Archive for November, 2012

October Superlatives: Better Late Than Never…

We’re nearly a week away from December, which makes rewinding all the way back to the beginning of October a little strange, but since a few book tour stops threw our productivity for a loop this month, our usual wrap-up of the previous month (in yearbook-style superlatives) is coming to you a bit late (ok, way late) in the middle of Thanksgiving break. As always you can read back through January of 2011 right here in just 21 posts instead of 700. Oh yeah, and we’ve also snuck in a clue about Monday’s giveaway at the bottom. Hope you guys are having a great Thanksgiving weekend with the fam!

Most Adventurous: Sherry, for braving our overgrown butterfly bush to get this picture before we started cutting away at it. I know what you’re thinking. What’s so brave about going into a bush for butterflies? Well, we found a snake in it later…

Simplest: This quick little key art project that Sherry whipped up, which represents the four Petersiks from left to right: me, Sherry, Clara and Burger (since he doesn’t stand upright like the rest of us).

Biggest Eyesore: The trash-filled Bagster that sat at the end of our driveway for a couple of days before it was hauled off. But the temporarily ugliness was all in the name of creating some long-lasting pretty-ness in our basement. #worthit

Hottest: According to this mood board Sherry whipped up, School Nostalgia gets this award (which is perhaps a subliminal reason why we do these yearbook-style superlatives?). It was our first shot at a round-up mood board like this, but there will be more down the road since you guys seemed to like it.

The Hand-Me-Down / Hang-Me-Up Award: Our old bedroom sconces. They never quite found a spot here in the new house, so we gave them to our cousins and even hung them up on a recent trip to their home outside of Washington DC.

Most Asked: “How do you know when to DIY something versus when to hire it out?” Since that was such a popular question, we finally dedicated a post to answering it using our french door non-DIY as an example.

Most Coveted: Some of the items spotted on a run through Target last month for one of our occasional Window Shopping posts. Arrowhead notebook, anyone?

Most Open: The oh-so-wide access to our deck, as demonstrated by this “after” photo from our french door installation.

 Fastest: Sherry’s fall mantle decorating, thanks to the little time lapse effect that we applied to the process. Because who wants to watch her futz around for 30 minutes?

Most Satisfying: Finally, finally, finally hosting a yard sale to get rid of some of the “overflow” items that we’ve been accumulating around here – including things from the last house that after nearly two years have yet to find a home (and some things for my sister so we could put “multi-family” on the signs).

Most Satisfying (Runner-Up): Finally, finally, finally getting rid of some of the insane amount of liriope in our backyard… and discovering that our brick pathways are wider and more charming than we originally thought!

Oddest: This moose lamp found at a moving sale in West Virginia. But once it was sprayed white (and reimagined with a colorful shade thanks to Photoshop since we couldn’t reveal the real secret-book-project one) it went from odd to oddly awesome. At least for nature geeks like us.

Most Nerve-Wracking: Our book finally coming out. Sherry laid out all of our fears and anxieties about it finally being born in this post, with Burger capturing our sometimes-want-to-hide-under-the-covers feeling pretty perfectly.

Cuddliest: This baby squirrel? Admittedly we didn’t attempt to cuddle it, but Sherry really really wanted to. Thankfully it ran off and we could get back to more bushwhacking in the backyard.

Most Boring: I say this in the sense that it’s the project that required that I bore lots of holes… in pumpkins. There was something sickeningly awesome about drilling into a pumpkin and having all of its orange guts spill out (all so that Sherry could later weave fake snakes through them).

Manliest: Well, maybe “manliest” is a stretch – but this rundown on guy-friendly fabrics (at least, in my humble opinion) even included tips for honing in on a few not-insanely-girly florals…

Most Historic: Some of the items uncovered while cleaning up my basement workshop. My favorite is the fire extinguisher that was last inspected when we were about Clara’s age.

Creepiest: Sherry, in this Halloween photo from 1994 that she used to announce this season’s Pinterest Challenge. For the record, she was supposed to be a ??????.

Most Polarizing: This fast and free duck makeover that was a big hit with some of you and not quite as lovely to other folks. It was admittedly a bit quirky, but it only has to live in our house so… no harm, no fowl? #duckpunforthewin

Nerdiest: Both of us – well, especially Sherry – during our first book tour stop in Cincinnati last month. Among embarrassing photos like geeking out over seeing stacks of our book for the first time, overdramatic cooing for babies, stuffing chili into our chili-holes, and this photobomb near Cortney Novogratz, we had a grand ol’ time in the O.H.I.O.

Most Improved: I’m giving this award to our backyard, which is looking worlds better after finally getting those overgrown bushes out of the way and making room for some grassy open areas. We can’t believe it’s the same place and it only took a few phases of digging, leveling, and seeding.

 Most Obsessed: Sherry, particularly when it comes to Nate Berkus. Which is why we drove to four Targets before finding some new stuff from his collection to bring home.

Spottiest: This kid-friendly pumpkin project that we tackled with Clara this year (since she’s not yet old enough to get her carve on). The tissue paper polka dots were right up our little sticker-lover’s alley.

Biggest Flirt: Me, at least when I’m in the presence of my basement pegboard. Seeing my tools all organized neatly gets me so hot under the collar that I’m like this Kristen Wiig character named Shana around it. Side note: this post’s title (“Classic Peg”) was one of two SNL Justin Timberlake references of the month.

