Picks of the Patch 2018 | The Navage Patch Best of 2018 | #TheNavagePatch #Bestof #BestDIY #SimpleDIY #FreePrintables | www.TheNavagePatch.com

Picks of the Patch 2018

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Ah, the year-end roundup! It’s that special post wherein we bloggers cram our pipes full of year-old BS and then light ’em up!

When the BS is glowing red hot, we take a huge lungful and bend over so our heads are dangling between our legs.

Then we bend just a little bit more and look up.

Behold! Our butts!

We then plant our lips firmly upon our buttocks and exhale.

Satisfied, we sit back with a smile and perhaps pat ourselves on the back a few times for a job well done.

So have a seat, friend, and relax as I prepare my pipe.


2018 started as most others in recent memory – cold and bleak. You know, I wonder if people in the tropics have better success rates with New Year’s Resolutions than people in the frozen north. How the hell are you supposed to stick to a diet or get your jiggly butt the gym every day when it’s cold enough outside to freeze boogers? This weather demands macaroni and cheese, not marathons! Hibernation is the key during these cold and dark winter months.

Home is the best place to ride out the season.

And if you’re going to spend more time at home, why not have it decorated with all the latest in trendy farmhouse art?

Wait, everybody still likes that whole “farmhouse” thing, right?

Okay, good, because our best performer last January was our Farmhouse Patent Art post! These free printables easily topped the charts in January. There’s something about tractors and silos that brings out the inner farmer in people. I guess we all imagine ourselves walking through a vast ocean of golden wheat rippling in a warm and gentle breeze as the setting summer sun throws its last light onto our smiling faces.

LOL, we’re all full of crap.

I know our actual-farmer readers would have a thing or two to say about our bucolic fantasies.

Regardless, our farmhouse patent prints hit a chord with real farmers, wannabes and those who just like good-looking free art to put on their walls.

As January packed its frozen suitcase and hit the road to make way for February (who, I might add, arrived with an even larger frozen suitcase), wonderful things were afoot here at The Navage Patch.

Oh sure, we were up to our usual hijinks – building this, painting that, cooking this, drinking that (martini) – but it was a post from our very first year that we updated for 2018 that captured the month.

Yep, our post on how to make an end-grain cutting board took top honors in the shortest month.

Something else happened too…

Jeez, what the heck was it..?

Something pretty important…

It’s at the tip of my tongue…

Oh, yeah!

Handan became an American!

My babes had transitioned from alien to citizen, but we were still waiting on winter to transition to spring. If we couldn’t be outside physically, we could be in spirit. And to get ourselves (and you guys) in the mood for warmer weather, we put together a roundup of some creative and easy DIY outdoor lighting ideas.

No matter how cold it gets, we can always dream of spring.

Though the outdoor lighting roundup was the most popular that month, Handan’s awesome collection of free printable bathroom wall art was a close second. I guess nobody likes staring at a blank wall while sitting on the throne.

April finally brought temps warm enough to head outside, but our projects that month were still mostly indoors.

We had an old wooden fruit bowl and some spindles kicking around – all of them found at the Put and Take – and Handan came up with an awesome upcycle for them. It was our biggest hit of the month, and we still love looking at it each and every day.

May brought weather that allowed us to work and play outside. It’s also the best month to air out the house by keeping all the doors and windows open.

Each May I do this…

And each May I forget the consequences: birds in the house – especially hummingbirds.

Our top performer in May was my post about a little hummer who made it inside but couldn’t get back out. He flew around our 18-foot ceiling until he used up all his energy, and then he dropped to the floor. His eyes were closed, and he wasn’t moving.

This is his story.

In June, things started to fire on all cylinders here at The Patch.

We hit our stride.

Looking back on our projects from June, we seemed to have a lot of big winners, but the number one post according to the number-crunching robot overlords at Google was our Pottery Barn Inspired DIY Planter and Plant Stand. You guys love our Pottery Barn knockoffs!

Just a year before, I was making sauerkraut in one of those crocks! I’d say its fortunes have improved!

