The Top Ten Projects of 2012

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2012

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and is enjoying a some time off before the New Year! Today I’m popping in to share my most viewed posts of 2012. I enjoy writing these recap posts and looking back on the year, it makes feel like I’ve actually been productive. Most days I look around my messy house and see half-dressed kids and half-finished projects and feel like I can’t get anything done. But writing up this….well it makes me feel a little bit better :)

2012 has been my first full year blogging and it has been a great year… a great, busy, exhausting year full of projects and toddlers. Mostly toddlers. I may be able to take a break from blogging and projects whenever I want, but those busy little boys are always there… destroying my house and making me crazy. Last year I wrote up a top ten post and to my surprise it was actually pretty popular…my 14th most popular post this year to be exact. I remember writing in that post that I was just sure my big kitchen reveal post would be number one in 2012. Well…ummm…we still haven’t finished the kitchen. Ahh, life.  But seriously…here’s to my kitchen reveal in 2013! No really, it’s going to happen…that and my house tour. Don’t roll your eyes, I mean it…would I lie to you?

So here they are, the top projects/posts of 2012!

1. Paisley Stenciled Table

Paisley Stenciled Table

This was the most popular project by a long haul. It went completely viral on pinterest, crashed my site for the better part of a week, and racked up nearly 300 comments. It been copied like crazy and was the beginning of a beautiful relationship with Cutting Edge Stencils. Usually when I post a new project my traffic doesn’t spike at all, most of my traffic is  “drive-by”- a.k.a. people coming from pinterest, search engines, or the like… so my old posts get a lot of views and the new ones take a while to catch on. But within hours of posting this table my traffic went from about 2,000 a day to 25,000 – and that’s only the people who were able to load my site. I know I couldn’t, and my family kept calling and asking why they couldn’t get on… who knows what the numbers would have been if my site was working. The whole thing was nuts.

2. Penny Countertop

Penny Countertop

This project was not the instant sensation that the paisley table was, it grew slowly until one day I shared it on Hometalk and it  was shared from there 38,000 times. From there someone stumbled it on Stumbleupon and it started to get a ton of traffic. In fact, every single day, without fail, the paisley table and this countertop are the two most viewed posts on my website.

3. Stenciled and Organized Pantry


This post was also pretty popular, but not in the way I thought it would be. People liked the overall pantry just fine, but the reason it was so popular was because of this picture… Pencil holders as spices rackss Those are just wire pencil baskets screwed to the wall to serve as a spice rack and make use of a space that is normally wasted. That idea got me a ton of features on websites (like this one on houselogic), and nearly every time this post gets pinned it’s that picture/idea.  Who would’ve thought? Not Adam that’s for sure…after these were installed I asked him what thought of them, and he said they looked ridiculous and that no one would like them. Haha! In his defense I thought they looked dumb too, but was sure they would be fine once I added spices. Goes to show that you never know what is going to be popular and what is going to be a flop.

4. DIY Farmhouse Table and Bench

Farmhouse Table and Bench

I was really excited when Adam decided to actually tackle this project. This one was totally done by him, a friend, and his brother…I just stood around looking pretty and taking pictures. I love it…it easily holds a ton of people, only cost $150 to make, and I don’t feel bad when it gets a little dented and beat up. Admittedly this post was really slow to catch on, I remember Adam asking me how people were liking our table and I told him, “pretty much no one has looked at it, probably because it’s been done 14 thousand times.”

5. How We Paid Off Our House in 3 1/2 Years

Paid off house

I wasn’t surprised that this post was viewed a lot…it’s not the kind of post that you see everyday. I was surprised however with the great response it received. This  is my second most commented on post, and the comments section is full of personal stories, encouragement, and honesty. I loved having the comments section be an actual conversation and everyone was just so…NICE. It was awesome, really. I also got a ton of amazing e-mails related to this, and to this day I still get e-mails with people giving me all their financial information and wanting to know what they have to do to pay off their house in X amount of years. I try to answer the best I can, but the truth is…I have no idea. I was always terrible at math… but luckily all you need is a mortgage calculator, a spouse that’s board, and enough self-confidence to not mind being know as “those cheap people”.

6. Indian Inlay Stenciled Table

Indian Inlay Stenciled Table

I don’t really have much to say about this table, it’s just another stenciled table…except that it took me about five hours longer to do this one than the paisley one. It turned out great and resides happily at my SIL and BIL’s house (and the paisley one resides happily at my other SIL and BILs house). Let’s just be totally honest here…I mainly made this table because I was hoping for another giant traffic spike where I made a ton of money. I’m nothing if not honest, lol.

7.  Hexagon Side Table

Updated Hexagon End Table

This post was rightly titled “The Cutest Table I Ever Hated”. This is just one of those horrid old end tables that you see all over thrift stores, and I think it turned out adorable. It was a total pain along the way though, but a breeze next to what happened in popular post #8.

