Saturday, December 12, 2015

Story Time: What's in a Blog Name?

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The sun rising over Lake Carnegie in Princeton, NJ on Friday morning, December 11, 2015

Where did my blog name come from?

Sometimes I transpose words in my head.  For example, I would see someone mowing the lawn, and I would think they were vacuuming the lawn.

I thought that would be a great name for a novel, if I ever wrote a novel.

I'm never going to write a novel.

In 2006, I stumbled across a Project Runway marathon on Bravo.  It happened to be judging time, and Michael Kors was talking and I was like, What.Is.This.Show????  Since it was a marathon, I kept watching and was hooked. I had been sewing off and on since I was 12, but wasn't actively sewing in 2006.   That weekend, after watching PR, I sewed a tank top from stash fabric (that's back when my fabric stash fit in a laundry basket).  I kept on sewing after that and haven't really stopped since.

Meanwhile, in 2007, I was heavily addicted to drinking bottled water, and the empty bottles were taking over my house, my desk at work, and my car.  I decided that for 2008, I would try to do a year without bottled water, and that I would blog about the experience.

What to name it?

Vacuuming the Lawn.

As it turns out, doing without bottled water was not a dramatic experience and not all that blog worthy.  I think I wound up drinking less than 30 bottles of water that year (mainly while traveling) when I was drinking more than that a week previously. It was really not a big deal.

In March of 2008, I joined Pattern Review because I was desperate to read a review that was more than 6 months old, and you had to have a PR account to read reviews older than 6 months.   I started reading lots of reviews.  It was through a review that I learned about setting sleeves in flat. What an eye opener!!

Meanwhile, I was sewing, and uploading pictures to my Flickr account, but not labeling them with pattern names or numbers.  Red dress felt like an appropriate label.

In June of 2008, I wanted to give back to the PR community by writing my own reviews.  I wrote 6 reviews in one day, and the very first person to comment on my reviews was ATP.

ATP had a blog at that time, CleverGirl.org, which I started reading.

She started going through my Flickr photos and wanted to know pattern names or numbers.

She also wanted to know if I had a blog.  Yup, I do, but not about sewing.

She said I should write about sewing.

So I started writing about sewing in Sept 2008, using my Vacuuming the Lawn blog.  It never occurred to me to start another blog with a "more appropriate" sewing name.

Periodically I would think about renaming my blog, but then last year Meg at McCalls introduced me to the McCalls President at their booth at the ASE, and she said I was "from Vacuuming the Lawn".  I kind of cringed at my own blog name.    The name had no connection to sewing.

I got new labels over the summer this year.  Having Vacuuming the Lawn printed on them didn't seem all that exciting (and kind of long) so I went with my name.

So, I started thinking about what I would call my blog if I rebranded it.

My maternal great-grandmother's name was Betty Little, and I thought that would be a cool name, albeit that has nothing to do with sewing either.  And then it turned out there already is a sewing blogger whose blog name was Little Betty Sews (she has since changed it), and I didn't want to get confused with her.

I was on a work conference call and the discussion was about "unstitched" forms, which made me think about changing the name to Unstitched.  But that turned out to be a home decor blog.

I brainstormed with the temp at work, and the best name that came out of that was Jersey Stitched.  I'm from New Jersey, I live in New Jersey, I love sewing with knits (jersey), and it has a sewing term in the name.

However, after talking to many people this summer, particularly at MPB Day, the overwhelming opinion was to NOT change my blog name.  It is unique and people generally remember it (or some variation on it, like Mowing the Lawn).

And so, my blog is still Vacuuming the Lawn.

For now.  And maybe forever.

Be well!

48 comments:

  1. This is a really interesting post -- I also have frequent thoughts of changing my blog name, as I started it to simply make note of projects I was doing for the 30 Days of Creativity group, a few years ago. I had no intention of creating a sewing blog, as I wasn't really sewing all that much then, either. It's an eternal question!

    That said, I do like "Vacuuming the Lawn" as your name :)

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    1. ps - "lawn" is a also a nice sewing term :)

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    2. Oh my goodness! It has never, ever crossed my mind about "lawn" and its connection to sewing! Great point!

