I have known this day was coming for about a month now. My blog is 1! Our house now a home is no longer a spitting up, gurgling baby blog. It is a giggling, silly, crawling and walking, semi functioning blog. About three weeks ago I realized this blog, my little corner on the internet has been going strong for one year. I knew I had to do something. But, what do I say? I am not even sure where to begin. I started this blog on December 22, 2013. I shared my home tour and gave a little hello to anyone that was reading. Which was not a lot of people. Ok, real talk….. no one was reading. I think I got my first hit on page views a week or two into having this. Well, other than Dale and I. I shared my first few projects soon after the jump off, mini kitchen remodel, old window pane frames, kids art table, and cane chair redo. I am both nostalgic, appalled, and happy to see these posts. I did not know what I was doing, creatively, taking pictures, writing, any of it. I like to see the growth. I have learned what NOT to do!
I decided to start this blog for so many reasons, hardly any of which is what is keeping me doing it one year later. You can read the whole story of it here. To paraphrase…. I wanted to create a house a home, share how to do that with as little cost as possible, to show anyone can have the dream home, to maybe meet some new peeps who are like minded in their home decor obsession. I found out very fast that my blog is one of A LOT that want to share low cost ideas for a home. I was not up on the blog scene when I started, so the few I came across were not budget friendly. I assumed my idea as a brilliant one, a anomaly in the pretty world of home blogs. Wrong, so so wrong. There are thousands upon thousands of ridiculously talented people. Sharing budget friendly ideas, with their witty selves, cute smiles, beautiful homes, and crazy inspiring ideas. They also have years on me in blogging and decorating.
So why did I stick around once I found out I was one of many? Because of those people. They “get” me. I can go to their blog, see something amazing. Be in awe, a little confused on why I did not think of that, or see something I like but ways to tweak it. They get my creative juices flowing. I have learned so much through the other people I follow. I have reached out to some very successful blogs with questions I had, advice on setting a price for articles, contributing, anything. They have all been more than happy to help me out. I learned through observation how the pictures look best. The best way to explain steps to a project. What visually worked. I found out some of my projects were not as creative and cutting edge as I thought. Some were not even that low cost. I have seen people do wonders with a pile of wood, rope and $2.50 to spend. Somehow redoing their whole living room, and sewing a beautiful dress for their adorable daughter, All in one day. I always go “Whaaaaaat!?” I am always seeing the competition. And when I say competition, I mean other talented people, there is room for all of us. I thrive because of them. I see how far I can go. How far anyone can go. My first post I mentioned anyone can do this with an idea, some guts to try, and some paint. I have seen what others do, and know I can do it too. A crazy woman decorating/DIY warrior! All because of the diverse, talented, decorating crazies like me. I never realized the “competition” would become my teachers, collaborators, inspiration, and friends.
I also was not aware of the people I would get to interact with who have no blog. Who look at my ideas and give it a try. My audience is still growing. Through people commenting here, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Hometalk I have been able to interact with people just starting out their home decorating journey. Given a little push to get started. Answered questions they had. This is what I started the blog for. Helping people get the decorating bug, and figuring out ways to make it work for them. I have also been ripped into on a few occasions. Sharing projects, or being featured. Some people don’t like my idea, and they tell me, They tell me everything I did wrong, it is ugly, one in particular even tore apart how I write. Initially it hurt. I don’t think I would ever say so clearly I did not like something. Of course there have been times I have come across something and I don’t like it, hate it even. I have NEVER stated that. Decorating is so personal, one person’s obsession will make another person’s skin crawl. That is what made me be ok with people expressing their not so nice opinions. Yes, they could be nicer about it. But I cannot and don’t expect everyone to like everything that I do. I was not prepared for a thicker skin. I am a tiny blogger, there are big name people out there. No way would I need to prepare myself for that. I was wrong. I am sharing and people share right back.
One thing I was not prepared for would be my love of writing for writings sake. I initially saw writing as a necessary evil to share the creative project I was trying to get out there. But, something clicked and I remembered how much I adored writing. Getting words out, telling stories, being in my own head and just letting it go, making people laugh. I have stretched my writing to places beyond this blog, and even home decor. I have written at SheKnows, and Sammiches and psych meds. I moonlight as a Mom to three little ones when not blogging and being a DIY warrior. And sometimes the funny and humor in the mundane that is kids, life, dog, etc, comes out. I have shared it here, on my blog as well as other sites. I am starting to look beyond home decor and into writing alone. Sometimes not having to break down detailed steps all while being entertaining is hard. Just being entertaining can be fun too.
About a month into this blog I began monetizing it with a few ads. I just decided to take the plunge and see what would happen. I had set a goal of by the end of the year having enough to cover my DIY and decorating obsession by money made from this blog. I am so fortunate to say I have met and exceeded that goal. Through this blog itself as well as being a contributor and staff writer at other places, having projects featured, or images featured.
I have been shamelessly putting myself out there. Applying to have my projects featured in magazines, on web sites, on other blogs, and at times applying to be a contributor at other places. I got lucky and have been featured in some online publications and other blogs. Some paid, some not. I am just a hustler. Yeah, having a home decor blog can turn you hard. hustling away. I am now a DIY contributor at Fancy Shanty and a staff writer/DIY contributor for Homedit. I realized I was playing in the big time working with these amazing people. I learned about collaborating, creating with another audience in mind, meeting deadlines, writing articles with their format, key words, upping my article title game, and so much more. I would not have gained these opportunity’s if not for Our house now a home.
I felt weird putting myself out there like this. Who am I to think that I have what it takes to offer advice, share tips, share anything. I already mentioned there is so much talent out there. But, I decided to move forward because I wanted to. I want to keep momentum, see where this can take me. This coming from the girl who did not tell anyone I knew in real life about my blog. Until Dale outed me on Facebook 6 months into blogging. He said it was time. I felt weird staking claim to being a pro. That is the thing though, I am not a pro, I am a standard run of the mill lady. With a home, kids, budget, schedule, lack of sleep, too much on my plate, lady. That is the reason I can do this. Because that is everyone.
I realized I like doing this, THIS being writing, collaborating, creating, and working. I did not know I needed an outlet other than kids, home and husband. I am fortunate enough to not have a need to work outside of the home and earn a income (go Dale and your awesome software architect self). I filled a interest and void with this blog that was hidden, even from me. About 4 months into blogging I got burnt out. I had a few big projects, got a few comments here and there. But any gain I made seemed to dwindle away. I felt that there was no point in me doing this blog. I can create projects for my home and write in a journal. It would be less work on my end. I never started this for the page views, but it does take time and effort. To see any gain go back down to almost zero was hard. I also had no one commenting, no interaction. My blog felt like one of those old western movies where the dirt road is empty and a tumble weed goes by.
So I quit, for one whole week. I was relieved for about 2 days. Then I missed it. I missed sharing, I came across a home I wanted to share and realized I had no one to share it with, I talked about the next project in our home and got sad when I realized it would just be us seeing it. I did not want to show off, I wanted to get it out there. So others could see it and go “aha, I can do that too!” I missed writing, interacting with other bloggers, I missed my chance at… doing it, making something out of nothing. I got lucky and around that time got both of my contributor jobs, had a few projects featured in online magazine publications, and gained some traction with page views. I jumped back into blogging hardcore, taking social media seriously, co hosting link parties, applying to be a contributor, guest writer. I got things done. I stopped paying attention to what was not happening and making things happen. Because I wanted things to happen, and trying was ok.
That has been my biggest surprise with this blog. It has grown, of course. My projects and ideas have grown, my photography skills have grown, my explaining of project steps has improved, my page views have grown, my comments from people have grown, my writing has grown. But mostly my goals have grown. I have shifted my thought process on what I want. Realizing I have a say in all of this. It is not the money (I am still being beat by a kid with a after school baby sitting job), it is not the page views, what rank I am on some website. It is where I see I can go. It is mine, I can share, joke, miss a post, do something wrong, fail, talk to myself because everyone has tuned out. I can learn and gain ideas from others, I can possibly turn this into a full fledged career, But most importantly it is mine. Where in the beginning that was terrifying. I needed rules, guidelines, had to be just so, like all of the others. It is freeing to know this is me. My ideas, my projects, my pictures, my failures, my words.
I do not know where the next year will take me. But, instead of feeling worried, or down about that. I feel excited. Seeing what has transpired after just 12 months is exhilarating. I have done some things I did not know where even options when I began. So instead of an unknown for the next year I see unknown possibilities. I hope to grow this blog even more. The blogs I look up to have a great audience interaction. Comments, ideas, tricks, sharing come from the readers just as much as the blogger. If there is one goal I have set. That is it. How will I create that? I don’t know, part of it is up to you. All of you I see looking, sharing my posts, reading, following. The other part is time, I create, share, interact, and slowly see gains in people visiting, commenting, and coming back.
Other than that, my goal is to get through the holidays. Look to the future after the dust of Christmas has settled. Work hard to grow my ideas, readers, collaborations, projects, and guts. I began with an idea and some guts to try, it is where I am at now. Just bigger steps, more leaps, and one year of this blog all under my belt.
Thank you everyone who has been here, from the beginning to recently. Dale, for being the best co creator ever. He is a big part of this blog, without him I would have less projects to share, and probably less fingers, working a mitre saw is scary stuff. My kids, for being small enough to not hate me writing about them. It will come, I am sure. I hope you all stick around, and we gain some new folks along the way.
One year down, if this blog were a baby I am passed the night feedings, and into the management phase. Keep the kid from falling down the stairs, light sockets are covered. I made it passed the worst, the “I don’t know what I am doing part” and am now in the “time to get it together and raise this thing”. I am getting it together and looking to have this blog walk and talk, gain some friends, and maybe learn to not eat its boogers. By the way, in a effort to tell my one year tale I have coined the term DIY warrior, I am sure I am not the first to use it, but it is new to me. I like it and am sure it will make many appearances here at Our house now a home! DIY warriors unite!