Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bare Bones


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This year february doesn't just mark my fifth wedding anniversary. In a couple weeks, it'll be exactly five years since I started this blog. If it seems like aeons ago, that's because it is. In internet time this blog is a goddamn dinosaur. At the time I started it was working on my somewhat doomed bachelor's thesis, on the computer all day, but procrastinating for most of it,  looking for any excuse to spend time online.
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I was completely enamored with online style blogs and "lifestyle" and wardrobe remix, but felt timid to start my own. It seemed too self-obsessed, too forward. Instead, I was excited about the idea of using a blog to pour some of my obsessions into. It was so novel, before pinterest, tumblr, any of those online mood boards to be able to gather little digital tidbits and tag them on to one's own musings. It was a perfect receptacle for the obscure preoccupations I'd been fostering for years and for which no one in my real life had the time of day.

I wrote about horse girls, Gunne Sax Dresses, witches,  feminism and the Gibson Girl, the 90s, the state of newspaper writing and peppered my posts with cute images hoarded from all corners of the internet.

It was a respite. In so many ways that was a really hard year for me, and this was the one place where people didn't constantly ask me how the immigration process, or my thesis was going. Where I could talk about something else even if no one was listening. That was a big part of why I didn't initially post a lot about my personal life.

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Over time (and another blog later), I began to post more about myself, my style, my life, my values and aspirations. The blog's content got more personal, and then even more personal. It started serving as a sort of journal for me, one that I can look back on and go "oh yeah, that happened". In some ways it's like a family album for us.
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In the beginning I never actually expected anyone to read my posts or told anyone I knew that I had a blog. After all, I was writing for myself, but lo and behold, somehow I gained a few readers, and then a few more. I made friends. I got a community. Still, being a relative luddite, I didn't exactly know how many people read this blog, until I discovered the stats button about two years ago and was shocked, shocked I tell you, to see that there's, well, a few hundred more of you than I'd imagined.
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Five years ago things were very different in blog-land. People still obscured their faces and took outfit shots through the mirror, cute awards and memes were big content, no one made, or expected to make money or get swag from blogging, it was just a fun hobby for socially awkward, or overly self-obsessed people. Most blogs looked equally homespun, since their curators had no html skills.

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Blogging was intimate, written by and for a small circle of people; and there were certainly no more than a few degrees of separation between someone who had a lot readers and someone who had just started.

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It took me years to even consider whether this blog might have a somewhat wider readership, than I thought. And while I was surprised to discover, that indeed it did, I was initially unmoved to consider that in my writing.
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While much has changed in the wider world of blogging, this space has remained remarkably same, even down to linklists and design. Like I said, I'm a bit of luddite, that way, wary of change for its own sake.

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Reading back on those old posts, I've realized that while this blog has gone through some evolutions over the years, its content and tone remains constant. At its very barest bones, it's about how to be a certain kind of girl/woman in this world.

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I  still feel like no one reads these entries, but small the pool of folks who comment regularly, even if the stats tell another story. However, lately I've realized that I no longer write just for myself, or even my little circle of online friends,  I also write because I feel like someone's reading, listening to what I have to say.
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For someone who's been writing all their life, without really having anyone outside friends and professional connections to read their work, it's a weird feeling.
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A totally schizophrenic one actually.
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I think a part of me can only really keep writing if I imagine, no one reads it. Yet another part of me is curious about your responses. I would be lying if i said I didn't notice what kind of posts generate the most traffic. If I didn't anticipate the lack or onslaught of comments based on what I'm writing about.

That part of me feels like I should use what little influence I may have, to talk about the real things I care about. Yet at the same time, there are many other things, ideas, dreams I'm invested in and not all of them are that serious at all.

I'm also curious about who exactly am I reaching. Most every week, I get an email or a comment from a long-time reader that's making themselves known for the first time. These emails and comments are a surprise every time, but make me thrilled to know that there are so many other women with similar thoughts, dreams, aspirations and dress-senses.
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So, what I guess I'm asking is, why do you read this blog?  And who are you (I love meeting readers who haven't previously commented, so if you feel like saying something either here or on an email, consider it an anniversary gift for me. If you don't, I totally understand and thanks for reading)? How long have you been reading it? And why do you blog? How long have you been blogging? Who do you write for?
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And don't worry, regardless of your responses, I will continue to write what I write, because that's all I know how to do.
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Here's to five more years! (I'll still be here posting my little pictures and long written notes, while everyone else hangs out on cyberspace video life or something.)

89 comments:

  1. Hi Milla - I have been reading your blog for about three years and although I haven't commented before, it is one of my favourite blogs! I am a poet/gardener/mother/Buddhist/feminist from New Zealand and I blog here:

    http://helenlehndorf.com/

    I am so glad you are carrying on with no changes - I read that post with my breath held because it was reading like one of those "I've been thinking about it, and I'm going to quit" posts! lol!

    Thank you for everything you are - your island life is more inspiring than you can imagine, you are like a hippy Tove Jansson. x

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    1. Thank you for your sweet sweet comment! Seems like you and I are just about peas in a pod. I look forward to checking out your log and thank you so much for reading and being an awesome radical woman across the world! Also you sure know the way to my heart: Tove Jansson ;)

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    2. I really do sometimes wonder if all of my life decisions haven't secretly been based on her books-haha!

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  2. aw how i love your long notes and pictures and the content of your marvelous mind here in this space.

    why do i read? oh my friend it is simple: you are utterly inspiring. whether giving food for thought or outfit eye candy, every time you post something my heart pitter patters. also now that i KNOW you know you, it is even more fun to see what my dear moonsister is up to in her beautiful island dreamland. and her funny woodsy husband and her lazy slinky leaping cats as well :)

    i have been blogging for over five years too, although the first couple years were just our "beattytopia" family blog just for ourselves to keep up with each others' shenanigans. like you, for me it is a journal and i do like knowing that at least a few kindred souls are reading along. it makes my life feel a bit more organized if i keep records of at least a few of the important happenings.

    well you witchy wondrous writer woman, carry on, carry on,riding in your little mythical bear boat to the moon :)

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    1. Oh Heather! One of the best darn things to come out of this blog has been knowing your own sweet self (not to mention by proxy-the magical Beattys!)! I think it was you actually who pioneered the idea that a blog is like a family journal of important moments. It has brought me so many good things from you sisters, connection, books, music, frocks, ideas, camaraderie and rad advice. Thank you for being a part of my life mama. You're in my thoughts so often.