Okay, even though Google says that the Pottery Barn knockoff planters were the number one post doesn’t mean we didn’t have other winners. We can’t let June slide with just one pick.

This next post was almost an afterthought for me. I was just screwing around and not expecting much of anything.

But when I finished?

Holy moly, I couldn’t believe how good it looked!

Since I was experimenting, I didn’t take pictures of what I had done. But I quickly made another one and documented the process.

By the time I’d taken the beauty shots, I was sure it would go viral.

Well, it didn’t happen right away, but my alcohol ink bottle lights are starting to light up Pinterest, and that’s bringing new eyeballs to The Navage Patch.

There’s something about lighting projects. We love them, and I love to photograph them.

So it’s no surprise that July’s top pick is also a lighting project.

Our solar mason jar lights are one of the simplest DIYs, and I guess that’s why the post has been so popular since we published it.

In July, we also re-published Handan’s beloved DIY chalk paint recipe, and that post has been going like gangbusters ever since. It’s the best chalk paint recipe out there, so if you haven’t tried it, do yourself and your projects a favor and check it out!

We kept up the lighting theme in August, and our top-performing post was a collection of three super simple fairy light projects. If there were ever projects worthy of the tagline “so simple, even a man can do it,” these are those projects!

An honorable mention goes out to Handan’s 2016 post, DIY Sisal Twine Pumpkins. Two years in, and it’s still bringing incredible numbers!

September is the official start of Halloween season here at The Navage Patch. Though we may try to sneak a spooky post past you in August, by September, our creep flag is flying high. Our biggest post of the month, and one of the biggest of the year, was 2017’s hanging cage Halloween prop.

I have my personal favorites of all the posts I’ve written, and this one is up there near the top. I named those two caged goofballs Ratface and Skully McRib, and I still crack up when I read the banter between them.

Give it a read, if you haven’t done so already. I think you’ll enjoy it.

So what’s my all-time favorite post, you’re asking? Well, it’s the one that Handan asks me to read to her from time to time when she needs some cheering up. Some of you will have read it already, but for many of you newer Patch members, you may be unaware of the dozens of posts I’ve written about our time living in Qatar, Afghanistan, Vietnam and India. If you’d like to start that journey, click over to our About Us page and carry on from there. You won’t be disappointed.

For those who are familiar with our adventures or for those who’d just like to jump into the deep end before wading back to the beginning, you can click over to our favorite post – the story of the time we went swimming with dolphins in Antalya, Turkey.

It’s not all magic and moonbeams, folks.

Okay, you’re back. Let’s carry on!

Our other big winner in September was Handan’s beautiful collection of free fall printables.

You guys sure do love free printables, so we’re going to keep making them for you!

Who remembers the cooking show, Yan Can Cook? It was broadcast only for a year back in 1982, but I remember it so well. Martin Yan was a good-natured Chinese-American chef trying to bring Asian cuisine to an American palate more accustomed to burgers and fries. His catchphrase was, “If Yan can cook, so can you!”

Why the hell is he yapping about an early 80s cooking show? This is supposed to be a DIY and craft blog!

Madam, I can hear you, you know.

I’m telling you about Yan because starting in October, I started to – *gulp* – craft!

Yep, I checked my manhood at the door, and went into “Full Gertrude” Mode.

But, hey, this easy Halloween wreath was our big hit in October! I think we were onto something!

Yeah, I know, you’re still wondering about Yan.

Well, all throughout the autumn months, as I worked on this craft and that, a little mantra kept playing in my head:

“If man can do it, so can you!”

And that is now my catchphrase.

Because everyone knows men are bumbling fools when it comes to crafting.

We’re good at beating stuff with a hammer.

We’re good at melting stuff with fire.

We’re good at blowin’ stuff up.

But we’re not so good at crafting.

So if this man can craft something halfway decent, you fine ladies could do it three times faster while blindfolded and talking to your great-aunt Edna on the telephone.

As the cemetery gates shut on October and November rode in on the chilly Northeasterly winds, our sights turned to Christmas. Yeah, yeah, I know Thanksgiving is first, but Handan and I get too excited about Christmas, so we just sorta gloss over Thanksgiving and dive right into the Christmas projects.

