What prompted you all to start blogging in the first place?
Patti: “I love looking at blogs! There are so many fabulous ideas and decor it’s like having a constant supply of high end magazines at my disposal. I read the comments and posts and realized the close friendships and support these strong women gave to one another.”
Paula: “I had heard about blogging and was not interested in hearing that people were going to the store, caught a cold, or broke up with their significant others. Then a year and a half ago Patti was telling me about these “great blogs” she discovered. I thought this quite odd, “Patti visiting blogs…that’s crazy”. She went on to explain that there were people out in the world who also loved antiques and vintage designs and actually shared what they do with their great finds. Sometimes they would tell you how much they paid for an item and where they got it. I was amazed. Here was this whole other world out there that I had no idea existed. So she gave me two blog URLs to start off with. I went home, went on my laptop and entered a world that I just could not believe existed. Here was this parallel universe of amazingly, creative and passionate people. Over the next few weeks she would spoon feed me a few more blogs and I was hooked. Then of course it became an obsession. I use to be an HGTV junkie. Who needs HGTV when you have a world full of amazing people, sharing their creativity at my finger tips?”
How long have you been blogging?
Patti & Paula: “We launched our blog on Memorial Day of this year. It truly was a memorable launch. We just celebrated our two month anniversary.”
What made you decide to “co-author” a blog together?
Patti: “We both love antiques and decorating and have been sharing ideas and sources for years, so since our tastes are similar (and we are neighbors) it’s easy to work together on this. About six months after introducing the blog world to Paula, which was last spring, I mentioned starting a blog sharing what we do with our antiques and vintage finds. Paula fell in love with the idea. So we spent the next year researching, planning, and of course continued antiquing, but with a different fervor.”
What is the story behind your blog name?
Paula: “After Patti shared her great idea about creating a blog I was ready to start planning. When developing a project I have to start with one of two things, if not both, a title and/or a picture. So I was trying to think of a blog name that was unique and represented us. The name actually came to me in a dream. I woke up around 3 a.m. and texted Patti the blog name. Funny enough, when I finally woke up for the day I wasn’t sure if I really liked it at all. Patti didn’t say anything about the text so I figured I was off the hook with the blog name. A few weeks later I asked Patti what should our blog name be and she looked at me strangely and said, “Ivy & Elephants”. Now where on Earth would I get such a unique blog name? We are sorority girls. Patti is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the beautiful ivy represents their organization. Also, I have always loved the variety of ivies she has around her fabulous home. I am a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. One of founders was fond of elephants and collected them. Needless to say, my home is filled with Indian and African Elephants.”
As “new bloggers” what has been the biggest learning curve for you?
Paula: “The biggest learning curve for me was the technical aspects of actually building a blog. Since Patti and I spent an inordinate amount of time blog surfing we created a self-imposed bar in terms of aesthetics and how to convey our stories and visions. There are so many amazing blogs out there we felt that we wanted to give our visitors a level they were accustomed to. Our goal then was to have an appearance as if we had been doing this for years when in essence we were just starting. Thanks to Karen Valentine, who created the eBook: Building Beautiful Blogs: A Beginners Guide to Blogger , I was able to build a template we could work with. I spent days and nights reading the eBook and working on the blog design by creating a practice blog. This is where I was able to try things out, fix what did not work, and add things that I liked from other blogs. I also ended up teaching myself a lot about HTML codes and how they work.”
How do you balance blogging with the rest of your life?
Patti: “Sometimes it’s not easy as we both work (A LOT) but let’s just say there are 24 hours in a day and we make use of everyone of them! I might spend 4 or 5 hours just shooting pictures for a post. Thankfully we created an organizational plan which allows us to organize and share the responsibilities.”
Paula: “The first week of our launch, I was not playing the balancing act well at all. Our blog launch became a weeklong obsession. The first day of the launch I went over to Patti’s house and we noticed people, strangers, and well wishers were visiting OUR BLOG. Oh my goodness, this was insane to us. The excitement was almost unbearable. Then people started to comment, we started to jump up and down and scream. “Someone out there sees us”, I thought. The piece de resistance was when Vanna of Delusions of Grandeur came by. You don’t understand. Vanna is one of our absolute favorite blog idols. She left us a comment. We screamed and hugged and screamed some more. The rest of the week we stared at our blog then we would blog surf like we had never done before. I would stay up until midnight blogging and I am not a night owl in fact eight o’clock is my bedtime. I would wake up at around four in the morning and blog surf some more. At every break at work I would reach for my iPhone and check our blog then blog surf some more. Then one day it hit me, time for the balancing act. So instead of walking in the door from work and running upstairs to grab my laptop, after walking in the door blog surfing on my iPhone, I now spend the early evening playing and reading with my 3 year old son, who appears on the Time for Summer Fun post, hosted by you wonderful ladies. I started cooking dinner for the family and actually eating with them again. I had to prioritize my life. Blogging is wonderful but God and family come first and I had to remember that. We have been bloggers for a very short time and I am still working on continuing to improve my balancing act. It’s a continuous work in progress.”
