Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hanging Out Tha Blog Laundry!

Laundry Bag
(unfinished printed
vintage linen embroidery blank from flea market, finished by me)

Oh Futuregirl,
It's me you got all jealous of.. isn't it? I mean you don't say so, but it's obvious.
Because I'm all cool and everything. Canning tomatoes. Making little dogs.
It's Okay. I'm used to it.

Oh. Not me then? Okay. Sorry. Nevermind.

It kind of floors me that some one like Alice ever has thoughts of being 'crushed by the craft blog world'. That other people's craft would make her feel "bitter", since I have always found her stuff off- the-charts original and amazing.

Now as far as my own craft life? Of course I struggle with this feeling. Repeatedly. Constantly.
Hello? They don't call me Bitter Betty for nothing. Does it make me a bad person? Perhaps.

I regularly have to take a "blog break" because the little light up box and keyboard start making me feel more "less than" than inspired.. Overstimulated, in a bad way. Blogtimidation. Craftimidation. You name it. I got it.

So I have to quit looking around for a bit. Put my virtual head down. Try to get back to "steering my own boat" so to speak.

When I first started blogging I was all tweaky because I thought everybody just made bird crafts and they were all better than anything I could do, so I was intimidated and irritated, all at the same time. They were fresher, simpler, newer, original and really CUTE.
How could this be when a birdie was on every single one of them? It seemed like a conspiracy of adorableness. It felt like looking at a clique that wouldn't let me in. Me, with my anatomy dolls and my dark underbelly.

And the hip "craftster" set .. I was not cool enough for them either... with their dang old adorable amigarumi and Ironic Tampon Cases. I truly feel too old to be that cool.

All that new coolness just pissed me off, something fierce. Everyone else's blog was prettier.
Everyone else was actually worried that some one would bother to steal their ideas... imitate their style.. I wasn't worried about that. I was worried that I averaged 1 or 2 comments per post and one of these was usually from my sister or best friend. I felt like a big faker. My husband confirmed my suspicions. ( "Who do you think is reading this stuff? There are like a million blogs out there already!") I had to quit looking at "stats" and Technoneurati, because it was such fuel for my fire.

Oh, High School Insecurity.. How I hold thee close to my bosom. Now at this ripe old age I have finally found a way to pull you out and hold you up to the light, to see all the chinks in the armor of my vast experience... And here you are, just as fun as I remembered.

In my critical self assessment, I find that what frustrates me most is: I apparently suffer from a serious Crisis of Style. What I love on others blogs I couldn't begin to imitate. I am not that Clear in my Vision most of the time. I don't have a STYLE. I like stuff ornate, I like it simple, I like it cute, I like it weird, modern, retro, vintage, whatever... and I never resist the urge to do something new. Everything that I do that does come off as if I have a style is, in fact, a fluke. Why? because I am a Craft Spazz. A highly dedicated, semi-skilled, Craft Spazz.

Oh well. What am I going to do? Not make whatever I want, whenever I want? Turn my back on my favorite public outlet for all the crazy stuff I make? Or accept it?

Hello, My name is Bethany and I am a dilettante crafter.
With an inferiority complex.

I am just going to be okay with that. Out here performing and witnessing Public Acts of Craft on the Internets, one must have teflon heart with a core of steel. But you can always make a wicked recycled, hand-felted, embroidered cozy for it.

And that is what it is all about.


Lisa said...


No kidding... it's hard to be out here all self directed 'n' stuff, doing our bit to follow our muse (zombified tho' she may be). For me it comes in waves...right now I'm in the 'mostly no input' part of the wave. Before long I'll probably go back to the 'whoa, these folks are doing some really cool stuff' part of the wave. In the meantime I've cancelled all my magazine subscriptions, and removed most of the crafty blogs from my reader....

Sonya said...

Bethany my darling, I will dally in the dilettante side of the pool with you any day of the week. I have been thinking about JUST THIS SORT OF THING - coming to terms with my own crafting ADD, both while I sift through things in my house and garage and as I flit from one project to another. Multi-varied, that's what we are. And damned talented. Too much talent for just one medium. Oh, we shall discuss.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I love your blog and you inspire me to sew more! I absolutely love your new vintage outfits and look forward to them. So for what it's worth I think you're cool (coming from another not cool kid.)

