Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Six Easy Christmas Tree Alternatives

Alternatives to Standard Christmas Trees


There are alternatives to putting up a fully decorated Christmas Tree. When time, health or motivation gets in the way of decorating the way you used to, check out these options:

1. Christmas Tree Art Drapes

You have to check these out; they're gorgeous. These drapes are full floor to ceiling curtains featuring 3D holiday scenes. The entire drapes are an art canvas, except instead of being on canvas, the art is on cloth. If you have a large window or sliding patio door, remove your existing drapes and put these up for the holidays. 

2. A Tabletop Christmas Tree

A tabletop tree is the easiest way to bring a little cheer into your home during the holidays. One of ReviewThisReviews writers, Dawn Rae, provides several creative suggestions here. Of course, tabletop trees can also be used to accessorize a fully decorated home. They also make an excellent hostess gift.

3. Freestanding Cardboard Christmas Trees
When you need a simpler
decorating plan

Of course, this particular choice is better utilized as party decor. However, there are several ways to incorporate cardboard trees into the home. For those who like to feature multiple trees but don't have the energy to go all out, these fun designs are an alternative. Also, you can use them as a way to add a safe festive feel to a child's room or playroom. 

4.  Christmas Tree Wall Decals

If you have a little more energy and enjoy decorating the walls, then you'll love this idea. Wall decal Christmas Trees are a fun way to add festive art to a room. When the holidays are over, simply remove them. Since they have more of an artsy animated look to them, they're ideal in a room where the kids tend to gather, even their bedroom. How nice would it be to read holiday bedtime stories with a fun Christmas Tree decal front and center in the little one's bedroom?

5. Pull Up Christmas Trees

These are an absolute must for people who don't have time for anything elaborate during the holidays! They fold completely flat into a storage bag. You may have to buy the storage bag separately. When the holiday season rolls around, unzip the bag and pull up the pre-lit, even pre-decorated Christmas Tree. That's right, most of them come fully decorated. A couple of these trees will eliminate a ton of work yet still give your home or office that lovely holiday feel.

6. Christmas Trees or Decor Featured on a Rug

If the wall, a tabletop, or draperies are out of the question, how about a bit of the holiday spirit on the floor? These holiday-themed area rugs feature various scenes that you can easily incorporate into your home. The nice thing about a carpet is the ease of taking it out and putting it away. Feature a festive rug in your foyer, one in the kitchen or living area, and add a small table-top tree or Christmas tree ornament, and your decorating is finished. You've decorated without a lot of effort. With a rug, there are no boxes to unpack or carry; store it in a closet or under a bed until the season is upon us.

As we get older, decorating the way we used to can become challenging. Our hearts may want to go all out, but our bodies won't let us. So don't hesitate to seek out something easier that works for you and your life. These days, there's something beautiful about going 'small.' It's like getting back to the basics and focusing on what Christmas is really about; love.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, November 10, 2019

10 Reasons to Consider a Combination TV Stand and Fireplace

Electric Fireplace TV Stands

Even though we have a gas fireplace in our family room, we've had a combination electric fireplace tv cabinet for several decades. The photo on this page is the actual unit we purchased. 

Ten Reasons to Consider a TV Electric Fireplace Cabinet:

1. A Secondary Heat Source

Currently, this unit is in my office. The room gets chilly in the winter, so this solves that problem. Of course, it houses a TV as well, which is ideal on those days I prefer to work while watching the tube. 

2. To Save Space

If you'd like both a fireplace and a TV in the room but don't have space for it, you'll want to consider a unit like this. They come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, so you're sure to find one that ties into your existing decor.

3. To Add a Fireplace Where None Exists

If your home or apartment doesn't have a fireplace, it's the ideal solution; you add to
Electric Fireplace TV Stand
in my office
the ambiance, decor, and practicality with one piece of furniture.

4. To Warm Up a Finished Basement/Recreation Room Area

Often times finished basements don't have or can't have a gas fireplace. An electric fireplace solves the problem. It brings additional heat in the room, provides extra storage and of course, is a place for the TV.

5. When You Move, Take it With You

Renters, in particular, benefit from moveable TV Fireplace Stands. Now you don't have to eliminate apartments without fireplaces; just add one of these units, and you'll achieve that cozy feel you're seeking.

