On Blogging

I’ve been painting. Not painting like Rembrandt, painting like Jerry the painter. But I’m not as good as Jerry. I started painting before we left for vacation and I picked up the brush again when we returned. We are thinking of selling our house and the walk through with our agent revealed, well, neglect. Not the crashing, horrible neglect of, say, Gray Gardens, but neglect nonetheless. A few missing spindles. Chipped radiators. The sort of stuff you notice when it happens and two years later it is still there.
So, I’ve been painting. I like to paint because, as is true of most of the other things I like to do, it allows me to do something while I’m over-thinking so I don’t have to believe that I am indulging my neuroses. I’ve thought about selling the house and moving and where my oldest is going to go to high school and when the economy is going to turn around and the oil spill and, “how am I going to tell my blog readers that I am thinking of selling a house that is so much a part of our family?”
And the last bit led to thinking about blogging. It’s a strange line of thinking, isn’t it, to wonder what people whom you’ve never met will think of your selling your house? Or why they’d care. Very soon our family will mark several milestones. I will turn 45, we will celebrate our tenth anniversary in this house, the boys will put on party hats and have a dog party for Rosie’s 4th birthday and I will note that I have been blogging for three years. All of these things have brought mostly good. And a little not so good. My sisal rug can attest.
Blogging is funny business. I have connected with many wonderful people through Mrs. Blandings. When I christened the blog one of my friends called and said, “It’s perfect; I can’t believe it wasn’t already taken.” I’ve also been called “bland” both here and on other people’s blogs which is a derivative that I wouldn’t have anticipated. Once, I had the giddy pleasure of having a well-known designer say, “Oh! I read your blog,” when we met in New York. I’ve also had someone crucify my home, my Thanksgiving table and my pumpkin pie on the internet. Mostly good. A little not so good.
Recently, I wrote a post about our trip and I had Mr. Blandings read it before I posted. Generally, if something pertains to him I give him a look-see before I publish it. He censored me. He was worried what people would think. And I held it back, but I resented it. I like to think the blog is all mine. But it isn’t really. It’s out there in the open.
I can tell when someone reads it as our conversations tend to start mid-subject, “Oh my goodness, isn’t Utah amazing? We went for my brother’s wedding a few years ago,” while other people are standing by with puzzled looks wondering who mentioned Utah. At the same time, people often feel the need to tell me they don’t read it. “How’s your website thing going?” “Uh, fine.” “I mean, I don’t read it. You know. Well, I’m just not interested in that kind of thing.” Which is dandy, I don’t care if someone reads it, but I think the need to mention it is amusing. I don’t say, “How are things at work? I’m so sorry, but we don’t use your law firm,” or, “I heard you took up bridge. I haven’t; I fear it would be a crushing bore.” (Plus, with bridge I think there is some math and who would want to do that for fun?)
It takes a certain hubris to go on-line. As my friend asked when I announced that I was starting a blog, “Do you really think you have something to say?” I realized that yes, I must think that I do. That is boastful. Not quite as boastful as thinking you can lead the free world, but something. This is one of the reasons I continue to allow the anonymous commenters. I am not quite comfortable in the situation in which I’ve placed myself. And I’m certainly not going to eliminate the avenue that allows someone to tell me my feet are made of clay. Indeed they are. I know; I crafted them myself. (The other reason is because sometimes they correct my spelling, and heaven knows I need that.)
Some people receive the blog through email and that leads to its own surprises. Readers occasionally think they are forwarding and accidentally hit “reply.” One day I received an automated reply to a morning’s post that a magazine editor, whom I very much respect, was out of the office. I can’t tell you that doesn’t change things. It changes things. I also received a reply from the post I wrote about going to California to sit on the Elle Decor panel that was so cruel it made me gasp. That changed things, too. Mostly good. A little not so good.
It is a public forum. I’ve taken heat for being bland, and nice, which has been translated as not being honest or real. I post what I like. There are several publicists and authors and designers who will tell you that I don’t post what I don’t like. But I don’t usually feel the need to announce that I don’t like something. I’m editing. It’s not dishonesty or that I’m trying to get something, I’d just rather not bash someone in public. It’s a public forum. I might think the woman standing next to me in the check-out line has a tragic haircut. And maybe bad pants. And I might say something to one of my friends about it later. But I do not turn to the woman in the check-out line and say, “Sister, your hair is disaster and your pants are a train wreck.” And I certainly don’t post it on the internet. Would it be honest? Perhaps. But it wouldn’t make me more clever or honest or real. It would just make me rude.
Along those lines, another blogger recently raised the issue of voice. Generally, I’m more interested in a blogger’s point of view than his or her voice. I write like I talk. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I do and you may not believe it, but I don’t give a darn. Which is the only dishonesty, by the way. In person, my language is salty; on-line it is not. It’s a public forum.
Mrs. Blandings has brought me incredible opportunities. I mentioned to a friend recently that I am going to do some freelancing for the Chicago Tribune and his mouth fell open. “That’s amazing. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but there are people who have been writing their whole careers who wouldn’t even dream of writing for the Tribune.” I know. I can’t believe it myself. It’s because of the blog. The flip side is a meeting I had with an executive of an organization that I have worked with for twelve years; I have gone in with concerns twice. At one point she said, “Perhaps you have to consider this isn’t the right place for you,” and shortly after that she mentioned a post I had written that had rubbed her the wrong way. That is because of the blog, too. Mostly good. A little not so good.
I started Mrs. Blandings on a lark. Things worked out. I wasn’t “building a brand” or “leveraging social media” and frankly that whole concept makes me mentally gag a little. I’m aware of my numbers. I check them less than I used to. (Which isn’t hard as I used to check them about every two hours.) They are pretty steady. Really, it’s irrelevant. Honestly, when I’m writing, I aware of the dozen or so people with whom I communicate regularly.
And, so, today, I’m just letting you know that we’re thinking about putting our house on the market. Which could be good. Or a little not so good.
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114 thoughts on “On Blogging

  1. I loved this blog. The reality of both the good and also not so good in most things in life. I do feel the need to warn you that trying to sell a home, especially a home that you have invested your heart in, will be trying in this market. Be prepared to be expected to go much lower than you'd ever imagined. Don't mean to be a gloom cloud, just sharing our experience over these past 4 months. Would not repeat it. Best of luck to you.

