Name: Barb Bamber
Blog name: Just a Smidgen
Where were you born? Calgary, Alberta
Where are you living now? Calgary, Alberta
When did you start your blog? August 25, 2010
How did you decide on your blog name?
Growing up, my mom and I often cooked and baked together in our tiny kitchen on Claret Street. She would ask me to add “just a smidgen” of an ingredient to a recipe. My mom was a source of inspiration for me, I watched her develop her talents in so many different creative pursuits, from baking to quilting, needlwork and finally oil and acrylic painting. Watching her work so hard to master a variety of interests led me to believe that one can do almost anything if you are passionate and work hard at it. I wanted my blog to reflect “just a smidgen” of everything that is beautiful in my life. I dabble in so many different creative adventures that each post is also “just a smidgen” of some new inspiration. I’m a small person as well, so it was a natural fit.
What do you blog about?
I began blogging about food and from there it just blossomed into many different creative avenues, from photography to DIY to interior decorating.. but always, my true love for blogging really thrives when I can create a recipe and explore different methods for expressing myself through setting up food props and photographing the results.. I love creating a “story” with my recipes and food.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you?
This post for Understudied Orange-Spice Banana Muffins would have to be the post that most describes me, I’ve always been a “learner” and to be the “understudy” as I describe in my poem, captures what I love about my life.. learning and growing from my parents and throughout my life, helping my children learn and grow and also how I learned about blogging from other fellow food bloggers that I met in the early days. This post also includes some simple sketchbook paintings and the references to my orchestra show how art and music was just beginning to influence my blogging experience.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I loved this post on Hope and Elderfower Limoncello Ice Cream because this lovely recipe that was inspired by a trip of a lifetime to Italy, but also because it came from a blogging challenge to express my own thoughts about the word “hope”. I love combining everything in one post.. the creation of food, the resulting recipe, the photography and, finally, the written word through a poem or phrases… it feels like something more “complete” when it can all come together like this in one post.
Which post’s success surprised you and why?
The Best Zucchini Relish recipe was a real surprise since it was a simple recipe my family makes annually, ever summer at the lake with fresh zucchini from the market. It really is the best zucchini relish recipe and I guess my readers must think so too! I love it because it includes photos of our cabin and my parents, it has such a special place in my heart.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Lately, it has been to find the time to continue blogging as frequently as I wish. I have so many recipes and projects I’d like to try but find that life is crying out for more attention.. so I’m paying attention to that. Without life experiences, I wouldn’t have much to write about. Plus, I’d totally love to blog more epic cake recipes, but I need a special occasion and someone to help me eat it!
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
101 Cookbooks was one of the first food bloggers that inspired me. I purchased her cookbook and love her healthy recipes. Ingredients that were once exotic for me have found their home in my pantry and I love that!
Sweetapolita was my first baking inspiration. Hers was one of the first ruffle layer cakes I ever tried to make. This tea party inspired me to think beyond the recipe and to explore the idea of collecting pretty dishes and tableclothes to create a beautiful presentation.
These days, Local Milk inspires me, I love her photography, it’s very different from my “high key” style.
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
Favorite foods for me have a history of memories from childhood.. and I love when they are a family recipe. Nell was my grandmother and I grew up watching and then helping my mom make Nell’s Sugar Cookie recipe. I still remember dipping a glass in sugar and pressing the cookies and then finishing them with a cherry. I remember eating them as a child. I would know these cookies by taste and texture blindfolded!
What are you working on next for your blog?
Currently I’ve been working on big changes in my blog and in my cooking since I’m working on getting into shape and I mean.. really into shape! I’ve got ideas for healthy shakes and main dishes that are vegetarian or “bowls” filled with sweet potato, black beans, brown rice or quinoa. I’m excited because eating like this is helping me reach my goals in the gym. What a change from baking pretty cakes and cookies! To go with this I’m trying to document what inspires me and motivates me to reach my goals, if this inspires even one other person to try to eat healthy or reach a goal that would make my day! I have added a page of my own favorite photographs combined with quotes that I love and these can be downloaded as screensavers.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I decided to learn to play cello about 7 years ago. With tons of practice I worked my way up to playing in a local community orchestra. Currently I am taking an oil painting class and wish I had more time to do both!
What makes your blog unique?
I guess that it has a “smidgen” of so many creative endeavours, from a variety of recipes to decorating, crafts and poetry. I love changing up my blog’s design, maybe some day I’ll explore graphic design at school.
What’s your Favourite FBC Feature?
Spotlight on Food Photography has to be one of the must-read sections on FBC. I believe to really take your blog to that “next level” it’s a great idea to learn how to find props, style food and then how to take those great shots. I’ve learned so much about aperture, ISO,shutterspeed, light, etc
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