Jan 16, 2012

An apology, and an explanation

It’s been two months since my last blog post. You’re probably wondering what happened to me. No, I didn’t get in a terrible accident, get abducted by aliens or anything else awful. I just took a break. I didn’t mean to take a break from blogging -- it just happened. One week I got too busy to post, then before I knew it, it had been another week, and then another and ... well, you get the idea.

I apologize for my long absence. I’ve got no excuse for not posting and saying “Hey, I’m still here, but taking a break!” But I didn’t do that, and I’m sorry.

To be honest with you, I got a little overwhelmed. I probably don’t have to tell many of you, but blogging takes a lot of time (for you parents who find the time to blog while also raising children, I give you mad props! I don’t know how you do it!).

But more than the time commitment, I realized a couple of things were going on that I didn’t like. As lots of bloggers and blog-readers can understand, when you spend a lot of time reading about other people’s creativity and seeing their beautiful photos, sometimes you start to look around at your own home and think, is it good enough? (Well, I shouldn’t speak for everyone, but this is how I started to feel!) I became discouraged, feeling like my house wasn’t up to snuff, or like my projects weren’t original enough. There were ideas I wanted to pursue because they were right for me, but then I would hold back because they’d been done before. These feelings paralyzed me, left me abandoning projects before I’d even begun, convinced they wouldn’t be worthy, or that readers would pass them by, uninspired or unimpressed.

And I had another realization: I needed to stay grounded. I wrote a post in October about the laundry room we were going to build in our basement, and I was so excited to work on the project. But, reality struck: we priced everything out and realized it would be over $1,000, and, well, we just didn’t want to spend $1,000 on a basement, not when we have living room furniture in desperate need of an upgrade. And though I knew rationally the answer was to scale down the laundry room and put the money toward the living room, my first thought was -- “What about my blog? How can I put that project out there and not follow through?”

And that kind of jolted me -- I mean, really, should I spend $1,000 unwisely just so I can have a finished project to show off on my blog? Of course not. Generating blog content shouldn’t be my primary goal when it comes to making our house the best home it can be. I started blogging because I wanted to share with others my crafts, projects, ideas and other things home-related as the hubs and I turned our first house into a home. Somehow, I had lost focus of that -- and I needed to get it back.

So, to refocus, I took a break to enjoy my house. I lounged on the couch with my husband and watched movies, I baked cookies and cupcakes, I hosted leisurely brunches and fun family dinners. I read books, carved pumpkins, went ice skating, watched football. I did a lot of crocheting, making blankets for our friends’ babies and one for myself. I cut myself some slack. I let the house get a little messy. I decorated for Christmas, doing what was beautiful to me and what made me happy instead of stressing about coming up with something “blog-worthy.” I even re-used a couple ideas from last year -- and I didn’t feel guilty for being unoriginal! Finally, creating, decorating, crafting -- it was fulfilling again instead of draining, a source of joy instead of a source of stress.

I started to appreciate and love my house just as it is, instead of looking around and seeing what needed to be changed. I embraced my home for what it is -- imperfect, like every other house, but warm, bright, comfortable. A place big enough to host family and friends, to hold our childhood toys and our grown-up necessities. A place not like any other place in the world, because it’s ours.

You can always look around your home and see something you want to change, something that needs to be updated or fixed, a project you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to yet. But if you want to enjoy your home until you get it “finished,” you’ll never fully enjoy it -- because it’s never really done. When I read this in a recent Apartment Therapy post, it was exactly what I needed to hear:

“Sometimes when I start feeling discouraged about my home, I remember that my family, my kids, and even my guests won't remember how stylish or trendy my space was years down the road. What they will remember is the feeling of being cared for, sheltered, and maybe even inspired by the little place we call home.”

Do my friends and family look at empty wall space and fret over why I haven’t filled it yet? No. Do they look at our guest room decorated with mismatched furniture and bedding and wonder why we haven’t upgraded? I certainly hope not. Do they notice that my “fall decor” is still out when it’s December? I’m pretty sure they don’t! So, why should I spend time worrying about that too, when I could be relaxing and having fun with them?

