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Fall Trash to Treasure Decorations

Before the snow flurries arrived in northern Wisconsin, which was ridiculously early this year, I decorated with some repurposed finds. I made some pumpkins from old books, and painted a pie tin with chalkboard paint.

It’s hard to see, but that Sedum is growing out of an old oil can. I filled an old milk delivery cooler with fall blossoms from a bush that needed pruning.

 The rusty wheelbarrow holds mums in an enamelware bathtub.

An aluminum teapot filled with the remaining summer flowers.

I filled an enamelware pot with fall blossoms. The pumpkin books are easy to make when you tear the binding off an old book, and round the corners of the pages. I fluffed and ruffled them to get the dimension, and to make it stand better.

I love the candle holder that fits in a wine bottle, or in this case an olive oil bottle. It’s a great way to repurpose an old bottle.

Have a happy repurposed and upcycled fall!


Trash to Treasure Decorating

How Many States Have You Visited?

Have you ever calculated how much of the United States you have visited? I just returned from a long road trip, and thought it would be fun to do the math. I’m not certain if I traveled through additional states as a child, but these are the states I have visited as an adult.

Someday, I will visit the East Coast!

Create Your Own Visited States Map

How about you? Where have you traveled?

I’m So Sorry for Your Loss…

Have you ever wondered what to say when someone has just experienced the death of a loved one? I’m not even sure what I would want someone to say to me, but here are some well-worn lines that often come to mind when words elude me:

  • I’m holding you in my thoughts and prayers.
  • We’re praying for you at this time of great sadness.
  • I’m so sorry for your loss. 
Worn out phrases, but heartfelt, I promise!
That leads me to wonder; just how do the ones left behind express their experience to others? How can they begin to capture and describe the life-changing event?
  • My daughter passed away…
  • My mother went to be with the Lord after a long battler with cancer…
  • I lost my husband last year…
I once heard a well-meaning pastor give his analysis of that last phrase. His response to a widow who used that very expression was, “Oh, did you misplace him? He isn’t lost! He has gone on ahead of you, but he isn’t lost if he knew Jesus.” 
He explained how we ought to avoid expressions that refer to death as a loss, and instead we should look for alternatives to express our sympathy.
An attempt at lightheartedness, I guess. No malice intended whatsoever. But…
I’ve thought about this often. He meant well, but I have to wholeheartedly disagree. After watching several close friends and family go through the painful process of outliving a loved one, I can’t think of a better thing to say. 
I’m an outsider looking in. So, I could be completely off-kilter with my observations. However, death is a loss. Yes, I have hope knowing the truth of what the Bible says about eternal life. I know exactly where Jesus-followers go after they die. Of course, they aren’t misplaced. 
But for the ones left behind, it’s still a loss.
Death is a loss of communication. It’s the end of conversations and tender words.
It’s the loss of daily phone calls to mothers and sisters, and friends. Fathers, brothers, and sons. 
It’s the loss of dishes done side-by-side and glances across steaming coffee cups and warm apple crisp.
It’s the loss of mundane banter about weather and politics, newspaper articles, and reality TV shows.
It’s the loss of potential resolution for tangled up relationships and harsh words.
It’s the loss of possible restitution and redemption. For wrongs to be righted. For restoration.
For many it’s the loss of the other half. The part so entwined with our own selves we can’t tell where one begins and the other leaves off. 
It’s the loss of future road trips, laughter, and family reunions. 
The absence of knowing smiles. 
The loss of plans. 
It is a loss. 
Let’s call it like it is. When someone dies, we suffer a terrible loss. But in the midst of it, we have great hope. And that calm assurance is what makes the loss bearable. 
It’s what makes it possible to smile even when everything is shaken. When hearts are broken. When we’re torn up inside.
In the midst of the great emptiness of loss, there is also great possibility. For it is when we are the most empty we have room for God’s love and hope to fill the void.
If you’ve lost someone dear to you, I can’t begin to fully understand. I’m guessing you don’t understand it all either. I care. I might not say the right things at all. But please know my heart breaks for you as you discover new losses each day. I’m so sorry for your loss.

7 Elements of a Great Nonfiction Book Proposal: A Guest Post from Nick at Grammarly

Today,we have a guest post from Nikolas Baron at Grammarly. Not sure what Grammarly is? Watch for a review post coming soon. In the meantime, if you’ve ever thought about writing a nonfiction book, you’ll find Nick’s guest post below helpful.

7 Elements of a Great Nonfiction Book Proposal

Writing a nonfiction book isn’t as simple as sitting down to the typewriter, pounding out two- or three-hundred pages of brilliant work, sending it off to a publisher, and waiting for the checks to start rolling in. In fact, most nonfiction books aren’t written until the idea is sold to a potential publisher. The book is sold on the strength of a book proposal. The book proposal greatly streamlines the writing process, allowing the editor to make any required structural changes early, before the author has invested a great deal of time and effort into the writing.

The book proposal is the author’s opportunity to sell the idea of the book to the publisher. Proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar are critical, as the proposal presents the publisher with not only the idea and details of the potential book, but also a sample of the author’s writing skill. A quality proofreading software should be used to go over the proposal with a fine-toothed comb before submission, to help ensure that the presentation is of the highest quality, increasing the chances of acceptance.

There are as many opinions as to formatting, order, and parts of a book proposal as there are blogs and books on writing, but most agree that there are seven basic elements to the average book proposal. Formatting is generally accepted as double-spaced, in a 12-point classic, easy-to-read font like Times New Roman.

1) The Cover Letter
The cover letter should include a very brief but compelling selling point, also known as a “hook”. The query letter is the writer’s chance to present the editor with the “elevator pitch”. Imagine stepping into an elevator with an editor, and having only a few floors’ ride in which to sell him or her on an idea. There is no need for extensive detail, but a few compelling statistics or other points should be included if applicable.

