northstory notes – April 18, 2014

So I’ve been trying to write a blog post now for about 4 days.

I’ve been staring at photos of projects that I’ve done – that we’ve done – and all I’ve done, is kept staring at them. It’s not a creative block. It’s not discouragement or even boredom. It’s something different.

When I set out to start this blog – under its original name northofseven (which is why I have some old entries with that watermark – ugh…watermarks) – I had intended on it being a home renovation blog. That went well as you can see by the insane amount of craft projects in my project gallery. If anything for someone who doesn’t host a lot of parties in her home, I sure as hell have a lot of party and Holiday celebratory decor in there.

And it’s nothing I am ashamed of, nor do I not like it or plan to stop. It is something I really enjoy doing and will continue to do.

But something in that Project Gallery has been missing for me. And that something is our home.

I was chatting recently with Kristen from Storefront Life whose blog I love and whose style I adore. I mean every time they post a project I think “I need that in my house”. We share such a similar decor aesthetic so I covet their projects so much that I tell everyone I can at any opportunity to go visit their blog. I mean look a their printmakers cabinet. Are you kidding me? When can I have the brought over? I’ll find somewhere to put it.

And Kristen being the astute observant person that she is, noticed a pattern in our conversations where I kept lamenting about all the stuff I need to get done in our home. And how much this irritated me about it. Moving right now is a non-option unless you find me a winning lottery ticket to a different home. We like our budget the way it is thank you very much.

So the reality is, either I get off my ass and make it a home I love while we live here. Or I just keep wistfully staring at all the things I want to change, procrastinate and then after we fix them to stage the house for sale in 5 years or so, wonder why the hell we didn’t do it sooner.

This is tied into another thing that happened this month. I had walked into our future home office where I store all my craft and project supplies and instead of being inspired to make something, I got annoyed that all of it was sitting there cluttering up my space. I was so tired of using the same old stuff and holding onto items thinking “well maybe I’ll use that one day” and never using it.

Then I remembered back in January reading Jennifer from Brave New Home and what she wrote about in her New Years resolutions. And she said this one little thing that stuck with me all this time and it made so much sense to me at that moment.

And that was “Less Crafting More Home Designing”. It’s the idea that while it’s great to do a craft project, that sometimes you get so caught up in that, that you let all the stuff you want and even need to get done around and for your home, fall to the way side.

Every time I turn around there is something that I have on my To Do list for the home.

– Make storage bins for the entry way and the basement.
– Paint the banister.
– Make a new bench or storage trunk for the entryway.
– Fix the curtains in the bedroom. Paint the bedroom. Decorate the bedroom. Get new bedding for the bedroom.
– Finish the office. Finish the desk for the office. Paint the office.
– Make or find a new side table for the living room and basement.
– Decorate the basement walls. And shelves.
– Make or find new pillows.
– Make or find new pendant lights for every room in the house.
– Redo the bathroom vanity, mirror, medicine cabinet and possibly tiles. In both bathrooms. Fix the ceiling in the bathroom.
– Renovate the kitchen. Get all new appliances to replace the 15 year old ones.

Have I covered every room in the house? Oh no wait, redo the front porch, the front garden, move the backyard vegetable garden, make new planters and plant a new tree.

For the sake of keeping it real, here’s the chaos of the home office that it was up until this past month.

fixing up the home  office

So why did I stop writing about this? Why did I stop trying to make our home into the one we love?

It’s time to change that. It’s trying to find a better balance of my love of this world…

Kraft Paper Gift wrap and matching Birthday card -

…so I can start to love this world again. To start decorating and organizing and hanging stuff on my walls.

Can you believe I found this shelf at the Salvation Army for $4?! And it’s been sitting on my office floor for almost 2 months now.

Geometric bookshelf -

It’s also about how to use my time wisely. And money.

Because let’s face it, despite what you can see on HGTV, home makeovers in real life are usually not done in a 22 min stretch of programming. It takes time to find the right pieces, to redo them, to save up money for the bigger purchases and especially the renovations. Kitchens and bathrooms are not cheap.

And in between those projects, I am giving myself permission to not stress out if I don’t have a craft project to post about – unless I love it and we actually did a craft project. Because even those craft project dollars add up really fast. Maybe I can share things that I like? Maybe I can review products? Maybe I can write about…stuff? Do you remember reading blogs with words vs skimming photos? I kind of miss that.

So I’ve slowly started on the home projects and the first of them I’ll get up here by the first week of May. Until then I have a trip that I need to go on and write about over in the French Quarter while eating a ton of Beignets.

Now a good blogger would have lined up a whole bunch of guest bloggers for the week they are gone.

