All posts by youmakeyourown

About youmakeyourown

Who am I? Hmmm...still figuring that one out. How do I describe myself? Perfectly Imperfect! I can tell you that I am a mother, sister, daughter, friend, and... Simply Human. Life is a journey and the next part of mine has just begun ;)

Frustration and Lethargy

Exciting news! My daughter and I have been invited to participate in Barnes and Noble’s local author event on May 19th! I am thrilled! There’s only one problem, it is difficult for Barnes and Noble to purchase books from create space. In order to participate I need to put my books and Anastasia’s on Ingram. Easy enough.

Ingram is a good platform but it costs. It costs $49 per book, but they often have special codes for your first book published with them. I set up an account for myself and one for Anastasia. As I am setting up the account it prompts me to purchase an ISBN. I tried to use the one I have on create space and it’s a no go, guess I’m purchasing an ISBN or two. At this point I was not happy, but if it lets me get into a big store to sell more books locally I’m in.

I’ve bought ISBN numbers, accounts set up and interiors and covers uploaded. Prices set, distribution channels checked and I’m ready to go. That’s what I thought anyway.

I have been fighting with the covers for nearly a week now and I am beyond frustrated!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Ingram keeps sending them back with something else that isn’t correct. I redid them again today I am crossing my fingers and sending out prayers to every god I can think of that they come back acceptable!

It does not help that the weather has been cold, wet, and gloomy. Weather like this makes me feel tired and a little depressed. A few days of it and I can usually push through, but a week or more and I am driving the struggle bus into struggle town. We have had a glimpse of sun and warmth, barely a glimpse.

So, I am working through some frustration and lethargic tendencies this week. It’s slow going, but I am hopeful. I’ve done a little more work to the kitchen, I’ve written an outline for my next book and I’m considering painting my bedroom. You know, after I’ve procrastinated by binge watching Flea Market Flip and Good Bones for a couple more hours.

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Contemplating Life While Drinking Coffee

I have been in a funky mood all morning. In about an hour I will be heading out to attend a funeral. The funeral is for a wonderful woman who I worked with several years ago. I followed her on Facebook and enjoyed her posts about her horses, her cookie business and her grandson. She always seemed so full of life. So, here I sit with my cinnamon roll and my coffee beginning to understand why I am feeling the way that I am.

Death has always been my greatest fear. There the secret is out no going back. In the last seven years I have lost more people who have touched my life than I have in my first thirty two years. Not that death didn’t touch my life during that time, I just never felt it as acutely as I do now. I felt other people’s pain and sadness when they lost someone, but I never fully understood. Today, I do understand. So, I sit here sipping my coffee with heavy chest and tears threatening because I understand her family’s pain and it breaks my heart that they have to feel that pain.

On a more selfish note, days like these force me to contemplate my own mortality and it is really uncomfortable! I question if everyone in my life knows how much I love them. Have I done everything I want to do in this life? Would I be leaving this world a better place than the day I came into it?

The truth is I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. I think that is what scares me most about death. I haven’t done enough for the people who come into my life, for the ones I love, for myself or for our world. I know it isn’t my job to make everyone happy or fix all of the world’s problems, but am I being the best person I can be if I live in my own little bubble and never leave my comfort zone? Isn’t that what life is about? Living the best version of yourself at least eighty percent of the time.

I think it will take more than one cup of coffee to answer any of those questions. I will keep muddling along and try my best to be the person I know I can be.

What do you think? What scares you the most?

Unblocking

I have been working on my next book for a few weeks. I have managed to finish the first chapter and most of the second chapter. I am now stuck, blocked. I am fairly certain that I just needed to hit pause on the writing, it is still a rough subject, even after seven years. The book I am working on is a true story of how I have dealt with grief over the last seven years. I thought that after this much time the story would flow and be easy to write. I have absolutely why I thought that! I know that no matter how much time passes this will never be easy! Wishful thinking I suppose.

Anyway, I decided to leave it for now and work on something else. Last weekend my daughter and I worked on her room. I have been promising her she could paint and set it up the way she likes for a couple of years and we finally did got it done!

It looks pretty good :). She wouldn’t let me take a lot of pictures as she was eager to have the room to herself!

I do not know if redoing my daughter’s room helped much with being able to write my book, but I do know that it was a nice distraction. I have found that, for me, living with grief means living with it because grief never goes away. The loss I have felt can never be undone so the grief will not just disappear. That does not mean that I have to live in a perpetual state of sadness it just means that I sometimes have to remind myself that I am still living and there are wonderful people in my life who are also living and it would be nice to enjoy whatever time we have left together.

With any luck, I will be able to finish the rough draft of my book by the end of March and have it published in April so that my experience living with grief might help others learn to live with it. Much love my friends! Until next time!

Time to Write

My writing studio/library is finally finished! It was a fun project. Below are some photos of the process🙂.