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  3. Hi Milla!
    I´m a silent reader of your blog for about two years now.
    I always enjoy your thoughtful honest posts and wonderful pictures.

    Your blog is a source of inspiration. Last year you posted a video of Bowerbirds which I really liked.
    Coincidentally, a couple of months later they were touring through Europe and played a free gig in Munich (the city I live in).
    The concert was magic and I even got a vinyl signed for me!

    I also enjoy your posts about Finnish culture, since I´ve spent the best time of my studies in Suomi (Keyword: Erasmus).

    So Thank you for your wonderful blog and Kippis to the next 5 years!!!

    trianglewalks.de

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    1. Hahah!! Kippis, my dear! I'm so so happy you got to see the Bowerbirds, man, it makes me stoked that I played a little part in that experience. Where did you stay in Finland? I always wonder what people think of my "finn posts", I'm glad you're reading them. Happy Spring and thank you for reading!

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  4. The stats info is fascinating! And it can be kind of cripplingly informative. I recently found that stats button, too, and found out that my recipe posts get more visitors than any other posts. I don't necessarily want to write more recipe posts as a result. But then, I sort of do want to write more recipe posts because there's a bit of me, the feeling part just below the surface thinking part that does want more readers...

    Anyway, I don't write my blog to send me recipes out into the world. I write it to share the elements of my domestic life that are not of any real interest to those in my immediate social circles.

    I read your blog because it reminds me of my life before I moved to the city, giving me a pleasant kind of homesickness. And I love your clothes. I also love your cats (which is a statement that looks creepy in writing).

    Happy blogiversary (as some say).

    Best,
    Hadley

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    1. Dear Hadley, I think I've glanced at your blog before and was fascinated, plus I'm getting into recipes, so expect to see more of me. You gotta write what you gotta write, statistics be darned! Your readership will find you, but if recipes are the thing that lures them in...Either way, you've got one in me. Thanks for reading I'm excited to get to know you better.

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  5. Thank you for your wonderful blog :)

    Sara

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    1. Thank you for reading Sara. I'm kind of surprised but I don't think I ever actually knew your name. thank you for the introduction. Your pictures are always so gorgeous. Photographing friends are such a good source for inspiration.

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  6. Hi! :)
    I started reading your blog three or four years ago.
    I don't use to comment because I don't have a good english ^^ and it's difficult for me to say what I'd like to say in english...
    I just want to ask you never stop writing!!! You're an inspiration for me.
    We have many things in common, some not... But I'll say that I admire and respect you for the way you love nature, animals and all around you.

    All the best,
    Victoria.

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    1. Dearest Victoria, that's about the sweetest thing anyone's said to me. Thanks for reading and leaving this lil comment, I'm so happy to know you're out there, and that we have something in common. I feel so connected to all these awesome women, some I know, others I can just feel. Know that this warms my heart. And by the way, your english is quite good. Lots of love.

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  7. Hi Milla!
    I've been reading your blog for years now.. I came to it through Amber at Violet Folklore, who is a friend of mine in blogworld as well as realworld. I'm currently writing my PhD thesis here in England, on Thoreau and Native American ecological hybridity, and and I find issues in my work as well as in my life wind along beside a lot of what you write about here on your blog- how to really live locally, confusion over loving clothes and style when those things seem superficial, attachment to place and heritage and emigration, moving from 20's to 30's, coming to terms with your past. I find my own writing deeply split between my personal journal and my academic writing, which makes me feel oddly schizophrenic, as you say here. I would hold your blog up to anyone as a model of how to integrate and make commensurate these two and many more kinds of writing.. and lately I have found myself commenting here too, dipping a toe into this crazy online world, and finding myself a new but happy little part of the blogsoup.
    Love! Joanne

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    1. Girl, I want to read your thesis so bad. I know who you are, of course, and am delighted that you are reading this humble blog. Thank you so much for you comments. I feel really honored that you would say such nice things about my scribblings. Please consider writing some entries of your own, as I and others here would love to hear your thoughts on the fascinating topics you must be pondering. Oh man sometimes I miss academia so much. Other times, the thought of it makes my brain swirl into a total confused mess. I admire those who delve in yourself included. Lots of love, nutritious blogsoup! ;)

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  8. Hi Milla,

    I've been reading your blog since 2008/9 - so almost since you began. I'm based in New Zealand and initially I loved your clothes and writing focus and as your focus has expanded I have continued to love reading about your life and the genuine, fun spirit you bring to your blog. I have left comments over the years and you have been generous enough to welcome them!

    Andrea.

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    1. Hi Andrea! I already know you of course, and am tickled by the fact that there's a lot of stuff about my homeland that you know better than I, like if I ever want to write an article about the state of current finnish music...I'd probably just ask you. You're such and awesome, creative woman, talented writer, well-read, just the kind of reader one wants. I know I don't comment often but I do follow your log and so color me a fan ;) Thanks for reading dear.

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  9. I've been following for a couple of years...the glimpses into your surroundings and beautiful lifestyle are a always a refreshing reminder of possibilities. I'm a city-bound lazy gal, blogging about my vintage dresses and obsessions with certain retailers, and I can tend to forget about other worlds and ways. Plus I grew up loving the 'East of the sun, West of the moon' tale and am pretty sure that the man I love is part bear. I like bears :)

    Where is your beautiful header image from, actually? Magical. Thanks for letting us lurkers...lurk!

