Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Evolution of a Blog

I've been making a lot of changes (again) lately.  In the course of the last year, I've learned a lot about how to make my blog acurately reflect the vision I've held in my head.  I know very little about code, or HTML, and I've been slowly learning how to change the "out of the box" Blogspot template into something I feel really reflects me, and my personal style.  There is still so much I'd like to do, but I'm liking the progress we've made so far.  Let's take a journey, here's a recap of the changes we made this year...

Header Before:

A good start, but a little too "cartoonish" for me.  Our family likes to inject humor in our design, but I don't want it too feel like we're high on laughing gas!

Header in Progress:

A little better.  It's simple *check*.  Looks kinda fun *check*.  And is symbolic of a house-in-progress *check*.  But it feels a little too crowded.

Header After:

Perfect!  Nothing looks too crowded and it's straightforward.  Can you tell I L-O-V-E orange?  I think it's my power color.

Background Before:

Whoah nelly!!  I like orange, but that's a whole lotta orange overload.  And, what is up with those chimney puffs?!  They have to go!  

Background Progress:

Okay, that's a little better, but still not perfect.  Let's try this:

Gross!!!!  No way, let's try that again...

Um, this reminds me of a not-so-yummy-looking baby food.  No go.

Background After: 

This will work.  Something that doesn't draw too much attention, but is still visually interesting *check*.  Kinda looks like houndstooth fabric, bonus!  Haha!

Put it all together and you get...

What I wanted:  Something that reflected what we, the Hevels, are like while helping the reader to understand what to expect from our blog.  We LOVE color here, and don't like to take ourselves too seriously, but I can't fight my attraction to beautiful things (I think I owe that, in great part, to my Mother faithfully exposing me to the fine arts and culture; thanks Mom!).  It's a balance here, because my guys like everything to be practical, simple, no-fuss!  My preference would to be surrounded by lovely things.  I don't need them to necessarily be practical, they just need to make me feel good.  I love the design challenges this provides, even in considering how to design our blog to accurately reflect ALL of us.  What I hoped our blog/house would reflect is that we are a creative family, who enjoys a thoughtfully designed and colorful house, while also functioning well to serve the needs of each individual family member.  Our design is definitely eclectic, but I hope it would also evoke a peaceful, "come, stay a while and kick your feet up" feeling.  I'd love to hear from you, what do you think of our new design?

Let's talk Mood Boards

Lots of my friends have asked me to help them find their design style.  There are plenty of good quizes out there that will help you get an idea of what your personal style is (some of my favorites are the HomeGoods style quizBHG Color Personality quizSproost personal style quiz, and Stylish Home Style Maker quiz), but nothing compares to actually looking at a collection of pictures that help inspire you to find YOU.  The best way to do this is by creating a Mood Board.  A place for you to gather all your ideas together, so you can define your own personal style.  It can be virtual (on a computer program, a website, or in a digital photo album) like these:

1. Digital/Photoshop mood board from Chalk+Dot  2. Online mood board from Olioboard  3. Digital/Photoshop mood board from Little Nudge  4.  Photo Album style, interactive iPad/iPhone mood board from Moodboard Pro
Or they can be physical, like these:

1. Wall mood board from Sitt  2. File Folder mood board from Coochicoos 3. Collage mood board from Flourish Studios  4.  Cork Board from Lorenz Studios

"Why should I make a mood board?"  

A mood board can help you see whether or not your color choices/fabric patterns will work well together, if your furniture is to scale, or if your style is cohesive before you commit to a purchase.  It can save you a lot of time and money.

"So how do I make a mood board of my own?"

It's easy!  I recommend the following:
  • First, set up a Pinterest account.  You need to gather all your ideas in one place.  Somewhere you can look at all the pictures together to find the similarities.  This is an excellent website that will easily facilitate this.  I would recommend creating a  virtual "Inspiration Board" for each room.  When you find a room that you love, Pin It!  Don't give this step too much thought.  Go with your initial reaction.  You can always delete it later.  The whole idea here it to just gather as much inspiration as possible.  When you get enough rooms together, look at the whole board and ask yourself, "What do they all have in common?"  After a while, you will start to see what you "like" and add those elements to your own rooms.
  • Find your inspiration.  There are LOTS of places where you can find things to Pin.  My favorite resources are: Apartment Therapy, HOUZZ, and DecorPad.  All of these websites have photos of great, inspirational design and you can even narrow your search down to see specific rooms or styles.  They are my "go to" resources.
  • Create your personal mood board.  The final step in the process is to design your room!  Once you have narrowed down your "style", look for items that fit.  Cut them out of magazines, use one of the many online resources (such as Pinterest or Olioboard), or take pictures of them in the store and add them to a "Mood Board" photo album (keep a list of the resources so you can find the things later).  Whatever you do, make sure they are all in the same place so you can look at them together.  Gather as much stuff as you can!!  Then, edit the board to make your final design plan.  Some things will get the heave-ho and others will stay until you have a mood board that reflects your personal style.  Then, go shopping!!  

You may find that your personal style will make many transformations, as ours did.  In the past year, I've played around with my mood boards.  Changing ideas.  Creating "new" looks.  And just getting a better idea of my own personal design "style." That's the best part about this whole process!  You get to "try" without buying, "live" in a room without committing, and finally fall in "love" with your dream room.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Little Recap, and An Apology

{Wow, I really am a bad blog Mommy.  I wrote this back in December!  Egads, better late than never I suppose.}

Soooooo, it looks like I've been a bad blog Mommy.....again.  *sigh*  Thanks to those of you who have stuck with me.  It really has been the craziest 6 months!!  I figure I owe you guys an explanation for just abandoning you, so here goes:
In June, my parent's tenants moved out of their rental.  We were, of course, recruited to help freshen the place up with a new coat of paint in hopes of getting it ready to rent again.  When we arrived, we realized that it was going to take more than a new coat of paint to make this pig look pretty!  The walls and floors were torn up, there was dog food and hair everywhere, there was soot all over the walls from a kitchen fire (unbeknownst to us), wall lamps were hanging off the wall with exposed wires, the oven was no longer functioning, and the yard was screaming "GO AWAY!"  Since it was summer time (and school was out) we decided to make the trek back and forth to my parent's rental (1 hour each way) several times a week to try to get it ready to rent again.
The goal was to quickly fix and repair everything by August 1st, but as anyone who has worked on old homes can tell you, "nothing goes as planned."  We ran into just about every road block imaginable, but the biggest problem was the kitchen.  *shudders* Oh how I hate kitchen remodels.  (P.S., I give mad props to the folks who make it look so easy a kindergartner could do it, see the Petersiks from Young House Love do it here and the ridiculously adorable and talented Amanda & Ben over at Our Humble A{Bowe}d over here, because I have to admit ours looked more like a comedy of errors than a "how to.")

But for now I leave you with this....I l-o-v-e this commercial.

Who doesn't need their own, personal, interior designer in a closet?!