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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Blogging and Books

 ~ 9 years of blogging turned into books ~
Recently, Karen at This Old House 2, asked about blogging and is it dying due to other social media? I've been blogging since 2005, had my share of ups and downs, good comments and not so good comments and still enjoy the process. Some years ago, I blogged about leaving blog land; Kathy, Cedar Pond, encouraged me to continue and I'm glad I took her advice. Dave always enjoyed the blog documentation of our farm and lives; now that he's dead, it means all that more to me. 

 "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" so says Jack Lewis. In November 2011 Dave died suddenly of a heart attack and this quote brought, and brings, me much solace. 

My blog into soft cover books were done by Blog 2 Print and contain front and back photos varying from valley views to photos of the house to, in 2011, a photo of Dave and I while we were in the Azores, islands about 1,000 miles off the Portugal coast. Book prices begin at around $15 and, depending upon what one wants, can go upwards of $100.00. Each of my books cost around $95 to $125 and, yes, that's expensive but I chose to go without other things so I could do this one thing. I will never regret that decision! If you visit their website, they'll give you a 15% coupon which helps. They also have some sort of Rewards program which I'm too stupid to understand -wry smile-.

My comment on Karen's post: "...about the only blogging "rules" I follow are "Keep it nice". If others want to follow a bunch of rules, fine by me but don't try to impose them on me; to each their own. I started blogging in the dark ages of 2005; an acquaintance was blogging and she said it was fun. Along the way, I blogged that I was thinking of stopping and a reader sent me a kind note imploring me to continue, so I have. I'm grateful to her for helping me make that decision; when Dave was alive, he loved reading my blog and took an enormous amount of pleasure in how our days/farm were being documented. Since his death, it's been an enormous source of comfort to me. As you know, I've often written Dave "blog letters" where I poured out my grief stricken heart and worked through the emotional pain and turmoil. I've had my blog made into soft cover books and they too have been a source of comfort. I also blog to sharpen my photography and writing skills and watermark my photos because they are MINE. Like others, I've had them stolen and watermarking them makes it a tad more difficult for the thief. I'm proud of my work, why wouldn't I want to take credit for it?
Finally, I've met a lot of lovely people in "blog land" and have visited some of them in person. I've stayed with Mags and her family in Ireland, Timi and her family traveled by train from their village in Hungary to the city of Budapest and we spent two lovely days together; Jane and Lance opened their home and we shared a delicious luncheon in Budapest. 
Blogging has brought a huge world to a more manageable level and has given me untold joys. Christian sisters, whom I'll never met this side of the veil, pray for me and I for them. When Dave suddenly died, people around the world tucked me into prayer and those prayers, heard by a sovereign God, sustained me.
It's like anything else in life. It can be used for good or evil; I choose good and my life has expanded in ways I could never have dreamt. Is blogging dead or dying? Perhaps but for those with eyes to read and hearts to share blogging will never die." 

This photo of Thistle Cove Farm was taken 2 or 3 miles, as the crow flies, away from the farm. Every now and again, I'll take a drive throughout the valley, camera in hand, and amuse myself by taking photos; a lot of those photos end up on the blog, in the books and on the book covers. Also, all my books have the tag line "The View From My Window, My Cup Overflows" on the front spine. There are two years left to print and one change I made with the 2011 book was to have the year printed on the cover. How much easier it is to find what I'm looking for when the date is on the cover, or spine, of the book!

I've mentioned, too many times, how I'm gathering the information gleaned after Dave's death, into a book. It's a far lengthier process than I'd first imagined due, in part, to the fact I'm still uncovering things that need processing and finishing. Just recently, I found several items that Dave never finished for his mother's estate and she died in 2008! Additionally, I found several items for Dave's estate and, for both estates, my lawyer has to petition the court to re-open the files and have me appointed Executor so both estates can be finished. AAAHHHGGGG doesn't begin to cover my emotional status! 

Added to that particular mix is the fact I have absolutely no clue how to publish a book. I don't have an I need an agent?...I don't have a I self-publish, e-publish, publish a hardback or a spiral note book type that can be placed on the table and, along with a 3-ring  notebook be fully utilized particular to each person or family's needs? If you have any ideas or comments or help...whatsoever...please chirp. 

