Saturday, 14 May 2011

Blogging: reflections and ch-ch-ch-changes

I am weary. Today I made pastry scrolls with pizza sauce and cheese, lumberjack cake, and okonomiyaki. The first were made as a variation on an old recipe (cheesymite scrolls), the second were unintentionally very similar to a favourite recipe (apple and date cake) and the last was a dismal failure. Blogger has been offline but apparently is back. I've considered reposting my Neb at Nut Roast round up but I am holding off hoping that it will be restored. Instead I thought I would reflect on this blog a little.

Firstly I want to share a few quicklinks related to blogging:
Next is a list of 10 recent changes on the blog. I was surprised at how many there have been lately:
  1. Sylvia is no longer a baby - Having a 2 year old in the house cannot help but change the food we are eating. As she has grown from baby to toddler, she has become more picky about food. Her presence is felt more at our dinner table (and in my posts). I aim to please. Yet I want to expand her horizons. It is a delicate balance that I don't always achieve. I have stopped labelling food she likes as 'baby food' and wondered about creating a 'children's food' label.
  2. An allergy diagnosis - With Sylvia's recent diagnosis of an peanut allergy, peanuts and peanut butter are going to be seen a lot less on my blog.
  3. Hosting blog events - I've just finished hosting a second Neb at Nut Roast event. The time seemed to have come. Most significantly I am midway through hosting Helen's Breakfast Club event in May. It's my first time hosting another's blog event and there may be others in the future, though I am limited as I only post vegetarian dishes on my blog.
  4. New search field - Finally I have got up a search field on the left hand menu so that you can search my blog and have a list of links rather than having to scroll through each post when you search.
  5. List of popular posts - I have put a list of popular posts on my left hand menu (drawn from my Google Analytics) because I really like seeing these on other blogs.
  6. Creating more master posts - I am constantly looking for ways to make it easier to navigate the 800+ posts. My About Me post is embedded with links to useful posts. I have now created master lists on posts about Sylvia, about the garden and of childhood foods.
  7. Using updated editing tool on Blogger - There were some initial hiccups but I have finally got my head around the updated editing tool on Blogger. The main change seems to be that I upload photos differently, which has advantages and disadvantages.
  8. Changed ways of editing and organising photos - After problems with iPhoto clogging up the memory on my Mac, I have gone to a more basic way of organising and editing photos. It is mostly adequate but I sometimes miss some of the sophistication of iPhoto.
  9. New kitchen space - With our kitchen renovations a few months ago, the way we use the kitchen has changed. Sylvia helps me in the kitchen more. we eat at the table more. I can photograph food at the kitchen table.
  10. New electrical appliances - This year I have obtained a new oven, new food processor and new hand held blender (below). One would hope it would improve my cooking, though sometimes I miss the old faithfuls that have served me well for years.
Lastly I wanted to reflect on a few changes I'd like to make:

i. Action on theft of my posts: One issue that has been brought to my attention lately by kind fellow bloggers is that bad people are stealing my blog posts. Brydie even put me onto some useful posts by other bloggers also experiencing the same problems.

I am still not sure what to do about it. I have reported the abuse where I can. I was pleased to see one blog taken offline but others are still up. I have considered shortening my RSS feed and/or putting a copyright message on each post. One of the messages I like most is the one Rachel puts at the end of her feeds requesting people contact her if they are not reading it on her url. Any suggestions are welcome. (Update - this Wordpress post on content theft seems useful.)

ii. Rethinking categories: As my recipe index gets longer, I wonder if I should create some new categories or sub-categories to help find recipes. For example my Other Sweet Treats section bundles up lots of miscellaneous and I would like a section on scones. Similarly I would like to re-organise categories in the Reflections index. I have also thought about rethinking the labels at the bottom of each post and adding a few more anchors on long posts.

iii. More reflective posts: I love doing posts that reflect both on blogging and on ingredients. I have a couple of posts on blogging that have been in draft for about a year. One on rules for blogging and one on what blogging means to me. I hope to get them posted soon. I have long been meaning to do the My Life in 10 Dishes post that AOF did some time ago.

I would also like to write more history of ingredients posts. They have been few and far between lately due to time constraints. I have such fun writing these posts that I would love to be able to find some time for them. It may mean less recipes and more quality.

iv. Develop a comments policy: I am fed up with the silly spam comments that come my way. I want to put up a comments policy to be clear about my boundaries. I love Shauna's message to spammers on her comments field.

v. Back up my blog: Blogger's problems is a timely reminder to back up my blog.