  2. Hi Patricia-

    Bravo on 3 years…and your fabulous sense of humor.
    As you did yoga poses on the bathroom floor, you were writing today's blog that set me rocking off my chair.

    Oh, yes, the friends! The community. All the great blogs and all the talent. All the great things you never dreamed of.
    Newspaper features! That is so fantastic. You deserve it. You've worked hard, you have a fantastic work ethic, and you're incredibly witty and smart and bright…and nice (and occasionally biting and acid to cut through the niceness.)
    I am so pleased your created your superb blog.
    It is brilliant…and here's to many more years.
    Plus congrats on the wedding anniversary, the dog, the kids, the family, the garden, the house! Oh, and the charities. Don't know how you do it.
    Here's to you.
    cheers, DIANE

  3. I look forward to hearing your stories regardless of the direction they take. It is the way you tell them that interests me (dare I say I enjoy your voice?) Congratulations on your new writing assignment and good luck attending to your home. That type of preparation is always reflective. And who knows what type of adventure may be around the corner?

  4. It was fascinating to read your musings, and I hope the good part will always be much bigger than the not so good. Good luck with selling the house.

  5. Somehow, I think we may survive your decision.

    Moving is exciting, shopping for a new home is top of the scale fun. Whatever you decide is ok by us.

    However, should you decide to sell your home, and I know it will sell quickly, to a deserving cute young couple, may I please liberate the giraffe carpeting?

    As always, on your side, Good luck

  6. ok i've only commented like twice (i also write like i speak). i hope this post is not code for i may stop blogging. that would definitely be a little not so good. while i agree that you are nice, you are also consistently entertaining…and smart…and i think your success speaks for itself. so good luck with (maybe) selling your house, but please keep your insights coming via this blog.

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed your post this morning – congrats on the Trib freelance work – the pendulum is always swinging – sometimes with you and sometimes against you…but staying balanced is the key and something that you seem to have mastered. blogging is a funny thing .. it is hard to explain the blogging bug to someone who doesn't share it. We are thinking of selling our house too – more of the not so good, but what can you do. Roll with it.

  8. Pressing the ubiquitous "send" button or "publish" button produces a sort of visual of jumping off the rock into the water. Some waters are warm while other spots encountered can be cool. I think the fact that you took the leap first made me want to jump into the blog waters.
    Just let me know when you hang up the towel.
    Now, no need to worry, your home will sell itself.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I blog as well and share most of your feelings about the world of blogging. We put ourselves out there, hope we have something relevant to share, and wait.
    Yes, we are censoring, trying to speak from the heart, honoring our inner voice, and risking.
    Thank you so much! Besh wishes with your sale and the upcoming move. _–Plant the statue upside down – can't hurt. 🙂

  10. Patricia – For a minute there it seemed like you were announcing the folding of your blog, but fortunately, that's not the case. I admire the way you can open up your mind and put down "on paper" exactly what you are thinking and feeling so clearly at any given moment. Sometimes while reading one of your posts an unexpected "Really? Me too" or "I know what that's like" pops into my mind. It's the positive and surprising connections like this that bring me back to your blog. And the Lussier posts.

  11. As I was reading this I started to assume that it was going to turn into a bad-luck Friday the 13th story and that you were about to announce that you'd had quite enough of us. But it went on. Bravo, bravo and more kudos to you. All of this is what we love about Mrs Blandings.

    Cherill W
    Adelaide, South Australia

  12. I just love what you write and look forward every time i open my mail , I sure hope your house hunting is as fun and rewarding as mine was if you decide to sell , Your blog is important to me and i wish you the best , Please keep up the encouraging very useful work you do ,I appreciate your written words .

  13. Patricia,
    What can I say…..I think you have vented in just the right way and tone. You are right; It is a public forum ! I apreciate your honesty and vieuws. You know how to express your self perfectly.
    Good luck on deciding on selling or not !
    Ron ( empel collections)

  14. Mrs B, you know I think you, your blog and your house are all TERRIFIC! A very lucky family will get to own your house and feel the love you've poured into it.

    Best of luck in all your endevours, always!!!
    -linda, ny

  15. Oh, I'm so relieved. About halfway through the post, when you were going through the good and not so good, I worried that you were stopping. I hope, if you're selling your house, that it sells quickly and leads to new good things. Congratulations on writing for the Tribune. You write well, and we like to read you, and so you deserve it.

  16. I enjoy your blog very much, i am on your subscriber list. It is just a , well, plain old -fashioned pure all-American pleasure to read. Simple, delicious, unassuming, daily pleasure…like a "good old days" tv show when everything in the world was okay.

    As I read your blog w/my breakfast this morning, I was afraid you were going to end by saying you were going to quit blogging. Please don't do that. I am a 59 -yr.-old former copy-editor and museum volunteer in Manhattan, and I must admit I am very envious f what you have accomplished.

