This week my blog is being featured on Hometalk, which is a site where homeowners, renters, and professionals share and help with home and gardening. I’ve shared several projects on their website and now I have the wonderful honor of being featured by them! They’ve sent me some questions to help you get to know me better. While I’m chatting and answering the questions, I’ll share some flowery photos ’cause I can’t blog without adding some photos along the way.
How did you first get into blogging?
By chance, I stumbled across a home decorating blog and into a world of wonderful women bloggers who were doing amazing things to their homes and sharing their projects on their blogs. Three of the first blogs I followed were Mod Vintage Life, Aiken House and Gardens, and Dreamy Whites. From there, one blog led to another and before I knew it, I had a long list of must-read blogs.
The thought popped into my head that if I started my own blog, I might actually hold myself accountable to complete my own home projects. I mean, if you have a home décor blog, you have to have projects to write about, right? And that’s how my blog began just over a year ago.
How did you decide on the name of your blog?
Initially I thought about a cute or clever name, but then decided my blog name should reflect who I am and how I live. For the past 16 years I’ve lived on the outskirts of the Chicago suburbs. If we travel west from our house, we’re in the country and if we travel east, we’re in the thick of the ‘burbs. We live on a quiet, dead end street that empties into a beautiful forest preserve and our town is the last stop on the commuter train from Chicago, so the name Town and Country Living just makes sense.
What is your most popular project on Hometalk to-date?
Last year I found out about Hometalk’s online community when I saw a blogger post on Facebook that her DIY project had been featured on Hometalk’s Facebook page … so I headed on over. I started posting my own projects on Hometalk not knowing if they’d ever feature me on their Facebook page (which has 500,000+ fans) … but they did! My most most popular project on Hometalk is my IKEA cabinet turned crafting center.
What are your favorite kinds of posts to read/write?
My favorite posts to read or write are creative projects and rooms that are showcased through beautiful photos. I’m a visual person so great photos are really important to me. When I first started blogging I had a point and shoot camera that I didn’t know how to use. I was bound and determined to learn photography so I could post pretty pictures on my blog. I bought myself a DSLR camera along with a photography book, took an online photography course, and practiced like crazy! When it comes to decorating, cooking, and crafting blogs … photos are everything. It’s why we spend money on beautiful magazines and cookbooks with beautifully styled photos.
What advice could you give to other bloggers?
First and foremost, be true to yourself. Try not to compare yourself to other bloggers but find your own passion and focus on it. Blogging should be fun and once you start stressing about it, the enjoyment fades. Sometimes it’s good to think back on what first motivated you to start blogging. Usually that will help ground you and bring back the initial joy you experienced when you clicked that “Publish” button for the first time.
Secondly, hone your photography skills if your blog contains a lot of photos. Once you learn the technical aspect of working your camera properly (ie learn to shoot in manual mode and not the pre-loaded settings), you can start to express your true self through photography. Photos that take your breath away are those that convey a feeling or emotion. I’m always trying to capture a mood when I take pictures. It might be the way the light filters through the window … or shadows that provide a little mystery to the scene. Somewhere I read that photography isn’t about reproducing the exact scene, but is actually about creating art. It really changed how I viewed taking pictures.
How has keeping a blog changed you?
In addition to meeting some incredibly amazing women through blogging, I’d have to say that because of the photography aspect of it, I now see the world through slightly different eyes. I look at light and shadows in new ways. I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to photography, but I enjoy it so it doesn’t feel like work!
* I’d like to extend a special thank you to Miriam Illions of Hometalk for this opportunity. Miriam has a warm and encouraging spirit and I’m honored to know her.