I am thinking of next year and what projects I’d like to begin. My business’s websites are mostly gone, some so old they can’t really be repaired, but my webmaster can’t spare all the time needed for the major work of relaunching an existing site, so we need a few easy ones created that I can write content for. Like blogs.
I would love to start one that would contain repurposing craft & sewing projects, kind of along the lines of Refashionista.net. The late owner of that site, Jillian Owens, died in October of ovarian cancer, and I find myself going back to look at her pages quite a lot. And I can’t help getting teary.
I used to not like her. You see, in every post she’d show some item she bought at a secondhand store, and she’d be wearing it while making this awful face. Then later there’d be the photo showing how she changed and resewed the item into something she’d wear. The before picture made it clear she was buying rather large clothes — maybe even 2X or 3X, plus sizes, maybe — even though she was tiny.
That kind of made me mad. Petite women can find no end of nice clothes available at thrift stores, so it seemed like an unnecessary exercise that took big clothes out of stores that poorer, big women might need. And the face she made I thought was unfair.
But then I kept reading the articles about how she resewed this or that, and it started to be clear what a nice and social person she was; how the funny face didn’t have anything to do with denigrating bigger women, and so on. I knew she chose larger clothing items for the fabric that could be worked with, and forgave her for it. She was so upbeat, and clearly thought about the needs of her readers. A while later, I noticed a photo on the site, and she’s there wearing a turban. I knew what that meant. I started to get worried about her.
It turns out her whole audience, her wide readership was worried about her. They loved her. She was rather sweet. She got married to a burly, bearded man just a couple of years ago. They didn’t have much time together… She posted about her cancer on the blog, and her recovery. Then, the last article she posted is the one that everyone sees now on the home page. It’s about the cancer returning. She was going to post about how it was going since then, but. She was pretty young. It is so sad.
She had beautiful eyes. I got curious about her “day job,” because although this blog had become famous and she’d been interviewed by talk shows and written up in major financial news articles — I know that simple blogs of this type are seldom successful by accident. The site is clean, well designed, is uncluttered with ads, just maybe one banner per page, and each post is just what the reader was looking for.
I saw that she worked for a digital marketing company, and the blog shows her skill. Other, similar blogs are nothing like this. Many are just awful, like OneGoodThingByJillee.com, which is wretched with ads falling all over the place and interrupting the posts. However, that one is probably successful, too — but it looks just a mess.
I think, though, this blog succeeded almost by virtue of her personality and her nature, and how she got along with people. While I’m a curmudgeon and isolationist and can’t do what she did at all, I still hope to use her site to refer to and keep posts clear, useful and direct, like she did. Such a nice site and nice person.