6. It's Easily Relocatable

We've had our fireplace tv stand in multiple places in our home over the years. In fact, it was in our master bedroom for over five years before we moved it to my office. Previous to that, it was in the living room. 

7. Add a Gaming System to the Stand

Some tv fireplace stands come with enough room to hook-up a gaming station. In our particular unit, there's a Play Station attached to the TV for kids and grown-ups alike. On the side of the unit are glass doors where we place the controllers and games.

8. Extra Compact Storage Space

Some units come with cupboards and others with convenient storage areas. At the bottom of this article you'll see a link to a page that features various designs and styles; take a look at all the choices.

9. A Fireplace Remote

Ok, pretty much all electric fireplaces come with a remote control. However, it's especially convenient when you're in bed, on the couch or at your desk, and need the heat on! Reach for the remote and start-up your fireplace.

10. It's A Lot More Affordable than Installing a Fixed Fireplace

Although the prices of fireplace tv stands vary from lower to higher ranges, they're less expensive than hiring a contractor to install a gas or electric unit.

Various Designs and Styles

Unfortunately, I can't give you a link to the fireplace unit in our home as it's been there for decades. We've never had a problem with it either. It certainly was worth the money. It cost us approximately $1200.

However, I did put together a collection of various designs and styles from multiple stores. You'll notice there's a broad range in prices, colors, and styles to fit just about any decor theme.


Just a reminder, if you have little kids or pets, don't let them touch the fireplace! Like any fireplace unit, gas, or electric, it gets hot!

Stay Warm



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, November 3, 2019

3 More Tips from a Newbie Self-Publisher

3 Additional Newbie Self-Publisher Tips
From a Fellow Newbie's Experience
In the previous few articles, I reviewed my newbie experiences with self-publishing. Since I've published my third book, and still have some hair left, there's more to share.

Again, I'm not a publishing guru, I'm just sharing tips as I go through the process.

If you've published paperbacks, you understand that your book can then be uploaded in digital format as an eBook.

I started in reverse. My first book was an eBook. After publishing an eBook, I learned to publish paperbacks.

However, once I mastered (yeah right) the ability to publish a paperback, I changed the order I publish books in:

  •  My books are written for Paperback publishing first
  •  Then that same book is uploaded as an eBook

I prefer doing paperback books first. The physical copy is usually more detailed and takes a bit more care in its design.

When doing an eBook, you upload your completed book document to KindleCreate. Again, read this article for a little bit about KindleCreate and eBook preparation.

Three Tips to Pass Along: 

1. Kindle Create - What I learned the Hard Way with the Third Book

If your manuscript/book document has anything in List Format, as an example, 1, 2, 3, etc., when you upload it to KindleCreate, KindleCreate doesn't let you modify Lists. You have to have it exactly as you want it before uploading, or don't use a list format. 

My book had 160 items in List Format. To get around the lists for the eBook version, I typed the numbers in brackets and put them above the typed item. I didn't use the auto-format of 1.2.3. in the toolbar. However, beware; even if you type 1. versus using the word processing numbering format in the toolbar, you still won't be able to modify that list in KindleCreate.

Oh, and the same goes for Tables in KindleCreate: They can't be modified once uploaded to KindleCreate.

Maybe KindleCreate will change these restrictions down the road?

2. Get Your Amazon Author Page Completed

To get started, read the general instructions on the Amazon help page here. It's easy to understand.

I decided to wait until I had three books completed before doing my Author page. However, there's no need to wait. If you only have one book, go for it.

The Author page has five key elements:

  •  Upload your photo, or any photo(s) you prefer for the page
  •  Add your books to the page (easy, automatic process)|
  •  Write a Bio on yourself - Take some time to do this (see the tip below)
  •  Upload any videos you have that relate to you or your books
  •  Add an RSS feed from your blog, or Pinterest or another place that connects to your Business


Regarding the Amazon Bio, don't miss this article, it's filled with excellent tips. It provides guidance on how your Bio should sound, and what you should say. You can follow me on my newly created author page If you prefer a video tutorial on how to complete an Author Page, this one is helpful:




3. The Size of Your Book as it Relates to the Book's Spine

I haven't used a professional graphic artist yet to create covers. For now, Amazon's Cover Creator is still my go-to tool. What I learned with this third book is that size matters. If you would like your book to have written details on the Spine, you need to ensure it's approximately 100 pages. This last book was less, about 65 pages, and thus couldn't have the title on the Spine. 

