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March 14, 2011


You really are an inspiration to me and I've learned so much from your blog! Thanks for that! You enrich my life!

I picked up your book at a library about two years ago, and after spending less than an hour with it, I ran out and bought my own copy. From that point, your book and your blog have been a constant source of inspiration. Please continue to celebrate the little things; the things that truly deserve to be celebrated!

Surely part of the problem is that you don't/can't show us what you are making and spending time thinking about, because it got to be a secret/surprise for the books you are publishing. Which actually also makes it less real for us as readers. I used to love all your cake pictures and the excitement that went into that
Best of luck what ever you do.

All these comments will hopefully persuade you how much we would all miss reading your blog! Here is my take on criticism and for me that's the comments you get when you enter a quilt into a show! There are two choices: they will either make you laugh because they are too, too silly, or they will make you cry for the same reason. After 15 years I simply tear them up before I read them! And then shred them too!
Just be the you we have all gotten to know and love!

hi Jane
I know I've said this before, but thank you again and for the record!: You continue to be an inspiration to me. You were definitely my main influence and guide in my rediscovery of quilting and crocheting. And I can't imagine I'd ever have knitted socks if it wasn't for you! After six years, I think you should do exactly what you feel is right for you now. You don't owe anyone anything - you have given great gifts to so many.
But I would miss you, definitely!

i ADORE every book i have read of yours, i think "the gentle art of domesticity" is by far my favorite book i read and reread it all the time, it was so inspiring and validating, i recently bought "turkish delights and treasure hunts" on my kindle, i wish there was a book like that when i was a kid!
your brilliant! and i love your daily thoughts and incite on your blog, i think the great thing about blogging is that it changes and grows with the writer, its amazing to get to be allowed a small window into someone else's world!!
i'm sorry if people have been mean, i think your wonderful!

I never understood that mauling you got. I wondered how anyone could turn something so pleasant and life-affirming (your book)into something so sour! I think it shows that what people say reveals more about themselves than what they are supposedly criticising. I looked at The Gentle Art of Domesticity again recently and really enjoyed it again. I also refer to and use Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer all the time. x x x

Authenticity and integrity are obviously two vital qualities to you as they are me. Despite thousands of blogs, yours is the one I turn to for sheer pleasure. I'd forgive you if your cakes were flat or tasteless, or if your quilts were made out of grey polyester - your writing is the thing. It's good. Really good.

I forgot to ask your permission, when I started a blog a few weeks ago, to describe you (in my Favourite Places) as "Jane Brocket, writer, domestic crafts artisan" Is that alright?


Six years is a long time. And much has changed - in blogs generally and for you in particular.

I don't know why being published in print should make one more 'fair game' than publishing in digital form, but I have no doubt, having borne witness to your experience, that it does.

Building a blog was such a fun thing - finding a voice, linking up with like minded people, the sense of community. Perhaps it is inevitable that some of the joy of that fades as your own blog ages and the whole medium becomes more mainstream. Not to mention (in your case) such an insanely huge silent readership - somehow that must throw the whole give-and-take nature of blogging out of whack.

I don't know what the answer is. But I'm pretty sure it's not worth doing if it isn't bringing you pleasure.

Hope the walk cleared your mind and you can see the best path forward for you.

Don't give up! Be yourself. I love your books and your blog. I just sent you an email yesterday to thank you for all the wonderful things your books have inspired me to try.

I'm new to your blog by a year. I found it and love it and hope you consider continuing since I, too, was inspired to start a blog once I saw some of the wonderful things that happen on them. But while you are concerned about who the real you is, maybe by being careful not to offend the book world, I, too, am concerned about revealing too much simply because this "blog world" is the internet world and nothing is forgotten or forgiven and I fear putting my "self" on the line too far. What if I lose my balance and something that I have come to love turns out to be a bad, bad thing? I hope you do continue, and I hope you find the you. So do I.

Jane through your glorious book The Gentle Art of Domesticity I discovered your blog and your blog led me to so many others. What a fascinating and interesting community. That particular book struck so many chords that I felt it was written for me and I have since bought all your other books too. You have such an eye and so many talents. I love your blog and would sincerely miss it if you stopped posting. Thank you for everything that you share.

I would change your blog to suit you. And as for the negative comments, remember that some people will always find something to complain about. I have your domesticity book and your quiltmaking book, and I am waiting patiently for your knitting book, which will take a bit because the release date for the United States isn't till August. :-)

I hadn't realised there had been any nastiness over your book and I'm sad to hear of it. The internet and print media bring so many wonderful things into our lives, but they also allow people to say the most unpleasant things that they'd never have the guts to say to the person's face. I've never heard anything but good comments about your books though!

