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Young House Love

The Day John and Sherry Showed Up at My House

John Petersik of Young House Love taking photos of Making it Lovely's house

I’ve ‘known’ John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love since 2007. We started our blogs around the same time and we’ve chatted plenty of times via email over the years, but we had never met before. When I read that they were going to be in Chicago for their book tour, I sent them an email hoping to find a little time to meet up. Sherry wrote back and said that they were down for one of their infamous house crashes, and so we set a date.

Do you know how weird it is to meet someone you’ve known for five years by them coming to your house? I mean, it was awesome, but it was also a little surreal to see John and Sherry walking up to my front door.

Sherry Petersik (Young House Love) and Nicole Balch (Making it Lovely)

They came in, we all hugged, and then they house crashed. Brandon and August were home the whole time, and John and Sherry met Eleanor for a few minutes too after Brandon picked her up from preschool. Clara was back at home with her grandma, but we all agreed that she and Eleanor would have been toddler besties.

I drove John and Sherry to their hotel when they were done taking photos of the house, and on the way I tried to point out interesting things around Chicago. “There’s the Sears/Willis Tower, over there is the Trump Tower” and so on. And of course I blurted out “here’s where R. Kelly shot Trapped in the Closet!” I’m not sure if they were into that (but man, “En Vogue… with a new lead singer” had me and Brandon cracking up in the latest installment). Later that night, Sherry and I realized that we (professional bloggers that we are) forgot to take a picture of “Young House Love and Making it Lovely” together with a decent camera. We made sure to get one with the three of us the next day, but of course I only had my phone with me. Behold!

Sherry Petersik, Nicole Balch, and John Petersik  (Young House Love and Making it Lovely)
(Pics or it didn’t happen.)

See all those people behind us there? The line for them at their book signing was crazy long, with people wrapped around the store and waiting out in the rain. It was a dedicated (and really sweet) group of people. I’ve worked and attended a lot of book readings, but this was a particularly good one. A few people in the crowd even recognized me and had me sign my page in the book (I contributed project #199), which felt really cool.

Young House Love Book Signing at West Elm

John and Sherry are now New York Times best selling authors for their book, Young House Love, and I couldn’t be happier for them. (Congrats, guys, and thanks again for coming over.)

A Hip Handmade Holiday

I was in Salt Lake City last month to meet with Allison Faulkner and Susan Petersen of The Craft Pack, along with their fantastic designer Matt Mildenstein. I got a sneak peek at their new digital book, A Hip Handmade Holiday, which is filled with craft projects, ideas, and digital downloads, all to make gifts for under $10 a pop.

Alison Faulkner, Nicole Balch, and Susan Petersen

A bunch of us bloggers gathered and got our craft on, choosing different projects from the book. (I went with the Nutcracker Bowling League.) I have since decided that I ought to set aside entire days devoted to group crafting, because that is fun.

Getting Our Craft On

Video! Done in one take! Alison and Susan are naturals. (Oh, you guys. I’m totally going to be a pro at this some day. I’m working on it.)


The trip was made possible by Vivint. Styling and awesome background by Cayleen Haynie, and music by Pleasant Pictures.

“I kind of Sgt. Peppered them up a little bit.” See? Pro-talk. The nutcrackers are awfully cute though, aren’t they? I’m a little hesitant to let the kids use them as bowling pins. I think I need to make a few more, specifically to set aside as decorations.

The Nutcracker Bowling League

We got our party on* later that night, after our marathon crafting was over. I’m pretty sure 95% of the internet’s cute, crafty bloggers are based in Utah, including most of the ladies below.

* Parties in SLC are mostly fueled by Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. Also, I got eyelash extension while I was in town! (Sadly, not before the video and photos though.) Utah, you’re a kick.

A Hip Handmade Holiday Celebration

A big thank you to The Craft Pack for having me out to Salt Lake City. Their book, A Hip Handmade Holiday is available now, for $10.

Scientific Botanical Prints

Would it really be surprising that someone as fond of pink as I am would also be fond of flowers? Even the less girly among us can appreciate a good bloom, no?

A few people, in writing about my keynote at BlogPodium, noted that I had dressed to match my blog. My branding. The truth is that I’m just consistent in what I like. My blog matches my clothes, my home… even down to some of the book on my shelves. For example, here are two of my favorites.

The Rose: An Illustrated History, and more recently, The Art of Instruction. My dog rose print is the same one featured on the latter’s cover.

I designed two themes for Making it Lovely, and if you’re on the default “Lovely” theme, you’ll see an abundance of flowers in the background. Even if you choose to view the blog in “Minimal” mode, you’ll still see my custom floral illustrations in the header. As much as I love a good, clean site with a true minimal aesthetic, it’s just not me. The flowers (and colors and patterns) I use aren’t part of a larger, calculated move on my part to reflect my branding (though it works as one), I just like them. Simple as that.

I saw that a flash shopping site was selling framed botanical prints a few weeks ago. I had enough credits to cover the cost, so I bought one. They’re no longer available on that site, but they can be found (unframed) at The Evolution Store.

I would have loved to hang two prints over the sofa (like this), but the picture rail in my living room doesn’t leave enough clearance.

These prints are huge. I love the scale of mine, but I don’t know if that corner of my living room is interesting enough to warrant art of that size. Something feels a bit off too, between the print, the plant, and the vase on the other side of the TV. I’m going to leave things as they are for a while to see if I get used to the print’s (rather commanding) presence, but I may play around with the placement. It’s beautiful though; I’m glad to have it.

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