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    1. Oh man, what would we do without "lazy" city-bound gals!??!?! One of the most refreshing things about blogging is getting to know all those different folks with different lives out there in the world. Plus, no point in preaching to the converted right? The richness of girl/woman-kind never seizes to amaze me. Thanks for de-lurking for a moment, what a lovely present. I look forward to checking your log. I'll be lurking ;) Thank you for being a reader. Means a lot.

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  10. I read your blog b/c you are such a great writer and I love your lifestyle and aspire to one day have one similar. You also live near where my brother lives so it makes me feel like I get a little peak into the environment he lives in too!!! I only know he lives in the same area b/c I reconized some of the spots in your posts. Anyway...you are awesome and interesting and you obviously speak to a lot of womyn, so definitely keep on writing!

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    1. wow. you make me blush. cool. I wonder if I know you're brother? everyone around here knows each other. It's a 15 000 person, archipelago-shaped small town. Thank you for being a reader and let me know if you're ever in the hood, I'd love to serve you some tea :)

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  11. PS: I also love your band recomendations and as soon as you wrote about Elephant Revival the first time, they were playing in our area and we went and saw them. My husband and I love them and have both their records now, all b/c you wrote about them on your blog. And...we live near Nederland, CO so it is so cool that they are from my neck of the woods! :)
    Love,
    Jody

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    1. Wait! So you live in magical awesome place, too!?!?!? I'll totally give you a hoot if we ever head down that way, too! I'm so happy to have played a small part in you finding them. Whee!

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  12. Your photos transport me, every time . It must be about three years or so that I've been reading your blog! Starting with your flickr stream - w/remix i think. You're interesting babe, and smart, and yes I empathise and nod along with your musings. Oh and hella cute of course! I blog, I think, partly because I need to get some of my inner monologue out of my head, and i like to connect this way. I love that I've made some very real friendships out of this surreal place of connection.
    I disclose more about myself here, in this funny computerland, than what I do to most of my friends in real life. There is a strange feeling of safety and of privacy amongst friends.
    love you! xoxo

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    1. Right back at cha babe. Wardrobe remix, I have it to thank for so many of my lovely friends. I love what you share. I feel so supported and enamored with you gals, my kindred sprites. And man do I feel we're tight. I'm so happy we've met, dear, and hope that some day we can meet in real life, perhaps once you convince hubby of another blog-tour of US. Love you.

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  13. Hi there,
    I'm Cath and I live in Edinburgh, Scotland. I've been reading about 5 years. I first started reading blogs when I was ill and pretty much housebound for 6 months. It coincided with me losing my best and longest friend to cancer and I suddenly felt very isolated. I started living my life through blogs for a while and loved looking in on a certain prairie/pioneer-inspired style and way of life that was really on the rise in America and Canada.
    I loved your blog in particular and yours is the one that has stayed and continued to inspire. This is because you really write from the heart and your photos are of such a beautiful place (I'd love to get to your neck of the woods) that your posts always cheer me and make me think.
    I too love nature, growing veggies/foraging, chickens and bees (though I can't keep any at the moment), wandering in the woods and by the coast. I have Swedish-Finnish blood but don't know much about that side of my family (my mum's) and so am interested in your posts about Finnish life/ceremonies and celebrations and authors (Tove jansson is fab). I have followed up music, books, websites and blogs from your posts.
    I now don't need to live life through other peoples again (though it served me well when i was healing and trying to find a balance with an energy-zapping illness) but on a Saturday morning there is nothing I like to do better than have a cuppa and catch up with the 10 or so inspiring blogs by lovely genuine caring spiritual people that I continue to follow.
    I don't write a blog but continue to write a paper journal and have done forever! I'd like to say thanks for gifting your words and thoughts to folk who live on the other side of the world and also from those people who find it hard to get out due to illness or disability and who find the blogosphere to be invaluable to their social existence and feelings of belonging.
    I'm glad you asked to 'meet' your readers as it's encouraged me to say hi and I wish you and yours all the brightest blessings x

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    1. Thank you for reading for so long and for taking time introduce yourself and even to follow up on some of my recommendations. Sharing music, ideas and inspirations is some of the finest, loveliest stuff on the web and I'm glad it has lead you here! Did you know that I used to live in Edinburgh briefly, working at the fringe? Crazy. I think if I'd gone back to Britain to live I would have chosen that lovely city. I hope to take C there some day he has Scottish ancestry. Gosh, some day right? I think the next time I "have" to go to Finland we'll just ride trains around the continent or something, 'cos if we have to fly, we ought to see the world too. Say hi to dear old Scotland for me will ya? and take good care and thank you thank you truly for being here. Happy Spring!

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  14. Hi Milla! I don't know exactly for how long I've been reading your blog, but as I have a nature of a stalker I read all the way back. At least the parts I could understand, there were some post in Finnish at the beginning, I think?
    I'm 30, married, with two cats and I live in Poland, in a relatively big city (not New York City big, we don't have these in Poland, but quite big and I'm in the very middle of it).
    I have absolutely no idea how I found your blog. I read it because you write. And by that I mean: you construct blocks of text that actually contain some meaning and thought in them. That seem to be more and more rare on the internet. And I read it because you are a wise person who thinks about similar things and cares about similar matters. And I read it because your life seems to be so comepletly different than mine. You write about community, and nature and living close to the earth. Your forest and seaside photos transport me every time. I long for these things. Don't get me wrong, I love my city. It has a wonderful, rich history. layers and layers of history, ghosts in every inch of space. But cities are always fast and make my mind hectic and erratic. So I long for forests and seasides. We need to long for something, I guess. This is what makes us grow. I bet that in a tiny cabin in the woods on a tiny island I would long for theatre and cinema and city lights.