8. White Bed (The Bed That Almost Killed Me)

Chalk Paint Fail

I find it hilarious that this post made it into the top ten. It certainly didn’t make it because the project was something special, all I did was do a terrible job painting a bed white. Evidently y’all just love to see me suffer and royally screw up projects… either that or you get a kick out of seeing my horrible disaster of a bedroom. Either way y’all enjoy laughing at my expense…and that’s quite alright with me.

9. The Dirty Cowboy Treatment

The "Dirty Cowboy" Treatment

This is another post that totally doesn’t deserve to be in the top ten. This is just me giving a tutorial on how to do the “Dirty Cowboy” treatment (aka distressing) and the only reason it was popular is because it is the same treatment I did on the legs of my paisley stenciled table (and there is a link to it in that post.)

10. Union Jack Coffee Table

Stained Union Jack Table

This was one of the easiest projects I did all year, and it turned out great. This one I gave to yet another BIL of mine (Adam has a lot of siblings)…it’s very rare that I keep any furniture projects I do. I love to redo furniture but don’t have anywhere to put it. Perhaps once  I fill up all my family members houses I’ll try my hand at selling stuff. Anyway, the design on this table was made using painters tape and different colors of stain and the whole process is pretty goof proof. If you are looking to try something new and fun on furniture, this is what you should start with.


And that,  my friends, is the top ten most viewed posts of 2012. Did y’all notice a theme? I sure did…most of them are tables! Evidently y’all are really into tables…either that or y’all are just really into my tables.

There were a lot of projects that I loved that didn’t even come close to my top ten. I could list a bunch, but I’ll spare you the ridiculously long post and just show you my top three.

 DIY Pantry Screen Door

Pantry Door

I am seriously in love with my screen door. It has a ton of character, was cheap to build, and just looks so dang handsome in my kitchen.

Planked Walls

Planked Walls

 My planked walls are also still rocking my socks off. I don’t know why this post wasn’t more popular…actually it was probably because much bigger bloggers had already done this and it was old news. But just like my pantry door…it adds all kinds of personality to our boring builders grade house and was cheap to do.

      Wooden Welcome Mat

Wooden Welcome Mat

I don’t want to make out with these mats like I do my screen door, but I have grown to really love them. When I made them I wasn’t sure how they were going to hold up, but I’m happy to report that they always look amazing. They haven’t warped even though I used cheap pine and dirt falls between the cracks which means they always look clean. Then of course there is the whole unique factor…who do you know that has homemade wooden mats on their front porch? No one, that’s who.

I can’t rightly end this post without letting y’all know which project was the biggest flop of the year. The project that wins this title is the undisputed champ, this post crashed and burned like nothing ever has before.

Rustic Industrial Bathroom

Rustic Industrial Bathroom

 This was without question the biggest flop of the year. I can see why… orange-y cedar, industrial pipe, and terrible lighting aren’t what is on people’s “want” list when it comes to bathrooms. I even wrote in my post that most of you would cringe at my bathroom. I was right, lol. This bathroom still isn’t finished, perhaps when it is it will appeal to the general public more, though I’m not counting on it :)

Anyway, that’s all she wrote…here’s to a productive 2013!


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  1. Ash, I hate to even admit this, but I didn’t connect the dots until yesterday that YOU are the famous stenciled table blogger! I have seen that pin a hundred times on Pinterest and love it every time I see it! You have had some amazing success in 2012, and I hope you see even more in 2013! CONGRATS on being mortgage free!! WOW! what a dream that is!

  2. You sure make great tables! I love them all! How are you liking your new camera? I still haven’t bought one yet and now I’m trying to decide if I really need a DSLR or just a really nice point and shoot camera.


    1. I really like my new camera. Granted, I still have no idea how to use it… I haven’t found the free time to read my manual or finish the Shoot Fly Shoot videos, but it takes great pictures and it seems like it can do a ton. I know I will be really in love with it when I figure out how to use it as more than an expensive point and shoot. I would buy it again!

  3. I actually think I started reading your blog because of your bathroom makeover… I don’t think it was a flop at all and I was really impressed with the small budget you used… So, it’s not really that much of a flop =)

    1. That’s good to hear Rachel! I did have some very sweet comments on that post, but it was very few compared to most posts and was hardly viewed at all. You can’t please everybody and that’s okay with me :) I;m glad you liked it though!

  4. What a fun post – thanks! I found your blog because of the wooden welcome mat and I’ve been hooked ever since. Cheers to another successful year in 2013!

  5. When you first made your Indian stencil table I was instantly taken with it, and I’m glad it made your top ten because it got me thinking about it again. I just got my very own jigsaw for Christmas and I’m excited to start on some fun projects… inspired by you of course! Belated Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year to you all!!