    I look forward to your adventures, esp. the ones w/photos.

  17. I find your writing warm, witty, creative and totally valuable. I look forward to your posts every day and wish you good luck with your house. Please continue to inspire and amuse us.
    Tracey Westhoff

  18. Patricia, I'm stunned. And I have tears in my eyes. And we've never met. I watch for your posts daily, and sometimes several times a day. I enjoy reading about your family, your friends, your design ideas. I love seeing your old tear sheets and what you've found in the newest shelter magazines.

    Blogging was a way for you to communicate and maybe to ponder ideas as you wrote. I loved seeing your "growth" in design. Blogging and design. It seemed like you'd found your niche. Please rest, think, and don't overthink. You'll do what's right for you.

  19. I'm painting too…and blogging, so you're whole post made a lot of sense to me. I'm painting so I can stand to stay in my house, although, I'd love to leave. I read, an mostly enjoy your blog, and I talk and write a bit like you do…people ask me if I medicate for adult ADD. The blog is personal…people learn to like you or not through a blog, and I'm grateful that mostly they do. I've liked you through your blog and I think you should keep doing exactly what you're doing.
    And I hope your sell your house so we can watch you decorate the new one.

  20. But Mrs. B. you have a distinct voice-which is a point of view. You do have a brand now. Mostly I find you to be like the perfect neighbor I have Never had- but wish for desperately. Standing Ovation. pgt

  21. I begin each morning with a cup of coffee and my laptop. Before I check the news or weather, I read your blog.It is a choice, really. I prefer to surround my unverse in beauty and new beginnings-not hate and crime..
    You have graciously given tips, resources, and new twists to old matters. In a word-fresh.
    We recently sold our home of nine years. I have gone through a grieving process of letting go…of memories and of stuff. Stuff that no longer works for us. I believe houses have a soul. It has been my job of being the custodian, of giving it the love and care it deserves. But now it's time to go. It is time to turn the care over to another family that will feed and nurture its soul. The same can be said of you and your desire to move on. It's time-for new beginnings, and of new memories to be made. Embrace! Enjoy! And thank you.

  22. Hi Patricia,
    As the one who raised the question of voice, I applaud yours.
    Thanks for this insightful post.
    You crafted your blog the way it works for you, presented a blog voice the way you wanted to be heard.
    You are always polite, always edited, even when something is implied by omission, and we read between the lines.
    I am thrilled for your new job.
    I am happy for all the successes you have shared with us bloggers.
    Your little life lesson about how one writes a blog is something I have learned the hard way ha ha.
    But I must say even salty gal bloggers get wonderful things thrown their way too 🙂
    Enjoy the meditation that painting can become (and be sure to take off your beads and your white shirt).
    Selling a house is a passage, both happy and sad.
    I wish you well always.
    xo xo
    PS I appreciate your sense of humor more than you know, and also love the young woman finding her way in New York who is still very much you.

  23. Patricia, I am so delighted for you and the opportunities you have EARNED through your blog. I am a freelancer whose opportunities are fairly limited, therefore I am a cheerleader for those who can branch out and find new venues in which to publish. ATTA Girl!

    If you sell THE DREAM HOUSE, where will you go? Will your topic for the blog be about creating a new DREAM HOUSE?

    Loved and agree with the statement about bridge.

    And I appreciate your emotional honesty and that you edit your entries. It shows grace, taste, and common sense.

    Best wishes,

    Amy Rouse in Omaha

  24. A fortuitous day a couple of years ago while searching for a photo from the film, I discovered "Mrs," not the "Mr. Blandings" sought. This launched my entry into reading design blogs–in time devouring many different authors and styles and eventually refining down to a regular half dozen. I am delighted to see the posts arrive via Inbox. If I am interested from the start, I continue through the post, but when time is precious, I may quickly delete those that do not appeal. Having said that, I always read "Mrs. Blandings," though have rarely replied with a comment. Wry and warm, there is always a connection for me. Not bland for me–more like life refined with wit and taste and elegance.

  25. Bland? Hardly! Love your post today although I can't really picture you not living in the dream house. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

  26. ……and she felt the pages of her life turning…..

    keep on going Mrs. Blandings, looking forward to the next "chapter" of your writing.

    you have a gift, regardless of what you write about. you are authentic.

  27. Oh my, at first I was afraid that you were going to tell us you were going to end your blog. I came across your blog about nine months ago and have read it every day since. Your writing is funny, informative and interesting but also so down to earth I feel as though you're an old friend. Although I can't imagine leaving that adorable house of yours, I wish you luck in selling and finding another dream house for you and your family. Thanks for a great blog.
    Kathy Harrell

  28. patricia – you are amazing. I agree that initially I thought this was the bad beginning to a Friday the 13th and you were going to announce you were done blogging! Thankfully that is not the case. I, like many others, check your blog first thing in the morning – it is such a pleasure to read and I always wish for more! Congrats on the Chicago Trib – amazing and I'm so happy that your talent is being recognized. I am confident it is just the beginning of grander things for Mrs. B. And don't think for a minute you are going to have trouble selling that house. It is, truly, the Dream House, after all. Lots of good energy in that house!

  29. I have been thinking about how to reply Patricia. You have been a godsend for me, helping from the very start to set up my blog.

    We all go through our "chapters" of life and finding a new home for your family will one of yours.

    The experience of blogging has been quite an eye opener. Meeting people from all over the world, having great support and encouragement, and then yes, the crushing remarks occaionally.

