Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me, Prizes for You

Since I first dipped my toes in the blogging waters a year ago, these girls have gone from falling in the fishpond (only one of them, thank goodness!) to helpfully gathering seaweed for my garden this weekend.
In that same year, I have apparently written and published 260 posts, and my blog has been visited by over 16,000 individual readers, of whom over 6500 came back for a return visit. Some of them have even subscribed to my blog through an RSS feed and read me every day (as I do with so many of my favourite blogs).

More importantly, my blog has not only satisfied my original hopes for it -- providing a place where I could develop my own writing voice more comfortably than my academic work allows -- but it's shown me what an abundance of simple, daily pleasures and riches my life contains. It demonstrates what the two quotations on my sidebar articulate: The World is so full of a number of things / I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings and Coherence is born of random abundance.

Further, my blog has been my entry to a wonderful community of other bloggers and regular commenters on those blogs. I have new friends in cities, states, provinces, and countries all over: California, Toronto, Paris, London, Budapest, and Australia, just for a start. Many of these are "women of a certain age" with whom I can indulge my interest in fashion without worrying about being superficial. Some of them are young men much closer to home who not only discuss fashion and style but also introduce me to yummy winter treats and new music. All of them enrich my life.

And these are only the commenters and bloggers who have introduced themselves. I'd love to know more about the rest of you. So I've devised an Anniversary Contest, a very simple one. I'm placing a book order this week, and I thought I'd order two extra books to give away. Simon Doonan's Eccentric Glamour and David Sedaris' When You Are Engulfed in Flames. I don't have either book in hand yet, so I can't guarantee there will be a timely delivery, but I promise to send one copy of either book to each of two winning commenters (to be clear, that's one book each, not two).

How to win? First, you must leave me a comment. If you're a new commenter, I'd love to hear where you're from, but that's not necessary. I'd also like to know how you found my blog and what, if anything, most interests you among my many topics. Or just say hello -- you'll still be eligible. Returning commenters could also just say hello to qualify, but if you like, you could also let me know what's bringing you back here or what you'd like to see more of. If anyone has favourite posts, you might let me know what they are. You get the idea. You'll need an identifying nom de plume Patricia from Budapest, say, or Gardening Irene -- It won't be helpful to have ten different Anonymouses (anonymice?). You'll need to comment by Friday noon, Pacific Standard Time, because that's when the contest closes.

I'll write the names of all commenters down on individual pieces of paper, pop them in a box and get a friend to choose two randomly-- After I announce the winners in a post next Saturday, you'll send me your snail mail address by e-mail, and I'll put your book in the mail. Fun, eh? (that's a Canadianism, for those who don't know!).
If I'm forgetting anything about the mechanics of the contest, please let me know -- it's my first time trying this and I'm crossing my fingers it will work.
Now what are you waiting for? Get to work, leave a comment . . .


  1. Mon dieu, I am first! Oh's by random, equitable draw.


    I hope I am not being presumptuous in thinking I am the young man mentioned in your post, although I am hardly so young. If there is another young man of which you speak, please introduce him immediately - I need a few friends over here.

    I believe I found you after you commented on The Thoughtful Dresser blog...or perhaps from Une Femme's? And I have kept coming back for two reasons - one, because you write well about topics that interest me, and two, because you engaged me in discussion, one of my main reasons for starting this whole thing in the first place.

  2. I found you as a knitting blog, likely via a link in another person's post, but i don't remember explicitly. I stayed because your writing - observations about life, travel, fashion, literature, you name it - is intelligent, thoughtful, and interesting!

