Do you have something your parents or grandparents passed down to you? Did you stumble upon something in a garage sale? National Cherish an Antique Day provides us an opportunity to learn the story and the history behind our treasured antiques. Now that we have the internet at our fingertips we can learn about the history behind an object we own. We can also learn how to preserve it.
Antiques are often cherished because of their personal and emotional connections. Often a colorful story tells how it came into the family making it even more valuable as an heirloom.
National Cherish an Antique Day also recognizes the quality and uniqueness of the items that were made by hand rather than by machine.
Finding Antiques – I recycle and refinish.
I guess history has always been in my blood. I studied archaeology as a child, dug up relics in my various yards (we moved a lot) eventually got a Masters Degree in art history and studied ancient architecture in Mexico. Even though I was not to have a career in these scholarly areas, my love of antiques carried over into other areas. When I was growing up, my Dad working with his table saw was a familiar site. Although we could have afforded regular furniture from a store without too much difficulty, he took great pride in the fact that he was a home craftsman. For men in the 1950’s, this was an admirable hobby. Blueprints and instructions for building anything from sheds to toys to full-sized homes were available. He built bookcases, a hobby horse for my sister, a toy wheelbarrow which I have passed on to my grandchildren, platform furniture, storage units, a Danish Modern style sofa, and platform beds. What he didn’t make from scratch, he bought as unfinished furniture: several dressers and desks. for Later, in the late 1970’s when he was in his late 50's he began work on a passive solar home with a geodesic dome on the back. It’s still standing and in the family. My son recently lived there before his marriage, and renovated a smaller home...carrying on that family tradition of building, restoring and renovating..
I was never much of a carpenter. I learned to paint wood and for a very short time in my life was apprenticed as an antiques refinisher. The job lasted only three weeks because I was not physically strong enough to single-handedly lift large china cabinets into a stripping solution vat. The men in the shop weren’t inclined to stop their own work to help me either. Even though the training period was brief I learned most of the techniques which can add years to your antiques and keep things safe too. Before writing took up all my time, I refinished most floors, doors and windows in our home and reworked several pieces of furniture. Styles changed too. In the 1970's painted pieces were stripped and refinished in dark matte stain to give an item a Spanish or Mediterranean look. No one thought "painted" wood was anything but criminal. Now the pendulum of decorative preferences has swung the other way. Stained and varnished pieces are painted (often brightly and decoratively.) The trend appears to me toward lightness and cheerfulness. Here are some tips.
Save the use of a heat gun for stripping several layers of paint from an object. Chemical stripper works better on varnish.
If you are going from varnish to paint, you need to chemically strip the shiny and hard lacquer, or paint, especially latex paint will crack and curl.
Work outside if possible. If what you are refinishing was created before 1970 it will likely have lead paint. Heat guns give off fumes.
If you must work inside, wear a mask and rubber gloves and use thick, orange stripper, always washing all residue off. If chemicals are not washed off completely they can raise the grain of the wood and make more of a job for you when you sand the piece.
Sand with coarse, then very fine sandpaper. I also use a "Dremel" tool for easing out the last bits of paint or old varnish.
Varnish or stain with latex, paste or oil stain; brush on or rubbing, depending on your personal preference.Learn the results, as they will vary. Brush on is easier, but will often leave uneven or drippy results for you to worry about later. The perk is the materials clean up with water. Paste or oil that is rubbed of later will go on smoothly, but will often be lighter than you expect because most people rub it off too soon...and it is another fume producing item that is only cleaned with flammable materials.
The same can be said for varnish and wax. If you use arcylic clear varnish, bubbles rise in the finish causing ugly pits or the aggravating need to re-do. Oil varnish takes a long time to dry and will pick up dust, small insects and/or pet hair.
Armed with this knowledge, I furnished our own home with many recyclables – furniture from neighborhood tree lawns. (You’d be surprised what was scheduled for the landfill) Check your community policies, however. Sometimes it is against the law to tree lawn shop and you can be fined for trash-picking.
All in all, it’s a hobby I truly wish I had more time to do once again!
Try it, and save an antique today!
Latest review – Opener of the Sky
Want to know what resonates with readers about the series Children of Stone? Dennis Michaels put it this way in his recent 5 star review!
Marai comes alive in this one. But any male reader learns much of how women think! I found this so educational! The passions of the characters keep my attention! This is a pulsing,passionate story I have reread now twice! So much spiritual art is this! I'm made to feel I am living it ! Although just a bystander my soul feels the way the characters feel! I can't express my gratitude for the lovely mind who has created this journey!
