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Art, Blog Stuff

Where have you been?

1 October, 2013

“I just noticed you haven’t been blogging!”
At the risk of indulging in some navel gazing and completely turning away those of you who hadn’t already written me off, I thought I might make a low key comeback by interrogating myself and asking why I haven’t been blogging.

When I wrote about fatshion blogging and the sticky web it is weaving with brand partnerships and how it is mirroring fashion in mainstream media, I got a lot of flack. People didn’t want to have these tough questions put to them and accused me of ruining the fun, personally insulting them, and being a no-fun hack. It wasn’t a particularly enjoyable experience and I gained little from it. I don’t even think fatshion bloggers paid much attention at all, because at this stage I still see that pretty much every blogger, even the ones just starting out, are going for brand appeal. In my mind, success as a blogger was breaking through to mainstream media and increasing my audience, and the way to do that was to participate in a culture I did not agree with – ergo I could never be successful as a blogger.

My decision to drop the sponsorship and advertising meant far less content. My financial situation meant far fewer new purchases, and in turn my outfit posts dropped as well. At the same time, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on medication; as easy as it is to say that the medication affected my ability to write, I can’t fully pin the blame there. We bought a house, and that meant even more financial struggle. My focus changed to figuring out how to make money as a person with disabilities, and a person who has self-taught skills and a fairly rigid set of values. (I am, if not anti-capitalist, definitely a doubting capitalist.) I wasn’t going to get a book deal from blogging because I was saying things people didn’t really want to hear, my audience was dwindling, and I’m not actually a very good or disciplined writer.

Watercolour self portrait of myself posing and taking a selfie with my phone. Hand drawn text says "Selfie princess".

Watercolour self portrait of myself taking a selfie with my phone while looking insecure and posing. Hand drawn text says “Selfie princess”.


A watercolour and ink self portrait as I beam rays of coloured lights from my eyes. The background is very heavily patterned with doodles.

A watercolour and ink self portrait of me staring ambiguously, beaming rays of coloured lights from my eyes. The background is very heavily patterned with doodles.


After five years of focusing on fine art, I decided to review my situation. No one was buying my original art because it was too expensive for the small circle of really lovely people who populate my audience, and I was struggling with the gallery system due to a lack of social skills and ongoing mental health problems. If no one has ever destroyed the troubled artist trope for you before, please allow me to do it now. Mental illness is a barrier to success in the art world. There are a number of artists who deal with illness and have found success but by far, the majority do not ever get there. So I needed to reconfigure my product and tailor it to my lifestyle. I already had Fancy Lady Industries so it seemed natural to expand! And for the last year that has been exactly what I’ve been focusing on.

Running Fancy Lady Industries has been full time and then some. I sketch, design, trial, produce, and put all the products together; I document my processes; I take product photos and write descriptions; I run the shop; I pack orders; and Nick and I promote on social media. I’ve been able to develop my stock and my business on my terms, and it is incredibly fulfilling and meaningful work.

Three Instagram photos of a decorated plate saying "Full as a goog"; a self portrait of myself making a fairly unattractive face; a sketchbook page with a drawing of a naked me playing ukulele and text saying "My mascara isn't waterproof".

Instagram photos of a decorated plate saying “Full as a goog”; a self portrait of myself making a fairly unattractive face; a sketchbook page with a drawing of a naked me playing ukulele and text saying “My mascara isn’t waterproof”.


Three Instagram photos of my niece Emmerson; my lilac/ pink ukulele; earrings and other accessories I made for Fancy Lady Industries.

Three instagram photos: my niece Emmerson; my lilac/ pink ukulele; earrings and other accessories I made for Fancy Lady Industries.


Oh but I have had time for other things that aren’t especially interesting on a former fatshion blog! I’ve been taking care of my brain, playing ukulele, sewing, gardening and decorating my house. I’ve been drawing and painting as well, but for me, rather than for ~fine art~. I document all of this on Instagram and Twitter, and see little reason to repeat myself on this blog.

