Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Three Year Blog Birthday! // The Journey So Far

Three years ago today I sat down at a computer, made myself a blogspot account, then roped my boyfriend into taking pictures of me in my new Asos dress. I then proceeded to make a fairly amateur first post, the formatting of which now makes me cringe. And all I got for my efforts was a single seedy comment.
But slowly my blog began to blossom - I became obsessed with online shopping, was introduced to the world of lookbook and chictopia (which helped people to find my blog in the first place), and started posting outfits once a week.
Inspired by other bloggers and the then very-popular galaxy look, I tried out my very first DIY.
Very shortly after beginning to blog, however, I was diagnosed with a very scary and life-threatening illness, which was to become a very large part of my life - certainly not a defining feature of who I am, but still something that I continue to battle every day.

This space then became so much more than a fashion blog to me - it became my place to escape.

Some days all that I was able to do was to throw on a pretty outfit, take some photos, and then be utterly exhausted. But it gave me something to do, some sort of purpose, rather than lie around in bed feeling defeated and sorry for myself.
At first, you wouldn't have been able to tell I was sick (such is both the blessing and the curse of having an invisible illness), but slowly the medications that I was taking took their toll - my weight shot up, my face ballooned and my hair began to thin. So I dyed my hair and hid my face, terrified that people would discover that I "wasn't normal", but determined to keep blogging no matter what happened. Dressing up and doing DIYs became a sort of therapy for me.
I got my first ever sewing machine, and started making my own clothes - the above picture shows the very first circle skirt that I ever attempted! While the hem was completely uneven and I had to wear it with a belt for it to stay up, I was beyond excited that it was possible for me to make my own clothes. For valentines day in 2012, I wrote my first DIY tutorial.
Companies took notice of me, and decided that they wanted to start sending me clothes for free, which was basically the most exciting thing in the world right then. Super enthusiastic, I signed up with about 20 companies - then realised that was way too much work/pressure, so I stepped back a little and became a bit more selective.
I discovered wigs...
Started actually working with aforementioned websites like chictopia on style campaigns...
And at the end of 2012, I started blogging about science!
I wrote for the Scientific American, was a guest on one of my favourite science podcasts and met a whole community of scientists and science-lovers who also adored vintage and loved to craft!

I met up with one of my favourite bloggers, Ashley of Candy Kawaii Lover in Japan, proving just how much of the world blogging had opened up for me. Ashley showed me around Kobe, and we became good friends - meeting up a second time when she visited Australia!
In 2013, I moved out of home, and was asked to be in a magazine. Shortly before the release date, I was asked if I would actually like to be on the COVER of the magazine itself! And so this happened:
I started thinking more carefully about my impact on the world and my fashion choices, and how the two were intertwined. Just under a year ago, I decided that I was no longer going to support/buy from companies that were possibly manufacturing their clothing in sweatshops. I had a complete overhaul of how I viewed fashion, but also aimed to prove that I could still maintain the same style solely through thrifting, DIY and shopping more ethically.
I started writing for Birdee Magazine at the end of last year, and this year I branched out into the world of video blogging and started my own youtube channel, on which I have just hit the milestone of 10,000 subscribers. This is both awesome and mind-boggling - as my "film studio" consists of me sitting in a very awkward spot where the light is just right in the middle of my kitchen.
But the best part about my three years of blogging?

You guys. (Awww)

Seriously though, it is! I will never be able to thank you all enough the love and support and lovely comments and "fan-art" and emails that have made me cry - to know that I have touched the lives of so many people in such a positive way is the greatest feeling of all. And in return, you guys have made such a positive impact on me!
So that's three years of The Pineneedle Collective (Happy Birthday, blog!) and I am very much looking forward to what the next three years has in store!

All of the love in the world,

Bloglovin' | Youtube | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram | Chictopia | Lookbook | Tumblr


  1. Wow, that was a seedy comment...
    Happy Birthday Pineneedle Collective! Also congratulations on all of the amazing opportunities you have created for yourself by doing all of this! It's exciting to see how much more you will progress in another 3 years (Is this a seedy comment also =S )

  2. Wow! What an awesome post. I'm a relatively new follower, so I didn't know your backstory. It's a very inspiring story and I'm glad you shared it! Congrats on three years!

    Little Gold Pocket Watch

  3. Happy 3rd blog birthday!
    Thanks for sharing your story. I have even more respect for you if that was even possible! You're such a strong woman who's achieved so much :)

  4. Happy 3rd Birthday The Pineneedle Collective!!! You have been an inspiration for three years!! Thanks soo much for that!


