Friday, September 23, 2011

Kitchen Art

I found this vintage script online and thought it would be a beautiful accent in my kitchen so I decided to print it out and frame it as art. I loved that some of the script was turquoise.

I had a 5 x 7 dark brown frame lying around begging to be used, so I painted it off white. Doesn't it look lovely?

** TIP ** It's always a good idea to keep a selection of frames on hand, because you never know when inspiration will hit. You can usually find tons of older small picture frames at yard sales for less than $1.
I also had some tin frames that I had purchased from the Dollar Tree that were a rust color. I painted them with Rust-Oleum's  Heirloom White spray paint. (This color is no longer available, I'm sorry to say, as it was the perfect off white color. If any of you have found a similar color replacement, please let me know).

In the photograph below I used one of the above-mentioned frames to frame a piece of scrap book paper that had a similar design to the script above. I added the believe and dream words using a stamp and ink pad.

Now I have two one-of-a-kind art pieces for just a few dollars. I think they are perfect additions for my small kitchen.

What are some creative ways you have used to make art for your home?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Serene Soul Giveaway ~ Custom Desinged Pillow Covers

A wonderful shabbby chic blog, Flea Market Trixie, is a place I go for inspiration and ideas. Trixie has just opened a new ETSY store where she is offering custom designed pillow covers with gorgeous prints. To celebrate the Grand Opening Trixie is giving away one of these beautiful pillow covers.

Visit Trixie's Blog to find out how you can win one of these wonderful pillow covers!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The 3 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Authors Make

There is nothing worse than having a great book that is well-written sitting unpublished on your computer, or having a well-written published book sitting on the shelves not selling.

If you find yourself in either of these positions, you are not alone! More than likely, the problem is that you have made one or more of the three most common author marketing mistakes.

1. Failing to market yourself and your book, or not marketing early enough!
2. Failing to utilize available marketing tools, or not using them properly.
3. Failing to follow through to keep your marketing momentum going.

If you are guilty of making any of these mistakes, or all of them, have no fear. You can turn your your situation around!!

Let's take a closer look at each mistake and the solution:

1. Failing to market yourself and your book or not marketing early enough!
The first thing that comes to mind for many authors, especially new authors, when working on a book is completing it, not marketing it! There's plenty of time for marketing later, they say, and don't give their marketing plan another thought until after the book is completed and in the submission process, or until after the book is contracted.

Others try to put off marketing their book onto the publisher, mistakenly thinking that marketing it is not their responsibility, they are writers not marketers!

But succumbing to these lines of thinking in today's market is a bit like cutting off your nose to spite your face as my Great Aunt Ida used to say!

Readers and fans are faced with hundreds of new titles being released each and every month, and are much more apt to purchase works from authors who they are familiar with, or who have been recommended by other readers or authors. And, it takes time to build up social relationships and to make yourself known.

So when is the best time to begin developing and enacting a marketing plan? The moment you decide to write your first word.

Agents, editors, and publishers often go online and google authors who have submitted manuscripts to them. They are looking for authors that have already established a following, because this indicates that there is already a market for the author's work established that can be built upon. After all, they have a lot at stake in the success or failure of the books that they publish.

2. Failing to utilize available marketing tools, or not using them properly!
In some of the writing groups I belong to, I am amazed at how often I hear fellow authors make excuses for not marketing themselves and their books. Two of the excuses I hear the most often are:

a) Marketing takes too much time!
b) I don't know how!

It is true that marketing yourself and your books does take some time, but it is time well spent if done properly. After all, nobody will buy your book if they don't know that you or it exist! Effective marketing helps to build visibility and awareness of both you and your books.

There are tons of resources out there that can show you how to effectively market yourself and your books. Here are a few places to start:
The Creative Penn
Author Marketing Experts Blog
Marketing tips For Authors
Author Insider
Author Marketing Ideas
The Savvy Book Marketer
Self Publishing Coach

These resources can guide you on the most effective ways design an author marketing plan and on how to use a variety of free and low-cost resources and tools to begin building your author platform.