Finally (you say...finally! -smile-), Leigh, has written 5 Acres & A Dream The Book - The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead. I've looked through the table of contents and it's packed full of useful information. Somewhere in Southern Appalachia (hey, we could be neighbors!) Leigh and her family live on a 5 acre homestead where they live an agrarian lifestyle. We share many similar interests both in the home and on the land and, to date, she's sold more than 1,100 books since first published in December. If I were starting out, her's would be the book I would buy, read and heed.

Why do you blog? Please comment here and then write a post on why you blog and, if you have your blog printed, let me know it worked for you. 

Blessings ~ the myriad women and men whom I've met in blog land and in reality ~ my blog into books ~


  1. I blog because I love the happy connection with people like you AND I love the images.
    You DO need an agent. Do you have the 2014 Writer's Market? Maybe that would help.

  2. Thank you for the info about printing my blog into a book. I'd like to do that when I reach a year old. Can't believe you've been blogging for 9 years! It is a great chronicle of our lives. I started blogging because I like to write, but the biggest surprise for me has been the blogging friends I've met. I continue to pray for you Sandra.

  3. Hello Sandra,
    I started blogging (in 2008) to keep family members up to date on what was happening in our lives. As time has passed I have found that it is a great creative outlet for me and I thoroughly enjoy it! Because of blogging, I have met wonderful people like you, Sandra. You have been a blessing to me from the first time I visited Thistle Cove.

    Hugs to you, Sandra.

  4. Hi Sandra, KathyB was instrumental in supporting me when I first started blogging. I don't even remember how I connected with her but I know I found you through her. So thankful for our friendship, Sandra.
    I began blogging due to mother's passing and the fact that John had become disabled. We were so isolated and blogging allowed me to visit with others and realize that everyone has some heartache/struggle in their lives. It has been a blessing to pray for one another in the good and bad times.
    My brother has had a few blog books printed for me as Christmas gifts. I know you treasure your blog books and the memories of the life you shared with Dave that the photos bring so clearly to mind.
    I continue to remember you in prayer.

  5. Hi Sandra, KathyB was instrumental in supporting me when I first started blogging. I don't even remember how I connected with her but I know I found you through her. So thankful for our friendship, Sandra.
    I began blogging due to mother's passing and the fact that John had become disabled. We were so isolated and blogging allowed me to visit with others and realize that everyone has some heartache/struggle in their lives. It has been a blessing to pray for one another in the good and bad times.
    My brother has had a few blog books printed for me as Christmas gifts. I know you treasure your blog books and the memories of the life you shared with Dave that the photos bring so clearly to mind.
    I continue to remember you in prayer.

  6. I've seen these blog-to-book things before. Maybe someday I'll do that as well. Looking back through my past blog posts always encourages me to keep blogging because it's so interesting and fun to look back at our life together. You forget about some of those things that were seemingly everyday things when they occurred. Plus, I love seeing how my kids have grown throughout the years with my pics that I post.

  7. I think we started blogging around the same time. I blog because I love to write, I love photography, I love to journal, and I love the friends I've made through blogging. I have never been tempted to pull the plug. I did look into publishing my blog but it was prohibitively expensive (maybe because I've written over 2000 photo-filled posts?!?). I would love to have them in book form, but don't know that anyone else would be interested in them, except perhaps my son when he is grown and I am old or gone. I would hate for something to happen and delete all my stuff, though!

  8. So glad to hear you have saved all your blog in print, such a property steeped in history since you have made the decision to move you will always have these to look back on.

  9. I enjoyed your post!
    I started blogging in April 2011, my son was graduating high school. I knew he would be leaving home and thought it was finally time to "play" with some words. I have been doing a bit of short stories and things for probably 25 years or so. I enjoy the process, but find the best things I write have a mind of their own, and take off and pretty much write themselves. I have not blogged a lot in the last several months, lots of upheaval here, pull and tug with a boy becoming a man, medical things, and I just haven't felt the need to pursue or be pursued by the writing much. Things with me are pretty much round and about home, my love of the mountains, and love of the Lord. I am amazed that I have written a few hundred posts, that startles me to the core. But like a lot of things in my life that have disappeared into my memories alone. I enjoy sharing my writing, and my photos, but like you I don't want anyone else to claim them. I actually had a photo stolen and put on a blog in Europe less than 15 minutes after I posted it, that lady claimed it as her own, and was promoting travel to her small country. That was when I began seriously tracking where my posts were going, and who was using them. That was when I also began deleting my posts. I am sticking in my 2 cents, yes I think you need to have an agent simply because your book could well go best seller, and you don't want it stolen out from under you. There are a great many books still out there waiting to be written, but yours seems very unique, and who knows but the help you could give if promoted in the right way. Blessings down on the farm. I first found your blog when the little building with the wool and school children visits were discussed. I remember thinking it was one of the most beautiful settings I had ever seen, and I love to go there. Sorry for the long response, the words have escaped their corral again (grin & hugs).

