This blog is now ad-free

Sewing cross-stitch

Hello again, sewing friends!  I have some blog administration to discuss today, but I’m also including a photo of this absolutely amazing sewing-themed cross-stitch that my best friend of almost 20 years (!) made me earlier this year.  Isn’t it beautiful??  I’ve been proudly displaying it in my sewing room, and it makes me happy every time I look at it.  🙂

Ok, down to business.  You may have seen a post on this blog from 2 weeks ago in which I was ruminating yet again about Colette Patterns and their latest shenanigans.  I decided to take the post down after about 24 hours.  I want to be clear that my decision to take down that post had absolutely nothing to do with any feedback I received from Colette (I haven’t received any at all) or any qualms about openly calling out sewing pattern designers who I feel are engaging in dishonest or disreputable behavior.

At this point, I have decided to keep the post down permanently.  For any of you who missed it, the bottom line was that I found it amusing (and quite ridiculous and sad) that Colette, which has a bad reputation for Photoshopping-out fit and design problems in their patterns, recently released these product photos for a skirt with a very obvious fit problem in the back.  It appears that they have given up trying to hide their inadequacies and just don’t care at all anymore.  Sad but apparently true.

Anyway, here’s what happened with the original post.  As far as I can tell, the post (with its extra salacious title) was picked up by whatever ad machine WordPress.com uses for their free blogs (including this blog) and had become clickbait displayed when random people opened new tabs in Google Chrome.  The post was getting a TON of traffic, way more than I was comfortable with.  This blog has a small readership of people who enjoy sewing and crafting, and I like it that way.  I don’t need my face and handmade underwear being broadcast all over the internet!  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand all the intricacies of how online advertising works, nor do I care to.  Because I didn’t quite understand what had happened and wasn’t comfortable with the outcome, I just pulled the post.  Thankfully, it appears that Chrome’s chumbuckets have now moved on from my now-broken link.  However, just to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, I have decided to keep the post down permanently.

The sliver lining to this little incident?  This blog is now ad-free.

After six years (!) of maintaining this blog as a free WordPress.com site, I have finally coughed up a little cash to remove the ads associated with a free account.  This blog is still hosted on WordPress.com, which other than the above incident has been a perfectly satisfactory hosting platform for me.  For anyone interested, the annual fee to remove ads is currently about $36 (USD).  If you see any ads on this site moving forward, please let me know, as there shouldn’t be any.

That’s it!  I learned an interesting lesson here, and hopefully removing the ads will prevent anything like this from happening again.  Besides, no one likes looking at those ads anyway, right?  🙂

I may or may not actually write a sewing-related post in the near future to revive my long blogging hibernation.  In the meantime, I’ve been fairly active on Instagram, so you can follow me there if you’re interested.

Hope you’re all enjoying the summer (or winter), and happy sewing!

Edited to add August 22, 2017:

Shortly after publishing this post, I was contacted by a “Happiness Engineer” at WordPress.com (Hannah) who provided some insight on what may have happened with my post.  (Interestingly, she happened to find my post while reading the Sewcialists Firehose!)  Here’s what she had to say (published with her permission):

“To clarify, WordPress.com doesn’t use any of your pages for advertising: most sites pay to have their pages come up in ads, whether that’s Google or the advertisers WordPress.com works with to show ads on your site. Most likely your post was picked up and went viral which is why it was showing up in ads. Choosing not to show ads on your site won’t affect that, as any public content can be used for an ad online. Setting it to private in your post settings is unfortunately the best way to handle it.”

So, apparently going ad-free won’t necessarily prevent this from happening again, but I’m glad I made that decision anyway.  Also, this makes me feel better about sticking with WordPress.com, which apparently didn’t have anything to do with what happened.  Many thanks to Hannah for kindly reaching out to me of her own volition and offering some insight and reassurance.

On the road again: a short blogging break

Sewing machines packed

Hello friends!  I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I’ll be taking a short break from sewing and blogging for a week or two.  My machines and fabric are currently packed up in anticipation of an upcoming apartment move.  Ah, moving.  Is there anything more stressful and exhausting?  Well yes, actually, plenty of things, but moving is still a pain in the butt.  Fortunately this is just a local move (less than 1 mile away), which actually makes things a lot easier.  I still may be moving farther away once I graduate, but I won’t figure that out for a few more months.

In the meantime, I’ll be spending this week sitting on a lawn chair in my current apartment among ceiling-high piles of boxes, perhaps petting the box of fabric once in a while just to keep my spirits up.  (And yes, all my fabric fits in one box.  In fact, just a small portion of one box!)

Despite the chaos, I’ve been doing my best to keep up my MMM’15 pledge.  Packing and moving are not exactly conducive to wearing your precious handmade garments, but so far I’ve only missed 2 days, both of which involved full days of cleaning, packing, and generally being covered in dirt and dust.  Today I was back at work in my granny chic tank though, and I really enjoyed wearing it!

I’ll be reading blogs sporadically but probably much less than usual, so I apologize in advance for disappearing from all your wonderful blogs for a bit.  I’ll be back soon though, with a new sewing space (in the penthouse!), more natural light for blog photography (a skylight and adjoining roof deck!), and a permanent photographer (a man!).  Until then, happy sewing.  🙂

A new look for Allspice Abounds

The new look of Allspice AboundsWelcome to my updated creative space!  This blog was in desperate need of a facelift after several years of the old design, and I wanted to breathe some new life into this space from which I derive so much enjoyment.  I can only do so much in terms of re-design with this 100% free WordPress.com blog, but I’m happy with the new, more modern look.

