December Superlatives: Projects Plus Parties

We’re sneaking in one last look at December, in case there was anything y’all missed – and also just to remind ourselves that we didn’t spend the entire month in a Christmas cookie-induced food coma. We’ve noticed that taking a second to appreciate the items that we have checked off the list each month inspires us to get going on even more projects that we have yet to tackle. So it’s a nice breath of you-did-it-now-don’t-stop to keep our DIY momentum a’ flowin. And if you want to see more of last year (or even the year before) we’ve got each month summarized right here (in 24 posts instead of about 840 – not bad, right?).

But first, something that we haven’t shown before: our New Year’s Eve photobooth pic that we took as a family. It’s a real old timey photobooth, which is why the photo processing is a bit, um, “vintage.” And by vintage I mean it obscures the fact that I was making a two-zero-one-three with my hands in each frame (get it? 2013?). But at least it’s clear that Clara is sporting some major photobooth skills. Check out that range of faces she’s giving us.

Most Undone: Our gradient Christmas tree, which we loved putting together (we even made a time lapse video of it!) but it sadly got disassembled a few days ago. But we’re already thinking about how we’ll dress it up again next year…

Most Improved: The mirror in our hall bathroom, which we framed out with some simple pieces of wood to give it a more polished and upgraded look.

Most Linked: We put up this linky-fest last month for folks to post projects they’ve done that were inspired by projects in our book so that we all could check them out. Right now there are nearly 200 projects to browse!

Most Overdue: Meeting Nicole of Making It Lovely in person, which we were able to (finally!) do in November during our Chicago tour stop. But it wasn’t until December that we got around to sharing the photos that we took when we crashed her beautiful pad.

ORB Victim of the Month: All of the doorknobs in our house, which we chose to update with a simple coat of our favorite spray paint (oil rubbed bronze by Rustoleum, for the uninitiated). It was a quick way to make our old mismatched doorknobs feel a bit less, well, old and mismatched.

Most MacGyver-y: When we decided to paint our extra-tall sunroom, we devised this system – a paintbrush taped to a pole, fancy I know – to edge around surfaces we couldn’t reach on our ladder. Take that weird area around our ceiling fan!

Most Magnetic: These ornament magnets that we busted out this year for just about the first time since making them for a local magazine article back in 2009. They would later hold all of our holiday Christmas cards. We photographed them and other random festive decorations around the house for this post.

Most Graphic: This tutorial on How To Change Your Outlets which we provided entirely in one 2000 pixel tall image (including captions) for easy reference.

Most Likely To Want World Peace: Me, as acting Miss District of Columbia for a brief moment when she let me wear her crown during one of our three recent book signings in the Virginia/DC area. This was also the post where we recapped the holiday crafting session that we led at Living Social.

Most Unimpressed: Burger (what’s new?). This particular instance of being unphased by a change in our house occurred when we finally bit the bullet and painted the brick wall in our sunroom to go with the rest of the walls that we already tackled. It was awesomely unifying, even if Burger couldn’t have cared less.

Most Back-To-The-Future-ish: The chance that we’d be able to move into our old house and make different design choices is pretty slim, but that didn’t stop Sherry from imagining what she’d redo and what she’d repeat if we were just tackling our first home’s decor now. It was fun to see what changed and what has stayed the same when it comes to our style all these years later…

Most Giftable: These three holiday gift guides that we put together – including one for kids, one for ladies and one for guys. We’d love to know if any of you ended up giving (or getting) any of the items we rounded up for ya.

Coolest: The homemade play fridge that we created for Clara for Christmas this year. It – along with a thrifted wire cart and some new play food – were a little addition to her much-loved play kitchen from last year.

Most Gifted: Well, just about everyone was probably feeling gifted in December. We were just proud not to have to buy any new wrapping stuff this year, thanks to reusing existing bags, paper, and tissue. In this post you’ll also see our Christmas lights all strung up outside as well.

Most Vertically Challenged (Plant Edition): Our tabletop tree, which we decked out again this year in fun, non-matching ornaments that are special to us (there were even a few Clara-creations in the mix). And this year we added a cheap DIYed window garland from some on-sale felt ornaments from Target last year.

Most Vertically Challenged (Human Edition): Sherry, who was given a covert behind-the-desk box to help compensate for a certain shortcoming (pun most definitely intended) during one of two live TV appearances that we eked out here in Richmond.

Most Dedicated To Their Craft: Clara and Burger, who had an easy time “acting” the part of children stealing Santa’s treats for our 2012 Christmas card.

Most Nervewracking: We sweated the idea of hosting Christmas dinner for the first time ever, but things went pretty darn well – especially since it gave Sherry a chance to break out the cloth napkins and even use magnolia leaves from the front yard for each place setting.

Most Handsy: All of the crafters and artists that we encountered at Richmond’s Handmade Holiday craft show this month. Our hands didn’t leave empty either – we came home with a few great things – including these wisdom cards that Sherry loves gazing at while she types away.