    Oh, and I read because I adore your husband's beard. I love me a good beard;)

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    1. Your comment made me smile the first time I read it and it sure made me smile now too. I'll be sure to share that with C ;)
      Seriously though, thank you for reading. Which city in Poland are you at? My other traveling dreams (see above) include Eastern Europe where mom and I traveled a little during the soviet times. My parents have a home in Hungary so that could be a good base for that. And you're right, I miss theatre and cinema and people watching a lot at times. I'm glad though for blogs because they offer us such interesting glimpses into these different worlds.
      Thank you so much for reading and for commenting and heck for reading back all my old posts. Happy Spring Times!

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  15. Hi, I have been reading for maybe 2/3 years. I found your blog through a link from another blog and was captivated by the beautiful Island imagery and your lovely words. You are very inspiring and bring up questions about living/community and the environment that I don't come into contact with much in my day to day life living in London. Coming here is a welcome pause for thought/reflection and also enjoy your style posts too.

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    1. Blush. Thank you for your kind words, PNW girl. I'm glad you enjoy all sides of my humble blogging, cos if I can't talk about both clothes and politics, I'll surely go mad ;) Knowing I have such sweet folk in my corner makes my day. Thank you and thank you again and the sun, I think is coming!

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  16. New reader but loved the blog immediately!

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    1. Wow, honored! Thanks for stopping by and commenting, what a sweet lil gift! Happy Spring to your neck of the woods!

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  17. Hey Lady--

    I'm not really new to this space--and while I often don't comment on all the blogs I read-- there are a few-- where the posts make me think and inspire me to comment. Like yours :) You are also genuinely a good writer. I often find it hard to express myself in written form, you my dear have a gift for that.

    As for my blog-- it sort of started out as a way to get in the practice of articulating my thoughts-- as that is a challenge for me. This was of course necessary because at the time I was embarking on the endeavor that became the dissertation. It was a hard and long process for me, but I do think the practice of blogging as journaling--with the general touches of creativity did help me to become a bit of a better writer. More recently I have toyed with the idea of not blogging anymore and taking my site down for the fact that sometimes it is a complete and total timesuck, but I do like the fact that i can keep it as a journal to recall on past things that I've done or thought (with pictures!)

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    1. Girl, I miss your bloggy voice. I bet your teaching duties are just swallowing up that time, not to mention the family farm! I agree with you on the timesuck, and sometimes I question it but I also find it so worthwhile. It's great tool for self-expression, reflection and connection. More and more I think of it as a hobby, like this is my hobby, instead something else and I'll do it till I don't like it anymore.

      Thanks for reading and when you can, keep us posted, I love that slice of Florida life. Ps have you read the new Karen Russell yet?

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  18. Hi there! I just came across your blog today. I love it! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your wedding celebration! I feel very very similarly as you. I would not expect everyone to do it the way I have, and I got married relatively young, but it has turned out to be one of the best things. I too have found myself more completely and independently than I could have imagined possible. I am so thankful for my experience of marriage being a completely freeing and wonderful thing.

    I only started blogging this week actually. I am writing for me at this point. I have not told anyone in my life that I am blogging. I am just kind of testing the water. I want to express myself, and put my thoughts out in the world. In some ways I am also self-conscious of this. On the one hand I wonder why do I feel my thoughts/words/self-expression need to be seen or read by others, and on the other for me I don't expect to have a following or become popular, it is really just a creative experiment/adventure. I do fear that our world at times are trading real connections for life online, and therefore are becoming entirely occupied by their own personal importance. So I do want this (blogging) to be a form of forming connections and expressing the importance of connections, connections with nature, animals, each-other and our own spirits.

    I appreciate blogging as a form of art, but I do want to find the balance of disconnecting and rooting myself in the world around me offline.

    Thank you!
    Ashley

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    1. I'd love to read your log (it doesn't seem to be public though)! Blogging is such a funny thing, so connecting and so one-sided at the same time and there are so many different kinds of blogs. I hope your endeavor is as satisfying as mine has been. Thanks for stopping by to say hi and happy happy spring!

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  19. Hi,

    I've been reading your blog for about two (?) years and I have to say, it’s one of my favorites. I feel like you aren’t afraid to be yourself and speak for what you believe in. For me, important things include family, friends, and the environment. Other blogs that I read are merely concerned with swag and style, and where they are entertaining enough, I feel as though yours gives me a genuine connection (even if it is almost a voyeuristic one). I have described your blogs to my friends as “this girls’ blog is basically my dream life” then I immediately wonder why I’m not living it. I have the close friends, but my connection to the earth and nature seems fleeting and reserved for weekend jaunts more than everyday love.

    In short thanks for sharing your life/blog. I adore you and you make me want to me a more genuine form of myself….Work in progress!!!

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    1. Wow. Thank you. Everyone has their dream life and while I love mine, I sometimes dream of other things, I think barring circumstances beyond our control we can all start looking for that sweet spot on earth where we're both physically and spiritually the most our own selves. Thanks for sharing this one with me dear, and happy nature-walking spring.

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  20. Hi Milla! I actually stumbled upon your blog about 7 months ago after Googling something like "longest hair in the world", haha. You had written a post about hair and something about the Sutherland Sisters, and it popped up on the search results.

    I posted months ago and told you this, but I'll repeat it for the sake of this post: I had abandoned my blog, left it idle for around 2 years, when I found yours. And you inspired me to start again. I've been writing regularly ever since and it has been such a blessing. I feel like you're something of a mother or big sister figure to a lot of us younger bloggers out there, someone to look up to, although we don't all know you personally. I know that sounds intense and I'm not trying to put the pressure of mandatory role-modeling on you, haha, but given the insane amount of responses to this post, I figured it was the time to let you know. :)

    As for my blog, it's an outlet for the deluge of thoughts that's constantly pouring out of my head. It helps me look at things objectively and share some aspects of myself that I don't usually show people; the side of me with my head in the clouds and my feet dancing/stumbling around who knows where. Writing helps me find truth, about the world around me and about myself, and through my blog I have truly come to more deeply understand both.

