To the survey. 100 of you filled it out (thank you!) and here are the results.
Most readers are women between the ages of 26 and 34, in a relationship, with kids and/or pets. So, kinda like me. And you’re all so sweet. Let me show you:
“You read “real” (does that make sense?) and I like your style. Looking forward to seeing the new life in that great mountain house of yours as you transform it into HOME.”
“I think your very funny and your style and personality seems to match mine very well. Reading about how you guys transformed your old house and how you are improving your new home as well inspires me to do the same with my future home. I can’t wait to incorporate the things I have learned from reading your blog into our future house.”
“I like your style, the fun/easy/cheap art projects which include the kiddos, the built-in & molding projects… I could go on and on. Definitely like that your writing is short, sweet, concise. Some blogs (even though I still love them) can get wordy (and repeat themselves over and over in the same post) and I tend to skip through them fast just to get to the pictures.”
“You have a great mix of projects, tutorials, and personal writing. I like how your husband seems to know a lot of serious constructions stuff, so those tutorials are helpful to me in knowing what someone I hire should be doing 🙂 It’s different from what is on other blogs.”
“You’re relatable, projects are something I’d do but never knew how to get started, you make it clear what is reasonable for a regular diy-er to do and what is best for a pro to be called in for, a lot of the crafty ‘stuff’ you do is way cheaper than buying it and actually looks better”
“Personally more interested in the building and heavy decorating type projects rather than the etsy stuff and the Photoshop designs/handmade art. Sewing/painting projects are interesting as well. Basically, a lot of blogs offer designs, but where you guys stand out is that you have the skills to do some serious construction. A lot of bloggers aren’t trained professionals like Ben, so it sets you ahead of the curve.”
Of course I already knew how great you were, but it’s a good reminder. Sometimes it is easier to take the negative comments to heart.
We’ve gotten requests for more organizational and living solutions, followed up by building projects.
For the most part, it seems easy to navigate, leave comments, and contact us. But it’s not as easy to find a project, relate to the projects, and follow tutorials.
I’ve been (trying to) update the blog, including a Projects & Tutorials page with links to all the tutorials we’ve shared. Just click on the text link to get to the full page.
Of course, if you’re looking for a project, but can’t find it, don’t hesitate to send me an email, Facebook, or comment. I’m happy to help you find what you’re looking for. Hopefully updating categories will help, too.
As for tutorials, when I can, I post full, clear, step by step instructions with pictures. However, I’m hesitant to post a ‘here’s exactly how to do it’ tutorial if it covers something Ben does, which I’m not familiar with. You see, I don’t want to make everything seem too easy. The projects we (fine, Ben) tackle aren’t always simple. Because of that, they might not be safe if you don’t know what you’re doing. Or if I don’t know what I’m doing/writing/telling you to do. I’ll try to make building/electrical tutorials more clear, but we can’t be your sole source of information. If you are uncertain about a project, do research, ask, or hire a professional. Better to be safe than sorry.
I guess I don’t know how to make projects more relatable because everyone is different. So are the situations.
More than a few comments got me thinking, so I’m here to discuss them. Like this one:
“Seriously, I think you’d have a good blog if you just put in your own personality. I don’t know how I landed at your blog but within weeks I noticed the similarity. Now I just open your post in reader every now and then and honestly just roll my eyes at the similarities, mostly in the structure of your posts.”
I’m sorry you feel that way. I write the same way I’d speak to you if we met in person. Similarities will always appear if you’re searching, and a lot of home improvement blog structures are similar because the nature of the content.
“Think of a way to be different from other bloggers. I will be completely honest and say that when I first started reading your blog I kept getting a vibe that it was a copycat of what the most popular DIY blogs were doing (monthly sponsor post. Superlatives, giveaways, etc.) That turned me off. But after a while, I started to really dig the way you were taking on the huge renovation of the new house. Be your own captain. Blog about something differently than others – a new topic, a new contest type, a new avenue for sharing. There has got to be something that’s unique about OHA that no one else could do as well as you.”