Anonymous said...

Amen. To both you and Futuregirl.

I see other bloggers make the most _amazing_ crafts, selling everything they've made instantly, with a score of admiring followers hanging on their every word. Then I go and try and do my thing and who cares? Noone. I am trying to be content with the simple satisfaction that I made something at all, that I am being as creative as I can. There's no need to compare with others.

So that is what I do - anything I feel like, trying not to lose spirit when noone is interested. It's just a hobby goddammit. (Secretly wishing it wasn't just that.)

Oh, I am also secretly blaming my English knowledge. 'If I wrote in Swedish I'd be so spiritual and funny and interesting that everyone would just _love_ my blog and crafts, I'd be famous all over Sweden!'. :D Yeah right.

Anonymous said...

It's always helpful when someone decides to open up a bit and reveal more about her own envy/comparison/bitterness. I find the blogging world so supportive, but I can do some serious damage to myself if I begin comparing. For me, it's been less about everyone's perfect looking blog or extra creative crafts/art and more about how people strive to make their day to day lives look so perfect and productive. How people seem to float through their days thrifting, sewing, drinking tea and always leaving a half eaten muffin with the fork perfectly placed next to the strawberry. This is why I find myself more drawn to blogs where over time the writer reveals ups and downs in all areas of her life. Not forty paragraphs of angst, but occasionally something just so everyday real that I know she's normal. I'm more inspired by the photo of the perfectly placed strawberry or the just finished vintage fabric purse when the day before she wrote that her husband got annoyed and was crabby in the car. :)

Anonymous said...

Here's a "hear hear" from someone who's not your sister or best friend...CARRY ON!

Inspired by You,


Helen said...

future girl's link isn't working, I hope the post didn't vanish. I'll go find it somewhere, somehow. Just wanted to say Hi, I'm way down here..over to the left...in New Zealand, and I'm not even someone you've ever heard of. But I'm real, so there, Mr Bitter Betty.

Melissa said...

As an avid blog reader, I always get a real kick when I see that "Bitter Betty" has posted something new! You may not think you have your own style, but you most definitely do have a style!

I love your photo shoots that you and your son put together each time you make a new outfit...and I really enjoyed your canning tutorial a few days ago!

Please keep it up. Everyone has a crisis of confidence on occasion, but that's what keeps things fresh and new, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, what a brilliant posting you have been writing. I couldn't have said it better, and I really mean it, because I really could not, but at least I may blame writing in a foreign language for that.
I so much can relate to everything you said. How come we always are stunned by other's work and think so low of what we do?!

plaidshoes said...

I just wanted to say that I love your blog! Especially all the vintage things. You and futuregirl should not ever feel insecure, you both make wonderful things.

pixiegenne said...

you're awesome and you know it, bethany.

so there.

(i'm not pretending i don't feel the same way sometimes...)

Good Girls Studio said...

were you reading my mind??? ...at least you've moved up from one or to comments to ...let's see, I'm # 12! Craft on crafter :)

Chickenbells said...

Girlie...you've said it! I tell you, I started blogging because I was so inspired by other people...but darned if my "style" doesn't just jump around all over the place, and I'm not as cohesive as I could be if I just pick something and settle with it. But, I think these are little reflections of ourselves...small glimpses. My friends say that reading my blog is like talking to me (I'm a bit of a tangent kind of gal) and that's why I'm so attracted to some people's blogging. I think, "I would love to sit down and have a cuppa with them"

And...I think you're style and whimsy and the way you see the world just shines right through this blog...thank you for taking the time to let us in on what's going on in your head (and this is not a family member...so, it means something different right? tee-hee)

Claire said...

this is exactly how I have been feeling to a T. I have wanted to share my frustrations for the last few weeks, months even, but had no idea how I would articulate it.

I have come to the realization that I am who I am, I make what I make and as long as it makes me happy (before I start comparing my work to others) then I need to just enjoy it.

