In the Bloglight

Hello and welcome to `a casarella!  Come in and make yourself comfortable.

For those of you who have been around for awhile, please pardon the formality.  (We have company and I don't want to scare them away!)

The guests are visiting from Hometalk's Blogtalk page.  (Not familiar with Hometalk?  You old-timers should mosey over there and check it out.  This post will just be review for you anyway.)

And to my new guests, welcome!  I'm excited to have you here and tell you a little about myself and my blog, 'a casarella.

'A casarella, for those of you who don't speak Italian, means "a little house."  I borrowed the name from a plaque which is affixed to the front of our home.  It was placed there by the previous owners but we liked it and, given my Italian heritage, decided it should stay.

You can read more about this in my very first blog post, found here.

It seemed like a perfect name for a blog.  You see, I'd been contemplating a blog for several years before I actually started mine this past January.  I began reading blogs almost ten years ago when they were really quite novel.  The first blog I ever read was (and is) called Dooce.  The blogger, Heather Armstrong, was a newlywed when I first found her and some of her best posts (in my opinion) revolved around the tiny house that she and her husband were renovating at the time.

Well, things have changed.  Dooce has long since moved out of her tiny house and although I enjoyed watching her decorate and renovate her next two houses, I found many other blogs where I could get a more concentrated dose of home decor and DIY.  After years of poring over sites like Young House Love, Bower Power, Making it Lovely and Remodelaholic, I decided to take a stab at this blogging thing on my own.

As a teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom it seemed like a great fit.  I could exercise my brain by writing about the things I was already doing as a mother, wife and home-owner.  What could be better?

And thus 'a casarella was born.

As much as I love home design, I could not sustain a blog on that alone.  Though we've done a few big projects around here (like this pre-blog balcony remodel that I wrote about back in February):

...and we're planning a few more (stay tuned for a solution to my office dilemma as well as a revamp of my daughters' playroom), my most popular posts seem to be about small crafting projects:

DIY laundry room art.  Blogged here.

Make your own flower petal lantern.  Blogged here.


Meatloaf-stuffed peppers in the crock pot.  Find the tutorial here.

This cake is as easy as it is beautiful.  Find the recipe here.

...and fun things I've done for my kids:

How to make a "Punch Box."
This poorly photographed (yet extremely thorough) tutorial is by far my most popular to date.  Find it here.

Probably my favorite project: the slumber party birthday cake.  Find it here.

...and their teachers:

I made this for teacher appreciation week
but a whole bunch of people on Pinterest think it would be a great Christmas gift!

Blogging has been a source of great joy (and sometimes great frustration) over the past few months.  Finding balance between my "blog life" and my "real life" has been a struggle.  On top of that, there is a lot to learn: everything from photo editing (definitely not my strength) to coding in html.  Had I known how much there was to learn when I started, I might not have started at all.  Thank goodness for that ignorance!  My advice to aspiring bloggers?  Go for it!  Don't be afraid to learn as you go.  And don't be afraid to reach out to other bloggers for help and advice.  The blogging community has definitely been a great (and unexpected) source of the joy that I mentioned above.

So, Hometalkers, that about sums me up.  Thank you so much for stopping by and I look forward to learning about you in the near future.



  1. Thanks for having me over. Though I've been here before, it's always nice to included when you have company over as well. Of course, I adore you and your adorable and inspiring blog. May other readers find the joy I have in stumbling upon you and 'a casarella.

  2. I found you through Amy!! I'm glad to learn a little more about you! I always thing your posts are great, regardless of whether it's a craft, decorating or a recipe!

  3. Elena, that slumber party cake is darling :) Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    1. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share it, Miriam! :)

  4. It's hard to believe you've only been at this for 7 months! Some day, somebody will write a post and say that they were inspired to start their own blog because of a'cassrella!

    Oh, and that slumber party cake is the cutest!

  5. The cake...love!! You are a clever lady with great taste!

  6. Hello and great to "meet" you though Blogtalk. I love your projects, your laundry room are is beautiful!

  7. Love this Elena..so glad to see you in the bloglight today!

  8. Hi Elena!! Great post and a wonderful pick for the Blog Light. LOVE your projects and recipes and fun to get to know you even more. :)


  9. Oh goodness Elena, what can't you do?! Your features here are wonderful!

    And that cake!! My mom made homemade cake for us kids as well so yours totally made me smile. Wish I picked up the 'creative baking gene' but the last one I attempted was my son's 1st birthday... (he's now 13) It was a 3d barn... that promptly fell over before the reveal. I'll stick to sawing wood me thinks. :)

  10. I was reading DOOCE when I didn't even know what a blog was. I found a post about her kitchen remodel. I have not read her in some times now, but I did for at least a year.

    You have some wonderful projects. That cake is so super-sweet! Funny how it's all about the pictures, but see, the one you think isn't very good is your most viewed. We have to remember sometimes it is good enough :)

    Happy BLOGTALK spotlight to you!

  11. Oh. K. Your backyard is Gorgeous, and that FOOD! I would like a little of everything, and I will be back for seconds! Elena you are one talented lady, thank you so much for sharing all this!

  12. Your projects are always amazing! I enjoyed learning more about how your blog got the name. You are one of my favorite blogs to visit. Megan

  13. Congrats, Elena! Totally deserving...you truly rock!

  14. I really enjoyed finding your blog through Blogtalk's facebook page! Your ideas look like so much fun! My blog also has an Italian name I chose five years ago before I ever dreamt anyone would read my blog besides my family. My focus has been on the many places I visit in my life in New York City, but I am moving to a suburb of Denver, Colorado, soon to a big house and I know I will have lots of new experiences to blog about as I try to adjust to a whole new life there!

  15. I love your blog, feel like I've been reading it forever, at least since February:)

  16. It's so nice meeting you Elena! :) You have excellent food pics! YUM! :) Now I want some cookies. Hahahaha. So glad we are on Blogtalk together! Love the way your blog got it's name. Very appropriate.

  17. That slumber party cake is just the cutest! laurie

  18. Love your story Elena! Your DIY's and recipes are really inspirational...completely loveing the slumber party cake! I can't believe you have only been blogging since January, you write like a pro! Love your balcony too! Thanks for sharing that you sometimes find juggling a blog and home challenging...I do too! Best of luck growing your blog and I look forward to getting to know you better at Blogtalk!

  19. I'm excited to read you blog!!! I can't wait to see what else you have lined up! I love the cookie jar and the punch box! and the laundry room thing and and and...

    1. Aww, thanks, Maegan :) I fear I might have chronically distracted you ;)...


  20. Cool stuff! I hope one day to have myself together enough to do more things like actually decorate my home. If we ever buy one, that is. :)

    1. Thanks, Becky! For what it's worth, we lived in a rental for two years before we bought this house. Our living room was completely unfurnished for two whole years b/c I didn't want to buy furniture for that house--so I know where you're coming from!

  21. I am a teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom too! I am self-taught on my blog, photography, and html, etc, much like you. I feel like we have so much in common. Let's do coffeee someday! :)

    We need to do our balcony off our bedroom someday. We have talked about it since we moved into this house four years ago. I'm curious how you'll remodel. :)

    1. We *do* have a lot in common. Thanks for stopping by :)

  22. Love this Elena! My first blog was A Beach Cottage! I found it simply because I was looking for a particular style of decorating and chose the words beach cottage to Google. I had no idea what a blog was then, boy how times have changed!!!

    So happy we met!

    Congrats on your feature!


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