I think OHA is different from a lot of other home improvement blogs because we’re willing and able to tackle a range of projects. Whether I’m sewing, organizing, and crafting. Or Ben’s building furniture/cabinets, remodeling a kitchen or bath, changing electrical, or installing windows. Most of the projects we tackle we’re doing ourselves. Not many people have the skills or know how to do the variety of projects these days. But, I would like to explore new options, like the Craft Challenge I issued last week.
“I would love more pictures in tutorials – especially craft and sewing tutorials. Pictures of more of the stages. I think you do a great job, but the lighting in your photos isn’t great (sorry to bring it up, I know you work really hard on this blog). If you look at most DIY/craft blogs, they start with a picture of the supplies all laid out. Just a more polished look on tutorials would be great, and maybe try experimenting with camera settings etc? Katie Bower has some great tutorials on making the most of your camera. I think that excellent sharp photography could really take OHA to the next level, because the projects you tackle are brilliant!”
Looking through old posts, picture quality has definitely improved. I thought I was doing better, but I’m still learning and getting to know my camera. If pictures are looking a little dark, feel free to write a helpful comment letting me know. Oh, and if you want larger pictures just click on it to enlarge.
That’s the run down. And my random thoughts. You can still take the survey, if you’d like. The more info you’re willing to share helps me make this blog better. Of course you can leave comments here, too.
48 thoughts on “In Response…”
My response in response….I really like your blog. I do think it’s different because I’m more interested in the progress of your house, rather than the tutorials. I know how to sew, I’m fairly good at decorating, etc. But I don’t have an entire house to redo like you guys do. So I LOVE following along. I think that is your strong point, so keep it up! And as a comment to the last commenter you posted – I love that there isn’t too many pictures/words in your tutorials. I feel like most blogs are meant to inspire an idea and act as a jumping off point. You shouldn’t feel like you need to teach us how to sew a pillow. If someone is looking for that information, they should ask an expert. Not that you aren’t an expert sewer (seamstress, etc.) but I don’t think this is always the venue for each minute step a project may take.
In short, keep up the good work!
Hey Emily R!
Thanks for the love! I don’t mind the tutorials, but I also know I can’t please everyone. So I’ll see how it goes, because I don’t feel the need to include little details showing every tiny step on how to make it. You’re all smart enough to figure it out. 🙂 But I do want to take better, clearer pictures.
I have noticed how some of the pictures are dark in some rooms but that doesn’t really bother me. I love your blog and all the detailed tutorials you give. I love your writing style. I read it and say to myself “OMG! She just sewed that? I am jealous. I want to be able to do that!” I can’t wait to see the transformation of the new mountain house as well. I read your blog every day!
Thanks, lady! Come on over and I’ll teach you how to do it. 😉 Thanks for your support!
When I first started reading the blog, I noticed the similarities too, and thought “here’s another YHL ripoff.” But I kept reading, and realized you guys do take on meatier projects and Ben has serious construction know-how that you rarely see on DIY blogs. I have come to love your blog, not as just-another-DIY-blog, but as a family fixing up their awesome house.
Let’s face it, there are only so many ways you thank your sponsors and host a give-away, so you’re right that there are inherent similarities, but you have set yours apart with the sewing projects, pics of the boys being boys, and huge renovations without months and months of breaks in between with filler posts.
Just don’t start calling Ben your boyfriend, and we’ll still be internet BFF’s. 🙂
Well, I’m glad you got past that. 🙂 Ben really does have serious construction know how that you don’t see every day. Thanks for your encouragement and support. We are more than DIY-ers. 🙂
I feel that this blog is an accurate representation of us, not a portrayed image or fake. The projects we do, the way I write, how we act, that’s all our normal. I think I’ll stick to calling Ben, Ben. Too difficult to write anything else. Haha.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog, and I agree with the first comment–my main reason for following is to see the progress of your home. I LOVED your first home. I think you do a great job with the blog. The only thing that bothers me is the low lighting in some of the photos (like the bathroom). I know its hard to photograph homes where natural light is lacking but you have such great remodels~the photos do not do them justice! In addition to playing with the exposure settings on your camera, maybe you should invest in some good quality, professional photography lights (or install more skylights). I think it would make your blog even more professional and beautiful. Keep up the good work. Can’t wait to see more…
Aww, thanks. Yes, the bathroom is challenging, but I think I’ll fiddle with settings to see what works. I’ll have to look into better lighting for pictures, too.
