Happy Almost-November, my friends! I don’t know about you, but I have NO idea where September and October went. It’s as if I blinked, and they were gone. Anyone else feeling the same?

It’s been a hot minute since I last checked in and chatted so I thought I’d do that today. And while I’m thinking about it, I’m also curious if you like these occasional personal posts, or if I should just stick to content. I’m always on the fence about writing these, so if you have a feeling either way, please let me know in the comments below.

And while you’re in the comments, I would LOVE to know if there is any specific thing you’d like me to blog about during the upcoming holiday season. I know it might seem a tad early, but my wheels are already turning. If you have any Christmas blog post requests, now is the time to let me know!

The “New” House
I think after this post I’m going to stop referring to Bayberry House as my “new” house. Lol. I’ve been here a little over four months now, and it’s been great. I still have moments when it doesn’t seem as if it’s “official” or actually my house, but I suppose that’s natural and that the house will feel more like mine as I continue to settle in and put my stamp on it.

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Making progress with the decor has been much slower than I expected. I’m not sure why – fear of screwing something up, not being settled on a design direction, or my lack of inspiration? Nonetheless, I have pulled the trigger on a few things, including the purchase of new living room furniture and family room/den furniture. My hope is that the furniture will kick-start progress. With the holidays quickly approaching, I want things to begin feeling more like home.

In other news, I did have a larger electrical box installed. While the electricians were here, they also put in boxes for sconces in the family room and ran the cable line through the wall. (It had been strung across the floor near the baseboard.) I’ll probably write a separate post about that in the coming weeks.

What's the Tea: Fall Update

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I also had a bit of landscaping done in front of the house. It was a rather frustrating adventure so I haven’t shared much, but I’ll be working on a post about it ASAP.

What's the Tea: Fall Update

This past weekend I had my first indoor fire in the big fireplace. It was magical but smokier than I thought it should be. I’m having a chimney sweep come by next week to clean everything, make sure the fireplace is functioning properly, and give me a lesson on operating it correctly. I am so excited to have a wood-burning fireplace and will definitely be taking advantage of it on chilly evenings.

I’m still filled with great excitement and joy about this new home and what it will become. It’s just coming together a bit differently than I anticipated.

Kitchen Remodel
Since purchasing the house I have talked about wanting to start work on the kitchen, and in some ways I have. Because I have limited experience in kitchen planning, l decided to consult a designer. She has been fabulous, and I will be sharing more details about all of that soon. The new kitchen layout is designed, and we found a cabinet maker so progress is being made.

However, finding a general contractor has been more challenging. There is someone I’d like to work with, but he’s been very busy with another project. (I’m also not sure I can afford him since I’m still waiting on his bid.) My hope is that I’ll know more in a couple weeks. Once things are close to being finalized, I’ll share the process and details here on the blog. My guess is that if things do work out, nothing will start until December or January.

Watercolor Class
I also decided to sign up for a Watercolor Class this fall through my neighborhood’s adult education series. The class has met twice so far, and it’s been such fun. I took art and drawing classes in high school and college, but I haven’t done very much in that arena since then. It’s been great to flex those muscles again.

What's the Tea: Fall Update

What's the Tea: Fall Update

(The images above are just practice pieces, so please don’t judge me two harshly. And yes, the martini glass was inspired by my Halloween Recipe Card Printable!)

I’m not sure how or if it will translate to the blog. Maybe I’ll create a few printables for the blog. We’ll see! I’ve also signed up to take a general painting technique class at a local studio shortly after the watercolor class ends. Painting is definitely something I would like to continue to do.

How to Start a Blog
Every now and then folks ask me questions about how to start a blog, how to earn money from a blog, and so on. These are tough questions to answer as there is a lot involved. However, I finally have what I think is a good answer. My friend and fellow blogger Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone recently launched a blog course. In it, she starts a new blog and walks you through the process step-by-step. Lisa is an incredibly hard worker and dedicated blogger so I’m confident this course will rock. There is an initial investment, but if you are serious about starting a blog as a business and want to put in the time, this course may be for you. You can read more about the course here.

Current Favorites:

That wraps up the major updates, although I’m sure I’m missing something. I recently did a Q&A on my Instagram stories. You can follow along here. I’ll add the Q&A to my Instagram Highlights. Just in case you missed it, you’ll be able to find them there.

Before I go, here are a few of my current favorite things:

So excited to welcome these books to my collection:
Cook Like a Pro by Ina Garten
Make Something Good Today by Erin and Ben Napier
Living the Simply Luxurious Life – Shannon Ables
Cozy Minimalist Home – Myquillyn Smith (aka The Nester)

I’m also a big fan of new Christmas music. I’ve ordered Martina McBride and Ingrid Michaelson’s new Holiday albums.

This leaf blower is my favorite new tool. It’s light and powerful. I’ve used it almost every day this fall.

I’m obsessed with this collaboration between Brandi Carlile and Sam Smith. It’s so good! She’s one of my favorites.

You have to check out these adorable pillow decorations. What a fun way to change your throw pillows for the seasons!

Fellow Wicked fans, there is a TV special airing on Monday, October 29th on NBC celebrating the 15th anniversary of the musical. You can read more about it here.

