I started But First We Craft on April 12th of this year with the post Gilt Picture Frames which to date has been seen 13 times. How adorable! I’d like to tell you my story on how and why I started this blog, and some thoughts on my 2018 blogging journey.
I partly began this blog because for months (years?) every time I hosted a party or made something really cool, I would say to my sister Nicole, “I’m going to put this on my blog,” and we both would laugh. At the time I was totally joking, I knew NOTHING about blogging. But one time, instead of laughing with me, she said, “You totally should, you know.”
“I ‘totally should’ what?” I asked.
“Start a blog.”
At first I laughed at the idea, but then I started thinking about it. And I started looking around my house at all the things I had made and looking at the pictures of the parties I’d hosted. “Maybe I am good at this,” I thought, “maybe I should start a blog.”
Then I remembered that I know nothing about blogging, and very little about computers in general. Sure, I can Facebook and email with the best of them, but the logistics and even the basic tasks involved in starting and running a blog – were a complete mystery to me. So I headed to my local public library and borrowed Mom Blogging for Dummies by Wendy Piersall. I learned a lot from Wendy’s book, but there are some things you just can’t figure out until you just do them. So I got my own WordPress site, www.butfirstwecraft.com, an amazing
logo from Logojoy (it is amazing, isn’t it??) and got to work. Some of it was very frustrating (my internet speed for one) and took hours more time than it should have, but even then I still enjoyed the process of blogging. I like looking back at the projects we’ve made, and especially the pictures of my kids making them.
Looking back over these first few months I can see an improvement in my blogging style and quality. For one thing, my pictures are a lot better- though I still use some blurry ones if an important step would be missed in the craft tutorial otherwise. I have spent H-O-U-R-S figuring out things that, I’m sure, techy people take for granted. But
I have found the effort very rewarding. I have rarely felt the pressure of HAVING to have my post up on time. I really enjoy sitting at my computer and showing off my crafts or parties. I’m gratified that people want to read them- and it’s not just my family and friends anymore!
I started this blog for another reason too. There were lots of things going on in my life at this time. At the time I was a Mum of 3: a 6-, 3- and 1-year-old (and doing all that that implies), I taught piano and voice lessons out of my home for a couple hours a week, I volunteered at our church’s Wednesday evening kids’ program and my husband and I were spending a lot of time teaching our son things he hadn’t understood at school. I just felt like I needed something that was for me. And I carved out the time for it. It’s amazing actually, because, before I started blogging, I didn’t have time for everything I needed to do in a day, and now that I’m spending hours a week creating something and then blogging about it I don’t feel any farther behind.
Since starting the But First We Craft blog, I have not made one penny off of it. I think it would be awesome to turn this delightful little space into a money-maker, but I am perfectly content with it as it is: a place for me to create and share. I also think it’s good for me to be forced to craft- and the name of the blog (which my brilliant sister came up with) is so accurate to my life. Sometimes you can see in the background of my pictures that I should have done the dishes- But First I Crafted. Or I should have swept the floor- But First I Crafted. I find crafting to be a huge benefit to me. It seems to balance me and let me have time to express myself at a time when so much of me is dispersed among my home, business, husband and children.
One thing that bolsters me is looking at the stats. Now, in the wide world of the internet my stats are very low, but to me they are high! I have had visitors from over 15 countries! Primarily my Followers are from Canada and the U.S., but I’ve also had visitors from Malaysia,
India, China, Zambia, Ireland, Australia and Greece, to name a few. In the month of October, other than October 3rd, someone visited my blog
EVERY day! Including this post, I have published 40 blog posts. There are some that have barely been read at all, especially near the beginning (help out my poor little Gilt Picture Frames please! Lol.) But there are others that do very well, like my Harry Potter Party and Last-Minute Halloween Costumes, the all-time high scorer!
One way I’ve started bringing more people to my blog is through the wonderful world of Pinterest. I have used Pinterest for years, but only as a means of being inspired by other people’s ideas. It was so exciting the first time I checked out my But First We Craft stats and saw that someone had come to my blog via Pinterest. And now I have a pin (Decorating Christmas Sugar Cookies) that has been seen by over 1.1K people! My eyes POPPED out of my head when I saw that! Up to that point my top pins were ideas that I’d pinned that others had created.
Just a couple weeks ago I set up my Etsy shop, butfirstwecraftshop. I have sold two things…which is, coincidentally, the same number of things I have for sale on it! Finding the time to post more items is so difficult, and with everything else going on at home, it’s not a priority.
I’m usually the kind of person that says “yes” to everything. I want to make people happy; I want to help. But this fall we had a huge change in our plans when we began to homeschool our son. It has been such a great change for our family. Our son is doing so much
better, both in his overall happiness and his academics. But I’ve really had to prioritize what I do. Listing things on Etsy hasn’t made the list of priorities yet, but blogging has. I’ll find the moments to squeeze it in eventually, but I’m putting no pressure on myself to do yet.
Thank you for reading this. Thanks to those of you who have been supporting me in my blogging endeavors. If you stop by often leave a comment or two -it’d be nice to hear from you and maybe even get to know you. If you think you want to join me in this journey click the Follow button and be sure to check out But First We Craft on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. I’m always happy for new followers! Scroll just a bit lower for my Quick Stats and Favourites!
Since April But First We Craft has had:
Visitors from 18 countries
1 995 Views
Pinterest: Decorating Christmas Sugar Cookies
Facebook: Popsicle Stick Bombs
Instagram: Halloween Candy Picture
Party Planning: Harry Potter Party
Kid Craft: Watermelon Happy Faces
Mom Craft: Flying Squirrel Costume
Overall Most-Seen Post: Last-Minute Halloween Costumes
My Mum’s Favourite Post: Disney Princess Party
What was your favourite post? Have you tried any of the crafts or party ideas? Let me know what you loved! Happy New Year!
8 thoughts on “2018- A Blog in Review”
Great Blog Post!
Nice work,Jessica. Great persistence and follow-through. Says something abut following your heart. We wish you every additional success. Best, Barry.
Thank you Barry. Yes! Following my heart. That is exactly what I’m trying to do. And I think it’s working. I am very happy right now. 😊
Love your site, your blog and your work! You have a fan here 🙂 Keep up the inspirational, crafty goodness! -LocallyUrbanMom-
Thank you LocallyUrbanMom for your encouragement! I’m so glad you love it! 💗