Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Guest Post: Jen VanDerHerberg

Today I am interviewing Jen VanDerHerberg who is my sister in law. She writes a blog called Repurposed Gems ( It's all about her adventures as a mom of twin girls and as a furniture re-finisher.

Me- When did you start blogging?

Jen- It all began a little over a year ago - just when I was starting to find the niche for my business.  At first it was pretty slow, but the more I blogged, the more page hits I got, and the more followers I attained.

Me- How did you get into blogging? Did a particular blog/ person inspire you?

Jen- Friends and family commented on how much they enjoyed seeing my work on face book, so I decided to keep an online journal of my pieces for them to enjoy.  I also wanted a place where I could post tutorials for those who asked.  As I was getting started, I searched out other blogs, such as Miss Mustard Seed (, Shauna West ( and Centsational Girl (  They were the three main ones which I strive towards, as far as their layout and content.

Me- What is your favorite thing about blogging?

Jen- I love the freedom in it.  Having graduated from university not long ago, it’s nice to be able to enjoy writing about whatever I feel like, and not have people criticize it, rip it apart, and mark it.  It’s so enjoyable to write about things I’m passionate about.  I love interacting with those who read my blog, reading the comments and responding to questions.

Me-Tell me about how you got into refinishing furniture? Is it hard? What keeps you inspired?

Jen- In 2008, when your brother Mark and I were married, we were starting out in a little apartment, with very little money.  All of our furniture was either home made, or found on the side of the road.  I had a specific coffee table set that I painted white, and switched the pulls to these fun, yellow rose pulls I had found for sale at Anthropologie.  My friends loved the set, and many offered to buy it if I ever wanted to sell it.  That sparked an idea, and in 2011, I started painting furniture, while I was in teacher’s college.  When I graduated, the job market for teaching was pretty bleak, so Mark encouraged me to pursue a business in furniture painting.  Soon enough I discovered milk paint… and it took off from there.

Me-I know you have twin girls (my nieces). How do you stay balanced?

Jen- Ah, my little darlings.  They fill our lives with so much love and happiness.  Staying balanced is probably my biggest challenge.  When I was pregnant with twins, everyone looked at my with big eyes and exclaimed, “oh boy - you’ll be busy!”  I really didn’t expect to have much of a life after they were born.  However, I got some pretty easy babies (half being they have a good-natured temperament, the other half focused on getting them on a good schedule).  So for me to actually be able to paint furniture is awesome!  However I need to not lay any expectations on myself - one piece a week is more than enough - and I need to realize that most of my furniture work is done after 7, when they are in bed for the night.  Sometimes I wish I had a part-time job instead, so I could ’leave work at work’.  However, I am able to stay at home full time with my kids, which is such a great blessing. 

Me- What would you like to tell young moms out there who are struggling with how to fit creativity into their lives?

Jen- Make time for yourself.  The husband can do the dishes when he comes home.  It’s okay to buy frozen meals.  Carve out a time each day - say, from 1 - 2pm, when the kids are napping, the hubs is at work, and the house is quiet.  Go on Pinterest.  Look at that Style At Home magazine you picked up from the grocery store.  Do whatever you need to do to feel inspired, and don’t feel guilty for doing it!  We as women are designed to want to create a home for the people we love the most - our husbands and kids.  Buy that rug from Homesense.  Paint your piano.  It’s your house, you have to look at it everyday.  And most importantly, have fun! Carve our time to have fun with your family, have fun doing projects, have fun being who you are designed to be. J

A big Thank You to Jen for being a guest on my blog!

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