I started with cleaning out the room and the closet.

It was a horrible mess!

I knew I needed a desk and it had to be something inspiring. I originally started out using old shipping pallets to build the desk. I wasn’t happy with the results and decided to start fresh.

I had 2 old upper kitchen cabinets and long piece of plywood. After some thinking and a long time staring at the pieces I finally had an idea.

First I had to decide which way the cabinets turned bookshelves should sit. I decided on the L shape. Thinking of the amount of space in the room that shape made more sense. It also felt more like a desk than the counter at a store.

The paint color is one that I had laying around from another project. I wasn’t terribly concerned with the color because I wanted to do something fun on the top. I needed a primer and the leftover paint did the trick!

After I painted both sides of the board I screwed it down to the top of the bookshelves. I made sure to place the screws where they would hit the thickest part of the shelves. This way the screws didn’t end up poking into the inside of the bookshelves and ruining any tall books. I wasn’t concerned with filling in the screw heads because the next step covered them up. Otherwise, I would have used a wood putty to fill in the heads then painted over it to get a nice finished look. I’m certain there is a better way to attach a top to a desk, however, I’m not a professional carpenter. Nope, I’m a simple DIY person that often follows the “let’s see if this works ” philosophy 😉.

Onto the next step!

I took an old herbal book and tore out a lot of pages. I know, I know! How could I deface a book! It wasn’t as hard as it should have been, but I kept telling myself that the pages were getting a new life. I took the pages and Mod Podge and decoupaged the desktop. I didn’t stop there!

After I finished the decoupage step I decided to write some quotes from authors and books on the top of the desk. I used a black sharpie but you could use any color of permanent marker. When I finished with writing the quotes I took polyurethane and gave the desktop several coats, letting each coat dry before adding another coat.

While that was drying I created a cork board from some old wood pieces and cork I bought at the local craft store. It turned out nicely 🙂.

I decided I didn’t like the white and painted the outside of the desk black.

I left the inside shelves white because I like the contrast. The colors remind me of ink and paper and books🙂.

I decided to write another quote on the side of the short shelf. I found the quote on Pinterest and I loved it, so I wanted to include it somewhere on the shelves.

Here is the room from the doorway.

I am very pleased with how everything came together and I’m eager to get writing!

Currently I am helping my daughter publish her book on Amazon. It has not been easy but progress is being made. Fingers crossed, it will be available this week.

Lost? Or Temporarily Misplaced?

It is that time of year again! Yes, the time of year when I am not sure who I am or what I am supposed to be doing. Like a college student trying to pick a major or a preschooler trying to decide what toy to take for show and tell I am floundering. Have any of you ever felt this way?

I used to say I felt lost. I felt like I was wondering about in the dark with no real purpose. Now, I think of this time of year as a temporary misplacement of myself.

I know the direction I want to go, but I have taken a wrong turn. I just have to back track and find my road. Easier said than done. Especially, when the doubts are screaming directions in your ear, “You can’t go that way!”, “are you crazy! How are you going to make a living doing that!” The ever present doubt of “What are you going to do when you fail?” Finally, the kick in the stomach, “Maybe it would be better if you tried something else.”

Those doubting voices are all too familiar. They come and go through out the year, but this time of year those voices take up residence in my soul. The unwanted guests make me question every choice I have ever made. The result is a feeling of being lost and alone.

I could blame a great number of events or a handful of people for these voices. I could, it would be so very simple to blame outside factors for the doubts that run through my head and my heart. In truth, these people and events are contributors but they are not responsible for my actions. Only I am responsible for my actions.

In the past I have let these doubts control my every thought and action. I let them harass me and tear me down. Not anymore, things have changed, I have changed. I am no longer lost. I am simply temporarily misplaced. I invite the doubts in for a conversation. They are welcome to stay for a little while. They fire their concerns at me and I answer each one as thoughtfully as possible.

“You can’t go that way!”

Why? Why can’t I go that way? If there is a barrier maybe I can bypass it somehow. Why shouldn’t I at least give that way a try? What’s the worse that could happen?

“Are you crazy! How are you going to make a living doing that?”

I don’t know if I can make a living at this, but I currently have a small amount of means and a whole lot of determination. Why shouldn’t I try?

“What are you going to do when you fail?”

Failure isn’t something to be feared. If I never fail how am I going to learn what won’t work? Failure is a very good teacher. I am 39 years old, by now failure is a familiar acquaintance. In fact, failure and I have had many good conversations.

“Maybe it would be better if you tried something else.”

You might be right. My feelings could get hurt, I might put more money into this than I should. Life just might be easier if I did something a little safer, more solid with a guaranteed income. There are many things I can do that will be “better” for me than writing books. I know, I’ve tried a few. Life is often too short to continue waiting for the right moment. The amount of time, the right amount of financial stability. I have learned that the right time is always now, because tomorrow may not come.

