In the BlogLight!

inthebloglight

If you’re here for the first time, then welcome! If you are a regular around here then you may be wondering what the heck the bloglight is all about… allow me to explain. Hometalk is a website where you can share home-related projects, ask home-related (and gardening) questions, and find a ton of inspiration. Hometalk is also very supportive of DIY/decor/home bloggers, and each week they choose a different blogger to feature. And this week it’s me!

Miriam (the Director of Community over at Hometalk) sent over a few questions for me to answer, so here we go!

 How did you first get into blogging?

I started my blog in February of 2011 on a whim. Actually it started way before that with me Google-ing project ideas to update our new house. Google started leading me to home decor and renovation blogs…. I remember stumbling across Young House Love, The Lettered Cottage, and Thrifty Decor Chick all in one day. I don’t think I got off the computer at all that day, and when Adam got home I excitedly told him about my discovery. Before that I had no idea that people wrote blogs about house stuff, I had really just thought that blogs were for moms to write about their day-to-day lives and teenagers to share their teenage angst/poetry/selfies with the internet. So kept reading and discovering more blogs for…. months. Then one particularity uneventful day, sitting around my quiet house (with my then 11 month old Elijah) I thought to myself “the projects I do are as good as some of these online people…I should start a blog.” So I googled “how to start a blog”, found blogger, and signed up for a free account.

First Header

My first blog header, haha. It took me forever to make too.

How did you decide on the name of your blog?

As you can see, I didn’t put a lot of thought into starting a blog, and I put even less thought into the name. It didn’t matter what it was called because no one was going to read it. It was something that was just going to be for me. I wasn’t even planning one telling my husband (or anyone) about it (and I didn’t for three months) because I didn’t know if it would ever make it past one post. The whole thing just wasn’t a big deal at all. I called it Domestic Imperfection because I wanted to be able to write about whatever I felt like, but most of it would revolve around domestic stuff, like my kid (or kids, I was pregnant when I started my blog but didn’t know it yet), projects, cooking (haha), cleaning, life….whatever. I also didn’t want to give people the idea that I had any authority to give advice or was particularly good at what I spent my days doing. So…Domestic Imperfection. If I had to do it again I’m not sure I would choose the same name, but I have no brilliant idea for a better one. I would like it if the name said more of what my blog was about…like if it had a more “house-y” title. Although I do like then when people stumble upon my blog they immediately know that it’s not one full of perfect pictures, error-free projects, and a blogger that has it all together. Life is messy, so is my blog. I like it like that.

I'm messy

My bedroom and my living room, in their natural state.

Is blogging something you do on the side, or is it a full-time job for you?

 This is a hard one to answer… both? My boys are 3 and 18 months, and being a stay at home mom is my first priority. My boys are buys….so busy. And they are needy. They are old enough to be destructive and fight all the time, but not old enough to be self-sufficient in any way. Raising them and running a household is my full-time job and first priority. However, my blog is nearly as needy as they are and it could easily be (and kinda is) a full-time job. Since I’m feeling rambly (and Adam is absorbed into some TV show about Vikings) I’ll synopsis my days for you :) I wake up before the kids (around 645) to get some work done on the computer. Then when they get up it’s kids, food, cleaning, projects, errands, playing, sneaky computer time, chores, and more cleaning till Adam gets home a little after five. Then its dinner, baths, cleaning, and family time till the kids bedtime at eight. After that I get back on the computer and answer emails, comments, social media, photo editing, and post writing till Adam gets lonely….then we watch a show together and head to bed around 1030. Then we do it all again the next day! I love both my jobs, they are such a blessing. I get to be a “keeper of my home”  and raise my boys, and I get to provide my family with a real source of income doing something I love and would do for free. Pretty awesome, even is it is exhausting.

Domestic Imperfection

What was the first project you ever posted?

