Calling All Experts! - Help Us Expand the Magic Bookshelf

SoapboxEveryone is an expert at something.

This is something I have always believed, and continue to believe. Sometimes that expertise extends to a broad subject, like embroidery or cars or lawn bowling, and sometimes it's very specific, like telling "Knock-knock" jokes, or knowing how to perfectly apply eye-liner, or being able to quote freely from every episode of Desperate Housewives. Some forms of expertise pay very well, some don't, some make you famous, some not so much, but one thing is for sure - if there really are as many experts as there are people, then there's also a corner in this world for everyone, with an empty soapbox just waiting to be stood on and shouted from.

Take a moment and think about your area(s) of expertise. I mean it - stop reading for a minute and identify at least one thing about which you could be considered an expert. If you can't think of anything, ask a family member or friend - I bet they'll know. Please come back when you're done.


Now that you have that expertise in mind, I have two questions for you. 1. How much could you say about your area of expertise? 2. Where would you start?

If you can answer these two questions, WE WANT YOU!

Since we put up the Blogs section of our new site and have welcomed a great selection of talented, funny, and knowledgeable people, we've also had a corresponding surge of ideas for other blog subjects about which our readers would enjoy learning more. Some of the suggestions have been blogs about gardening, needlepoint, hairdressing (from a hairdresser no less!), crocheting, cruises, smocking, knitting and even women's health (yes, I know there are men reading too, but you and I are part of a very small minority here!).

As our Magic Bookshelf has expanded and our number of blogs has increased, a few people have wondered if we might soon be getting to a stage where there are too many blogs, and that existing bloggers might lose some readers. In fact, judging from the traffic figures on our blogs, the opposite has been true. It seems that, if a reader finds a blog in which she's interested, she not only reads that blog but is more inclined to read other blogs about other subjects of interest to her. This is a similar concept to a magazine - you'll read only the articles you're interested in, but the more relevant articles there are, the more of the magazine you'll want to read.Crafts

Of course, that doesn't mean that anyone can write about anything and they'll be allowed access to our great audience. We still carefully examine each new potential blog idea to determine whether it will be relevant and interesting to our readers. Judging from your comments and our traffic, we seem to be doing pretty well, but I hope that I can count on you to let us know if we are going astray.

So, this is a call to all you gardeners, needlepointers, hairdressers, crocheters, cruisers, smockers, knitters and doctors, and anyone else whose area of expertise (remember, everyone has one) demands to be shared. Take up your pens, your keyboards, and your laptops and shout it out to the world!

Your soapbox is waiting.

To step up on it, just send an e-mail to with an idea of what you'd say and where you'd start.

Comments (13) -

I would love to see someone with some interest and knowledge in photography.  I do enjoy pictures of anything and everything.

I also would love to see more ATG avatars of our community.  It does not have to be a photo of the user, it could just be something they like.


Ooops, forgot:


Who's There

A fan of ATG and all the great people here.

Anonymous. . . .

jalcumbrack 9/19/2008 6:08:20 PM

Well BB,

I am also a hairdresser,LOL! Seriously, I have a Florida Liscense for Cosmotology.! I also have one from Michigan................


Photography is a great idea, Pat. Thanks for that. I know I couldn't take a proper picture if my life depended on it, so I'd definitely be a regular reader of that one!

And Judy, what can I say? You probably have licenses for a whole bunch of other stuff we're just beginning to hear about -- driving, mixing drinks, teaching, cooking, building rockets perhaps...

jalcumbrack 9/20/2008 8:04:41 AM

Never a bartender,but was a cocktail waitress for a while! I did what ever I had to do to make a living. I was a widow at the ripe old age of 21, with one child and another on the way. So I was responsible for them. I did what I had to do to ensure they had the things they needed. Being a hairdresser was a 2nd job for me. It was more a matter of survival. I made up my mind way back that I could do "anything" I put my mind to, and I have!  But I have also had a very intersting life as well,and I am not afraid to work! When a slowing in the economy takes place, the first thing to go is the job,so I had to learn to be "flexible".


serenemachine2 9/21/2008 5:18:54 PM

This is an interesting concept, but I'm not an expert at anything!!!  LOL  I breath in and out everyday, does that count??  Looking forward to reading more of the responses to your inquiry tho.  There are lots of experts out there who can share and I sure would be a willing student.

