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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.