Thanks for your continued support!
To be honest, the negative comments really surprise me!!! I really love your blog and think that you are different in that you take in really challenging stuff. It’s disheartening to see the negative remarks when you work so hard to put great content out (which I think you do). Don’t give too much weight to the negative. You really do a great job and if people disagree, they don’t have to read it (and I’m not sure why they would continue to if they really feel that way?!). You go girl!! 🙂
I know negative comments are all part of the deal. Not everyone is going to like everything we do. That’s okay, as long as it is conveyed in a constructive manner. Sometimes, it’s not. I try to shrug it off because most comments are wonderful, nice, supportive, and encouraging. That’s what matters. And it’s so nice to hear when we inspire others or help. 🙂 And, I still don’t understand why people continue to read if they don’t like it.
Are people saying you’re similar to YHL? I’d put you more in the Chez Larsson and House Tweaking camp than the YHL one.
Firstly, all of the Internet has similar fashion trends, just like fashion does.
I see four big differences between you: (although I don’t want you to think I’m defining you by your differences, they are your strengths, IMO)
You do a lot of stuff. They spend most of their day approving comments, you spend it printing your own fabric (love! I’ve been inspired to print my own curtains by you!), replacing windows, building cabinets etc.
Your posts are shorter, more to the point and you don’t drag things out into 1500 words when it’s not warranted.
Your voice is pleasant and easy to read, not cutesy.
You don’t add in 1000 words of apology and justification for each decision.
like this comment x1000
Kristen, you made me giggle. Melt my heart you sweet lady readers. 🙂
Yes, we’re often compared to YHL. I understand that in certain ways, there are similarities. Like Kristen said above, there are only so many ways to write sponsor shout outs, giveaways, and such.
I’m glad you see differences. A lot of work goes into this blog, and many people don’t appreciate it. It made me grin like a fool that you’ve been inspired to print your own curtains because of me. Seriously, that makes me happy.
I was very surprised to see the negative comments. I follow many blogs and your blog is always one of the first ones I look for in my daily emails.
Thanks, Hannah! The bad always comes with the good. Fortunately, the negative comments are few and far between. 🙂
…Just wanted to add that I appreciate all you do for your readers. I can only imagine the time, energy, blood, sweat, tears, plus arm and a leg that goes into making a successful blog. (I can hardly keep up with my etsy store). I’m sure it’s definitely a labor of love.
You should know that I follow A LOT of blogs and most I only check in every once in a while. Yours is the only one I follow DAILY and is probably my top blog. Just thought you’d like to know…. 😀 ~C
(ps my earlier comment was not intended as a criticism in any way-just constructive feedback. OK, I’ll stop blog stalking you now… )
Hey again, Chris!
Seriously, you’re too sweet. This blog is a labor of love, but I’m so happy to do it.
And, I’m honored to hear you check in daily. Made me smile. 🙂 I totally took your comment as constructive, not criticism. Photo quality is something I aim to improve on. 🙂
I am a long-time lurker and I’m pretty sure this is my first comment (sorry ’bout that). I just wanted to chime in and give you a little support. I think you do a great job. I agree with those who stated you were relatable. You definitely seem like a cool chica to me, and your Ben has done an awesome job with transforming your home. I think it’s hard to be a blogger in so many ways, and it makes me angry that people take the time to write hurtful things. Perhaps people feel that their “honesty” (or bad mood being taken out on you) is helpful, but I disagree. I really wish that folks would take what you give at face value, be encouraged or inspired by it, rather than demanding more from you or critiquing your ways. Blogging is intensely personal, and it makes us vulnerable because its out there for the world to see. I’m pleased to see that you got lots of great comments as well. You certainly deserve them. It’s not easy to hear the other stuff, but you can’t let it get to you. Blogging kind of forces us to have tough skin, but its a shame it has to be that way. Keep doing what you’re doing, try different things (if you want to, not because anyone tells you to) and make sure that YOU are happy with the direction your blog is going. Those of us who enjoy your content will continue to read, and those who don’t can go elsewhere and take their negativity and rude comments with them. Chin up; I’ll be back tomorrow.
