Talking Shop, Letting Go and Trimming a Lampshade

Dear Readers,

I’m at my parent’s house in Arizona. And I always get a little wordy with my posts when I’m out here in the country. All this fresh air clears my head, I think. :)

I’ve been keeping up this site for a long time – going on six whole years! (how did that happen?!) I’ve been a blog reader for even longer, and by now, I’ve learned a bit as both a producer and a consumer of creative sites. It feels like there’s a change in the wind lately, doesn’t it?

All of us content-producers that work for ourselves, we’re all trying to figure out our place in this fast-paced, idea-sharing world – with its Pinterests and Tumblrs and Instagrams (and now Vines!). I know it’s weird to be on the content-consumer end of things right now as well. Blogging is such a new, and kind of weird media. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, we are not (which I think is part of the charm and allure of blogging). As we all know, most of the time, blogs are run by one person, out of their home, who happens to have a passion, who wants to share it, and who hopes to eventually make a fair wage for their labors. We’re still trying to figure out the money bit. What’s appropriate when we genuinely feel that our readers are our friends, and when we’re often talking about deeply personal things? You readers are front and center as we muddle through all of this and more: sponsorship opportunities, attending and feeling the need to report on conferences about blogging, then also dealing with difficult “real life” situations as well as just the small-scale highs and lows of everyday life. And then of course (!), producing content all the while.

I’ve tried to be better about this in recent years, but back in the day I felt like I had to have a project *done* before I shared it here. It wasn’t like that in the very beginning though. When I first started blogging, I was openly sharing everything I had on my mind – big and small. When no one’s reading your site (and with no mean-spirited comments occasionally coming in) there’s nothing to be self-conscious of. When I started getting more traffic (and some of those less-fun comments), I noticed myself holding back a little more. Also, some of the real joy of sharing was starting to leave, which is a bummer for me to think about.

Well, I’ve decided to let go a little, to get back to basics. And I’m determined to reclaim some of that lost joy, especially now that my interiors business is doing well and other media opportunities are opening up to me. I know now that I’m not blogging as a means to an end. It’s the blogging itself that I think I love the most. So, how to make that more sustainable and more fun?

As a blog reader, I know that I love getting to know the writer behind the blog as much as I love their great content. I love the small projects just as much as (sometimes even more than) the grandiose room reveals. I like feeling like I’m along for the ride as the blogger lets me get inside his/her head. This is where bloggers can differentiate themselves from the other social media outlets. We can dig deeper into the story. We can share more. 

And what’s the point if we’re not? Might as well stick with Instagram.

I know this is a rather wordy, out-of-left-field post, and I don’t mean to pull back the curtain in an unsavory way. And I don’t write it to make any sort of announcements about the future of this site. But, as my site redesign and url change (!!!) are finally reaching completion (and after several lengthy, late-night conversations with other bloggers at Alt), I’ve come to the realization that if I want to keep going with LGN, I need to be willing to share more. All with less worry for what other people think of my projects and my style, because that is the whole point. I named this site Little Green Notebook after an idea journal I used to keep in my bag (before the days of iPhones) that would record all my notes to self. Project ideas with sketches, shopping lists, clothes and shoes to save up for, stores to look up online, dreams and goals. So, all that to say, I hope you keep joining me here during the week as I get back to sharing more of these things again. I love, love, love having you. I imagine you all as my girlfriends that I feel comfortable enough to have over even when my house is a bit messy. Thanks for being so chill, thoughtful, respectful and cool to me as I put my ideas and my personal life out there. :)

I did this little project last week. As I snapped the photos I thought, no one is going to care about a piece of ribbon on a lampshade in an unfinished room. But those sound like the worries of Old Jenny, don’t they? And New Jenny digs simple, achievable projects and shares. So, onward with the post!

Before I went to Alt, I was changing the girls’ sheets, dreaming/lamenting about how much I want to do to their room this year (like new bedding – stat!). In the spirit of making small, but impactful changes, I decided there needed to be more red in the room. I ran down to the lamp graveyard (as Michael calls it) in the basement and grabbed this tomato red ginger jar lamp (seen here previously). I wish I had a black paper shade on hand, but this cheapy white one from Target worked too. (It is so hard to pass up those dang uno shades at Target. They are SO inexpensive and accessible! I just wish they would make more shades that work with harps. Same with IKEA’s shades).

Table lamps in kids rooms can look a little stuffy, you know? So one of my favorite tricks is to glue colorful trim to the top and bottom lips of the shade. Instant whimsy! (…I hate myself a little bit for saying that word). Like with almost every textile project I do, I used MagnaTac here (but Fabritac works equally well). Also, I used to recommend grosgrain for trimming out shades, but I think something with more stretch and give works best with shades that have any kind of sloped sides. This orange and violet vintage woven trim I picked up from SAS in Phoenix worked perfectly. Just roll under and glue the last inch where the ends meet to prevent fraying.