It is heartening to see the list of changes I have achieved to remind me that I am making progress, albeit more slowly than I would like. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I meant to write this post to celebrate my 4 year blogiversary but like most things in my life, I am behind. But I have got there!

Fortunately there are some constants - support from E, companionship from Zinc, sharing food with family and friends, and wonderful connections with other bloggers. One last constant is change. I am sure there will be more of it. Stay tuned...

11 comments:

  1. It is funny how we change, I am increasingly wanting to write about food, rather than to write recipes.

    I sort have had a new start since changing my template, and moving to catagory led navigation, I never remember to update my index, it is far too hard work.

    I want to make my blog more relevent to "normal" people; hence the supermarket round ups.

    Change is good, as otherwise we would become very boring people.

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  2. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the links and for the list of changes--hard to believe Sylvia is now TWO!! Wow, time does fly. :) And I'd love to know what you figure out about poeple stealing posts--I have come across a few of my own over the years but usually they have comments closed so I can't even ask them to remove the post.

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  3. It's so wonderful, getting to be along for the ride, a little bit, in watching Sylvia grow up and become her own little person. I'm in awe of what you're managing to achieve - how on earth do you find the time?! I'm rather struggling with juggling full-time work, blogging, friends, leisure/social activities... I'd love to learn how to do more with my blog but there simply isn't time. What are your tricks?! :P

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  4. Loved this! Changes are great and important! And I'm also working on a better interconnection via links on my blog, it's so sad when older posts that were actually good aren't found anymore.

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  5. I have an immersion blender and it helps so much when making soups!

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  6. Love the sound of My Life in 10 dishes and the bloggers rules post as I am pretty sure I break most of them!!!! Blogging seems to be becoming an 'art form' almost, I have certainly been wondering lately if I am able to keep up with it all, sounds like you are quite a bit more forward in coming to grips with it all than I am.

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  7. Sorry to hear that Sylvia has been diagnosed with a peanut allergy. That must be hard on a vegetarian diet too :( And the blogger issue was huge! I hope you didn't lose too much on it. And happy blogsoversary!

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  8. I'm not with blogger but that whole issue has prompted me to think more about backing the whole thing up.
    Time, time, time...if I find some more of it, I'll let you know where I found it.
    ...and I really hope the stealing blog posts just kindly STOP!!

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  9. Thanks Helen - agree that change is good - I still love my recipes which is how I started out but so much about what I do with my blog has changed - enjoy your supermarket round ups - but I do love an index and often update mine when I go looking for a recipe and it is not there :-)

    Thanks Ricki - time does fly - if only there weren't just more and more posts to be stolen - I also find that there is no way to get in touch with the people who post inappropriately

    Thanks Hannah - wish I could tell you I manage it all smoothly but I confess I blog when I should be doing other stuff - for example I am much better at commenting on blogs than emailing people

    Thanks Kath - change is good mostly - but I agree it is sad when old pages go down that I loved linking to - not everything seems to stay on the internet forever

    Thanks Simply Life - I love my hand held blender - mine broke a few weeks back and I really missed it but am back making soups and smoothies with my new one

    Thanks Chele - I think blogging a movable feast it means different things to different people - and as soon as you feel you have your head around it, it changes. I have just posted my 10 rules which is advice I would give but I know my rules are not for everyone and I think we all have to do our own thing with blogging - you seem to have a great blog and I love the recipes so hang in there

    Thanks Lorraine - the peanut allergy isn't too hard but am glad she can eat other nuts - we just have to be a bit creative - though I wish I could give her peanut butter on toast for breakfast - and I didn't lose too much with blogger outage but it was terrible timing

    Thanks Brydie - backing up is hard when there is so much stuff on a blog - and yes please let me know if you can find extra time - I dream of a 48 hour day :-)

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  10. This is a tad late, but thanks for your updates here. I admire you hugely for juggling blogging with everything else you do! And thank you for taking the time to share those links to blogging topics, including the one on dairy / egg free cooking you mentioned to me. Much appreciated!

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  11. Argh, backing stuff up, I really, really should do that. Much food for thought here, thanks

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