Felt biscuits Frecklesfamily.com
There are lots of reasons why people start blogs. Sometimes they're inspired to share a hobby, or to meet like-minded people online. Often, bloggers want to record precious memories.
For Cara, her blog at Freckles Family is a combination of all three. The blog records details of days out and activities Cara enjoys with her three children, alongside book reviews, craft projects and beautiful photographs.
"My family really don't understand why I would want to make a knitted chicken, my husband just rolls his eyes and makes a comment about more dust gatherers," Cara laughs. "But on the blog, I can connect with other people who want to make those things, and share their own creations."
Freckles Family was launched in 2009, following the birth of Cara's third child. "He was my last baby and I wanted to document those early days, but it took me a while to get going," says Cara. One of Cara's best-loved posts is about the birth of her son Hugo, simply because it's where her blogging adventures all started.
At first, nobody really read the blog, but Cara began joining in with regular workshops run by other bloggers, which helped to grow Cara's audience, as well as providing her with inspiration.
Today, the blog includes lots of family stories and memories, interwoven with gardening, crafts, books and cookery. Not all of the stories are about perfect results, of course – Cara's post about The Smallest Sunflower in the World shows how high expectations and lots of effort can still sometimes result in abject failure!
Although Freckles Family has thousands of readers each month, many of Cara's friends are still bemused by her hobby. "There's a glazed look that comes over some people's faces when you mention blogging and Twitter, but I always tell people, whatever you're interested in, you can find information and share experiences about that through blogging," she explains. "It's a great way to document memories, but blogging can equally be a perfect way to chronicle the seasons in your garden."
Although Cara is a parent blogger, she doesn't restrict herself to just writing about children – and that's deliberate. "I think my blog is representative of the chaos in my life, and my head," she laughs. "I've always got lots of things on the go, and I'm never going to fit into one niche."
Blogging has provided a great way for Cara to record her discovery of traditional crafting hobbies, like knitting and crochet. It's also a great place for her to experiment with photography, which is a real passion.
Cara advises budding photographers to spend time really getting to know their camera, and for the best photos to use natural light outdoors, or in a conservatory. "I often use a macro setting when taking close up photos for craft posts, and I use Photoshop software to resize images, round the corners and add a watermark to my photos," she says.
Every week our featured blogger shares his or her favourite, inspirational and just plain useful sites.
www.nurturestore.co.uk: If I'm crafting with the kids, I'll always find something here, for all ages, seasons & abilities.
www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk: We keep a close eye on museums in Liverpool and Manchester to see what special events are coming. We visit the dinosaurs at the World Museum in Liverpool every single month!
www.pinterest.com: Definitely my favourite place for inspiration. I follow lots of bloggers and they seem to always find things that are just up my street.
www.goodreads.com: A great place to find out about new books your friends recommend. I like to log all the books I've read, or want to read, and you can see recommendations based on your friends' books.
www.littlesunflowers.com: A wonderful place to buy gorgeous children's outfits, with great customer service.
http://lifedeathtoptips.tumblr.com: A recent discovery and really makes me laugh. It's all those tips you see in magazines of solutions to problems you never knew you had.
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