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Below, a look back at the progress made in the last 365-ish days. And what the next 365 may bring!


The clock striking midnight wasn’t exactly a magic wand around the UDH. I allowed myself to ease off the gas pedal for the holidays as 2018 drew to a close, and just kind of let myself take in the year and let it end quietly. Same for the beginning of 2019: not really a vacation, but not starting off with a bang, either (at least, blog-wise — I still got some things started behind the scenes, so I’ll post that tomorrow). It was really nice and a pleasant change of pace, considering how many truly HUGE projects I began, made progress on, and/or finished in 2018.

The more I planned out this post about the goals I’m setting for 2019, the more I realized that this year is unlikely to stand alone without talking about 2018 at length. So, rather than talk about them in completely separate posts (as is pretty customary to do on a DIY blog), I’m combining 2018 and 2019 together.

2018 Highlights and What They Mean for 2019

Discovering “maker”-dom

2018 really packed a wallop, right out of the gate! Last January, I was hired by Rust-Oleum to make a booth for WorkbenchCon, a conference for “makers and content creators” (aka, YouTubers & woodworkers). Not only that, but WorkbenchCon was a brand new conference that no one had attended before, so there were a lot of unknowns (what the other booths might look like, the overall “vibe” of the attendees, etc.). And not only that, but I didn’t really have a lot of experience building furniture, let alone furniture that needed to move from my home to another space entirely. The full recap is here, but suffice it to say that I HAD A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS.

Looking back, all of those feelings kind of fade away and leave one thing behind: growth. I was intimidated FOR SURE about whether I’d do a good job for the brand. I was nervous about whether or not my woodworking skills would pass muster with attendees who all likely had more building skills than I do. It was a lot of self-doubt, even as I finished assembling the booth in its place. To might delight, however, I got a lot of positive feedback from those that attended and met an entirely new community that I hadn’t immersed myself in before.

Building and Growing My First Vegetable Garden

Plans for the L-shaped bed here. We grew way too many tomatoes. We will not be repeating that this year and will add more variety. And we’ll probably start doing more composting. And since we won’t be building an entire shed to distract us from maintenance, we’ll be able to keep things from getting overgrown too quickly!

plate of freshly picked tomatoes

Guest Bedroom / Murphy Bed

left corner of guest bedroom - progress

While I would LOVE to have said this entire room was finished by now, it all stalled out because of the outdoor projects. It’s one of those situations where there’s only so much of you, and knowing that summer doesn’t last forever, and having to make choices on where to spend that time and energy. With 2019 now in full swing, I’m ready to revisit this room and make it sing. I love the changes I was able to accomplish in 2018 though, with removing all the stuff that wasn’t making sense and building the Murphy bed, choosing a new paint scheme, adding to its purpose, and even some smaller projects like this little coffee pod holder that will make this room a luxurious place for guests to stay down the road. It added to my vlogging experience as well, which I hope to do more of for you this year!

guest bedroom murphy bed

In 2019, I’m hoping to finish the built-ins and take this room to the next level. Project partner: Rockler.

Primary Bedroom

I started on a BIG room renovation in 2018, but didn’t really cover it with the same zeal as everything else. I touched on the new design concept, the big floating bed build (plans still forthcoming, I know, I’m SO SLOW with this one!), and adding new rugs. But 2019 will see even more with this room, and I’m happy to report that these updates are well underway if you’ve been paying attention to my Instagram at all. Installed a new (gooooorgeous) ceiling fan, added window film to give us some privacy, and am working on painting as we speak!

Charlie modeling master bedroom decor - moroccan wedding blanket and pillows

Also, is anyone KonMari-ing the shit out of their closets and drawers right now like I am??? I am binging the Tidying Up series on Netflix and was truly wowed by how much I’ve already gotten rid of. I feel like I’m doing this in the right order, because once I whittle things down, I can really start focusing on building out my has-been-broken-for-far-too-long primary closet. Unfortunately, it’s still pretty far down on my to-do list, as you can probably see with all of these other priorities going on!

