Beauty Queens, Bouncers, Crafting, & Stick Dogs

Hooray, our publisher has finally locked down a few upcoming dates that you guys have been asking for and even added a few more tour stops, so we’ll spill those beans at the end of this post! But before we get to what lies ahead, it’s time for our once-every-two-weeks tour recap of our most recent stops (the last ones of 2012 before things kick back up again in January).

After our whirlwind week away in mid-November, we had Thanksgiving week off and then were back on for two separate stops in Washington, DC and one in our hometown of RVA. The first was at the FLOR store in DC. The tight footprint of a Georgetown shop meant lots of people braved the wait out in the chilly weather, for which we are very grateful. Luckily the FLOR folks generously provided popcorn, wine, hot chocolate and just about the best cookies I’ve ever eaten in my life. Seriously. And if you saw two girls sneak in before the event opened, they were our cousin Cat and my little sister Carrie… hence their line cutting privileges. Update: Sherry wanted me to add that she has no idea why she puts her head down and smiles like a bull about to charge someone, so there ya go.

Oh and also, to anyone who came out – if it ever looked like I was taking random breaks to wander through the line and make phone calls, it actually wasn’t me. It was my alleged doppelganger Patrick, who helped organize the event and apparently was mistaken for me several times that evening. As in people kept saying “wait why isn’t John upstairs signing?” You can see from Heather’s experience how it was mildly mind-boggling to those patiently waiting. I don’t really see the resemblance, but it was enough that apparently Patrick’s own daughter saw a picture of Sherry and me after the event and asked why daddy was standing with “that lady.”

Oh and if you see Burger photobombing any of other pictures from this event, it’s just this paper-Burger on a stick that Nickie and her friend brought with them. And yes, we still have it around the house to this day.

Okay, on to the fun stories and fun people we met (not that the aforementioned people weren’t fun or anything). But check it out, we met Miss District of Columbia! And she even let me wear her crown . Cross that one off the bucket list, Petersik!

And since Georgetown Cupcakes (the shop featured on the TLC show DC Cupcakes) was across the street, we got lots of sugary deliciousness brought our way. This dozen from Emily, Melanie, and Danielle included some that were personalized with our initials. Emily had the advantage of actually working at the cupcakery.

And she wasn’t the only person we met with the behind the scenes scoop on some TV. Jeannette once worked as a production assistant for True Blood, which is why Sherry broke out her “vampire face” for this picture. In her defense, she thought all of us were doing it. Instead we just left her hanging, fangs out and all.

Being near my hometown meant seeing some familiar faces too, like Jenny, who went to my high school. To commemorate that fact, she brought this Cat’s Meow wooden keepsake of our school. I can’t believe they actually make one (it’s not the prettiest building in the world by a long stretch) so bravo to Jenny for finding it.

We didn’t know Caroline or Katie before that night, but we had been expecting Katie. Her husband Bob emailed us ahead of time to say it would be great if we could surprise her by congratulating her on her recent wedding. We told Bob we meet lots of Katie’s so we’d need a clue to know which one to surprise, so he devised a plan of writing “Bob” on the bottom of the ceramic owl she planned to bring. The plan went off without a hitch. Katie was shocked (and no longer confused why her husband had graffitied her owl with his name) and Bob earned some major husband points. The weirder part is that we had bumped into Caroline and Katie as we walked to the FLOR store earlier that night. When they introduced themselves I almost asked “is your husband named Bob?” but bit my tongue when I considered how unlikely it would be that we’d run into the exact Katie we were on the lookout for that night. Psst- Nice photobomb Burger.

Speaking of guys, we always like to point out that men do come to these events! Heck, Jimmy even rode solo for the evening and had us sign this toy wrench for his son. That’s not his son pictured next to him, just another young fan who came sporting his homemade “I Heart YHL” onesie. I believe that look is “who put this shirt on me and why is that man pointing a camera in my face?”

In addition to interesting people, there were also plenty of interesting pictures to be snapped. And by interesting, I mean weird. This one was by request. Our direction was “there’s something scary in the corner.” To me it was so scary I couldn’t even bear to look. But I kind of like that it looks like I’m avoiding the ridiculousness that’s going on around me.

Sherry also wanted to get a pic with anyone she dubbed her “twin.” Aka they were wearing a blazer and/or similar shirt. These ladies got it pretty spot on though. Although technically the one of the right is from our second DC event through LivingSocial. But before we move on to that, here are some links to other people’s post about the night in case you wanna read from a non-Sherry and John perspective: here’s Becky, Rhiannon and Ms. Adams.

The FLOR event ran until after 11pm, which meant our drive home to Richmond afterwards didn’t get us home until about 1:15am. To say we were tired would be an understatement. So initially the fact that two days later we’d be doing the drive out to DC again was a bit tough to get excited about. But as soon as we rolled up to the LivingSocial event space at 918 F Street, how could we not be excited? They’d surprised us by decorating their windows based on the ornaments that we made last year.