Your blog should most definitely be what YOU want it to be, otherwise why bother? The majority of people want to read blogs that are true and real, even if they aren't reflecting your whole life. I'm sure that much of your life is none of our damn business really! If you feel uncomfortable with some aspect of the blog then change it to make yourself comfortable. Like minds will understand and appreciate it, anyone who isn't, won't, and no great loss.

I'd be awfully sad should you decide to disappear permanently, but I wouldn't delete your feed on my reader for ages, in the hopes you'd change your mind :)


I've never commented on your blog before, but I must say that I love everything you create-- to me you are my English friend who reminds me of the importance of creativity, of beauty and of the good there can be seen in the world around us and the world we create. I treasure The Gentle art of Domesticity, and I know many others do as well. Keep on fighting the good fight-- and if it means changing your blog, then change it-- but never never never give up. The world would be much more drab and boring without you.

I winced reading that Richard Mason article. It is incredible the impact that negative words can have on how we live our lives, particularly when our families seem to be part of the target. That sort of criticism can be like shrapnel left behind in a seemingly healed wound.

I am so sorry that you had that unfortunate experience, and find it completely understandable that it has affected how you write on the internet now.

I would echo the many, many comments above that your writing in both books and blogs has brought colour, inspiration, and the perfect flapjack into my family's lives.

With all best wishes for whatever way forward you choose.

Love love love the colour you share. People like to be so bold and cruel when writing on the internet but I doubt they'd be so cruel face to face.

I hope you enjoy your stroll/break and I hope there's some wonderful colour waiting outside for you!

Blessings :)

We will love you either way, Jane :)

might I suggets that you turn the comments off, then you are writing for yourself and not in response to comments, either negative or positive. 'authentic' might then follow

I visit your blog several times a week- then pop across to Persephone books for the picture of the day. I find your blog visually very pleasing and sometimes we seem to be sharing the same experiences, books or thoughts. It is never a judgmental visit, rather like having my morning cup of Earl Grey Tea it is a comfortable part of my day- the calm before the chaos.

Hello Jane,

I've really loved reading your blog of late, it's so well put together and your photographs are lovely. I have to say that tulips are my ultimate favourite flower - I don't blame you for failing to work in their presence! Do whatever you feel is right with the blog, but please don't stop blogging, you're wonderful x

It seems an inevitable part of having a public personna that you will attract negative comments as well as the positive. Ultimately you need to remain true to yourself. Good luck with whatever you decide.

I baked bread for the first time because of you. The Gentle Art of Domesticity encouraged me to see things from a new aspect, which elevated me.

You became admired and respected by simply being your authentic self, so keep being as 'you' as you want to. Fuck what they - or even us - think of you.

PS. If you visit the bead shop in K Town again, do pop your head into The Pineapple, hidden away on lovely Leverton Street. I've thought you'd find it charming ever since you wrote about exotic pineapples in your book!

I only had a blog for a year and in that time I had one nasty comment. That one comment played on my mind and I fretted about it enormously. It turned out to be from someone I know who was making "a joke". Hilarious. I know that I wouldn't be able to deal with the kind of critiscism you've encountered, and can understand how this has affected your thoughts about your blog and what you share.

Like many others I love your blog; the gorgeous pictures, the informative posts, the little peeks into your family life (I'm very nosey ;) and your Gentle Art book - first borrowed from the library and then purchased - is a firm favourite among my many books, and I too have pre-ordered and look forward to your knitting book.

I really hope that you will be able to rise above the Trolls (thanks Culture Show!) who make mean comments and criticise without thinking how hurtful they may be, and continue writing for you and for us!

Your blog and your books .... what's not to love?! (sorry!)

None of us really know each other. It's hard enough to really know ourselves. Yet the moment we write/read something, not just on the internet, we form a connection and an opinion. Look at Larkin - scholars etc have gone on at length about aspects of his poetry which his letters revealed were not at all connected to his thinking. What I think I am trying to say is that there will always be a process in writing that you cannot control and that is the reader's reaction. What a loss it would be if writers/artists stopped because of the reaction of a few. I'm looking forward to you having a change in direction - if you don't embrace a feeling of change you wouldn't be growing as a person would you?

Dear Jane

I've been reading your blog for years now and have recently started my own, and I am full of terror that someone will read it and even more that they will sneer, even quietly to themselves. But you have experienced the reality and, although it has changed the way you write, you have carried on blogging which is pretty brave in my eyes.