Most Pinteresting: Our project for this fall’s Pinterest Challenge. A scrap piece of plywood + some cheap framing lumber + stain + chalkboard paint = this rustic, oversized chalkboard for our living room. Plus we added some already-owned magnet paint to make it magnetic too.

Most Pencil-tastic: What? Your high school didn’t have this superlative? If it did, it would probably go to something like this shadowbox which we made to commemorate meaningful items from our book writing process – like the many pencils that we ground down while going through rounds and rounds of editing.

Most Adorable: We gotta give that award to Clara, er, Jessie for her homemade, Toy Story-inspired Halloween costume that Sherry whipped up. Oh yeah, and Burger’s Slinky Dog costume should get the “Most Likely To Require An Explanation” award.

Most Likely To Give You $200: Monday’s giveaway, which is coming from one of our favorite stores. And to make you work a bit to figure it out, just test yourself with this anagram below (i.e. rearrange the letters to form the answer). Hint: the answer doesn’t follow the same letter-per-word count.

So how was your October? Did you get anything major or minor checked off? Can you even think back that far now that it’s almost December?

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Chalk It Up To Thankfulness

If you’ve been around the sun with us before (aka: reading more than a year) you probably know of our little November tradition of filling up our homemade “Thanks Jar” with notes about what we’re thankful for…

We wanted to keep it up again this year, but being away for so much of the month sort of got the best of us. So this weekend we decided to sneak this tradition in right at the buzzer… while putting a new spin on it thanks to our new chalkboard.

The word art at the top of the board was a joint effort. Sherry searched something like “pretty script” on Pinterest and tried her best to imitate what she saw for the word “thanks.” A curlicue here. A flourish there. Then I got in there with some different colors to shade things in and add “Give” and “2012” in my “straight man font” as she called it. I think we were moderately successful.

I actually like doodling different letters and fonts a lot (type geek, represent) but this task nearly got the best of me. Using chalk myself actually gives me the heebie-jeebies BIG TIME. Something about the sound of it. The feel of it grinding against the board. The potential screechiness of it. It doesn’t happen when Sherry or Clara are scribbling away, so maybe it’s the feel of it in my own hand? Yah – it’s weird. But this project was like therapy for my chalk-phobia. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I can now check “chalk use” off my list of things that I’d prefer never to do in this lifetime. It’s not THAT bad.

Shortly after getting our little piece of art done we got down to showing some gratitude. With the help of about $10 in Target magnets and some spare, cut-up cardstock our little “Thanks Board” was looking more like this by the end of the day:

Oh and see those few magnets made from round disks of wood with stripes of paint on them? Those were actually handmade by Megan who gave them to us at one of our signings. She just used small wood disks and some tape + paint + magnets glued to the back. Aren’t they awesome? We love them the most.

We opted to write things that we’re thankful for on paper cards because (a) we could later store them in our thanks jar along with our 2010 and 2011 collection and (b) I could avoid having to write directly on the chalkboard any more than necessary. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

We even got Clara in on the action for the first time ever. It was a bit of a struggle to explain concepts like gratitude and feeling thankful to a 2.5 year old (“Think of things or people that make you happy or glad!”) but she did spit out a few gems. Our hearts melted when she said “Mommy and Daddy make me happy!” A few others were: a balloon, the bookstore, and Bridget’s party (she’s the gal next door who rents a moon bounce (#bestneighborsever).

Here’s a smattering of some of the cards that we each drew up. Since I wrote Clara’s we tried to help distinguish hers from mine by letting her color on her own with crayons. For example, I’m thankful for Skype (especially last week!) and Clara was thankful for Bridget’s aforementioned party (see those festive scribbles?).

Clara got distracted before we finished, though. So, for the record, I’m not the one who’s thankful for her Play-Doh cookie cutters. That’s all her.

Oh, and warning: kids + magnets can be very dangerous. We had a very firm talk with Clara about the magnets not being toys or food. She’s past the phase of putting anything in her mouth, but we didn’t want her to think the magnets looked like candy or anything. We overheard her later telling Burger that he could “look but not touch them because they’re not yummy and they’re not food and ice cream is yummy and that is food” and had a nice laugh. And in the end (after we shot all these photos) we moved all the smaller round ones up on the board to be completely out of her reach and used the larger not-swallowable ones for the lower area – just to be on the safe side.

We’re really glad we took the time to squeeze this little tradition in again this year because it’s a really satisfying process to write out what we’re thankful to have in our lives… even if they’re just simple things like a good TV show to escape to once a week. Yup, Dexter made the board.

And while I’m sure we could’ve easily filled the entire board with things, people, and events that we appreciate, we were sure to leave a good chunk at the bottom open for Ms. Chalks-A-Lot.

She clearly didn’t inherit her father’s aversion to the stuff.

We hope everyone celebrating Thanksgiving this week has some wonderful food, safe travels, loving company, and lots to be grateful for. Heck, here’s wishing the same thing even to those who aren’t celebrating any official holiday. We’re gonna spend tomorrow with the fam, but we’ll be back on Friday to wrap up the week with a quick overdue post for you guys.

And with that, I can’t help but share our Thanksgiving greeting from last year.

  Oh Burger, you slay me. Happy face-stuffing to one and all!

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