This is exactly what I was trying to get across in my comment too – but much more eloquently put 🙂
That totally happens. Here’s my thing: Blogs are a free source of inspiration and information. Too many people get wrapped up in and read into things that they often forget that. And then get upset/annoyed/mean/rude or all of the above at a blogger. Bloggers are major corporations. Every comment that comes in, we read. We take it personal. Believe it or not, blogging is work, despite the lack of pay. Either take the good and get inspired, or leave it. Don’t find it inspiring or worth it to you? Keep moving, there are more blogs out there.
I’m just going to do what I like and am happy to post about, when I want. Hopefully some of you will continue to like it. 🙂
I have a great idea for a giveaway! A week or two with your husband going to someone elses house and lending out his amazing construction knowledge/ help! I appreciate all the amazing things he does and am slightly (ok alot) jealous of his know how and ability to just get things done! You are one lucky lady!
I have been reading your blog for almost a year and though there are some similarities to YHL and BP- like another poster said- there are only so many ways to host a giveaway! Just keep your head up and know that there are people who like it just the way it is!!
Ha, that is a great idea. If only we had the time/funds to do that. If you all can figure out a way to make it work, I’d be up for it. Just have to convince Ben…
Hi there! Let me start off by saying how much I love your blog! I’ve already learned so much from you. Your blogs was one of the ones that actually inspired me to start my own, and unlike many of the bigger, more popular blogs, it’s one of the ones that subscribe to and check everyday.
I would have to agree 100% with the commenter who mentioned that blogs/posts/projects (in my humble opinion) are meant to be inspirational first and foremost. It’s like opening a shelter magazine. We read them to be inspired and brainstorm ways to make our own spaces more appealing, not necessarily to copy everything we see within them. Unless it is a How-To specific post, I don’t think posts should be taken as instructional.
I think OHA is not only inspirational, but also authentic and original in many ways. In the world if the DIY/Decor/Home Improvement blogger it is hard for content to come across as different when lots of us are tackling the same projects, many of us at the same time! As stated before where OHA stands out is in you guys’ ability to tackle major room/whole house renovations.
I would like to ask one thing? That you maybe consider featuring more photoshop/graphic design tutorials. You have gift in that area and even if they are super simple to do, alongside you tackling the major renovations, that’s definitely an area where you shine.
I’m pretty sure I may offend people with this comment, but I think so many people have come to look at YHL and other popular blogs as the sort of “holy grail” of the DIY blog experience. So much so that sometimes it’s hard for people to see past that when they look at other diy/home improvement blogs. It makes it harder for them to feel as though the other kids in school are pretty cool too.
The only piece of constructive criticism I’m going to offer is to possibly think about nixing the monthly acronym series. I personally don’t think it really adds anything to the blog.
Again, I love your blog. Just keep doing what your doing! Hey, maybe we can figure out how to edit photos for better quality together!!
Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate it. Also, I’ll do my best to share more Photoshop/graphic design tutorials. Sometimes it’s just tricky. 🙂
I totally agree with your YHL comment. Large blogs dominate the scene, and it is always assumed smaller blogs are copying their work. Well, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you don’t always see, so who can be sure of the intentions?
I can see where you’re coming from about the monthly acronyms, but here’s why I do them. First and foremost, this blog is for us. So it’s nice to look back to see what we’ve done. If we’re wondering about something down the road, we have this blog to reference. Secondly, it might not seem handy right now, but in a year or so, a look back at a month’s worth of projects can make looking for a project easier. Or to help newer readers see what we’re doing without scrolling through umpteen pages. Hope that explains it better. 🙂
I love your blog, I love your style, and I love all the beautiful pictures you post of Montana. I’ve wanted to live there since I saw a picture of Montana in a “US calender” when I was about 5 or 6 years old, and the view from your house is heavenly to me. I don’t understand why some people would say that your blog is “just like everyone else’s” because one of the main things that got me hooked to your blog and keeps me coming back everyday, is that your blog (and you) are so different than all the other DIY blogs out there. To me, you’re not just a DIY blog, you blog about your life and your family and all of the awesome things you guys accomplish. Well, that’s their opinion I suppose, but I think you’re doing great and I enjoy reading your posts. 🙂 Oh and P.S. I kinda copied you and made a couple of those triangle pillows you made. They’re very pretty! 🙂
That’s so cute. We’re still in love with our view and several times a day we call people to another room to show something outside.
