Today is so very exciting for me. I basically began my blogging “career” when I wrapped my 6 week old daughter in a Moby wrap and took her with me to Haven (a DIY and home decor blogging conference) three summers ago. I couldn’t be more honored to have been asked this year to come back as a mentor! This week I (and all the other mentors) will be sharing a bit about ourselves…
If you’re visiting from French Country Cottage or other Haven mentors for the first time, welcome! My name is Rachel, and this is my little place where I work to create beauty and functionality while pursuing peace at home.
1. How many years have you been blogging?
I started this blog in spring of 2013, and I found out shortly thereafter that I was expecting baby #3. To be honest, it was a rough pregnancy, so it wasn’t until after she was born in spring 2014 that I really was able to invest much time or energy into the blog. So I guess that means 3 (or 4) years at this point.
2. What is your favorite DIY project that you have completed?
The original “maison de Pax” was a 1940 colonial which we lovingly restored. I think my favorite project there was definitely building out the attic. When we bought the house it already had a full staircase leading up there and plenty of room, though it took some serious vision to see its potential nonetheless. But after new insulation, framing, flooring, a skylight and – most importantly – a continuation of the cedar planks that were already in the space (which we whitewashed), the room became my favorite little hideaway.
But our new kitchen which we just completed a couple of months ago…
and our outdoor areas we worked on last summer are what are really making our home these days.
3. What is something useful you have learned from a blog conference?
This could be a very long list. I have been almost entirely self-taught in my blogging career (which I don’t necessarily recommend… it’s just what happened to me!). Hours and hours of google searches and trial and error has been a good – but rather inefficient – learning process. Blogging conferences have been my only source of targeted blogging education, and learning the lingo, discussing options with other bloggers, and exploring helpful tools and software has been priceless. Specifically, the encouragement to move to WordPress and Beth’s class on Lightroom at Haven a few years ago have forever changed my blogging. If you are interested in learning to edit photos, Beth’s Lightroom class is now available online (affiliate link) and is amazing… I even recently put together a page of my favorite blogging resources if you’re interested. On the list? Haven conference. 😉
4. What is something you love about blogging and what is something you wish you could change?
I love the flexibility. I love that I get to express my creativity by documenting things I was mostly already doing in my home (remodeling, decorating, looking for ways to be intentional in my family’s use of our home, etc.) and create art and beauty from it. And I can do it from home. My kids only go to school two days per week (we homeschool the other three), and blogging allows me the flexibility to do that. Since baby #4 is due this May (and yes, she will be coming with me to Haven this year!), it is a real gift to me to be able to essentially have this amazing job and stay home with my children.
As a former teacher, I love getting to share that excitement and passion with others through tutorials and projects. I confess, though, that I sometimes feel very isolated. I miss the classroom aspect and interaction with other people. Blogging can feel like a content vacuum sometimes rather than a two-way conversation… Not to mention the rat race of social media and the feelings of competition that inevitably arise when numbers seem to be ever important. Unfortunately, those are very real struggles. But community made from conferences like Haven can help with that tremendously.
5. What is one piece of advice you would offer a blogger – new or otherwise – who is going to Haven?
Before I left for college, my dad told me, “Don’t let your academics get in the way of your education.” I think the same can be said for a blogging conference. There is SO much you can learn (it sometimes feels like trying to drink through a firehose), and the classes can be wonderfully applicable and helpful… But the best education comes from making community. It is the community I made early on in my blogging career (at my first Haven) who is my “tribe.” When we have questions, we can always share with each other and learn and grow together. That community has been truly priceless. Let that be your main priority at a conference: connect with others who will lift you up, encourage you, and inspire you.
There really is such an incredible list of mentors this year (how on earth did I get included here?!)… Tomorrow Karianne from Thistlewood Farms will be continuing the hop. Be sure to drop by!
You can follow along with the entire blog hop this week (links below). I hope to see many of you at Haven Conference in Atlanta July 20-22nd… I’ll be the crazy lady with the newborn wrapped in a Moby. 😉