Me? Have you met my Instagram account? Come hang out. I’ll be there til next weekend.


  • Reply
    Tash @ The Dreamhouse Project
    April 18, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Good for you Alex! I love your crafts (so much) but what keeps me coming back is my love for your writing…and as long as you’re writing about stuff you love I’ll be here. Excited to see your transition back to home projects & how you strike the balance between the two. Enjoy your trip my friend. I’ll be following along on Instagram & living vicariously since I have no hope of any kind of vacation in the near future unless it involves some serious work on our house.

    • Reply
      April 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

      Thank you so much Tash! I love writing and sometimes I go to do a post and think if I don’t make something will it change it? I still enjoy the whole creative process but I def need to start working on our home again. Even if it’s just 1 or 2 new posts on it per month. I have to start somewhere. I mean you’re a huge inspiration. You’re building your own home! That’s an incredible journey and I honestly can’t wait to see it in the end.

    • Reply
      Thalita @ The Learner Observer
      May 2, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      I agree with this comment 100%!!! That is all…

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    April 18, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Please eat beignets for me. (Also, please drink my share of whatever you are indulging in for the next week.)

    I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing week with gorgeous weather. I will have to wait to see your pictures since I am still stuck in an age before Instagram.

    • Reply
      April 18, 2014 at 9:49 am

      You, above all people, NEED to be on Instagram. The outtakes from the home reno. The step by step processes of craigslist finds and outings. Woman…

    • Reply
      April 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm

      Totally agree with Alex, you need to be on Instagram. That would make my month.

      Can’t wait to see your house projects, Alex.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Brave New Home
    April 19, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Glad to hear you’re sharing in one of my NY resolutions!

    Non-crafts are definitely not sexy and don’t get pinned as much or create viral traffic (all the things we bloggers should care about)—I mean, look-at-all-this-mold-we-found-behind-this-wall-we-knocked-down is just not as cute as something wrapped in twine (which I can’t get enough of doing!). BUT like you said, with limited time and money we hafta pick the content behind our posts wisely.

    That being said…I love all your crafts especially your holiday cards! Looking forward to more home design posts, you’ve got great style!

    Have a beignet (or two or three…) for me! Mmmm : ]

  • Reply
    Crystal @ Sew Creative
    April 19, 2014 at 2:23 am

    You go girl! I can’t wait to see where this next stage takes you. 🙂 Mwah!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Alex, I am glad to see you following your heart! Lets have a girls building day soon!

  • Reply
    Dani @ lifeovereasy
    April 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    It’s good to change things up once in a while! I’m sure all the great creative energy that you put into your crafts will lead to some awesome posts when you put it toward your house!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I too read your blog for your writing style – I’m not at all crafty. I look forward to seeing what you do next!

  • Reply
    Lisa Canning
    April 27, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Excited to follow your home project adventures! Just read your sofa in the blizzard post. Love.

    • Reply
      April 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks Lisa! I think my husband will be relieved to get half of my thrift store collection out of the garage.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    YES! Can’t wait to read about some of your upcoming projects in your home!! I recently gave myself permission to just chill out with my blog posts. Maybe I don’t post a DIY, decor project, or craft every week. And that’s cool. No stress.

    Have such a great time on your trip! I’ve been following on instagram! Jealous 🙂

    • Reply
      April 28, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      I’ve totally relaxed about the project thing. It’s not realistic both time wise and financially. Very few bloggers actually work 24/7 on projects and I think in many ways we’re all doing this to ourselves bc we see others turn around project after project and think oh man I need to keep up. And the reality is a diff story. Good renos and decor take time. There’s no reason we can’t blog about other stuff in between the before and afters.

      You should def enjoy this time with your little one. Because one day you’ll blink and she’ll be helping you paint. 😉

  • Reply
    Thalita @ The Learner Observer
    May 2, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I am always late with comments because I suck at reading blogs these days, but damn, I loved this post. I totally relate to like everything you said because I, too, have a list for EVERY single room in our home to fix. Granted, we moved here under 2 years ago, and it isn’t my forever home, but I need to love it while I’m in it since I’m also not moving anytime soon. You’re totally motivating me to get off my butt and DO something.

    • Reply
      May 10, 2014 at 8:29 am

      You’re late? I have over 3000 unread blog entries in my reader. It’s terrible. I’m behind in commenting and congratulating and replying to comments.

      I think we all want to do this stuff to our homes but then real life – usually money and time – comes into play. Suddenly it’s $150 later here and $200 there and it all adds up. So it’s a much slower process. I won’t stop doing smaller DIY’s and crafts bc I still enjoy it all but we definitely need to start thinking about our home again.

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