Like your other readers I'd noticed the difference in the way you were blogging, but assumed that it was something you were happy with - I am sad to learn that it's not and that it is unsatisfying to you.

You must find a way to be true to yourself and regain your pleasure in blogging, otherwise why do it? You are such a clever and creative person I feel sure you could find a new way for the blog which would suit you better. I hope that you can as I would miss you if you stopped blogging, you really are an inspiration to so many of us.

Best wishes, Helen

I am not an english native speaker and a secrete reader of Your blog. I loved it and I learned a lot about London's hidden places, books I am now reading, films I saw, new word I learn. I would miss Your blog.
Think: Envier are everywhere.

I just wanted to add that your first book was and continues to be a great inspiration to me. I keep going back to it to remind me of the beauty & the joy in life. Thanks for that.

I think part of the problem is that,to really reflect yourself,a blog needs to be like a conversation with friends in a pub. Most people,if they disagree with something they overhear,are not rude enough to cross the room to say so.If they often hear things they don't like,they will probably change pubs! For some reason,it seems to be OK to be incredibly hurtful in blog comments. I don't know why. I hope you will feel you can be more 'yourself' again,but if you feel you need to edit,I'm sure we all understand.

Thank you, Jane, for your time and vision. Yarnstorm was the first knitting/quilting/baking/looking/reading blog I read regularly. Whatever you decide will be right for you.

Hi Jane. I love reading your blog and I have two of your books, which I love too. Through reading your blog, I've found a whole new world of wonderfully creative people and it's inspired me to pick up knitting and sewing again. You have to make the right decision for you, so I wish you the best of luck with that.

Dawn x

Jane, Make your blog what you wish it to be. As Brian Cox said last we the only constant thing in the universe is change. I love your book Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer and bought it after an article in the Telegraph(?) some years ago. Since then I became a follower of the blog too. I am perhaps in the baking/life category rather than the crafting but I still love to see and hear about the craft and to admire it. Don't be put down by reviewers etc. There's a whole army of us out hear keen to read your works, follow your ideas, and admire your work. Well done you.

I have loved your blog and your books, but can understand your feelings. I think the distance of the internet somehow allows people to be unkind and cruel, which our gentle hearts do not need. Best wishes with your decision. I hope you find the proper space and venues to let your fabulous creativity flow, as it has truly inspired me over the years. I LOVE your sense of color and pattern, and have given myself greater freedom to be as freely colorful since encountering your work and spirit. Thank you!

There must be more of us adoring fans out there than critics because you've written several successful books since. Maybe you should listen to us instead and trust that we will like you just the way you are. :)

Really hope the walk and think did you good. Like so many others I love your blog and your books and I'm making a Russian Shawl quilt at the moment. Don't forget that you inspire and change others' lives for the better.

Wow! I've just read your post and all the above comments - a lot of truth in what everyone says. Looks like you have an immense amount of support whatever you do. To add my bit I stumbled across your blog and love the posts and it encouraged me to have a go. I love the relationship between you and your daughter and all the lovliness you get up to and would be disappointed if it stopped but whether you change your blog or move onto something more fulfilling let it be your choice not the critics because then they will have won and they don't deserve to! Loving what you do!


I really didn't know about the negative reviews of your first book, Jane. I've just read the Telegraph review online by someone called Liz Hunt. The name means nothing to me, the person behind it sounds like someone I would never want to meet. With reference to personal creativity, I quote: "Why should we when we can buy it. It's what craft fairs and farmers' markets are for".

Balance these views of a creatively barren, probably envious person, against the great joy and inspiration that you give to countless people. Those who have commented so far have demonstrated their admiration and thanks. There are no doubt hundreds (or thousands) more who won't comment but will endorse everything that has been said.

I do understand your concerns and realise that you have much to consider. I fervently hope that you will decide on whatever feels best for you to do. I pray that there is a solution to your blogging dilemma - you are too valuable to lose. Having said that, the most important person here is you. Good luck, Jane.

I really love your blog and have read it for a long time now. It really does brighten up the days. I see it as a work of art and works of art do not always fully reveal the artist, even though they are an expression of who the artist is.


Just read your comment and am wondering if, after all you have written, you could help me understand why you read my blog?



I agree with other commenters about the "inherently strange" intimacy a blog creates between strangers. I respect your generosity (and your family's) in sharing your life and views. I, too, carry the effects of painful and hurtful comments for a long time. Sometimes I wonder if it is an indulgence in a strange and twisted way. Thank you for sharing so much of your insight, love of life and the beauty of this world. I look forward to what you do next and hope it is completely on your own terms. That is what you began the blog with, isn't it?