like "serenemachine2" i also am not an expert at anything-- although my Husband says i am the queen of hoarding and recycling ( but i could do better at both ) Love to read information on all types of things ( think i am just a nosey parker)


hookedonembroidery 9/24/2008 11:00:19 PM

I don't want to burst anyone's bubble here but I think Ann's site should stay the way it is. It's all about sewing and machine embroidery and thats why I'm here. It's all about learning from each other. We learn from good advice and we learn from others mistakes. My biggest mistake (when I first started out) was thinking stabilizer was all the same. The cost of stabilizer seemed soooo spendy so I went to my local fabric store and bought 1/2 yard of Pellon stitch and tear...great price....$1.49 a yard. I embroidered out a design and it seemed to work fine so I went back to the fabric store and bought a whole bolt! Used a 50% off coupon so that was a really good I thought! I then embroidered a in the hoop project and ruined my project. I now know better....if your project calls for certian stabilizer there is a reason for it.  Has anyone out there done any "In The Hoop" projects? I am totaly "hooked" on them. Anyway, I got off the subject I started off with. When I go to a site it's because of what they offer. I don't want to sort through other blogs about other things to find something I'm interested in. If I want to learn about Rubber Stamping (I'm also a rubber stamper) I'll go to a site that will give me tons of ideas, same way with Scrapbooking, I do that too, and I do try to catch a few winks in between hobbies. Bottom line is if I truly want to learn or get ideas about something I go where I can get the most information, and who has the best selection of products and prices. I think if I came to Ann's site for info or ideas for sewing and embroidery and had to "sift" so to speak thru blogs and comments about other hobbies I most likely would not return to this site. I really like the way the site is now and would hate to see it go in so many different directions away from sewing and embroidering. Maybe if people here want to talk about other hobbies you could have a different "Blog Button" at the top of the page just for that. Just a thought...


karenwalltrott 9/25/2008 9:18:23 AM

Thank you Lynn.   I agree with you totally.  For me there is way too much information to sort though to get to what you want or need.  I go to embroidery sites for embroidery inspriation and information.  

Please don't go off the deep end.  I do enjoy ATG but if the site gets overloaded with material about everything else in world, I will not sort through it all to find embroidery.

"Dance with the fellow what brought ya"

karen trott

Good points, Lynn and Karen. We definitely seem to have two quite distinct points of view among our users. I've received probably 10-15 more blog ideas by e-mail from readers since this post went up, so there is a definite appetite for more information on other creative pursuits, but you definitely raise a good point (I love that quote that ends Karen's comment!)

I do like Lynn's idea of perhaps having a navigation system in which the embroidery enthusiast who comes looking for that specific information should have a simple and clear channel to it, and not have to "sift" through information. We will definitely keep this in mind as we add more content to our Community. We are still primarily a site for embroidery enthusiasts and any additional content is meant to complement rather than muddle what is already here.

That being said, not having to sift through irrelevant info is exactly what the tags and the search box are for. I do understand that not every user has the same level of comfort with technology (the main purpose of this blog is to help de-mystify the use of technology for those users), but I do get a little frustrated when I see a comment or post that references information that has already been answered thoroughly in the Community. We are always looking for ways to improve each user's personal experience of the site, so any idea about how we can make it easier for any particular to find what s/he is looking for is always welcome.

In any case, the main reason that we have followed our users' suggestions to expand content into other areas is to help serve people with a variety of interests similar to Lynn's. Creative people have an urge to create, and we have seen that more and more they enjoy doing so in various ways and with mixed media. To follow your scrapbook example, Lynn; yes, you can go to a scrapbooking site for in-depth information on scrapbooking, but if you are an embroiderer who has just been considering getting your feet wet in scrapbooking, you'd have to go and learn a whole new site and system. A member of our community who is familiar with our site may feel more comfortable exploring the basics of scrapbooking with people s/he already knows in a place with which s/he is already familiar.

