Yep, another month has gone by already! September was a blur for me, if you can’t tell from the less frequent blog posts, and October looks like it’s going to be at least as busy. I do always have a project or two going on, but this time there’s one big crazy one that I’m both incredibly excited about and a bit daunted by. Here’s my month.
“A monthly capture of my feelings and doings, in the raw.”
What I’ve been grateful for
The food blogging community. Although I’m not exactly a food blogger per se, I felt so welcomed at Eat Drink Blog and really enjoyed meeting new people. The energy and passion is so contagious, it’s hard not to get excited about all things food and blogging. A major shoutout must also go to this year’s committee, volunteers who put on amazing (and free) conference, the only one of its kind that I know of.
The local arts and crafts community. I’m not sure if Perth has gotten a whole lot more interesting lately or if I just wasn’t paying attention before, but I feel like there’s more cool workshops, markets, exhibition openings and new groups than I can fit into my calendar. Every thing I go to leads me to meet more artists and people doing interesting things, which lead to more avenues to explore. Everyone I’ve met, including people who I greatly admire, have taken the time to talk to me and be encouraging. It’s more valuable than they realise, and it’s exciting to see the arts become more visible in my hometown.
What I’ve been thinking about
The purpose of my blog. Talking to other bloggers has made me consider again why I started blogging, what its purpose is, and how it’s benefited me. From the beginning, ChiGarden has been my space for experimenting in the digital world – with website design, writing, showcasing my art, improving my photography, exploring food, journaling my travels and sharing my projects. It’s gone through various phases, but at its heart this blog has always been a personal one. Whilst this is not a recipe for a particularly successful blog in the usual sense, it has benefited my own purposes – I think my writing and photography have improved (albeit slowly), and my love for web design which began with this blog has grown into a successful career. I feel like these are the things I need to keep in mind, rather than pageviews and monetisation opportunities – my blog is serving my purposes well enough.
Reducing waste and the cost of convenience. In September I signed up to host a Give A Fork dinner, which is a yearly campaign run by Sustainable Table. This year’s theme was #wastefree, and although I think we’re generally pretty good about keeping our wasteage down, preparing for this dinner has opened my eyes to the many more things we could be doing. What it usually comes down to is convenience – a pack of pre-washed lettuce leaves is just easier than buying a whole head of lettuce sometimes. I’m still putting my thoughts together on this one, but will write about the dinner and what I’ve learned soon.
Slowing down and saying no. As much as I hate to admit it, I have way too much on my plate at the moment and am starting to slip in a few areas. I’m having to bow out of Baketober, Inktober and CoderDojo, and starting to say no to things I can’t give my full attention to at the moment. I’m hoping to have things under control a bit better after October is over.
What I’m excited for
Give a Fork dinner. Okay well I was excited for it, but now it’s over and I’m excited to write about it and put the things I learned into practice! Mostly though it was a big challenge to cook for, seat and feed 11 of our friends in our home, a record for us. It was a big challenge for me (and The Boy who I drag into things), and I think it mostly went really well.
Side Project – a zine for creatives. Our zine (as in short for ‘magazine’) is trucking along and shaping up to be a really high quality production. I’m wrapping up the articles I’m writing for it at the moment and looking forward to finishing up the website and working hard to promote it.
What I’ve been doing
Side Project (again). This zine project has really taken over my time, with meetings, writing and all day photo shoots, but it’s such an interesting process and we have a great little team putting it all together. I’ve been working on popsicles recipes, a calligraphy tutorial and an interview as well as working on the website and attempting to handle our social media promotion. The marketing stuff is quite the learning curve for me, but I think we’ve managed to generate a bit of buzz so far. You can sign up for our mailing list, and check us out on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Screen printing. I recently participated in a screen printing workshop at Beau Est Mien, and printed a couple of my own designs onto fabric to sew into shopping/produce bags (coming back around to that waste free thing again). Just like with letterpress, I like that it’s such a dynamic and physical process compared to producing work digitally. I have a few more ideas of things I’d like to print, maybe to try and sell someday?
What I’ve been reading
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. An English former nurse travelling in Scotland gets thrown back in time to 1742, where she has to figure out how to get back to her time whilst navigating the feuding Scottish and English. It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything that focuses so much on a romance (although being a historical/sort-of-scifi novel there’s a lot more to it than that), and I have to admit I find those bits less interesting. I’m about three quarters of the way through and still undecided about whether I want to read the rest of the series at this point.
This article and this response about sexism and women in tech. I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t experienced much in the way of overt sexism, but the systemic inequality affects all of us (yes, men too) and is much more difficult to deal with, because it is so internalised. It’s great that the larger tech companies are releasing their (mainly dismal) diversity stats and making an effort to help solve the problems, but there’s clearly still a long way to go.
What I’ve been spending my money on
iPhone 6. It does frustrate me that my three year old 4S is considered obsolete, but the leap forward in the camera sold it for me. Admittedly there’s things I don’t like about the iPhone 6 and Apple in general, but I’m just very excited to not always have to take my DSLR around with me!
Organic fruit and veg delivery. I’m trying out The Organic Collective‘s delivered seasonal produce boxes at the moment, and whilst it’s more expensive than my usual grocery shop it is nice to know that the suppliers are local, organic, and not having to lose out in deals with big super markets. It also cuts my weekly grocery shopping down to a trip to the butcher and some staples, which should free up a bit more time on the weekend.
If you’d like to join us or see others’ posts in this monthly series, head on over to helario.us for the master list.
Pictured at the top: the homemade pizza I served to the Side Project team during our photo shoot. Taken with my phone!