! I really did try my best this past year, I’m glad I made the cut, that means a lot to me that you enjoy the blog.

  2. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately: what is it that makes my favorite blogs my favorite blogs, and how can I apply those ideas to my own blogging? Unfortunately, the big ones I keep running up against are very difficult for me to fix. Still, I can try!

    Posting consistency is a hard one- I’m largely unemployed, and every time I get a temp or seasonal job (like right now), my posting goes right out the window. My idea is to take a big chunk of this weekend and pre-schedule a ton of posts for next week. Photos is another- I’m borrowing a very cheap (as in $20) camera, and sometimes it just chokes. Still, there’s GIMP, and practice.

    And quality of post, I can certainly work on.

    1. The photography and the consistency has always been the two hardest for me too. There are some really great tutorials on taking better photos without a fancy pants camera – using natural light is what they universally recommend (sun light is free after all). I actually just purchased some different textured scrap book paper sheets to help with “backdrops” to use. I try my hardest to post ahead because it always seems like crazy things come up – like this week I just had the great oppertunity to write a pattern for craft, I just got word that my manuscript is moving into edits, and my sister is coming in to town. Last night was one of those 4am nights trying to get it all done :) It’s nice to have tomorrow’s post mostly set up.

  3. Just want to say thanks for putting this up! As someone who’s just starting out this is really good to hear :) You’ve insipred me to push that bit harder.

    1. I’ve really been trying to take ahold of the idea of if you are going to do something, do it well. It’s hard work, but the payoff is wonderful. I love being able to be proud of the work I do.

  4. I love all that you have to day, write, photograph. Read ’em all. xo A

  5. I loved this post – and then stumbled across your so-very-kind shout out at the bottom, and was totally honored. Thank you so much!

    What you’re doing here is super smart – I think too often, bloggers separate their reading habits from their writing habits. And that separation can make us write a blog that we wouldn’t actually read. But it’s true that if *you* delight in your blog, others will too.

    You’ve had a huge year, so it’s totally natural that this would affect your blogging. But one of the (many) things that sets you apart as a blogger is your willingness to keep re-visiting the quality of your work, and your constant quest for improvement. You’re so inspiring!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, especially since you inspired it! I’m sending you an email later, so I’ll gush more there :)

  6. This is a great post for me to read as I’m in the process of redesigning my blog. And with the design of a new layout and graphics, I’ll also be modifying the content I write as well. My photos are the next thing I really need to work on. :/

    Thanks for the post, happy blogging to us all.

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