    You are a valued contributor to the the blog world, the design industry, the arts, and Spaces KC.

    Embrace whatever new adventures come you way!

    Art by Karena

  30. Mrs. B. — you were one of my first blogs and one that I admired from the start and you were one of my mentors whom I appreciate deeply.

    I don't comment much but you are one of my first of the daily must reads.

    I, too, was afraid that you were saying goodbye and I couldn't imagine that there would be no Mrs. B!!!!
    Your funny, your witty, and I so enjoy your posts.

    Good luck with selling — and good luck in your new house search. (or is there already a new Dream House in mind which is why you're selling the old one?)

    There is something good about being in a house for a long time — the familiar is always good but then there is always the excitement of a new house — utilizing furniture in different ways — it's like a fresh start. (And isn't that what school is all about — each fall we began a fresh start).

    Keep us posted about both the Old Dream House and the Dream House to come!

  31. I know you write the way you talk. That was the first thing I noticed, the rhythm, the pauses, the droll but not mean humor, and I knew I had a sister from Oklahoma or them parts on my screen.

    I know this decision to sell (on not) has not come easily. The economy has been brutal. We do what we have to do for our families and sometimes it breaks our hearts along the way. New things will open up. (And my heart swells with pride for about the "Trib" thing!)

    Whatever you do, do know we are in your corner, cheering you on.

  32. You really speak from a place of honesty. You do a terrific job and forget about the naysayers! It is about sharing your thoughts and having a dialog. Plus, this is not rocket science, design is meant to be enjoyable, about adding beauty and inspiration!

  33. I see I'm not alone thinking this post was shaping into a Dear John letter, complete with the It's Not You, It's Me build up. WHEW! Now we can exhale and look forward to your quick sale ["NEW LISTING: PERSONAL HOME OF MRS. BLANDINGS, TASTEMAKER AND AUTHOR OF THE ASTOUNDINGLY POPULAR, GLOBALLY ACCLAIMED, DELICIOUSLY ADDICTIVE INTERNET BLOG"], closing date, then on to the next house ahead for the Blandings family. Meanwhile, take the weekend off, do a little self-indulgent loafing, you've been balancing a lot lately.

  34. Hi Patricia,
    Your blog gives me so much joy for the very reason that you say "good/not so good"–it is based on reality and the search for balance and inspiration. Isn't that what life is all about? To the nay sayers, nit pickers and complainers: go read another blog! xoxo, Mary

  35. Dearest Mrs. B,
    Please know that you and your delightful blog are the design world's daily treat; you are truly treasured.

  36. It is a shame that so many people choose to focus on the negative in life.Keep positive and I'll keep reading!

  37. I cannot tell you the pleasure I have derived from your wonderful blog. You have broadened my horizons, because, while I thought I was a little bit knowledgeable about design, or our fair metro, or other subjects, I have learned so much from you. (Can anyone say "Belger"?) But mostly, I admire and am incredibly envious of your talent for writing and knack for starting a blog and making it so successful. It takes an enormous amount of time, so you must be a wizard at time management to do everything you do with your family, and a blog, too. And your ability to write so eloquently about your fabulous home, lovely family, trips, thoughts, childhood and any other subject you choose is NEVER bland. Who could be so audacious to make that comment? Your musings on these subjects, much more than the interior design info, keep me coming back regularly. Please never stop blogging. Please keep us posted on the progress of the sale of your lovely home, which will be an excruciating process. Please.

  38. First, I am sure you will have no problem selling your lovely dream house. And as for the "dream" part–We change, the world changes, and our dreams often do too. Your next home will be your next dream and we are so glad you will continue to invite us in and enjoy it with you. Your honesty, vulnerability, taste, and humor make our lives better. Thank you for what you do. Connie C.

  39. There will be a new dream house in your future and ours. Cannot wait to read all about it. Life moves on and that is what make it livable.

  40. I want to come out as a huge fan of both you and your blog. Alot of people these days are being reticent about selling their dream houses. I hope you're thinking of doing it for a good and happy reason – more space, better schools, more endless decorating challenges. I also want to speak out and say cruel, anonymous commenters dismay both the blogger and those who read the comments. I think they're cowardly most of the time since they won't put name to comment. I hope you continue writing in whatever format you choose. You clearly have the talent to speak to both the design world and the heart seen in some of your more personal stories that I've connected with. Why can't your next home just be your "next dream house"? It can only get better! And just as a funny aside – at a recent staff meeting our president announced that "spelling wasn't a virtue", so there. All the best to you.

  41. I am a 70 year old heterosexual male, probably not your average reader, and just wanted to tell you I thoroughly enjoy your blog and look forward to reading it daily. Please keep up your good works.

  42. Oh Mrs. B- I love the way your voice sings on the page. The tone is honest, generous, wry, funny, free and full. Of course, you have to listen to yourself first, otherwise you wouldn't be you.

  43. it is a public platform, or else we'd all click the 'private' option. Bravely, we put our homes and our thoughts out there to thousands of people a day.fortunately, and sometimes unfortunately that comes with a price.

    As you and I always laugh, thank god there are thousands of great blogs out there for those who don't enjoy what we have to say to move along.

    and yes, I can attest, this really is how Patricia speaks. Our phone conversations are never less than an hour long- attesting that she is anything but bland.

  44. Patrcia,

    It seems like you have a good handle on ignoring the haters, and you know there will always be haters. I agree with your views on "honesty" and "being real…" like it or not, blogs are a public place and trashing ppl/ being rude on here doesn't equal honesty.

