Behind the Scenes At The Navage Patch |

Behind The Scenes at The Navage Patch


DIY bloggers seem to have it all together. But does reality match up with perception? Are our lives really that perfect? Let’s have a peek and find out…

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:

DIY Faux Succulent Wreath | How to make a beautiful spring wreath with faux succulent and moss | Easy and budget friendly home decor | Farmhouse decor | Pottery Barn inspired succulent wreath | Knock-off home decor | Dollar Store crafts | DIY door and wall decor |

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:

Behind the Scenes At The Navage Patch |

Back in the fall, I showed you some DiY Pottery Barn knockoff wooden keys that I had made. Here’s the glamour:

Rustic Wooden Keys Inspired by Pottery Barn | Pottery Barn Knockoff | DIY Wooden Keys Wall Art | How to Make Rustic Wooden Keys | Simple Woodworking and Crafts | Farmhouse Style Home Decor | Easy and Budget Crafts |

And here’s what you didn’t see, just off-camera:

Behind the Scenes At The Navage Patch |

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:

ea Cart Makeover | DIY furniture makeover | DIY painted furniture with homemade chalk paint | DIY chalk paint | French country decorating | Farmhouse style furniture | Annie Sloan Old White color | How to use homemade chalk paint with paint sprayer | DIY chalk paint recipe | Wagner paint sprayer | Before & After |

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:

Behind the Scenes At The Navage Patch |

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:

Guest Bathroom Renovation | DIY pocket door installation | How to install a pocket door | How to cut a door opening in a wall | How to make a door opening |How to paint a door | Before and After |

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.

Behind the Scenes At The Navage Patch |

On second thought, you may want to stay home.

Oh, I almost forgot! Be sure to shop my wardrobe on your way out!

Behind the Scenes At The Navage Patch |
  1. Furry Crocs
  2. Candycane Pajamas
  3. Gray T-Shirt
  4. Soft Fuzzy Bathrobe
  5. Dry Martini

Now that you’re properly attired, why not check out what’s happening behind the scenes at some of our international friends’ blogs.

Behind the Scenes at Ambient Wares
Behind the Scenes at The Boondocks Blog
Behind the Scenes @The Boondocks Blog
Behind the Scenes at 6 International Blogs

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  1. Thank you for making my Monday morning!!! So nice to see that we’re not the only ones living in complete chaos, all the time. That’s what my house looks like because I’m married to a woodworker, who is also a stay-at-home dad to our three toddlers. So yeah…I should post a photo and play “Where’s Waldo” with the kids hidden in there. You guys rock!!! Thank you for being normal πŸ™‚

  2. Bwaaahahahaha thanks so much Greg, love those PJ’s and the normality of a home filled with living things, even if the socks and underwear are ganging up against you. I will never again look at an overexposed photo in the same way. Heaven can wait, I prefer the dog drool and loving far more

  3. Greg. As Always. The Tears are running down my Leg. I do not always Comment (1st time to be precise….)
    But Brilliant Post Bro! Well Done.
    The other half of a CraftyMix.

  4. OMG, I nearly spit my coffee across the room at that lost shot! You never cease to crack me up, Greg. Hey, I don’t care about their not being room on your counter top because I’d be heading straight for the other one in the background – nice stash! Thanks for the laughs this early Monday morning after a long weekend – great way to start the week.

  5. Too funny! This post should be retained to be forwarded on occasionally to the Perfect Perfects. I just should have read it before I knocked myself out trying to clean, craft and switch over to spring/Easter decor while trying to still maintain traffic patterns so I could maneuver in a one-bedroom apartment!

  6. Absolutely THE BEST blog post I’ve read in forever! Nice way to start the morning…a dose of reality and some laughs to boot! Thanks for sharing,

  7. That was cool Greg. Thanks for sharing it. My shop (1 car garage) oft-times looks like that. Actually, it almost always looks like that, but it is MY shop.

    1. Thanks, Steve! Yeah, a mess is never a problem when it’s yours. It only becomes an issue when someone else is forced to share it!

  8. another masterpiece written by you oh funny man, i love seeing the behind the scene shots because with 3 adults. 2 toddlers and 3 dogs in 1600 square feet with none existant storage, our house pretty much looks like this all the time lol xx

  9. Thanks Greg, a fantastic funny post, and I feel a bit less of a failure now… I don’t have sparkly clean white anything in my house, nor beautiful, tidy, organised vistas nor anything remotely similar to all those gorgeous after staging shots… I can compete with you on pet hair and drool (tho cat not dog), and piles of stuff everywhere cos you know, that 5 minutes after you put it away you’re just gonna need to get it out again πŸ™‚ It’s good to know you’re as human as the rest of us! Your place is STILL gorgeous, even when not staged for a photo.

  10. Who needs laughter therapy having you writing a behind the scenes post? Hubby came to see why I was laughing so had after I reached the “shop my wardrobe” shot, and it took me a while to be able to explain what was this about. Thanks for showing that even your beautiful home is a real one and has mess as all the mortals.

  11. Greg, you had me on the floor laughing. Of course it is perfectly natural to have power tools on your kitchen counter. And who can resist the lure of the white light? I’m glad to see that we are all not that different right down to the pajama wear!

  12. Wonderful !A real home that is lived in, not a show home! I will never feel guilty about my cluttered kitchen, sewing /art /craft/hobby cluttered living room, or help visiters on the way quick chuck everything in the bedroom,oh hell now i can’t get to the wardrobe and here i am still in my p j ‘s and dressing gown!Aaaagh! Nice to know my DIY hero and herine are not perfect either.