    Jillian from LA

  3. Well, I never win contests, but that won't stop me from commenting! I really don't know how I came upon your blog - probably through a comment you made on another blog, perhaps Une Femme or one of the French ones. Your blog, however, is the only one on which I comment regularly. I think it's the fact that you are Canadian and are a teeny bit older than me, have raised your family and continue to have an interesting and fulfilling life - I see that as something to aspire to (i.e. getting through those teenage years alive and sane!), My favourites are the fashion and travel posts - I like to read everything you write but I have to admit that sometimes the literary posts go over my head! I do have a degree, but obviously I'm not that much of an intellectual!! ;0) Anyway, good luck to all your commenters, I hope that you make many more internet friends. Patricia

  4. Oh goody, what fun, although I don't expect to win anything even though both books are on my Amazon list.

    I found you through Nancy or Gina or perhaps elsewhere, perhaps a comment on Thoughtful Dresser, I don't recall. It stuck because I love reading your posts, and you were one of my must reads before I delurked and finally commented. I think the fact that you engage your commenters encourages me to write back. That and you inspire me in the thoughtfulness of your posts, and your creative adventurousness. I think your style inspires also. You and a few others encourage me to explore my style a little more as I have been regaining interest after a few absentminded years where it went hiding under a rock.

    So good luck!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thomas: My bad. Yes, you are the young man of whom I speak, but I realize that altho' relatively young alongside me, you might find that label somewhat irksome, and using it perhaps ages me unnecessarily. I'm just pleased to have readers of the younger and male persuasion . . .
    Jillian: Thanks. I scarcely have any knitting readers, not focusing enough on my own, I suppose, and I'm so pleased to have you popping in regularly, especially since I like your blog so very much.
    Patricia: I remember how, when my children were younger, I benefited from listening to women who had raised their own to adulthood (and to productive, likeable adults, to boot!) -- I'm rather chuffed to think I might be passing that along.
    Mardel: Thanks, Mardel, and I'm so glad you did begin commenting, 'cause that led me to your site where I get inspirations as well, especially from your fabulous sewing (other readers, you must check out Mardel's coats!)

  7. Congratulations, 260 posts is a piece of work. I wonder if your readers who are not themselves posting realize that a labour of love is still labour?

    I deeply enjoy your writing.

  8. Duchesse: Thank you to a fellow labourer.

  9. Hello Duchesse - yes, despite being a a non-blogger, I do realize how much work goes into it, I think that's what stops me starting a blog!! I don't know how you all come up with such interesting posts all the time. I've just thought of another reason I like Mater's blog - it leads me to other interesting bloggers; yes Duchesse, I'm looking at you! ;0) Patricia

  10. I too found you via Thoughtful Dresser, so a big thank you to Linda. I am currently reading one of her books and this is why I love blogging so many worlds so little time.
    As a woman of a certain physical age that does not tally with her mental age I enjoy reading about the lives of others. I have connected many times with people in the fashion industry and I think the world of blogging is amazing at breaking down not only age barriers but career barriers too.
    This blog is particularly well written and satiates that need I have for a dialogue with someone who not just shares a common interest but one who opens doors to new ones too. Oh that and a spot of lifestyle envy .
    So Hippo Birdie Two Ewes on your first anniversary.

  11. Alison: Thanks for the Birdie wishes. You sum up well many of my own reasons for the time I spend reading blogs -- it really does expose you to so many new ideas. I've read books recommended on other blogs, discovered new artists (thanks to you!), been convinced to see movies I might not otherwise have checked out, and right now, I'm working through the 1st season DVDs of Mad Men, because Une Femme recommended it.

  12. Your nieces are adorable. (No, I'm not trying to pad the ballot box, I just hit Publish too soon on that last comment!)

  13. Thanks Pseu! I think they're adorable too.

  14. Can't wait to read on about the summer shoes. But you have spurred me on to post a comment--pick me! pick me!

  15. Hi there, I am new to your blog, i located you through WiKnit's blog. I am interested in your blog (after having surfed a bit)due to the number of interests we both seem to share.(although i no longer live on an island)smile. I live across the water from seattle.

  16. Hi, I'm new! I found you though the Wiknit blog. Congratulations on your anniversary. Looking forward to reading more about your life on an island!

  17. Hi - I'm a regular reader in Ohio, interested in dressing nicely in flyover country. I love that you're so real - I love the shoe sharing and the "what I'm wearing" photos.