  10. What a grand idea. The books, I mean. I started blogging June 2009. I've tried printing but it never works on my blog. Good luck on the books. Hope you sell lots!
    I blog because I just enjoy creative writing. Also enjoying reading most everyone else's.
    Luv ~:)

  11. I blog because I wanted an outlet for some more adult contacts. I am a SAHM with 3 kids and a working husband, and find that I miss some daily contact and emotional outlet. Plus I love to share my hobbies with like minded folk.

  12. I looked into printing a book at a local printing facility. It was very eye opening. I have not produced a book yet but it is still on my mind to one day do. Do you have a graphic design program? I have a very simple old one and I've played around with it many times. I think with some time and dedication, I could write/produce a book. But it really helped to go into the printing facility and talk to someone in charge who prints the books. I got a price quote and a few guidelines on margins, bleeds, etc. You can do it! however, the Blog2Print books look fabulous too :)

  13. I did have my blog made into books by Blog 2 Print - love the books. I've quit blogging - just not a season in my life it was satisfying for me. I also had Skip's Caringbridge site made into a book and that is priceless - all the wonderful loving messages of support!
    I met you through your blog and your friendship means a great deal to me!

  14. I've been wanting to do that but have been too lazy!

  15. The books look really well done, a treasure for sure. I started my homestead blog because a fiber blogging buddy wanted to see photos of our new place. I never dreamed I'd have so many visitors, comments, and followers. My blog has been a wonderful journal of what we've done and when. For that reason I blog mostly for myself! But I love the community of like hearts out there, none of whom I'd met any other way.

  16. I really loved this post Sandra. I have thought many times about having my blog published into books like you have done. Your words convinced me I need to "get it done."

    I love blogging. I enjoy having this vehicle to create in word and picture. Each time I create a post I feel like I am telling a bit of MY story . . .

    I began Irish Garden House for me. A friend had created a blog, I liked the flavor and she helped me get started. As I said, initially I did it for me,. The extra bonus is that it opened me to others. I have always loved "people connections" and this has opened a wonderful world of people from all over the world, older, younger, artists, designers, women, men, old, young, joy, sorrow, struggling, success . . . it doesn't matter, it doesn't stop . . . It goes on and on bringing me such joy, richness and blessing.

    Blogging has been a part of my every day since May of 2011 . . . and has brought persons like you Sandra, of Thistle Cove Farm . . . into my life . . .

    It is a very good thing indeed . . .

  17. Dear Sandra ~ I'm not sure what got me started with my blog, but I am ever thankful. I started in Sept. 2008, sharing life, cooking, gardening, crafts, my faith and projects.

    A real blessing has been friends made. What a treasure each friendship is. And oh the outpouring of love and support when losing my dear husband 18 months ago (who they had read about on my blog.)

    Somehow yours and my paths crossed and I am so glad to have found your blog. You have been a GREAT source of inspiration and encouragement to me.

    It would be neat to have blog years made into books. It's something to pray about as I haven't found a money tree yet growing in my gardens. :-) I need to go to the website to check it all out and see what all it entails.

    Have a wonderful weekend ~ FlowerLady

  18. What an interesting post! In 2006 a cousin of mine suggested I cut down on emails and ink by sharing my photos and a bit of our life that we live so far away from them in the form of a blog, personal stuff still goes by email, letters or in phone calls. For years I didn't venture into blog-land but once I did I was delighted and why I enjoy reading blogs today, particularly yours, I love the personal side you and others share. Printing is a great idea, though I do not...