Oh geez, I’m going to have to go look that one up. According to project gallery the first thing I posted was our laundry room before and after. We did this way before I started a blog so there aren’t any progress pictures or tutorials. I do remember that the first project I did knowing it would go on the blog was my dining room DIY bay window rod and curtains. That post actually has gotten really popular on pinterest lately (random!) so I went back to re-read it… and noticed that the pictures were HORRID. So embarrassing, really…I don’t know why anyone would have pinned one of those in the first place. I went back and re-edited the pictures the best I could and now realize I have a boatload more posts with embarrassingly bad pictures. Oh well, live and learn.

Laundry Room before and after for $150

First blog project, the laundry room.

What do your friends and family think about your blog? Do they read all of your updates?

Most my family reads my blog at least a little. Adam reads every word I write, as do my parents. My in-laws and all my siblings/BIL’s and SIL’s are sometimes readers. My grandparents even read it. I will run into people that I haven’t seen since high school and they will talk about one of the projects I did. So I think people think it’s pretty cool…I mean, no one has ever told me they DON’T like it. Then again, my friends and family are pretty darn polite, haha. I’m sure there are plenty of people think it’s kinda weird. Actually, when I meet people and they ask me what I do the conversation usually goes something like this….

“So, what do you do?”
 “I’m a stay at home mom, and I have a blog”
“oh…okay…(weird looks) …. so you write about your kids and stuff?”
“No, not really, it’s a DIY/home renovation/home decor blog”
“Well, isn’t that nice (change of subject).”
 

If I don’t feel like confusing people I just leave off the whole blog thing and say that I’m a housewife, or if I feel like (trying to) impress someone I say that I “run a home decor website”. Calling it a website is key…blog weirds people out, website sounds professional.

How has keeping a blog changed you?

Well, it’s made me busier, that’s for sure. I actually don’t think it’s changed me all that much, so I asked Adam and he said “you’re cleaner now”. He’s right, I used to be very messy and the house is tidier than other places we have lived (although it’s still never than clean). I don’t think that’s blog related though, it’s because we have small kids. They are professional mess makers and I am in constant cleaning mode….if I wasn’t our house would have to be condemned. He also said that having a blog has made me more motivated. Also true. I used to do projects more leisurely, but now I feel like I have to complete them in a somewhat timely manner.

What is your most popular project on Hometalk to-date?

 I actually haven’t posted a ton of stuff on Hometalk, but a few of the ones I have posted took on a life of their own (also, many have flopped.) My penny countertop post has been the most popular with 38K shares and the stenciled tables come in second with 20K. I posted my paper bag floors a month ago and that post was the most viewed post on Hometalk in March, so they may take the number one spot at some point. My pantry post is one of the most popular posts on my blog, but it big ‘ol flopped on Hometalk with a total of three shares. So you just never know.

Domestic Imperfection Penny Countertop

Do you stick to a strict posting schedule? How do you keep track of when and how often to post?

Hahaha….strict posting schedule. That’s a good one. Ummmm, no. Forget the strict part, I don’t even have a posting schedule at all. When I finish a project I blog about, and if I don’t have anything done then I don’t post. I’m a big believer in quality over quantity. Lots of bloggers post Monday-Friday and that is great…amazing even, but it’s not for me. I do really big projects though, so people can’t expect frequent posting. I love that my posting schedule is so flexible, I don’t want the blog to ever stress me out. Not that it doesn’t, but I’m trying to help myself out as much as possible by forcing everyone to have really low expectations of me.

What are your favorite kinds of posts to read/write? Ex: gardening, DIY projects, thrifting, etc)

I love room reveals and before and afters…isn’t that everyone’s favorite kind of post? I also enjoy detailed tutorials and when someone completely repurposes an item. And furniture posts, love furniture posts. Also, if you write a blog post that is about absolutely nothing but is funny and entertaining, then you will have a new reader.

Dining room before and after - Domestic Imperfection

Dining room, 2008 and today

Living room before and after - Domestic Imperfection

My Living Room, so far.

Kitchen before and after - Domestic Imperfection

Kitchen before and after

What advice could you give to other bloggers that you wish you had known before you started blogging?

