Why and How I Started TTG

Hi my friends!
Let me just stop right here and warn you that this is not a pretty post with fun or pretty pictures. This is a post where I just want to step back from the chaos of all the craziness of blogging and social media for a minute or so and talk with y’all.
I have many “old” friends that have been readers of my blog for many years. And then I have some new friends that weren’t with me in the beginning. So, I thought it was time to just chat for awhile.
So, grab a cuppa, turn off the sound  (you know all those little dings and beeps you get when an email, facebook comment etc.) disturbs us and sit back and pretend we are having a real live chat.
Comfy? Good!
I started blogging about 6 years ago. It wasn’t even this blog. It was just a little family and friends blog (private blog). I actually started it as a sort of journal. And I was doing the whole “Extreme Couponing” at the time. So, I would post about this shopping trip or that shopping trip and how much I saved.
That led to more people wanting to read about how I did the couponing to save that much money. So, when I started posting more about that I realized that the blog was taking a different turn and more people friends (mainly from church) wanted to know about more deals. So, I decided to start a 2nd blog about being thrifty and how to save money. In came The Thrifty Groove. A silly name that was never supposed to last!!
At the time I subscribed to and follow about 60 blogs that were all about couponing and deals. So, I started posting just tiny blips like “head over to such and such a site and download the new coupon. Then grab this coupon from the paper, stack and get ____ for 6 cents”. I would post this type of post 5-8 times a day. As soon as I read a deal, I posted it.
Now the blogging experts tell me I need to go back and clean up all those 100’s of posts that were just “Get a free magazine subscription here” type of blip posts. It has something to do with your overall blog standing. I really don’t know what all that means. Maybe I will do that some time or maybe I won’t.
I also started doing Couponing Classes for different groups. I had a pretty nice set up at the time regarding sources and what nots.
Since Lia was with us and was just a baby, I also was involved in a lot of Mommy bloggers. And that was where I started getting more into “How to find deals and redo things”. I grew up going to thrift stores and yard sales so, I have always looked for a cheaper alternative. And I applied that to turning what was just a spare room into a baby’s room. My budget was so low it was scary. But, I knew I had imagination and could think outside the box. So, I started sharing the things I was doing.
I remember 3 months after I started TTG I received an email from a company asking if I would like to try a new product and offer a giveaway on it. I was so freaking excited!
I was also writing about thrifty tips, weekly menu and any good thrifty sites I came across. I remember doing my weekly menu online starting the first week of April back in 2009. And then at the end of the month I discovered there was huge party of bloggers sharing their weekly menu and I was so thrilled to join! It is still a weekly party at Laura’s blog I’m an Organizing Junkie. She was the first big blogger I “met”.
I started finding some thrifty weekly parties and started joining them. It felt good to share with others that were of like mind.
Then late one night, after a day of being super sick, I was just laying in bed with my laptop checking out blogs. I accidently stumbled across a blog that showed at the bottom that this blogger was joining a “meme”. I had no clue what that meant. I didn’t know that meant basically a blog party. So, I clicked it.
I discovered a party called Rednesday and it was all about sharing something red. It didn’t have to be thrifty or regarding being a mommy. It was just share something. Holy cow, what a concept! I had no idea there were blogs out there that had nothing to do with freebies, deals, couponing or kids!
From Sue’s blog I discovered a whole new blogging world! I found Outdoor Wednesday and was so excited to start sharing my love of gardening by sharing pictures of my flowers and things! Then  I discovered there we people out there that also loved vintage things via Vintage Thingie Thursday! And Blue Monday, just something blue!
Discovering these parties, which of course just led into more and more blog parties, gave me the first taste of sharing just me. Things I liked or did or have. What an eye opener!
Then one day I saw a word that I had never read of….Tablescape! I followed the link and discovered Susan’s blog Between Naps on the Porch (if you click the link, you will see her first tablescape back in 2008)! I realized that I had been tablescaping for years and didn’t even know it!
I literally spent hours clicking party linkups and discovering new blogs and looking at all the amazing and gorgeous tablescapes! I think my eyes glazed over for a week! I remembering thinking that I would so love to join this party but, there was no way I could do the tablescapes I was seeing. All  of my dishes and accessories were from thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and dollar stores. I didn't have Neiman Marcus dishes or accessories that I picked up clearance for $269.00 (just a random number) or at Estate sales (still costing over $100.00). And I honestly felt I would not be accepted into this exclusive group. I just didn’t fit. And that was my first time feeling a blogging peer pressure. Now don’t get me wrong, Susan never once said that the tablescapes need to be high end or perfectly matched or anything like that. I just felt my things were way too inferior to join.
I still watched each week all the beautiful tablescapes being created. And I have to confess, I watched with serious envy. Everything was stunningly matched and coordinated. Just gorgeous!
Then Thanksgiving of 2009 came around and I was setting our table just for the two of us. I always loved to set a pretty holiday table. Troy had commented on how nice the table looked. I told him about the tablescaping party and showed him all the beautiful tablescapes people were posting. He told me I should take pictures and join the party. He also said I should show how I “built” the table. I told him I couldn’t because I would be too embarrassed at my whole used mix and match thrift finds. He basically told me I was crazy to think like that and there were probably other people who felt the same way I did. And also just showing how the tablescape was set up from start to finish might interest people.
So, I did just that. I figured I might as well go all in and tell where I bought each piece and how much I paid for them. I knew that no one was every going to mistake my thrifted treasures for brand new expensive stuff!
You can see that first Thanksgiving tablescape by clicking here.
Guess what? people left comments and liked it! They actually liked seeing all the bargains and deals put together! I was so shocked and excited! I really was nervous when I did the post. I just knew that everyone would think I was just some poor schmuck and I really should keep my so called thrifted treasures to myself.
To this day, I still only do thrifted tablescapes. All of my stuff is either bought second hand or major store clearance. I still don’t have a full brand spanking new complete expensive set of dishes! I probably never will. LOL
So, there you have it, how The Thrifty Groove started and why. Well, the Readers Digest version anyway.
It has taken everything I have not to add pictures to this post! But, I kind of miss just writing. Blogging has changed big time over the past years. And there is a lot of good and a lot of bad that came with those changes. My blog is continually changing to reflect what is going on in my life at that moment. But, the one thing that has never changed is the fact that I am thrifty and I lead a thrifty life.
I have a lot more to say on the topic of blogging and will probably write more posts about it in the future. And I see my blog going through more changes in the future as well.
Why did you start your blog? Has it changed direction since the beginning? Do you experience the whole “Blog Peer Pressure” or the stinking thinking of not being good enough or have the prefect this or that to share on a blog? Do you still get those feeling from time to time? I know I still do! I have to stop myself and realize that I am me. I don’t have a “perfect” life.
Thanks for listening to me ramble. I hope you all are having a wonderful day!
P.S. Uh Oh, this post will probably bring down those blog ratings that I hear about all the time and have no clue what they are or mean. After all, this is just a talking post. no amazing redo’s, repurposed things, exciting How-to, awesome recipe or anything earth shattering! oh well, life will go on Smile

