Morning Coffee with Penny Richards | Polka Dot Cottage

Morning Coffee with Penny Richards

Posted August 2nd, 2010 by

It’s been a long time since we last sat around together for a cup of Morning Coffee and a chat, hasn’t it?  I thought it was high time we rejuvenated this little idea, and so I am happy today to introduce Penny and her blog, Pennamite.

Pennamite

I think I find it easier to write these little blurbs for people who I only know through their blogs.  I’ve been staring at this page for 15 minutes unsure of where to start.

Penny and I met on a message board for mothers of babies born in March 2000 (mine actually showed up two weeks early in February – they let me stick around anyway).  We’ve exchanged CDs and enjoyed each others’ musical taste.  She’s given me valuable advice when I’ve needed it.  We’ve only met in person once.

I’ve always found Penny to be an interesting person.  And in that regard, with such content as My appalling birthplace (sixth in an infinite series) and Mocha Antlers Hat, her blog doesn’t disappoint.

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you might remember Penny’s winning bag from the Big Button Challenge we had in the Spring of 2009.

Q&A With Penny Richards

Penny is super creative, with a knack for thrift shopping, and a bold sense of style (not to mention an enviable collection of hats & shoes).  So let’s get on with the questions, shall we?

When and why did you start your blog?

I started blogging about disability topics at Disability Studies, Temple U., at the invitation of my friend Mike Dorn in 2005.  He thought it would suit my listserv editor’s love of sharing tidbits and gathering up links, and he was right.   I still blog there, too, but have since added… gulp… nine other blogs to my profile.  Pennamite is my personal blog; I have two project blogs (Letters from Sanquhar and Mordecai Female Academy), where I’m unfolding some history projects in blog format; I manage blogs for some local organizations (South Bay Hands on Art, Huntington Women’s Studies Seminars) and contribute to others (Art of Making Change, Madison School CSA).  I also sometimes contribute posts to The Thrifty Garde Robe and Indicommons, which aren’t local.  I think that’s it!

Has your blog evolved significantly since you began it, and if so, how?

Probably answered that above.  I like the possibilities of the blog format for seeing someone’s work evolve, and for gathering contributions and feedback from a wider audience.   But I also like having separate, very focused blogs for separate projects.

How does your blog fit in to your daily life?

Posting when the mood strikes, pretty much.  Blogging is a volunteer thing, I don’t want to feel obligated to it.  Some months I’ll have dozens of blog posts in me; some months, I might get around to doing five posts total.  If someone wants more from me, they can send me a check. ;)

Is blogging something you can easily explain to your family and friends?

My mother comments on my personal blog!   Cracks me up.  Honestly, I don’t know who all reads what, anymore.  I guess a lot of folks read whatever gets linked at Facebook.  I just try to remember it’s all out there and anyone CAN read it, anytime.  That’s good for keeping me honest and civil.

How important are reader comments to you?

Comments are fun!  But would I blog without them?  Sure.  I like writing and I like making sites that reflect my interests and projects–that’s the main focus.  And it’s handy to have your favorite tutorials and lists and photos and recipes and whatnot all in a linkable, searchable format.

In what ways has blogging enhanced your life, if any?

The disability studies blog was a great place to start, and remains a valuable outlet for me.  I developed several posts from there into encyclopedia entries, for example.  The way blogs let you participate in larger conversations is also a joy (most of the time!).  I love organizing the Disability Blog Carnival (though I haven’t hosted an edition in years), and hosting editions of the History Carnival, and joining in blogswarms for various causes.

What are your thoughts about the ways blogging has morphed into a part of the whole social media picture?

I used to blog more, but now I find some of those functions are better served with Twitter or Facebook; many of my blog posts are only images from Flickr, which I started on because of YOU, Mrs. Clarke.  And… If I hadn’t started on Flickr, I wouldn’t have found the Flickr Commons, and then I wouldn’t have started making purses with their images, and then I wouldn’t have my Etsy shop.   So you and your blog are responsible for that, in many ways!

Thank you, Penny!  I enjoyed your answers, in particular the last one.  I will be keeping an eye out for my commission check :-)

Want more?  You can find Penny in the following places:

  • Blog: Pennamite
  • Shop: Pennamite
  • And all of those blogs listed in answer to the first question!
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