To avoid this, I'll be keeping most of my books to at least 100 pages. You don't have to if you don't want to, it's up to you.

Here are my article tips to date:


Here's my completed third book, and yep, working on the fourth.

Note: I'm an Amazon Associate
But my Associate ID is not in the above Link





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, October 27, 2019

5 Helpful Tools from a Newbie Self-Publisher

5 Helpful Tools Discovered by a Newbie Self-Publisher

In the past two weeks, I've talked about lessons learned as a newbie self-publisher. My first attempt was an eBook and the second a Paperback. Like I said in those articles, I'm not a guru! I'm learning the ropes and sharing the climb.

Was it easy, no way! I can honestly say I'm lacking sleep, and this so-called brain of mine has been reduced to mush. But I love the feeling: You know when you've overcome something and earned a sense of moving forward.

In this article, I'd like to share some of the convenient tools I've found online to help you with your own self-publishing journey. I spent a lot of time researching various aspects of the writing and publishing process and have saved my favorite tips and tools for future projects.

Here are five handy tools/tips I discovered along the way:

1. Choosing a Title for Your Books

I'll start by saying that my titles aren't genius. Lol, but as most of you know, a title is vital. My second book is all about fun, it's a party riddle gamebook. Yah, I know, who writes riddles, right? It's a crazy freaking knack that I have, go figure?

I wanted to create interest with my title and have the title say precisely what the book was about, and what the book could be used for.

I researched some of the most potent action words for marketing and tripped on several helpful articles. The article I ended up saving for future reference was "277 Action Words to Supercharge Your Writing."

2. Kindleprenuer - Be Sure to Check it Out

Kindleprenuer is filled with handy writing tidbits. It's written in a straightforward format, and the tips are easy to implement. They also suggest useful tools to help you along your learning process.

Don't miss their article on 'How to Title a Book,' it's worth your time!

3. Title Generators - These are Handy

A title generator auto-generates suggested title ideas based on your entry. I'll admit, the title for my latest book didn't come from a title generator; however, the title generator did inspire my final decision for the title.

This title generator is a ton of fun and a little addictive! Go ahead and put in the details and see the choices it spits out. It's also a recommended tool by Kindleprenuer.

Here's another helpful title generator. As I mentioned above, it did inspire the title creation process.

4. Setting Up Your Amazon Author Central Page

Since I only have two books published, I haven't set my page up yet. However, you guessed it, I've researched the topic already.

When you're ready, check out this article on how to set your Author Page up, it's helpful.

5. Choosing Your Subtitles - Bold, Clear, and Specific

No, I didn't come up with that criteria. It's part of the excellent advice you'll get from Kindleprenuer. I mentioned them above. They also offer a helpful article on 'how to select a subtitle that sells'.

______________________

Here were my challenges:
  •  It's a riddle book
  •  The book is designed and suggested as a fun game for parties
  •  The riddles are geared towards teens and adults (all clean of course)
  •  I needed a branded name to use on future riddle books
As I researched naming my book, I had quite the challenge trying to get these points established on the cover: A party game book, a riddle book, for teens and adults as well as finding space for an action word.

Here's what I decided:
  •  "A Party Game" stated at the top since that's the point of the book
  •  #Stumped is my branded name that will be on future riddle books
  •  'Instant Party Riddles for Teens and Adults" is the sub-title
  •  The word "Instant" is my action word
  •  The back of the book features an actual riddle 
I'm not saying my choices are the right ones, or that they can't be improved. In fact, I may change the cover down the road. What I learned is that the process for choosing a title, sub-title, and design is time-consuming and crucial to the overall final product.

That's enough for today on my journey into self-publishing, here's my second book. There's an eBook version as well, but it's in the approval stage. It should be showing in a day or so. 

Oh, and yes, I've started the third book: It's not poetry, it's not a riddle book, it's not a novel, oh what could it be?

Here's book number two. Available on Amazon.
Note: I'm an Amazon Associate, but the above link
does not have my Associate ID in it.




