The Moment I Realized I Had Something To Say – A Reflection on 6 Years of Blogging
This past Sunday, I marked 6 years blogging here at the The Homes I Have Made. 6 years. That’s so wild to me. I’ve never been a blogger to mark anniversaries with a big reflection or giveaway; but for some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about this crazy journey of mine lately. Maybe it’s because I currently find myself in such a similar place as I was in 2011 when I started the blog. I had a new baby, was living somewhere where I didn’t know a lot of people, and was struggling to love the home we had. And while so much feels the same, it certainly isn’t. It’s been a long blogging journey where I’ve experienced some awesome opportunities but also some major wrong turns. It has brought me a ton of joy, but boy have I cried a lot of tears too. It’s more work than I ever imagined it would be, and I’m not nearly as “successful” as many bloggers who started around the same time (or even after!). But I’ve stuck with it all these years because I am still as passionate (if not more so!) about sharing the message I realized I had all those years ago. I clearly remember the very project that prompted me to start The Homes I Have Made, and I thought today was the perfect time to share it with you!
I was a blog reader long before I was a blog writer. I think that’s true for most of us. Interestingly though, I was an avid reader of food and fitness blogs! I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising, considering I was in graduate school pursuing masters degrees in both nutrition and exercise physiology at the time. I loved checking in regularly with the bloggers I followed…to see what they were eating and what workouts they were doing. They became part of my day, and I enjoyed following along in their mundane comings and goings, as well as (what seemed like) their big adventures.
There was something about the essence of blogging that was just so captivating to me: the writing, the connection with people no matter where they were, positioning yourself as a subject matter expert in a certain community. I was truly and thoroughly hooked; so Greg and I would chat at length about how blogging would be a great fit for me and our lifestyle. I tried so hard to envision myself as a food/fitness blogger. It’s what I read. It’s certainly what I knew. But I could never figure out what exactly I could say that wasn’t already being said. I didn’t feel like I could contribute something new and different to an already loud conversation. Honestly, there was nothing about being a food/fitness blogger that excited me.
Shortly after I finished graduate school and had Henry, we moved to Virginia. I suddenly found myself home alone with a baby all day and in a house that felt like a sterile shoebox. Although we had family in the area, I didn’t really know anybody else. And being home all day with a difficult baby (and not at a day job) was a shock to the system I wasn’t prepared for. Sewing and crafting had long been a way for me to cope with deployments, loneliness, and ugly housing in the past. So even though this move was a one-year assignment, I set to work decorating our new house just as I had done to the three others before it. I needed the shoebox to feel like home, and I knew how to make it one.
I started where I almost always start: curtains. There is just something about hanging curtains that transforms a sterile rental into one that is cozier, prettier, and more welcoming. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time and money though, so I looked through what I had from our previous apartments. Our previous rental had a big sliding glass door in our family room; and along the sides of it, I hung two long lengths of plaid fabric (that perfectly matched our couch pillows) to look like curtains. I even pleated them and hung them with Velcro, which I remember thinking was just so clever! (Keep in mind, this was pre Pinterest! And no judging my bad photos!!!)
But in our new Virginia home, our family room had 4 windows. The two panels weren’t going to be enough, and I couldn’t get any more of the fabric. So I thought and measured. And thought and measured some more. Then I grabbed my scissors, sat down at my sewing machine, and transformed every inch of those 2 curtain panels into 4 new window treatments that instantly transformed our new space.
On the surface, I took two curtain panels and re-imagined them into 4. I had done similar hack-style projects countless times before. But when I hung them and stepped back to soak in the visual change to our family room, I could also feel my attitude shift toward our new home. And from experience, I knew that shift would translate to our neighborhood, our community, and our life. I did so much more than just make some curtains. And in that very moment…I knew I had something unique to share with the world.
I learned early on in Greg’s career that the very task of creating a home is a necessary and important component fur surviving and thriving in this lifestyle (for me, at least). And I wondered how many other people like me needed to know the same thing and be shown how to do it. At a time when so many bloggers were painting cabinets, laying tile and knocking down walls, I started The Homes I Have Made to chronicle my unique, renter-friendly techniques and ideas. To show that there are other ways to create beautiful spaces than taking on big, expensive and permanent renovations. And to inspire and embolden other families in similar living situations that it’s worth the time and effort to do the same. I wanted to show friends, neighbors and even strangers that…
When big, expensive and permanent changes aren’t possible, you can still create a home you love!