So, I’m back, feeling happy and with some much-needed perspective. No, I’m not a professional designer, and no, I don’t have tons of money or time to devote to redoing my home. Rather than make this blog a reflection of what I think I should do or what my house should be, it will be a reflection of my real experiences as a (relatively) new homeowner.

I move forward in 2012 with this idea in mind. In many ways, this blog will be the same -- I’ll show you my DIY projects, my room upgrades, my sources of inspiration and a little about what I love about my home state. I’ll try to be more honest with you all when I get busy, discouraged or bogged down -- because, as much as I wish it could be my job, this blog is a hobby, and I can’t let it get in the way of my family, my health or other obligations. Sometimes I’ll write three posts a week, sometimes one, and I hope you will all be flexible with me.

I will tackle projects that speak to me, energize me and otherwise make sense for my home and my life -- whether or not they’ve been “done” around the blogosphere. And, you’ll probably find my posts to be a little more reflective of what my “real life” is like -- in other words, you might see dirty dishes in the background of photos, or photos taken with less-than-optimal light. Because all I can do -- and all I expect of anyone else! -- is my best. And I’d rather share as many projects as I can with you than stress about the best photo staging or making sure you can’t see any dust. And I won’t feel bad if things aren’t perfect, because who is, right?

I really, REALLY want to thank you, my readers and followers, for your patience and your understanding. I totally missed blogging and connecting with all of you. I hope you’ll continue to read as I dive into 2012 with new ambition. :)

Now, I know this post really shouldn’t be any longer, but I don’t want you to think I haven’t done anything crafty over the past couple of months. So, I’ll just share a couple photos with you:

I made a couple Christmas pillows, one from a Target placemat that I simply cut open and stuffed...

and another from a festive dish towel I bought at a local home decor store (that I even finished AFTER Christmas! Because why stress about finishing a pillow when you could be baking Christmas cookies and drinking egg nog?).

I added some scrapbook letters that spell JOY, as well as winter- and Christmas-themed images cut from magazines, to our gallery wall...

And I made myself a Christmas printable!

And I crocheted myself a hat, which is coming much in handy as the temps here in Maine dip below 0...

I’ve got other things to share, but this post is long enough, so I’ll save it for another day!

Again, thank you for reading, and for all the nice urgings I received to come back to blogging -- I had no idea I would be so missed! It really means a lot to me. I’m glad to be back, and can’t wait to see what everyone else is up to as well!

Oh, and in case you don't believe me about the below-zero temps, here's what my thermometer says it was this morning. The bottom number is the outside temp. Yep, that says -4.5 degrees. Brrr!


Erin @ Domestic Adventure said...

Mindy! I just read through your whole post. You are awesome, your house is awesome, and your projects are awesome. I have a few thoughts:

Remember, even if an idea isn't original, your take on it will be, and it will inspire someone else who hasn't seen that project before, or who hasn't seen it through your eyes.

People find YOU interesting more than your house. I promise.

If I could count the number of times I did a "take back" on a project... But you know what, the story about why you aren't doing the laundry room is just as interesting as your plans to do it. Sticker shock is part of home ownership, for sure!

Good for you for taking a break and re-energizing. The blog world can be intimidating and crazy, but stay focused on you and you'll feel rewarded.

And next time you are feeling down in blog world, just call on me for some uplifting words!

Christina said...

I'm SO happy to hear from you again, and for your honesty!! It's SO easy to get caught up in those feelings you were caught up in...I've definitely been there!

I'm so glad to hear about your perspective for the new year - it's so similar to my own. I am living in a super small basement apartment, and it's all decorated! It's so hard for me to figure out "what to do next" when I loooove doing furniture make-overs and such, but there's absolutely no room for that where I am. It's a tricky spot to be in.

but seriously - I hope we can all keep eachother accountable to not let those insecure feelings get the best of us - we all need those reminders!

Happy to have you back :)

Mindy @ Heart Maine Home said...

THANK YOU ladies so much!! Your support and kind words mean so much to me. You seriously had me tearing up! You both have been so helpful and encouraging as I've embarked on this blog, and I appreciate it more than words can say!

I promise to keep your advice in mind and reach out if I need a little boost -- and you do the same!