I’m still trying to figure out where definatalie.com fits in. I don’t write as much anymore because I have lots of stuff to do, but I have also lost a lot of concentration and word-finding ability on Lamotrigine (the med I take for bipolar). I don’t believe I need to shut down the blog because I hate the idea of never writing again, or never posting another photo of myself wearing clothes. I still believe representation of fat bodies is important! This will never be a daily content blog in the foreseeable future, because I see little value in an obligatory blogging schedule when I have naught to say. You will see me now and then when I have something I need to elaborate on. That’s the value of blogging in the current sphere of social media. You get my quick quips on Twitter, off the cuff snaps on Instagram, largely unedited rants and other things I like on Tumblr, but here on my blog you will be able to consume something longer, and a little more considered. (But probably still kind of inflammatory/ provocative/ charming?)

Blog Stuff

Check out my press kit!

27 November, 2012

definatalie.com press kit 2012 (click to embiggen)

About a year ago I was designing a serious press kit. I was going to get advertising and sponsorship and I would have pretty things and shoes and it would have been SO GRAND. I never finished it because it didn’t feel right and I’m glad I didn’t go through with it. I know I would have lost the trust of plenty of you, and without you I’m just writing to myself.

It’s worth mentioning that I do not have anything against bloggers with press kits who are in brand relationships and earn stuff off their blogs. It’s just not something I feel good in my soul about.

My favourite part is the bio written by Lillian who is the most hilarious person ever.

Mr. and Mrs. Natalie’s parents were walking down a path on a warm summer day in Brisbane when they saw a fat fruit swinging from a mysterious tree. They approached it and it burst open revealing a fancy baby. They clutched the baby in their arms and named her Natalie.

Some years later, Natalie had made a name for herself in the worlds of art, blogging and radical fat positivity. She has a cute dog named Miffy and lots of fancy experience doing fancy things and also of sitting at home belching glitter bubbles in her garden.

Have you entered the Fancy Lady Industries giveaway? There’s still two days left! Get entering!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Stuff

Nesting doll winner announcement!

1 August, 2011

A photo of the nesting doll with all dolls packed away inside. It's painted turquoise and white with gold accents and paisley motifs. Hand lettering in a thought bubble says, "Who won us?"


It’s time to announce the winner of the nesting doll set…

~drumroll~

A screenshot of random.org's random number generator picking number 174 out of 250 entries.


I exported the results from my survey and opened them in Excel, then I went to random.org to pick a random number. It chose number 174 and on line 174 was…

A photo of the five nesting dolls from smallest to biggest. A speech bubble from the four smaller dolls proclaims, "It was Caitlin! Congratulations!" A banner down the bottom of the photo says, "Thanks for all your feedback!"


Caitlin’s survey response! I’ve already emailed her to congratulate her and ask for her postage details. My nesting dolls will be making their way to her place in New Zealand. Horah!

Thank you to the 250 people who filled out my blog survey over the last week and a bit. Now I have heaps of information for my media kit and I’ve already begun to use your feedback to make useful changes to my blog.

I like doing giveaways! I’d love to find more stuff to giveaway so if you’re a business or maker of nice stuff and would like to host a giveaway on my blog you should get in touch with me. It’s good fun :D

Blog Stuff

Blog Housekeeping.

31 July, 2011

If you’ve been to my site in the last few hours you might have noticed that I’ve shuffled a few things about on definatalie.com. The most significant change is that I’m now using the conventional reverse chronologically ordered layout rather than the magazine style layout I’ve had for some time.

I made the change for a few reasons, most of them to do with accessibility. A magazine style layout limits the amount of information readers can see at a glance and necessitates a lot more clicking. I don’t like clicking a whole lot, so it didn’t make sense to force my readers to! While magazine themes appeal to my need to group information and present it clearly, it doesn’t really work for blogs and if I were to have a useful magazine-themed blog I’d have to undertake far more code tweekery than I’m capable of to make it work.

The layout switch was also important to me because I don’t update my blog as regularly as I used to, and the latest posts in the highlighted categories on the front page were remaining static for far too long. The layout didn’t easily show readers what the freshest content was, and isn’t that kind of what blogging is about?! Readers were having trouble finding new stuff as well as old, so I’m hoping that the new layout will make that easier. Every post displays a hyperlinked category now, and I’ll be tidying up my unwieldy category list so I can display it in the sidebar too. For now you can see the most recent posts in a select number of categories in the top right of the sidebar, those are the categories I post in frequently.

