Ha! You thought you could run! You thought you could hide! But I’ve found you, and now you must suffer through yet another year-end wrap-up post! Hehehe. Fill your coffee cup if it’s morning or your wine glass if the sun has set, and let’s sift through the words and sentences, the pictures and paragraphs to find the brightest gems and the biggest chuckles of 2017.
Ah, the “Year in Review” post – it’s a time when we bloggers look back at the past 12 months with misty-eyed nostalgia and crow about how “AH-MAZING!!!” it all was. Yeah, well maybe it was, and maybe we’re all full of crap. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. In my experience, there is no glory without hard work and pain, but it is the suffering that makes victory even sweeter. 2017 was a good year for Handan and me and The Navage Patch, but our success was hard-won. If there’s one thing we learned this year, it’s that blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. To get ahead takes a tremendous amount of work. Fortunately, I have a great tool at my disposal when it comes to hard work. It’s called a “wife,” and without it, I’d be just another salty drop in a vast and uncaring sea. Yep, Handan carried the greatest burden this past year. I just took some pictures, wrote a few words and sat around looking pretty. 2017 was the year of Handan.
The year began with hope and promise: Rustoleum was hosting a contest for bloggers for the best use of Rustoleum products in three different categories: Upcycle, Party and Storage. We chose storage, and by “we,” I mean “Handan.” Since the project coincided with our living room makeover, Handan wanted me to build a TV console. It took me a month to design and build, but the finished product is one of the best things I’ve built, and it was good enough for the win.
That win gave us our first real earnings – a $2000 gift card to Lowe’s. It was a turning point. We weren’t just scribbling for giggles anymore. We had made some real money, and we thought it would be pretty cool if we could figure out a way to make some more. By the way, we used those winnings to buy a new oven for me. When we moved into this house, the oven’s display didn’t work. I used that oven for almost 3 1/2 years by sound alone. I knew that when I turned it on, it was set to 350, and I knew that every time I pressed the up or down temperature arrow, the temp would increase or decrease by 5 degrees with an accompanying beep. So to set a 450 degree oven, I’d press the “bake” button (BEEP), and then the “up arrow” 20 times (20 BEEPS). I can’t describe how great it was to get an oven with a working display!
Rolling into February, Handan scored a win with a Pottery Barn Inspired Ceramic Vase Makeover. It is amazing what she did with that vase, considering it looked like it had been attacked by a disgruntled, crayon-wielding two-year-old when she started!
While Handan created treasures in her upstairs crafting area, I was busy crushing rocks in the basement for my Turquoise Inlay Cheese Board. That board was a labor of love, and I’m thrilled with how it turned out. It is one-of-a-kind.
As the days lengthened and the snow began to melt, I was again in the basement, this time building a large French Country Style Mirror for Handan. Not for the first time, I found myself covered in sawdust, gazing into nowhere and wondering, what the hell is French Country Style, anyway? Is it as good as French Onion Soup?
Well, now I’ve done it. I can’t stop thinking about French Onion Soup! I guess I know what’s for dinner tonight 🙂
In April, Handan posted a tutorial for making Antique World Map Decoupage Candles. I love these candles, and I use them often in my photo shoots. They also make great gifts, as those who know us can attest, LOL! That was also the first (and to date, last) project we made into a video. We keep saying we’re going to make more, but Handan gets a little nervous in front of the camera, so she doesn’t really want any speaking roles, and I have a face better suited to radio than film. We’ll see about 2018, though. Maybe we’ll get more comfortable with the moving pictures.
Okay, remember at the beginning of this post I suggested that perception and reality are not always one and the same in blogland? Yeah, well in April, I peeled back the honey-avocado mask and scrubbed off the makeup to reveal the oily, blackhead-infested face of blogging when I took you Behind the Scenes at The Navage Patch. Oh man, that was a fun post to write! Don’t let ’em fool you, sister, everyone out there is full of crap to some degree or another, ourselves included! 😀
Back in March, we started a project that would consume nearly two months of our lives and almost all of our remaining sanity. Yup. The Guest Bathroom Renovation. That is the single biggest pain-in-the-ass project we’ve tackled to date, and I hope it stays that way! Jeezum Crow, what a grueling slog of a project! We finally finished it in May, but I can say without reservation that all of the heartache and pain was worth it. I love this bathroom, and it may be the project that I am most proud of.
