If you’re reading this blog post, chances are you’ve read countless others by gaggles of DiY bloggers. You’ve doubtless gazed upon the seemingly perfect lives of people who have it way more together than you ever will, you sorry sap. Their houses are freaking spotless. Their kids are scrubbed to sparkling perfection, with nary a hair out of place nor a faltering smile. The lighting is always postcard-perfect, with white-walled rooms bathed in luxurious natural light to showcase whatever neutral-colored piece of furniture or handmade bauble they want you to drool over. Some dress like models and then suggest that you”shop their wardrobe,” because, you know, dressing like a GQ or Elle model while DiYing is a sure path to project success and overall happiness. Sometimes you are offered the opportunity to “shop the scene,” because only when your house is kitted out like your favorite internet scribbler will your drab and dreary life finally have meaning!
Unfurrow your brow, dearest reader. You’re not a sorry sap, and they aren’t better than you, because it’s all bullshit. What you see on your computer monitor is not the whole picture. That photograph you just swooned over is lying to you just as much as it is revealing a beautiful truth. If you could step into that scene or look just beyond its edges, you might be shocked at what you’d find.
Join me as we take a look behind the scenes here at The Navage Patch, and then click over to a behind-the-scenes look at some of our international blogging friends, linked at the end of the post.
The State of the House
Last year, I wrote about some slide-out shelves I had made for my kitchen. I showed a messy before pic:
And then a clean and sparkling after shot:
You may have been tempted to think that after putting in such hard work to build the shelves and reclaim my counter space that I would keep the kitchen clean. Please, people. In the year since that post, the kitchen has looked this good exactly one other time, and that was last Friday (April 7, 2017), after a two-day cleaning spree. But look at this next photo, taken just this morning (April 10, 2017):
To be fair, we are working on our guest bathroom renovation project, but shouldn’t we put away our tools when we’re done working for the day, and shouldn’t I polish that marble to a mirror-like shine? Please. You know what else I should do? Lose 30 pounds and shower. Neither of them are happening any time soon. Well, I may consider a shower in a day or two…
Our lives are messy, and our house reflects that. Lately, I’ve been putting more effort into cleaning, but on those days I clean, I don’t have time to work on projects or write. Maybe the key to it all is making enough money to have a cleaning person. I don’t know. I haven’t figured out the magic formula yet, so our house, more often than not, looks exactly like the picture above.
Staging a Photo
Getting a good photo takes a lot of work. Deception isn’t easy! Handan recently wrote about a faux succulent wreath she had made. I’m the photographer of the house, so it’s up to me to get all those pretty glamour shots and “after” shots. The succulent wreath was hard, because the house was a mess, as yooozh (like that word? I just made it up…it’s short for “as usual”). All the wall space was cluttered, and I had nowhere to showcase Handan’s awesome creation. I’ve staged so many projects against the blue walls of our dining area (where we rarely eat), but I wanted something new for this one. Fortunately, Handan had recently painted our living room and fireplace with some neutral tones. Those muted tones would let the wreath’s colors shine. I propped the wreath on the hearth and had a look. The fireplace was full of ash and charred logs, creating a wintry look that clashed with the spring feel I was going for. I cleared off the hearth, got a garbage bag and a dustpan and emptied the ash and logs. I removed the fireplace grate and then vacuumed and scrubbed the firebox. That was better. But the fireplace wasn’t even the focus of the photo! There was also too much going on around the fireplace, so I had to move a bunch of stuff out of the way. I tested the lighting, but it was a cloudy day, and I couldn’t get the colors to pop, so I brought in some artificial sunlight. When I finally had the wreath staged, this is the photo that I showed the world:
When you first saw this in Handan’s post, your mind filled in the blanks, and you imagined a light and airy room, crisp and clean.
People, don’t make me say it again.
Okay, I will.
The room was a mess! I spent nearly two hours staging this photo, and here’s what was going on around me:
Back in the fall, I showed you some DiY Pottery Barn knockoff wooden keys that I had made. Here’s the glamour:
And here’s what you didn’t see, just off-camera:
Those are some plants I took in for the winter on a rickety folding table we found at the dump. That empty box has been there all winter, as has that bag of soil. You just missed a pair of Handan’s socks that were drying on the wire rack above the soil for the past three months after she went outside to shovel in her slippers. She just noticed them over the weekend and put them in the hamper.
I Get by with a Little Help from my Computer
Have you noticed that it looks like many bloggers may actually live in heaven, considering the blinding white light streaming through every window? I can assure you, they all live on earth, though some of them may think otherwise. Consider the following photo from Handan’s Tea Cart Makeover post:
Have you ever looked out the window and seen nothing but blinding white light? If you have, you’re either dead, or you’ve been on a spaceship on a collision-course with a star. Somehow, this style of photograph has become de rigueur for bloggers like us. Even I fall into this stylistic orbit. I admit, it looks good, but it doesn’t look a fig like that in real life. Here’s the original:
I know, it’s hard to imagine why I didn’t just stick with the original. Look at that glass door, covered with two and a half years of dog drool…it’s gorgeous!
Here’s another shot from last week’s bathroom renovation post. This is the shot I published, again with the blinding ethereal light:
And here’s the original:
Over-exposed picture? No problem! Just pretend you meant it, and people will go nuts over it!
All it takes to lift a photo from the mundane to the heavenly is a few clicks of the mouse in a photo-editor, and then your house, too, might be featured in some glossy magazine touting the lives of the Sparkly Perfect People!
Well, folks, I’m gonna wrap it up here…I have tumbleweeds of dog hair to vacuum and a pile of old underwear that has started to move across the floor. I think it may be coming for me.
Feel free to stop in anytime. There’s always room for you at our counter.
On second thought, you may want to stay home.
Oh, I almost forgot! Be sure to shop my wardrobe on your way out!
Now that you’re properly attired, why not check out what’s happening behind the scenes at some of our international friends’ blogs.