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Why I Blog

HometoCottage.com getting personal... why I blog, how my challenges in life opened up a new avenue

Here’s a glimpse into my personal life as I explain a little as to why I blog in the first place…

Being the author of a decorating and DIY blog has opened up an avenue of design for me that I couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. You see, I’m a self-made interior designer so to speak. I successfully owned my own design business for about 10 years. I’ve had very little ‘formal education’ in interior design, but being so deeply interested in design since I was a small girl, I’ve always read and taken note of design and decorating details, then branching out and helping friends with their own decorating and design projects helped me to continually learn along the way. The couple classes I took at community college in design were beneficial and it would have been great to have the time to get a full degree, but I was able to learn a lot on my own so that by the time our oldest child went to college, I was ready to start a small decorating business.

My business took off like wild fire… I first started out thinking I’d work through one project at a time, doing all the painting, sewing and custom crafts that the project required, then moving on to the next project and so on. Well, it didn’t take me more than 2 projects into my new business venture to realize that to do it all myself was not a good business plan, there’s a lot to be said with subcontracting! My first project quickly turned into more than 5 or 6 projects at a time… No way could I have time to be doing the physical work along with the design work for all those projects. It was exciting to learn and grow my business.

Sometime I’ll have to get into the ins and outs of making a profitable interior design business, but for now, long story short, after 10 years of having an amazingly successful business, I decided it was time for me to take a step back. It was a really hard decision for me. My interior design business was sort of like my baby… I had nurtured it into a thriving thing.

But alas, it was not my child, I have 3 children and a number of grandchildren, and I in no way loved my business like them. I felt that my family needed me and honestly, I needed me. Some of our family members had gone through and were currently going through some really hard things… including death, divorces and all the ugliness that comes from that. I was feeling like I was drowning in it all.

Certainly I had lost interest in, what seemed like at the time, the unimportant details of interior decorating. I had thoughts in my head at client’s homes like: “who cares if your sofa matches your wall color? Seriously, at least you’re alive, your kids are alive, you’re married, your children get to live with both their mom and dad under the same roof…”

Those are somewhat true statements, sofas and wall colors don’t compare with life and death, but to not care to the point of being annoyed by my clients because they do care, isn’t a recommended attitude for an interior decorator! And it certainly wasn’t who I was… I loved and always felt there was importance in having a surrounding that was organized and lovely and wanted to help others achieve that for their spaces. Yet, I was drowning in my sorrow, worry and concern for my family, and I just didn’t have it in me at that time to help others with their decorating needs, so I stepped down, completely closing my doors, to try to regain some sanity inside myself.

It took some time and counseling, but mostly a lot of alone time with God, as I slowly released my pain and worry to Him. That was several years ago, and I still continually have to make the choice to release stuff to Him. I don’t necessarily realize I’m holding onto and burying it inside me when I’m doing it, but then I start to feel the effects of it… both physically and emotionally.

I’m an introvert. If I don’t have alone time, a lot of alone time, I am exhausted. I need that alone time to be able to quietly reflect. When I was in full time business, I had no time at all for that quiet reflection, which made me into a not so healthy person.

But, I missed design, and helping people with decorating needs.

Then we were able to buy a small investment property. It was an antique brick house in the town we live in that was in need of repair and design. I was finally at the point emotionally and spiritually that I could start back into design a little, so this was the perfect project. Some might have considered the project a large project, major gutting and redesign was needed, but because it didn’t involve ‘clients’, it was a very manageable project for this introverted, healing designer. You can read more about that project here… I nicknamed it ‘The Little Brick Cottage’ and it was not only a fun renovation, it was a therapeutic project for me. (I started out my blog being called DecorateWithaLittleBit, so you might see that on a few pictures in there still, but I unfortunately lost that domain, big learning lesson there, and now my blog is HometoCottage.com)

That was right about the time I started blogging. It was my daughter in law that spurred my interest. I wasn’t familiar with decorating blogs at all, but she, in her wisdom, thought it might be a good fit for me, and took the time to explain a bit about them to me. She was right, and I am so thankful to her for that! (among a lot of other things too!)

I love that I can once again be involved with interior design and decorating. I can still help people created functional and beautiful spaces through my blog. Yet, I can still have that much needed quiet time each day.

As my blog is growing, and I expand on it, (I’ll elaborate on that in a few weeks/months!!) I’m slowly earning a wee bit of income from it too, mostly just from advertising right now, but I have plans for that to expand too. We’ve always, even when I was in full time design business, set up our family budget to solely depend on my husband’s income. (The money I made went towards home projects that if we had to, we could have lived without, and aiding in college tuition for our kids.) That way I didn’t have to maintain working outside the house if something changed. When our kids were young and at home, I would take on minimal extra work, for a little extra income, mad money I called it. But my priority was to be a mom and homemaker. Yep! Homemaker! I’m proud of that. I love to be the one that spends time and energy to make our house a home. No offense to those of you that work full time, I’ve done that… but this is what I love and I’m not going to apologize for it. I know that when I was working full time, stuff in my house didn’t get done. I had to hire a house cleaner, (ok, so that part wasn’t so bad 😉 sometimes I like to clean, but it would be nice to just have it magically stay clean) we bought more prepared meals, I didn’t have the time or energy to put into the details of decorating or homemaking. And that’s totally OK, if that’s what you want. But that’s not what I want. I want my household to be organized, to function well, to be beautiful, to have yummy, nutritional meals and to have the time and energy to do fun little (and sometimes big) decorating projects. Those are ways I express my love to my family. To have time and energy to spend with my grandchildren is extremely important to me now too. I can’t do all that if  I’m working full time too… something’s got to give… I’m not willing for it to be my family or my household or my own sanity for that matter.

Blogging gives me the outlet of helping others create a well functioning beautiful space for themselves. (I always used to joke to myself when I was in design business… I loved to help other make sense of and beautify their space so much that I’d have paid them to do it instead of them paying me. I was careful to keep that thought very quiet though…ha ha ha… if they only knew…)

So that’s where I am now… still designing and decorating, hoping to positively impact others to do the same, happy being a homemaker and grandma, and challenged building a blog and all the intricacies that go with that, from the technical aspect of it, to writing and photography, to understanding how to grow my audience, to list just a few of my challenges. (maybe someday in the future I’ll be able to share some basics with you how to run a successful blog too! 😉 ha ha)

Here you can read more about me and why I blog:

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook and Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, and on  YouTube!  I appreciate you reading along.

This post is linked up at the follow other site: Posed PerfectionOh My Heartsie GirlMy Thrift Store AddictionFrom My Front Porch to YoursThe Charm of HomeDesign, Dining & DiapersToo Much Time on My HandsFrench Country Cottage Chic on a ShoestringThe Girl CreativeCelebrate and DecorateDIY ShowoffI Should be Mopping the FloorSkip to my LouCoastal CharmBetween Naps on the PorchMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaStoneGableA Stroll Thru LifeTip JunkieHome Stories A to ZYesterday on TuesdayCozy Little Housethe DIY DreamerPocketful of PosiesDIY by Design

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Pamela Graham says

    Thanks for sharing. I have started a blog several times over the years but it always turned so personal that I ran from it. I loved sharing recipes, decorating, etc. but somehow it would always go that way. I love your blog. It has inspired me to start thinking about blogging in a non-personal way with my areas of artistic abilities and the love I have for them. (I wish I only had one, I could then focus on that one alone but I have a hard time shutting my brain down at night on so many different hobbies!
    God Bless you! Pamela Graham

    • Liz says

      Pamela, thank you so so much! And boy oh boy do I ever know about the brain not turning off at night with creative visions dancing in the head! Thanks for reading, I really appreciate your sweet comments. Liz

  2. Rebecca says

    Thanks for sharing your journey. It is inspiring. I have loved being a homemaker. I don’t think there is any job more rewarding. I recently started a blog too, and it’s been a nice creative outlet. A way to get out without actually leaving my home.

