Thursday, 25 June 2015

My Blogging 3.0 Vision

I miss the Blogosphere. That might seem like a silly thing to say when there have never been more blogs than there are right now but I know I'm not alone in my opinion that the community has become bloated with commercial purpose and sparse of blogs containing authentic, personal and original content. 

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Last year I quit my blog of nine years. It wasn't an easy decision and it took a long time to learn to be without it. One of the big driving points for stopping was the weird pressure I felt to compete with my peers where I had once simply enjoyed and engaged with their words. I didn't want to Brand my family or post embarrassing stories about them for profit. I felt that my voice was lost among the noise of flashy giveaways and exclusive events to which you could only gain access if your stats and media pack fit some arbitrary criteria (which, let's face it, seemed to be heavily influenced by ass-kissing that I wasn't willing to engage in). One month you can fly high and the next you're essentially considered worthless.


Autumn is: Making conker webs

The once-inspiring community felt like it had been replaced with a popularity contest in which if someone else does well then they do so at your own expense which seems a skewed sense of logic. My integrity got in the way of my business sense because - not surprisingly - no one wants you to publish an honest review and I wasn't prepared to lie for cash. As time went on I felt torn in too many directions, I began to feel like a parody of myself as I tried to navigate my way forward. It was uncomfortable. I wanted to retreat from the very place that had helped me to blossom and transform our lives.

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I still mourn the loss of reading blogs, too. I used to have over 300 different sites linked up in my feed reader and enjoyed them all thoroughly. I'd comment and share with friends and try new things. I'd peek at what other readers were saying and follow through to discover new sites and communities. I'd switch off the computer fizzing with excitement about an idea or something I wanted to try. It was a delight, a real golden time of inspiration and camaraderie. It has been heartbreaking to see site after site either shut down or sell out while articles muse over why we comment and interact less on blogs. My belief is that interaction levels are down because we are less inspired, not because we're accustomed to prefer a 'like' button to real comments.


new kitchen shelves

I am turned off from the blogging world as it currently stands. A little part of me dies every time I find myself engaged in reading a deeply personal story only to find an advertisement for insurance or something at the bottom, it feels manipulative. I have lost respect for the people I once idolised. I understand why people are doing it but it isn't the right approach for me.


Lammas Harvest Loaf

Now I'm more likely to look at a social media newsfeed than at a blog reader and even though I technically control what I see by choosing who my friends are and what pages I follow it rarely feeds my soul; it isn't nourishing, it is snackage and mostly junk at that. Although there are more opportunities to connect somehow many of those interactions become more and more shallow.

Merry making

I miss having a creative outlet, a space to inspire others, a place that isn't driven by a sales agenda, a place that isn't afraid to go deeper and get vulnerable. I have made a couple of attempts at new blogs, at different income streams, at different platforms to follow those I enjoy reading. Nothing has quite yet hit the balance because on the one hand I need to earn a living at home to support my boys as they grow but on the other a decent blog is a lot of work to keep up for fun alone. I could technically go and get a normal job and write a diary for creative outlet, especially if I'm not finding myself part of a tribe of like-minded bloggers anymore but that idea fills me with despair - having grown up in an environment where my parents worked long hours I strongly feel the need to be around for my boys.

First peas 2011

What if there were another way? What if I could do what I love; cook, create, share, inspire.. and provide what I feel is lacking without compromise? Can I "Be The Change I want to see" and still earn a living?


Summery meal

An experiment 

Whenever I get into a debate with people about the issue of commercialisation we come around to a point where people say that everyone expects to get things for free on the internet so we suck it up and endure the adverts. I disagree. My counter argument is that if the places I like to frequent (like Facebook, Instagram, my favourite blogs..) offered me an ad-free experience for a small monthly fee I would be in heaven, I would bite their hand off - access to everything I love (only purer/ better because there's no advertising) and eliminating everything I have come to loathe. Plus the money would go directly to the person I actually support rather than them earning crumbs indirectly via a big company.

Sashiko Style

Do you feel the similarly? Do you lament the loss of authentic blog content? Does sponsored post after sponsored post feel boring, empty and monotonous? Wouldn't you rather pay a small fee for something lovely than read a hundred substandard ones for free?


Sunday arty brunch

People have begun to muse over what blogging 3.0 might look like. I feel my vision could be a way to take back the power of creative control from the corporate narrative that currently reigns and reward those actually producing the things we enjoy before they become forever extinct.

my boys at home

I'm desperate to return with fresh enthusiasm. I want to Spiral the Seasons with you, share recipes, experiences, crafts, stories, discoveries, harvests, projects, holidays, epiphanies, highs and lows, successes and failures, my amazing boys (in case you're out of the loop I have two now!) and the joy of domesticity, of raising a family on a budget, of simple, wholesome family life.

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Fancy coming along for the ride? Here's how it works: if enough people to sign up for a small fixed amount per month - say the price of a fancy coffee or magazine - then I pledge to post directly into your inbox 3-5 days per week consistently and with ad-free authentic content straight from the heart of my little family home.

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My Dad sometimes tells me it's admirable that I still think I can change the world and that over time I'll learn differently but my inner optimist is sat quietly wondering if I'm capable of "breaking the internet" a little bit with this mad idea to begin a new way of sharing my work and feeding my family while maintaining both integrity and creative control.