Last week I introduced everyone to Andrei Cosutchi.
I am an eternal optimist. I do this because I have no choice to pass all the trials.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I grew up in a big town that had airport and even tramway.
5. How old are you?
I was 40 when the incident from the book happened.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
Yes, I was a happy kid, and my parents loved me very much.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
LOL! Women, can't live with them, can't live without them. Next!
8. What do you value above all else in life?
This would be friendship.
9. What are you obsessed with?
How about survival?
10. How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
I really care about others! The AI can vouch for that.
11. Biggest fear?
Hope Earth is still safe.
12. What line will you never cross?
I will never eat the flesh of a sentient species.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
Meeting other civilizations was cool. The worst things happened to me on Earth, including not winning at Lotto.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Somebody reproached me that I should grow up. Therefore I stopped to have fun in the holodeck with her pictures.
15. Biggest secret?
The identity of Felicia.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
I told you before: I am an optimist.
17. What is your current goal?
To stay alive while exploring these amazing new worlds.
Wondering about how to promote on social media? With Facebook becoming less author friendly I've been looking around to see what other authors are considering. Here's a re-blog
Social Media for Authors: The Toughest Topic to Advise On
Posted on September 12, 2017 by Jane Friedman
I wrote about the importance of author websites and their role in an author’s online presence. However, I’m asked about social media far more often.
Of all the topics I teach, social media is the most vexed. Even in a small class of writers, I find varying skill levels and experience, and a mix of attitudes—and these two factors play a strong role in what people need to hear or learn. I believe a successful social media strategy is driven by one’s personality and strengths, as well as the qualities of the work produced—leading to a unique approach for each writer. And that approach will likely change over time because as one succeeds, one’s platform grows and the audience changes; and strategies often have to shift when your readership expands. (Not to mention the tools themselves change over time!)
So, social media can’t be treated as this static thing—you can’t just learn a formula and you’re done. It’s in flux and there’s always more to learn. For me, this is part of what makes it fun and prevents boredom. For others it’s what makes it intolerable. Because social media is widely considered essential to book marketing and promotion, yet it’s constantly changing, it’s become a burden and source of anxiety for beginners and advanced authors alike.
I’m hoping the following principles—regardless of your skill level or experience—will make it feel a little less anxiety inducing.
Your social media following grows mostly when you produce more work.
It’s a fundamental rule of author platform development: it grows out of your body of work. As you produce more books (or more stories or content of any kind), you are likely to grow your audience or reach more readers. And this in turn naturally leads to more followers on social media.
It is exceedingly difficult to create a social media following when you’re not publishing work and being discovered through that work. However, there is a workaround—the next point.
Use social media to micro-publish or to share your work.
This is a principle partly from Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work. You can use social media as a creative outlet and share bits and pieces of whatever you’re working on—or the entirety of what you’re working on.
For example, Roxane Gay posted on Tumblr about her health and diet and soon found people wanted more, more, more—which led to her memoir, Hunger.
Rupi Kaur shared her poetry on Instagram, then self-published her book Milk & Honey, and now it’s one of the top-selling books of 2017 from Andrews McMeel.
A decade ago, Scott Sigler recorded himself reading chapters from his novel, and distributed a podcast through iTunes, leading to a print/ebook readership and a traditional book deal.
There are hundreds and thousands of examples of authors being playful, creative, and experimental online and on social media—of showing or sharing their work—which can lead to reader growth and payment for that work.
Note that this principle follows straight from the first: you’ll see social media growth when you produce work for people to experience or read. But too often “serious” writers are trained to see social media as a distraction, as meaningless, as a low-class or even dumb way to publish, partly because it rarely involves payment.
As with so many things, social media is whatever you make of it. Treat it as dumb, and that’s what it’ll be for you.
People break social media “rules” all the time and succeed.
There are countless case studies and reports about how often you should post, what networks you ought to use, how to create effective images and titles, where and how to schedule for optimal reach, and even the ideal number of words or characters in your updates.
You don’t have to follow or learn any of it—unless you want to go work for a corporation and become a social media manager.
All you have to learn is what engages your people and is workable for you. And that takes time, patience, and curiosity.
I admit there are many ways to undercut yourself (such as posting too many hard sells that cause people to tune out), and there are a few best practices that help increase engagement.
