Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blogs and bleah-gs.

I've been perusing a lot of different blogs the past month or so...first I was visiting a lot of blogs from participants in the Journal Your Christmas class, and lately I've been looking for some more good blogs about home decor and/or thrifting and vintage stuff.

All this blog-reading (bleading?) has cemented in my mind what I like and what I don't like in the world of blogs. I'm only going to link to examples of what I do like...examples of what I don't like should spring to mind readily enough for anybody who's blog-surfed even a little.

--I like a blog with nice big type on a light-colored background. Not too big, I don't need the large-print setting (yet) but not wee wee tiny, either. White words on a black background = your prose had better be right up there with Dickens and Twain to make me stick around and risk irreversible eye strain.

Here's a very nice example of a perfectly typeset blog, written by the perfectly wonderful Suzanne: Notes For My Kids' Therapist.

--While I'm talking type...I don't need you to change fonts and colors every couple of sentences or make various sentences or words real big while the rest of your typing is normal-size. It makes you look like a thirteen-year-old. I've noticed that the quality of writing on these types of blogs is usually at the thirteen-year-old level, too.

This is the neatest, tidiest, most grown-up-looking blog I know of: Simply Recipes. The side ads are an unfortunate development, but if it means success for Elise, I can deal.

--Here's a hint: if your blog header takes up my entire computer screen, I'm going to feel less and less compelled to scroll down past it every time I visit. Yes, I have blog header envy, since I still haven't found someone who will explain to me in baby talk how to make a fancy one for myself, but still. Bigger is not always better.

This is one of my favoritest blog headers ever...so clean, so simple, so freshvintage.

Another nice one: Gracious Hospitality.

--Funny is good. Sarcastic funny is even better. But your blog doesn't even have to be funny or clever, just well-written. A few bloggers whose writing style I admire:

Vintage Rescue Squad

I Am Not Left-Handed

Thrift Shop Romantic

Red Molly

--I like music. You like music, too. But we probably don't like the same kind of music. And when your nifty playlist player on the sidebar starts to blast out something very loud a few seconds or even minutes after I've come to your blog, usually over top of whatever I'm listening to at the moment, it scares the beejeebers out of me and makes me want to run away and never come back. 'Kay?

--I love seeing pictures of what you found at the flea market. Not so crazy about seeing pictures of what you spotted in some high-end catalog that you're currently dying for. Flea market finds are way more interesting than designer clocks.

--I don't know if blogging should be about writing about your exciting life, or about making your boring life sound exciting. I prefer hearing about boring lives, though. The exciting, fancy lives just make me feel old and, well...boring.

I would never say any of these people's lives are boring, but they're normal and they make me feel kinship, instead of horrible bitter jealousy:

Bigger Than a Breadbox

Oodles and Oodles

My Romantic Home

One Woman's Cottage Life

Mint Basil

I love getting peeps into other people's lives. I think, at its best, that's what blogging should be about: the words, the pictures, and getting to really know the people you visit regularly. I hope this blog is like that. All the extra stuff is distraction. I've been writing this blog for almost four years, and I think about yanking the plug at least once a month. It's a little of this and a little of that, and none of it feels terribly interesting. I don't get a lot of traffic, I don't have an Etsy shop, I'm not plugging a project, I don't run with any hip blogging crowd. It's just me here, typing words as they come to mind. I feel constrained sometimes by what I don't want people to know about me, especially the people who come here who do know me.

Mmm...introspection. Or in other words, "Like a doofus, I had caff-tea with supper and now I'm buzzed up late at night and thinking thoughts!"

Anyway, if you stop by here on occasion, I hope you like my blog. Chances are, I'm liking yours, too.


Martha said...

Me Likey your Bloggie.


scrapmom4 said...

Now there's some in-depth analysis. Excellent observations. :)
I like your blog. Don't stop.

Cheryl said...

I follow many of the blogs you mentioned. There are some clever women out there in cyberspace! Sue, over at Vintage Rescue Squad, is a hoot! I met her at the DC Big Flea, and she's just as she appears on her blog...smart, funny and sarcastic! I love your blog too, Janelle!!! :)

Mimi said...

I love your blog, and thank you for the kind words.

I totally agree about the music, there's nothing that gives away the fact that I'm blog surfing at work than a loud blast of some music.

Kathleen said...

Hi- I stop by your blog almost everyday but this is first time I've posted. I like your blog a lot and I put a link to it on my site. I hope you stop by my blog sometime to take a look. I don't have an exciting life and I will do postings on thirft store finds from time-to-time. Just thought you should know you might have more traffic then you think.

donnapiranha said...

I visit about 10 to 20 blogs. Some are friends, others are for vintage inspiration and I go to those mostly for the photos...I rarely read. Yours, I read! You're entertaining and concise.

Barbara at Oodles and Oodles said...

I agree with you on everything. (But my life is kind of boring ... you're too kind.)

Tracy said...

Yep, yep, yep. I agree. I wrote a post recently addressing many of these same issues, though I have to admit I didn't come off as kind as you have.

Amazingly enough, I got more comments on that one post than any other I've ever written. :-)

I haven't identified a favorite font/type of print as you have, but I certainly agree with your lack of enthusiasm for white print on black background. And the multi-colored, multi-sized letters.

Heck, I agree with it all.

And while I'm babbling, lemme explain that I'm not your newest stalker. Recently you sent me a book (Messenger of Truth) and when I clicked on your bookshelf (I want most of them!) and then your PBS profile I was led here. I'm just catching up - and now you've made it to my Bloglines!


Vintage Sue said...

WOW! Thanks for the shoutout! I was Googling my own posts, trying to find something I just can't find, and this came up. I've got to admit that I don't check the "scrappy" blogs as much as I should, so hadn't read yours in a while, but I can't thank you enough!

P.S. I totally agree with you about all the design pointers you mentioned. And don't get me going on music.....