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Sunday, October 20, 2019

Confessions of a Newbie Self Publisher

Confessions of a Newbie Self Publisher


To help you dreamers out, I'm writing this review about my experience of self-publishing my first paperback book through Amazon.

First off, I'm absolutely a newbie at this; the piles of pulled-out hair beside my desk rests as evidence. 

I'm going to go point-by-point with some of the major issues I faced during the learning process.

Again, this article isn't meant to come across as all-knowing, because I'm not all-knowing on this subject!

However, I did spend hours, and I do mean hours researching and learning and doing and swearing just to get that first paperback book up on Amazon. So from that perspective, I know a little bit more than I did a month ago.

What was most daunting was learning the technical aspects of getting that book up on Amazon.

You writers out there would probably agree that writing the book is the easy part! A few weeks back, I posted an article on getting a Kindle eBook up and running. You can read about that swearing event here. Again, I'm not a guru!! Just sharing my newbie nightmares.

So here we go, point by point on some of the things I learned about self-publishing a paperback book through Amazon:

1. You Need the Paperback Book Templates from Amazon

First, if you haven't already, sign up for KDP Self-Publishing.

Before you get started, go to the Amazon self-publishing help area to get those templates.

Download them, unzip them, then decide on the size you want your book to be. Choose the Template that reflects the size you want. You need the Template because it has all the borders and guidelines you have to follow when writing. While you're in that help area, watch their videos and read all their tips. Good stuff there.

Note: Standard size seems to be 6X9 - For my poetry book, I went with 7X10. There are a lot of sizes to choose from.

2. What Word Processing Program Should You Use to Write Your Book?

There's a loaded question. I must have landed on fifty different answers during those google searches from hell.

I don't have the full version of Microsoft Word on my computer, and I wasn't about to frigging buy it.

So I researched alternatives to Word. I found the common ones people use; one is a free download called OpenOffice.org, and the other freebie word processing download I found is LibreOffice.

I've used OpenOffice in business before but based on some of the comments I read from the LibreOffice users, I thought, what the heck, let's try that one.

So to answer the question, you can use Word, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice - maybe there's more? I dunno.

3. What About Writing and Preparing Your Book in Google Documents

That's the first thing I did before even starting the 'technical aspects of what to do after it's typed." I typed the book in Google Docs. At least I had it there for safekeeping until I knew what the heck to do next!

From what I've learned so far, you can type your book directly into your word processing program using the Template from Amazon KDP, of course! Can you skip the google docs part? Well, I still plan to write my books in google docs and then copy and paste them into the word processing program with the book Template.

4. LibreOffice - Using the Amazon Paperback Templates

I have no idea whether you can upload the Amazon paperback templates into Microsoft Word or OpenOffice. However, I'm going out on a limb and saying, yah, of course, you can.

With LibreOffice, the first thing I did was upload the Paperback Template I needed for the size of the book I wanted to do. At that point, it was a matter of learning the LibreOffice program. If you're familiar with word processing programs, you'll probably be able to muddle through. When in doubt, google those questions, that's what I did in spades.

Since my book was already written in Google Docs, I simply copy and pasted it section by section into the template.

LibreOffice: What I Like About it

When you open the program, your books are there, individually listed as nice sizeable Icons. It was fairly easy to learn, but I'm not a pro at it by any stretch of the imagination (yet).

LibreOffice: What I Don't Like About it

Holy Hannah, who designed the Footer Page Count area - YUK! Very difficult to use. Yes, my mouth needed to be washed out with soap a few times. Some of the comments I made (whilst hubby was laughing) "who designed this part of the program! Are they so self-absorbed with their intelligence that they had to make it complicated?."

Other word processing programs have easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy Footer Page Counts, but not LibreOffice! Yes, the table of contents auto-generates and the pages count properly, but it's the number system in the Footer and where the counts start that cause you to drink lots of wine!

Will I use LibreOffice again for my next book? Yep, I learned so much; I don't want to switch now. But I don't have that page count thing in the Footer sorted out yet! And yes, I watched a lot of YouTube videos on it - still not clear.

