Tuesday, 19 January 2016

To blog or not to blog?

to blog or not to blog?

To blog or not to blog?
This is the (oh so hard) question!

Weeks and weeks passed from my last post. 
No words written here since September 2015. 
Oh, yes, I worked a lot (as a teacher and tourist guide). It meant less free time. But I want to be honest with you, as usual: some time ago my blog started to bother me
No authentic comments by readers, but a lot of spam instead.
No more people who like my posts or decide to follow me.
Well, you know, nobody starts a blog to act a monologue
So I've abandoned it with a strong sense of failure in me, although I miss this precious little space of self-expression.

I started to ask me what is wrong with this blog and why people ignore it.
I couldn't find an answer. 
I was blind.

Then I started a new blog
A professional one. It is a support for my new job (tourist guide in Sicily, Italy). It's here.
Since being a tourist guide is my dream job (I'm not happy to be a teacher) and I wanted to have a beautiful and successfull blog, I've spent a lot of time reading websites and blogs with posts about blogging, personal branding, social media strategy, SEO and all the things a blogger should know before opening his/her personal space.

So I've understood: MadameRenard blog is really an awful place.
Its flaws?
Here is a list:
- not perfect english (this probably annoy readers)
- no idea about SEO's rules
- random contents about me, me and me... without interactions with other people
- no plans about what I want to communicate with people
- no idea about who my ideal readers are and what they would like to find here
- a very bad look, improvised in colours and graphic
And much more!

I've been so candid to think that I could simply write here and there, be honest and put some photos among the sentences to have audience.
Blogs don't work in this way. Now I know it!

And now? What to do? 
I miss this place where I can share with the world my creative journey and I feel like I need to go on writing.
But I have to refresh everything here!
A lot of work is waiting for me in case I'll decide to use this blog again!
A lot of questions are knocking on my mind... who are my readers? what they like to read? what colours and fonts are the best for my contents? italian, english, bilingual? where can I have a new banner? new pages under the banner? go on here on blogger or start a new blog on wordpress?

What do you think?
Have you answers or advices for me?
Please, leave me a comment, don't let me alone.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

I need your (little) help

Hello!
How are you?
Things are going very well here. 
I've just come back from a week spent in beautiful Ireland (take a look in my Flickr album) and now I'm ready to start the last part of 2015 (autumn? already??? °__°).

Before starting with my usual show&tell about sewing and creativity, I'm here today to ask you a little help.
I'm taking part in a photo contest called #vistidallalto. The game consists on uploading snapshots of Sicilian places taken from above. The prize? Two books about Sicily!
You can help me leaving a "like" to my photo on the contest's facebook page. Thank you in advance for you help!

About my photo...
... it captures a medieval church in the little town of Calatabiano, seen from the castle on top of the hill.


I wrote a post about this place and its traditions here.

Have a good day!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Late summer post

Hello, my friends! How are you?
I hope these late summer days are going great for you!
Although we are still having very sunny days and high temperatures here in Sicily, days and nights are warmer. 
I like the atmosphere of this period of the year, probably one of my favourite (together with april month).

We are going to celebrate a special birthday day for S. with an amazing gift (for both of us): 7 days of journey in Ireland! I'm so excited, I can't wait to be there!!! I wrote some weeks ago about my need for adventure and wild life in nature and I think that some days along wild atlantic way will work very well for my soul!

I've recently spent also some days in northern Italy at mum's home. Nothing special to say about this short vacation, this time. It was different from last year and I have no snapshots to show you. 
But of course I had some quiet days with family and friends and this is good. Very good.
Mum and I worked a lot with cornstarch clay. Mum is an artist with this material. She learned how to make roses and other flowers and also started to make tons of earrings with my help.
Here is a photo of some of them (those I've picked up for me and my relatives here in Sicily):


Making them with mum was very funny.
I'm not very creative in this period and they helped me staying connected with using the hands for making things.

I have a lot of new ideas for the shop, for new things to sew for me, for my career. But all is saved for the second half of september. Now I'm going to book a room in a lovely b&b in Ireland :)

So you soon!!!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Black and charcoal: new accessories for the shop!

Recently I worked a lot with black and charcoal fabrics (+ light grey) and made new accessories for the shop! 
Not very summery colours, but probably perfect for autumn (it is very close, although here in Sicily we are having super hot summer days).

I was in the mood for sewing with some leftovers from this bag I made last March for my friends Vera [**] and also with some scraps of a beautiful Ikea fabric (colorful nature elements on black background... lovely!) [*].