    Thank you for writing :)
    -Juliana


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    1. Haha! That's a really popular search, I wrote an article on long hair a long time ago, and it just keeps on coming up.

      I feel so so honored for your kind words dear, and hope that I can at all live up to the challenge. I'm so pleased that I had a small hand in keeping you writing, but you're the one that's doing all the hard work. Good on ya girl! If you write for yourself, others will love reading your thoughts too. Writing is a good way to arrange one's ideas, hopes, fears, dreams in some cohesive order. Keep at it.

      Thank you for reading and happy happy spring time!

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  21. Hi there! I've been a reader of your blog for about a year now.
    My best friend sent me a picture of you in an adorable dress of some sort saying that she liked your style and I was curious about the blog and started reading!
    I'm in Montreal, but I'm from the East coast of Canada and looking at your blog always makes me dream of a time I can be back on the ocean. I am also a feminist who loves clothes and style. I love reading about your conflicting thoughts on these issues, as I'm often having the same thoughts!
    My partner is from the West coast of Canada and we often talk about moving to a remote island and living a quiet life. The window into your life is fascinating, as it seems like the kind of quiet, coastal, happy home life that I someday hope to settle into.

    I don't blog, but I have a Tumblr for my music - darlinglake.tumblr.com.

    I always look forward to seeing what you are up to, seeing pictures of the ocean and of course, seeing what you are wearing!
    So thanks :)

    -Erika

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    1. Hi dear, thank you for reading and leaving this sweet comment. I look forward to checking out your music. I love all these little windows into folks' lives, their tastes, their clothes, their beliefs, their bio-regions. It makes me happy to feel connected to so many awesome women all over the world. I hope you make it to your island someday. Till then happy spring to snowy (?) Toronto! Know that I often dream of cold, snow-covered landscapes...

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  22. i read this blog to stalk your awesomeness.


    ok not really, although i do think you are awesome. i am so thankful that this space is still bare bones, and therefore so honest. who you are, your lifestyle and where you live is so awe-inspiring and enchanting as it is, it is no wonder to me that you have as many readers as you do. so most of all i am thankful that you still feel anonymous enough to write your truth and heart. i know what a huge blessing it has been for my own blog experience and my "real life" to have found you here.

    i blog because this mind of mine goes on and on all day, realizing, epiphany-ing, connecting dots in a philosophical sky...but my day to day interactions rarely find me communicating such. i need to blog, to write, as a spiritual practice, one that helps me to know and honor myself and also one that keeps me sane. especially when it comes to the heartbreak of earth destruction (they have started fracking in california wtf humanity), i write to give voice to a part of me that would implode if i didn't. my heart and soul, i guess you could say.

    much love to you. i didn't comment on your last post because i was just too blown away by your baddass...awesomeness...but happy happy anniversary, and many blessings for deepening love to you and your marriage with your bear. xoxo

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    1. you're stalking my "awesomeness"?!?! Get out captain awesome. Just get out. If there's one great thing about this here blog, it's finding you girls, all your different lives. It feels like such magic to me I can't even describe it in actual words. You know what I mean. I'm so so grateful to have you in my life. Whenever I feel sad I can't just go over to your house or Missa's or Heather's, I remind myself that ten years ago we wouldn't have even known each other existed. Magic. You're magic. This is magic. Love you.

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  23. Hi Milla,
    I've been reading your blog for a little over a year now. I found it through Violet Folklore's blogger meet up post. I'm in Georgia. I grew up in the country but now live in a big city which has left me conflicted and overwhelmed at times. It's nice to read your entries about going outside and the breathtaking photos of the island are lovely to experience. I've recently been wanting to comment but keep forgetting (a side effect of being 6 months pregnant hah). I especially love your recent posts about introversion and city vs. country life. The reason I follow is because I feel your blog is honest and beautiful in it's simplicity. I'm not bombarded with advertisements or other distractions. It's refreshing and almost feels like a good walk to read your posts. Thanks for sharing a slice of your world :)

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    1. Oh, you must be almost due! Sending you good healthy pregnancy and birth thoughts. Thank you so much for your really sweet words and thank you for reading. I'm sure your spring will be the happiest yet with your wee one on the way, but happy spring to you and your may baby all the same! Yay for a may baby!

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  24. Hi Milla,

    I just recently found your blog a month or so ago and I enjoy seeing little glimpses of your life. I have been blogging since 2008, my blog is www.monkeysandteapots.blogspot.com. I don't get tons of traffic but I love writing and sharing and maybe someone will be touched by my words.
    Thanks for sharing. It's nice to see someone living life the way she wants to live. Love your pics and your style. Blessings and best wishes. Michelle

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    1. I wish I could read your blog, but it doesn't seem to appear :( Writing and sharing is where it's at, pageviews be damned! Thank you so much for your kind words and lots of good thoughts and springtime fun!

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  25. Hi Milla,

    I read your blog because I love the way you write, I love the subjects, I love the pictures, I love your lifestyle. Very inspiring and uplifting.

    Norah

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    1. Thank you Norah. Thank you for reading, thank you for you kind words and thank you for the love. Happy lovely awesome spring to you girl!

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  26. Happy Anniversary, Milla.
    I have been reading Your blog for over Three Years. The title caught my eye, hooked me in with my Folklore and Fairytale Heart. Then, I fell into the photographs of the Island and the Coast I so adore. I had been living on an island mySelf in Hawaii and longing for the North West coasts I had moved away from. The Finnish fashion style and the wholesome parts of You which You place here always cheer me and intrigue. Thank You for Everything You post, it Inspires.
    My blog is still in bits and I often believe it only makes sense to mySelf as that was my core Beginning was to place just a reflection in the window of my World down. It has become rather archaic.
    Wishing You the World.

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    1. Wishing You the World. Thank you for your kind words dear. I'm so happy that I'm able inspire, somehow all these awesome ladies, you girls are an inspiration to you. thank you for reading for such a long time thank you for your thoughts and happy happy wild spring to you!