In June, The Navage Patch became the Happy Handan Show. She hit it out of the park with her DIY Waterdrop Solar Lights – our first post to go viral. I’ll never forget that day! You should have seen the joy in her eyes as she watched the numbers light up on our stats page – Oh, she was so happy! Her joy kindles my heart, and I’m going to devote 2018 to helping her have more days like that one.
That post took The Navage Patch to the next level. It was a game-changer for us. Though lightning didn’t strike twice that month, she had another big hit with her DIY Spilling Solar Lights. It didn’t go crazy viral like the waterdrop post, but it still performed very well.
Half the year was in the bag, and we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on July 10th. Handan gave me a very “Handan” gift – a pantry makeover! Well, okay, I helped, but it was her idea (obviously…I mean, really – could you imagine me coming up with that idea? LOL!) Oddly, people love to read organization posts, and they love to look at other people’s crap. It boggles my mind. But, hey, I can blow with the breeze as well as the next schmuck, so who am I to argue? If you guys want piles of crap and stories on how to tame those piles, I’m happy to oblige. Maybe I can write a laundry tutorial. Or a series of tutorials!
Laundry 101: Underpants – They Only Need Washing when they Stand up on their Own.
I’m sensing another viral hit!
The second the clock struck August, Handan leaped ahead into fall. Everything happens sooner in Blogland. We need to get our seasonal and holiday posts out well before the season and the holiday, so people (that’s you) have enough time to make or do whatever it is we’re babbling about. So while the kid was still on summer break, Handan was making Sisal Twine Pumpkins, and a good thing, too! That little post was our second-best-performing post of the year!
By mid-August, Handan was in full-blown, Defcon-1, no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners Halloween mode. While normal folk were still sitting poolside, we were awash in warts and witches, buried in blood and broomsticks, and surrounded by skulls and skeletons. But Halloween is Handan’s time to shine, and I wouldn’t dream of taking away a minute of her gory joy. And lest you think she’s all about the creepy stuff, she can go a little light-hearted, too. In September she made us our very own Cousin Itt, and he was a big hit, both at home and online! That’s him below posing with his wife, Skeleyap – the skeleton wife that won’t stop yapping. Now why does that sound so familiar?
October arrived and The Big Show was only 31 days away. We kept the Halloween hits coming. I had some moderate success with my Hanging Cage Halloween Prop post. It was my first foray into “simple” projects, and it was a lot of fun to make. It was even more fun to write about! I had a ton of fun with the dialogue between Rat and Skully. 🙂
Though October belongs to the Halloween posts, I also had success with my DIY Oversize Book Page Wall Art post. I love words, and what better way to share that love (besides these periodic ramblings) than to offer free book page printables!
For two years running, our biggest Halloween post has been Handan’s Apothecary Jar Labels. She struck gold in 2016 with the first batch, and she worked all of this year to collect more jars and ingredients for her second batch of Apothecary Jar Labels. This year’s post was just as big a hit as last year’s. She certainly deserves it. I think those labels took more time than the Bathroom Renovation!
With November came the Christmas posts. Handan scored a big hit with her Printable Christmas Patent Art. A lot of people took advantage of our free printables, and I’ve seen them many times on Instagram, printed out and hanging in people’s homes. That makes us feel great when we see that! 🙂
It had been a while since I tackled a big furniture project, so I was glad to be back in the basement transforming an old mid century modern chest of drawers into a Faux Card Catalog Cabinet. I love working with furniture, so expect to see a few more furniture renovations and upcycles in 2018.
And that brings us to December. Of our posts this month, Handan’s DIY Gilded Ornaments stole the show. That woman just knows how to pick good projects and explain them in an easy manner. I should take more notes when she’s working!
Yup, 2017 was an awesome year for The Navage Patch. Handan carried us this year, while I just struggled to keep up with her blistering greatness. Her posts outperformed mine by a factor of 10, at least! Hopefully she’ll still keep me on next year. 🙂 And I know that we can do even better in 2018!
None of our success is possible without you, the ever-patient reader. Handan and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support, and we hope to hear from all of you in the comments this coming year.
With tremendous love and appreciation,
Greg and Handan