    Putting yourself, your family, your home online is an exercise in trust which is seriously rewarding but at times you get slapped and it hurts. You know you're seriously loved and are a daily treat for so many- keep it coming.

  45. I like your blog a lot. I like your writing. You absolutely have a "voice" — I see it as a sign of a good writer. I like that you keep your blog positive and respectful while being (or at least seeming) frank and real.

    I got a little thrill seeing you mentioned in Elle Decor with a photo — at last, I recognized someone in one of those things!

    You're brave in being honest and opening your life and your opinions up to the world. As that old 1970's poster found in schools, dens, and church community rooms everywhere said, "Don't let the turkeys get you down."

    I'll miss reading your blog if you stop writing it. I will look forward about reading about Dream House 2.0 if you do continue to write.

  46. I know it is early, but it is Friday! I am lifting a glass of bubbles to you and your musings and may they keep on coming!

  47. I read your blog often and share many of your views. I just sold the big old house for a smaller old house, the process made me realize that all chipped radiators must be painted at some time, and that time is better now than later. If done promptly, the painted radiator and the comfort it subliminally induces can be enjoyed by the owner in the present, rather than by a horde of potential buyers.

    Please keep at it, the blogging and the eternal refurbishment.


  48. Dear Mrs. B., you DO realize you've given a few of us heart attacks this morning? But, thankfully…it's all good! Your honesty is exactly what the Blog World needs. You refuse to be catty (bravo!) and shame on commenters that make our Mrs. B. gasp. I mean really, people, get a grip. Oh, best of luck in selling.

  49. Your blog is so refreshing, and I so look forward to seeing new posts in my inbox. It is like a little gift…

    Here's to a quick sale, and a new dreamhouse!

  50. All of my visits here confirm that you chose the right title for your musings – blandings. A little salt and pepper goes a long way. The site is over edited to say the least.

  51. Oh it will be very good Mrs. B! Change is good, after all. I remember teaching a Diversity course in a former life, and one of my astute managers said "When you're through with change, you're through." I always try to remember that and the fact that with change there is always an "ending" and a new "beginning." So, congrats on your new beginning, wherever that may take you.
    From one of your "dozen" admirers!

  52. Its the state of our yard isn't it. It makes me want to move most days too. Agents with clients should approach from the east.

    Seriously, your readers don't really mind if you write here or at the Tribune, about this dream house or the next. We just want you to bring us along for the ride.

    Wishing you all good things, on every front.

  53. Just wanted to add my little encouragement to the many previous notes-I very much enjoy your writing, your eye for design, your blog in general. I think my favorite entries are the Musings from the Dream House. I love how you present the reality of making a lovely home with boys and a dog running about (I have 4 yr old twin boys and a dog now too). And in a sea of neutral everything, I especially love that like me, you love color! I do admire the all white restrained look in pictures but personally can't live with it, and I'm ok with that. I just hope that if you do list your home, you let us in on the fun of the next chapter!

    Sunni Roppolo

  54. Congratulations, Mrs. Blandings on your lovely news (the Tribune) and best of luck on finding your new home (and selling your old one) if that's what you choose to do. If I may give a few words of advice regarding your move: Think happy thoughts!
    When we put our house on the market, I tried to imagine how happy the new owner might feel with each shelf we freshly painted, with each baseboard left gleaming — just as nice as I had first felt. I know it must sound saccarine, but I do believe it works!
    As for your blog, "nice" never goes out of style. Give me kindness and sincerity over self-absorbed snarkiness any day!


  55. OK, so I guess I wasn't the only one who started reading this with a sense of dread…

    I don't know, but I'll bet that having famous & talented designers, some of the biggest names in publishing & one of the most respected newspapers in the country among your fans sort of makes up for the petty whining of envious anons, who seem to buzz around successful blogs like bugs around lamps on a summer's night.

    Mrs. Blandings may have been started as a whim–rather than as Step Two of a Five-Year Plan to take over the design world, the way some seem to be–but that's even better, because the credit for its becoming a major brand is all due to you, not some marketing team. Sure, you're smart & honest & articulate & funny, with a distinctive voice & excellent taste–that is, taste similar to mine–but so are a lot of bloggers, although maybe not so much the funny part. Mostly, though, you're the woman that everyone would like to have living next door, which, thanks to your blog, you almost do. I've certainly come to know you better than I have my actual neighbors down the hall.

    As far as the Dream House goes, that's not just the name of a movie. We never really leave behind any of the places we've come to love, no matter where we may happen to live. Nancy Lancaster sold Mirador & she left Ditchley after a fire, but you know she still roamed those rooms every night in her dreams, and not in sadness, either. And how about Manderley? Places get a hold over us that doesn't let go just because somebody signs a piece of paper, so that, when, eventually, you find another place more convenient to school or whatever, you'll have two Dream Houses, that one & this one. It's all good. As for us, your friends & followers, we'll always meet you right here. You are the best!

    See you in the Tribune!

  56. I subscribe to quite a few blogs and they pop up regularly in my box. While I'm working away at being a CFO, I give myself a few seconds to look at a new posting. Most blogs I read are related to design so I know the ones I prefer just like I know which magazines I get excited about when I pick up the mail. (I only hit the mailbox once a week now that there are so few magazines).
    Anyway, your postings are like the good magazines. I can't just read it quickly when I'm on a conference call or doing a complicated spreadsheet. I would never just pick up a new (good) design magazine and "flip" through it. I have to wait until I can sit down with some uniterrupted time, a cold drink and time to relax. I leave your messages as "unread" so I can read them during the day when I have the time to enjoy/ponder what you've written. Today's was especially good.
    P.S. I've been in love with Cary Grant my entire life and the name of your blog let me know we were on the same page from the beginning!