I’m not sure Greg initially understood why I started a home blog and not a health blog, but I did. I didn’t have the vocabulary and focus to articulate it back then, but it’s been the guiding force behind every design decision in our home and every post I share here on the blog since. I’ve certainly lost my way a time or two (or twenty!), but then it was you all who pulled me back and reminded me what I was good at and why you were here. Your encouragement, your suggestions, your responses and your support have helped me focus in on my message even more and feel more confident sharing it loud and clear. I may have had the message inside, but it was with your help that I learned it was valuable and worthy of sharing.
When I see other bloggers creating the homes of their dreams with tile and new flooring, I admit I still have to consciously pull myself away from the jealousy and comparison. And when I find myself pining for our “forever” home so I can finally make some real changes too, I stop myself and focus in on this: our mobile, temporary lifestyle is the exact thing that gave me this blog, my voice, my message, and this wonderful, awesome journey. It’s what makes me and what I do and share here different than everybody else. It’s who I am and what our family is about. And it’s what has given me the opportunity to connect with and inspire so many of you! And that, my friends…I would never ever trade for a tiled backsplash or hardwood floors…but maybe some freshly painted white walls! (<– I couldn’t resist! 😉 )
Over the next week, I will be making some final adjustments on a renovation of a different kind…one I think most of you will be really excited about. If you pop over here within the next few days, you may see it in various stages of completion. So instead…meet me back here next Tuesday to see the whole new look this “home” of mine is getting!
Huge virtual hugs to you my sweet readers. Thanks for the last 6 years, and here’s to the years (and homes!) ahead!
25 Comments on “The Moment I Realized I Had Something To Say – A Reflection on 6 Years of Blogging”
I’ve found a lot of inspiration on your blog even though I’m not a renter or a frequent mover. Congratulations on six years!
Thank you so much, Rachel! I love hearing that my ideas work in all sorts of living situations. Thanks so much for dropping by each week!!
I so enjoy your solutions for making a home comfortable and practical. I think you would be an amazing graphic designer…well, maybe after the baby is older. Lol. Your ability to take a space and envison how to use each aspect of it efficiently is remarkable. And you make it beautiful at the same time. Keep doing what you do!
Thank you so much for this kind note, Deb! I am so glad to hear you enjoy seeing each space come together!
Have a great week!
I loved this blog post! Sometimes I delve back into older posts of blogs because I’m curious about what the “history of the blog” looks like, and it’s always fun to see the evolution in design style. Thank you for sharing. Your blog is unique, and I look forward with you to the day you have a forever home to design 🙂 In the meantime, think of how you have perfected your design sense and your style! I just moved in to our forever home (that I love!!!) and I am so thankful I had a starter home to make all my design mistakes on. This time around, I had a better sense of what I like and what I don’t like, and I am having so much fun putting together a home for my family. Hugs to you too!
That is so true, Georgia! I often tell my friends (and my husband!) that by the time we get to our “forever home,” I’ll know exactly what I want to do…at least I hope so! Thanks so much for coming by and supporting what I do here! It means the world!
Have a great night!
Megan what an inspiring post – I found your blog a few years ago and I’ve been an avid reader since (even though I don’t live in rental spaces!) You have great style and great ideas – looking forward to what else you have in store for us!
Thank you so much Lidia! I love hearing that my ideas translate to all sorts of living situations! And thanks so much for following along all these years!
Happy Blogiversary, Megan! I love what you do, and the inspiration you give. While I am not a renter, I’m not all that comfortable doing big DIY projects by myself (and I love my hubby, but handy is not one of his strong suits!), so your types of changes are the ones I can actually do. And I like sewing and crafting and such to make my home a better place. Thank you!
I love this sentiment, Heather! We aren’t the “handiest” people either, but boy we can do a lot with fabric, paint and a staple gun, huh?!?!
Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting so regularly! I love knowing you’re out there reading!
Have a great rest of your week!
I remember moving in next door on Cooper St, meeting you guys in the midst of your stripe-painting endeavors and thinking “oh my gosh my neighbor has a decorating blog? so cool!” and simultaneously “sheesh this girl puts me to shame, now I better start decorating too!”… but in all honesty, you inspired me a lot and helped get me through that time in my life, so thank you! It’s great to see you’re still decorating and blogging all this time later!