Floating Deck

tan floating deck in back yard with white balloons and black chairs

Ahh, the deck. One of my proudest accomplishments of 2018 and Charlie’s favorite spot to look out over the yard, built in partnership with Wood Its Real. The light pole planters are still going strong and all the plants around it are still alive, so I’m pretty darn happy with 2018 for giving me a nice new space to enjoy the back yard! It was also the perfect spot for Mom’s surprise retirement party and a wonderful memory for our family to share.

woman (me) trimming off end of deck boards

I even found a way to turn the scraps into two more projects: this small bench seat (of which I now have 3 to go around the fire pit with the matching Adirondack chairs) and the mini garden deck that kept my feet from getting muddy near the new garden beds!

scrap wood garden bench seat with new black paint

In 2019, I definitely plan to expand on the deck build with more builds. I’ve got big plans to add a modular sectional that will give me lots of seating and allow for different layouts. After that, probably a coffee table and more outdoor decor.

Pub Shed

Just before the end of 2018, we “officially” called the pub shed done with the hanging of the door and window! (Also made in partnership with Wood Its Real.) I’ve still got a few more things to add and finish, like stairs and a little reinforcing of one of the supports (just for my own peace of mind, after the neighbor-behind-me’s tree fell, and I don’t want all of the filling and leveling work I did a few years back to get washed away!), but the biggest parts are D-O-N-E. It takes a lot of effort to break down all the photos and video footage of this project (especially since we were doing the shed and the deck at the same time — it was just easier to post one consecutively and then the other!), but I’m working on it to have a series just like the deck build. Expect to see it soon!

backyard pub shed painted navy

Garage Workshop

A lot of the projects this past year fed off of each other, including the big undertaking I started in October 2018: my new garage workshop! With the pub shed entering the finishing-touches phase, I could start moving things from the garage into the shed and separating my outdoor tools from my shop tools. I intend on keeping this going in 2019 by finishing the installation of the sound-dampening drywall that will help me make better build videos (it’s going in my office too, which is another spot where I could use more peace and quiet!). I plan to add in some great garage organization and scored (dumpster-dive!) some old butcher block counters from a neighbor and will make them the tops of some new work benches this year!

garage workshop upgrades sound dampening drywall

Ruby’s Revival

Can’t go without mentioning this one, right? Although it’s technically more of a 2019 project, you guys got a really good glimpse at what K’s grandfather’s 1946 Spartan Manor looks like (spoiler: not great… yet). This will be a HUGE project, but I’m sooooo excited to start polishing her up and breathing new life into this thing. Slowly but surely, I’m getting to know a few of you out there who are into vintage campers as well, and it’s exciting that there’s another whole community of people who share this interest and will be able to teach me a lot! Click here for the “before” tour. We’re expecting our next trip down to see Ruby will be in the next month, and if the weather cooperates, we should be able to give it a good scrub and start demoing the interior. Since K’s parents might be selling this land soon, we’re also going to have to find a new place to park her until she’s done. Still figuring that part out because a lot of the alternatives aren’t cheap. ?


Life & Such

Life came with new developments in 2018, too! The biggest, of course, was that my boyfriend (who I refer to as “K” on the blog) and his sweet miniature dachshund, Stella, moved in. We celebrated 2 years together last month, and it’s blissfully boring. It obviously created a ton of chaos when merging his life (STUFF) into mine (MORE STUFF!), but we’ve been figuring it out as we go. It was a huge help to have K’s help with the outdoor builds this year, and his moving in started a domino effect for the upstairs rooms in particular. He’s got some collections he’d like to display in the guest bedroom (thus the Murphy bed and built-in ideas), and it inspired some changes for the primary bedroom, too. Things are simple and happy and cheesy and good. He’s an amazing cheerleader for my DIY scheming, and we’ve been talking at length about him possibly getting his general contractor’s license (I know it seems more logical for me to get it, but it has to do with the actual license requirements of having prior work experience under someone licensed for a certain amount of time, and he used to work in construction, so it will be much faster for him to obtain than me). You guys know already about Ruby’s Revival, which will be an “us” project all the way, which means you’ll probably see more of his bearded smirking in those posts.