  57. I congratulate you on the upcoming changes in your life! And, since I very much enjoy reading your blog, I look forward to reading about your new adventures here!

  58. Congrats on the Tribune job.

    I sometimes find myself thinking about the post you did a long time ago on your difficult relationship with your mother. Here I was, thinking you had the perfect home, perfect life etc. etc. That article changed the way I saw your blog and made me see you in a completely different light. It's not just a decorating blog, it's an "everything and anything" and (sometimes) what you least expect blog.

    With your latest post, I was upset to read that you were selling your house. I mean, it's the "Mr Blanding builds a house" blog about your own house – your version of Mr Blandings yellow home. Now I'm relishing the thought of new posts from a different house. Something for me to look forward to.

  59. Jeez Louise…you had me scared there for a minute!Each day I wait, hoping to read about Rosie and the mailman who gives her treats each day, or your trip home again to Texas, or texting with your oldest when he took a trip without you…those are my favorites. You write so well, and you have us so spoiled. Thank you.

  60. Mrs. B,
    Now just finishing up the same process: a home loved and changed in (9 years, + 2 dogs and a 2 year old now) and heading to the 40 mark soon, I feel much on the same path. We are moving from a 1900 new englander to a wonderful 1961 custom ranch for lack of a better description. Oh the endless possibilities. Your home will sell, don't worry. Ours went very quickly and we did it ourselves! Be prepared: by far the worst part will be keeping up with the endless cleaning behind dog and children that is needed for showings. My advice great photos and open it with an open house…no one else before hand! And cleanliness, I personally think it show that you care and thus cared for the home. Just envision the possibilities of the future and hold on. What a fun ride it will be!
    Ps. the move isn't about the dining room is it?

  61. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us! You are sweet, and I love your 'voice'! The humor with which you present life, design, and family snippets always makes me smile. Keep up the lovely work, and if you are ever in Seattle there are several of us who read you regularly (designers, PR gals, fashion industry gals) who would love to take you for a drink! My friend Pam has a darling store, Red Ticking, which I'm quite sure you would love. Cheers, and good luck with the painting! My two year old has dinged almost every wall in my home, so please come my way next. – Dana

  62. After reading today's blog post and making the usual rounds in the design blog circuit, I have to wonder why intelligent and capable women spend so much time cutting and pasting. Could it be that they didn't have enough paper dolls to play with as a child or puppets with which to give expression of their dreams. It is actually a pretty pathetic state especially when the cutting and pasting is of others' work. You're a good writer Mrs. B so use your talent to write about important issues not this drivel that sounds like a session with a therapist. I hope your new job will allow you to expand on your abilities and fulfill your need to communicate. Best of luck.

  63. Please keep it up and best of luck with the home sale.

    This is one of 3 blogs I have set up as quick links. Why? Because it's delightful–written by a person with enough self-restraint to reveal just enough. And then, a beautiful image, a tantalizing link. Thank you for respecting your own privacy and your family's–it's classy in a rare and precious way, these days.

  64. Mrs B, Patricia if I may;
    I love your voice and look for it everyday. You voice many of my own thoughts. The bridge comment really hit home. I played (a bunch in college) and it always made my tummy hurt. The math, the pressure … my mom's ability to count cards completely missed me. Don't do bridge anymore!
    Re selling. Thought we'd never move. Best thing we've done. Change can be a good thing. But this Patricia B.says please keep on blogging.

  65. I have no opinion on you putting your house on the market outside of well wishes whatever you decide. But I had to stop and comment to say how much I love this post–the ups and downs of blogging (mostly ups). I especially love the bit about people mentioning it, whether they read it or not. I think I've gotten a little shyer in person because often I don't know how much the other person knows about me, if they read my blog or not. I don't care either way (after all, I'm the one who can't help but overshare). It's just the not knowing sometimes. Does the person I'm talking to know that I practiced dancing in front of my bedroom mirror last night?


  66. Huge fan ~ love your blog, you're writing style & sense of style! I grew up in Kansas City and have lived in Northern California for many years. Hope to see you next time you return here in sunny California!

  67. Some of my all time favourite Mrs. B. posts have been when you've dealt so eloquently with the snippy, witchy comments from that Anonymous person.
    I've cheered & applauded so hard from across the Pacific MOTH's had to reach for the ear-plugs!
    It would have been easier to click the Reject button on those comments, but you didn't & won many loyal readers in the process.
    Lovely news about The Trib.!
    Millie ^_^
    P.S. I've put Computer Genius Son onto solving the Who Really Is Anonymous? case. He reckons he's almost cracked it, so stay tuned!!

  68. I have always tried to maintain a very positive, upbeat and happy vibe on my blog too Mrs B. I find that when I stumble on a blog with an author who promotes badgering and horrible thoughts/comments I just want to get off that page immediately. I find it rude. I find it upsetting. I find it so negative. Why people want to read negative comments and horrible things is beyond me. I blog and I read blogs to be inspired and uplifted. I don't read them to wallow in a world of criticism. I love to see others succeed. I am inspired by the success of others. Sometimes I think negative commenters just don't like to see others succeed.

    I love reading about your adventures and I really loved reading this post. You are an inspiration.


  69. P.S. Margaret Russell commenting( I love her!), meeting favorite designers:(Vincente Wilfe, Miles Redd among others), being in the Elle panel discussions, now the Chicago Tribune!!!( your Dad would be so proud) etc etc surely, the good outways the bad.