5. Prettying Up that Book as You're Putting it in the Template

I decided on font styles, headings, and font sizes. From what I read, consistency was important. However, my book is a Poetry Book, so it's different than a novel. A novel, I would imagine, is more straight forward.

I did quite a bit of research on what the best fonts are to use in books, particularly poetry books. After my research, I ended up choosing the Garamond font. I used that font throughout the whole book. I didn't choose it because it was the best for poetry. I preferred the look of it for easy reading on the page.

My paperback poetry book has chapters and sub-chapters, and also a few graphics throughout. So yah, more convoluted to lay it out.

6. How Should the Sections of Your Book Flow and in What Order?

I googled this over and over. You guessed it, different answers from different people. Being that I wrote a Poetry Book, I didn't follow the traditional page designations that a novel would. Here's how I laid out my poetry book:
  •  First Page inside the Book - Title Only

  •  Second Page inside the Book - Title, Sub Title, Author

  •  Third Page inside the Book - Copyright Page (I googled some content and modified it to suit my book). On the copyright page, you'll include your ISBN number - more about that below.

  •  Fourth Page - The Dedication

  •  Fifth Page - A Summary of the Books Contents (that's optional)

  •  Sixth Page - Acknowledgments

  •  Seventh to Eleventh Page - Auto-Generated Table of Contents (my table of contents ended up being 4 pages)

  •  Twelfth Page - A Chapter Page that summarizes the poetry content for Chapter One

  •  Thirteenth Page to page 136 - The content of the book with all chapters in there (I have six chapters)

  •  At the End: About the Author, with sections on 'Why I Decided to Write a Book of Poems' and 'What's Different About This Book of Poems'

  • My Personal Favorite poems are also listed at the end

  • "Thanks for Reading" was next. The gurus say to ask for a review - um, no I didn't do that

  • Closing Message to My Kids

7. Book is Done, Sitting in Your Word Processing Program - What the Heck is Next?

Logging into KDP Publishing is next. Start your engines. 

Select the type of book you're uploading (Kindle eBook or Paperback). 

Go through each of the areas to fill in the information they ask for (this is before any uploads). Honestly, I just watched a lot of tutorials and tips on how to fill everything in. 

Uploading Your Book:

If you're confident that your book is the way you want it, you can upload it. 

However, to upload your book it has to be in a format that's conducive to Amazon's format. LibreOffice extensions are not. After searching out how to do this, I discovered that you can upload the book to amazon in PDF format. (There are other acceptable formats as well). 

In LibreOffice, to get a pdf extension on your file, you simply go to - FILE - EXPORT AS - and CHOOSE PDF. Save it to your computer. Bingo, you're ready for uploading.

Don't worry if you upload the book and you need to change it for some reason - you can overwrite that upload easily if you're not live. Just don't approve it until you're sure. I ended up re-uploading mine a few times as I discovered some errors. I'm sure there are more I missed, being my first time and all.

Note: The Gurus strongly stress hiring a professional editor to check your book for errors. Yah, I didn't do that either. Are they right about that? YES. It's the smart thing to do. Hire a professional. But again, this is Newbie territory I'm in so of course, I'm not listening. Lol. Down the road, yes, that's something I will consider.

8. WAIT! You Need a Book Cover! OMG

Ok. The gurus say, 'get your cover professionally done.' They're right, did I do that, no. Why? Because it was my first book of poems and, well, I had to be the opposite. Plus, I wasn't ready to spend money on that until I felt more confident about what I was doing.

If you're a graphics guru, by using Amazon's KDP Cover Page Templates (you can download those - google search), you can make your own personally designed professional cover. 

There's no way on God's green earth I could possibly do this in a timely fashion. Yes, I tried. More booze. However, I am thinking of hiring a graphics professional down the road for other books I plan to write. 

Oh, I did create my own cover for the eBook version using the online program, Adobe Spark. But that's not useful for actual paperback books that need high-quality digital print.

Inside KDP, there's a Cover Creator Section.

The gurus say, don't use this! So I did the opposite, and for this book, I used it. It's better to hire someone, but I'm not there yet. Play with Cover Creator; you're not obligated to any design until you finally hit save. Even then, you can still change it if you want. You need a high-quality photo of yourself if you're putting it on the back of your book (at least 300 DPI - that was challenging!).

