Monthly Roundups

January Superlatives: From Big Girl Room to Big A$$ Coat

We can’t believe we’re halfway through February already (January was kind of a blur). So in an attempt to take a minute and appreciate the things that we checked off the ol’ list (which keeps our momentum up and combats any “we didn’t get anything done” nagginess that sneaks up when the to-do list is still super long), here’s our yearbook-superlative-style January round-up. And if you want to look even further back, we’ve got each month of the last two years summarized right here in 24 posts instead of 840.

But let’s start with something not-yet-blogged about (and an off the wall theory about bacon and mustaches)…

Most Likely To Sport A Mustache: Anyone in the FLOR store in SoHo last month for our signing, where there were homemade mustache photobooth props. In fact it’s where I coined the completely logical theory that “The mustache is the bacon of the face.” (Both bacon and mustaches are trendy, and you’re likely to find them on random things like mugs and band-aids, so there has to be a connection, right?) I also conversely decided that “Bacon is the the mustache of breakfast.

Most Intrigued: Clara, when she opened the homemade latch board that we made her for Christmas. Of course her first sentence about it made us laugh (“oh wow man!”) and thankfully she has been captivated by it ever since – especially the carabiners that we added to give the board some color.

Biggest Relief: Finally getting to reveal our new lighting line at Shades of Light felt awesome (especially since we’ve been keeping that side project a secret for over a year). We worked really hard to come up with a colorful and fun collection that felt like us, not only in looks, but in budget (nothing’s over $99).

Worst Speller: It’s no secret that I’m the more spellcheck-dependent one in our marriage, so thank goodness Sherry noticed – just moments before posting our 2013 blogging resolutions – that I had a typo (“resoltions”) in every single one of my graphics. A little bit of quick photoshop later and no one was the wiser.

Most Handsome: I gotta give this up to the Burg-ster. For one, it would’ve been odd to award it to anyone else in our household and he just looks so darn stately next to this pillow that I gifted Sherry for Christmas. We posted this round-up of all of our exchanged gifts, including some tattoos and a few crazy faces too.

Most Text-y: Probably both of us, considering it’s how Sherry introduced me to our new media console after she came across it at a thrift store. Although Sherry would definitely pull out the win in this category thanks to her long text conversations with various non-local friends (yes I’m talking about you Katie and Roo).

Biggest Nerd: I usually wear the nerdy pants in the family, but I’m giving Sherry this title thanks to the oh-so-scientific equation she cooked up for cleaning our dingy new thrift store media console. Though perhaps I shouldn’t encourage her or she might try to cook up her own DIY version of the periodic table (which would somehow involve buying 118 new pillows, knowing Sherry).

Most Talked About: Sherry’s bangs, which she cut herself on a whim and have since become the topic of conversation in just about every Instagram photo and book tour stop to follow (perhaps because they only come out for special occasions but people are constantly asking where they went or demanding that they emerge more). Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but I am fascinated / confounded by how interested everyone is in my wife’s hair.

Most Compact: Our casual system for Christmas decoration storage, which we outlined for those who were curious about how we crammed all of our holiday decor out of sight for the other 11 months of the year.

Most Quotable: That award totally goes to Clara these days. Which is why we made her funny little quotes – along with her funny little Instagram pictures – the star of our annual DIY calendar. Oh and Burger’s in there too. You can check it out in more detail here and download our free template if you want to make your own.

Most Trendy: This goes to the art we added above the daybed in our sunroom, not because the art itself it’s especially trendy (although I’m not alone in my map love these days) but because I jumped on the animated GIF bandwagon by making one to show the art wall’s progress. Yup, I’m fancy now.

Most Adulterous: This usually isn’t an award you want to win, but I’ll gladly accept it this month for my not-so-secret-love for the oversized bike prints in our sunroom and the easy DIY frames that I made for them.

Most Colorful: Our whole house palette. Okay, admittedly the palette itself doesn’t look wildly colorful but I’m still handing over this award to the post because it was, well, about looking at the colors in our house as a whole. And it seems as if we have every color of the rainbow going on if you count fabrics, rugs, and accessories.

Most Helpful: My newest little DIY assistant, who helped me squeeze the power drill while putting together the new Expedit for our sunroom. And yes, we did use a power tool to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture. I’m way too lazy to do all that allen wrenching by hand!

Most Revealing: The glass-doored bathroom in our Miami hotel, which we we stayed at as part of our tour stops in Austin, Texas, and South Florida. It was just one of many good stories from a trip that included me curtsying in a Home Depot apron, Sherry doing a weak Dexter impression, and $herdog’s littlest homeboy.

The “Clean Slate” Award: This has to go to our playroom / junk room where we did lots of book photography over a year ago. We finally got it cleared out and repainted it. We were so excited to create a space that we can actually enjoy (as opposed to closing the door to hide from the clutter).

Most Honest: Many of you had questions on the subject, and you know we like to keep it real, so we shared a behind the scenes look at how the book business works, at least in our experience by revealing that publishing a book doesn’t make you a millionaire… or even anything close to that. Thank goodness we did it for the love! You know what they say about mo money and mo problems anyway…

Most Excited: Clara, for her new big girl room, which started to look more room-ish with the addition of a daybed, some bright bedding in her favorite colors, and a play table that I cut down to her size.

Most Likely To Be Pregnant: Our friend Lori who, by coincidence, was pregnant both times we crashed her home. Her new house caught many of your eyes for lots of reasons, but especially for the awesome built-ins that they added in their family room. And yes, I realize everyone was hoping Sherry would take the prize in this category, but she is not currently with child (unless you count her being in the room with Clara and Burger, but they’re not in her belly).

Most Likely To Keep Instagram In Business: Us – although maybe we’re just keeping the Instagram spin-off services in business considering our recent order of prints for the frame collage in our living room and magnets for Clara’s play kitchen.

Most Fudge-ing Awesome: The incredible response you guys had to our random idea to have an Unofficial Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge. We secretly feared we were the only ones who were obsessed with hip hop’s numero uno tribute to thrifting, so the fact that you guys were into it was the icing on the cake, er, the faux fur on the big a$$ coat.

Most Debated: This new dresser for Clara’s big girl room that we scored on Craiglist. The jury is still out at our house as to whether it’s gonna get refinished or earn some pretty paint, but we sure got lots of suggestion from you guys!

Most Organized: My now-complete pegboard in the basement that finally got filled up with both form (wooden USA, white elephant) and function (shelf, iPod dock, pen cup).

Most Likely To Get Lots of Action: Wait, not that kind of action. What I really meant was that the new pink polka-dot / ombre rug in Clara’s big girl room is probably gonna see lots of play time, jumping, tea parties, and stuffed animal mosh pits.

Most Likely To Miss The Memo That Christmas Is Over: These white ceramic houses (which Sherry got as a Christmas gift). Despite being from Ballard Designs’ holiday line, it seems they’ve earned a post-holiday spot on our mantle, which we shared here along with two other mini updates. If Sherry has her way, they’ll live there forever. At least we don’t have to pay any utilities on them…

How did January look for you? Did you knock out a lot of travel for work or for play? Did you get any major projects completed? Or did you just hunker down and try not to freeze your DIY-loving hands off?

Psst- We’re sharing the most hilarious house-related kid quotes ever on Young House Life. Seriously, I dare you not to laugh. These kids are geniuses.



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.