What are your top 3 favorite things about blogging?
Patti: “Definitely the people. Since starting the blog I have met so many wonderful people who encourage and support my every attempt. I feel I’ve made real life long friends. Then, the sharing of ideas comes next. So many fabulous and creative ideas, shared so willingly, make blogging my go to DIY source. Lastly, empowerment. Because of the support from my fellow bloggers I’ve become more confident and assertive. Who would of thought I’d put my ideas and thoughts out there for the world to see. I’m a new person!”
Paula: “1) Meeting wonderful, creative people who are willing to share their dreams and visions. I want to add the fact that these fabulous people are predominately women. I could not be prouder of that fact alone. We absolutely find the few men who blog about our common interests fabulous as well. 2) Having an opportunity to share my vision with people who are willing to listen and observe the talents of others. 3) Learning new design and DIY ideas from people from around the world. I call these the OMG moments. It’s a elevated from the Ah haw moment. You know when you surf a blog, and read and see what the individual has to say and you yell out loud “Oh my Goodness” or whatever “G” may use. Then you hurriedly save that post to your bookmarks and visit it often and say OMG all over again.”
Patti: “Feeling Cagey Part 2 was our most popular project with our readers.”
“This post was about how we decorate with birdcages with antique and vintage items. On this particular post we incorporated a YouTube video to show two working antique birdcages. One of the birdcages is a clock and the other is a German automaton which is very hard to find in good working order.”
Paula: “The second most popular was Cloche Encounters.”
”This post gave us the opportunity to choose some of our favorite decorative pieces and showcase them under glass.”
What is YOUR favorite project(s) you have ever done?
Patti: “Feeling Cagey was my favorite project. Birdcages, I just love them. I have them from the front to the back porch and in almost every room. I love finding new ways to use them and incorporate them into my decor.”
Paula: “My favorite project is Mirrors, A Reflection of The Soul, because I was able to play around with my grandmother’s childhood dresser at an angle with my camera and it reminded me of when I was a little girl looking into that same mirror.”
”My grandmother is my inspiration so looking into the mirror that my grandmother use to look into means a great deal to me.”
Have you ever had a project that completely failed and you did not show it on your blog?
Patti: “Not yet, since we are only two months old, but we are working on it (lol). I am sure in time it will happen. We spend quite a bit of time planning our posts. This goes back to balancing our lives with our blog. We are both very busy career women and mothers, so time is very precious to us. We spent a year researching and planning our blog before actually launching it so the next six months is already well thought out. Also, we feel that there is no possible way to “fail” on a project because a project is something that you did from the heart. Sharing the trials and tribulations of a project is a win-win situation.”
If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want to have with you and why?
Patti: “A laptop with a super strong battery and super wifi so I can stay in touch with all my blog friends. A picture of my precious grandson to remind me that there is some thing worth waiting for.
I would take my faith so that I would never stop believing.”
Paula: “My Bible because it is a reminder that His Lord and Savior is with me no matter what.
A picture of my husband and son because it took me a very long time to find both of them and I love them so dearly. An Iridium Satellite phone, but not for the reasons you think. It has internet so I can blog with out any disturbances or distractions. I am a total tech geek.”
And if you could only have 1 person with you on that island, whom would it be and why?
Patti: “I would choose my daughter Ashley because we are so close and I cannot go a day without her. She is my best friend.”
Paula: “My husband, but there goes the no disturbances and no distractions I was just talking about. Just kidding…sorta. My husband is the most supportive and wonderful man I know. He makes me laugh and knows just the right moment a prayer is needed.”
Paula: “If I had DIY Superpowers I would build a very large fruit and vegetable farm and donate the harvest to families that need it most. Now of course the farmhouse would be decked out with all of my great-grandmother’s furniture and with all of the antiques I would find when antiquing with Patti.”
(And if we had Creative Superpowers it would be to bring all of our wonderful blogging friends together in one place (preferably someplace tropical)!)
And thank you to our readers who joined us today for our fourth installment of Behind the Blog! Missed the first three installments? Well, you can read them here and get all caught up! And stay tuned for future installments of Behind the Blog…