9. ISBN Numbers

Both eBooks and Paperbacks need them. They're different for each book, and every book. Yes, you can ask Amazon to generate one for you. 

The downside to having Amazon generate one for you is that you can only use that particular book with that particular ISBN number for Amazon. In other words, if you're going to offer your book elsewhere, you would have to get your own ISBN number for those.

So you're wondering, how do I get ISBN Numbers? Right?

Canadian ISBN Numbers:

If you're in Canada, you can go here, a Government of Canada page, and register to have the ability to generate ISBN numbers. It could take a few weeks before you're approved. I thought, what the heck, so I registered. 

I used my own self-generated Canadian ISBN number for my eBook Version. Easy. 

However, what I discovered with the Paperback Version is that along with the ISBN Number, the book needs a Digital Code thingy on the back, and I had no idea how to get one of those through my Canadian ISBN account. I'll learn later. 

So for the Paperback Version, I used Amazon's auto-generating ISBN number. Easy. Just be sure that when you get that number from your KDP Account, you put it inside your book on the Copyright page. Best to do that before you actually upload the book.

United States ISBN Numbers:

Since I'm Canadian, I didn't research this very much. However, from what I read, it seems Americans have to pay for those? Don't quote me on that though; I'm not sure. But, again, you can have Amazon auto-generate the numbers for you.

There's more, but that's enough for today.

In closing, my guiding principle while doing this was that famous quote, "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." My goal was to get one done.

I'm already onto my next book (It's not poetry, it's not a novel, oh what could it be?) Just a tad addicting.

I hope this helps other newbies, because wow. :)

Here's what my newbie-book looks like - front and back covers.

Available on Amazon (Note: I'm an Amazon Associate, however
the link under this particular photo does not contain my AssociateID)




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Hurricane Style Lamps - An Outstanding Vintage Heirloom Look

Hurricane Style Lamps - Vintage Heirloom Look
I've stayed a fan of unique lamp designs my entire life. Standard lamps, those we see just about everywhere, are lovely as well. However, there's something incredibly gorgeous about adding a lamp that's not like anything you typically see.

Unique lamps, especially those with a vintage feel, can fit with any decor, even contemporary. If your decor style is to bring amazing pieces into a room, vintage lamps, especially Hurricane Style Lamps, meet that criteria.

Back in the 1980s, when we purchased our second home, lamp selection was a meticulous process for us. I'll never forget the moment I noticed the outstanding, custom hand-blown glass Hurricane Lamp featured on this page. We purchased two, and they're still front and center in our home. No matter how often styles have changed, this design has stood the test of time.

What Are Hurricane Lamps
Hurricane Style Lamp
Custom Hand-Blown Glass

The oil lamp eventually became the Hurricane Oil Lamp invented by Francois-Pierre Aime Argand in 1780. The invention of the glass insert protected the flame from the wind and elements. Over the centuries, Hurricane Lamps progressed in design from oil to electric. 

However, a Hurricane Lamp describes the style of a lamp, and styles can vary. Glass designs and shapes can differ quite a bit. You'll notice when online shopping just how vast the choices are.

The lamps we purchased are similar to Quoizel Lamps. Their style, of course, is vintage Hurricane. They've worked in the main rooms of the home as well as the bedrooms. 

Over the decades they've traveled with us from home to home, and we plan to keep them in the family. They're quite substantial in size, approximately two and a half feet in height.

Where Can You Find Similar Hurricane Lamps

I haven't seen any that match ours. However, I have come across a Quoizel Lamp that is close in design. It's slightly smaller in size, but still lovely. You can view it here on Amazon.

Happy vintage ambient lighting!







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Sunday, October 6, 2019

How to Get Started on that eBook You've Been Meaning to Do for Decades

How to Get Started on that eBook You've Always Wanted to Do

Have You Ever Wanted to Write an eBook But Didn’t Know Where to Start?  

That’s where I was. For decades I kept saying, "I want to do a book of my lifetime poems," and kept putting it off. Finally, I took the plunge and just recently completed the book. The poems were already written, and it took me about a month to learn the ropes and put the book together. It’s a book of personally written poems and lyrics from the age of 8 to 58, entitled "We Will Have Morning Smiles."