Well, that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed this short update. Have a fabulous week, everyone!

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Comments

  • Emma at

    Those watercolors are awesome!! Great work!

    Thanks also for the leaf blower rec. My husband was just mentioning we should look into getting a leaf blower. I’ll show him this one!

    • Sibyl at

      I love your personal posts–I enjoy them the most! Keep up the great work!

  • Tracy at

    Hi Michael! I love these personal posts so much. It’s always fun to learn more about the person behind the beautiful design posts. I love everything you do and I can’t wait to see all you do in your new home!

  • emily at

    I also love the personal post, and I am happy I am not the only one with decorating paralysis.

  • Kim R at

    I always read your What’s the Tea posts – keep them coming. My advice about your new home is don’t rush it. I inevitability make purchases I regret later when I try to hold myself to my timeline expectations instead letting inspiration come organically. You definitely have your own style and it feels real so let it happen when it does. It’s not like you don’t have anywhere to sit :).

  • Kim R at

    … and I forgot to mention the watercolors- gorgeous! Would you consider some type of printable note card?

  • Leah at

    Love your watercolors.Looking forward to seeing more of them. You are multitalented.

  • Skylar at

    These Tea posts are my favorite! Keep me coming!

  • Jackie Orozco at

    I love your watercolors! You may have inspired me to try to learn.

  • Debra at

    Yes, more tea please — thanks!

  • Mart at

    Hi Michael – I love your blog, I’ve been following it for awhile and it’s one of my favorites. I always enjoy reading about your decor projects and really love seeing how your new house is coming together. You have such good taste and everything you have done so far has turned out great. I think whatever you decide to do with the rest of your house will also be terrific. I agree that it’s good to take your time and also go with a contractor that you really want to work with, even if you may have to wait awhile for them to become available. I really like the occasional personal posts, so keep them coming !

    About the fireplace smoke issue – it may be that a draft is coming down the chimney causing the smoke to come back into the room. If that’s the case, slightly open a window or a door that’s opposite your fireplace when you light the fire and the smoke will be redirected up the chimney. For your house I think it might be the kitchen door or window that is opposite the fireplace ? We do this every time we light a fire. Just need to keep the window or door open for a little bit.

  • Julie at

    I love your personal posts, Michael. And your watercolours are amazing! You’re really, really talented.

  • Pam at

    I love these posts and I hope you continue them. I always enjoy the tree trimming, holiday decorating and of course food and entertaining. I’m enjoying seeing everything you do with your beautiful home and it is still “new”

    I started listening to Christmas music today, enjoy the oldies and was listening to The Rat Pack. I love taking art classes and thought your pumpkins were incredible and the salt effect is really beautiful. I have Ina’s new cookbook in my cart just need to hit the button, you can’t go wrong with Ina.

  • loly at

    I love the personal posts and thanks for taking us on this journey through creating your home. Ideas… I love your food posts. This year I’m struggling for some gift ideas. I feel like I always make and give the same treats. Also need Christmas ideas to give to the businesses we work with that aren’t too much since I have several to give/do/make. Always look forward to your ideas!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I sooooooo appreciate this! These ideas are great. Thank you!!

      xo Michael

  • mikael hardy at

    I think it’s great that you share personal perspectives, Keep it up.

    Might I Also suggest Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots for your book collection as well as either of Deb Pearlmans offerings.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I will check those out! Thank you!!

  • Amy at

    Love the personal posts. A good mix of design inspiration and personal posts is always good in my book. It’s nice to feel like we (your readers/followers) get to know the person behind the design. 🙂
    Have a great day!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Love to hear that! Thank you, Amy!

      xo Michael

  • Ellie at

    I so enjoy your personal posts … please continue. Your new home is becoming yours … right before our eyes.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Thank you!! <3

  • Susan McDowell at

    I enjoy everything about your blog, especially the personal ones. My husband stayed at your B&B several times. We visited the area to see the elk. Your B&B was like a home away from home. It’s great seeing you evolve from an inn owner to where you are today. Best wishes for a bright future!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Thank you so much! It’s so great to hear that!!

      xo Michael

  • Carola Crisp at

    I love your “new” home…and really love your side porch decorating ideas. I live in a similar style home with a smaller side porch side entry area, so I like seeing your ideas!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      That’s awesome! Thanks so much!!

      xo Michael

  • Colleen at

    Please keep these up! Its great to know about the person behind the posts. You are always so honest and transparent and I feel like that is great framework for the rest of your work.

  • Christy at

    Yes, I lost September and October, too! Back-to-school just goes faster than summer days. Please continue your What’s the Tea posts – I love them.

  • Becky at

    The personal posts are the ones I like the most! 🙂

  • Fran at

    What’s the Tea is one of my favorite posts!!!!!! Keep them coming.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Thank you, Fran!!

  • Margot at

    I think you include just the right touch of “personal” in your posts. I don’t get bored or just skip your dialog -which I’ve been known to do on other blogs. 😉 When my home was new to me, a hundred years ago, I read somewhere that it takes about a year for the home to reveal its personality to you and I found in some of my design challenges that it did take me almost a year to find just the right thing that suited the house and my taste. Not sure if there is really anything to it but found it interesting. I obviously didn’t wait a year to change anything but the more challenging areas did take a while. Can’t wait to see your kitchen and landscaping plans!