We have some dressing up to do this year, too, as my sister is getting married this summer and then K and I are planning an overseas trip (we haven’t picked a place yet though, so I’d love to get your suggestions!).

sarah fogle 2019

I learned a lot more about myself in 2018, too — mainly about what really fuels me to keep going on this DIY journey. In a broader sense, I learned that I’m a maker, and that I love sharing the learning process and stretching myself into new skills (like woodworking and welding, for example!). That can feed into many different categories than just home improvement, of course, so I’m going to spend some of 2019 simply allowing myself to stretch into things I’m “passionately curious” (a favorite phrase of mine) about. Maybe, just as crafting did for me when I starting learning DIY, it will help me find creative solutions for future home projects.

first welding lesson 2018

Given that the online world is pretty large, experts often tell people like me to “brand” myself and choose one subject and deep-dive into one subject only. It helps Google to figure out what I’m about, which in turn helps more people find me. But I realized that while I do need to be smart about making sure my content stays updated and helpful, playing algorithm games aren’t fun, and I’m a human person interested in lots of different things. I never had time for things like recipes or cross stitch when I was busy with grad school and patching my kitchen walls. But, fixing up the kitchen led to making more food at home, which led to building and seeding my first vegetable garden, and that’s how it wound up in a soup I made last night. And this year, I think I’d like to make my own cutting board to chop those veggies on! And make more wood carvings! The home has more than me and a dog in it now, so posts have broadened to include it. It doesn’t take away from the fun of home improvement… it just adds more layers. I enjoy sharing it all.

I guess, basically, 2018 provided some evolution, internally, of “the why.” Things are different from just a year or two ago in a lot of good ways. It inspired new art in my home, fueled my bigger builds of 2018, and created a lot more possibility. During my holiday break, I also took some time to do more old blog cleanup, and have been working on areas like gift guides and shopping posts and filled in more bio stuff for both Stella and Charlie (another pupdate is being written as we speak!). Stuff like that always takes a huge chunk of time, but little by little, useless old content is getting updated (for you longtime readers, don’t worry about personal updates — I’m leaving journal-y stuff intact! It’s mainly just old shopping posts with dead links and pics that won’t pull up and aren’t helpful to anyone, so I’m trying to clean that up).

I’m genuinely looking forward to what 2019 has to offer, and I can’t wait to show you all the things I’ve been working on. A primary bedroom update is coming next!

What are you excited about in 2019???? I’d love to hear what you’re working on and send some well wishes your way. ?

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  1. It’s been really fun following your different subject layers this last year – it’s nicer to see a breadth of things on a blog, I think! Plus, I like cross-stitch, food and diy so it definitely has been hitting my sweet spots! ;)

    I’ve just bought my first home (been in for not quite two months!) so I am quite excited to go back through and look at stuff you’ve done that I’ve really liked to see if I can use it in my house/garden now. It’s a 1970s mid-terrace in the UK and I’ve already found some “delights” that will be interesting to deal with – the internal walls are stramit board (hay with a light plaster coating, effectively. Very eco but also very aaargh.) and while I am not currently planning to be a diy blogger; I do blog about my craft stuff, so some of it might turn up there.

    Looking forward to seeing your 2019 plans shake out!

    1. CONGRATS on your new house!!! I’m so excited for you! And oof, the hay thing sounds like a very interesting challenge. Can something like that be repaired? Or what about hanging art from it? Gosh, I’m going to wind up googling it and go down a rabbit hole. I wish you the best of luck with your home projects, and thank you so much for following along with mine!

      1. Thanks! The repair question is consuming me at the moment as at some point, there was a small leak in the wall between the spare room and the bathroom, which is how I know what the wall is made of as there is hay sticking out of it. :/ it’s dry and all fine but I want to decorate that wall so need to work out how to patch it. The internet is mostly filled with men who make the virtual equiv of sucking their teeth in reply to forum posts. Sigh!

        It’s pretty solidly packed so art is fine and butterfly/plasterboard screws are recommended. There are studs as well so it will just be a case of thinking about what goes up and where!

  2. It’s been exciting to witness your evolution, and a privilege that you let us tag along for the ride :)
    Here’s to a fantastic 2019!!

  3. I believe I started following you when you were in grad school and still thoroughly enjoy each of your posts! DIY, crafts, pups, food … all make me smile. You continue to be an encourager to this mid-lifer (in 60s) and looking forward to 2019 with you!

    1. I’m so pleased to hear that. I always love seeing your comments, too. <3 Thank you so much for following along the way you have!