How did I get interested in upcycling you ask? Sure you did.
I started watching those reno shows: Fixer-Upper, Masters of Flip, Leave it to Bryan, Holmes on Holmes, and several others. My faves these days are Save My Reno because they upcycle, and Good Bones because I just want to hang out with Karen. She’s so much fun. And? She upcycles.
From there, the slippery slope led to Pinterest, and then various Facebook Groups. I love Upcyclers Anonymous, Paint it Beautiful, and several others. There appears to be a great divide between chalk paint and mineral paint, but that’s a tangent for another day.
Since I have a “discount for life” at Canadian Tire, I usually start there. I had just moved into my new home in Aurora, Ontario, and hired a painter to paint the entire multi-pastel house in a rainbow of greys. (Not quite 50 Shades…). So at Canadian Tire, I bought black outdoor paint for my patio table, grey chalk paint and a can of protective topcoat. All by Rustoleum, because that was what they had. I had yet to hear of Annie Sloan, Dixie Bell and F.A.T. paints. Not to mention Fusion Mineral Paints.
Hmmm. Not sure it’s a good idea to buy a specialty product at a general store, because the can must have been sitting there for years. The bottom had hardened into a lump that defied stirring. But the top looked okay, so I persisted. It was just practice for now, right?
I grabbed a little Ikea shelf I’d had for years, a box that wine had come in, and five “heads” I’d snagged at a thrift store. Oh, and some carved dragons I’d bought on the beach in Bali in 2000.
So I primed with white Bulls Eye primer and painted. It’s not as easy as it looks. Brush strokes and bleeding paint are my nemesis, but for these projects, it was good practice.
I also experimented with Modge Podge, stencilling and stickers on these pieces. The stencilling worked best. I’ve yet to try transfers, because they’re not cheap. I’ve read that you can make your own by feeding wax paper into an ink jet printer. I see a jammed up ink jet printer in my future, so I’m holding off on that.
Enough words, Gina. Show us what you got:
First up, my little Ikea drawer system. My learning here is that I don’t like it when the rest of the piece isn’t nicely finished. However, I’d read that when you paint a drawer, it can often get just that tiniest bit too big for easy sliding.
Here’s the finished box deployed on my office bookcase. As you can see, I’ve covered the poorly decoupaged top with a stationery tray, and added the little bat sticker. It’s cute. It’s functional. I really didn’t care how it turned out. Next…
Next was the wine box. I practied my painting, and later, stencilling. I used a dollar store self-adhesive stencil and as you can see, it pulled off some of the paint. Note to self: use the protector coat first, then the stencil. Haven’t tried that yet. Will let you know how it goes.
The next two projects actually worked out pretty well. First were the dragons. I’d bought them from a seller who walked the beach in Bali–a memorial trip I’d taken when my mother passed away. The seller told me they were stained with brown shoe polish. I can’t recall if I primed them and I don’t have a before picture, but I painted 2 coats of the grey chalk paint, then dry brushed on some of the Rustoleum black even though it is for outdoor furniture. Then dry brushed some dollar store gold acryllic paint. The inside of their mouths was done with dollar store red nail polish. I love how they turned out. They have place of pride on top of a beautiful antique cabinet purchased years ago at an auction in Toronto.
Lastly, I painted the white styrophone heads grey. I wanted them to be vaguely reminiscent of Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels. Painting styrophone was a challenge because it kept chipping off. I finally found if I handled it very carefully, and then didn’t touch them till the protective coating had dried, that I could then dress them and display them. Now they sit atop my antique barrister’s bookcase.
At first, I just sat the heads directly on the bookcase, but after posting a picture to Upcycler’s Anonymous, someone suggested I acquire candlesticks. A quick trip to Salvation Army and $12.00 (less senior’s discount) later, here we are.
So far, I was 2/4 on my practice projects. It was time to move to something real. Stay tuned for my next blog post…
#upcycling #newlife #thrifymystery
Post #2 in my new Upcycling Life
The first thing I did when I bought my new home in Aurora, Ontario and began to rebuild my life, was buy smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher. The second thing, was shelves. Tons and tons of shelves. Despite having gone all KonMarie on my belongings, half of which went to my ex, I still filled a moving truck. One of the big suckers.
I’m so lucky to have a “discount for life” at Canadian Tire (although in some cases, Home Depot was better priced). I bought heavy duty black plastic shelves, lots of chrome shelves on wheels, and was given some wooden Ikea shelves. And so, before I started to upcycle, I organized.
Give a gal a label maker and…
I had some stuff from my husband, a lot of dollar-store stuff, and some other stuff I’d bought from Canadian Tire and Home Depot.
And thus I began my upcycler life. I finished my first trial and error (mostly error) piece on January 13, a month ago today.
More about that in my next post…
It was 1968, I was in Grade 8 when an announcement came over Hodgson Junior High’s PA system: “There will be a special Industrial Arts after-school class for girls. Maximum 15 girls. Sign-up sheet on the door. First come, first served.”
Back then, girls were required to take Home Ec, while boys were shunted to Industrial Arts. No exceptions. Always the rebel, I was dying to learn how to fix stuff. My dad didn’t know how to change a light bulb and my mom used a hammer for everything. Needless to say my signature was the first on the list.
Imagine my shock when I wasn’t one of the 15 girls chosen. I headed for the VP’s office, demanding to know why not.
In a low voice, despite the door being closed, the VP informed me that there were… girls… who would need to know this kind of thing. They’d be… on their own. Probably raising families… on their own.” Our school sat squarely between a middle class neighbourhood and a rather dumpy “wrong side of the tracks” neighbourhood. (Which would later gentrify right out of my price range.)
“What about me?” I asked. “I need to know these things.”
“Oh, no.” He chuckled. “You’re from a good home. You’ll marry well.”
I’ll marry well. Huh. What do you even say to that?
And I did. I married a man who knew how to do it all–hang drywall, fix plumbing, rewire a lamp, and refinish furniture. But he wasn’t interested in teaching me any of it. He preferred to work alone and I knew better than to touch his tools. When we split up last year, he was scrupulously fair in dividing up the tools (but not the power tools), making sure I got my equal share… of things I didn’t know how to use.
So here I am. Five months later, totally enamoured of upcycling furniture–saving pieces from landfill and turning them into beauties. It’s all trial and error… more error than trial sometimes. I now own a drill and a power screwdriver. They were sold as a set–I don’t know which is which. No kidding. The instruction manuals? All assume that much basic knowledge. Me? I don’t know how to affix a drill bit. Or is it a screwdriver bit? But I’ll figure it out.
I’m perservering. I’m pleased with my results so far. Because with paint, if you screw up, you just do it over. Here’s a sampling of my work so far:
From this… to that. It’s all from gargage sales and thrift stores, even the lovely striped fabric was a $3.00 curtain from Salvation Army.
Stick with me for some entertaining adventures in upcycling. Because you know what? Girls do need tools!
By Joan Frantschuk
Have you ever screamed at Word because it just will not cooperate?
Word is a writer’s best tool, best resource, best friend. Writing a book is hard enough without the added aggravation that unfamiliarity with Word can create. As a writer, you owe it to yourself to learn how to use all its features—without shouting. If your font changes unexpectedly, your pages break in weird places, your titles are wonky, then this course is for you.
In Mastering Word for Fiction Writers, you’ll uncover the solution of Styles for consistent text, the speed and convenience of the Navigation Pane for reorganizing your scenes and clicking around your manuscript, and how to write a synopsis in just THREE steps.
Do you want to improve your editing skills and work easily with editors?
Word can help you write your book without aggravation, frustration, and distraction, allowing you to focus on…
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“My cover designer wants to know my list price for the bar code. Where the heck do I get that price from?”
Before we begin, there’s a cast of characters for you to meet.
The Author/Publisher: that’s you.
The Printer/Distributor: companies like CreateSpace, IngramSpark and many others.
The Retailer: bookstore and libraries.
The Reader: the end consumer of your books.
The List Price
LIST PRICE = FIXED COST + ROYALTY
This is the price the reader will pay to get her hands on one copy of your beautiful print book. It’s usually added to the barcode on the back cover. Above is the barcode from Above Scandal by my alter ego Joan Leacott. The list price is $17.95 US. The price is coded into the shorter set of bars. Because I’m Canadian, I include a price in Canadian dollars.