As a newbie self-publisher, I’d like to share a few of the tools I researched and used to get this first book on the market. These are just the basics, to learn from the guru’s you’ll have to Google and find the ones you like. I did watch multiple YouTube Videos from various people, and the advice I found most helpful was Self-Publishing with Dale. I tripped on his videos after endless Google research. Compared to some, his video presentations were the easiest to follow. 

My First eBook of Poems
The advice in his videos are helpful, but to be honest, I didn’t follow all of it. One bit of information was that you should use a professional to create the cover of your book (if you can). I didn’t do that; I created my own. However, I do agree that a professional is a better way to go. 

The other is that you should, if you can, hire a professional to ‘Format’ your book. Yep, you guessed it; I didn’t do that. I formatted my own. Formatting isn’t easy, especially with a poetry book, but you can do it if you’re willing to read and learn.

Here are Three Quick Points to Help You Get Started:

1. Create Your KDP Publisher Account on Amazon - This is Where You'll Upload Your Book for Publishing

That part is easy. However, when you start filling all the information in, you'll have a lot of questions. The good thing is, KDP has a terrific help section, and customer service answers questions very quickly.

2. Google Documents or Microsoft Word - Where You'll Write Your Book

I wasn’t sure how to get a book written, formatted, then uploaded to Amazon or any other sellers platform.

After reading multiple articles on how to get started, I was more confused. 

What I found was that most people use Microsoft Word to write their books. Since I don’t have the full paid version of Word on my Laptop, I decided to use Google Documents. However, you do have to save your work in .docx format to upload it to Kindle Create (see more about Kindle Create below). 

To save your google document to a .docx format:

  • Click ‘File’ in the top left
  • Scroll down to ‘Download’
  • Several file saving options will show, choose (.docx)
  • Save the file to your computer. Done.

Oh, and guess how much I knew about Google Documents? Yep. Nada. I never had a reason to use it. However, I should have been! It’s a terrific tool. I’m using it for a ton of things now. So easy. I’m currently helping a family member out with a project and have been sharing work via Google Documents. No wonder people like it!

Here’s another google docs tip for you: 

In google docs, you can auto-generate a Table of Contents. However, on the editing bar, look for the button that says, “Normal Text." There’s a dropdown menu there that lets you choose various Heading options. 

Your Heading choices are essential because they determine what goes in your table of contents, and where:
  • Heading 1 - Puts the title as a Chapter Heading in your Table of Contents
  • Heading 2 - Places it as a Sub-Chapter below a Chapter

With my poetry book, sub-chapters were important. The main chapters are the headings that describe the types of poems, and the sub-chapters are each poem by title below it.
This is the Back Cover
It appears at the end of
the eBook on the inside

3. Download Kindle Create - Kindle Create is Where You'll Format Your Book for Publishing

There are conflicting views on using this. I would guess very experienced self-publishers don't need it.

Since I’m a newbie and Kindle Create was easy to understand, it served my needs. I’ll be using it again, at least until I become some sort of a pro. 

Download Kindle Create to your computer directly from Amazon. Then watch the video tutorials and read the help section. They’re fabulous.

Upload your saved book (either from Word or Google Docs - if that’s what you used), into Kindle Create. 

The file that's created in Kindle Create is the file you'll eventually upload to your KDP Amazon Publisher Account.

A Few Tips to Share: 

  • Kindle create generates a Table of Contents for you
  • However, I still created a detailed Table of Contents in Google Docs
  • I included both Tables of Contents in my book - The detailed Table of Contents with Sub-Chapters is from Google Docs, the other from Kindle Create only features the main chapters (because I designed it that way). You don’t have to do this, but I wanted more of a break-down.
  • It appears you can't directly internally link on your document while inside of Kindle Create. 
  • Do all your internal linking in Word or Google Docs before you upload it to Kindle Create.

Remember, these are the basics for beginner self-publishers like me. I wanted to give you a way to get started on your own ebook because I know how daunting getting started can seem.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Sunday, September 29, 2019

5 Positive Energy Home Decor Ideas - Keep Your Home Calm to Carry On



There are multiple ways to encourage positive energy in your home. The most common technique is to implement Feng Shui principles. 

However, today we'll focus on simple positive energy decorating symbols to incorporate into everyday pieces.