    I'm a recovering runner and a knitter too - so we have a few things in common.

  18. Hi. I find so many new blogs through WiKnits! I'm enjoying the pictures of your lovely Icarus, and your comments on the Millay biography. (I preferred it to the other Millay bio published at the same time.) You're definitely going to be added to my Bloglines!

  19. Just found your blog from WiKnits, also new to me- so serediptious!

    I was there posting info about a contest on my book blog and now I have yours to read as a new treat. Thanks!

  20. Hi I'm new and I'm also here by way of WiKnits. I'm looking forward to reading your blog.

  21. Mater..I mostly lurk here and read about your adventures(I'm still lusting after your coat though). I come in through Thoughtful Dresser by way of Une Femme's back door. I live in Upstate New York and like a lot of your visiters, I'm one of those women who loves fashion but is of the age where I don't talk about it much(except to my 23 year old daughter because I sew for us both).

  22. Well now, I can't remember how I first hit upon your blog, but it was likely via 'A Dress a Day'. I keep coming back for the entertaining writing, the Canadian content, and the Island tidbits. I lived in Victoria for a while, took a course from Dr. Waelti-Walters -that was a surprise, to read about her on your blog- and the DH grew up in Rupert, so you're very relevant for me. Happy anniversary!

  23. Nancy: I'll do my best (but I'll be getting one of my daughters to pick ;-)
    Turtle, Shirley, Kristen: It's always nice to have new visitors. I know you came for the chance to win a prize, but I hope you'll have a look 'round while you're here and perhaps come back to visit from time to time.
    Teabird: Sounds as if you've taken time to look around, even if you primarily came for the contest. Lovely to have you here and I do hope you come back to visit.
    Gale: Isn't that funny: I just discovered your blog with its great sheep photos, right up a knitter's alley.
    Polly: Lovely to hear from you again (I do check in at your blog from time to time to see what great outfits you're whipping up from brilliant but frugal shopping and scads of creativity).
    Toby: I hadn't realized you were a reader, so it's great to have a chance to say "hi." I think we've chatted at other blogs -- it's a wonderful circle, isn't it! (and I'm glad you think my coat is lustworthy -- I do love it!)
    Elke: Another reader I didn't know about -- so glad you said "hello." Those "it's a small world" connections are always fun (the Rupert connections are everywhere, don't you find?)

  24. Happy Anniversary! I found you via WiKnits! :)

  25. I am drawn to all knitting blogs. Your is very nice, I will be adding it to my blogfeed.

  26. Cath - Pebbles HatsJuly 10, 2008 at 5:40 AM

    Hi I'm new, come from une femme d'un certain age. I'm a milliner from Wales and I think your blog looks lovely, the photo at the head is awe inspiring. I live by the sea too. I am hoping to win the style book, I'm having a baby on 21st July and having slopped around in huge oversized clothes for so long I feel I need some advice! It would be a mercy, the people of Wales will cheer. Fingers crossed. Cath

  27. Bunny B and Bean: You came for the contest -- Welcome! I hope you'll stick around a bit afterwards, and perhaps find it worth checking back from time to time.
    Cath: Glad to have you stop by -- isn't Une Femme great?! Do you have any idea how romantic your self-description sounds here? "A milliner from Wales" Ahhhh! I have three July babies (long grown), so I know what that's like -- hope it's not too hot where you are right now!

  28. Cath - Pebbles HatsJuly 10, 2008 at 7:57 AM

    Thanks for your reply. Romantic...hmm, I will leave you with that illuson. Hot? It has been raining for weeks - ah, how green is my valley....Cath

  29. Cath: Well, you can see how it might be romantic to someone who's read Llewyllen's book more than once (altho' not for many years now) and whose daughters are named Bronwen, Rhiannon, and Megan!