What about you guys? What’d you accomplish last month? Or what didn’t get done in the holiday craziness that you’re looking forward to tackling this year instead? We have a certain big girl room that we can’t wait to get a jump on as well as an unfinished basement and sunroom to attend to.


  1. KathyL says

    ok the guy with Sherry in Most Vertically Challenged….he’s made of wax right???? right???? he looks like he’s made of wax.

  2. Kim says

    Oh after I saw your gifts-for-guys post I went out and got the army men bookends for my little brother! I was kind of hoping he wouldn’t like them and I could keep ’em for myself… but he loves them, and they hold up all the new books he got!

  3. Amanda C says

    I think I will have to give your sophistocated paint-brush-on-a-pole method a try when painting the walls above the landing of our stairs. Wish me luck!

  4. says

    @KathyL, That guy definitely looks like a wax figure! Creepy. Must be the television make-up and perfect hair.

    This is a great recap. I just found this blog thanks to Nicole from Making It Pretty. I love it and find it so inspiring! Those ornament magnets for holiday cards are fantastic!


  5. says

    I’m impressed how much y’all managed to accomplish in the busiest month of the year! I was obsessed with your gradient tree – SO fun!

  6. says

    Your hardworking blazer totally deserved its own shout-out! Most traveled? Hard working? Some sort of clever cost-per-ware pun I’m not clever enough to come up with? Something, though. It’s like another character on the blog at this point!

  7. Ali Miller says

    Please excuse me for being love-creepy. I just want to take this opportunity to tell you guys how awesome you are. I wanted to write to say how I love this monthly post. You guys are always coming up with ways to keep the blog interesting and fun. You have a routine schedule (I check for your posts at exactly 9am central time, which is when I eat my morning piece of fruit at my desk), while adding in just enough whimsy to keep it fun. I love that you always throw in something new to keep it interesting and fun.

    I met you in Dallas (I talked my husband into bringing my from Clinton, Mississippi by using the fact that I have an Aunt we could visit there), and was so nervous to meet you that we had a very generic exchange and I felt so silly afterwards! I did find a small white turtle shell (similar to the one you found at Target, but smaller) at West Elm which hangs on my dining room wall to help remember the adventure.

    Thanks for everything you do. You guys are amazing at keeping it all together. Best of luck on your resolutions–and definitely “care for yourself”!

  8. says

    I remember when I first saw you guys use the term ORB… I didn’t know it stood for something back then.. thought you were talking about like an orb of light or something. Right.. oil rubbed bronze. Got it. I applaud you for showing the step by step electrical procedures.. I’m too afraid to on our blog.

    We’ll be attending your NYC book signing too. Really looking forward to it. Bringing the whole clan. I’m not sure if I should wear a Phillies tee or a Red Sox tee. Hmmm.

  9. Ashley says

    When I saw “How to Tell if Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You” on John’s list, I HAD to buy it for my brother’s girlfriend. We have all gotten a kick out of it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  10. says

    I was going to ask this before and got distracted by something shiny, I think:

    Why don’t you use cloth napkins every day? We do – we just have a stash of non-fancy ones we rotate through for everyday meals. I haven’t used a paper napkin (except for the occasional takeout burger) in years. You guys are so eco-friendly I was a little surprised at the big deal the cloth napkins were for Christmas.

    Obviously fancy cloth napkins can be saved for special occasions – I wouldn’t expect Sue to get busted out every day.

    • SW says

      I too got rid of our paper napkins and just use cloth ones. I got some fun ones from West Elm (and have some holiday and special occasion ones put away) and it’s just as easy to use them as paper.
      I even got rid of our paper towels and just use the little washcloths from Ikea that you can get in multi-packs in the kids section.
      It’s just as easy to throw these in the laundry :)

    • Kim says

      I also use little washcloths instead of paper towels! I find that I like them better because they are more absorbent and are super easy to wash and then fold in a little wicker bin next to the sink. I actually got started using them thanks to my Grandmother who gave me a bunch when she was cleaning out her kitchen. She grew up on a small farm during the Great Depression so the idea of wasting paper towels everyday would be crazy to her haha.

  11. Wendy says

    Yes! I needed a last minute gift for my niece who is about two months older than Clara so I ordered the racer ramp thingy (#2). I have no kids so it was very helpful! I remember thinking “Seriously – YHL completely changed my life/entire house and now they are doing my Christmas shopping for me????”

  12. Karen says

    Just got your book in the mail! WOOOOOOOOOOOO! The dishes in the sink may have to wait a liiiiiiiiiitle bit longer!

  13. Michela says

    I purchased the gingerbread crayons and a cool recycled notebook (made from a NY map) for my boyfriend’s niece and nephew in NYC. They were a huge hit! Thanks for the idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *