A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Gold Rimmed Marble Cheeseboard

I’m traveling to Salt Lake City today for Alt but I have a fun project to share with you in my place. I created these super easy $6 marble cheeseboards a while back and was so honored that my very favorite Emily Henderson scooped up the project for her blog.

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

Jump on over for the quick how-to.

Marble is so beautiful! But also so temperamental to work with on a grand scale since it can stain so easily. I’ve been in love with the idea of finding a small slab for our kitchen (especially for serving and displaying appetizers and such), but even a small chunk is rather pricey. This is such a pretty and luxe alternative – the tile size is perfect for parties (I’m thinking a set casually lined up on a table, perhaps at different heights, or scattered about a room filled with goodies) and the gold lining makes the board feel ‘finished’. It would make for a lovely and fast gift, too.

Very in line with the slate cheeseboards that I shared back in April. Mmmm I shouldn’t write these posts when I’m hungry. Happy crafting!

PS More handmade gifts here, and more party & entertaining ideas right over here. 

Blogging About… Everything

Happy start to the week! Back again after traveling solo with the wee little ones this past weekend – they were champs. Pictures of our beautiful Northern California adventure to come.

Today I wanted to tackle question 2 from the set of ‘Wondering What’s On Your Mind’ thoughts from back here. (You can see the list of four broad topics and catch up on Q1 right over here.)

2 | Where does your blogging inspiration come from? You cover such a wide range of topics, how do decide what to post about?

This next question came in the form of comments on inspiration, ever changing blog topics and how this is not quite a lifestyle or design or entertaining or remodel or mommy blog…

This is a neat topic to tackle because I do really enjoy sharing on so many areas of life here on this site. I think that a lot of bloggers feel obligated to stick to one channel of writing and that sometimes that can feel restrictive or challenging. Without a defined niche I feel a bit freer to fill an editorial calendar with posts that might include a home remodel project, a new outdoor craft, a summer inspiration board, a party roundup, a reflection on an honest part of motherhood, a style board, a recipe….

PDB Topic Transitions | PepperDesignBlog.com
Four major areas of growth and topics that have added themselves along the way

On the flip side, I know that choosing a less defined theme will discourage readers and makes attracting certain types of sponsors more challenging. I’ve watched the blog work through its successes and challenges as the blog has shifted with time. From the outside looking in, this blog has taken so many twisting turns along its five year story sharing path, and has slowly morphed into the a-little-bit-of-everything site that it now is.

To share a little bit of my journey with you (and to give you the roots on which this blog was formed), I started writing as a creative outlet when I was traveling nonstop for a consulting company that focused on large software implementation projects. It meant nights alone in hotels (7 months straight – Kevin was actually deployed to Japan at the time as he was still in the military) and a day job that allowed for so little creativity that a blog at night felt refreshing and fun – plus, it kept me company.

My first introduction to the blogging world was a semi-addiction to party blogs :). After planning my own wedding I was suddenly really into all of the fun details of planning events and sites such as Pinterest didn’t really exist at the time. This blog launched with the intention of sharing inspiration for entertaining plus a fun mix of home, crafts and organizing as well. I took my college knowledge of programming and spent nine months playing with a design that I thought fit me well. It was purely a space to share fun, entertaining ideas – and pre-Pinterest it was very normal to feature and highlight other parties and projects in detail from around the web. That was how we all circulated great inspiration with each other (though in some ways it feels like such a no-no now). I built up an awesome audience and really enjoyed everything writing, styling, editing and interacting.

Old Blog Layout

Our aesthetic sure does change with time – but back when I LOVED the colors and design!

About a month before Kevin came back to San Diego I moved us into our first apartment. A year or so later Kevin and I bought our first home and little by little my primarily party blog transitioned into a home remodeling blog. I began reading the blogs of couples that were on the same journey and my own blogging voice and focus changed. It was challenging because I knew that I was losing my core party readers and I watched my Google Analytics fluctuate over the months as the ‘theme’ of PDB shifted.


We spent so much of our time focused on tearing down walls and picking out paint colors that it felt very natural to transition into the day-by-day story of the transformation of our 1930s fixer upper.

Up until this point I really hadn’t share much on the personal front. I remember traveling to Australia with my family and posting a vacation picture and being so surprised when readers requested more! It made me want to have a more personal voice and to build my blog to tell my story as well. I was a little trepid on giving away the details of our personal life, I actually wasn’t super interested in blogs that delved into the personal and devoured up blogs that stuck to 100% diy content. But then all of a sudden that shifted! I began to read and connect with blogger stories that felt as though they were going through similar life experiences and I loved it.

Australia Adventures 2009 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Australia Adventures 2009 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Two years later we welcomed our first daughter and again my writing focus shifted to reflect life as a new mother. Now I was getting really personal. I was suddenly balancing party and home and baby blogging posts and I was nervous that I was too all over the board. No focus! Just whatever was going on in my life at that moment. I watched readers shift and fluctuate again, but because I enjoyed so much what I wrote about I didn’t spend too much time worrying about it.

Pregnancy Photo Series | Liv | PepperDesignBlog.com

I realized that if this blog is anything special to me it would make so much sense to embrace everything that is special to me. I’m so incredibly grateful for those readers that have hung with me on this journey.

Eventually the blog began to encompass style boards, cocktail recipes, ‘random thoughts‘, ‘weekend fun‘, ‘everyday stuff‘, ‘tech tips‘. Some series have fizzled away, others have grown and grown.

Weekend Fun | August, 2013 - Florida | PepperDesignBlog.com

Media Kit Images | PepperDesignBlog.com

Often bloggers are asked to identify their niche and their target audience. I understand why experts suggest that a focused writing style will help a blog thrive and to find its voice amongst the myriad of wonderful sites out there. My best suggestion is to find your own voice though. That might be a certain vertical, or it could be a collage of favorites that resembles one large story.

I am grately appreciative of this blog because it allows me to explore my creative side and journal our life in (what I hope feels like) a very natural way. I don’t always blog about all of the guck that happens in our day-to-day (that would sure make it feel a bit more real) but I do really enjoy capturing the happy and creative moments because in many ways this is my gratitude journal. My opportunity to reflect back on what makes our lives special, what makes our family unique, what makes us smile and laugh and sometimes pound our heads against the wall.

To sum it up? What inspires this blog… everything :). And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

If You Have Some Extra Time…

Links to Visit | PepperDesignBlog.com

Happy weekend! We traveled up to the Santa Cruz area (Northern California) for my brother’s graduation on Wednesday night (I flew solo with the girls and am learning more tricks each time! from this last one – pack lots of FOOD. More than you’ll ever think you’ll need) and we are here through the weekend. Looking forward to some time with my family and especially my brothers and sister on my dad’s side (my sis is expecting! woohoo!). Here are a few links from ’round the web that have caught my eye.

This Ikea shelving unit totally blows my mind. From installation to styling to how it integrates into the full room…

This is my kind of summer dress.

Are blue kitchens the next big thing? I love this one. Perhaps as an alternative to painting a bar or breakfast nook area white, too.

The 32 most beautiful & unusual places in the world.

This pancake & pajama party is adorable. What a clever spin on a brunch birthday.

Would you ever wear diy shoes? Kinda cool.

12 traditionally successful people on what success really means.

Remember when I made that prediction about flamingos this year? Well this party is so over the top and pretty I can hardly handle it.

Create your own engineer prints and wall-sized murals.

We are planning a vacation here for our 7 year wedding anniversary at the end of June. A little weekend getaway. I can’t wait.

Enjoy your weekend.

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