I started from a tote bag, altering a bit a pattern I drew by myself two years ago. I decided to add a recessed zipper instead of placing it on top (I'm totally in this kind of zippered closure this summer!); I've also opted for a wider pocket (thanks to darts on the corners).
This is the finished bag:

Grey shoulder bag made of fabric with leaves for autumn
Pocket on a tote bag
recessed zipper in a tote bag by MadameRenard inner zipper

More technical infos here.

You know that I like to make small things, so I used the same fabrics for a small crossbody bag, too.

small grey clutch with leaves

Also this design is 100% by me. I've drawn the pattern for this bag three years ago and used different times with satisfaction.
I like the dimensions if the finished bag and the inner space, but also some details like the closure and the contrasting flap:

small bag - snap for bags closures
Darts to add inner space to a bag

I couldn't resist and I decide to make a wallet to match with these bags!
Do you like it?

wallet with leaves
Pockets of a fabric wallet by MadameRenard

I've already written about my passion for making this kind of accessories!
All my wallets have two pockets for cards and paper money and one pocket (closed by velcro or a zipper) for coins. They often have a little strip of recycled leather for closure, as in the case of this grey wallet and of the following one, the black floral wallet:

Fabric wallet in black with flowers and birds
eco-friendly materials for a beautiful fabric wallet

Love the stylized flowers and the little bird on top :)
The light blue inner pockets are made of leftovers of a beautiful eco-friendly fabric (organic linen + bamboo), given to me by Manuela, the owner of Retro eco à porter, an italian organic line of clothes (you can see the fabric "in action" on her Malva top).

While making the wallet I cut the fabric for a Moleskine cahier cover, too.

Moleskine cahier cover pocket size made of black fabrics
Moleskine cover with flowers

It matches perfectly with other two accessories I've made in the past with this fabric and still available in the shop: a pencil case and a little pouch. They both are zippered and have recycled leather bottoms.

I'm very happy with these new items!
I don't use very often this kind of tones in my creations. I used to think that grey and black are boring, but I was wrong. They are very elegant and modern, expecially if you mix them with other colours.

Let me know which item among these is your favourite :)

[*] I can't find this beautiful fabric in italian Ikea shops anymore. I'm looking for it on-line, but I even don't know its name; if you know it, please, write it in the comments!

[**] I wasn't tired after all this sewing  and made a second bag for Vera: a tulip bag with a side band to increase to inner space. Very summery bag, thanks of its light sand fabric!
And now... rest time! :)

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Simple happy things - July 2015

Last year I worked on a little project and documented every single day of July (I've called it "July in 31 photos").
Not the same, this year. 
July is very hot, I feel like I'm very down on batteries and I am not doing special things to capture with my camera (although I think that there's something special for us everyday and that happyness is hidden into simple things). 

But of course I took some snapshots here and there.
They make a sort of visual diary of this month. Simple things in my life.

Critters around the house...



A super secret project I can't wait to share with you...


Some hard and satisfying work at the sewing machine...





(completed this month: 5 bags + 2 wallets + 1 moleskine cover)
(bags 1 e 2 uploaded in my esty shop)

Summer yumminess...


Important birthdays and lovely birthday gifts by the kids...



Testing new tools (rivets!)...





Tuesday, 28 July 2015

5 Pinterest boards to follow: adventures!

Summer... for me this season is for outdoor living, exploring nature and having some adventures and a pretty dose of wild life.
Is this true for you, too?

My life is keeping me far from nature and adventures, lately. I really miss some things I was used to in the past, like trekking on italian mountains (Alpes!), exploring the country by bike, camping, spending time in the garden or on the beach.
So I've recently opened a new Pinterest board to help me in staying connected with the wild side of me the same. 
I'd like it will remind me to add some adventure in my daily life, when I can, because it's very important for my soul.

The board is called "Wild life & adventures"; take a look!
I've collected images like this, a strong but funny invitation to add adventure in life:


Of course I've started to follow other Pinterest boards about this theme, like:

The explorer archetype, full of inspirational quotes about adventure.

Somewhere on Earth - travel, with stunning images of places to visit in the world, where Mother Nature is at her best.

Appreciating the Earth, a beautiful expression of the need to go in the woods.

The wild outdoors, very interesting for mountains lovers!

Follow these boards, or mine, if you need like me some visual reminders of your need to add adventure in your life!

[previous posts of "5 Pinterest boards to follow" serie: making toys, modern rustic style]