I gotta be honest here – I don’t read a lot of other blogs. When I’m not working or writing for The Navage Patch, I’m toiling outside, reading about science or politics, cooking, cleaning, driving people around, drinking martinis or melting into the sofa while the latest addictive Hollywood drivel streams into my eyeballs through the magic of Netflix and Amazon Prime. So when Handan informed me that most DiY bloggers like us wrap up their year with a “Best of” post, and that I would be doing the same, my first thought was clip show.
A long-running television series will barf out a clip show any time the writers want a break or can’t come up with a new idea in time for the next installment. They simply repackage some funny moments and slap them into a half-baked framework story. I always hated clip shows. And here I am, now, expected to write one!
You couldn’t possibly be interested in our past year, could you? I don’t know, maybe you could. I have to say, it was a pretty amazing year. And if we go back to September 2015, when it all began, and look at the 16 months since then, it has been an incredible journey!
We started with exactly two readers: my mom and my sister. We published a lot of posts that first month, but the one that stands out for us and gave us a few more readers was a little thing I called The Beauty in the Beast. Who knew that a $5 tag sale table would turn into such a stunner?
It’s a little over a year later now, and we have a pretty big following on email, almost 1500 Facebook likes, 1600 Pinterest followers and several hundred followers on Hometalk. Speaking of Hometalk, none of what we have achieved to date would have been possible without them. Sometime in October 2015, Handan and I woke up and saw our blog stats going crazy. Handan had recently uploaded one of her Halloween posts to Hometalk, and it started getting thousands of views there. People were also jumping over to our blog and signing up for our emails. We had no idea how this was happening until we learned that Hometalk features certain posts in a daily email they send out, and Handan’s post, Dishes of Darkness made the email that day.
That post put The Navage Patch on the map! People were figuring out who the heck we were, and some of them were brave enough to keep coming back for more!
October 2015 was a good month, but in November we published a post that remains by far our top-viewed post. I didn’t want to write it, but Handan insisted. I had been making a lot of cutting boards back then, and Handan said that if I wrote a post about the process, people would be interested in reading about it. I told her that she was full of baloney. There were already thousands of web pages that taught how to make a cutting board, so why would mine stand out? Turns out Handan was right. My post, The Story of a Board, was a hit. If you search Google for “cutting board tutorial,” my post is #3 on the list!
Things cooled off a bit after November 2015. Like most people, we were busy with the holidays, come December, but we still managed to get some posts out. The best one that month was the final post in a series of three that chronicled my (mis)adventures while trying to re-veneer a vintage desk. I named it Veneer & Loathing after Hunter S. Thompson’s book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
If 2015 went out with a bang, 2016 came in with barely a whimper. The winter blues hit The Patch, and our page views fell through the floor. Turns out, a lot of bloggers go through the winter doldrums, but we had no idea what was happening. We thought our 15 minutes were up. Though our numbers were down, we did have a big hit in January with Handan’s Moss Balls & Topiaries (Size Does Matter!). Hometalkers loved the post, and the love spilled over into The Patch!
February was like an extension of January. The weather was cold and crappy and miserable here in New England. Our blog felt the same way. The one bright spot in an otherwise barren month was Handan’s excellent tutorial on How to Find Free (or Nearly Free) Furniture. Why pay good money for a resource that many people just throw away?
Just when things were looking their bleakest, we sailed free of the doldrums and caught the breeze that carries us still. March was a breakthrough month. Two posts stand out that month: my DiY Slide-Out Shelves, and Handan’s Tiered Stand, both of which performed very well on Hometalk, as well as on our blog.
With April’s thaw, Handan and I turned our attention to the back yard. We had some big plans back there, and we were itching to get going. While we started those outdoor projects, Handan was also gearing up for spring and summer with some smaller crafts, like the flower pots she refinished.
Almost all of my good posts begin as Handan’s good idea. Such was the case with our biggest hit in May, our DiY Nesting Herb Boxes. I never would have thought of doing this. Hell, I didn’t even know this product existed! It’s a damn good thing Handan spends her free time on Pinterest and scouring online catalogs!
In June, we finished The Pond Project, our biggest outdoor undertaking of the year. That project was a total pain in the butt, but the results were worth every ounce of sweat!
Relaxing just a bit after the grueling Pond Project, we both tackled some smaller projects. By far the most popular in July was Handan’s Tea Cart Makeover. Of all our posts and all my photos, this one has some of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken.
Topping the list of Handan-wanted-me-to-do-it-for-the-blog-but-I-didn’t-want-to projects is, without a doubt, the Garden Shed Organization. I didn’t even start this project with the blog in mind. The shed was filthy and infested with rodents, and I just got fed up with it one Saturday morning, so I grabbed our son and started working. Before long, Handan started snapping some pics, and then she got involved in the cleaning. When it was done, she told me what a great post it would make. I told her she was nuts, and then I told her to clam it. Long story short, she got her way (obviously), I wrote the post, and it wasn’t just a hit on the blog, but people keep pinning it on Pinterest.
I don’t know what’s up with you people. Why do you want to read about other people cleaning their shed? I still can’t figure it out, but I suspect the only reason you read that post was so you could catch a glimpse of my Calvin Kleins.
As August gave way to September, Handan got a fire in her eyes. Fall means Halloween, and we all know how much Handan loves Halloween! To get herself in the autumnal mood, she started with some Pottery Barn Inspired Outdoor Metal Pumpkins. Boy oh boy, do people love Pottery Barn knockoffs! This post tore up the month of September and left it in shreds!
As Halloween approached, Handan started churning out Halloween posts at a breakneck pace. All her posts were awesome, but the big winner was her Apothecary Jars with a free printable. We always love it when people recreate our projects and send us pics, and with this post, we got more pics sent to us than from any other post.
As much as Handan likes Halloween, it doesn’t hold a candle to Christmas! The day after Halloween, we took down all of our spooky decorations, and Handan started putting up Christmas decorations the very same day! Jeezum Crow, we had to skip Thanksgiving, because she couldn’t wait to get to Christmas! She even tried to make me play Christmas carols before Halloween. I had to put my foot down on that one, but I did play them for her on November 1. The top post in November was another one of Handan’s ideas that we both built, and I wrote about, DiY Outdoor Christmas Gifts (Inspired by Grandin Road). This was another knockoff project, and again, people loved it!
It’s amazing what Handan can do with other people’s garbage. She found a faux Christmas tree at the dump – just the branches, mind you – and proceeded to make three amazing things out them, and she still has leftover branches! Her Faux Christmas Tree Repurposed Three Ways was the big winner this month. It seems everyone has an old faux tree lying around somewhere, and now they know what to do with it!
That was 2016 (and a bit of 2015)! Handan and I hope you’ve enjoyed your time with us this past year. We can’t thank you enough for your support. Without fine and noble readers such as yourselves, we’re just two jerks shouting into a dark and empty room. So, thanks for sticking with us, and we’ll see you all in 2017.
Happy New Year!
With Love and Appreciation,
Handan & Greg at The Navage Patch
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