Easier said than done, though.

Julie said...

Hey, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have tried my hand at printing fabric. Some of which came out great! (I still owe you a little something if I can ever get it finished.) You're the best, and so is your blog. Also, you do to have a style and it's all your own, it doesn't need a label. Labels are for the unimaginative.

I too have crafting ADD and am decidedly not cool.

Thanks for being you.

mimi k said...

The funny thing is, there are lots of blogs I read and love, not for their crafting style but for their writing style or photo style. I am constantly wowed by people who can write something in a way that makes me say "Yes!". People who can describe what they like about other artists' work particularly impress me, since I seem to be incapable of doing that myself. Is there some comparable term to tongue-tied in reference to blogging? And when people write about their insecurities, mistakes and struggles, I think it makes us all feel less alone. Future girl's post opened up a great dialog. Nobody is their blog really, are they? Kind of fun to imagine what is right outside the perfect photos.

Sarah said...

You're reading my mind...

futuregirl said...

Oh, how did you know!? :)

Bethany, you most certainly *do* have a style. It's just that you are inside it, so it's hard to see from the outside. It's also different from how other people's styles might appear ... I always wonder how someone like Amy Butler stays so rigidly within her awesome aesthetic. Does she go spray paint the highway underpass on her days off to counterbalance the bright beautiful flowers she is surrounded with all day?

Your style expresses a personal bravery, a bold verve, a willingness to experiment, and a fascination with the insides of people. I LOVE it. And don't you ever try to rein it in.

FRIZZ said...

A very honest and funny post - you clever and witty girl. I love you no-style style!

I think we all paddle that same canoe.

PamKittyMorning said...

Ohhh, a lot of this sounds awfully familiar.

Love your work and the things you have to say.

Amy said...

you hit the nail on the head here. i love and appreciate your post and i can totally relate. i am relieved that others feel the same way. i dream of the day when i can get more than five comments and the day that i can look at other blogs and not go into a "i'm not good enough to have a craft blog" coma. but rest assured that you are talented and i love visiting your blog!

Anonymous said...

Craft Spazz? Craft Spazz. Craft Spazz!

Why, yes, that describes me quite well. Luckily I had my office door closed as I read the post and its comments - it's sooooo embarrassing when you're caught making little shrieks of delighted laughter and grunting agreements to the screen, don't you think?

Katherine said...

Love this post! I've been caught thinking along the same lines and ironically, my husband said the same things to me when I started blogging.
Its insane how much I appreciate getting comments when I post. We've yet to break into double digits on our blog - and that's with my 3 friends who share our blog leaving their comments.
Anyways, it's good to know I'm not alone and three cheers (and quite a few chuckles) for your timely, resonating post!

stuffed said...

Well said.

<3 cozy/sling/armor is a good idea.

sulu-design said...

I'm going to start out with what is probably the most pointless comment on this post, so please excuse me, but the title and photo of this entry is brilliant. Just lovely. Okay, now on to something a bit more significant - your blog is one of the ones that makes me feel a wee bit insecure at times. You are so talented in so many ways (the sewing, the embroidery, the home decorating, the photo shoots), you have such a unique style, and the sense of humor that comes across in your posts is phenomenal. I think that most bloggers have feelings that are very similar to what you've expressed here. In fact, sometimes I think that some of us are predisposed to blogging - those of us with the combination of strong creative sides and pockets of insecurity lurking behind every corner. If you need a break, my dear, take a big fat break. And then please come back so I can continue to be in blove.

Deb G said...

I think there are enough of us to form a club....

Anonymous said...

Is there something in the air, the water, perhaps?

Who knew that so many of us felt this way. And it makes me sad for us! We should not feel one INSTANT of insecurity as long as we are truly doing what we love and indulging in an honest desire to share it with like-minded others.

"Perfection" blogs are nice, like reading a glossy Martha mag... but quirky, honest blogs are more like sitting down for tequila shots and laughter with good friends a'la Practical Magic. Which is more fun? I think we all know the answer to that!