Handan racked up another win with her free watercolor Christmas printables.

You guys loved them, so you expect to see some more next year.

If you’re good, that is.

If you’re naughty, you can expect a free printable charcoal drawing of a lump of coal.

In November, we published the post that would outperform every other post of the year and in less than two months become the 2nd-most-viewed post of all time behind 2016’s Waterdrop Solar Lights.

This DIY Winter Loop Yarn Wreath is one of the easiest wreaths you’ll ever make!

That simple little craft post picked up steam all throughout November and went viral on December 1st. It hasn’t looked back since.

Who would have thought that such an easy project would be our biggest viral hit?

Though nothing we’ve published in December has matched our loop yarn wreath, the biggest winner was our most recent post on how to make little wood house candle holders.

Handan suspected you all would like them, but I wasn’t so sure. I guess there’s still a part of me that needs to believe that complicated = good.

But the numbers and stats we’ve looked at this past year and in previous years tell a different story.

You want simple but still beautiful and elegant.

And we can give that to you.

There’s a lot of simple stuff out there that Handan and I find lacking in the looks department.

Simple Stupid and cheap is one thing, but if a project or craft lacks elegance, beauty and class, then you won’t want to display it in your home.

Our goal for 2019 is to bring you projects that are not only easy on the budget and easy on your time but also easy on the eyes.

So here’s to wrapping up a wonderful 2018.

And here’s to making 2019 the year we look back on and say, “That’s when it happened for us! That’s when we made it big!”

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Make the New Year your best ever.

Much love to everyone reading and all of your families.

Handan and I are grateful beyond words at your continued support.


One of you comments always.

Some of you comment most of the time.

Many of you comment often.

But most of you never comment at all.

If you’re in the last group, why don’t you drop us a note today?

Your comments are our rocket fuel. Nothing keeps us running like hearing from our readers.

You may not consider yourself a commenter. Hey, I get it – I’m not much of one, either.

But today I’m asking you to step outside your comfort zone and drop us a note in the comments section. I promise you we’ll respond!

Though we’ve received almost 5,000 comments since starting this blog, we’re familiar with all of our commenters, and we love it when we get new “regulars.”

So give it a try. You’ll be putting a smile on our faces, and I’ll tell you, when Handan smiles, the world smiles with her.

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  1. Wishing you and your family a very merry, merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year. I am so thankful and appreciative for all the effort you put into making your posts and projects. I found you in October and will continue to follow you as an enthusiastic crafter.
    All the best,

  2. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Looking forward to a creative 2019! BTW I made 5 of your xmas yarn wreaths. Thanks for sharing that wonderful idea!

    1. Merry Christmas to you, Patti! Those wreaths are awesome, aren’t they! Have a happy new year, and we look forward to hearing more from you! 🙂

  3. Merry Christmas and thank you for your blog!! I just recently found you guys and printed one of your Christmas sleigh patents for a Christmas party we were having. It was a great conversation piece! Thank you!!

  4. Merry Christmas, Navage family! I may not comment much, but I read ’em all and admire the talent and skill portrayed. I wish y’all we’re my neighbors – I’d keep y’all supplied with baked goods (no processed sweeteners) and maybe you’d let me use the big boy tools now and then!

  5. Merry Christmas and thank you for all the great ideas! It never ceases to astound me the stuff you can make out of …well, stuff. Keep up the great work and wishing you both all the best for the New Year!!

  6. Love for your neighbor epitomizes the heart you give with every post. Your largesse (free stuff), your self-deprecation (poking loving fun at one another), and your transparent joy incent me to open your posts every time they appear in my Priority inbox.

    Congratulations on becoming naturalized, Handan! It is this respect for our country that I would love to see from all sides.

    Sir Navage: no post would be complete without letting you know how grateful I am to see your healthy interaction with Handan and assure you that your unspoken message of love, support, and kindness to one another does not go unheard.

    May 2019 bring you ever closer to the things that most matter in this life and the joy and comfort they afford.