I feel like I could write an entire blog series about this topic. I learn stuff every day still feel clueless at times.  I went into blogging completely blind and I’m actually really glad it happened that way. I had NO IDEA what blogging really involved, and if I did then I probably wouldn’t have started. Not that I shouldn’t have, but I’m just saying… if someone would have handed me a list  (more like book) of all the things I was going to have to learn along the way, I would have lost any confidence I had (which wasn’t much) and kept my projects to myself. But skipping all the techy stuff I just have to say… blog because you love it. Blog because you have a passion you want to share. Try not to get caught up in numbers, stats, and schedules and for goodness sake stop comparing yourself to other bloggers.  Just be yourself. If in your day-to-day life you say the word “y’all” and “holy cajoles” constantly, then write like that. If you’re sarcastic, or if your super sweet, be that.  If you have a crazy sense of style that does not fit with the current trends, whatever…do your thang.  Not everybody is going to love you and that is okay.

I do have a bit of quick advice, actually. Use big, clear, awesome pictures. If you have a blog full of tiny craptastic pictures then it doesn’t matter how great your writing is, people are not going to stick around (at least not in the DIY/craft/creative blog niche). Also, make a project gallery ASAP.

And that’s that! A big thank you to Hometalk for the chance to be featured!

Also, I can’t let you newbies leave without a little shameless self-promotion ;) If you’d to receive updates and see new projects feel free to follow along on Hometalk HERE, facebook HERE, twitter HERE, pinterest HERE, or you can get new posts sent directly to your inbox by entering your e-mail address below.




Comments

  1. Yay! I love to read this behind-the-scenes, backgroundy type stuff. I think you are THE example of quality-over-quantity when it comes to blog posts. Also, love your idea to tell people you “run a decor website.” That’s brilliant. I’ll be using that. Maybe I’ll say I’m the CEO of a home decorating web brand. Or something else that sounds much more responsible and real.
    Kelly @ View Along the Way recently posted..New Deck Reveal!My Profile

  2. love your blog and really like the unique projects….one of these days I will start posting some more of my projects at the moment tied to the news..on the West explosion a town 40 minutes north of us…

  3. I love your advise for new bloggers! DON”T use a lot of small craptastic pics. That may be my new fave word. :) I love that you have prioritized your family over your blog, which is the way it should be. Even so, I don;t know how you do it. I keep my grandsons a few days a week and I get NOTHING done but a good long nap after they go home. And you’re right…if you say you have a website people are interested. But once you say Blog…you can see the look in their eyes. They think you are weird. haha

    Congrats on being chosen for Bloglight.

  4. I love how real and honest you are! Being a ” Just Born Yesterday” newbie blogger, I am feeling your pain, Wow!.. Look what time it is??? I’ve been researching, studying, promoting my blog since 7:00 pm yesterday after working all day on my latest home project,(staining the front porch deck and stairs). Spent all day yesterday photo editing for my recent post….You have given me so much inspiration and great advice. Thank You. I get the” blank stare” when I tell someone I’m working on a blog. Ha HaHa!! They seem more interested when I say” I am designing my own website”. :D
    Cindy recently posted..And Then There Was A Kitchen….My Profile

  5. Christy @ Confessions of a Serial Do-it -Yourselfer says:

    You are so funny! Even my family gets that weird eyes-glazed-over look when I started talking about my blog. Blogging becomes a big part of your life, so it’s hard NOT to talk abut it! Sometimes I don’t tell people at all. Maybe I need to try your approach:). Congratulations on the Hometalk feature!!!

    XO,
    Christy

  6. Ashley, I knew I loved you but this just sealed the deal even further! I love that you’re real, and honest and don’t sugar coat stuff. It’s refreshing to find that in a home blogger! We all need to be a little more real, I think. And I could have written that part about quality over quantity word for word! :) Congrats on being in the Bloglight!
    Beth@Unskinny Boppy recently posted..Sweet Mother’s Day Giveaway from River City Candle CompanyMy Profile

  7. This is fantastic! I love hearing the behind the scenes stuff, the why’s and how’s…you are one fantastic lady! Congrats on your shining moment, well deserved!
    Janel from NellieBellie recently posted..My rolling herb garden. Take THAT WI nasty weather! #DigInMy Profile

  8. I just love reading these blogger life stories. :) My favorite part is how you tell people you have a blog and they get all confused and awkward. It’s so true!
    Courtenay recently posted..DIY Military-Style BlanketMy Profile

  9. Ashley! I adore your blog, and loved reading more about you. Thank you so much for sharing your story in the Bloglight!