  • Margot at

    Oh, and your fireplace issues! I think you have a good plan but we were also told that it is important to warm up the chimney so that it starts to draft properly. We usually give a piece of newspaper a twist (so it’s easy to hold), light one end, and either place it on top of your laid out kindling or hold it a little into the chimney. You can see the smoke draft up the chimney then. If it’s especially windy outside we sometimes have a little smoke.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Ohhhh! This is so helpful! Thank you. I have a sweep coming this week, so I’ll be picking his brain and make sure I’m doing everything correctly. Thanks for this tip!

      xo Michael

  • Lori H at

    Your new home is stunning. The yard looks like a lot to tackle size wise, but the trees are beautiful and the setting is just gorgeous. Please keep us updated. I love all of your posts. Watercolor looks fun too.

  • Christy H at

    I enjoy it all; the personal posts, the recipes, the decorating, the new home fun and woes……all of it. All those things are a part of everyday life and that’s one of the reasons your blog is one of my favorites.. You keep it real and inspire me at the same time.

  • Kathy Griffith at

    I love reading your blog and I don’t hardly read any except yours and a few cooking ones like Pioneer Woman. So you should feel important as I love your style and everything you show and write about. I understand totally about the contractor issue too, we recently took down popcorn ceiling in two rooms (family room that runs into the kitchen) then of course now we need to paint the walls. It seems never ending. I never thought I would like a warm gray wall with chocolate brown couch but it really works so the same color is going in the kitchen. Not sure how it makes the not so dark wood cabinets look (a bit oranger) but I am not changing the cabinets.
    thanks for all you do.

  • Susan at

    I love the personal posts! I feel like I’m having a chat with you over coffee (or one of your great martinis😉) wish you were our neighbor! Oh, and I think it’s great that your doing art again. It looks like you’re pretty good to me!

  • Susan at

    I love and appreciate the personal posts-keeps you a real person that is relatable and makes me feel like I could accomplish some of the fun things you do (though not as well 😉). When I come to your site I feel like I am visiting with a friend-thank you!

  • K at

    Live your tea posts! Keep them coming!

  • Brocanteuserose at

    I love the personal and what’s the tea posts! I also cannot wait for your Christmas posts this year! I still want my magazine you were featured in last Christmas signed by you! If you’re still willing to sign this professional procrastinator’s copy! 🙂

  • Amber at

    I love the personal posts. Keep them coming!

  • jae at

    Really enjoyed reading this post. You have been busy! I do love that porch. Don’t worry, take your time and fill your home with what you love as you find it. Please do have your fireplace checked. We lived in a house years ago where the fireplace smoked the two times we tried a fire., and we thought was a draft problem. When we had a pro check it, we had severe creosote build up and debris caught inside the chimney. We were fortune we didn’t have a chimney fire!

  • Maxine at

    Love your blog and the personal notes. I would buy your watercolors in a heartbeat..especially the martini glass!!!

  • Crystal at

    Michael!
    I love your personal posts SO MUCH! I think of your blog as an extension of you & truly enjoy them. In fact, I got so excited when I saw this in my inbox today 🙂
    I love your DIY Holiday decor project posts every year & am hoping that you will be squeezing a couple into your content between now then.
    I also would be thrilled for some new gift ideas. I think the gifts for co-workers, neighbors, mailman, business one frequents are the toughest to come up with. I have always enjoyed giving gifts & especially during the holidays! But, it can be tough to find a gift that is actually nice & looks like you put some actual effort into it w/out it totaling a small fortune for someone who likes to give as many as I do. It’s a tough thing to balance & I would be grateful for some new ideas. I know if they came from you, there’s a super slim chance that I wouldn’t simply LOVE it!

  • Maria R at

    I’m a new subscriber and just read this personal post. Must say that I did enjoy it. Love the watercolor painting and congrats on your (yes to still) new home. Very exciting stuff. I haven’t a creative bone in my body so all you lend is great inspiration to me. I signed up as I love to bake and my eyes nd stomach caught on to one of your fabulous deserts! I vote that you keep the personal posts. You have a new fan in me.

  • Harriet Clark at

    Hi, Michael. Long time fan of yours here. Yes, do please continue your personal posts. I love your watercolored pumpkins! You are so full of inspiration, creativity and inclusive warmth! Hope your Halloween is BOO-tiful!

  • GAYE MCGRATH at

    Love the martini glass water colour!

  • Janna at

    As a new reader, I enjoyed this personal post ☺️ It is a nice way to get a peak at the heart behind the posts. Thank you for sharing! I’ve really been enjoying your blog 😊

  • Laura at

    I like the personal updates. It’s fun to hear what’s going on with you.

  • Christina at

    Hi! Just came across your blog and am loving it! As a Pittsburgh native, I totally appreciate all of your insight! Congrats on your beautiful home! Do you mind saying what community of the city this is? I’ve never seen anything like it!

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