  7. I hope your Christmas is blessed by joy and love. Always enjoy watching you create anything with wood and dream of owing all those cool tools!! But Handan’s faucet light has to be my very favorite creation! I want to make one…soon! Looking forward to the ride in 2019!!

    1. Thank you, Susan – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family! Yep, that faucet light is a great project – I hope you get yours ready for spring!

  8. Hi there Greg and handan… the best to you and your family. The post I still love the best is cleaning out the barn..shed..whatever it was, seeing all the stuff on the ground! Just gave me the guffaws. We live in a senior area,and as I drive by the garages just crammed with “ stuff” , I think about you guys,and think happy thoughts. Because these people have so much they will never even know what they have hidden in the second ,third, or fourth layers,and would never be able to get to it. Gotta do this stuff when younger,because you not have the strength or energy to mess with it later!
    We usually bring one thing in and one thing out. Except now hubs is saving …wood. How many shelves can you build for goodness sake. Well,you never know! Maybe you will repost that in time for spring cleaning,for your readers! ??
    Are you still your lean self? ?
    Take care..

    1. Hi Bernice, I remember that project like it was yesterday! What was supposed to be a quick morning cleanout took an entire weekend during a heat wave! Blech! But with every good cleaning comes a sense of great satisfaction, so it was certainly worth it! I’m still doing keto, though I admit to relaxing my standards between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Probably put a few pounds back on, but I’ll take them back off in January, lol. How about you? Any luck with keto?

  9. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you & yours! I love your blog! It brightens my day when I read it. Keep up the great work.

  10. Merry Christmas! Your posts always make me giggle. I look forward to more in the New Year and the printables we all love some much and once we see them, realize that even though we didn’t know it, we desperately need them in our lives. ~Anne

    1. Thank you, Anne! We will have many more printables for you in 2019! Handan is a machine when it comes to making those things, lol! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  11. I found your blog last year while looking for Halloween apothecary labels and have been reading every post since. Love your creativity! You have inspired a number of the crafts I did this year. Thanks and Merry Christmas.

    1. Hello, Sandra! Thank you so much for this comment! Maybe if I’m lucky, you’ll comment again! 😀 Handan and I wish you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

  12. I believe that your blog is one of the funnest that I actually read. Plus your talents are amazing. Thank you. Have a Great 2019.

  13. I’m one of “those people” who rarely comment and if I didn’t know better, I’d swear this plea for more fuel was directed towards me personally. Your blog is has it all as far as I am concerned. I mean, great projects and wonderful writing, what’s not to love!? Thank you for always brightening my day and for giving me inspiration. Hope 2019 brings y’all even more happiness than ever. And thank you, thank you for all you do!

    1. Well, Terry, it was directed towards you! I knew you were out there lurking behind your monitor. I’m so happy you didn’t ignore my plea. Now that you’ve written once, maybe you’ll write again from time to time? Handan and I wish you and your family all the best for 2019. We hope to be here to brighten your days for many years to come! 🙂

  14. Happy Holidays and Wishes for a Wonderful 2019. I was looking for Halloween apothecary labels last year and came across your blog. Well I’ve been amazed at what you both do – great work. I’ve been having a chuckle or two each time I read the blog. I look forward to seeing what you all create in 2019.

  15. Just recently found your blog and am enjoying the projects and humor. Looking forward to reading all the new posts. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2019!

  16. I remember Yan Can Cook which I guess is telling my age. Most times I don’t read what happened for the year (good memory, thank you very much) but since I’m relatively new here I did just that and glad I did. Now I’m going to go back and see what I missed. Good luck for the coming year and can’t wait to see your creations for 2019!

  17. Many thanks to you two for so many wonderful projects! You inspire us with each post!
    I’m just getting settled into a new house, I’ve already added a few of your projects to my list of must do’s and I look forward to all of your great ideas in the new year.
    Have a wonderful Holiday season!

