It's my five-year Blog Birthday! She Makes A Home goes all the way back to January 2008. Over the years the name has changed as my objectives changed - but all (most) of the original content is still here.
I started as Ashleybug Designs, switched to Particularly Pretty, and eventually to Indie Pretty Projects. After more than two years as Indie Pretty Projects, I realized my point of view changed again - the blog became more personal, and I shifted focus to working at home and making my first home. In July 2012, She Makes A Home became the new, official name. If you've ever been curious about how I got here, where this blog came from, or why I started blogging - here is my story:
The blog began in January 2008. I had just started my Etsy shop three months before - I was a total newbie to online sales. I was a full-time student at Michigan State University, and worked part-time as an office assistant on campus. 2 semesters away from graduation, I was a newlywed of a few months, and a week away from becoming pregnant with my first baby. The blog was a great way to share my handmade discoveries, and document what goes into starting an Etsy shop.
2008 was also when I started to get serious about marketing and branding, having no education on those subjects at all. I interviewed people, read books, and researched like crazy. After I graduated from college and quit my part-time job, I had all the time in the world to focus on my business, and wait for the baby to arrive.
In October 2008, my first baby was born. The blog and business took a backseat for a while, but I couldn't stay away for long.
At start of the new year, we moved our little family to Chicago, IL. We had a quaint little two bedroom apartment in the Portage Park neighborhood. I was working on my business and caring for my daughter full-time while my husband took the Metra to the Loop for work every day. As someone from small-town Michigan, it was an exciting time in life.
I started writing my series "Effective Selling", which wasn't extremely popular at the time, but laid the groundwork for many of my future projects - especially one coming very soon.
We lived in Chicago for three months before we found out that we were expecting a SECOND baby. My first was only five months old - this was SO not my plan for life! But we relaxed, and eventually got excited about the idea of two kids so close together in age. I realized that there was no way in the world I was going to get down the stairs of a third floor apartment with an infant and a stroller while I was 7+ months pregnant, so we realized we were going to have to move. Time was short, money was tight, and my pregant-self's demands were high - so we moved to Naperville, IL - about 30 minutes outside of Chicago.
In December 2009 my second daughter was born - almost two weeks late! That girl was as stubborn then as she is now.
2010 was a year bursting with new hobbies, knowledge, and projects. I started making my own lattes that year - starting with vanilla lattes with real vanilla bean syrup.
It was a struggle at first to care for a newborn, a 15 month old, cook, keep an apartment clean, stay healthy, write, and run a business. I started thinking a lot more about life balance, and I still am to this day.
I also started thinking more about pricing my work. With time limited, I had to truly value it more. I wrote about pricing formulas and tiered pricing for handmade sellers.
2010 was also the year I had what is, strangely, my most popular post: a guide for identifying leaf shapes and trees for designs and art.
BIG changes came in 2011. I started another blog with a friend about parenting; I began contributing weekly to Going Home to Roost; and I was contacted to appear in an upcoming book about stationery! I had a very hard time saying no to opportunity - and at that point, why would I?
In mid-2011, my husband and I decided it was time to return to Michigan. We were ready to own a house, but it would be a long time before we could afford something nice in Chicagoland. Our money could go so much further in Michigan. We started house-hunting in the Summer of 2011, and purchased our first house the next month. This focus of this blog began to shift a bit into making my first house a home. I started with the dining room.
2012 has been my most memorable year yet. It started off with a fun product launch in January, and a "before" house tour of our new place.
The book that I was contacted about in 2011 was released in February 2012. Valentine's Day was crazy with sales that year, and I became burnt out. I started caring more about my own health, and took a vacation from the internet for a month. During that time, priorities changed, and my blog posts dwindled to a handful per month.
While my blog posts went down to almost nothing, I was secretly stocking up on my paper goods like crazy! In late April, I had been contacted about becoming Etsy's Featured seller. The interview went up on June 1st, 2012, and things have yet to really settle down since then.
In July, I officially changed the name of this blog to She Makes a Home, and gave the blog a facelift. I think this is the longest I've ever kept a blog design - I actually really like this one.
In August, I was prompted to write about what a work-at-home mom does all day - how I care for the kids, keep up the house, and keep the customers happy. It was the Summer edition - Winter is an entirely different story.
Fall brought a new kind of excitement for me - some of my paper goods started selling at Terrain - online and in-store.
Later that month I decided I was ready for a new project - an online magazine. I just had to give it a shot! Snowed In was created, and with the help of numerous contributors and sponsors, it was released on November 15th.
After many holiday-centered posts and a new year, here I am, mid-January, 2013, celebrating five years of blogging, documenting, sharing, and creating. I would still be doing this, whether I had the 5 followers from 2008, or the thousands of followers/subscribers that I hear from every day - because I enjoy it SO much. Thank you all who have commented, shared, and contributed on this blog over the last five years. If you'd like to see some of the best projects, recipes, and round-ups from over the years, check out the menu buttons on the right sidebar ---->