Miss Bethany, you are amazing, whether you believe that or not, and i LOVE that your style is eclectic and sometimes involves the insides of humans :) Please please please don't try compare your incomparable self. We love you the way you are!

Angelina said...

You constantly inspire me, as does Alice, and I would hate both of you if you weren't the most generous smart and gifted women who are also self effacing, non-perfect in the most perfect way, and a little wicked.

I constantly feel the same way you do and I think the majority of artists and craftspeople feel it at some point too.

By the way, there's a word for your all encompassing style: ECLECTIC.

Heather said...

Oh Betty! I swear we must be kindred crafty souls! Every sentence of your post was punctuated by a "Me, too!" Thanks for letting me know that I'm not the one one out there who's neurotic about crafting and blogging.

I am so inspired and so intimidated. I don't have one certain style that defines me and am constantly zigging and zagging in a million different directions. I used to say I was an ADD crafter, but dilletante sounds so much better!

I applaud you for continuing to put yourself out there - with your crafts and your thoughts. I may not be good about posting but I'm here and I'm reading!

(BTW - I'm just down the road in Monterey. Howdy neighbor!)

Anonymous said...

If there was a way to do applause in comments, I totally would.

I cannot remember how I found your blog, & sadly it was not all that long ago but I can remember instantly adding you to my reader because I was so inspired by the idea of sewing up a vintage pattern. So there, you are inspiring.

You & Alice have both hit such an apt nail on the head that it is frightening and refreshing all at once to see that ubiquity of feeling. If I could somehow not feel envy and rancor, I truly would. Perhaps expressing it in the first place would be a start :)

Anonymous said...

Lindy sez: Oh BB! -- I enjoy your blog and check EVERY day to see if you have posted something new - and when you do, I am so happy and always delighted with whatever it is you have decided to post that day(always the unexpected!) So you tell Mr.Bitter that you have lots of "fans" out there -- even "Big Jim" who hears me giggling and wants to know what's up?? He loved the canning video this week and watched the whole thing! You also need to realize that LOTS of people are too shy to post comments and are just "lurking" on your site, they are enjoying your blog too!

When I first heard of blogging I couldn't really understand why people would want to read them... thought if I had one it would be called the "bla blog" because it would be so uninteresting, but when you link it to crafting - suddenly I'm interested and want more. We love you - keep on blogging my friend!

Violette Crumble said...

I think you have a pretty specific style actually. I might describe it as Mod-Hollywood Vintage a la Bitter Betty.

Anonymous said...

I second the comments by anonymous! I am a lurker that has such a crisis of confidence that I can't even get a project started! I too check your blog everyday. I get great comfort from blogland that other's have crazy lives and still create the most amazing things! I want them all! And instead of thinking of yourself as without A STYLE, I prefer to think of my scattery self as a Glorious Generalist. Thanks for brightening my days!

Anonymous said...

Applause? How about a standing ovation? After a big move this summer, followed by a month away from the internet (with just a blackberry), I felt and still feel pretty much everything you do. I went from being amazed and inspired by the perfect-looking blogs, to wondering how "they" do it all, to just...not caring so much. For me, there is so much distraction out there, masquerading as "inspiration". You, my dear, are an original. Keep doing what you do, and above all, enjoy your break! (- have used the past month to get organized, do some hand quilting, and inspire myself to do whatever it is that I want to do craftwise!

Anonymous said...


I am ironically giggling, as you were & continue to be, one of those people who I have always looked up to in bloglandia. I love your style, I love your videos, I love it all. No, really, I do. And, you insipred me from day one. And, now you inspire me even more because you are so real. I believe in creating "stuff" for my soul. It is my "coping emotionally" mechanism. I think when someone does anything in life because they love it, the obstacles might be a bit less harsh. As they jump in not questioning. I am a bit of a Forest Gump when it comes to my art and such... And, when I see myself getting too serious about "creating" and such, I just go away for a little while... Thank you for sharing this. You are so special indeed, Vanessa xoxoxoxo

jungle dream pagoda said...