16 comments :

  1. I've known you since my second post, 3 years ago, Diann but I now I feel like I *know* you :-) Wonderful post! And, I am totally digging the new look!!

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    1. Hi Diann....Good post and very informative. I didn't know all that about how you started. I'm glad you are a blogger and that I met you. Love reading your posts, always. Susan

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  2. Diann you were one of the first blogs I 'found' about thrifty things and we quickly became friends. I love your blog and have been with you through all the changes over the years and I will be with you for many more! True Friends Forever!
    hugs,
    Linda

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  3. I have followed you for a while.... but enjoyed hearing about how you started out. I like what you do and enjoy reading.

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  4. Very nice! It's cool to see how you started!

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  5. I hope you do more posts about blogging and your years of experience. I had no idea what I was doing when I started three years ago and I've never really managed to stick to one style of blog. I just write about what I'm into that particular day and I'm sure it hurts my stats to not develop a niche blog. It's a comfort to know that someone else "is just me" when they write.

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  6. Great story! And such a great post to arrive at during my first visit here! My blog is a journal of sorts for me...and somewhere along the way people other than my mom & sister in law started reading :)

    It's nice to meet you Diann!

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  7. We started around the same time. You have been faithful, I have started to take long breaks. I don't know why people think they have to post so often, and often about nada, lol. SO rather than point out that I dusted or moved a vase, I remain quiet, lol! Summer is so busy anyway, have to get out there and enjoy, take a bite out of it now, as it will soon be over!
    Blog ratings, really? Just for fun, not for ratings!

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  8. That was great! Oh I've had a couple of different blogs and they do change direction as I change. I was more homemaking centered when my daughter was younger, now since it's just going to be the my husband and I I'm more interested in organizing and actually getting out of the house and doing things (I'll always be thrifty it's just my nature).

    I do think that since blogging has become professional things have to look Pinterest perfect in your photos. Which is why I don't really read decorating blogs anymore and I don't do many decorating type posts anymore as well.