Thank you so much for your encouragement and opinions. I’m glad to hear you don’t think we’re just like every other blog. 🙂 Oh, and I’m thrilled you made the triangle pillows. If you have a chance, I’d love to see pictures on our Facebook page.
Because you are asking for feedback I will give my two cents. I too agree with the “too similar to other blogs” comment. I think your blog resemble YHL in many ways. For one the poll you did, they just did one too, the monthly acronym (superlatives), the song references in post tittles, and others. I also notice writing similarity to BP and to be honest that’s what turns me off to Katie’s blog; I like the projects not your husband. Maybe don’t read other blogs to keep yours you and only you. I am not sure how I came across your blog, but what keeps me coming back are things like your bathroom art, your cute pillows you just made, and of course all the really neat reno projects you do. I am amazed at the structural changes ya’ll are making. That is why I like your blog.
I think if you look for similarities, you’ll find them. YHL isn’t the first or only blog to do a monthly recap of projects (I know Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick has for a loooong time) or reference song titles.
I like reading blogs to see what others are doing and to take a peek into someone else’s life. It definitely broadens my interests and makes me feel more connected to life outside my home.
I’m glad you like the projects, and I plan to keep doing projects we want/like/work for us. Hopefully you can appreciate that, even if you think we’re too similar to other blogs. 🙂
I too found similarities (to YHL and not other blogs) though I wasn’t looking for them. They don’t bother me enough to stop reading because I do generally like the content. I would have taken the survey, as it sounds like you’re looking for input, but it seems to put you on the offensive. I don’t think anyone who has given you less than 100 percent positive review is trying to upset or offend.
In saying that, I enjoy your posts because they are short and to the point. I also enjoy the wide range of projects and the quick tips for making inexpensive items/art.
None of the comments I included offended me. I just decided to address those comments, because more than one person made a similar comment. I do appreciate the info you (and everyone else!) has shared. I’ve gotten a few down right rude (not constructive comments), too. It helps me make the blog better. 🙂
As a 21 year old Belgian guy I dont really resemble your demographic so it seems.. What a surprise that is 😀 I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog.
I follow some of the blogs mentioned in the comments below (YHL being one of them) but I dont see any huge similarities, let alone that they would bother me..
What I like is that you undertake major structural jobs that put some new life in your home and make it suitable for your family! Combined with some more “accesible” DIY jobs that I could see myself doing when I mobe out.. eventually.. :d
Ha, maybe you’re just ahead of the curve?!? Thanks so much for your encouragement and support!
Thanks for sharing Amanda. Feedback is important but don’t forget that you can’t please everyone. You are you! And I personally always look forward to a new post. Keep up the good work 🙂
Aww, thanks! I realize I can’t please everyone. And that’s fine. I just wish people conveyed their thoughts in a more constructive way. 🙂
I didn’t take the survey because I love everything that you post. So many people online are overly critical, people just need to take things for what it is. I agree that you have a MUCH larger skill set than some other bloggers which sets you apart. So many tutorials brag about the fact that their project is no-sew, but for those of us who can sew it’s nice to see others using sewing machines because it can make a much more sturdy result. Also almost all of the projects that Ben does surprises me, he really seems to tackle any project! I’m also surprised that you are able to blog so much and take care of your house and family, many bloggers have been talking about their struggles with that lately, but it seems you are posting even more. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s wonderful!!!!
Thanks so much! People are overly critical sometimes, often forgetting that blogs are a free source for inspiration and information. If you don’t like it, don’t read and move along.
Ben really can do almost anything. I’m constantly surprised. He has so much talent and we’ve got plenty of projects for him to test our his capabilities.
Thanks so much!
I read your blog every day and am constantly amazed by the sheer amount of projects you and Ben take on.