LivingSocial is headquartered in DC so it’s here that they created a space for all sorts of events, classes and fun group experiences. The building itself was awesome and we were kinda jealous of all the DC folks who have art workshops, cooking classes, and even live sumo wrestling (whilst eating sushi, mind you) at their fingertips. We were there because in addition to signing books, we were going to lead two crafting classes based on projects we’d done.

We did lots of planning with Living Social ahead of time, so everything was ready to go when we arrived. In addition to making the paint swirl ornaments that we did last year, we were also doing a holiday twist on two projects from the book. Instead of gilding a lamp base with gold paint (#187 in the book) we’d be painting hurricanes for holiday centerpieces. And instead of painting wood for art (#140) we’d be painting wooden candlesticks for a holiday table-setting. Each 90-minute session had 50 smiling faces – and there were even a handful of guys in the afternoon class! Not that I don’t like being in a room full of ladies, but it was nice to have some guys backing my up in the second class.

Sherry and I were a bit nervous going into this because (1) we had never taught a crafting class before and (2) we hadn’t practiced what we were going to say at all. Eep. We just wanted to be natural and have fun and not be all robot-y and rehearsed.

In the end I think it actually went pretty smoothly. And by some miracle the timing of everything worked out pretty well – so, although people had to work somewhat swiftly, we were able to not only get through all three crafts in 90 minutes, things were able to dry pretty decently before people had to take them home after the book signing portion of the session. Other than some of the gold paint needing another coat on the glass vases, nearly everyone whipped everything out. #craftninjas

We probably could still stand to work on our talk-and-craft-at-the-same-time skills. Sherry tried to execute the projects along with everyone else and did a pretty decent job. Here are her Christmas-tastic striped candlesticks below (they got one more coat before being called done – at which point Sherry sent them home as a cute surprise for a guy whose girlfriend couldn’t make it to the event). And our painted ornaments are currently on our mini tree at home.

The crafting session was really about hanging out, meeting people, having fun, signing books, and messing around with some paint – so it was a bonus when things came out really nicely. Here’s a photo sent to us from Amanda of her three projects. We were loving the folks that went rogue and used their metallic paint from the glass project on the candlesticks too. Doesn’t it look good with the raw wood? And here are a couple posts from the view of a couple of “students” – one with hilarious drawings and one with amazing cookie skills.

After each crafting session we spent 30 minutes doing the usual book signing part, and then after the two crafting & signing sessions we had another couple hundred people come just to get books signed. It was a busy day for sure (we left Richmond at 7am and got home at 9pm) but everyone was so nice and the LivingSocial people were super awesome. We had a great time. Plus, Sherry finally got to sign someone’s spray paint can! Two, actually (the other pic sadly didn’t come out). Talk about a momentous occasion.

She also got to sign her first mirror… in lipstick form. Apparently Jenny said all the right things to get Sherry in that hot pink lipstick.

I didn’t get the chance to kiss any mirrors, but I did get to sign a copy of my middle school yearbook. This embarrassing moment was thanks to Jackie, who went to elementary and middle school with me (our older sisters were BFFs). Thank goodness my 8th grade picture was taken before I got braces, which inspired a closed-mouth grimace in my 9th grade picture. Good thinking, John.

As for funny photos, we did this one with Mia and her friends who also shared fond memories of Funland, the amusement park at the Delaware beach where many DC-area-natives grew up visiting. This pose was “pretend you’re on a Funland ride.” I could clearly work on this look (though in my defense, the hand I had up was just cut off in the shot). No idea why my instinct was to just put one hand up. Maybe the other hand was being sensible and holding on in case of an emergency?

Speaking of hands up, here’s another one where we were posing as bionworks. What’s a bionworks you ask? It’s a fictional animal that my 10-year-old self invented, at least according to a drawing that Sherry and I found a few years ago. It simply said “Bear + Lion + Fireworks = Bionworks” and showed a lion-ish creature with fireworks for a mane. So yeah, now you’re in the know the next time a bionworks comes up to you at a cocktail party or something.

After all the fun at the LivingSocial events on Saturday, we drove back home to Richmond for our last event of the year – and boy were grateful to only have to travel 15 minutes for it. It was hosted by one of our favorite stores in RVA called Mongrel. It’s filled with awesome cards, books, gifts, ceramic animals, and just about everything in between. In fact, the wrapping paper that we used for the first project in the book was from here. They don’t typically do book signings so we were flattered that they wanted to get their feet wet with us.  They were awesome and sweetly over-prepared for the event (for example, there was a bouncer in case any of you blog readers got rowdy).

Fortunately the bouncer’s services weren’t required and everyone was fun and excited and incredibly kind as usual. For example, Anna baked us red and blue cookies in the spirit of the ones we had at every West Elm event. They were delicious. The plate, not so much.

And how’s this for a thoughtful gift? Rachel is a professional hair stylist here in Richmond so she gave Sherry a box of hair-cutting supplies to upgrade her DIY haircuts for me. I’m excited mostly because next time I’ll get to wear a legit cape. Oh yeah, who fancy now?