Studio tour 4

Is it arrogant of me to think that you'll want to pay for my words or that my stuff is any better than what's already out there for free? Possibly. But you're not taking a risk on an unknown - after nine years you probably have a sense of my take on life and the sorts of things we get up to (although the baby stuff will be new but I promise not to bombard you with too many cutesy photos).

mona lisa

The difference here will be that without the distraction of following up PR leads for revenue I can devote more of my time to producing better quality content. Without having to provide click-bait or throw things in to the mix for SEO and all of the other hoop-jumping associated with the blogging world my focus can be specifically tailored to what I am inspired by and what interests you!


Got the giggles

If I never try I'll never know so I'm sticking my head out and having a try. If you'd like to join me in this adventure then please do subscribe with the button below. I'd love, love, love to see your name pop up in my inbox so that I can pop up in yours and inspire seasonal creativity. 







Edited to add: clicking the subscribe button simply redirects you to Paypal, you are given an opportunity to review prices etc. before committing to spend any money.


Restore my faith in the idea that my work is worth something more than PR goody bags and chart placements and then prepare to see the very best of me in your inbox.

Woods Spring 09

I'm all fired up for change, can you feel it? If you want to ask questions feel free to email me. I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Thank you so much for reading x

Friday, 25 July 2014

Nine years ago I sat down to write my first blog post and shortly afterwards this little space was born. In those years my life has changed so dramatically. The regimen and accountability of blogging helped me learn and challenge myself, connect with new people and experience things I never thought I'd imagine. 

I have decided that the time has come to move on from Home Baked. For many reasons, it has become a cause for stress rather than sanctuary. Aside from the changing world of blogging is a friend who cuts me off mid-sentence because she thinks she knows everything there is to know from reading online or the family members who never speak to me but visit here on a regular basis. I have been trying really hard to make it work but I feel uncomfortable here now and so for these, and many other, reasons I'm moving on.

Thank you for visiting my little corner of the web. Thank you for sharing in our days - both joyful and sad. Thank you for your encouraging, welcoming words and generosity.  Your encouragement and support has spurred me on to be a better mother and person in general. I have learnt so much and will always remember these years warmly.

I'm not completely disappearing - for the foreseeable future you'll still be able to find me over on The Knit and probably some social media channels, too. If there's a recipe, book or tutorial you wanted to know about but didn't manage to save/print then feel free to email me and I'll do my best to find it for you.

Best wishes to you all


Hannah x

Monday, 8 November 2010

Star Lantern Tutorial

I have been admiring these beautiful star lanterns for years and trying to find instructions to make them. There are some crafts that seem to be shrouded in secrecy and these lanterns, I found, were one of them!
A couple of weeks ago, with the help of some photographs on flickr and a bit of experimentation, I worked it out and decided to try and word instructions in a tutorial here for you to have a try for yourselves if you wish.
I apologise in advance for the length of the post and if my directions are not clear - I am one of those annoying people who gives bad directions and explanations! I work better in a more visual way so there are a lot of photographs. However I found a few of the folds difficult to word and so you may need to study the photograph and use a bit of an initiative to get them right!
As with most crafts, the more accurate and consistent you are with each stage will result in a more polished end product but I haven't had any go completely wrong so don't worry about it too much.

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I made mine using watercolour paintings. You can also use wax crayon pictures or pretty papers. The light will shine through them much brighter if you oil the paper before you begin but they work OK without this step and I suggest trying without the oil stage on your first try, just because it's messy!
Each of the folds (up until assembling) should be folded both ways to make the final stages easier.

With your paper turned to the wrong (plain) side, use a compass to make the largest circle you can. Mine were about 26cm diameter. Cut the circle out.

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Fold the circle in half and half again to make quarter lines and then carry on to make eighths.

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On the wrong side again, using a ruler draw straight lines across each segment from corner to corner. Cut across all of the lines to make an octagon.

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Fold again matching the corners up so that you end up with sixteenths.

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Other side:

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Here comes the first tricky part to explain! The photographs will show where the folds need to be. You are aiming to make "mitre" corners so that you create a square when the folds are opened out.


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See how the vertical and diagonal lines match up?

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Open the folds back out, rotate the paper 45 degrees and repeat this stage so that your two squares create an eight pointed star shape when opened back out. (still with me?!)

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Folds from this point onwards only need to be done one way.

Now you will see that you have eight kite shapes - I have coloured one in so that you can see it more clearly but you don't need to do that.

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Fold the triangles next to the two top edges of your kite shape inwards.

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Turn the entire thing over.

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Fold the top part of your kite shape over on to the coloured side (bringing the point towards you).

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The folding gets tricky here - stick with it and hold the paper quite loosely so that you aren't fighting it as you fold.
The folds of the lantern will be in a concertina style. The centre fold line of your kite shapes will fold inwards and the edges, outwards.
I found keeping the concertina idea in my mind during this part was a huge help until I worked out how the lantern comes together.

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Work your way around the kite shapes doing the same steps as for the first one; folding the edges of the kite shape towards the plain side, and then the tip to the coloured side and helping the concertina folds along the way.
If you feel the paper fighting you at this point (I did) then pay attention to the concertina folds, making sure that they go in the right directions all the way to the centre.

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When you have folded each of the eight kite shapes you should end up with something like this:

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All you need to do now is insert your fingers into the lantern and flatten out the bottom to the size of your votive candle holder.

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Before you light the candle be sure there are no paper pieces hanging over the edge - we don't want any fires!

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And admire! Aren't they pretty?