  3. lulu says

    Shared stories always make bloggers seem more real. We all have our reasons for blogging and it is interesting to see what they are. Good luck in advancing yours so that it generates some income in an area you so enjoy.

  4. Kiki Nakita says

    Liz,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I studied and got my AAS and BFA in interior design. After college I had to move home to care for my dad, who passed away with cancer. During that time I met and married my hubby. I’m now a homemaker, and my home is my ongoing renovation design project.

    Thought I’d stop by and say “hi”.
    ~Kiki~

  5. Chloe Crabtree says

    I really enjoyed reading your story and found it so interesting. When my children were both in college, I thought I would pursue an Interior Design degree myself. (like we weren’t already paying enough college tuition) Interestingly, I realized during my second year of school that if I really wanted to pursue working in interior design that I would have to do it full time in order to nurture all of my sources, contractors, painters, upholsterers, etc. It was right then that I decided this was not what I wanted to do full time, and I eventually came upon blogging myself. It is interesting how we all take these different paths. Thank you so much for sharing over at Celebrate Your Story. I hope we stay in touch, I think we have a lot in common!

    • Liz says

      Chloe, you are a much faster learner than I. 😉 It’s so true, to be able to keep all the accounts with vendors open, one has to work full time and then some, as an interior designer!

  6. Jennifer says

    Thanks for sharing your story I believe why you blog is similar to what I do. It keeps me centered and seems to help me express my creativity and ways that being a mom, wife and businesswoman does not.

  7. Mary-The Boondocks Blog says

    Liz thank you for sharing your story with us. I too have recently gotten into blogging and it is a lifesaver for me. You see I live in a country that is in the midst of an economic crisis and I felt I was drowning from the uncertainty of our lives here. So I started blogging and turned off the media circus. I am so much happier and much saner as well. It is nice to meet a fellow introvert.

    • Liz says

      Thank you Mary for your comment. I’m curious, what country are you in? I’ll have to come over to your website and check it out a little further.

  8. Helen Holley says

    Good for you… All of it!! I really enjoyed reading this because I relate so much to it. Thank you for sharing this. And thank you for sharing your story about second chances, so to speak…
    Helen H

  9. mary says

    Hi LIz! I am your newest follower. I really enjoyed your story because I too am an introvert. I put myself out there but I really need my private time as well. I’ve been an off and on blogger for some time now been through quite a bit recently myself. I am back home again and ready to share again as well. Can’t wait to see your blog more!

  10. paperworx4seniors2 says

    I was so glad to read your priorities are your family and home. Nothing is ever wrong with that ambition and goal. Not everybody is meant to be a CEO or some kind of big shot at any company. All I ever wanted to do was be a Mom/wife take care of my family. I haven’t started a blog as just don’t want to be tied down to that kind of committment. I enjoy reading bloggers posts, making friends with bloggers, fixing up our humble little house when we can, making things I see on blogs, it’s been quite an eye opener for me to discover all the amazing talent out there,. Have enjoyed it completely. just know if I had to post and do whatever is required for a blog I’d get tired of it too quickly. I like/need to be able to lie down on our bed to read, quiet time for me. I need lots of quiet time for myself after raising 4 wonderful kids. We have a quiet peaceful nice life which we both seem to enjoy. Don’t do much, can’t afford to travel or go out but we’re still very content. To both of us that seems to be what we need. I’ve worked and enjoyed it but now at this point in life (75) want to while the days away, enjoying our family and each other.
    So you enjoy doing what you need to do for you and your family and feel good about it.
    Happy daze

  11. Kris says

    “I want my household to be organized, to function well, to be beautiful, to have yummy, nutritional meals and to have the time and energy to do fun little (and sometimes big) decorating projects.” Amen to that!

  12. Donnamae says

    Thanks for telling us about your background! I personally find these kind of posts so interesting. I was a stay at home mom, and homemaker myself, so I know where you are coming from. Enjoy your day! 😉

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