This picture also cracked me up because Jon and Randa both happen to share a birthday with me, so in the vein of the “Pregnant / Not Pregnant” photo Sherry took with a mom-to-be in Toronto, we took this one. I also kinda wanted to do a “John / Not John” version but I guess Jon and I spell it differently so maybe it’s best that we left it at this.

I also had the unique opportunity to sign someone’s shirt. I felt bad doing it, but Mary said she’d gotten spray paint on it so it was out of commission anyway. I connected the spray paint dots into what resembled a Christmas tree with a crescent moon over it.

And Sherry one-upped me in the drawing game by taking on the challenge to sketch on a sheet for Robyn, who is doing a weekly photo project inspired by the one we did for Clara. Sherry’s masterpiece (which ended up being a sketch of our book cover) would act as the backdrop for her son Sawyer’s 41 week photo.

If you’re wondering how the photo turned out, here’s Sawyer in his 41-week-old glory. I did get to add the “Week 41” detail to the sheet, so I guess Sherry didn’t get to have all of the fun. You know me and fonts. #typegeek

And as for blog posts by others for the Richmond stop, you can see our friend Brittany’s recap or check out Megan’s hilarious post about the day.

So that officially wraps up our tour stops for 2012. It’s been quite an adventure these last few weeks and while we’re excited for more action come January, we are enjoying having a month to spend mostly at home with the bean and the Burgs while sleeping in our bed. We calculated the other day that so far we’ve spent 41 hours signing books so far – and that doesn’t count crafting sessions, presentations, set-up time ,or travel. Crazy, huh? But totally worth every minute to be able to meet so many of you and bask in your awesomeness. Really, we dig you guys. A lot.

Oh, and speaking of that action in January, there’s so much that it extends into February. So here’s the official tour update for ya!

Yep, we’ll be hitting up the Bay Area of California on the tail of our Tacoma & Portland trip. And when we’re headed to Charlotte we’re gonna keep driving down 85 and stop in Atlanta as well. Woo hoo! Although sadly some scheduling issues got in the way of our planned Grand Cayman stop so that has been canceled. Boo.

You can get the full details on where, what time and how to RSVP for each of these dates on our Book Tour Page. Oh yeah, and if you already RSVP’ed for the NYC event in November, your name is already included for this new January date. So please don’t RSVP again. Thanks, guys! Hope to see some of you at our next nine stops that start up again in a few weeks! And happy weekend to one and all! Suddenly I feel like Santa or something. And to all a good night!


  1. Brandy says

    YAY! I’m so excited for the Atlanta stop! Whoohoo for awesome publishers/booking agents/whoever listened to your readers! Maybe Katie can come and join the fun :)
    Ahh, love you guys and can’t wait to meet you!

  2. Letty says

    Sherry, I LOVE that you fully commit to the pictures! Whatever they ask– fang face, fake scared, shocked– your faces are awesome and always make me laugh! The fact that you and John don’t take yourselves too seriously is one of your loveliest traits (out of many!). Hope to see you guys in Miami! xoxo Letty

  3. Katie says

    Annnnnd you guys sang me happy birthday! Actually, Sherry started singing me happy birthday, and every left you hanging. It was awesome, and I left skipping. Thanks for such a fun experience. I hope the city I love treated you as well as you treated us.

  4. katalina says

    John don’t be shy— where is your mood board for cmas wish ideas for YOU….GUYS?

    is Burger still working on his too?

  5. Katie says

    NOOOoooooo! The ONE week I’m on a business trip and not able to get to NYC and that’s when you’ll be there. *sniff* Oh well. I’ll catch you on your next whirlwind book tour. Or in Philly perhaps?

  6. Hayley M. says

    I totally skipped to the end of the post to find out if you were going to be anywhere near Nashville… AND YOU ARE!!! I already RSVPed to the Atlanta signing and I could not be more pumped to meet y’all!!!

  7. Brenda says

    Is it dorky that I’m excited you’re going to Atlanta because I know you have friends there? Hopefully you’ll be able to work it out with the Bowers. I always love the things Sherry and Katie come up with when they’re together!

  8. says

    I’m so excited you’re coming to Atlanta! I’ve already RSVPed for the event and I talk about you guys so often (did that just make this weird?) that my husband is going to come with me to meet you, too.

  9. Fran Siefert says

    I asked you to bring Granny Petersik with you to Ft. Lauderdale in February, but now I see that it is in January and I will be traveling north on that particular day to get my mother for a visit in Florida. Bad timing. Hi to your parents, John!

  10. Heather R. says

    Yaaaay!! You’re coming to Atlanta! Ever since you announced the tour my sisters and I have been hoping you would add our city. I live right around the corner from the Flor store, so we will definitely be there…with bells on. Is that how the saying goes? Anyway, we won’t really be wearing bells (or maybe we will. Hmmm that gives me an idea.) and I can’t wait to meet you two!!

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