But before all these best practices comes something much more fundamental: being a curious and interested human being, who can communicate in an engaging way. Writers are pretty good at that. But they forget they’re good at it when they’re filled with pressure or anxiety about results, or feel burdened with this thing they feel isn’t part of their “real” career as a writer.
And that I think is the driving force behind why it’s so hard to teach social media. It works best when you can see it as play, as a natural extension of your work. As soon as you carve it out as the “marketing and promotion” part of work/life, your results may be lackluster. People can tell when you’re only around because you’re trying to get something out of them. The more you try to make social media “pay,” often the less it does. Demands that it must be used or mandates for a certain type of use crushes the spirit and direction of creative and fulfilling activity.
So what can I possibly say to writers to help them become better at it? Well, first, don’t take it all so seriously. Look for what you enjoy. Have a spirit of questioning and discovery. Follow a daily routine that works for you. Sustainable and meaningful social media practice isn’t so different from getting your “real” writing done.
Now I'd like to introduce wildly popular Chrys Cymri
1. Who are you as a person? (brief bio paragraph)
I like to describe myself as ‘Writer, Traveller, Dragon Whisperer, Priest.’ The last is my real, full time job, as a female Christian minister in the Church of England. I love dragons, and I live one who disguises herself as a small parrot called Tilly. Travelling is a passion, and in the last few years I’ve visited the Arctic, Easter Island, and North Korea. As for the writing, that is simply part of who I am.
2. How long have you been a writer?
I wrote my first short story when I was seven years old, and in a way I’ve just never stopped. It’s something that has chosen me, rather me choosing it.
3. Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering
I was traditionally published, but because my two books sold only 5000 copies each, I was dropped by my publisher and my agent. Now I’m Indie. I love the freedom!
4. What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?
My favourite book is ‘The Riddle of Stars’ by Patricia McKillip. The writing is so lyrical, and the character development is tremendous. When I was a young teenager, Susan Cooper’s ‘The Dark is Rising’ series also inspired me to write. I sent her a letter when I was fifteen or so, and I still have her response.
5. What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)
Penny White’s life changed forever after she gave the last rites to a dragon…
6. What is the setting and genre?
Urban Fantasy, set in England, and the magical country of Lloegyr.
7. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
I love Morey. He’s a cat sized gryphon with sarcasm management issues who has been assigned to Penny White as her Associate. However, most readers seem to pick Clyde. He’s a snail around the size of a small dog, with a ferocious set of teeth and a very pure and loving soul.
8. What character is most like you?
Penny White! Like me, she’s a minister, loves Doctor Who and single malt whisky.
9. If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
To never need sleep. I just think of all I could do if I didn’t need sleep.
10. Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?
11. How are you marketing your book?
I have a monthly newsletter, I’m active on social media, and I’ve recently released a permafree novella which gives the origin story of the main dragon character from the Penny White series.
12. A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses. You want________________for your lead characters.
Jemma Redgrave as Penny White. David Tennant to voice Morey (if Tennant can manage a Welsh accent!) Bruce Guthro from the band Runrig to sing on behalf of Clyde (the snail shark loves to sing hymns).
13. What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?
Peter Gabriel’s song ‘Come Talk to Me.’ Penny holds back many times when she should be speaking out.
14. What Favorite foods
Oatcakes and Double Gloucester cheese.
15. What makes you laugh/cry?
I love a well placed witty remark. I cry after I’ve officiated at a funeral for a child.
16. What do you want written on your head stone and why?
She made us laugh and think.
17. Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I love photography and travel.
My websites are www.stalkingthelight.com and www.travellinghopefully.co.uk
18. What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Doctor Who, Black Mirror, Star Trek, The Apprentice (UK version, not USA version)
19. If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
To be a travel photographer.
20. What are you working on right now?
The sixth Penny White novel, ‘The Nest of Nessies.’
21. How much research do you do for your novels? Bonus –what’s the weirdest thing you have Googled?
I do what I can on line. I’ve also reached out to people who know their field, for example a vet when I had to write about have a snail’s shell repaired. The weirdest thing? How snails have sex.
22. What’s the scariest thing you have ever done, and did it end up in a story?
I spent two weeks in North Korea as a tourist. The experience made think a lot about control, and nationalism.
23. Name 5 fictional characters you would invite to a dinner party. Where would the party be?
Could I have all of the versions of the Doctor, and the party could be in her TARDIS?
24. What links or website do you have? List them below.