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  27. Hi Milla,

    I think this is the post I've been waiting for for a loooong time. I started following your blog about 4 years ago, I think I stumbled upon it when I was doing research on folk tales while studying Scandinavian studies at uni. Somehow it feels weird to comment for the first time on a blog that you've been reading for years without making yourself known, but I guess now I just had to :-)

    What attracted me to your blog were the beautiful photographs, stories about island life and your lovely dresses. Later on I found a lot of more things that kept me coming back, such as our shared interest in environmental activism, thrifting and folk music. Thanks to you I discovered Bowerbirds and Elephant Revival. My best discovery through your blog so far was Arcadia, when you wrote about it I immediately ordered the book as I knew this had to be something very special. And it was: it's now my favorite book and it has made its rounds to many of my friends who also love it. I'm incredibly thankful that you introduced me to it!!

    I love how your blog has a more personal take these days. Posts about frivolity vs. not joining the consumer craze resonate very much with me. I loved the post about being an only child. It came at the right time it seems, as I grew up an only child in a very protective family (until my brother was born more than a decade after me) and suddenly joined my very cozy, very big family-in-law and felt pretty alien. After reading your post I felt so much better as I understood my response to all their chatter and attention wasn't that weird at all.

    Recently I also started blogging, and reading this post of yours, I realized I started for the same reasons as you did: I recently emigrated for love and sometimes I just want to write to and with folks that don't ask me how the administrative hurdle is going and if I found a job yet :-)

    Nowadays I read quite a few blogs, but I guess this one will always be my favorite! Thank you for sharing with us what's dear to you and I'm looking forward to your next entry, as always :-)

    Love,
    Selma

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    1. Wow. Did you know Selma is one of my all time favorite names and that I'm writing a novel where it's the main character's name? I guess you didn't but the secret's out now! Thank you dear Selma, for your kind words, for your love of awesome bands, for your love of Lauren's work, if I had a little part in introducing them, I feel honored, obviously ya'll belong together! I can't wait to read your blog and happy happy spring and adventures and unfurling ferns ;)

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  28. Hi there!
    I haven't been reading your blog for long - maybe 4 months? But the moment I found you I was struck by your beautiful photos and a sense that we are "sisters" with similar outlooks, though our lives are very different and I am a lot older.
    I live in Scotland and I have been blogging for 7 years - crikey! I am at: www.roobeedoo.blogspot.co.uk
    I began writing my blog as a way to document my knitting projects, in the days before Ravelry. Since then, it has become more personal and more of a journal, with "finished object" posts along the way. It is very self-indulgent, but that's fine - other people can take it or leave it ;)
    Keep on keeping on, honey - you inspire me!

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    1. Hello, dear! So many awesome chicks from Scotland! I'm so proud to have Scottish readers as that country has a special place in my heart and memories. Thank you for your kind words, spirit and I look forward to checking out your Scottish spring on your log!

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  29. oh milla! your blog is a sweet delight! i remember the first time i came across your old blog and saw you in a red gunne. i was immediately smitten! then i realized over a short period of time that not only was your style amazing, but you lived on a magical island and actually had something really interesting to say :D. and that was so refreshing! the bottom line is that you are rad...that's why we all love you and are inspired by you.

    i've been at it for about 3 1/2 years. i started out because i wanted to open an etsy shop and they recommended having a blog. at first it was mostly about clothes and shop updates but that soon got really boring. i still don't do much "writing", if i had more time to myself i probably would. i always want to but it just never happens. maybe this year i can change that?

    much love to ya! thankfully i'm finally feeling better! hope you are happy and healthy as well :D

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    1. I actually think the bottom line is that you are rad. Whenever you do write, you're so eloquent and thoughtful and even your images and shorter paragraphs tell of your character. Thank you for your kind words, your friendship and in advance, your couch ;D I can't wait to see you in a few brief weeks. Happy Socal Spring! Love.

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  30. milla i came here via another blog...i think it might have been moonshine junkyard actually...and i have been reading your blog for ages, years i think it must be now.
    i love your blog so much, i think because i am very similar to you. you dress how you want, your life is not dictated by the norms of society at large. i love seeing the photos of your beautiful island and your life and i admit that sometimes it makes me frustrated at how the village and area i live in is so 'conservative'...i keep hoping that all the 'alternative' people here are in hiding and that one day they will emerge!

    i started to blog over seven years ago, i was living in a very small village and was quite isolated and thought it a way of 'getting out' into the world! it did as well, i have met some very special people, those who remain online friends due to distance but also some very special souls who i see a few times every year.

    keep writing your gorgeous blog milla and we will all keep popping by :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind kind words! You have a way with them, and I'm sure that if you just get to talking enough, you'll root out those alternative kindred souls in your community. It is a conundrum sometimes, in small places, but also a good way for us to challenge ourselves. I feel really blessed with our community, but also sometimes frustrated even so with different social things. Don't give up and let your freak flag fly, much love and happy spring!

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  31. i have been reading your blog for many years, found you via wardrobe remix and recognised "the dump" from stories from my then boyfriend who has spent time on the islands when he was younger. for me your blog is something i sort of listen to, instead of reading. the combination of the photos and your text makes it feel like we're walking next to each other and you're telling me all this while we are looking out over the water. it's a peculiar feeling! also i find your lifestyle very inspiring, the simple and cheaper is something me and my now husband is also planning on finding in the future.

    for me blogging was difficult to get in to, as i have been writing anonymous online journals since the 90s! we were a group of people with nicknames that were just pouring out secrets and deep emotions, i've created real close friendships with many of them but that sort of openness is just not working these days. because we're older and because internet and the web has changed so much. now i think i am starting to get the hang of it, but i still feel that it is important to me that i write for me - and for anyone that is interesting to read what i would like to read about. i write what i want to read myself, i guess. bla bla bla. i blog in swedish.

