Thursday, April 4, 2013

behind the blog: a colorful canvas

I'm honored to have Sue from A Colorful Canvas here today for Behind the Blog. Sue has such a beautifully bright wardrobe (much of it thrifted!), and I'm so inspired by her joy in creating outfits and sharing them with us. As a woman over 50, she's seen all of the trends we are wearing now before, so I really like reading her opinions on them. Isn't it funny how trends come back around?

Tell us what motivated you to start blogging. Were you following a lot of personal style/fashion blogs before you started blogging?

My motivation to start blogging was sparked by a desire to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new that was technology based.  I’m not techie at all, so whatever I did had to also appeal to my artistic nature.  Blogging has turned out to be the perfect marriage of the two.  Ironically, I was not following very many personal style/fashion blogs prior to beginning my own blog. Hey, there’s nothing like jumping off the dock into the deep end of the lake.  Yes, I was following a few of them, but I was also reading several art, design, and lifestyle blogs.

Which blogs do you read every day? 

It feels as though I have been adding blogs to my reading list weekly, and I really do try to read them all.  A very few of my daily reads are: 

Feathers and Freckles                             Marionberry Style
Forever Amber                                       My Edit
Franish  (of course)                                Style Sud-Est
Who takes your pictures? What camera and lens do you use? Have you ever been caught in the act of taking these?

My husband takes my photos.  His camera is a Nikon D5100 and he most often uses an 18-105mm lens.  I have his old camera, a Canon Powershot SX20.  Of course I have no clue how to use it unless it’s on the automatic setting.  That’s how non-techie I am.  But, I’ll get there yet.  So far, we haven’t generated much interest while taking photos, which is a huge relief to me. Our favourite locations for picture taking will likely become more populated as the nice weather comes, so I expect that to be a whole new level of awkwardness.
Do people in real life know about your blog? What were their reactions when they found out about your blog?

Yes, I told friends and family members about my blog after I had published a few posts.  I was pretty certain that only my nearest and dearest would be interested in reading my material.  For the most part their responses have been very positive and encouraging.  A few friends have told me they are too busy to check out my blog, and that is totally okay with me.

As a woman with a couple of years of experience on me, what advice do you have for women finding their style over time? Has there been a specific path to the style you have now?

Franziska you’re so sweet…I have a couple of decades and then some on you.  I would say my style path has been a little bumpy, if not rocky, along the years.   I started with a very creative and colourful personal style in my teens and early twenties, then I tried to be ‘grown-up’ by wearing pencil skirts, and suits in my mid to late twenties.  That led me to an abrupt fashion rebellion in my early thirties and I wore only jeans and sneakers.   Moving on to my artist phase, I dressed all in black.  Then I re-discovered the thrill of the thrift.  I started having fun with clothing again, but there was very little cohesion in my wardrobe.  I found myself reaching for the same five things day after day simply because there was too much chaos in the closet.  A few years ago I bought a book titled Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style.  I learned how to create a wardrobe with continuity.   And then last year I registered for an online program called Dressing Your Truth and it was here that I learned the most valuable information; how specific colours, textures, fabrication and design lines support my own unique energy type.  So I believe that my current style is the happy outcome of my exploration with different styles over the years, and the two resources I’ve just mentioned.

My advice for finding your own style is to get in touch with your unique personality.  Pay close attention to how you feel when you try on an article of clothing.   I literally turn away from the mirror and ask myself, “Does this feel right for me?”  I used to buy clothing strictly based on how I looked in the changing room mirror, only to find that I would seldom actually wear much of what I bought.  Although I may have looked good, I didn’t really feel right. Try not to get too caught up with wearing the latest trend, and don’t let age dictate your style choices.   I garner a lot of inspiration from bloggers less than half my age, and I hope that young people can get a little something from my blog as well.  Lastly, I suggest that you give little to no attention to what you may perceive as an imperfection about yourself, and rather focus upon yourself as a whole.  When I was younger, I think I tried too hard to camouflage what I thought were flaws. 

Many fashion bloggers hop from one trend to the next. How do you manage to stay on trend without breaking the bank and just blindly following each trend?

One of the good things about getting older is that staying on trend becomes less and less a priority.  In fact, individual self expression becomes the goal.  I buy the majority of my clothing from thrift stores; it’s easy on the pocketbook, and also forces me to be more creative with my personal style.  There are always items I like to buy new, and it has become apparent that my preferred stores usually, but not always, have shopping carts available.  A trend has to really speak to me before I leap.  That’s not to say I don’t make mistakes.  I have a pile of tulle in my sewing room waiting to be made into a frothy, feminine skirt.  They were all over the blogosphere and Pinterest, and I fell hard.  What can I say? Truthfully, I am unlikely to finish it; I really don’t think the look is for me.

Putting yourself on the internet comes with the expectation that not everyone will always love what you are wearing and writing. Have you encountered any of these criticisms, and if so, how do you handle it?

Fortunately, I have had only positive and encouraging comments on my blog.  I like to think I would handle criticisms with maturity, but I suspect I would feel at first personally attacked, and then rue the decision of deleting or leaving the comment to stand.  I would like to differentiate between a well intended critique, and criticism.  A thoughtfully worded critique can help us better define our personal style.  Criticism, on the other hand, is unkind, usually unhelpful, and is, in my opinion, a reflection of the writer. 

What has been the best thing to come out of blogging? 

Blogging is having a hugely positive influence on my creativity, and it has opened the door to so many new friendships. 

When it comes to promotion of your blog, what methods do you use? Do you spend a lot of time commenting on other blogs, pinning your looks, doing link ups?

I think that blog promotion is my personal nemesis.  I haven’t quite got a handle on how to efficiently grow traffic.  I regularly comment on blogs that I like, and it’s important to me that I write something relevant to their post.  Generic comments are not endearing to me.   I always try to visit bloggers that comment on my blog.   They have taken the time for me, and I think it’s courteous to return the kindness by commenting on their blog.  I also participate in link ups, but I easily get caught up with reading so many blogs that I’m sure my own little blog begins to suffer from separation anxiety.  I always pin my looks to Pinterest.  I am also trying to get more adept at using Twitter, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

What tips or suggestions do you have for your fellow bloggers? 

Speaking as an older blogger that grew up reading print magazines for inspiration; I love that blogs offer a more personal perspective on fashion.  The blogs that I love best and keep me coming back are about more than the fashion runway. They are real people living real lives.   So my tip is to be as authentic as you can; share a little bit about yourself in your posts, and most importantly, have fun doing so.

Franziska, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share a little bit about myself.  I always enjoy reading Behind The Blog, and to be featured today is a pretty big thrill for me.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Sue