    1. Thank you, Alleigh, and best of luck in your new house! I’m sure that will keep you busy with new projects for years to come! Have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

  18. Greg, I have commented in the past and you sent me a note of encouragement. I’ll never forget your thoughtfulness . Keep on reaching for the stars. All your followers love what you and Handan bring to our lives. Hope your son is thriving too. What a pleasure it is to open up your blog and have a laugh and learn something new. Thank you for your kindness. We hope to continue to reap the fruits of your labor in 2019. Blessings to The Navage Patch. Peace.

    1. I remember, Nancy. We’re so happy to have you with us on our bumbling journey through DIY. Handan and I wish you and your (entire) family a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

  19. Who would have thought 2018 would see me following your journey eagerly and crying with laughter at DIY posts? But that’s exactly what happened and I am SO glad that it did.

    You and Handan have something special and I think you can only go from strength to strength. And I hope that soon you’ll be doing features on Ellen and raking in that sweet publisher money. I’ll be right here waving those pom-poms and cheering for you both!

    Have a magical, safe, and happy holidays and New Year!

  20. I hope you all had an amazing holiday! You guys are SO entertaining and talented to boot! I’m so glad I found your blog, I ALWAYS enjoy reading what’s going on and checking out your fab creations. I recently made your loop yarn wreath and it’s so darn cute, I might make them for my sisters next year!
    Anyway, I hope you all have an amazing, safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

  21. I’ve had too much on my plate this year to do as much commenting but I’ll try harder! I have done more pinning and FB sharing. I’m looking forward to your corporate creativity in 2019. <3! Need some more recipes! I am really unhappy my computer is messing with your posts. Jealousy? I have no link to the gerbil video and you know what happened to the cutting board! It does it even when I go through your archives. Very sad and annoying. But I will not be swayed and will continue as one of your faithful followers and do my best to swell the numbers! Happy and prosperous New Year to all my beloved Navage Family!

  22. Pinterest Farm Printables brought me to your patch. Another beautiful project shown to me via Pinterest wizardry caused me to look around ?. Your creations are beautiful and your ‘voice’ is one I enjoy very much. I may or may not comment but I will be back. Happy New Year and keep on keepin’ on. May this year be the one!

    1. Well I certainly thank you for commenting this time, Kristal! We’re so happy you found us, and we wish you and your family the very best in 2019! 🙂

  23. Pinterest brought me here and your stories and DIYs have kept me here for several hours when I should be outside taming the jungle that is my garden. (I live in New Zealand and it is the height of our summer – 30deg Celsius today, not sure what that is in Fahrenheit). I’ve bookmarked a few DIYs I want to look at later on and I have pinned some printables on Pinterest. I’ve read my way through your story and all the way through your Afghan adventures, I can’t wait to get back to the rest of it. I look forward to what you have to offer in 2019. In the meantime I have all of your other posts to read and enjoy. Happy New Year to you both.

    1. Hi Cindy, I’m so happy you found us! We’d love it if you could package a bit of your weather and ship it up here! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! Fun fact: you have the exact same name as my 2nd grade teacher 🙂

  24. You forgot this line – some of you comment once in a while. That’s me. Like maybe 2-3 times a year. Really, you have great ideas. That actually happen. Which is amazing to see, since most of my ideas just float or crash around in my head, depending on the day.

    Keep going, keep inspiring, stay in love. That’s the best part. 🙂

    May your 2019 be spectacular!

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! I’m happy to hear from you, even if it’s only 2 or 3 times a year. We’ll keep going as long as you keep reading! 🙂

  25. I do not know where I have been that I have missed you guys until just now! However I have found you both now – I am looking forward to finishing back posts and sending projects to my husband to get excited about. Thank you for sharing your life and talents with the world. May 2019 grant your every wish.

    Suanne and Jerry

    1. We don’t know where you were, either! We’ve been waiting for you for over 3 years! Well, better late than never, right? Welcome to the Patch, Suanne – Handan and I wish you a happy and healthy 2019!

  26. I’m new to you. Oh, man, have I been missing out. :/ I just had my morning coffee with you. I laughed, I learned, I loved! If you lived in my neighborhood, I’d be your best neighbor, maybe even your best friend. But, I guess I’ll have to settle for being your best fan. You’ve blessed my day. ThankUmuchly. 🙂