The first thing you probably noticed is that everything is BIGGER!  My eyes still aren’t used to the huge change in scale, but it seems that blogs have been tending toward larger scale designs lately, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.  The larger text is easier on my eyes (which don’t seem to be getting any younger, LOL), and I like having more width in the content area to display larger photos.  I’ll have to experiment with how large is too large for my less-than-professional photos, but I hope you’ll bear with me as I figure things out.

I also updated my Finished Project Gallery with larger photos, which I think is a welcome change from the thumbnails I had previously.  The page is now much longer in terms of scrolling, but it’s nice to be able to see the images a bit more clearly.

I’m still tweaking a few things here and there, so please let me know if you encounter any bugs or formatting issues.  I’m not an expert in blog design by any means, but I’ll do my best to fix any issues that arise.

I hope you enjoy the new look, or at the very least find it easier to read!  Have a great weekend, and Happy Valentine’s Day!  🙂

A delightful surprise!

Thank you from Carolyn and Maggie

Just a quick post today to say thank you!  I was just browsing through Maddie’s runoff for the Best Sewing Blogs of 2015, and I was quite surprised and delighted to see that someone had nominated me for “Blogger You’d Most Like to Meet.”  Well, what a treat that was!  🙂  Thank you so much to the lovely person (or people) who submitted my name, and as always, thanks to everyone for stopping by, reading, and supporting my little blog.  And if you live anywhere near Boston, we should totally meet!

Check out the runoff for a huge list of new-to-me, and perhaps new-to-you, blogs to add to your reader.  I’m excited to “meet” some new sewists and see what I’ve been missing!

Welcoming spring with a Liebster

Spring RTW outfit - close up

Spring has sprung!  The weather over the past two days has been absolutely glorious: sunny, warm, and without a trace of humidity.  We only get a handful of these days in Boston each year, so I’m trying to savor them!  To celebrate, I wore one of my favorite warm-weather outfits yesterday: a pink polka-dot cardigan, blue tank top, and teal striped jersey skirt.  I didn’t make any of this, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your much-loved RTW garments, right?

I love the combination of bright, cheery colors, and since it’s all made from knits, the comfort level is extreme.  The cardigan gives me a little warmth for the air conditioning at work, while the flowy skirt allows for plenty of breeze circulation (ahem) when outdoors.  I barely own any black clothing, and this outfit is a great reason why: life is more fun in color!

As if the beautiful spring weather, chirping birds, and overwhelming sea of flowers weren’t enough, I’ve been nominated for a second Liebster!  Kat of The Couture Academic was kind enough to think of me, which was pretty delightful since I consider Kat to be one of my long-lost sewing kin.  We’re both scientists (Kat with a PhD and me on my way), we’re both tall and often make the same pattern adjustments, and we both enjoy sewing at a relaxed pace.  Thanks so much for the nomination, Kat!

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5 Simple Photography Tips for Sewing Bloggers

5 Simple Photography Tips For Sewing Bloggers

When it comes to taking great blog photos, I think there are 2 main areas to work on: the “how” and the “what”.  Here’s what I mean:

The “how”

A professional photographer knows how to take amazing photographs: clear, sun-filled images with perfectly balanced color and an interesting backdrop.

For an amateur sewing blogger to accomplish this, you typically need time (availability during daylight hours, traveling to and from a good outdoor photo-taking location), money (equipment), skill/expertise (lighting setup, camera settings, photo editing), and let’s face it, another person to take the pictures of you wearing your finished garments.

I don’t have any of these things!  Therefore, I do the best with what I do have: a decent camera with a self-timer, a few boxes to prop it up on, and sunny weekend mornings in my apartment.

The “what”

How to take great photographs is tough, but what to take photos of is a lot easier to work on.  The photos I share on this blog aren’t great (maybe one day!), but I do make a conscious effort to take specific shots of my finished garments that I think add value to my posts.  If you have limited resources but want to make the most of your blog photos, I hope you can benefit from my very unsophisticated tips.  : )

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Share your small sewing blog!

Liebster blog award

Breaking blog news: I was recently honored with a Liebster Award by the lovely Tutti, and it was such a wonderful surprise!  Tutti, thank you so much for stopping by, reading about my crafty adventures, and taking the time to nominate me for the award.  It made my day!  : )

I hope Tutti doesn’t mind, but I’m going to break protocol, not follow any of the rules for the award, and make up my own instead.

Share your small sewing blog

In the spirit of the award, “Discover new blogs,” I’d like to invite you to share your small sewing blog with us in the comments of this post.  That way, we can all discover each other!  You can define “small” however you’d like.  Feel free to leave a link to your blog’s homepage and/or a post about one of your favorite sewing projects.  The more commenters, the more blog love we all get to share!

I don’t know about you, but the majority of my sewing blog reading tends to focus on larger, more popular blogs, simply because they’re easy to find since everyone is talking about them, linking to them, buying new patterns from them, etc.  While I enjoy reading big/professional blogs and learn so much from these sewing experts, I also really love reading smaller/personal blogs.  There’s something about small blogs that harks back to the original blogs of the early 2000s, when sponsorships were rare and bathroom mirror shots were the norm.  They always feel so personal and inviting, as if I’m chatting with a friend in their living room about our shared passion for craft.  What’s not to love about that?

So, if you have a small sewing blog or know someone who does, please chime in below!  It’s my hope that we can all make some new friends and pull up a comfy chair in our virtual living rooms… perhaps with a cocktail in hand.  : )  And if there’s enough interest, I’d consider doing a round-up post so we can all see each other’s beautiful faces.

P.S. – Extra bonus points go to any male sewing bloggers – we really want to meet you!