The Retailer sometimes gets a portion of the LIST…
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I read 65 books in 2016. Below are listed 62 of them. I re-read quite a bit this year, including a number of Janet Evanovich and some Sir Terry Pratchett. I think my favourite books this year were a couple of witty/serious middle grades: “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” “Husky,” and “Wonder.” I hear “Wonder” is being made into a movie this year.
In writing news, I wrote one book and published one book, RE-INVENTING LOVE. I have another underway.
I look forward to reading a bunch more in 2017. And also some writing and publishing.
What did you read in 2016?
|1||Alexie||Sherman||The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian||YA|
|3||Archer||Jodie Archer & Matthew Jockers||The Bestseller Code||non-fiction|
|4||Barkley||Linwood||Never Saw it Coming||Thriller|
|5||Barton||Fiona||The Widow||psychological thriller|
|6||Blake-Hall||Karen (ed.)||Villainous Vacations||crime antho|
|7||Blume||Judy||Are you there, God? It’s Me, Margaret||YA|
|2||Campbell||Colin||Free Days with George||Memoir|
|3||Chilton||David||The Wealthy Barber Returns||non-fiction|
|4||Delany||Vicki||Valley of the Lost, Const Molly Smith #2||Mystery|
|5||Delany||Vicki||Winter of Secrets, Const Molly Smith #3||Mystery|
|6||Delany||Vicki||Negative Image, Const Molly Smith #4||Mystery|
|7||Delany||Vicki||Among the Departed, Const Molly Smith #5||Mystery|
|8||Delany||Vicki||A Cold White Sun , Const Molly Smith #6||Mystery|
|9||Delany||Vicki||Under Cold Stone, Const Molly Smith #7||Mystery|
|10||Delany||Vicki||Unreasonable Doubt, Const Molly Smith #8||Mystery|
|12||Evanovich||Janet||Visions of Sugar Plums||Parnormal Mystery|
|13||Evanovich||Janet||Plum Lovin’||Parnormal Mystery|
|14||Evanovich||Janet||Plum Lucky||Parnormal Mystery|
|15||Evanovich||Janet||Plum Spooky||Parnormal Mystery|
|16||Evanovich||Janet||Lean Mean Thirteen||funny mystery|
|17||Evanovich||Janet||Fearless Fourteen||funny mystery|
|18||Evanovich||Janet||Wicked Charm||Parnormal Mystery|
|20||Evanovich||janet||Top Secret 21||Mystery/comedy|
|21||Evanovich||janet||The Chase, Fox and O’Hare Series 3||Funny Thriller|
|22||Evanovich||janet||The Shell Game (E-Short), Fox&O’Hare Series 4||Funny Thriller|
|23||Evanovich||janet||The Job, Fox&O’Hare Series 5||Funny Thriller|
|24||Evanovich||janet||The Scam, Fox&O’Hare Series 6||Funny Thriller|
|25||Evanovich||janet||The Pursuit, Fox&O’Hare Series 7||Funny Thriller|
|26||Evanovich||janet||The Caper||Funny Thriller-short|
|27||Evanovich||janet||The Heist, Fox and O’Hare Series 2||Funny Thriller|
|28||Evanovich||Janet||Curious Minds||Knight & Moon 1|
|29||Fallis||Terry||Poles Apart||Literary humor|
|30||Ford||Deborah||The Dark Side of the Light Chasers||non-fiction|
|31||Gilbert||Elizabeth||Eat, Pray, Love||Memoir|
|33||Hawkins||Paula||The Girl on the Train||literary thriller|
|35||Hiaasen||Carl||Bad Monkey||Absuridist mystery|
|40||Hiaasen||Carl||Star Island–Skink 6||Abusurdist Thriller|
|42||Leib||Josh||I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President||funny MG|
|43||Lemon||Lisa||The Big Stiff||funny mystery|
|44||Leonard||Elmore||Cat Chaser||Mystery / Thriller|
|45||Levitan + Cohen||David + Rachel||Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares||YA conemp|
|46||Lynch||Margaret||Tapping Into Wealth||non-fiction|
|47||Moore||Christopher||Secondhand Souls||Absurdist UF|
|51||Patterson||James||First to Die (#1 Ladies Murder Club)||Mystery|
|52||Patterson||James||Along Came a Spider (Alex Cross #1)||Mystery / Thriller|
|53||Pratchett||Terry||The Colour of Magic||humourous scifi|
|54||Pratchett||Terry||The Light Fantastic||humourous scifi|
|55||Pratchett||Terry||Guards! Guards!||humourous scifi|
|58||Sincero||Jennifer||You are a badass||self-help|
|59||St. James||Simone||Lost Among the Living||Paranormal Thriller|
|60||Wendig||Chuck||Zeroes||contemp sci-fi thriller|
|61||Wolfe||Inger Ash||The Door in the River||Mystery|
|62||?||The idiots guide to money management||non-fiction|
It’s Boxing Day and All Romance Ebooks has certain titles on sale. Check out Re-Inventing Love.
