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I still can’t believe it. It seems like it was almost yesterday, when, in the wee hours on a Saturday night, I wrote my first blog post. Having just started a new job I was ever so hopeful for the future that was ahead of me. Canning, gardening, sewing… it all seemed too good to be true. And now, tonight, all of those things are wishes fulfilled documented in the way-too-wordy chronicles of my blunders and successes! Are my hands, heart, and home revived? Most definitely.

So now, sweet friends and readers, I just want to take a few paragraphs to reflect on the past 99 posts and take this most opportune time to fill you in on what lies ahead. Oh, and of course I’m going to share all the details regarding the latest and greatest GIVEAWAY too. Let’s proceed, shall we?

HBH’s First 100 Posts: The Good, the “Bad” and the Ugly

The Good

I think “the good” can be summarized by the most popular posts by views, don’t you? To date, the top five most popular posts include (excluding the homepage and title bar items such as ‘About’ and ‘Garden Cam’):

5. Milan: Espresso Basics (82 views)

4. Florence: Wine Cork Board (87 views)

3. Ciao Italia: DIY Card Tutorial (89 views)

2. It’s the Little Things (93 views)

1. Harrison Ford Makes a Frittata (167 views)

This list makes me chuckle. Behind the scenes of the blog, I can see search terms and all of these (well, except for #2) have clear search terms correlated with their popularity. I have a theory particularly about #1 and that is this: people search the frittata recipe after the movie, Morning Glory, is gradually released worldwide.

And now for GIVEAWAY interruption #1: Speaking of Morning Glory… in celebration of HBH’s 100th post and in consideration of the fact that the world’s obsession with the handsome Harrison Ford has resulted in so much HBH love, I’m happy to announce that the DVD and a Lodge Frying Pan (the perfect place to make a frittata) will be included in the last Homewares by Hand Giveaway in 2011! But wait! There’s more! Continue reading to see what comprises the rest of this oh-so-special giveaway. More importantly, scroll to the bottom for an overview of this giveaway’s details.

Other fun facts regarding HBH’s 100 post tenure:

  • The busiest day on the site was July 5, 2011 with 103 page views. This, coincidentally, was when I returned from Italy with pictures.
  • My mom (and the winner of the HBH Goes Italian Giveaway) is my most frequent commenter. My dad is the only male commenter. Thus, I can easily conclude that I have the world’s bestest parents hands down.
  • With 48 posts, the cooking category is still the biggest content generator at HBH. What can I say? Try as I might to scale back, I love to cook. I’m also relatively good at following a recipe (unless it involves eggs at room temperature or baking in a slow cooker). And I really love Everyday Food. Seriously, has there been a cooking post that hasn’t included at least one EDF recipe?!

And then there’s my favorite part of this whole blogging experience which honestly has been each and every post. One of my favorite things about HBH is that I haven’t made anything just to make it (or at least I don’t think I have!). Every craft, shower, or gardening adventure has had a true purpose and a real person behind it. I couldn’t be any happier…

The Bad

When it comes to “the bad”, I’ll admit that I am tempted to just list every faux pas and accident. Thankfully though, this last year has been about either bouncing back by making the most of the situation (for some reason I can’t help but think of “the cone wreath” project which I took on in the early HBH days) or just calling it quits before I lose my mind (there was no way I could will that dracaena back to life!).

Truly though, having a safe place to reflect on what went wrong, what I could have done better, and resolving to try it again has been healthy and fun! More importantly, I have so appreciated your encouragement and helpful hints as I have lamented over my HBH trials (especially during the summer garden days)!

The Ugly

Let’s be honest. My photography is not great. In fact, my few and far between, grainy iPhone photos were so bad at the beginning (you do remember the beginning, don’t you?), that my parents bought me a camera for my birthday to enhance their viewing pleasure! Seriously though, with this camera in hand and the encouragement of my friend Sally (of La Happy) to go bigger with the pics, it seems like posts at HBH were transformed.

For one thing, photos went:

And blog posts went from a word to picture ratio of 95:1 to 50:1… or something like that!

All this to say, the first 100 posts have been a great experience and I just can’t articulate enough how much your views, comments, and participation have meant. As such, I wanted to celebrate this milestone in a BIG way and have decided that in addition to the DVD/cookery mentioned above, the winner of HBH’s last giveaway for the calendar year will also win:

A $100 Gift Certificate to any 1 (one) of the following merchants:

So, whether you want to build your own DIY library, pick up some sweet fabric for pillows, shop til you drop for the hippest tchotchkes (I’ve decided that there are definitely some things which aren’t worth doing yourself), or just want to treat yourself to a decadent grocery list, here’s your chance!

Which brings us to this giveaway’s details:

Prize (just in case you forgot):

Morning Glory DVD

Lodge 12″ Cast Iron Pan

$100 Gift Certificate to your choice of one of the following four vendors: Amazon, Fabric.com, West Elm, or Whole Foods

Ways to Enter:

1) Subscribe by clicking the ‘Follow’ button under the ‘Follow Blog Via E-mail’ caption in the footer below. If you subscribe via Google Reader, just leave a comment indicating such on this page today using the Honor’s System.

Note: This isn’t simply a ploy to get subscribers so I can get sponsorships (HBH is definitely a not-for-profit venture for me!). Instead, it has more to do with the fact that I’m currently planning to post significantly less in 2012 and having a subscription will let you know when those occasional posts are published!

2) Stay tuned to upcoming HBH posts and answer giveaway query questions. There will be ~10 more posts to round out 2011 and approximately half of them will have a giveaway query at the bottom. Just leave a comment for each post with a giveaway query to gain an additional entry to win.

Note: Subsequent posts which are not eligible giveaway posts will clearly state so.

The Timeline:

Those who wish to maximize their entries will have until Christmas Eve to do so (as in December 24, 2011 at midnight, Pacific Standard Time). The winner will be announced on Monday, December 26th.

Terms:

All giveaways are governed by HBH’s terms.

Have fun and thanks so much for sharing HBH with me!

Psst… #1: I’ll update the Giveaway page with the latest and greatest news later this week. Until then, just think of this as me giving you a head start!

Psst… #2: A special thanks to Sally for the ‘100th Post’ graphic above! You’re so, so talented Sal!

Jessica