3. Failing to follow through to keep your marketing momentum going.
Another all too common mistake that some authors make is that they start off strong but then start floundering after a few months. I have been guilty of this mistake myself.

The key to effective marketing is to continually and consistently be utilizing available tools to build and grow your author platform. Remember, as a writer you are an entrepreneur and business owner with a product to sell. And like any other business, marketing your product is a necessity if you want to be successful.

So take a moment to review your are in your marketing, what tools you have available, and what actions need to be taken to get your marketing back on track.

Stay tuned for my upcoming series of marketing posts where I will be sharing some of the most common free and low-cost marketing tools and tips to use them effectively to build a successful author platform.

Don't miss any upcoming posts. Get updates via RSS!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Handmade Wall Art ~ Inspirational Word Art

"Happiness lives in the joy of achievment and in the joy of creative effort."       Franklin Roosevelt  
I have always loved the beautiful signs others make that feature inspirational words and quotes, like these two pictured above. However, most signs like these sell for $15 - $25 each. Since I am on a budget, rather than purchasing one, I decided to try my hand at making my own. I had a 12" scrap piece of a 1" by 6" board lying around. I also had some alphabet stencils and plenty of craft paint, so I figured it was time to experiment?

First, using the craft paint, I painted the board white. Next, I calculated the proper spacing for the letters, and then painted the word "Believe" on the front using a slightly darker, taupe-colored paint. To add a little extra depth to the letters, I outlined with a brown Sharpie pen.

To give it the Shabby Chic look that I love so much, I lightly sanded over the surface giving the entire piece a more distressed look!

I love how it turned out! Simple and very Centsible Chic? What do you think? Not too bad for my first attempt, huh? I think it made a great addition to my newly redesigned kitchen shelves, don't you?

The Contemps: Lessons from a Literary Agency Internship

I came across an interesting post over at The Contemps blog.

It details the experience of 21 year old college student, SM Rosenberg, during a summer internship at a Literary Agency over the summer. Check it out!

The Contemps: Lessons from a Literary Agency Internship


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rechelle's Diary: 9/14/11

Dear Diary,

I just heard Christmas mentioned in an email I received this morning informing me that there was only 104 days left before Christmas! It's too darn early to be thinking about Christmas!! We're not even officially into Fall yet.

This week is the first full week since May that temps have been out of the 90's. I'd really like to enjoy some long-sleeve shirt weather before I have to start thinking about snow and Santa Clause!!

But then again I have been wanting an Ipad and the soon to be released remastered Star Wars DVD set!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Metal Jar Makeover


I bought this metal jar years ago, I loved it's shape and it made a great vase for light colored flowers. However as my decor changed from dark wood furniture and a darker color palette to lighter colors and painted white furniture, the dark jar just didn't fit in so it was temporarily banned to storage. However, I was confident that I would eventually find a use for it.

As I was doing some spring cleaning a few months ago, I rediscovered my jar. I loved its unique shape and saw its potential. Since my new new color includes lots of white and lighter colors, accented with turquoise, what else could I do? I decide to paint it of course. So I pulled out my stash of DecoArt Patio Paints and found the perfect beautiful teal color, Light Eucalyptus Green, that I knew would revive the jar and give it new life.

First, using a candle, I rubbed it over the raised parts of the surface that I wanted to highlight. Next, I painted it with a single coat of paint, then lightly sanded over those same areas that I had rubbed with the candle. This brought out just enough of the old color to give it the distressed look that I love.

I think it looks very centsible chic, don't you? It made the perfect accent for my new redesigned kitchen shelves and nicely contrasted the whites of my displayed dishware.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rechelle's Diary: 9/11/11 - Remembering 9/11

Today as the activities of life were buzzing on around me, I wanted to stop and take a moment to remember those who lost their lives in the Twin Towers terrorist attack on 9/11/01.

As I write this, this incomprehensible attack still seems fresh in my memory. I can feel tears welling up in my eyes at the thought of the thousands of people who were killed by such pointless violence, including 411 emergency rescue workers who had responded to the scene.

