Happy 1st Birthday!

Happy New Year, readers, and Happy Birthday to Pretty Distressed! I started this blog one year ago today as a creative outlet for a burnt out stay at home mommy. I didn't know if anyone would ever see it or if I had the discipline to keep at it. A year into it, I can say I feel truly blessed for where God has allowed this blog to go.

When I started out, I don't think I believed anyone would read it. I now average around 20,000 page views a month. I know this is small potatoes versus some really successful DIY and home decor bloggers out there, but it really is enough for me. I also never imagined it would turn into a small business where I could make some supplemental income for my family, but I have worked with clients to refinish furniture for them and even sold some pieces, too. This was an answer to a vision God put on my heart a couple of years ago. It really is true, that His ways are higher than ours. I never could of dreamed up that this would be the answer to my prayer.

My hope for Pretty Distressed is to keep it going as long as you keep coming back to read it. I have loved hearing from some of you and answering your questions or just hearing about your projects. I know this pregnancy has slowed me down a little bit, and inevitably, my new baby will limit the amount of projects I can take on. I am okay with that because I will always be a mommy first. One thing I am certain, I will never run out of ideas to makeover my home or Goodwill finds. My hope is that you will stick with me as I continue on this journey.

Here is a look back at my top five favorite projects of 2014.

Thank you and here's to a healthy and joyful 2015!

Big Announcement

And now you know why my August hasn't been very productive. Pretty Distressed is adding another bundle of joy to the craziness that is my life. Our family is very blessed and excited!

Good news is I was able to complete one project in August and have an amazing reveal for you on Monday. I have finally completed my project with my friends over at Annie Sloan Unfolded. You are not going to believe what I was able to do with this antique settee. Check back Monday for the big reveal!

A New Look for Pretty Distressed

Pretty Distressed has come a long way since its inception in January of this year. It started as a little outlet for this burnt out stay-at-home mom and has blossomed into so much more. Since it is now a legitimate blog and business, I decided to get rid of my DIY logo and turned to Bre at Triple B Creative to give Pretty Distressed the look of professionalism it deserves.

Introducing the new Pretty Distressed...

Triple B also did some awesome business cards for me. I can't wait to hand them out! No more post it notes with my blog and email.

A Look Back at My First Piece

It is hard to believe at this time last year I was living in a completely different house in another state. This past year has brought a lot of change including, a new home, a new school for my son, a new church, new friends, renewed relationships, and everything else that goes along with uprooting your family. Even though it has been tough at times, I thank God for this opportunity and the ways He has blessed our family that I couldn't have even dreamed up including this little blog, Pretty Distressed.

Last November, I decided to buy my first can of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan, and my life has never been the same. I started creating all over my home and sharing it with others as I found my passion for writing again. Then, I ventured out to selling pieces and even taking on clients. I can't thank you all enough for bringing this dream to life. I am so encouraged and inspired by your comments and messages I receive daily. 

Last week, I was contacted by Annie Sloan Unfolded, the sole distributor for Chalk Paint® in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They like my work so much, they are offering me an opportunity to do a product review post right here on Pretty Distressed. It was honestly one of the most exciting emails I have ever gotten. I have been brainstorming like crazy and hope to be giving you more details as my project and post take shape.

Today, I wanted to share with you the first piece I ever refinished. It isn't anything special, but I dressed her all up to show you that dreams can start small. 

This little cupboard was painted with one coat of Paris Grey followed by a coat of Old White. I distressed it heavily with 100 grit sandpaper and finished it off with a coat of Clear Wax.

To anyone out there thinking about painting furniture, I recommend starting with something small like this that you really don't care about. I completed this project over two days and was able to really play without having the pressure of ruining the piece. From there, if you enjoy the process, you can move onto tackling grandma's dining set or searching for flea market or Craigslist treasures to refinish.

So, you know how my story goes. I became hooked on painting furniture and sharing it with you. I hope my journey will inspire you to keep dreaming...even if you aren't quite sure what that dream is yet. 

So You Want to Start a Blog? - Top Five Tips for Newbies

I am in between some projects right now and wanted to take some time to share my newbie blogging experience with anyone out there that is thinking or dreaming of starting a blog. If anyone would have told me a year ago that I would be running my own blog and that people would actually be reading it, I would have thought they were crazy. 

I started this blog as a way to share my love of crafting and my DIY adventures with family and friends, but it has grown into so much more than that. It has become a creative outlet for me that is really breathing new life into my everyday. For anyone that has toyed with the idea of starting a blog, I want to be the first to say, "Go for it!" 

By no means am I an expert, but I want to share just a few things I have learned in the past six months with Pretty Distressed.

Top Five Tips for Starting A Blog

1. Don't wait. You are never going to feel like you have enough time to blog. It is so easy to set up a template with numerous free platforms like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, etc. If you feel inspired, just jump in and start writing. You can slowly hone in on what you want your site to look like and what you want to share with each post.

2. Narrow your focus. When I first started out blogging, I wanted to write about all the things I loved about being a girl. As you can imagine, that was a pretty long list. I decided to trim down that list and focus on the thing that was most important to me and the area I had the most ideas to share - home decor for the everyday gal. Not to say I can't ever stray away from this subject on a post or two, but my readers know what they are getting when they visit my site which is important.

3. Be passionate. Don't just write about what you know or what you think might attract the most readers. Write about what you love. If you aren't passionate about your subject matter it will eventually show through. And worse, it will feel like work. Since I stay at home with my children and can only blog during "my time," I want to enjoy blogging and not dread having to sit down to write a post.

4. Be a part of the community. Don't be an island unto yourself. The whole reason blogging works is because of the community that is created by sharing, complementing and collaborating. Visit other blogs, leave comments, link back to other sites, reach out to bloggers you love, etc. I have met some great people from across the country and in my backyard that inspire me on a daily basis.  

5. Don't compare. This is easier said then done, right? That fact is there are thousands of bloggers out there doing the exact same thing you are, so don't get caught up in the comparison game. Some of these bloggers are very well established and connected as they have been doing this for years. Know that you have something unique to share and don't get caught up in how many page views you have or the number of sponsorship opportunities that come your way. If you are writing great content and networking, the readers will come. 

Blogging in its purest form is more about passion than money. I think if your goal is to make money, you are always going to be disappointed in the end. Personally, I get the most out of receiving comments on my posts from people I have never met or getting a response from a blogger who I really admire. I was featured this week on Wow Us Wednesday over at Savvy Southern Style, and you would have thought I won the lottery the way I was beaming all day. I have also had a few sponsor opportunities come my way and have been able to drum up some clients for my small furniture painting business as well which was unexpected and a huge blessing.  

I hope these tips are an encouragement to you. If you take the plunge, send me your site. I would love to be part of your community. Good luck newbie bloggers!