RE-INVENTING LOVE: The road to love is paved with good inventions.
Re-Inventing Love was judged a FINALIST* in the prestigious Rainbow Awards: (*Books receiving an average rate of 30 or more out of 40.) “Re-Inventing Love was an entertaining and engaging read. The characters were very endearing and I loved Max’s distinctive voice. Storm created a very credible world and I was transported there every time I picked the book up. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.” It also won an HONORABLE MENTION.
Like free books? Click here for free books and news delivered right to your mailbox.
Engineer and assistant inventor Maximilian Grün is in love with his employer, but he daren’t reveal the truth. It’s 1910 and if Canadian authorities learned of his homosexuality, they’d deport him back to Germany where the country of his birth would become the country of his death.
When promising young inventor and mathematician Dr. Jasper Hamilton expresses his own feelings for Max, the young German regretfully declines. He cannot risk their partnership, their reputations—their very lives!
Then a rival inventor sabotages their inventions. Jasper is caught between the physical and the metaphysical, reduced to atoms, and transported to the spirit plane! Max is devastated, deeply regretting his lost chances.
But Jasper manages to communicate across the aether, telling Max he must reverse the machine’s polarity. But without Jasper’s talent for mathematics, the calculations defeat him.
Can the would-be lovers bridge the gap between life and death to finally be together?
I was 27,000 words–about halfway through–the first draft of my YA psychological thriller, Untrue Crime, when my friend Kay Lynne Simpson (aka The Nightowl) passed away suddenly. I called it a half-Nanowrimo (like a half marathon) and stopped writing to help the other local fen with Kay’s needs, and then to grieve.
Now it’s six weeks later and I’ve only just re-opened the document.
I started writing back in 1997, when Kay Lynne told me I had to. I’m ashamed to say my first fanfic is still on the net if you know where to look. Then in 2007, I decided to go pro, quickly contracting my first novel, Gym Dandy.
Now it’s 2017 and this is the longest I’ve ever gone without working on a book, either writing or editing. I’ve been doing a wee bit of marketing, but not a heck of a lot of that, either.
So just in time for the holidays, I’m back at it. I’m re-writing the opening. Instead of taking chapter after chapter to get to the main story action as I usually do, it’s now in the very first scene. I’m pretty pleased with it.
Of course that means deleting a bunch of stuff, but tighter writing trumps word count.
So we carry on…
A very informative article. Well worth the lcick. (If only there was some way to catch those typos and mistkes. 😉 )
For pointing out gaping plot holes, sagging middles and uneven character development, nothing beats the eagle eyes of a good editor. I wouldn’t publish without one.
But for spell checking, grammar checking and copy editing, I rely on three electronic tools to help me polish my manuscript.
This post takes a closer look at what Word has to offer.
Word Proofing Options
Word has a wide array of proofing options grouped under AutoCorrect, spelling and grammar checking, and writing style options.
You’re familiar with autocorrect on your phone and the inadvertent, and sometimes hilarious, assumptions that apps make. Word does the same. Those funny substitutions don’t mean you turn off Word’s AutoCorrect; it’s far too valuable to ignore.
- seven AutoCorrect options
- ten AutoFormat options
- fourteen AutoFormat As You Type options.
- replace straight quotes with curly quotes
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