I’m in a quite older age bracket than your average reader (my kids are older than you!) and a lot of my home improvement projects are HID (hire it done) as opposed to DIY but I still get some great ideas from reading you!
I’m sure you realized when you asked for feedback that the critics would come out of the woodwork but sometimes you can learn something from constructive criticism, too. I hope you can just let the ‘snipey’ comments roll off your back and keep being yourself and doing the great job you do!
Aww, thanks! I do expect the constructive criticism, sure. Just the rude comments that aren’t helpful.
Hi Amanda! I’ve never posted here before but wanted to add to all the encouragement and congratulations, because I love reading your blog every day! Many of the comments above are comparing you to other DIY blogs and I guess there are some similarities, but I think the projects you post are original and personal. The first home blog I started reading was YHL, and it started off as a yardstick to other blogs for me. However, now it’s less commercial blogs like yours that I keep reading daily because as another person mentioned above you don’t write “fluff” – I personally prefer blogs that post when they have something to say rather than feeling pressure to post daily even if they don’t have much to write about. Your blog has never had that issue and I really enjoy the variety of topics and projects you post about. Keep doing what you’re doing!
Thanks so much! I understand the yardstick reference. There will always be the bigger and more well known to be compared to. I guess that’s bound to happen. But so many things happen behind the blog scenes that lead up to sharing that I don’t think it’s fair to say we copy something YHL (or another blog) does. Glad you like what we’re putting out! And thanks for your support!
I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear people leaving such hateful comments on your blog. Do they not realize that this is YOUR personal blog and if they don’t like it all they have to do is STOP.reading.it!!! I think your blog is great. You and Ben do amazing projects and have great ideas. I really really hope you don’t let comments like that get you down or make you think you need to change. Stay true to yourself and you will always succeed!! Keep up the great work!!
Katie in Texas!:)
I really enjoyed your pillow making and fabric dyeing tutorials. You’re great at crafts and sewing especially. I love that you mention your kids but you don’t make your blog a shrine to them or stuff them down people’s throats. I also like your upbeat personality and that you don’t whine and moan about how blogging is a chore that takes up your family time. You do it because you like it and hopefully it will provide a nice income for you someday.
You guys take on meatier diy projects like renovating which a lot of blogs shy away from. I think that sets you apart and makes you more interesting. Hopefully you guys land some great sponsorship deals so you can do more with somebody elses money lol. I do agree on the photography though, you might want to work on that so that your website looks ‘glossier’ like the bigger blogs. Photography is hard though so I feel you on that as I struggle with pics myself. Another thing, you made your pictures in your tutorial section clickable but when you click on them they take you to page not found. Either make them unclickable or make them links to the tutorial. It’s confusing and makes you think your links are broken.
The only negative thing I have is the monthly Superlatives post. I don’t think you need it and I’ve seen it mentioned on other blogs and forums that people think you’re ripping off YHL. Get rid of that and people won’t have anything to moan about. 🙂
I’m glad you like following along with our projects. 🙂 I’m still working on the pictures, so if they look really good in a post, feel free to let me know. That way I know what works. 🙂 Also, I like your suggestion to make the pictures unclickable to avoid confusion. Changing it soon.
Well, technically, I post acronyms. Perhaps I’ll get rid of it.
I agree with some of the other comments. When I first found your blog a couple years ago, I noticed the similarities immediately. However, I think you have created an identity for yourself and have a lot of unique posts and ideas. There’s nothing wrong with having similarities sometimes because it gives readers more of what they love from other blogs! Keep up the good work!
Of course there are similarities. How different can blogs be? 🙂 Glad you like the blog!
I just wanted to mention that I love the blog and I really admire you both for how hard you work on your home. I like your style and your down to earth writing.
I can’t get enough of your fantastic pillows. You’ve almost got me convinced to pull out my sewing machine… almost.
I look forward to reading more!
Greetings from Ireland! Have only today discovered your blog and am really enjoying leisurely perusing your impressive back-catalogue of projects. As it happens I came across your blog via a comments section on YHL and my initial impression is I prefer yours. As someone above mentioned, your writing style lacks that irritating “cutesy” thing and that, in my opinion, is a refreshing change for the better! Keep up the good work!!!