On the morning of 9/11/01, I remember being awoken from my sleep shortly before 9 am to a panicked voice on the other end of the phone screaming at me to turn on the television. The heart-wrenching emotion in that voice assured me that something terrible had happened. I reached blindly for the remote control, having only gotten a little more than one hours sleep after working a long night shift. I flipped on the television and could hardly believe what I was seeing. Smoke was billowing out of the North Tower and the anchor was saying that a terrorist had crashed a plane into the building. For several minutes, netiher myself or my friend on the line said anything. The news had shocked us both into silence.

I remember flipping through channels trying to get more information and hearing that other planes had been hijacked as well. Then just when it seemed that it all might be over, another plane flew into the South Tower. I was filled with such a horrible sense of uselessness as I sat and witnessed the event from my sofa, powerless to do anything but watch.

A few minutes later there was coverage of at least one, and possibly two hijacked planes, that were possibly headed towards the Capitol. The whole incident seemed so surreal.

A few minutes later my pager started going off. I was being called back to work as a precaution after a terrorist activity alert was received by my agency that other cities could also have similar incidents occur.

Still stunned, I put my uniform back on, strapped on my gun and badge, and reported for duty. I was later told that both buildings had collapsed and that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Thankfully, the terror ended with those four planes; however, I remember the heightened alertness and sense of worry and dread that hung heavy in the air that day and for weeks afterward as we anticipated the possibility of more terrorist acts.

It was one of the worst times that I can remember in my lifetime, and I pray that nothing like that ever happens again. My thoughts and prayers go out to the deceased family members on this day of rememberance, and may those persons who lost their lives on that fateful day never be forgotten.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Decorative Accents for the Kitchen ~ Wall Art

A friend of mine was cleaning out her garage and was getting rid of this oak floor grate, so I grabbed it. Free is always good. I loved the architectural design and I knew a  little white paint would create the shabby chic look I love.

This was a very easy makeover. I simply painted it with Rustoleum's Heritage white spray paint and sanded it with a medium grade sand paper to give it a distressed look.

Here it is proudly displayed on the wall of my newly organized kitchen shelves.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cookbook Dilemma Solved ~ More Kitichen Storage Ideas

Half of my cookbooks now have a home on my kitchen counter and they are much easier to see and more accessible. With no more counter space available I needed to find a new home for the rest.

While I was searching through my shed trying to find something to put them in, I came across a wooden crate I had bought at a yard sale months earlier. It already had a nicely distressed shabby chic finish, so I was thrilled to find something that I could possibly use as is. Even though, I didn't really have a specific purpose for it at the time, I couldn't resist taking it home for a mere $1. I knew that it would fit in wonderfully in my Centsible Chic decor.

So with my distressed crate in hand, I was halfway there. I just had to find the perfect home for it and the rest of my cookbooks. I noticed that the top of my pantry was sitting empty and it just so happened to be a perfect spot for my crate.

I placed my remaining cookbooks inside and placed them on the pantry. I also added one of my Mother's Pyrex refrigerator bowls and a pretty basket a neighbor gave me. In the background you can also see my Grandmother Delia's favorite cookie jar (the hen). What creative storage solutions have you come up with in your kitchen? I'd love to see other creative ways that you have stored your cookbooks?

Monday, September 5, 2011

$3 Cookbook Display ~ Kitchen Storage Solution

I absolutely love my recent kitchen shelf makeover. I now have the extra cabinet space that I desperately needed. Since I removed my cookbooks from the shelves to make room for my dishware, I needed to come up with a creative storage solution for them as well.

As I was pondering how to display and store my collection of cookbooks, I couldn't help but ask myself why I have so many cookbooks in the first place when cooking is my least favorite thing to do? I guess it is possible that one morning in the near distant future, I will awaken as Julia Child reincarnated and start cooking up a storm, but probably not!! So I decided to go through them and only keep my absolute favorites since I have a very small galley type kitchen with limited counter space. The wheels began to turn...

