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First things first:  I can’t thank you enough for your feedback from my first ever reader survey. I’ve been blogging for two and a half years now, and I’ve always wanted to do one. But the honest truth for why I’ve waited so long is that I was really afraid of seeing the results. Part of the whole appeal of having a blog is that it’s my outlet to use as I please. But I’m still a person putting her life (at least in part) on the internet, which means I won’t always get positive feedback. And as many bloggers might tell you, sometimes all it takes is one comment and boom – you’re convinced that what you do is terrible. But I also knew that if you’re reading my blog, you’re probably enjoying it already (at least enough to read it again to see the results). The ones that don’t like my site probably wouldn’t be sticking around long enough to even bother taking a survey, and you guys have given me encouragement since I began this blog – so why be afraid? When I was frustrated or completely overwhelmed, I would read a comment that would totally lift me out of a “this pipe is still leaking and I’m about to throw my hammer” mood. So, I convinced myself that it was time to allow you more of a voice, and it was time I knew what my readers were really looking for. Some of the results were exactly what I expected; some were honestly surprising. Let’s take a look, shall we?


I am shocked at the number of responses (and a handful are still trickling in, so the image below was based off of a cutoff I gave myself to write the post – I’m still reading them though, so no worries if you filled one out in the last day or so). I was hoping for at least 50 – 75. Thank you for proving me wrong! Your stats gave me my first opportunity to try an infographic (well, sort of – I had no idea what I was doing). They are really fun, but I can appreciate my graphic design friends that much more:

85% of you are from the U.S., with about 4% each in Canada, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, and Other.

A large number of you don’t remember how you found this blog. Memory lapses are common when you drink too much. Those two sentences are unrelated. Maybe.

What you like best about the site:

The overall consensus is that you guys like that I keep things honest. I may not post projects from beginning to end before moving on to another task. I may not get enough accomplished in one day to really share more than a boring shot of my dining room. But you guys really like that I’m sharing a very real story of what it’s like to be a person with a life outside of the home, and while a before and after will always be more interesting than seeing me peel more wallpaper, you appreciate that this site isn’t, as one survey taker put it, “a cookie-cutter home décor blog”.

There is real work to be done in this house, and sometimes that doesn’t work out the way I wanted. So you love that I share the good, the bad, and allllll of the ugly too. Good thing, too – since that’s what I’m going for! I know there are plenty of other people out there who are learning to do things on their own (for budget reasons, for personal reasons, or simply for the thrill of the challenge). I want to show you that it IS possible to do this – and it’s normal to screw up, get frustrated, and try again. And I’m so glad it inspires you!

Many of you are fellow compulsive project starters too. On the flip side, a few of you don’t like that I skip around, and that’s okay too. Just like my life, this house has a lot of things going on at once. And a majority of you think that progress is always progress, even if it’s not the same project from beginning to end.

You also had some very kind words to say about my writing style and personality. I couldn’t be more thrilled from reading this. I want this site to feel like you’re talking with someone who’s no expert, but is trying her best to figure things out. Not like someone’s talking at you. It makes me really happy that just being myself is enough.

Hello. That’s mah face.

And of course, my before and after projects are certainly on your list of favorite things about the site. This works out pretty conveniently for me.

What you like least

(as in the answers I was the most terrified to read and yet read this column in its entirety before any of the other answers)

A majority of you guys left this blank, said that you didn’t have a least favorite, or simply requested for more posting (and even then, you guys were almost always sure to add that you understood my grad school and full time work schedule was causing the inconsistency and were completely forgiving). A few of you even said something along the lines of “Who gives a crap what I don’t like? It’s YOUR blog!”  My response:  Thank you for this. It’s a very good feeling to think that I’m not putting myself out there and disappointing a bunch of people. I used to post once or twice a day at around 1 AM Monday – Saturday (which is pretty much when I finish writing posts each night). But it’s true; this last year of adding school to mix stretched my posting abilities a little thin. In 2013, I’m doing my best to get back to this schedule, and I really appreciate that you understand when I can’t.

