Continuing our series of conversations with our favorite bloggers, this week we turn to withHEART.com to learn more about the blog’s founder, and what makes her blog so popular. Here’s our Q and A interview:BA: Where did you get the idea for withHEART—what triggered your desire to create the blog and share your world?
JS: I have always loved design and DIY and after leaving my career in journalism to spend more time at home with my first baby, I started diving into every project I could find around my house. I started the blog sort of on a whim at the suggestion of my husband and it took off unexpectedly. I started having people from all over the world write me and ask for suggestions for their own homes. It’s become a major passion and a wonderful second career.
BA: What makes you so passionate about DIY and entertaining?
JS: I truly believe in taking ownership making your home beautiful. You can play a role in creating a beautiful space if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get to work. I think it gives you such pride in your home when you walk by something that you personally created.
BA: I love tablescapes. Do you have a favorite tablescape that you’ve worked on? How do you get started when creating a new tablescape?
JS: The tablescape from my fall home tour last year is a favorite. It was so inexpensive, yet packed a big punch. I used fall foliage from my yard, apples from my neighbor’s tree, and mixed metals mostly from antique and thrift stores.
I always start with some point of inspiration—whether it’s a colourful napkin or plate, or in this case fall colors from outside my own window.
BA: How do you go about choosing projects for yourself? What makes a project exciting for you?
JS: I love projects that make people wonder if I bought it or made it. Most of my projects come from some kind of need. I need something I have in my head, but can’t find it in a store. And if I can find something similar for sale, it’s over my price range. So, I devise a plan to make it myself.
BA: A lot of our readers are looking for ways to make their fireplace or mantel stand out in a room redesign or update. How would you approach a redesign or design challenge in a room with a unique and prominent feature like a fireplace?
JS: Paint can go a long way. Are the lines good? Is the brick salvageable? I suggest spraying paint on stone or brick rather than rolling. Rolling paint makes it look too thick and gummy.
BA: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing someone when starting a DIY project, or coming up with anew and innovative idea for entertaining?
JS: Intimidation. It’s scary to launch into a construction project, not knowing the outcome. Do your research, then dive in! You’ll be so amazed at what you can do.
BA: What are your best tips and advice for people who want to tackle a DIY project, or put together a memorable experience when entertaining?
JS: Start gathering inspiration from sources you love, and start with a project someone else has tried out first. Just test out the waters and your comfort zone.
BA: What is the most frequently asked question you get from your audience?
JS: I get asked a lot of questions about time management. I’ve got to say, there is no magic potion. It’s always difficult, and I’m always coming up short somewhere. But at the end of the day, my kids are happy and I feel like I’m mostly accomplishing all I want to, so I’d say that’s a win.
BA: What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve learned along the way?
JS: To trust my gut, with projects and career decisions.
BA: Which DIY project, tablescape or event that you’ve worked on resonates the most with you? Why?
JS: Anything involving my kids. I’ve loved creating their bedrooms and every sentimental project that has gone into them.
BA: Do you have a project that made you think twice about it, after you had already started?
JS: I think I think that about a lot of them, especially if they’re more complicated than I think they’re going to be. But the payoff at the end is always worth it!
Thanks again, Jen! Your blog will forever be in our bookmarks!