Blog Features

Blog Spotlight | Knitting and Sundries

I am running a feature spotlighting other Review & Giveaway Blogs. If you have one and would like to be featured, please email me at [email protected]

Today I would like to welcome Julie from Knitting and Sundries. I had a chance to learn more about her blog and here’s what she had to say…

Please tell me about yourself.

I became a mother at 19, and at 24, and at 29, and once again at the ripe ole’ age of 36.  So NOW I have 4 grandbebes sprinkled out among my two oldest daughters, and a teen a little over a year away from college.  Then there’s Bebe Boy James, the only boy and the one that’s keeping me young (and stressed out sometimes, as boys do).

I have a LOT of interests, my current kick being knitting (therefore the title of the blog, Knitting and Sundries, although right now it’s more sundries than knitting).  I read A LOT, I love anything textile-art-related (crocheting, quilting, cross-stitch, heirloom embroidery), we love nature walks and our big yearly camping trip.  We go mapling (getting maple straight from the trees) and tobogganing in the winter, and on foliage tours in the fall.
I have always loved cooking and, if my bf ever gets me anything kitchen-related (like a good stand mixer, hint, hint), I would NOT be offended!
I worked as a help desk tech for about 10 years, although my last long-term job was as an office manager for a law firm.  The past three years or so have been mainly temporary and contract work, however.  I also had my own web design biz for about 4 years (although you can’t really tell from the look of my blog right now – I’m working on it, though .. a piece at a time!)

I am a community activist and volunteer.  My main focus (there are so many worthy causes, so you can’t work on them all!) is on social justice issues.  I have a sincere belief that anyone who is willing to work hard and do their part to contribute to society as a whole deserves equitable pay and benefits as well as the opportunity to avail themselves of higher education.  I don’t think that being born poor or without “connections” should be a reason to be stuck in a position where every day is a struggle to survive.  I championed the federal minimum wage increase, and prior to that, served as a national spokesperson for many of the individual state minimum wage initiatives.

Please tell me about your blog.

Initially, it was SUPPOSED to be a knitting-focused blog. I had come across so many lovely knitting blogs, with links and pictures to completed work, individual patterns and stories – that I wanted to start my own.

BUT – I think I have ONE article on there about knitting – and it’s actually an explanation of why this is NOT a knitting blog!  🙂

I blog about things that are interesting to ME – my fam, causes, some product and book reviews (with more coming), a few random thoughts here and there.  I’ve only been “actively” blogging for about a month, even though my blog is over a year old.  I’ve always enjoyed looking at OTHER people’s blogs, and never thought that people would actually come to MINE to read what I had to say.  Surprisingly, though, they do, which is way cool.

How long have you been blogging?

Over a year (not really, though, because a post or two every few months doesn’t really count), so a little over a month of “active blogging”.

How did you get started?

I actually just sat down one day and started to write about something that I wanted to write about.  Then I came back and did it again a few weeks later, and suddenly, I wanted to keep doing it!

What kinds of products do you feature on your blog?

That will likely vary.  There are some good things coming down the pipeline.  The products will all be things that relate to ME and things that I like – definitely home products, toys and books for all ages, beauty products and crafty things.

What was your favourite giveaway?

I’ve only had one so far, and that was not by design.  I was contacted by All Children’s Furniture to either do a review or giveaway, so I decided to do a giveaway for the people who were visiting me.  It brought a LOT of new visitors, readers, and now followers to my blog, so I think that giveaways are great!  I’ve been a “sweeper” for about 9-10 years, so I like winning things and I like giving them away, too!

My current giveaway (starting 5/5) is going to be sponsored by me, and will be a package worth about $50 or so.  I’m leaving it up to my visitors to decide what the actual theme will be, and right now, it’s either “Toddler” or “Tween/Teen”.

Who does your blog appeal to?

I think that it appeals to everyday people.  It’s just a collection of real thoughts by a regular mom who likes doing crafty things.

What direction do you see your blog going in the future?

This blogging thing is a LOT of work!!!  You don’t realize it until you’re actually into it, but coming up with fresh content and editing the pictures, and posting the articles, all while trying to work and take care of your family and house is a WHOLE lot on your plate!! Add in other hobbies, and there’s no time for sleep.

I picture that, over time, I may have separate tabs for knitty/crafty, webby/techy, and literati, as content begins to grow.  This will make it easier for readers to find articles on just what they are interested in.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far with your blog?

I haven’t really run into any challenges, other than really setting aside the time to update and write back to my readers.  I’m not looking to make any money off of my blog (although I WON’T say NO to any lovely sponsors who’d like me to review and/or giveaway great products to my readers! LOL!), so THAT’S not an area of focus for me.

What do you love about blogging?

That people are actually interested in what I have to say!

Do you have a blogging pet peeve?

I’ve already run into a ‘spam’ comment or two, which I deleted as soon as I saw them. I’m like “Wow!  Really?!?  Do you NOT have anything better to do”

Do you have any advice for the readers entering your giveaway? newbie review bloggers?

For entering ANY giveaways, not just mine, I think the best advice is to take the moment or two to read the rules.  I WANT someone to win, and I’ve already seen that there are some entries that didn’t follow the simple guidelines.  You never know how many potential prizes you may miss by omitting a step. It only takes a minute, and you could win a cool prize!

I’M a newbie review blogger!!  I wrote a couple of reviews on my own, joined some blogging communities, and started reading what more experienced bloggers had to say.  Don’t be afraid to pitch yourself; there are lots of people like you out there that sponsors want to reach.

Tell me some of your favourite blogs that you read.

I just found a cool one (they commented on my blog and I had to run over and see THEIRS) with great ideas on “make your own” (and cool giveaways, too!) – Design Baby (http://www.designbaby.net)

I’ve been a follower of YOUR blog for quite a while!

5 Minutes for Mom (http://www.5minutesformom.com) is another one that I like – always great articles AND their companion site Five Minutes for Books (http://www.5minutesforbooks.com)

One of my favorite knitting blogs is Brooklyn Tweed (http://www.brooklyntweed.blogspot.com).  Going to his blog is what inspired ME to want to start a knitting blog!

For vintage, “cottage-style” ideas and how-tos, I like the Shabby Chic Cottage (http://www.theshabbychiccottage.net/)

More cool how-to’s and DIY’s: My Tinker Space (http://mytinkerspace.blogspot.com/)

Books and nothing but books: Peeking Between the Pages (http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/)

I have a LOT of others that I try to visit on a weekly or even bi-weekly basis, but these are some of my tops!

How can people find you?

You can visit me at Knitting and Sundries (http://jewelknits.blogspot.com/) for my “almost” daily thoughts, ramblings, and reviews!

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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