Twelve of you (5%) specifically said that you don’t like my Saturday inspiration posts/weekly shopping posts (where I show you items that catch my eye or something that has me intrigued). So it seems like this is the first thing to hit the chopping block based on your feedback. I’m not getting rid of it entirely (I love trend-spotting and some of you also said you liked them). You’ll still see a few shopping posts or trend posts here and there (like this post about faceted décor), and I’ve come up with a slight twist to the old formula, but this will no longer be a regular weekly post. I’ve got Pinterest for shopping and inspiration, anyway.

But… there was one commenter who sort of fulfilled that fear I mentioned – that someone might say something that would really catch me off guard. And you know what? I read it, I wound up not being as hurt/embarrassed/pissed as I thought I would, and knew that the simple truth is that I’m not going to please everyone. I’d be incredibly bored with myself if I tried. I don’t have time to read blogs that I don’t like, and I don’t expect you to either. Waaaaay easier to handle than I realized – especially after reading all of your kind words!

What you want in 2013:

More personal posts:  During 2012, I forced myself to open up a little about my breakup with my ex and how I’m dealing with DIYing as a single woman. It was really tough for me and completely outside of my comfort zone. Not only did you guys relate to this, you asked for more! So, one of my 2013 goals will be doing more of these kinds of posts. I also think that getting myself more in front of the camera and creating a few videos will help you get to know me a little more. A few things I’m hoping to share with you in these next few months is an update to my dating life (prepare to be underwhelmed), more about my family, some tips for how I manage the workload, and the day-to-day habits that keep me DIYing. And by the way, some of my favorite personal posts are over on my About Me page, such as a lot of random things about me (which was posted right after the breakup announcement) and a list of Things I Hate/Things I Love.

More tutorials/finished projects:  Couldn’t agree more on this one and I expected to see this request. Even Mom said I don’t post enough finished projects and the woman knows how busy I am (though she also said she was under 18 on her survey, so we can all agree that she’s not all that reliable… and really bad at making cakes). A lot of my projects have gone unfinished, so 2012 wasn’t that great of a year for posting tutorials (incomplete tutorials create more questions than answer them). But I’m really hoping 2013 will be my year for a few more finished rooms, so expect more tutorials as I tackle a few new things!

More Charlie:  You guys love my little kangaroo/bundle of crazy almost as much as I do. So I’ll make sure she makes a regular appearance.

More posts in general:  This year will require a little more discipline to adhere to a daily post schedule, but I’m going to try my best. Fingers crossed.

What you want to know:

I loved your questions. Some were serious, some were just silly. But the two biggest were along the lines of:

  • How do you manage to juggle all of the things on your plate?
  • How is your dating life now?
I will be creating posts soon to answer both of these questions. But there were some other funny questions that may not make it to the new video I want to create for my update to the About Me page, so I’m going to answer a few of these here and end this post with a little humor:
What would you do with a (very ugly) gold metal lamp?
Drink ’til it’s pretty. Spray paint it yellow. Or give it to Goodwill and buy a new lamp while I’m there.
Laser hair removal (I presume from my mention in this post): how many sessions, and how [long] does it last?
Sessions are about every six to eight weeks and took two full years. I have two sessions left. My sister did the treatments before I did, and we both had excellent results, which is about 90% permanent loss from anywhere treated. It hurts. It’s worth it. What’s your favorite type of wood?

Too many dirty jokes running through my head to even make room for a serious answer.

Why don’t you feature more seagulls?
You’re right. I have missed an important demographic here. I’ll get right on it.

Want more? I love to post sneak peeks on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find me on Hometalk and Twitter at uglyducklingDIY. Some links may contain affiliates – please see my Disclaimer page for more info.

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  1. Damn, I was so looking forward to that nose picking pic…

    In other words, I'm glad I found your blog last year and psyched to see what you come up with in 2013!

    1. I got several requests specifically NOT to show me picking my nose. They sounded reasonable so I'm trying to accommodate.