Five minutes of gluing later, I had some tangy, bright persimmon red in the room, and I felt better about the space. And (to bring it all back home) isn’t that what it’s all about? Small and simple steps. :)

Thanks again for sticking around, friends. Here’s to six more years of DIY adventures on this little piece of the interwebs.
xo, Jenny
  1. KBR

    Jenny… Please don't change! What I love about your blog and the voice you've chosen is that it's not the self-conscious "blogger woman" voice that I am tiring of on some of the other home and lifestyle sites I read regularly. You're smart, creative and original and you don't resort to what I'd consider the kinds of posts that I find on other very popular blogs where the writer isn't feeling good about herself or her work, so she looks to her readership for positive feedback and platitudes. I love that you're professional and accessible and not needy. It's clear you have a real life outside of blogging. That's the kind of blog I'll follow forever. Thanks for your great work.

  2. Oh, man, I so relate to this post. I sometimes get so nostalgic for the days that no one was reading my blog. Once you get that first nasty comment, especially if it's something that attacks you personally (like mine was) it's just impossible to go back to the way things were. I mean, sure, the sting wears off, but nothing is ever quite the same. I have thicker internet skin now, and really don't care anymore if anyone likes what I say, or how they respond, but I know that that initial freedom & security just isn't part of me anymore.

    I started following your blog not just because of your awesome style, but your fun, funny personality. I'm a fan or new Jenny & old Jenny! :) And I love tiny reveals– reminds me that a small change can make a big difference.

  3. I love everything you do! You are such an inspiration and the only blog I read on a daily basis (also, the only one that I'm as excited to read as to look at the photos). Your content is original and your execution is mind-blowing. I feel like everything out there is the same now, but you are a breath of fresh air! Keep doing what you're doing.

  4. Oh, how I love this post! Thanks so much for writing it. I have been feeling there is a shift with blogging and that all of the other new media outlets have taken over a bit. While I have also enjoyed all of the other ways to share, I still love my little blog! I think I will always want to write and keep up with other favorite blogs, because it reminds me of where I began. When I started Simple Dwellings 2 years ago, I wanted to focus on the simple, small changes we can make to our home to make them more fabulous. And at times lately, it seem as though you need to have a huge reveal to get noticed. But, I want to stick with what I've got, and hopefully, people will like it. :) Thanks for this post- as always, you are an inspiration! {Wow- this turned into a novel!}

  5. Tara

    Thanks for the great post! I am a new blogger, and I have admired your blog for ages. I admit that some of the "grandiose room reveals" are a bit daunting for the fledgling lifstyle blogger. I appreciate the small projects; the simple beauties. They not only seem so much more attainable, but they also show an appreciation for the details, that perhaps aren't always noticed in the large-scale projects.

    I can't wait to read more of your "getting back to basics" posts. I think that we will all enjoy them!

  6. Chana

    I love the small easily attainable projects. can't wait!

  7. I am a stay-at home mom in VA, with no design experience but is constantly trolling the web for design ideas and inspiration. You consistently showcase ideas and projects that are both smart and sophisticated yet simple in execution. Your blog is my very favorite to read:)

  8. I love reading your blog! It's my little retreat everyday. I feel like I've learned a lot about design from you and I'm beginning to form a true sense of my own taste and ideas. Thank you for taking the time to write about yourself and design, it's a treat, inspiring, educational, and fun! Thank you!

  9. Thank you for writing your blog! It is my little retreat everyday when I read through your posts. I feel like I've learned a ton about design from you and I am finally forming my own tastes and ideas. Your bog is inspiring, educational, a little daily treat and totally fun! Thank you!

  10. Jenny, I totally understand what you mean. With daily image saturation, I feel silly sharing the tiny projects, that will one day add up to a "finished" room. But that's life – a work in progress – one that will never be perfect or complete. And as you said, isn't that the whole point of blogging, to share the thoughts process and the small steps. Thanks for reminding me!
    Cheers!
    Elizabeth
    Covet du Jour

  11. Tara

    I so appreciated this post and that you plan to be more open! Also, I love the trim- looks like friendship bracelets!- so perfect for a girls room!!

  12. I'm very happy I got the chance to briefly meet you at Alt, you were one of my favorite panelists and you have been one of my very favorite bloggers since I started reading blogs. It's always refreshing to read your blog, you have such a talent and you're so creative!

  13. Jenny, it's no surprise to me that this post generated so many comments … I've been reading your blog for years and years, and I love everything you post. I love the smallest details to the grander, more general ideas. I love the industry-based posts and the more personal ones (Evie's birth story is a personal favorite of mine, of course!) … and I encourage you to go with your heart. I continue to wish you all the success in the world!