In the latest layout I’ve also increased the font size of the body text, changed hyperlinks to a nice blue colour, included links to my social media places in the sidebar, and listed my blogroll in full on every page. The footer has a little blurb about me, some popular posts I’ve written and a search bar.

I’ll probably be tweaking this layout for a while because there are still things that bother me! One major thing is related to image descriptions, as descriptions appear within the image caption on the site but for those who view my blog posts via an RSS feed those captions are unformatted text indistinguishable from the post text. Nick thinks I can’t hard code an italic tag in there, but I’m going to see if I can figure it out!

I’ll be doing some more research on accessibility and web pages to make my blog as easy to read as possible while still looking cute and reflecting my own personal style. I felt it was important to switch out the very limiting magazine theme as soon as possible based on my increasing discomfort and feedback on my survey (thank you!) I’m also going to write up a page on accessibility so that new readers can gain an understanding of why I incorporate image descriptions, animated gif warnings and other things into my blog.

Come on and check it out!

Let me know if there are any significant obstacles to easy reading of definatalie.com for you and I’ll see if I can make your experience better. I truly believe that the Internet can only benefit from more involvement and consultation when it comes to accessibility, and I’d love to be able to enhance access for my readers because youse are GROUSE!

Blog Stuff

Would you help me build a media kit for my blog? I have a bribe!

21 July, 2011

A graphic with hand drawn block letters in a fridge magnet style. It says “definatalie.com is about” and a whole bunch of words including: fat, acceptance, empowerment, personal style, fashion, art, community.

More and more I’m asked to provide media and other interested parties with information about myself and my blog, so I’ve been preparing a kit with all sorts of information. It includes a profile of me and this blog, talking about my ethos and reasons for blogging as well as data on traffic and demographics. Down the line I might start offering advertising spaces but I’m still thinking about that!

I need your assistance when it comes to demographic information, and if you’d like to help me out I’ve made a quick survey to fill out. None of the questions are mandatory, but obviously the more information you graciously provide the more I can tell people about the fabulous folks who read definatalie.com. There’s also a place to give me feedback as I consider my current site design and how I can make it more useful and accessible. If you’d like to write a testimonial so I can include it for big-noting purposes, that would be grand too!

A photo of a collection of five nesting dolls painted in turquoise with gold accents. Each is decorated with flowers and paisley shapes.


If you do fill out the survey, I’ll put you in the draw to win this hand painted nesting doll set by me!

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

Fill out my survey to go into the draw!
I’ll draw the winner at random on August 1 2011.

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

Art, Blog Stuff

Primping and preening

14 July, 2010

Vectorised lettering that says "WELCOME GOOD TO KNOW YOU" in shades of green block lettering as well as "AND NOW FOR SOME" in pink and "fance" in a green fancy script style.

I've drawn a banner for my blog in black and grey, with a large badge saying 'definatalie.com' and paisley behind it.

I did a bit of sprucing up on my blog this evening. I’d been meaning to for a while but time had gotten away from me! As always, I got way too into it and started playing in Illustrator with lettering I’d copied from sketches.

My soundtrack all day has been Sia’s new album, We Are Born and I love it. It’s been on repeat!

Click one of the images if you’d like to pop over and take a closer look at the new header.
:)

Blog Stuff

Archive this!

24 May, 2010

I got an email the other day from the National Library of Australia, asking if I would grant a license for my blog to be archived in PANDORA for perpetuity. Not really understanding the awesomeness of this, I turned to Twitter… to find out that this was in fact, a Big Deal.

The National Library of Australia archives web sites of “national significance” in PANDORA. Blow me down, youse guys, definatalie.com is of national significance! It’s always been very important for me to write with an Australian voice, about Australian things, especially considering the under representation of independent Australian fat feminist female voices in the bloggosphere. A lot of Aussies blog, but we aren’t especially visible because our country has some funny ideas about traditional media being untouchable and righteous, even when it has some serious issues (ethics, sexism, racism, classism, access… the list goes on.)

I think because many Australians are suspicious of the internet, and blogging, it’s been hard for me to find an audience while keeping my focus local. I’ve been blogging for a few years now and it’s only in the last year that I’ve been able to connect with Aussies and other southern hemisphere dwellers. In previous years my online network had been largely US-centric, which frustrated me beyond what many of my US friends could comprehend.