    Look at all the comments from people who love your blog AND point of view!

    You spread your wings and fly, Mrs B!

  70. 62 good comments, 1 bad. Mostly good, a little not so good.

    Count this as a good. Love your blog.

  71. mrs. b.

    as in life there are those that are gracious and those that are rude. as a blogger myself i am taken aback at the harsh comments and for some reason i allow them to stay in my head versus the 100 nice comments, why is that?
    but there is so much good that out weighs the few angry souls out there.
    living in chicago i am delighted you will be even "closer". CONGRATS

  72. Thank you for sharing something so personal. There really is a wonderful, heartfelt message here that I appreciate as a new blogger. I wish you all the best on your move and hope it brings you a lifetime of wonderful memories and experiences.

  73. Dear Mrs. Blandings…this was such a pleasure to read. Your posts are ones that we can sink our blogging teeth and brains into, as well as be visually inspired. Always so elegant, graceful and real, your accolades are well deserved.

    Many blessings on which ever direction you and your family decide to go with your home, you know you have quite the cheering section whatever you choose.

    Thanks for sharing your train of thoughts with us…xo J~

    ps- if by chance you wanted to post about the dog party, I certainly wouldn't object! 😉

  74. You are a very good writer with a appealing voice and style …If I may say, blogging may be leading you to something bigger.

  75. Mrs. B.
    If you love your home as much as I love mine, then I can imagine how your heart is in turmoil at maybe selling. But life does go on. People and relationships are the important things. I do love reading your blog and you have opened so many windows on the world for me. Thanks and keep writing!

  76. I love your blog!! I thought you were going to say you might also stop writing it, which would make me sad. Good luck with whatever you decide- we too have considered putting our dream house on the market!

  77. Dear Patricia:
    being a sentimental type, I'm saddened by the thought that you may be leaving the Dream House! There would be another dream house but I would miss the decorations in the closet and the solution for the staircase and even the quandary of the dining room! And the hornbeam hedge!
    Oh dear!
    And whoever snarkily said that some of the content is "drivel", anonymously again, could not be more mistaken! These small sketches, together, make up a larger picture of Life Now! And your talent is so much larger than the blog format, I hope that many bigger and better things happen for you; the Tribune can only be the beginning!
    And I, even more than you, would like to know who wrote the cruel comment after your Los Angeles trip!
    Continued best wishes,
    Bob Schulenberg

  78. Mrs B, I've always admired your ability to put into words (that are fun to read) the thoughts that I – and probably other bloggers out there – have been thinking for a while. Congrats on reaching 3 years. And I'll raise a toast from HK to your next 3 and hope they're just as fun for you as they are for us!

  79. I am sorry that some of the blogging experience has been hurtful. This is probably why my blog is mostly a visual blog and an original one, at this point.
    Why are you thinking of selling the house? Maybe this will be a blog post topic of the future?
    Best to you,

  80. I am a new blogger…about three months….and I began blogging because I told my husband, "I just have to. I have to get this outside of me." It is not so much that I thought I had a voice or anything to say that would change anything or anyone, but I needed to share my design obsession with someone. I realize that anyone may read what I say and look at pictures. I have decided to just be transparent….for good and bad. So far…mostly good, so I will continue. But I really loved this post! Congrats on 3 years!

  81. I am a new blogger…about three months….and I began blogging because I told my husband, "I just have to. I have to get this outside of me." It is not so much that I thought I had a voice or anything to say that would change anything or anyone, but I needed to share my design obsession with someone. I realize that anyone may read what I say and look at pictures. I have decided to just be transparent….for good and bad. So far…mostly good, so I will continue. But I really loved this post! Congrats on 3 years!

  82. One thing you didn't include. Blogs like yours are stars of new media. Of course you receive opportunities from Old Media.

    They want/NEED what you have. A voice, following, intellect, delightful motive, wisdom & courage to use it in a new media.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  83. girl world will always luv u for being 1 of her first followers & loyal readers.
    2 lazy 2 sign in so posting anon.

  84. Love you, your blog & whether you sell your house or not! Hope you are having a fabulous birthday on this beautiful KC day. Keep on doing what you're doing – obviously quite a few like it!

  85. I am a big fan of your blog. What you wrote here must identify with so many of us bloggers. How many times have friends told me, "I don't read your blog". I agree, why must they mention that, especially since they are acknowledging that they know I have one! On the flip side, I have been pleasantly surprised by those who DO read my words and let me know how they have been touched. I wish we could buy your house!

  86. Hi Patricia,
    Since i am late to the party….I see others have already shared my sentiments that it was a relief to finish this post and realize you're still blogging! Thank heavens!!! You are a daily read for me and a true inspiration. Your blog was one that gave me the courage to start my own.
    As far as houses go….I've bought 4 and sold 3 in the span of 11 years. I usually didn't want to move but I found with each opportunity to redecorate and redefine how we want to live that each house/home got increasingly better. Whatever your decision, enjoy the journey. And if you do move, carve out a special place for writing —- you're really gifted at it and I'm sure the Tribune is just the first of many!!

    xo Elizabeth

  87. I appreciate your honesty, and I love love love your blog, Patricia. Thank you for keeping it up despite all the unpleasantness. You had me worried for a few minutes there!

  88. Mrs. Blandings, I remember telling my husband when we bought our first house, "This is the perfect house. The house of my dreams." We've been married 20 years and we've now had 5 perfect houses. And I'm sure there is atleast one more in our future. Best of all, each time I've declared, "This is the house of my dreams!" he just smiles at me.