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  9. I have a blog that sits and stares at me. I have had it for a few years and haven't done a thing with it. First of all, I am not all that bright about computers and as my son said a few years back when I got my computer, "Mom! It's about time you came out of the stone age!"
    When I first started exploring the computer I stumbled onto Google and to get some information I had to become a part of the group. Then I started reading blogs and I thought that would be fun to do... so I signed up for one. I think basically I have become intimidated with all the have too's, must do's and need to do's to have a successful blog. You give this old gramma hope that I still can create something without all the bells and whistles that seem to be on most of them any more. Thank you and I think your's is just fine. :)

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  10. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing.

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  11. I really enjoy reading your blog! Keep doing what you're doing! :))

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  12. I have followed along with your blog for quite some time and really enjoyed reading this post. I have not kept up with blog reading as much as I used to but do read when I can. Keep doing what you do so well.

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  13. Oh Diann, you really hit the nail on the head with this! I'm so glad you wrote about your blogging journey. Blogging really has changed, hasn't it? But I'm convinced that it doesn't mean that WE have to change. I'll admit, I sometimes feel like what I'm doing isn't good enough. I mean, I have stuff in my house that I take out of peoples' big trash :) I don't have the big, sprawling, beautiful home, just 1,186 s.f. that isn't going to get any bigger. I'm really feeling the pressure since the magazine came out, people from my past professional life are friending me on FB, they have been over here and I'm sure they had no idea they were sitting on former garbage, lol! Let's make a vow that to the end, we will be who we are, even if at the end it's just a couple of us, enjoying our thrifty treasures and being happy together. Every time from now on when I feel like apologizing for my thrifted, Dollar Store lifestyle, I'm going to come back and read this post again. Thanks for writing it :)
    xoxo, Andrea

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  14. Golly, I don't know any other way to live except by thrifting. I like my tables that get pieced together over a period of time. The fun part is the hunt. It is quite a challenge to have an idea and to transform that idea one piece at a time into a tablescape. I do have to confess that the HomeGoods store is a great resource for a few things here and there (especially when you can find four of an item in the mark down section). Susan at BNOTP has influenced me more than any other blogger. When my company shut down several years ago I found myself with way to much time on my hands. I found out about blogs and in between sending out resumes I would check out sites about gardening and decorating. I found the garden web and in some random comments I came across a link to the first real tablescape I had ever seen. Somehow from there I found Susan's blog. I thrilled at every post and all of the link parties, many of which I still have bookmarked. Yes I am sometimes in awe of the fabulous china and crystal that I see out there in blogland, but I really do love a tablescape with a personality of it's own, not just a set of pretty china with a vase of roses in the middle, but a table that has been thought about and put together to represent an idea or theme that catches my imagination. I can see opulence in any high end magazine, but to see imagination and creativity I will choose a blog of a thrifter that just loves to make pretty tablescapes.

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  15. Thank you for sharing your story with us and allowing us to share ours with you and your readers.
    I started my blog last year when I decided it was time to make some changes in my life and I was getting more interested in tablescaping. At first it was going to be all about my new preppy wardrobe and pink & green goodies along the way. Miss Janice is the one who got me interested in blogging and her's is still my favorite blog.
    My blog quickly changed to just tablescapes, which is fun but a lot of pressure. When I was just reading other blogs I couldn't understand why some bloggers went so long between posts but when I started my own blog it became very obvious. Setting the table is the easy part, I really enjoy it. Taking all the pictures, downloading them, editing them & watermarking them is the hard part. I tried to post at least every-other week but even that turned out to be a challenge. Now, I just try to get in there once a month. I was trying to be witty with my posts then decided that I didn't have to be and I could just let the pictures speak for themselves. I love the Tablescaper blog and she really doesn't write much at all.
    It's a bit daunting when you first start out. I started linking up with anyone who was having a 'party' and started to get lots of views on my pages. That's so gratifying!
    My tablescaping has evolved; I was spending a lot of money at first buying stuff for the table. I talked to a tablescaper friend and she was telling me how she finds things at GW or thrift shops, it was then that I started to visit thrift shops and shopped around the house and decided to make some stuff for myself. I still find the whole centerpiece thing a challenge but they're getting better.
    I'm in awe of anyone who can keep their blog up to date more than twice a month and hold down a fulltime job, and especially anyone with kids. That's some serious organization talent and they should be running 'Fortune 500' company.
    All the best!
    Mary

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Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your ideas. If you ask a question, I will answer it here in a comment back to you. Please check back! Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day! Diann :)