Further comments welcome.

hookedonembroidery 9/25/2008 4:39:33 PM

Yes Greg your right. When you get interested in Scrapbooking or Rubber Stamping or other hobbies one usually goes to the store for information. The store usually gives classes and when you feel you have learned all they have to offer that’s when I go on the internet and start looking for more ideas or a site that has blogs about the subject or sometimes come up with them myself. I started scrapbooking before it became popular. I think if a person builds a site that is easy to navigate even the novice user should be able to navigate around that site. When I got interested in Rubber Stamping, I made beautiful cards. I took those cards into the store and ended up teaching rubber stamp lessons. Then I decided I could do more than just make cards. I used a rubber stamp that had a image of a scenery. I colored it in using water color pencils. You color your image in with the pencils and then use a tiny bit of water using a small paint brush and the end results look like a water color painting. I then used a background paper that went with the image and put it in a 5X7 frame.  That was on display in the stamp store and the next thing I knew I was asked to teach a class on Framing Your Art Work. Within a few months I was asked if I wanted to work for them. I did but I did not want to work in RETAIL. So since they had a building across the street from the store where they manufactured their own line of stamps I asked if I could work there. I wanted to know just how those stamps were made. I learned more then I thought I could ever learn which just lead to more class I was teaching. One day I was at a sidewalk sale, can’t pass those up because you just might find a real good deal on something. Anyway I bought a big box of assorted envelopes, different colors and sizes. Had no idea what I was going to do with them but knew I would figure it out later. My poor husband just about died....another box of “STUFF” as he put it. Well I decided to lick the envelope closed, cut off about 1/4" off the long side of the envelope score the sides and bottom and rubber stamped on it. Then I folded the envelope where I scored it and opened it up and had the cutest little bag you ever saw. That also lead to many classes to teach. From that day on my husband never made a comment on what crazy thing I bought. He knew I had a vision and I would create something out of nothing. Those little bags were used to put party favors in for a child’s birthday party, baby/wedding shower gifts and thank you gifts. I also didn’t want to buy the colored shredded paper to put inside of the bag if I were only making one or two bags so I used color paper and put it in my cross shredder and it looked just like the stuff you buy in the store. Oh my gosh....I apologize for getting WAY off track of what we were talking about. I guess I consider myself somewhat of an expert on Rubber Stamping and I could write forever on this subject. But to get back to the subject on hand I realize not everyone out there is comfortable using the computer. So the easier it is to navigate the more confidence the novice user will develop using it. I find this site very easy to navigate around and there is so much information and products here that I see no reason to look for other sites on this topic. Now that I have taken up so much of your time rambling on and on I’ll shut up and let someone else add a comment before mine turns into a book!

Sorry for getting way off the subject!!!!


No problem at all, Lynn. At least I know that if you had a Rubber Stamping blog, you wouldn't be stuck for things to say!

Please feel free to contact me by e-mail (see above post for details) if you would like to try your hand at blogging about rubberstamping. In surveys we did last year of our users, rubberstamping was one of the top ten hobbies also practiced by our embroidery community (scrapbooking was in the top three).

hookedonembroidery 9/27/2008 6:44:30 PM

As much as I would love to blog about Rubber Stamping, and I could blog for years on this subject, now is not a good time for me. I'm knee deep in trying to get my embroidered item's done for Christmas and also Christmas Bazaar's. I would have to quit sewing and embroidering and go back into RS full swing in order to be a good blogger. I would want to take step by step pictures of every project. Written instructions are fine but if you add the step by step pictures along with it then everyone will have a vision of what they are doing and it makes learning faster and a lot more fun.

I do have  an idea for this site if you are going to add other crafts. Instead of another "blog button" like I was thinking before why not add the different craft interests to the left side of the page here where you have Recent Posts..Tags, and Glossary of Tech Terms. That should make it easy for everyone encluding the novice PC user. And it would also be nice for people making a comment to be able to upload a picture, right with there comment, to better explain what kind of problem they are having. I know if someone is having a problem stamping out an image I can tell by looking at it as to what they did wrong. It's too time consuming to go to another "area" to look at a picture. Plus it would help other viewers having the same problem. In other words everything would be in one spot. Well here I go again rambling on and on! I better stop here before I  start convincing myself  to put my embroidery machine in storage and blow the dust off my rubber stamps! It is very tempting, thank you, just bad timing for me right now.


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