1. Butterflies

Butterflies symbolize renewal, hope, transformation, spirituality, and growth. 

If you or other friends and family members survived challenging times, then to symbolize transformation, feature butterfly decor pieces. If larger items aren't your thing, add small decorative pieces such as butterfly mugs or candles.

For larger impact butterfly decor ideas, you could include a unique butterfly area rug or check out these incredible butterfly sheer drapes. They're gorgeous!

2. The Dragonfly

Like the butterfly, the dragonfly also symbolizes transformation. However, this symbolic transformation is usually in the area of spiritual and mental growth. 

When you want pieces that encourage the advancement of the soul, add dragonfly decor. Here are a few ideas; dragonfly throw blankets, pillows, wall art, and bedding. 

For an especially unique dragonfly piece, check out this colorful and gorgeous Tiffany Dragonfly Lamp!. 

3. The Lotus Flower

The Lotus flower represents sacred creation, divine birth and advancing spiritually. If you're trying to conceive, you may want to consider a gorgeous Lotus Bedding set. In fact, add Lotus items sporadically throughout the home. 

4. The Bluebird of Happiness

Yes, it really is an ancient symbol of cheerfulness, good health, and prosperity. When you'd like to enhance the mood in a room, include the bluebird of happiness in decor pieces. Since people gather in the kitchen and family rooms, that's an excellent place to feature the birdie. Display the bluebird in dishware, mugs, a wall clock, or this magnificent piece of wall art.

5. The Peony Flower

Peonies are the symbol of romance, a happy marriage, compassion, and wealth. To take advantage of these traits, feature Peony home decor items in the bedroom.

You've probably noticed that most of the symbols are intertwined in their meaning. However, there are differences. Use those subtle differences to determine which room each one belongs in.













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Sunday, September 22, 2019

How to Make Smaller Rooms Look Bigger


Whether you're selling your home or not, these essential design tips will help you make a smaller room seem bigger.

1. Put a Large Vertical Framed Mirror on the Wall

If you have the wall space, consider featuring an oversized mirror. With 8-foot ceilings, a mirror that's about 5 feet in height by 4 feet wide will make a powerful impact. Of course, the size will have to vary according to the space you have on the wall. The main point is that the mirror impacts the space by reflecting light, furnishings, and colors in the room. Wall mounting a heavy mirror may not be an option, especially for tenants; if that's the case, you can lean it up against a wall. Keep the area around it clear for maximum effect. Here's a free-standing mirror to give you an idea of the look.

2. Don't Block Windows and Doorways with Furniture

This can be a tricky task in a small room. However, put that thinking cap on and consider how to layout the furniture so that windows are left unobstructed. This is especially true for rooms with floor to ceiling windows, patio doors, and longer lower windows, as shown in the photo below.


Although the room featured in the photo below has high ceilings, it's still a small space. The design layout is ideal for the area as the couch, or other furniture doesn't block the window, helping to create an open feel.


3. Hang Your Drapes Floor to Ceiling

This technique is especially useful if your ceilings are standard height or a bit low. By bringing the drapes up to the ceiling, you help eyes to be drawn upwards, which in turn creates a feeling that the room is larger. Take another look at the above photo to see how the homeowners successfully accomplished this with their drapery position.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Add Larger Furniture Pieces

With a smaller room, the natural instinct is to shy away from larger furniture pieces. However, the opposite approach actually works better. Choose one, or maybe two at the most, large items rather than multiple smaller ones. Too many smaller pieces can make a room feel cluttered and disorganized.

5. Go Easy on Accessories

We all love pillows, throw blankets, decorated coffee tables and dresser tops, however, that's a recipe for creating a crowded feeling in a small room. Choose the items you prefer sparingly. Don't be afraid of putting one larger decorative piece on top of a cabinet or dresser. By limiting your decorative accessory choice to one impressive impact-piece, you keep the smaller items in that smaller room to a minimum.

So there you have five easy ways to help make your small room seem bigger. Let's review: 
  • Keep the windows open and clear
  • Use a large impressive vertical mirror
  • Install floor to ceiling drapes
  • Add one or two larger furniture pieces
  • Limit accessories
How to Make a Smaller Room Look Larger




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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