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    1. Wow girl, that is many years! Gosh, I'm glad to have you by my side on those walks. I'm honored to provide any small speck of inspiration. Writing, doing anything for oneself, is one way to silence the inner critic, saying "I do this because I want to rather than because I want to impress others/be popular/ be seen" is the most important thing. Not in the me me me sense, but simply for being honest and raw and true. Thank you for stopping by to give me this sweet gift of words. Puss och Kram!

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  32. HI Milla! Your words and photos provide a jolt of inspiration to me when I am not nurturing my wildcrafting, West Coast, hippie-leaning ways. Your trips to Doe Bay, drawings, political rants, musings on city/country, tiny little cottage shots, gleeful dump finds, cute outfits, success and gardening adventures encourage me to go out and do the things that I love, many of which we share (as I live pretty near to you, on the Canada side). I like how you seem to be down to earth about your sustainable lifesyle, rather than too preachy or self-satisfied. You are an admirable person.
    All in all, your blog is a peek into the life that could be if I make my goal to live the island dream, complete with skill-share and vintage shop.
    I have no real idea of how I stumbled upon it, but it was probably a link list from another blog.
    Thanks for sharing! And Happy Early Spring.

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    1. I'm so honored by your comment, girl. Where do you live? Vancouver, Victoria, up the Coast somewhere? Lately I've been thinking of a fall-time local blogger meet up. I do still live at a campground, after all. it'd be so fun! some day...
      I hope your garden is magical and you're having lots of yummy nettles and enjoying the storms and the sunny spells. Happy spring and thank you, thank you for reading!

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    2. Well, I am honoured by your reply. :)
      I live in Vancouver and spend as much time as possible on Bowen Island, where my family has a tiny cabin. Your photos inspired my partner and I to go to Doe Bay this Fall and we loved it! Happy yurt soaking times. Wishing you the same soon.

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  33. Hi Milla,
    I first discovered blogs (and your blog) about 3 years ago, and it was such a revelation and inspiration to me to find there were other girls with creative leanings and expressed themselves with unique personal style. I had given up on clothing because I didn't like what was mass produced, and was totally inspired by you and a few other bloggers. Three years later, I know find myself exhausted by trying to "keep up" with trends, and most blogs have a reverse inspirational effect and just leave me feeling not that great about myself. NEVER YOURS. Although some of our passions are different, I love reading your kind and sensitive thoughts, seeing the inside of your creative home, and the beautiful pictures of where you live. Thanks for putting it out there! P.S Judging on a couple of posts ago I think our birthday/years might be the same or close to it.

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    1. Hi hon, blogs sure can that effect on us, can't they? The whole "not enough-more style-more stuff"-thing, distancing us from our true selves and what we really need and want. I'm so happy and honored to hear that this blog doesn't make you feel that way. Sometimes I feel really self-conscious about posting on those frivolous topics, but I hope I can handle in a way that other people find silly, or inspiring, or just fun, rather than making them feel any less awesome. Because, I mean look at yourself and all these cool, articulate, awesome women. I feel so darn lucky. Thank you for reading.

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  34. Dear Milla, I found your blog about 2 or more years ago. I admire your confidence in your lifestyle. Life is an ever changing ride that carries us to the far reaches, and your journey has been an interesting path. I enjoy your wonderful photos. Please keep blogging.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It's knowing that folks like you are reading makes me so happy. Man, are you right about this strange ride, it'll be so fun to look back on it when we're old, eh? ;)

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  35. Hello, Milla, and all you ladies (and gents?),

    I think I found this three years ago or so, must have been from another blog. I was going through a very lonely time in my life and consuming other people's words and stories and pictures to keep me connected to something... else. I started a journal almost 13 (!!) years ago on Chickpages, which migrated to Pitas, which was then hosted by a friend's site, which then settled at Wordpress, just in time for me to kind of give it up: http://reverseofwolvescircling.wordpress.com/. But then I started a sporadic blog here: http://gentleruins.wordpress.com/.

    What I love about your blog is how much like a personal zine it is -- the kind I used to consume in the late 90s, early 00s. Your writing is honest and lovely, and you express things that are difficult and unique AND universal and wonderful. Fashion and feminism and folklore (and Finland!) and all these things in one place, messy in the best way. I hope you'll keep sharing your words and pictures.

    Marie

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    1. Wow, thanks Marie, that's such a compliment! I had a few zines in my teens and twenties and I too think of this as kind of continuation of that. I'm excited to trawl trough your blog for treasure (coffee is not friend I'll tell you wha ;) Finding new awesome woman blogs is such a big part of the joy of blogging. Thanks for sharing yours and thank you for reading mine.

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  36. Dear Milla,

    I came to your blog about a year and a half ago, through End of March. I was immediately drawn to your personal world, the way you talk about it, and the island you live in (I live in Montreal but I am for France, and I miss the ocean, although not the same one of course). I made a comment once or twice, but I read all your posts and they fill me with strength and quiet at the same time. Thank you for being so sincere, curious and lively (and many other things) :o)

    Emmanuelle

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    1. Oh, hun, you've made a comment more than once or twice and they always fill me with such warmth and joy. Thanks for reading, folks like you make my day Emmanuelle.

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  37. I found your blog by chance a few months ago. I was looking for prayer flags on google and came up with one of your pictures at the barter fair.I love barter fairs so that was it for me, Ive read your blog ever since. There have been many things you have written about that I relate to.
    I Started my blog 2 years ago or so. At first it was to show my jewelry but now I just enjoy sharing things with people.If your ever curious my blog is ginnywolf.wordpress.com.
    Thank you for all your writing. It is always a treat to see what your up to in the beautiful Northwest.

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    1. Thank you for reading and your lovely comment. Barter Fairs, tell me about more other barter fairs!!?!?!? I've only ever been to one other one, but I imagine it would so fun to go to one somewhere else! I look forward to exploring your blog, life in the South West, spiritual inspiration, gorgeous jewelry, count me in!