Sarah – this sweet note totally made my day. I am so glad to hear you found me inspiring and not crazy, lol! And it makes me so happy to know you’re still dropping by all these years later! Hugs Cooper Street, friend…big, big hugs!
Happy Blogversary! As an Army spouse, I love your unique point of view- thanks for your $0.02 of the internet.
Thanks so much Sarah!! And thank you for stopping by and following along – I love knowing other military spouse readers are out there!
Have a great week!
I first started to read your blog a year ago because your last home was almost EXACTLY what I envisioned for my own family’s home. But after reading all of your previous posts over the course of the year, I really appreciate your techniques in creating an interesting home while working within the confines of new new build rentals. While I LOVE looking at sites like York Avenue and Apartment Therapy I feel like the rentals featured there are already ahead of the design game by having gorgeous features like vintage details, hardwood floors and just architectural features that new builds can NEVER have.
So thank you for showing me what is possible with a clear vision and creativity 🙂
I’ve been following you for over a year now. I’m not a military spouse. I don’t have kids. I don’t rent and I’ve only moved once in the last 13 years and that was quite enough for me. I think that’s how I found you. I was looking for moving tips (which you had in spades) Yours is one of the few blogs I check daily at work thru my bookmarks (I’m old school) to see if you’ve updated. Even though what you post may not pertain to me directly, I always learn something about design or organizing or just plain common sense I’d forgotten about.
I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate and enjoy the work you put out into the world. Thanks!
I only recently found your blog via a friend. I am an army wife and we are PCSing soon where we’ll go from owning to renting. Last time we made that shift, I never made our house a “home” and this time I intend to do better. This post speaks volumes right where I am right now, so thank you so much for celebrating your 6 year anniversary! Big, expensive and permanent changes won’t be possible – but with your help I’ll make our next house a home, too.
Happy blogiversary sweet friend! You’ve built something truly special here. It’s such a testament to all your talent, determination and hard work over the long haul. The blogosphere seems full of stars that can dazzle and make us feel “less than” at times, but what you may not realise is that YOU yourself are a star. You shine, my friend! You are bringing something unique and important and irreplaceable to the blog world. I loved reading this and I’m so proud to know you!
Congratulations Megan on your 6 years of achievments and to be the Mother of not 1 son but 2 6 years on!
I live in a rental as I had to give up my forever home after losing my best beloved and my increasing disabilities
stopping me from managing in my much loved home.
After 5 years, my health means I need to move again and I’m waiting for the right place to be available.
Your blog is full of inspiration for when that next and hopefully last move transpires.
Your doing great.
Lucy, Kent ~ England
I am a renter and I have found a lot of helpful, practical and frugal tips on your blog – and for that I thank you. I’d say that many more of us are in the position of having to “make do” with what we have, or do what we can with limited funds. Your blog encourages us to not let that us define or limit what we can do – and redo – when it comes to decorating. Moving things from room to room, re-working what I have, or purchasing just a few small items can make such a difference to my home – and my mood.
Thank you for all your efforts – they are much appreciated.
I am so happy that I found you. I’ve been a homeowner and a renter, back and forth, time and again. Life changes can be hard to navigate. I love your style, and also hate brown, lol. It feels so much like visiting with a dear friend when I visit your blog. I may not have a comment to make every time, but I devour every. single. post. I am so thankful you found your voice! In many ways, you’re helping me find mine. 🙂
Thank you so much for this kind comment! I love getting your notes…but for some reason they usually go to my trash folder making it hard for me to respond to them. Nonetheless, please know I read every single one and always appreciate you chiming in! I am so glad you found me and my ideas here have helped you in your own home and life – that means the world to hear!
Hope your week is off to a great start!
Congratulations on these 6 years! Your blog is simply awesome, and I bet it will become even more with the years to come =)
What a great post, it’s so nice to know why you came to create a blog. What can I do more than the other told you, I’m so happy to have found your blog which is so inspiring. Easy and imaginative tips for us to share and adapt to our homes.
Love this and such an inspiration to see how and why people start their own blogging/business adventures! Congratulations on your 6th year!!