...and I remembered that I had purchased a small hanging shelf at the local Goodwill store sometime last year. I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive storage solutions and even though it was painted pink and blue, it was well constructed and a steal at $2. So home with me it came and has been patiently waiting for some TLC to make it beautiful and useful once again. I knew it would be the perfect solution for my cookbook storage problem! I could place the shelf on the counter which would help keep my cookbooks clean and dry.

There was only one problem. The shelf was designed to be hung on the wall and the bottom "feet" of the shelf were curved not flat. Easy enough to fix! I simply measured and marked a straight line horizontally across the bottom of the side panel and then cut off a couple of inches with my Miter saw, taking off the curvature and resulting in a flat bottom edge! Voila! It would now sit flush on the counter.

The next thing to do was to get rid of the baby pink and blue color palette by transforming it with a little paint. A few weeks earlier I had bought an almost full gallon of Behr's paint in a light green glossy finish at a neighbor's yard sale for only $1. I thought that the color would go nicely with my kitchen's light turquoise walls so I lightly sanded the shelf and then added a coat of the new color and it looks wonderful.
Now half of my cookbooks have a new home, so the hunt is on for more cookbook storage.

I love the little shelf at the top where I can display my Aunt Ida's rolling pin and biscuit cutter that she used to make the most delicious, light and fluffy biscuits. There is also room on top to display my Mother's favorite salt and pepper shakers. Just having these items close by helps to make the space feel more inviting and who knows, maybe I will be a little more inspired now to cook more often!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taking Action is Contagious!

 At the ripe old age of 39, I put aside all my negative self talk and returned to college to complete my Bachelor's Degree. Making that decision was one of the most liberating things I have ever done and being back in college pursuing one of my life long dreams was exhilirating. I absolutely loved every minute of it!

I was able to complete my B.A. in History in two short years and graduated from Clemson University magna cum laude in May 2010. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing that I had taken action towards my dreams and completed my goal successfully.

Graduation Day! May 2010 - Clemson University
I actually enjoyed the enitre process so much that I encouraged my husband to follow in my footsteps and pursue his own dream of completing his college education. So imagine how excited I was to hear that he finally decided to just do it! He enrolled in college and is now pursuing a degree in nursing! I am so proud of him for taking action!

I believe that my taking action and my success had a positive effect on him and helped to inspire him to take action. I don't think that we realize how much influence our attitude, actions, insecurities, and inactions have on those around us, and vice versa. That's why it is so important to do everything you can to surround yourself with positive and supportive people whenever you can, and to try to be mindful of what kind of vibes you are giving off to those people that you are closest to.

Dishes As Decor? How to use kitchen shelves to showcase your dishware.

As I was purusing the internet searching for some ideas to give my open, book-filled, kitchen shelves a much needed style make-over, I found these beautiful pictures. After seeing these, I was filled with inspiration! I really liked how the dishes act as a focal point in both sets of shelves.

As you can see below, I replaced all of my tattered cookbooks with the dishes I use most often. Most of the dishware was also bought at yard sales and thrift stores for .25 - .50 except for the dishes on the top right, which were hand-me-downs. I love how I now have extra room in my cabinets, and how my dishes do double-duty as decorative items as well. I think the light turquoise background color of the wall really makes the white dishware stand out, don't you think?

For a little additional dazzle, I also added a few of my recent small item makeovers to the wall for an extra special shabby chic look.
  • Believe Plaque - This started out as a plain old 1x4 board. 
  • White Tin Frame - This was originally a rust colored Dollar Tree Picture Frame.
  • Scroll Grate - I refurbished an old oak floor grate. 
  • Turqoise Jar - I loved the shape but not the flat brown color of this metal jar.
  • Vintage Script - I gave a plain white picture frame new life.

Coming up, I will share all the details about each of the five small makeover projects listed above and show you the steps I took to turn them into these darling elements that are so centsibly chic! Let me know what you think and feel free to link to any of your wonderful shabby chic kitchen shelf makeovers. I'd love to see them. Until next time...