  19. I am so happy to read all of this, Sandra. You are moving forward at your own pace, exactly as it should be. Definitely, make your blog into a book. You have written some mighty powerful posts and we wouldn't want to lose those in the www. I blog because it's a kind of fulfillment of the soul. Meeting wonderful people via this process is the icing on the cake. It just proves how alike most of humanity really is. xx's

  20. Sandra-- I think this is just incredible-- what a wonderful way to preserve these memories. You've shared beautiful photos and stories on your blog-- making these books even more special. I think this was a wonderful investment in your life's history--


  21. Blogging is a wonderful creative outlet for me...I've learned so much and met so many great people. I've printed three books so far, and have a couple more I need to do. I think it's a wonderful way to keep what I have done and to share as a keepsake with my family in the future.

  22. Wow Sandra that is really insightful.
    I liked reading this, I am glad you kept blogging because I didn't even discover blogs until 2009.
    I wouldn't have ever met you.
    I started blogging as a writing exercise. To write books was always a goal. To learn to be a good writer you need to write every day. So I started it with blogging. No one ever told me that fellow bloggers would become my friends and family. I would laugh and cry and walk with them and their stories and have been so blessed by it.
    I sometimes think of stopping. But then I realize, how do you stop doing something that you love so much. It is about the people I have met more than the words I use.
    Lovely post.

  23. Your books look wonderful - I have often times thought about doing this as I have heard of it several years ago. I blog almost every day though and that is a lot of print - early days for me were 2007, I just recently heard some mention they thought blogging was dying out - I don't know about that - I sure see a lot of quilters blogging.

  24. I started my Backwoods Crazy Quilt blog back in Jan. of 2009, but before that I had what we then called a web page, before blogs started. I filled it with tons of information about homeschooling. After all of that work the site was removed. They said they would transfer my web page to a new site, but it was all scrambled and ruined. SO, I do feel the need to save all of these posts, but I feel the cost would be prohibitive. I've begun copying and pasting my posts into Word documents. I hope to print them out a little at a time and put them in a three ring binder. Not as nice as the books, but it will preserve the posts and photos. I've only done my Backwoods Crazy Quilt blog so far and I have over 350 pages! I still want to do my Pen and Ink blog also. Whew!
    I've started several blogs over the past few years, but decided to concentrate just on the Pen and Ink one. It's too much work keeping up with multiple blogs! Now I put everything in one place. Blogging has been a wonderful experience. My husband was disabled and we spent a lot of time at home, so it gave me something creative to do and helped me to meet some great ladies! :) It's also a good way to keep a family history and to save pictures of art work that I've given away.

  25. I blogged pretty consistently for 10 years and then stopped in 2012. I wish I hadn't stopped. It's so hard to get back into the habit yet I miss it and want to get back into blogging. Social media has the advantage (disadvantage??) of immediacy & instant feedback but it usually lacks the depth, thoughtfulness and heart that a good blog post has. I'd love to take all my old blog posts and create a book from them. Maybe eventually I will get around to it. And as soon as we are a bit settled on our new homestead I plan to get back to blogging. You'll have to let me know when/where you move in central VA. If I had a vote it would be near us along the 360, (King William or King & Queen county) beautiful farm country and we could be neighbors! ;)

  26. Such a Blogger-book is a wonderful idea, dear Thistle!

    My son showed me how to blog, because I sent a lot of e-mail-photos with short text to my frends, and my son said, when i have a blog they can see my stories and art, whenever THEY want! :)

    With blogging I met new intersting, dear and for me very valuable new friends.

    And a lot of hidden fans from different countries :)

    I like to present my art by this way, so I dont have to plan complicated exhibitions and can look after my animals.

    Thank you for this good question about personal experiences about blogging!

  27. Good questions! I blog because I love to TALK :), and b/c my extended family keeps up with us that way. Then I realized I have a wonderful photographic and written record of my family's life for posterity. And lastly, I discovered so many wonderful friends -- just the right kind of friends: kind, there for me when I need them, quiet when I need a break, supportive, and interested in my interests also.
    I've known others who turned their blog info into yearly books. I love that idea a LOT, but imagine it would be out of my budget. Maybe later.
    I'm interested in that book! I think your friend is writing to an increasing audience. More and more people are interested in returning to an earlier lifestyle, getting away from our consumer-driven rat-race, and reacquainting themselves with nature, gardening, small homes, more self-sufficiency, and raising children there. Adam and I hope to buy an acre or two and build a cob home before we are too old to do it.


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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