  10. Great post, Ashley! Love that you don’t sugar-coat it, but tell it like it is. Still… your projects are amazing! I have a lot of looking and pinnng to do ’round this blog! :)
    Tara @ Suburble recently posted..Livening Up The “Mantel-scape”My Profile

    • Thanks Tara! Feel free to get overly pin happy :) Also, I LOVE the name of your blog…not only is it cute and unique, but its really fun to say, haha.

  11. Loved every bit of it! You summed yourself up perfectly!!! Love ya, girl!! <3

  12. It was wonderful getting to know you through this post! Your blog is lovely and now after reading this… I know you are lovely too, inside and out! Thank you for sharing.
    Cynthia @ A Button Tufted Life… recently posted..Auction Adventure…My Profile

  13. Fun and such a real read. And then there’s your house… on my gosh… I can barely believe that’s the same place as the before! Seriously amazing transformations. Will blogging help me do the same thing?! (pushing the activate button a zillion times but my house is still not cleaner!) haha

  14. I better go over to HomeTalk and take a peek at that pantry!
    Bliss
    Bliss recently posted..Pine Cabinet Door GiftMy Profile

  15. Congrats Ashley! Loved reading more about you!! :)
    I am so with you on that conversation with people…I am gonna have to use the whole “home decor website” thing. ;) Most people just do not understand blogs and blogging…and their eyes glaze over as soon as I mention it. lol What a great post!
    Thank you for sharing. :)
    Nancy
    Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule recently posted..Estate Sale Sideboard {2nd Time’s the Charm}My Profile

    • Seriously, just switching the word “blog” for “website” instantly takes you from a skeevy shut-in to a respected professinal, haha.

  16. You’re amazing… So Sweet and talented and all around wonderful!
    Gwen recently posted..Big, Exciting, Fantasmalitic News!My Profile

  17. It seems like you’re inside of my head! I love that you said quality over quantity! I’ve been kind of beating myself up because I don’t schedule… you have a new fan! xo

    Laurie @ Vin’yet Etc.

    • No, do not beat yourself up! I hadn’t posted in a week before this post, and I probably wont get a project post out till next week. It’s totally okay!

  18. Hi Ashley! I don’t comment often, but I am a frequent reader. I just wanted to let you know that one of the reasons I like your blog so much is because of the reasons you stated in the last section above. You’re yourself, and you’re not trying to be like all the other blogs out there. Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Bethany :) You may not comment often but I always recognize when you do…I mean, your avatar is a cat in a pirate hat, you’re kinda hard to forget!

  19. That is so great! I’m glad you’re keeping your blog the way it is, and the tips on not getting overwhelmed by it all as you get started are invaluable. I’ve been thinking about doing a blog for a long time, and got daunted by the work and time of my music studio blog, but my passion is not in that one. (As you can tell since I only have about eight posts in it and nothing for over a year!) I need to do it how you started: just for me.

    Those pictures of your before and after look amazing. When you put it all together like that…you’ve done so much! What will you do when there are no more projects in your house to do?

    And for the record, I love your blog name. It does exactly what you said, tells readers it’s not some slick, corporate-like entity but rather an unpretentious and approachable blog, which suits me fine. Your blog is my favorite! (Frugal Girl second, go check hers out if you haven’t.)

    Have a great day, Ashley!

    • If you want to start a blog then just do it! It is crazy time consuming…but it doesn’t have to be. Just blog when you want and do it for yourself… and if its your passion than you won’t be able to stop! You can still get great traffic with a few quality posts, if that’s important to you (traffic does equal income!).