  5. congrats on your blogiversary! wow, you've had so many accomplishments these three years -- your story is so inspiring! here's to many more years -- i know i'll be reading :)

  6. Happy 3rd blog birthday! You're so beautiful, and your story has been really inspiring for those of us who, like me, have only had their blog going a little under 12 months! I love seeing how far other content creators have come & what's inspired them to do what they're doing.



  7. Congratulations on hitting three years Annika. Thank God you made this blog, that's all I can say. You are constantly an inspiration and all around just really, really cool. I'm so glad I discovered this fantastic blog and look forward to what's to come :)xx

  8. Happy, happy blogiversary, you lovely girl! It's so nice to look back on all you've accomplished over the past three years. Your blog has always been one of my favorites, and I am constantly inspired by your fashion sense, your intelligence and your amazing outlook. I'm also very glad that we've become friends in this vast blogosphere. :) Here's to many more years ahead.

    xoxox Sammi

  9. happy third birthday!! i absolutely love your blog and you reaaally make me want to learn how to sew! i love your style and feel smarter every time i read the science part of your post! you're truly an inspiration! here's to many more years! congrats! :)


  10. Yay yay yay happy blogiversary! You've had such a great blog journey so far and I can't wait to see where else this blog takes you. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites. Your outfits are always spot on and I really enjoy your cool science features. To many more blogging years!

    Jamie | PetitePanoply.com

  11. Happy Birthday! That was a beautiful story of blogging. It's amazing how much stuff it has brought you, and I'm so glad it has made you happy. It's one of my favourite, must read all the time, blogs. I loved looking back on your old outfits, and wow yes. You deserve it all.

  12. Aaww happy birthday to your blog! I enjoyed reading this! It's always so amazing to see that blogging brings people from all different parts of the world together and impacts their lives in such a positive way! I love your blog and can't wait to see and read more DIY, vintage and science in the future :)
    Btw I wouldn't have recognized you in your very first post. You look amazing now with the red hair!

  13. Happy Birthday!! Thank you so much for blogging and just being you.
    You've shown me the simplicity that clothes can be made with and provided me with scientific know how that i wouldn't otherwise involve myself with. I thank you for that.
    Keep being ever stylish xx

  14. Happy blogiversary! It's so nice to see all the great things your blog has brought your way, along with being an outlet and escape. Seeing your blogging journey all in one post is really inspiring! I know I always enjoy reading your science + fashion posts; I always learn something new and become inspired by your style choices. Can't wait to see what lovely things the future years send your way~

  15. This post is so inspiring! You're really successfull and it makes me want to put more effort into my blogging and other fields of life ;>
    I love visiting your site - you're a really interesting and creative person and you have absolutely lovely and unique style! Keep up the good work! <3


  16. Dearest,
    I needed to write this comment to firstly, wish your pineneedle a happy birthday (!), but also to tell you just how inspiring you've been to me. Your blog has influenced things I've done in a very real way so I only think it's right that you know that and know that there are certainly more than me out there who are motivated by you.

    I saw your heart print tights post. Ages and ages ago. I LOVED it. It may have been one of the things that introduced actual blogging to me, but more importantly it opened up this crazy community of people who made things and then put them online. I was entranced! I started my blog as a direct result of that post and haven't looked back since.

    But your personal style is so inspiring too. The way you hold yourself with such confidence and elegance, despite going through trying things, is truly truly inspiring. I straightened up my act. I planned outfit posts (which I still haven't had the confidence to shoot!). More importantly I started having pride in my handmade items and wearing them outside the house. Because of you.

    Thirdly, invisible illnesses suck. They really do. I am so proud of your dignity in coping with them. One of the hardest things I've found is the fact they just don't go away, they become this awkward little bit of your life which you have to live with. What I absolutely love is that you've been dealt this little sucky thing to have in your life but at the same time gone 'hell no! I'm gonna enrich my life with all these huge amazing things!'. Magazines, youtube channels, sponsorship- it all just says you're a person who will succeed and has succeeded.

    I really could go on and on with this post. I've met other people just in my department at uni who are spurred on by the fact that you're making it ok to wear patterned tights and do neuroscience, I could tell you how one of my first thoughts after losing a lot of my hair this year was 'hey I can cope, Annika rocks wigs so so can I'. Instead I will just say a big big thank you and a big big happy blog-birthday.