  14. I like your lampshade sharing in an unfinished room. How many working women, mothers, wives actually have a finished room. I think we need to see posts like this. It helps us all get along with our work, our lives, our dreams for a finished room, etc.
    I appreciate your efforts and your words. I see blogs of complete perfection, and while they are so lovely to work on, it's the ones that have a burst of actual life put into them that I enjoy reading everyday. I look forward to seeing what's going on with your family and hour household as you face a day with children, a new unfinished house, a busy husband and more.
    Thank you always for your lovely posts, I've enjoyed being a reader for these many years. Keep it up Jenny, and don't ever feel any sense of defeat, discourage, or demand from others. You are you and we love your little green notebook! – Hilary

  15. I love this project! it's the small things like this that make design novices like me feel like I can make my home beautiful without constantly pouring money and time into it. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and life with us.

  16. Jenny,
    I have always loved your blog, and I have always felt like that girlfriend you didn't know you had:-) I love your voice and honesty, and look forward to your return to freedom. I am grateful for posts about ribbon on a lampshade in an unfinished room because quite honestly, that is my life! Being willing to share yourself is to show that you are human, and we need that. We women look up to you, and it is endearing and so validating to see your ideas or projects that aren't maybe complete or perfect. We are all so prone to compare ourselves to one another, and with facebook, instagram, blogs, etc. so many women can appear to have it more together, be cooler, and just better at it all than me. But when women like you have the courage to be transparent, it reminds us all that we are more alike than different. So thanks and cheers to you!

  17. Meg

    Jenny, your blog is always an inspiration to me. I love your eye for design and even more the way you share your world with us readers. As a fellow blogger, your one that I look to for "advice" when I'm struggling with a project or just blogging in general. So excited to see what's in store for LFN in the future. – Meg @ Revamp Homegoods

  18. thank you for your post!!!!!!! i'm so sad to see blogging fall by the wayside with pinterest and IG :( my blog following has taken a major nosedive, and i've all but stopped. btw…did you know that there are these things you can screw into your lampshade and "clip" on the top of your lightbulb if it's "harp only"?

  19. Yvonne

    You rock Jenny! Keep up the good work! Don't feel so self conscious. You are doing great, and can't wait to learn more from you!

  20. I just want to say thank you I just hung my faux Roman shade in my Phoenix :) home. Made using a post of yours from 2009.
    That's power lady! And I smile looking at my new window.
    So thank you

  21. wonderfully written. I can wait to get to see even more of you. You are one of THE FEW blogs I check for every single day. Just kep being awesome.

  22. I love reading about your projects, big and small, and appreciate you sharing them along the way. Please share more like your quick and easy lampshade! I love how you inject interesting pops of color into a room.

  23. Glad to hear this – this is why I fell in love with blogs in the first place – there's a realness to them that you just can't find in a magazine.

  24. Kayla

    I never comment… Just wanted to tell ya how much I enjoy your blog. I'm excited to see your little and big projects. Keep up the terrific work!

  25. blair

    I'm the same way, I don't like to share until it's 100% perfect, but I've found that my readers love to see the project along the way, so I'm trying to share more of that! can't wait to see your new blog design :)

    blair
    http://design-that-inspires.com

  26. Please continue to share; big and small. I've read your blog for over two years now, and I am always amazed by your creativity. It has inspired and motivated me to tackle many more projects than I would have ever before (I've got DIY paper butterflies in shadow boxes, cut from vintage postcards hanging across from me right now). And don't feel like every project needs to be perfect, I like seeing your thought process, and your "mistakes" help us learn too. Sorry for the loss of your grandpa, that was a beautiful, touching post.

  27. Found you via AT and the Homie awards. I echo the sentiments of your post and of the many previous comments. I value honesty in blogging and bloggers more so than anything, and I find it is getting harder and harder to find a true voice within all of the voices out there. Because I think the problem is everyone is trying to be this image of what they think makes a blog good or popular to appease the masses vs being the blogger that they were when they started. Congratulations on your continued success! I look forward to reading more of your site.

  28. Rayna

    This is my favorite interiors blog! My mother just bought a new house, and I sent her your website as well for ideas. The more thoughts on your process and projects, the more interior novices will be able to gleam
    info! Thanks for having a great blog!

  29. Rayna

    This is my favorite interiors blog! My mother just bought a new house, and I sent her your website as well for ideas. The more thoughts on your process and projects, the more interior novices will be able to gleam
    info! Thanks for having a great blog!

  30. Thanks for sharing your simple lamp project! I have been trying to figure out what kind of lamp shade to go with in my daughter's room – white shade? cover a shade in fabric? Nothing seemed right, until I saw your white shade with colorful trim. Now I have some direction! Thank you! Sometimes it's the small projects that give me the most inspiration, just because they're SO achievable.

  31. *

    Your post was moving and inspiring at the same time. Thanks for taking the time to do what many of us can not. You and your ideas are golden. Thanks for being an inspirational "real" person.

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