Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blogging: What's it all About?

The long hiatus between my last two posts left me thinking about what this blog means to me and why I write it.

I started it almost three years ago because Doug and I live in a really cool 1939 Sears kit house, and I wanted to document some of the projects we were doing to "make it ours." But by the time I launched the blog, most of the major projects, including a complete attic renovation, were done. And even though Doug is a professional photographer, we had neglected to take any before or during pictures of the renovation. Yeah, that was dumb....

But six months after I started Tales from a Sears House, we bought a dilapidated beach shack that was the stuff before-and-after dreams are made of. Over the next two years, most of my posts chronicled all of the blood, sweat, and tears we shed as we brought a modified 60-year-old trailer back to life.

But this isn't just a DIY blog. It's kind of a life blog, where I've mourned the loss of an old friend and a 19-year-old cat, celebrated the adoption of a rescued yellow Labrador from Taiwan, and chronicled many of our thrifting and dumpster diving adventures. I've also thrown in some tales of 5Ks, holiday celebrations, friends' retirements, and annual vacations to the Outer Banks with dear friends.

Although I hope people enjoy this blog, I don't have a lot of followers--I don't promote the blog anywhere, and I don't advertise or have any sponsors. My most-popular post ever--my dog-proof cat feeding station--has just under 4,000 page views. Lots of bloggers get that many hits and more in a day.

But that's OK, because I'm really writing it for myself. Looking back at old entries provides me with a window into my own past.

Thinking about this blog also makes me think about what appeals to me in the ones I follow.

Some of them are starting to bore me. I'm kind of tired of seeing chevron patterns on everything, numbers on chairs, and all-white kitchens. How many years will it take before those things are as dated as the golden oak cabinets, wallpaper borders, and ceramic tile countertops of the 1990s?

My three favorite blogs are totally different from each other, but I realized that the common thread for me is that they're all interesting people.

Katie (runsforcookies.com) is a 30-something mom of two boys in Michigan who lost more than 100 pounds after she started running. Katie is honest and inspirational, and I'd love to meet her and go for a run with her (as long as she agreed to limit the distance to four miles or less).

Daniel (Manhattan Nest) is a 20-something guy living with his partner and two rescued dogs in an old house in Kingston, NY. Daniel has an amazing amount of respect for historic structures, and he's intrepid when it come to tackling jobs he's never done before--and being candid about the results. If I lived closer to him, I'd offer to get my hands dirty helping him clean up and paint the second old house he just bought so it wouldn't get demolished.

Rita (This (sorta) Old Life), who is closer to my age (but still younger) is working hard to make a meaningful life with a blended family in a 1970s split-level house in Oregon. Rita and I have become Facebook friends, and I'd love to sit with her over a cup of tea in a little cafe and talk about books or family or just...life.

OK, enough rambling. Since I'm once again short on photos, I'll throw one in (it would have been two if I'd been smart enough to take a before picture).

Here's the story: The two dwarf Alberta spruces that anchored our front steps were half dead, and Doug and I were debating about what to do about them. Although we have lots of skills between the two of us, gardening is not one of them. But I was sick of looking at those two ugly trees, so last weekend, Doug got out his chain saw, and 10 minutes later, they were in the back of his pickup truck ready to go to the green recycling center.

I then made two "shopping trips"--one to Home Depot for a few mums and one to our backyard for a bench, a kid's metal chair, and a metal panel salvaged from a friend's pergola that got destroyed in a storm this summer.

Here's the new look, with Jodie playing "where's Waldo" inside:


  1. Replies
    1. Oops, I don't think so! But I'd love to hear it...

  2. I had to giggle when I read your comments about all white kitchens, numbers stenciled on everything (hold still Mittens, I'll be done with your #5 in a minute) and chevron/Ikat everything. Will we be kicked off of the internet for such sacrilege?

    You may not have many followers, but I look forward to your posts.I was reading your blog long before I ever commented. You're a real person in a real house, not a merchandising set up with pajamas in the back.

  3. Schaughn, thank you--that is such a nice thing for you to say!

  4. You are the best blogger!! I always look forward to your posts and pics. Keep them coming. So many great adventures since the days of CP!!

    1. Thanks so much--it's nice to know people are actually reading and looking forward to what I write!