    Much love,

  17. Wow congratulations! You've achieved an incredible amount in the space of just three years, you're really amazing. I remember first reading your blog, and was overcome with your charm! Although I haven't commented in ages, and this comment will probably sink into a flood of birthday congratulations, I have a sense of pride? I don't know, that's probably weird. But i can relate to underestimating the connections with people via blogging (although my blogs much much smaller than yours!).
    Anyway, happy anniversary Anika! x

  18. I love this pst so much Annika! You're simply amazing xx

  19. Awww Annika! This was such a beautiful post! I had no idea you had suffered an illness, I know you said you felt like people would notice but I've honestly never noticed :)
    You are one of my favourite bloggers and I love your quirky fashion sense and how you include interesting scientific information too, I end up being educated whilst looking at new styles :D
    Also I love Australians too haha, I will definitely need to start watching your Youtube channel, I didn't realise you had one until this post so I'm definitely going to start watching now :D

    Congratulations on 3 years and here's to many more! It's been amazing seeing this journey with you via posts :D Keep up the amazing work!


  20. Happy blog birthday!! You have no idea how your posts light up my blog feed! Keep up the amazing work, Annika!! xoxoxo

  21. Happy birthday pineneedle! I'm so glad to have discovered this blog and shortly after I had started mine. You were and are a constant inspiration to all of us :)

    Chamomile Dealer

  22. congrats on three years! You and your blog are ace :) I love seeing how you style outfits and I really love all the cool science stuff you post on here - it's always so interesting! Here's to the next three years :) X

  23. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOG :) your blog is my new favorite find, im new to the blog world.
    i studied fashion and textiles and uni also fine art at foundation level. your stuff has been really inspiring me lately. i think your ace and i love reading your blog post. xxxooxx

  24. Happy blog birthday! I've been reading for just under a year (right after your fashion choices post) and I love your blog firstly because of your sense of style, but also the creativity and intelligence which you exude in every post.

    Congrats to all your achievements and keep up the bloody awesome work!

  25. I don't comment on your blog a lot (because I feel like it will just get lost in a sea of comments), but I really wanted to today. Your blog has been such an inspiration to me when it comes to sewing and science. I have been sewing since I was a young girl, and I love it, but sometimes when I have a block and have no clue what to sew, I love to come on your blog and scroll through your DIYs. Seriously, they give me so much inspiration. And I really love so much that you combine fashion and science, because they are also my two great loves! Congratulations on 3 years of blogging! I cannot wait to see what's in store for you (:

  26. Happy birthday to your blog! Your post is so sweet! :)
    Continue like that, your blog is great!


  27. I moved browsers, and thus haven't been on your blog in a while (shivers). Now it's bookmarked on my new Browser, so you'll be seeing more of me (;

    This is such a lovely post. I love seeing how far you've come so far (and it's only been 3 years!)
    Your blog has inspired me a lot - I took a few sewing classes at a local fabric store. I may get a sewing machine of my own, and attempt to make your DIYs.

    Congrats on 3 years, and hopefully many more! <3

    (PS - Your hair looks lovely. I love the color!)

  28. Congrats on reaching this milestone. Your blog has inspired me for quite some time now and I hope to have it firmly planted on my radar for many years to come. Thank you Annika! X

  29. Happy blogversary!

    I really would like to thank you for blogging these three years! You opened up the wonderful world of sewing to me: when I saw all your handmade dresses and skirts I couldn't stay behind ;) So thank you so much for pointing out what is now my number 1 hobby!

    You're the best :)

  30. I discovered your blog recently and come to visit now and then, for it's a nice place to wander around. What a best opportunity to finally say hi! on your blog's birthday! Long live your blog and thanks for sharing, a great source of inspiration! Bon anniversaire again! :)

  31. Happy birthday to your blog <3. You really do deserve all the admiration!

  32. such a touching story! it's nice to hear that your blog has been a bright spot in dark days!
    a very happy blog birthday, hope many more years will follow :) ❤

  33. This post is beautiful, YOU are beautiful! Thank you for writing this! It gives me confidence to continue my blog, which as you said, can be very hard. You are an inspiration to everybody ! Happy blogversery!

  34. Congratulations and Happy Birthday Pineneedle. I'm Emanuela and I follow you from Italy! is so 'nice to see how a passion can raise morale and in the meantime take a lot of satisfaction. Ever since I read your blog felt like to me to open one, maybe one day I will succeed! Ah, then your Diy are wonderful and very useful, i make again all! ^ _ ^ Keep it up!

  35. Happy Birthday! It's funny to see how much of these events I witnessed and I hope the blog keeps growing! I love how sincere you can be in your blogging style.

  36. Happy Happy Happy Birthday to Pineneedle, one of my favourite blogs on the internet <3

  37. This is so cool. Super proud of you and glad to be reading. :-)

  38. Happy blogday!! Your recollection of the past three years is immensely inspiring!


  39. Its incredible to see all your growth and accomplishments over the past 3 years. You are a huge inspiration and I cannot wait to see where you'll be in the next 3 years <3


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