    1. Yay, for jigsaws! That is the power tool I use the most…not necessarily because I should, but because its the one I feel most comfortable with. Hey, whatever works! Happy New Year to you too Katie!

  6. Ashley,
    I’m a new reader— not sure how I found my way here. In any case, I just wanted to say how impressed I am with your work! I so appreciate that when you say that you do things on a budget/on the cheap you really mean it… I find that many bloggers out there say that they do this– but a project ends up costing an arm and a leg (at least to me)! Your budget perception= spot on to me! Here’s to a great year ahead in 2013 for you and your family.

    1. That is the best complement ever :) I mean it when I say were cheap! I love being challenged to do things on an “extreme” budget…it ends up taking a lot of time and work, but the results are always so creative and one of a kind. I have some room remodels (master bedroom and boys room) I’d like to tackle in 2013…heres to hoping they happen!

  7. YOU inspire ME! Your projects are functional, creative and oh so pretty. I even don’t hate the look of the bathroom sink…I can see my son loving this. Stop over and check out my best of 2012 and I will be following your wonderful blog efforts.

  8. I think I am in love with your stenciled tables because I fear messing up a stencil myself and yours are so intricate I would never attempt them myself. I missed your bathroom, but love it! And Congratulations on paying off your house so quickly, that’s a dream most can’t realize.

  9. Not only are you the reason I started blogging, but my first attempt at knocking off a DIY was your stencil table…and it turned out to be my first professional sale. You just freaking rock with your naked toddlers, ironing-on-the-rod and spilling motor oil on the floor disasters & all. Thanks for being you. Happy New Year Ashley! ~ Dee

    1. Am I really the reason you started blogging, or are you fluffing me up? That’s awesome that your first sale was the stenciled table…its kind of funny actually because I have never sold a piece of furniture. Actually I’m really interested in how much you were able to get for it…care to spill the beans? Thanks for reading and commenting so faithfully and Happy New Year to you to…excited to watch you blog take off!

      1. I swear you were the reason. I was already working on some upcycled products & running a local FB DIY/Craft group and decided what the heck – I shut that down & started my blog after painting this little table ( I got such great response from the folks in my group that I decided if you could do it with little ones wandering about then I could too. :) It was after I read through the Forum comments re: Blogger vs WP that I decided to invest the $ and head straight for self-hosting too. (so another thank you is in order) I’m trying to be less of a blogger and remain true to my designing but this is all-consuming! I do hope for some (sincere) industry friendships in the new year – my dogs & hubs can only take so much blog talk! :) {oh, and the table was free; it sold for $50 cash on a local garage sale site. The lady who runs a shop uptown was positive she could move it fast for $150 {at 50% commission} but that just made me feel greedy.} Most of the things I do I sell off – I don’t have the room or need, just the DIY itch. :) – Happy New Year Ashley!

  10. I love your top 2012 projects. Not sure if I ever told you but your stenciled table not only inspired my bar stools but also my recent monogrammed jewelry box! Hats off to you!!!! Looking forward to what you have for us in 2013!

    1. Ummm, no..I never knew that! I’m going to have to go check them out and scrutinize your work ;) I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in 2013…I fly by the seat of my pants so I have no idea what projects will come out of me!

  11. Loved this post! Isn’t it annoying that it’s so hard to pick out the exact formula for what will go crazy on pinterest and spread like wildfire? I’d stencil tables all day if that idea worked every time! I have loved that penny countertop since before I knew it was yours. Still trying to find a good surface to cover in my house… :) Happy 2013!

    1. Dude, you should cover something in pennies. I had a reader say they are working on a accent wall MURAL made of pennies…as in using the different color pennies to make a picture. Holy Epicness.

  12. I have to tell you that I LOVE your kitchen walls too! That was the first blog of yours I’ve read and I enjoyed it so much I became an avid follower. The pantry door too (although I’m not going to profess my love for it because that might be awkward =] ). Now, I patiently wait for the next blog post….it’s one of my favorite emails to receive! Wishing you a safe and productive 2013!

  13. I would like to cast a vote for my favorite. That would be…….. the screen door. The idea of a screen door in the kitchen to the pantry is so creative. It is eye catching, well made , and gives a flavor of old times and close families. Yet, high five to both of you for all your work in everything. It is surely a team effort.

  14. I just read this (yes I know, it’s February…) and really enjoyed it. Somehow I have all the comments coming to my email for your paisley table, penny countertop and rustic bathroom, and it seems like more than a year since you did some of them (well, it probably is now…)
    I’ve loved your blog for ages, and it’s been exciting to see it grow so exponentially – you’re getting famous! :) Besides your fabulous creativity, the things I also love about your blog are that you’re honest and down-to-earth, and not pretentious.
    Like another commenter said, thanks for being you!
    Cheers! Jan Elizabeth
    P.S. And for having such cute toddlers
    P.P.S. I still want to start a blog, maybe after we’re settled into our new place…

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