  30. I found you through Deja Pseu's blog, which I enjoy for its warmth and lively style, but linked to yours today from Passage des Perles'. Nicely over fifty I'm interested in fashion, travel, reading, cooking, photography and yoga. I visit a number of blogs, usually over my lunch hour at work, happily being amazed and inspired by what I find. As for the contest - no need to add my name - both titles are in my Amazon order soon to be delivered.

  31. Well, commenting here for the contest, of course.
    But so much of what you've written about resonates with me.
    I truly enjoy the conversation and reading the thoughts of many "women of a certain age" in blogland. Women who're thoughtful, and interested in fashion, and who love the creative process. Women who've some life experience, who're articulate enough to write about it, and who also understand that we can be deep and light at the same moment.
    I really do enjoy your blog everytime I visit, and will go ahead now and add this to my blogroll.
    Happy blog-iversary.

  32. Hi!

    Found you via the Contest Blog!

    Happy Blogaversary!

  33. Hi! I found your blog by clicking through links, very recently. I don't remember where, though - perhaps ? Looks like a fun blog though, and I have added it to my reader.

  34. I really can't remember how I came across your blog, but I do know that it was while you were away (well, not really away, more over here) on holiday. I feel I'm at that stage where if I had met you in real life, I'd be thinking, hey she's interesting, we must have coffee sometime, and then dinner ........

  35. Hi,
    Congrats on your anniversay. I am here via Une Femme. I enjoy reading your blog on family, fashion, and Paris. Can't wait for the drawing.

    Thanks so much,

    Solana Beach, CA

  36. want to leave a congratulations
    comment. not for the contest as family should be excluded. I love your blog it's a great way of still keeping us updated about your life even though we don't get to see each other. I love seeing the pictures of your garden, and your growing family. I love you willingness to share parts of yourself good and bad. You make we proud to be your sister.
    love ya

  37. Materfamilias:

    I write from London, as you may know. I got here first through DejaPseu, une femme d'un certain age. But I am not one of the "women of a certain age". Does that disqualify me? :-(

    As I write this, I have on in the background Gok Wan's fashion programme on the telly and Alexa Chung is interviewing Karl Lagerfeld. He says he 'ates girls and boys who wear one label and only one label'. So as a person who owns only a Chanel cream compact - not bought but given me by a woman with whom I did a make-up lesson in London - I take it as his 'permission' to mix Chanel with anything, in my case, Stila colours!

    Happy Anniversary! I will come back to read about travels and knitting :-) I do a lot of the former and none of the latter.

    Best wishes for future blogging!

  38. I found you through une femme, who popped up last year on a Google search for what to pack for Paris. I check in with each of you most days. I am well into my 50s, worked in fashion in my 20s and 30s, and became a lawyer almost 20 years ago. So I live in suits during the week, but try to keep it a bit quirky to avoid the matronly vibe. It's a challenge.

    There is so much about your blog that resonates with me. We are all complex, multilayered creatures, and I love it how much that comes through in your blog (and une femme's too). I too love Paris -- have been 3x this year thanks to my diplomat brother being posted there and living in a large apt. in the 16th with great guest quarters. I too live on an island, albeit a more urban one -- on San Francisco Bay. I too take a ferry to work in the city. I call it ferry therapy. Along with yoga and walking, my commute (if you can believe it) is key to my well being. Ferry riding also has its fashion challenges, since I am a dedicated outside deck rider and have a 15-minute walk to my office in San Francisco. Two solutions: Pashmina shawls and Dansko clogs. (Ladylike shoes reside under my desk.)

    So congratulations on your blogoversary, and thanks for helping me get over feeling vaguely guilty and superficial about being so interested in fashion & design.

  39. driftwood & turtles: thanks for saying "hi" even tho' you don't need the prizes. It's lovely to have you here -- aren't those two blogs great?! Part of the wonderful blogland that Marji's speaking of (and hello and welcome to you too, Marji)
    Knit and Purl Mama and Knitmomma: do you two know each other? is that a coincidence or what?
    Lesley: I've seen that eye before, perhaps on some other blog comments. Am I right in surmising that you're on the other side of the water (Atlantic) from me? Welcome and thanks for saying hello. I do sometimes wish I could have a big virtual livingroom where we could all have coffee or dinner, lots of wine, and all kinds of chat about life, fashion, Paris, etc.,
    Catherine: I'm glad you're enjoying the blog -- sounds as if you're another Paris-lover!
    Hilary: Aw, shucks, thanks for the sweet words from a great sister! (note to self, did I talk about the bad stuff on my blog, whoops!)
    Shefaly: Great to have you here. I've a nodding acquaintance with you as a fellow commenter on other blogs. I'll try not to hold your youth against you ;-)
    And tell Karl he's got no worries with me -- I don't even have the compact!
    Effie: If I ever make it down the coast, you, Une Femme, and I will surely have to meet for dinner. Mind you, if you're visiting Paris 3 times a year, the envy might be a bit overwhelming, but we'd overcome it!

  40. Cath - pebbles hatsJuly 11, 2008 at 6:55 AM

    Wow, your daughters have beautiful Welsh names, do you have a connection with Wales? And have you been over here? Its lovely....but its still raining. Cath

  41. Cath: We visited Harlech many years ago and loved Wales -- Paul's great-grandfather left the coal mines there for the coal mines of Vancouver Island, but we think he was already an ex-pat from England, rather than Welsh by birth. The names just appealed to us -- Bronwen, first, and then I was reading the Book of Mabigonion and liked "Rhiannon" (as did Fleetwood Mac!) and after that Megan could hardly be a Rebecca or a Cindy, could she?!

  42. Cath - pebbles hatsJuly 11, 2008 at 10:03 AM

    I was in Harlech just a few weeks ago staying in a big old house just under the castle. It was wonderful, we do have great beaches in Wales. Lovely names and I understand what you mean about having a theme. Our boys are biblically named - Samuel and Isaac and although we have talked about a Welsh name for the new baby I feel we are going to have to stick with the Hebrew. I'll let you know!

  43. This is Grace. I found your blog when Mardel linked to your post about photographing and sharing what you wear. I thought, hmm, I should do that, too. But, months later, I still haven't done it.

    I do want to post my favorite summer sandals though. Maybe this weekend.

  44. Grace again.

    Happy blog-iversary.
    I like to read about your garden, travels and how a real woman interprets fashion.

    I am in coastal Los Angeles.

  45. I aDORE David Sedaris! Happy blogiversary!

  46. badmomgoodmom: Love the name, 'cause aren't we all! Welcome -- I'd love to see your favourite summer sandals if you get 'round to that.
    cath: well, we have Welsh names for the 3 girls, and then went Biblical for our son, who's Zachary. Do let me know who you end up meeting soon -- you'll be getting to introduce someone to a name and to the world.

  47. Happy Anniversary! If I manage to post one comment every three months I feel very proud of myself - I can't imagine keeping up with a blog.

    I came here from Miss Janey's Place via Une Femme which included a diversion to The Sartorialist. The journey was all fun and I'm very much enjoying this stop along the way.

    Nicky from Ojai, California

  48. 5elementknitr and nicky: too bad you're both to late for the contest, but I'm glad you stopped by anyway, and perhaps you'll visit again. And I agree, Nicky, travelling through blogland is great fun!

  49. Cath - pebbles hatsJuly 14, 2008 at 2:37 AM

    Zachary is lovely, it was one of my faves but our Isaac does get called Zac by some (although he's Dizzy at home) and so it could get confusing. Wil lhave to see and will let you know. One week to go and still hats to finish off, eek!

  50. Hi Frances,

    Hope this finds you well, Your photos look great (as usual) and your blog full of interesting reading! Congrats on your one year anniversary! Happy Anniversary to you and all the lucky readers who visit your blog!!!

    I seem to have misplaced your personal email...I was wondering if you could email me, I have a question regarding making prints of one my the paintings you own.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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