2) The Title Page 
The title page should include a paragraph strengthening the sales pitch, along with an approximate estimated word count of the finished manuscript. The title itself should be brief, informative, and attention-getting. Unique, one- to two-word titles are usually best, depending on the subject matter.

3) Synopsis
The synopsis gives an opportunity to expand upon the subject matter, but should cover no more than two single-spaced pages. This is the author’s opportunity to delve deeper into the subject matter and sell the book based upon the more detailed points.

4) Author Information
The author biography is not a history or resume. The focus needs to be on the sale – this time, the sale of the author themselves. This is the opportunity for the author to highlight expertise, blogging experience, number of followers reached, speaking engagements, or other selling points. Years of experience as an expert in a particular field, consulting work, or a blog which has a solid following and daily unique view counts in the upper thousands are examples of strong points for a bio. Personal experiences that don’t include professional expertise, or plans to blog are irrelevant, unless the personal experience is extremely unique and interesting, or relevant to a wide audience.

5) Market and competition 
The writer needs to demonstrate knowledge and familiarity with the audience to reassure the publisher that he or she understands the potential reader. The marketing section should contain research and statistics on the market, as well as a brief synopsis of 3-5 competing titles, with a brief explanation of the differences in the proposed book.

6) Table of Contents and Chapter Outline
This section lays out the blueprints for the book so that the editor can get an idea of how the ideas will be presented and in which order the information will be laid out in the finished book. Each chapter should be represented by a paragraph detailing the major points to be covered.

7) Sample Chapters
Typically, three sample chapters are included with the proposal to give the editor a “taste” of the book and provide proof of concept that the writer is, indeed, capable of producing quality work. Three chapters are usually a sufficient number for the editor to get a feel for the writing.

Bio: Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

Tips for Decorating with Yard Sale Finds

I recently wrote a piece for Queen of the Castle Magazine titled “Upscale Junk: Tips for Decorating with Yard Sale Finds.” I thought I would share with my T2T readers. 

Flip over to page 54 to read my article, but be sure to check out the rest of the magazine too. It has a lot of fun content. 


Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Cheerful Quilt Puts the Finishing Touches on Bedroom Re-do

When I redid the paneling in my bedroom, I knew that I wanted to replace the quilt, but my new one was only half-finished. 

So, my ‘after’ pictures looked like this…with a quilt that was outdated and need some repair. Not exactly what I had in mind.

Yeah, that was from back in my mauve and sage days. 

It’s finally done! I love how cheerful the new quilt is. This was made from all of the leftover fabric I had around from some other projects, like tote bags and purses. 


Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Guest Room Makeover with White Pickle Glazed Furniture

When we moved out of our room and turned our son’s former room into a master bedroom, we gained a guest room. I turned our old tiny bedroom into a guest room. When we lived in it, we could barely walk around the queen-sized bed with our two dressers in the room. Now, with a smaller bed I was able to create a pleasing and inviting arrangement.

 The metal bed was a freebie a neighbor was tossing out.

I had before and after photos of this dresser. But I seem to have misplaced them. Or deleted them. Oops. I painted them white, glazed with antique brown, and sealed with paste wax.

I hauled my sewing cabinet into the guest room from another room since it matched the other furniture and it’s a great place to do a quick mend on something in there.

Proof that even an odd arrangement can work if the furniture is monochromatic.

The chair is part of a set that I purchased at a yard sale. I love white wicker and it’s inviting in the guest room as a place to set a tote bag, a place to sit to put on shoes, or a place to read a book.

Just in case you’re worried about where we booted my son to in order to gain a guest room…He seldom comes home from college, so he moved to a smaller den we have on the lower level, leaving an extra room on the main level. I haven’t had a guest room since giving birth 21 years ago. A strange new phase of life, this empty nesting.


Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Creative Kitchen Sink Splash Guard

Have you ever considered how to prevent some of the water splashing around the kitchen sink. Outside of just skipping washing dishes, that is. 
When I repainted the kitchen, I had to repair some water damage above the sink, and I hate the puddle that forms when water runs to the side. So I came up with a pretty solution. 

This ceramic plate fits behind the faucet, and within the stainless steel groove of the sink. Now, when I get carried away with the soap and water, it runs back into the sink. It’s functional and pretty. There was a rectangle one at the store that I really wanted but it was three times the price. This one will do just fine. Yes, indeed.


Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com

Piano Bench Made into Upholstered Footstool

Once upon a time, I bought this piano bench at a yard sale for $1. I quickly stapled some fabric over the existing seat and used it for a while at the piano. But, then I upgraded to a nicer bench and put this one in storage. Until recently. See how lumpy it looks? I fixed that. 

I wanted a footstool for when I sit in my bedroom in the wicker chair, but it had to be very small. Skinny enough to fit between the bed and the chair. So, I chopped about 6 inches off each leg on the bench, took took it apart, and took it outside to give it some spray paint.

 I painted a black base color and sprayed a crackle finish over the top.

Then, using some foam from an old couch cushion (the couch was tossed long ago, but I saved the foam), I added new padding. I also used a scrap of decorator fabric from my stash. Anyone who sews always ends up with a stash of pieces.

After I stapled the fabric around the seat, I drilled two holes in the board and poked a long needle up through, snagged a button, and poked back down through the hole. Disclaimer: it was easier said than done.

 That gave it this tufted look and ensured that the cushion foam would stay put better.

 The finished product is this little foot bench that has a storage place for books and magazines.

 And here it is with my chair.

 I love projects that cost nothing!


Trash to Treasure Decorating
View the full post at http://www.trashtotreasuredecorating.com