      I have to go check out your blog now!

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  2. I like your blog name. It is memorable precisely because it has nothing to do with sewing!

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    1. Thanks Tomasa! That was the general consensus at MPB Day, that it's memorable (This convo was had while we walked from the flea market to the FIT museum). :)

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  3. That was so awesome to read Kyle!!! And hilarious how you came to be Vacuuming the Lawn :)

    I've also thought about changing my blog name to something exclusively sewing related but am unsure.

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    1. Thanks Nakisha! Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the post.

      I think your blog name is unique and says it all. :)

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  4. I love your blog name and always look forward to reading your posts.
    Hope to meet you in real life some day.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know, Eileensews!
      Hope to get to meet you some day too!

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  5. I think I started reading you because your name was so unusual. I saw from reading other blogs' comments that you were frequently commenting too. I liked what you were writing. All the other blogs with sew this and sew that in it get mixed up in my brain. I like that you write about your princeton farmers market and your tiny pumpkins as well as the sewing. I admit, I did not know about your bottled water addiction.
    I boil all my drinking water.

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    1. Thanks Kathy for the kind words and for letting me know about my blog name, and that you like when I write about the Princeton Farmers Market and the pumpkinettes.

      I did not know that you boil all your drinking water!

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  6. I often wish that I had named my blog some cute and catchy name. I still might change it, but to what I do not know.

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  7. I love your blog name and was hoping to the end you wouldn't say you are going to change it! I thought it was such a random but super clever name... I love it doesn't give anything away... mystery and intrigue! I'm so glad you are keeping it.. on the plus side now I know the story! I even miss your profile photo with the daisies!

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    1. Awwww, I love that you were hoping til the end that I wasn't going to change it!!

      I am a Scorpio so maybe that's where all this mystery and intrigue is coming from!!

      Ah yes, the profile photo with the daisies! I think that was taken in 2008 or so, they are black eyed susans from the Princeton Farmers Market. Should I bring that picture back?

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    2. Oh yes I love it! It was so intriguing too.

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  8. At last, now I understand where the name of your blog comes from. Thanks !!!
    When I encounter blogs with what seems to me to be funny strange names I always wonder if there is a mystery story, idiom or commonly know story that I don't know of. Since I'm not a native English speaker there is always a doubt about the true meaning of a name. I might even sometimes think a (short) name has no meaning when it would actually be a word play :-D. It can strike me like years later ! Your blog name remained one of those mysteries. Is there something I should get in the name or what. Now I know I couldn't have guessed and your named remained a mystery to all your readers !
    I agree with what said above, your name is singular and helps me to remember your blog without confusing you with others. When you comment too I know it's you. Easier to remember than short Sew Sew Someone for instance
    I've been considering starting my own sewing blog as well and when I think of it I try hard to find a unique and catchy name..,, still thinking and no blog started yet :-D
    Lo live your blog !

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    1. Wow, thank you Nane for your thoughtful response! In my last job I worked with a lot of non-native English speakers and so I know what you mean about the idioms. My favorite example was when I said I made cookies "from scratch" (which means, with individual ingredients and not from a prepackaged box mix) and one of my coworkers held up her hand as if she was scratching and asked for clarification. :)

      Let me know if you start a blog--I'd love to read it!

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    2. Ah ah, sweet story ! ;-)

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  9. Maybe all of us bloggers have the same thoughts! I've often thought about changing mine because it's too long and unwieldy, but like you I've had it for a long time and everyone knows me by it so it's probably best not to change.

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    1. I really like your blog name, Kristy! I was using it as an example of creative sewing blog names to my non-sewing friends this summer.

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    2. I love that name too ! Sounds a kind of "teachery"" to me, in a good and positive way. I imagine a lady teaching a class of very attentive ladies willing to learn the right way "and now, ladies, lower your pressed foot..." and everyone would do so and start sewing orderly. This is what I picture each time I read your blog name. I love that mental image ;-). But what is the real story behind that name anyways ?
      And I love reading your blog too by the way !