    There is a time and place for every stage in our lives. Whats perfect in your 20's is probably not perfect in your 30's or 40's. As you think of moving on, be it the house or the blog, thanks for sharing!

  89. "“Perhaps you have to consider this isn’t the right place for you.” Grrr. My hackles are raised that some snippy person would say this to my beloved Mrs. Blandings.

    You are staying in Kansas City, aren't you? I went to school at KU and lived in KC for a while afterwards and even though it has been 20+ years since, I still love the place.

  90. Going public, even with a blog, was more than I could imagine tolerating. I got as far as the title "Linenqueen" and stopped. There are people who just hate and they find someone to vent that on and I didn't want to put up with that so I didn't start my blog.

    But I am so grateful that you did.

    And as for that hurtful blog you received, she or he was mean and though I realize that it it is personally painful, that person is warped.

    And I want you to understand one thing – the hateful mail you receive is a tiny molecule compared to the enjoyment that you bring to so many. Please know that I value you, what you say, your choices, and that selling your house is a good thing if it is what you decide to do. Amen.

  91. Ditto on the ups and downs on blogging -my experience (including comments,'gossip' and ' other stuff') has been very similar.
    Good luck putting your house on the market, I've recently been contemplating a move myself and it really is mind boggling the hoops you have to jump through.

  92. Mrs B, Did you finish the upstairs sitting room( you were painting silver leaf pattern on the walls), almost like a Gracie wallpaper? Before you sell the Dream house, I'd love to see how that turned out, pretty please???

  93. I love your blog. I think you are very clever, honest and real. Your voice is "nice" in that it is not gratuitously rude, like much of what is written on the web – but it has a point of view and a wonderful wry zing. Maybe we in the midwest are just a bit more subtle. I love that you don't live on either coast – you're not moving to California are you?? I am just two years younger than you and also have three young children, but you seem much more mature and thoughful than I feel most of the time. It is because you are a lovely writer and certainly merit a place in the Chicago Tribune. And I'm not upset that you are thinking of moving. Change is good and great fodder for more blog posts.

  94. I adore reading your blog, enjoy your point of view, and am very glad to meet you here every-so-often 🙂 I am also quite excited to hear about your adventures in selling your home and future putterings in a new dream house! What fun there is to be had – and possibly a sun filled kitchen with brick floor spilling out into an orangerie 😉 Wishing you good luck, Mrs. Blandings! xo

  95. Patricia,

    You have set the example when it comes to being a part of the blogging community, and I like so so many have been deeply touched by your warmth, humor, and honesty. Thank heavens we can continue to count on Mrs. Blandings to delight us here and at your new home, the Tribune!!!!

    xo, EEE

  96. Mrs. B,
    Thank you so very much for all of your hard work and for creating a truly magnificent blog. Please please PLEASE let it continue to grow along with you. Best of luck with your many life changes, both the good and not so good. You deserve every bit of success and happiness that comes your way.

  97. Patricia-
    Congratulations on all you achievements. Very well deserved. I strongly agree with you about writing only about what you like. You’re a passionate writer who knows how to engage the reader. Best of luck.

  98. Patricia: I hear your voice loud and clear and don't want it to stop – please! Your point of view is quite clear and I'm always grateful for your sanity. You should be proud of all you have achieved. And you can just re-title the blog, i.e., "Mrs. Blandings Finds Yet Another Dream Home" or something like that.

    And I am on my third dream home in
    16 years and this really is my last "dream" house! So, I will live vicariously through you and enjoy your possibilities!

  99. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post. It was like talking with a good friend, which is of course your style, but this was especially poignant, substantive and yet still humorous.I envy your "real" friends. I am not surprised the Tribune approached you – you have such an appealing and yet informative flair with words. Best of luck!

  100. Love your blog! All of this really needed to be said. I hope many are reading and will take it to heart – in regards to your blog and all of those out there. It's like the old grocery cart/driving rule … drive like you would push your grocery cart around the store – don't whiz around the old ladies, maintain your patience with the mom and 3 kids and by all means keep that birdie to yourself. Same applies here.

  101. I am so late to say anything new but I must say your voice is great, charming and different and I wish you success! Please just ignore the haters they are envious.

  102. Patricia, I too started by blog three years ago (July '07), and I wonder whether that is a turning point, a milestone of sorts. I am down to once a week posts. It gets me through the times when I think 'what's the point'.

    It sounds like you are entering a whole new chapter of your life – both in the virtual blog world and the real world. It also sounds like you are approaching the next chapter with eyes wide open. Looking forward to what is to come.

    PS – I am very curious about the house decision. When I asked you, back in 08, to send me a picture of your ideal virtual home (for a post I was writing), you tried but ultimately acknowledged that you were living in your dream home. I wonder if the impending – or have they arrived – teenage years is changing the definition of the dream home? I looked at my house plans this morning (the house is being built now – about to start framing) and realized that I was not building a house for young children – the house I live in now has served us well for the baby/toddler/pre-teen stage, but is becoming increasingly difficult now that our oldest is about to be a teen. The house we are building now is a great house for teens, but it is also a great house for when the teens are gone.

  103. I agree that the idea of 'dream home' is a thing that changes over time. Embrace the possible coming change…it could end up being exactly what you need.

    Your blog is a delight, and one of the first I read ever read as well. There are so many generic blogs full of recycled images–your original content, personal voice and pleasant tone are what have made your site successful. No reason to change or rethink that.

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