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  39. Hi Milla,

    After following your blog for pretty well three years now, I've only commented once or twice before (but probably under a different name, I had to change my Google account at some point;). I was in the middle of my final year of high-school then and in the midst of trying to decide what to do and where to go as most at that age are.

    It was through your blog that I saw the world of the PNW. You had painted a world that I hadn't thought still existed, yet illustrated my aspirations exactly. And today I am still striving for those simple living ways. Your blog is a constant reminder that the quite and humble life is possible, and like you've said, the richest living around.

    There is so much clutter on the Internet, it's always a retreat to return to your blog : ) I was half scared reading your post you were about to call it quits!

    Much love and gratitude from your northern neighbour,

    Kyrie

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    1. Hi Dear, so so pleased to meet you (again)! I feel very honored that you can draw inspiration from this little space, you and awesome folk like you. I'm so amazed by how focused awesome young folk like you are today. I had little idea of what I wanted or how to strive for it at that age.

      Now I look at someone like Sara of forerstlass (if you don't read her log already you should-I guarantee you'll love it) and imagine how much further along I would be as a person, as a homesteader if I'd had that kind of dream; based in reality, but also magical and nourishing. I say go girl! If I was in anyway help along the way, I feel so humbled. I can't wait to hear all about it. Do keep me posted. And no I don't see quitting this lil thing anytime soon.

      Happy spring, friend and thank you!

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  40. Hello Milla!

    I am a long time reader (maybe 3.5-4 years now), but I have never commented. Your little corner of the vast world wide web has long been one of my favourites, and reading your posts always fills me with a sense of calm and relaxation, especially those showcasing the amazing part of the world you live in!

    I live in Tasmania, a small island of the south coast of Australia, so I enjoy the parallels of your island life and mine. I study natural sciences (zoology, geography, botany), so also share your love for nature. Just thought I would say hi and that I thoroughly enjoy your blog!

    I hope you are having a lovely day/evening!

    Angela

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    1. Wowzers! Tasmania! Girl, that sounds so so magical! I used to be in love with a boy who's mom lived in Tasmania, bred horses or something. So I got to say, based on what I've heard, you're the one that lives in an amazing part of the world. Thank goodness for the interwebs and their connectivity and thank you, for reading.

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  41. Hi Milla,

    I have read your blog for a couple years now but also haven't commented. I think I found you through Thrift Candy, but can't remember for sure! I really enjoy reading your blog, seeing the beautiful pictures and dreaming of having a more carefree, simple island life. I live in the Pacific Northwest also, but in the suburbs and every day look forward to working for myself, having more time to garden, and moving to a particular island nearby!
    Thank you for your thought provoking posts and beauty that you share with us.
    Kelly

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    1. Hello Kelly! Thank you for commenting for the first time. Like I said it's always such a treat for me to get a peek into my readership. I really hope you get your dreamlife someday and also that you make the life you have into your dreamlife. Sometimes I wonder how I would fare in the "real" world, and worry that I wouldn't do so well without the freedom and support and beauty I get to experience, but at the same I remember that I did fine when that was my life, in fact it was a very focused time in a way, defining what I wanted and trying to make it happen. And heck, tell you what, if I could you can too. I'm not exactly what you call a go-getter-type...

      Here's to your garden and freedom and dreams, girlfriend, may they all come to you soon. Thank you much for reading and for this lovely comment.

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  42. Hi Milla,

    I meant to comment on this post but am not sure I ever did!

    I started reading your blog after you posted about a friend's shop (The Lucky Dumpster) in Edison. Not sure who called my attention to that. I kept reading because I love the variety and the fact that the things you post are about your little world, and unique to you. There aren't too many blogs where every post is photos taken by the author, but those are always my favorite.

    I started blogging in 2006. I live across the water from you, just outside Edison, on an acre of land. Just dipping my toes in the world of gardening and country life. I grew up in Seattle but bought my little farmhouse a few years ago.

    Happy anniversary!

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    1. Hi Heather! Little house on an acre sounds perfect! I wonder if you've met our friend Brooke? He's been living and working around there and hear it's a real small town just like here , where everyone but everyone knows each other. I really want to visit again in the summer time when everything is open and stuff, that'd be fun. We hardly ever go Bham way, but I want to. So much to do around here ;) You ever come up to the Islands? Thanks for reading and I'm stoked to check your blog out too!

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  43. Oh funny - I don't think I've met Brooke. You're right, it's a very small town and after a few years I'm still a total new-comer, so I don't know everyone yet. I've ended up really liking Bellingham - have you been to the farmer's market in the summer? It couldn't be better. I do come up to the islands occasionally, but not nearly enough. My boyfriend used to live on your island, years ago, and worked for a stonemason there. I really want to come see your little shop!

    Most things in Edison are open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays even in winter, the hours are just a little briefer. If you ever want to know if something is going to be open, let me know. :-)

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    1. Right back at cha. If you're ever in town, come see us please!

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  44. I read this post with an anticipatory ache in my heart alongside the more compassionate me trying to breathe out love and all good things that will still be yours and you - just that I won't get to share them. And strangely at the end of your musing I still feel all of that but joyful too. Milla I have been reading your blog for 3 or 4 years. I do not comment on blogs but have been compelled to leave one or two for you because so perfectly do you say what I have no words to articulate. I have so much compassion for you on the thesis issue; I have been trying for maybe seven years to plan something academia acceptable but in truth I have been doing my study and learning aloud and alive. The writing will come...sometime. I don't blog, I'm desperately shy, and socially retarded, and very serious. I don't know that any blog I would write could ever be fun. Perhaps that will be where my writing process starts. I am deeply grateful and happy that this little corner of the internet will continue to grow; it is not little to me because you are living the fantasy that exists in my head (and I'm happy it's such a beautiful couple doing so). -Rachael.
    I write epic comments when I do leave them, huh?

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