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  10. Ever since I found your blog I've wondered what the story was behind the name ! It's a great name & I love reading your blog

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    1. Thank you MaryEllen and thanks for all your kind words and supportive comments!

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  11. Your blog name shows you have a sense of humor, which I love. Your blog posts are interesting, thoughtful, and fun to read. If you have a chance to go to the Sewing Expo in Puyallup, Washington, it would be fun to meet you.

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    1. Thank you Pencil Girl! The Sewing Expo in Puyallup is on my list, not for 2016 but maybe for 2017!!

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  12. Kyle, what a fun read this was getting to learn more about the journey your blog has taken and how you came up with you blogs name. I didn't realize you had started blogging about getting off the bottled water wagon : ). Your VacuumingtheLawn blog name drew me in because I thought - that sounds like something I'd do, LOL. I just had to read what was behind the name and I've enjoyed it ever since. : )

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    1. Awww thank you James! I had fun writing this essay and am happy you enjoyed it. Some people do indeed vacuum their lawn, as I have learned in a Google image search. :)

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  13. I loved reading this post! This was so interesting!

    My blog name (Happily Caffeinated) has a similarly convoluted backstory, none of which is related to sewing, and obviously, as a sewing blog, my blog's name doesn't have anything to do with sewing. I haven't changed mine either, largely because I couldn't come up with anything better.

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    1. Thank you Michelle Rose! Your blog name is fun and unique.

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  14. This is really your niche Kyle.

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  15. I love your blog name! It is perfect for a woman named Kyle! Thanks for sharing the story.

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    1. Thanks! Should that be my next story, about why I'm named Kyle?

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  16. Great read! I definitely always wondered lol but I will always remember it as vacuuming the lawn lol It's so unique and makes you think "wonder why it's called that"

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    1. Thanks TheTellTaleTasha! That is great to hear!

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  17. I had that conversation with you on MPB Day! It is a very memorable name - please keep it !! Did we also talk about the Great British Sewing Bee ? Rumour has it there is going to be another series :) MPB day was such a great day and a fantastic way to see the Garment District for a newcomer like me - you all made me feel so welcome.

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    1. Hi Claire from England! I found seasons 2 and 3 of the GBSB on youtube and watched them while doing handstitching. I'd love to see another series. I really enjoyed talking with you at MPB Day.

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    2. Hi Claire! I hope Kyle doesn't mind me hi-jacking her blog to say hello. I was just talking about you to my husband while trying to convince him to visit England this year instead of next.

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  18. I love the name. And, around here, lots of people DO "vacuum" their lawns -- with their lawn mowers, collecting leaves in giant bags to dump on the street for the city to pick up (and to blow back into their lawns, or their neighbors' lawns, and cause car wrecks, etc.) or to dump in giant piles at the back of their property and compost.

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    1. Hi LinB! That is true, there are people who vacuum their lawns with their lawn mowers. Around here there are lots of leaf blowers tool blowing the leaves, dust and dirt around. :)

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  19. I always liked your blog name, too. I could see myself continuing my house vacuuming out the door and onto the lawn one day.... How are your roombas that you used to write about?

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    1. Thanks BeccaA! Oh my goodness, the roombas! So my back got a lot better and I didn't need to use them very much anymore except when I felt lazy and didn't want to vacuum (as vacuuming is a household chore that I actually somewhat enjoy doing!) I'm down to one roomba, which is downstairs, which I tried to use last week as I was feeling lazy. However it was over a year since I last used it and I had left it in its charger that whole time so the battery pack is totally shot. (If you're not going to use it for a while, you have to take the battery pack out, which I did not do). I'll need to buy a new battery pack.

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  20. Thank you for sharing the whole story -- it has been a while since I heard it, and even then I don't think I heard the whole story all at once. How honored I am to have played a part in your blog history, and how grateful I am for your friendship all these years. 😘😘😘

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    1. Thanks ATP! Thank you for your encouragement to start writing about sewing! I'm grateful for our friendship too!

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  21. Yay for keeping the name!!! I have alway been a big fan of that zany name.

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    1. Thanks for the thumbs up, Anna Christina!

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