I have my answers and my direction. I just need to find my road again. It’s not that far away. Along the way I drop off each doubt, give a little wave and a see you next year .

I’m not lost. I’m temporarily misplaced.

Scar Tissue

Today, the scar on my heart burns.

The memories are not painful anymore, they are bittersweet. Today, though, today they ache and burn something fierce! The need to have you here is an all too familiar feeling, but today it is one that no words seem to be able to dispel. Life is tough and I have learned to live it in-spite of it’s rough edges. I have found joy in between the waves of pain. I have found strength in laughter and in tears. Life has not been easy but it has been doable.

Today, however, I feel as though I am putting on a facade. I have walked through the day with a burning scar heating up my chest, with an emptiness that is difficult to fill. I have smiled but not really felt happy. I have a bone deep weariness weighing me down. I’m not sure why this date this year is particularly hard. I have been thinking about you a lot of late. Not that you are ever very far from my mind. I feel the need to talk to you and hear your thoughts but you are not here. Friends and family are always willing to help. I love them for the generosity of their time, love, and patience. I’m not sure I would be where I am now if it were not for them. Unfortunately, they can not give me what you could. I miss your shoulder to rest my head on and your hand in mine.

Today will pass and you will still be gone, so I must attempt to quiet the pain in my heart. Ease the burn of the scar tissue. I have done it before and I will again, but the scar will always remain.

Love has a price but it is worth every penny.

Progress

Hello! Happy Fall! I am making slow progress on my writing/creative/library space. I think any progress at this point and time is good 😊. The room itself is still a mess, but my desk is about one third completed. It is now standing on it’s own feet!

I will be adding a hinged top. Then sanding and either staining or painting. I’m considering a distressed look to keep in the used/recycled feel of the desk. It is made from an old pallet.

I am also working on cleaning and organizing my house. It has gotten quite out of hand of late. I’m working through one room at a time. Trying not to get overwhelmed by the total mess that is my house. I have successfully cleared off the top of the entertainment center 🙂.

Yes, I know the lower shelves still need dusted and swept off, but you should have seen it before. The amount of papers and things piled on top could have rivaled Mt. Vesuvius for height. I’m not sure how we watched tv!

I am making slow but steady progress on everything. I suppose that progress is progress no matter how slow it moves🙂.

How goes your projects? Lots of love and luck!

On Hold

I regret to say that my kitchen remodel is on hold. At this juncture I am not sure for how long the project will remain on hold. SIGH! The life of a single mother on a fixed income 🙁.

With the kitchen holding I have another project that will not cost me money(at the moment). I am revamping the library/guest room.

Currently this how the room looks. It’s a small room but has a lot of potential. The walls are acceptable colors and there is a closet.

The Plan:

1. Move things out of the room

2. Build desk

3. Make closet into book shelf

4. Make and find things to hold craft supplies

5. Write/paint favorite quotes from books on wall

6. Move everything back into the room

I have already started building my desk. My brother-in-law has picked up some used shipping pallets from his work. They were going to throw them out!

The book shelf will be built after I get everything out of the closet. My house isn’t very big so I have to do things in stages or Anastasia and I won’t be able to move. Not mention the dogs and cat freak out when the house is cluttered😱.

This new space will be our creative area. It is bright and welcoming and sure to get some creative juices flowing 😊. I already have an idea for a series of children’s books and I am writing about my experiences since losing my husband. My lovely, unique Anastasia has also started writing! She is collaborating with a young artist and I am hoping the book will be out by Christmas 🤞.

Here’s to revamped spaces and waiting projects! I hope everyone else’s projects come together without delays!

Remodeling on Next to Nothing

Hello! I have been able to do a little more to my kitchen. I have started covering the exposed beam that runs between the kitchen and dining room. I'm using old baseboards from my basement.


The next project will be to remove the plaster from the ceiling. I had hoped to be able to put a new ceiling right over the old plaster, however, the plaster is too crumbly. It continues to fall, little pieces at a time, onto my counters and floor, so the plaster has to go.

I am also waiting on a call from a friend who knows an electrician who may be able to do the electric work for a reasonable price 🙂. Barring any complications I might have a new kitchen ceiling and no electrical problems by winter!

I am not terribly frustrated by the slow progress. I knew going into this remodel that I wouldn't have much extra money to spend and because of that things would move very slow. While I wish I had more of the kitchen completed, I am happy that progress is being made. Slowly but surely this kitchen will get done 🙂.

So far I have spent about $50-$75 on the remodel. A neighbor recently moved to Florida and gave me the extra drywall he had from a project and I think I have enough wood to create a unique ceiling. I have been pretty lucky. The electrical work and cabinets will, most likely, be the largest expense in this project.

Until next time friends! May all your projects turn out fabulous!