Dear Jane,
You've inspired me to start my own blog, to take up photography, to use my creative talents... You've also introduced me to some wonderful sites, blogs and books. I'd be sorry to see you go. Whatever you decide, rest assured that you've started your very own revival of all the little things that make life sweet.

Thank you for this. I need to clarify one misundertanding: I am under no pressure from any of my publishers when it comes to this blog. It's my personal and independent blog.

I wrote about this on my own blog a few weeks ago, about how your real self becomes hidden behind a wall of acceptability online. A blog is an online diary of sorts, and the more impersonal it becomes, the more it veers away from its initial purpose, and so the less satisfaction it brings. However that has to be tempered by how vulnerable you want to make yourself to the vitriol spouted by vicious people who seem to think that because they're not standing in front of you, they have a licence to say whatever they like, no matter how personal, cruel or vindictive. So your dilemma is a difficult one, and I understand it - I've had very nasty comments on my blog in the past, vastly outweighed by the lovely ones, thankfully, but it is those criticisms that shout the loudest, because they shake your confidence.

I have read some of the negative reviews and comments of The Gentle Art.. and all of them missed the point of you and what you extol as being valuable entirely. Instead they took it as a personal attack on what their own lives lack, and projected that disappointment in themselves onto you, rather than choosing to take your work and worldview as an inspiration, as most people have. It's their loss.

You know I love your blog Jane, and have the greatest respect for you and your take on life. You are a breath of fresh air in an often stiflingly cynical world. It would be a sad loss to have you stop blogging, but it would be equally sad to have you writing without your heart being in it. Ultimately you have to do what is right for you, and ensure that what you write fulfills and excites and pleases you, above all else. I very much hope that you come to a conclusion that will lead to you finding that right balance. You bring so much joy to others - you need your writing to bring joy to you, too!

I'm a stay at home mom of 7 in USA, CT. I LOVE your "Gentle Art..." book, loved it from the day I found it's beautiful pink cover at the bookstore. I snatched it up and read it with teary eyes...JUST what I needed--inspiration, beautiful pictures, a mentor; a woman who loved home and family and cake. I hadn't read your blog at all but since I read your book, I am a frequent visitor here.
As a fellow blogger, however, I can related to your feelings. I also struggle with the way my blog used to be vs. the way it is now. Sometimes I want to start over, sometimes I want to end it completely. But, at the end of the day, my blog makes ME happy...so I continue it.
I hope you find the answers you are looking for...maybe you need some fresh inspiration for yourself. Getting excited about life translates into an eagerness to want to share it with others.


Now back home after the chaos and back to have a cup of Earl Grey Tea with your blog. I am rather shocked by some of the comments BUT delighted by the positive ones which make up 99%+. Hold your head up and carry on in whatever way you want to.

Reading further comments I agree with Caroline and am shocked by some of the comments. No one is forced to read your great blog, no one is entitled to anything more than you decide to share with us. I love your pictures, and just a sentence or two. Life is busy, especially for authors, parents, wives and if a line is all you have thats great. Do not loose heart.

I love your blog and your books (or those I've read so far). The Gentle Art of Domesticity is such a unique, beautiful and inspiring book. I remember those articles and understand ... It's a pity that bitter people can have such a hurtful effect, but that's just how it is ... I am sure nobody is really immune to those negative comments, unfortunately. Quiltmaking is another book I refer back to time and again for the stories behind the quilts, the inspiration and the photography. Thank you for a lovely blog, invaluable books and all that inspiration! Good luck for your journey, whatever you'll decide it's direction will be!

I hope that you continue to blog, I've been reading ( and commenting) about your exploits for a very long time, I even scrolled back a bit to catch up with your first postings.
I sound like a stalker in that I have three of your books and the next one on order ( I don't do patchwork).
I've made rock cakes and other culinary delights inspired by your pictures and recipes.
You sound just as much 'you' as at the beginning
Good Luck in whatever decision you make, I'll be here if you are!!

Maddie has a strange expectation of you - I think you should blog for yourself and only those who want to read your words need do so. She needs to get her own life.
I like so many other people have been inspired by many of your ideas. From bulbs to workshops with Kaffe Fassett, from rock cakes to Persephone books, you have made a difference and made my life fuller. I don't agree with every word you say but that is also true for even my best friends! Whatever your readers want you have to decide what you want to do - it is your blog.

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