      Sometimes I feel like we are moving crazy slow with the house, but then I look at before and afters and feel pretty darn great about how far we’ve come. I don’t see us running out of projects anytime soon, some rooms still haven’t been touched and even the finished ones still need stuff. We have many years worth of projects left, but we probably won’t even be here that long.

      I’m familiar with Frugal Girls…doesn’t she mostly do coupon stuff? She offered to let me guest post once (a long time ago… paisley stenciled table time) and I never got around to it (or a lot of other offers). Need. more. time.

      • Actually it’s ‘The Frugal Girl’, not ‘Frugal Girls’, and yeah, they are all about coupons. The Frugal Girl isn’t – it’s a blog about all kinds of home stuff, and she homeschools and teaches piano and does recipes and lots of frugal stuff. She’s pretty awesome!

        Keep looking at those befores and afters – you really have done an amazing amount! Especially with the other demands on your time, especially those of the two-legged variety, haha.

        I like the idea of quality over quantity, too. I do need a camera though – mine just died. At least it wasn’t a really good one. But now I need one…ack! Ah well, it will come together if it’s meant to be. I will keep you posted :)
        Jan Elizabeth recently posted..Early Days – and How They Can Shape the FutureMy Profile

        • Oh my gosh, The Frugal Girl, duh! I actually met her last week, we co-hosted/were guests/whatever for a twitter party about upcycling. She was super nice and very knowledgeable. How funny, now I like her even more that you like her.

          Also, I know some bloggers that blog with pics from their iphone (I’ve certainly done it), they take pretty great pics, considering :)

  20. Your floors! did you post about the wood floors and I missed it? They look great!
    Cornelia recently posted..Light During Dark TimesMy Profile

  21. great great post ashley!!! love the peak into your “natural” state – looks like our house! :)
    jocie@TheBetterHalf recently posted..Fred & Kim’s Basement Remodel, Flash an Existing DeckMy Profile

  22. Loved reading more about your start blogging Ashley! So glad they chose you to be in the bloglight!

  23. My first visit to your blog. Congratulations on being in the Bloglight. I enjoyed reading about your blogging journey. I had to laugh about your “if I’d known then what I know now, I might not have started blogging”. I have that thought all of the time. Never thought I’d have to learn so much techy stuff, but I never thought I’d actually make friends while blogging either. laurie
    laurie recently posted..GARDENING TABLESCAPEMy Profile

    • Seriously, I had no idea there was a whole awesome community surrounding blogging. In fact, I didn’t even know that till about six months ago! Its been great getting to know people.

  24. Ashley, I’ll sound like a broken record but I love getting to know you a little better and like you even more!! Congrats on your spotlight girl – SO well deserved!
    keri @ shaken together recently posted..10 Must Make Cookies, Bars and Cakes ~ sweet features from the {what’s shakin’} link partyMy Profile

  25. Love love love getting to know the girl behind the blog better! I love your focus on quality & always know when you pop up in my reader I’m in for a great post. Congrats on being in the Bloglight!
    Laura Beth recently posted..Slow Cooker Pulled PorkMy Profile

  26. Hi Ashley!
    So you’re the one who did that awesome penny countertop! Congrats on being featured and I loved your post! Loved your honesty and your realism! So nice to know you better now!
    Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads recently posted..Mandarin Orange SaladMy Profile

  27. You are just cute as a button! I can’t even imagine blogging when my kids were little because I would have forgotten they were there! I love getting the sense of who you are through your writing. Great job! Visiting from blogtalk
    Marty Walden recently posted..Red Potato SaladMy Profile

  28. You mentioned the quality of pictures being a big deal in how the blog has improved – I’m just about to purchase a DLSR camera, and would love to hear your recommendation – or anyone else’s opinion! Thanks!

  29. Thank you for your input! I ended up getting a T3. This is my first SLR camera -how did you go about learning to use it? Trial and error? Reading the manuals? Take a class?

    • I haven’t touched my manual, lol. Hate manuals. I took (well, am taking) an online class. If you look on my sidebar under the sponsors section you will find a button with a cartoon drawing of a girl holding a camera. The class is called Shoot Fly Shoot and it is excellent!

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