1st- I love the idea of blogging about blogging,it is always so interesting to see what motivates all of us to share ourselves! ...and
2nd- I've always loved your sense of creative adventure and how you express it!
I guess I am more of a washed up actress wanna-be crafter chick,who started a "crafting blog" ,and now it seems more to be a style rag about my life.......but I'm ok with that...I think.
See,its always with the self-doubt with us bloggy chickies!

Heidi Ann said...

I had to laugh a little when I read your post, because I think your blog is great! Funny to me, because I JUST started my own blog after months of being so completely fascinated, enthralled , and inspired by all of the blogs I discovered through Posie. Now I know that only my sisters and a friend or two will even look at it - and I am not very clever or crafty or artistic AT ALL. My blog isn't fancy or pretty because I don't know how to do anything, but I just thought it might be fun for me. I can't imagine being a blogger who is, shall we say.. "widely read". But I will continue to read, enjoy, and be inspired and entertained by all of the rest of you out there!!

Starla said...

wow....all i can say is...ditto!

Brandy said...

AMEN SISTER! I haven't been blogging but a few months but it really does take a toll on you. At first you are so inspired by all the gorgeous and perfect work that is out there. Then you start thinking...ok, I can do that and you give it a try....then you think, well, crap, there's was waaaaaay better! And then, dang, look at her house, her style, her photography, her studio, her dinner...her perfect life! It can be hard on the ole self worth if we let it be. I guess that's one of the things about blogging. It's kind of like your own sweet little space that we love and care for just for yourself. We always want things to be as perfect and as pretty as they can be.

I have a hard time defining my style too, but that's ok...I like being eclectic. Open-minded.

I LOVE your blog and have commented before that I want to be cool like you!!

micha michelle said...

i have to say i LOOK and BROWSE through many a craft blog, but i always READ every last word of your posts. reading your blog is like having a conversation with a good friend. in fact, the first time i found your blog i immediately emailed a link to my good friend and said "i wish bitter bethany lived here, so we can hang out with her."

i know i have a make time in my hectic life to be crafty and make things. it's always nice to hear that their are others out there with the same difficulties as me. so thanks for being real. despite all that you have a killer sense of humor.

so yea!!!! for all us imperfect, disorganized, overwhelmed, overworked, insecure, and REAL crafters.

Chicky said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto, and finally...ME TOO!

sweetfigs said...

Ahh B, you can hang with the best of them!

Anonymous said...

A bloggy buddy pointed me to this post of yours as I was moaning about something similar. Except my post was whiny, whereas your post was witty and amusing! I so relate to you! Thanks so much for this post!

PS. I'd be happy to join a gang of Craft Spazzes!

Elizabeth said...

I think I am the queen of all crafts and all my stuff kicks ass!

But then my blog is kinda crappy and just a couple people read it, (a couple AWESOME people! btw) and I ALMOST NEVER MAKE ANYTHING.

So apparently, people that have alot on the ball and MAKE GREAT STUFF ALL THE TIME have to pay a price in worrying about how it measures up, while people who are full of crap and unproductive, such as myself, enjoy a soaring un-deserved confidence. Oh my God, I RULE!!!!

With the right drugs, and/or lack of reflection, anyone can turn their frown upside down and be as confident as I am.

Also, I love your blog and all the stuff you make--you are great!

Elizabeth said...

Oh! btw, I'm not on drugs, and I do reflect alot, I'm just CRAZY!

Craft long and prosper!

Anonymous said...

One thing I didn't anticipate when I started blogging was how very different it is from journaling. The catharsis one can achieve with blurting out everything that is on your mind does not translate well to the blog. I think blogging can be likened more to writing an advertisement; a marriage of blurbs and images. I also suprise myself as far as how important my stats are to me. I am more concerned about external validation than I knew. I do enjoy visiting your site. It inspires me to sew more than I might otherwise.

PĂ©itseoga said...

a great post on a great blog!
i feel the same sometimes, and i had the same thoughts about 'birds everywhere'... i went through phases of not knowing what to make because somebody else always had already made it, and better than i probably ever would! Thank you for this post!

Amanda Jean said...

it's wonderful to read someone as talented as you write words like this. I go through this all the time. your finished laundry bag is adorable!

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