  13. I love ALL of your post. .but this by my guys are amazing and so inspiring….made my day..

  14. Greg, you never fail to make me chuckle. I have a confession – I want to be a Sparkly Perfect People! Then I look around my real people kinda house and crash back to earth. Glad to know I’m not alone (although I’m not as spiffy a dresser as you are πŸ˜€ ).

  15. LOVE your post, reality at its best – how on earth did you get that kitchen so clean ! You cheered me up, my place is stacked with stuff for painting, waiting to have pictures taken on just life stuff.

  16. Jeez, we’ve lived in a never ending project for the last 9 years! I keep telling hubby that it’ll all be torn up before it’s finished.

  17. This is beyond funny! You could make a tv show out of this! I had to show my hubby a pic of your “messy” kitchen! Now I don’t feel so guilty when I’m making stuff – all over the house! We’ve all been there and I really admire this group for showing their gems and secrets!!!!

  18. This post is amazing! Seriously. I’m a relatively new blogger, and I have to admit, it has been a bit overwhelming. I’m a pretty clean and tidy person by nature BUT…the housework has slipped since I have entered the crazy world of blogging. I end up feeling like I’m constantly behind the curve, but this post makes me feel so much better. Thanks for sharing in such a real way!

    1. Thank you, Amy! Yeah, I thought we were the only messy ones at first, but then I realized that most people were probably full of crap when it came to showcasing their lives. It’s been a lot easier to deal with since we’ve made peace with (most of) the mess. Handan would still like me to clean and vacuum more though! πŸ™‚

  19. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! We all need a dose of reality!! I find myself always comparing myself to what I call their highlight reel to my behind the scenes:( I know everything I see is not reality but it just gets to me sometimes and it is nice to see your blog help us remember the reality of a busy life:)

  20. I’m so glad I’m not the only one that has a mess behind the scenes. Thanks for making me laugh and for sharing at Ravenwould so others can too.

  21. Loving all these behind the scenes posts! Now, if you’d only share the link to your light kit…definitely in need of one of those around here. Who cares about the mess? Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

    1. Hi Leslie, here is the link to the set we bought: The price includes also the bulbs and everything, so it is really an awesome deal if you buy it as a set. If you want to get only the light bulbs, they are around $25 to $40 per couple depending on the brand and watt you get. When Greg broke the light bulbs that came with the set, we got him these:
      I hope this info helps πŸ™‚

  22. I love this! i have been tempted a time or two to show the carnage that is my kitchen after a cooking session for the blog! #happynowlinkup

    1. Thanks, Jen! You should show the carnage…we all make the same mess, and it feels good to see it from time to time! πŸ™‚

  23. This is perfect. It’s real life. Every so often we call to each other by our other names, Mr & Mrs Slovenly. And then we laugh. . . or groan. All’s I have to say is this, if you drop by my house unexpected, it had better be to see me and not the house. And bring a little grace to share. I’ll clean off a chair so you can sit, and find a clean glass to serve you a drink, then we shall have a good visit.

    1. Thank you, Kathy! I’m so pleased to learn that I’m not the only one fighting the unwinnable war against mess and clutter!

  24. Oh my gosh, this is the best post I’ve read in a long, long time! I love this behind the scenes look, and so glad Rue sent me over to your page! Your DIY projects still kick some serious butt, even if you do have to stage the photos, not gonna lie!

  25. Sent over here, by another blogger.

    I-LOVE-YOU…!!!!!!! What a fantastic, wonderful, illuminating, refreshing post. Cheers to you.

    And so, I do believe I will do what my friend did……. Post a click-able link to here, and share this post, with more people. πŸ™‚

    Repeat! I love you…!!!! -grin-

    Luna Crone

  26. You’re probably wondering what the hell my two friends are rambling on about. I linked to you on my blog post. It was just too perfect not to. I hope you don’t mind, but if you do, I’ll take it off.

    Your blog is fantastic by the way and I loved the story about you and your wife.


    1. Thank you so much, Robin! I go through life with coffee slobber on my chin. And in my beard. And staining the front of my shirts. Meh. I stopped worrying about it years ago πŸ˜€

  27. I was tickled pink to read your comment plus those of other real people..Plus seeing those pictures!!… I do feel a lot better with my house. Thank you!!

  28. oh, you are a NUT! And I love reading your posts. Just found you recently, and have to read something every night for the smiles. Thank you Greg and Handan. You have inspired me!!

    1. Oh, crap, I missed this comment, Karen! But hey, I’m responding in the same year, so it’s all good, right? Thank you so much, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year! πŸ™‚

  29. You and I could be style brothers! I can see the Twin Shots now. I have a daggy red plaid robe and a pair of bunny slippers ready to go. Obviously brilliant minds think and dress exactly alike.

    I’ll have to show Mom that most people live in a clutter jungle. Maybe she’ll get off my back a bit. I’ve had a basket of underwear destined for a drawer that’s been sitting on my chair for…oh…a year? It just gets filled up again as they come out the wash ? And half finished projects are the bane of my life. Along with the literal dust bunny and just mountains of cat hair. I could knit myself another two, maybe three cats. All put together it’s a bit of a nightmare and makes for a tight squeeze in an already small unit, BUT it doesn’t look much worse than your place! (I dunno if that’s good or bad) So it must get at least a passing grade.

    1. LOL, we’re here to inspire, not make people feel bad about themselves, which is exactly what happens when I spend too much time poking around blogland and Pinterest and seeing all the perfection!