Hugely instrumental in my recent surge in readership, Twitter has been a revelation. Many of the early adopters of Twitter were people from Brisbane, my own city. It was amazing having more local people to talk to and meet up with, and even more amazing seeing lots of those people start blogs as well!

To be included in PANDORA is a huge honour, and despite being aware of the drawbacks, I granted the NLA a license to archive definatalie.com. I don’t blog for SEO, I don’t blog for money. Sure, I take (an embarrassingly modest) revenue from advertising but that’s to cover my hosting and domain expenses. I am passionate about self expression, and I am enthusiastic about using the internet to connect with people because my interests, location and circumstances can be very isolating. The internet is a powerful and positive medium for people to engage in discussion on topics that have a hard time seeing light of day in mainstream media. It’s also been an incredibly empowering medium for self promotion. You wouldn’t know about me otherwise! It’s amazing to think that my observations and ramblings won’t die when my domain runs out, and it motivates me to keep writing about the things that are important to me.

Finally, I wanted to let you know that I have written a comments policy for my blog. It’s been a long time coming, and with all the traffic of the recent weeks it’s definitely overdue. If you’ve never said hello before, please do. It’d be nice to meet you :D

Blog Stuff, Fashion

Outfits from the last week

21 September, 2009

The other day I tentatively asked on Twitter whether I should start posting outfit of the day (OOTD) photos here, and was met with a rather confidence boosting and unanimous “YES”. I’ve been posting outfit photos to various flickr pools as well as the Fatshionista Livejournal community for a while, whenever I’ve remembered to take a photo. Now you get to see the sometimes silly, occasionally boring, often fancy concoctions I formulate to put on my body right here!

City OOTD

Dress: Love Forever (Myer Brand)
Camisole: Big W
Tights: Big W
Scarf: Sportsgirl
Shoes: Spendless Shoes
Sunnies: Market vendor
Bag: Satchi (Myer Brand)

My lap is a picnic basket

Top: City Chic
Skirt: A prototype bubble skirt I made last night!
Belt: Yours Clothing
Tights: Big W
Shoes: Evans
Necklace: gift

You might have noticed in my sidebar to the right *motions* that I have two new things. The first is a feed of photos that have been posted to my Tumblr group, FUCKYEAHDEATHFATTIES. For newcomers, the phrase “death fatty” is a humorous take on the BMI category of “morbidly obese”. My intention for the group is to dispel any sort of notion that death fatties are anywhere close to the threshold of morbidity. For more of my opinions on fat you should check out Axis of Fat – a group blog that deals with the topic of fatness in Australia.

The second thing is that I’m trialling Project Wonderful ads for a little while. I decided to ditch Google Adsense when I got sick of weeding out all the rotten snake-oil hocking body shaming/ weight loss advertisements. I’m also looking into the Nuffnang community, which focuses on the Asia-Pacific region and sources tailored advertising. I know the topic of blog monetisation is a little sensitive, but the reality is that I have blog that has steadily increasing traffic and hosting costs that are only going to increase exponentially! I also spend a lot of time and effort on my blog, offering free desktops every month in addition to other freebies.

At the moment, I have set the minimum cost of Project Wonderful slots to $0 – so right now, you can advertise for absolutely nothing! This, of course, will change as advertisers compete with each other for my affections advertising slots, but if you’re after something for nothing (i.e: traffic!) do go and grab some free advertising sooner rather than later!

Blog Stuff

All new definatalie.com, again!

20 September, 2009

I decided to move my website from the Serendipity platform to WordPress, and in the process figured that if I was going to port the design over… I may as well redesign it! So now definatalie.com has a new bone structure and a makeover, and I’m quite proud of her! You should come check it out.

Unfortunately due to the change to WordPress and Disqus the commenting system, I’ve lost some comments and some of the formatting may be a bit wobbly. If you spot a post where the formatting looks odd, please do drop me a comment to tell me! I know for sure that in my last post all the comments were lost, so that just means you’ll have to comment 150% harder :P

I need to thank Nick for helping me with all the hard bits over the last few days. You’re the best husband I’ve ever married!