Welcome! You may notice this week’s interview is a day late. I spent all day Saturday reminding myself that I needed to work on this post, only to completely forget on Sunday. Oops! Monday afternoon, it suddenly hit me. So, my apologies to this week’s guest, Abby Glassenberg!
New to Morning Coffee? Monday mornings we sit down with some of my favorite writers & creative people, and get to know a little bit about their blogs and why they do what they do.
Once in a while I also interview Polka Dot Cottage readers, so if you write a creative blog and would like to participate some future week, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it!
Ready for today’s interview? Let’s go 🙂
How I found While She Naps
Abby Glassenberg is a soft toy designer. Her blog While She Naps first appeared on my radar in 2009 when she was interviewed on the Craftsanity podcast. In more recent years, Abby has gotten my attention through her thought-provoking crafty-business blog posts. You may have noticed that her links frequently appear as part of my Weekend Favorites…
Q&A with Abby Glassenberg
It’s so nice to have Abby here today. Read on!
Welcome, Abby! When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in May of 2005. I had read about blogs in the New York Times and thought, “There must be people sharing their crafts on a blog, right?” The first blog I found was Loobylu by Claire Robertson. She had a challenge called Month of Softies in which she put out a theme each month and you made a softie based on that theme. When I realized that I could enter just by taking a picture and posting it to Flickr, I was in. I started While She Naps a few weeks later. I was going to to name it While She’s Napping, but when I wrote that out it looked like While She Snapping.
Has your blog evolved significantly since you began it, and if so, how?
Yes, it definitely has. I think a blog has to evolve as you go through life or you’ll abandon it. All of us change over time and a blog can and probably should change, too.
In the beginning I was a new mom. I’d just left my job as middle school teacher and I was exploring what it was to be home with a baby. I’ve always been crafty so I was baking and decorating cakes, making origami, doing some sewing, and planting a garden.
Within a few months, sewing really became a bigger focus and I was more and more draw to sewing toys and dolls. Designing and sewing three dimensional animals has been a constant since then. There were a few years in which I was just making soft sculpture birds. Then I wrote a book about birds and got it out of my system! After that I was exploring soft toy design. I wrote about book about that, but I still love it dearly and I don’t think I will ever stop loving it!
Once I submitted the manuscript for my second book I started selling PDF sewing patterns and that’s when my business took off. I began to write about the ins and outs of running a business, while also writing about sewing softies. Blogging is a big part of running an online business for me. So today While She Naps is about designing and sewing softies, blogging, and running a creative business. I told you it changed!
How does your blog fit in to your daily life?
I’ve blogged about 3 times a week for 9 years. For the first 8 years it was more casual and my only requirement was to be sure to post that often each week. Now I have a more regularized schedule which I think came about because I started a podcast in January. I have to book guests well in advance so I needed a year-long calendar. Once I had the calendar, I started scheduling in all the posts for the month.
Each week I aim to write a post about each of my three topic areas so that you get one post about blogging, one about sewing, and one about business. It doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s my overall structure.
Is blogging something you can easily explain to your family and friends?
More and more I find that people do understand what a blog is. For years and years I just didn’t talk about it, but now I know lots of people with blogs including many friends and people who live near me. I’m still not sure people truly understand that for me my blog is my job. It’s not optional. It is the absolute hub of my business and it’s something I have to do three times a week in a quality way.
How important are reader comments to you?
My mom wrote for the Washington Post when I was growing up. I really see my blog as a news outlet in a lot of ways, reporting on what I see happening in the sewing industry and the online culture of craft. I make a lot of calls for my blog posts, interviewing people over the phone, for example, which I think might be sorta rare among craft bloggers.
I do aim to provoke discussion at times. I try to bring to the surface things that are happening that might not otherwise be noticed so that we as a community can examine and discuss them.
In what ways has blogging enhanced your life, if any?
Blogging has enhanced my life tremendously. When I left my job as a teacher I never imagined that I could have a career as an artist and writer like I do now. All of it came through my blog, While She Naps. I wrote two books, licensed my designs to Simplicity, taught many in-person classes, and developed dozens of relationships with amazing people. I love having an online platform for creative expression. It motivates me to work hard and to develop all of my skills. It’s the best.
Any parting thoughts?
I just moved my blog from Typepad to WordPress which was very scary! I love my new home and I’d invite you to come check it out!
Thank you, Abby, for taking the time to answer my questions and for allowing me to use your photos to illustrate our conversation. It’s been a pleasure!