  2. Just for the record, I think you're fantastic and I appreciate that you even HAVE a blog for how busy you are. But then again, that may just be people hoping they have the same feelings about me! ;)

  3. Ha, ha, I would comment way more often if you featured more seagulls ;-) That survey must have been kind of entertaining! I really love the idea of doing a survey, even though I seem to have missed it (see? not enough seagulls, or I would have checked in daily…) Seriously, I really like your blog, seagulls or no seagulls.

    Featuring your dog on the blog is always a win, if you ask me. But I find myself showing my dog off not all that much, either – too hard to take decent photos of them when they are moving around all the time!

    1. Yeah, Charlie's not very patient with me anymore when she sees the camera come out. The noises the camera makes don't confuse her enough to stay still anymore.

  4. I'm glad you answered my question with a semi-dirty joke. Because I almost included that in the question. :)

  5. Based on my experience with surveys and data analysis, I would offer this: 1) Good job in compiling results and sharing them. 2) Don't let the 5% (12 total people) derail some of the things you blog about unless you really want to stop posting blog posts about them. Twelve total people in the entire blogosphere should not dictate your actions unless *you* really want to follow the advice. (Remember…the ones who replied to your survey are likely the people who follow you the most regularly; there are plenty who see your blog but didn't respond.) Keep up the great work you are doing. I'm always inspired.

    1. You're right about it being only 5%, but I was kind of thinking that it was too much to do it week after week. Once a month or less seems about right, so I'm glad the survey confirmed my suspicions!

  6. I really enjoy your blog, in particular the tutorials and Charlie. I was going to answer your survey, but I got to the relationship question and couldn't! I'm happily in a relationship, but not engaged, married, or medicated (I'm also 25-34 and in Canada). Keep up the great work!

  7. Oh man. That seagull thing? Made me laugh out loud.

    ALSO- On the topic of seagulls, my mom walked out of the grocery store yesterday morning (to pick up 5 frozen lunches on the way to work), gets peed AND pooped on by a seagull-looking bird. Do I respond with compassion? No. I laugh until I cry and tell all of my friends. Maybe I need to start posting about seagulls…

  8. Damn seagulls had me choking on my dinner.

    I mean seriously though, how could you NOT have decorated with them?! And where's the pelicans, cardinals, and red-headed woodpeckers??

    You have some major work for 2013. Buckle up.

    1. I know. Between that and the kitchen, I could be in serious trouble.

  9. You're so brave! I don't know if I'd ever be able to do a survey on my blog. Congrats on biting the bullet and reading through the “What I Least Like” responses (and I'm glad to hear that a lot of people left it blank… I did write a little something there, but I'm hoping that what I wrote was constructive and positive).

    Also: “'What would you do with a (very ugly) gold metal lamp?'
    Drink 'til it's pretty.” <--- baaaaahahaha, you think like me!

  10. I'm one of the 3%. Keep the blog entries coming, they're great and we'll keep reading from 'Down Under' :o) We're moving back there soon – did I mention we are so OVER moving…!!

    Cheers, Col

  11. Sorry didn't do the poll but if the Saturday posts are those with tons of photos that really aren't related to the house then I agree (don't care for it although it is your blog).

    quickie info:
    male, 50, currently in Maryland, single

    Most of the stuff in my RSS reader consists of travel and financial with a few sports ones (even though I'm a big sports fan I don't care for most of the sports blogs). Currently you are the only repair blog. I guess because the posts aren't too frequent, you aren't pushing products and the writing is clear and easy to read (plus the site isn't cluttered with tons of weird colors/ads/etc.).

    Although you didn't ask the one repair skill I wished I had since it is always needed is drywall repairs. I can do small repairs but dealing with seams and mud I'm a complete failure.


  12. From another member of the small, but mighty 3%, keep up the good work! I'm raising my little girl to love working with tools, just like your Dad did with you; she's a little sawdust lover too.

    Awsome blog!

    1. Small but mighty 3%, I like it! And way to go on teaching your little one she can enjoy tools just as much as a guy can!