Friday, September 29, 2017

Paint Chip Books

All the visits we've been making to the home improvement and big box stores for post-Irma stuff has allowed me to collect some paint chips to use for story palettes. Okay, I admit, I just like looking at the paint chips. There's something mesmerizing about all those colors and pamphlets and decorator photos that makes me want to redo every room in the house (even my office, which is already painted with my favorite shade of sea glass.) I also pay close attention to the color names, as they often use unusual nouns and adjectives for them -- something I can always use when writing Yet Another Blue-eyed Character.

Sure, I know what you're thinking: how hard can it be to describe blue eyes? On average I have at least two blue-eyed characters in every novel I write. Since I like blue eyes, often more than two. Times 67 novels. Try describing blue eyes differently at least one hundred and thirty-four times, then come sneer at my paint chips.

On my last visit to Lowe's I noticed that Olympic and Valspar had put out some chip cards I hadn't before seen. Olympic now pairs some photos with the paint chips on their cards (top middle of the pic here), while Valspar has trio sets of colors with little windows in them (top right.) Wal-Mart also had large sheet-style paint chips that were self-adhesive to stick on the wall and preview what the paint would look like (bottom middle.)

I collected samples of everything I liked (and I am planning to redo the guest bathroom, so I chose colors I'd like to try in that room) and brought them home to have some fun. Since I made some notepads out of paint chips earlier this month I thought I might see what I could make out of this batch. Olympic's photo paint chip cards have lots of lovely, serene images on them so I started with them.

These would be great for easy-to-make bookmarks if you cut off the paint chips and glued the strip of images to scrapbook or heavier-weight craft paper, but I was a bit more ambitious. First I trimmed the cards to separate the images from the paint chips, and then glue-sticked the image strips in four rows on a sheet of old card stock from the paper recycling bin.

Stacking them together in harmonious colors created a collage effect that I liked a lot:

For the first collage page I unearthed an ancient pack of computer stationery and a torn book board from my recycle bin and trimmed them down, punched holes in them and fastened them together with two binder rings. Now I have a bigger notebook for my desk, which I actually needed, with paper that is nice enough to use for correspondence. With the support of the book board backing I can also use it while I'm walking around the house and muttering to myself as I work out a scene.

For the second collage page I cut in half some 140lb. coldpress watercolor paper left over from the kids' school days, and used the same hole punch/binder ring approach to making myself a nice-sized watercolor journal.

For the windowed paint chip cards I settled on making some smash books to store swatches of fabric from my quilt projects. I took the paint squares I trimmed from the Photo cards and glued them over the windows from the back, then cut some old 12 X 12 scrapbook paper into six 4" X 5-1/2" pages. After holepunching everything I used a knotted piece of scrap ribbon as the binding:

While all the materials I used to make these are all recycled the end result turned out like something you'd purchase from that fussy journal section in big book stores. These two pain chip books were also easy and simple enough for kids to make, although I'd recommend adult supervision if they use a paper trimmer, scissors or any other sharp-edged objects.

If you're interested in doing something else with your paint chips, has 50 projects here. I like's paint chip mosaic greeting cards -- you could easily do these in holiday colors.

Have you done anything interesting with paint chips? Let us know in comments.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

NaNoWriMo Stuff

The folks to blame for National Novel Writing Month have put up the participant badges for 2017, and they're actually not bad this year. I like the teal, the crossed pens and the simplicity of the design. Also, I can actually read this one without having to ask a younger person to assist; always a bonus. As I am planning to dump Photobucket, my pic hosting site, in the midst of NaNoWriMo I will not be able to offer alternative flair for 2017.

I've also put together a cover for my NaNoWriMo, using my focal image:

I'm excited. How about you all? Anyone else ready to commit to the madness? Let us know in comments.

Image Credits:

NanoWriMo particpant badge: National Novel Writing Month
Ghostly Typist: Solarseven

Monday, September 25, 2017

All You Need

My daughter took these two pictures after returning to college; Hurricane Irma was responsible for the second.

Much to no one's surprise the world didn't end on Saturday. Having lived through about a dozen predicted Apocalypses I wasn't worried. Not like I could have done anything to stop a giant shadow planet from smashing into the Earth anyway.

I can do plenty of other things. Write. Quilt. Last night I brought my kid her favorite grapes and three little pumpkins so she can decorate her tiny apartment for Fall. Today I'm writing, vacumming and mopping the floors, and knocking out the laundry while my guy continues to cut up tree debris and washes the dogs. Tonight I'm making homemade stir fry for dinner. That's all I think about, versus the Apocalypse, I mean. The Apocalypse is not on my to-do list.

The graffiti is right, you know. All you need is love.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Off to Write

Hurricane Irma put me woefully behind on my writing schedule, so I'm taking off today to get some work done. See you on Monday.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

NaNo Prep

As promised, here's an update on my NaNoWriMo preparations:

Novel Working Title: Haunted House Style

Cast: Emma Jones, Julian Caine, Carol Kimball, Nerina Whitmore, Martina Ramirez, Dr. Fred (Jeff) Jeffers, Olivia Gray, Paul Gray, Angus McShea, Bridie McShea, Maeve McShea, Colin Boyle, Father Patrick Nolan, Donald (Madman) Madigan.

Focal image: See image with this post.

Outline: I had fun with this by writing it in first person in Emma's voice. It's a one-pager, but it gives me the bare bones to build on when I write the full-length synopsis and chapter summaries. Click here to read it.

Theme: Revenge

Also, my user name on the NaNoWriMo web site is Lynn Viehl for anyone participating who wants to get in touch there.

Image Credit: Solarseven

Monday, September 18, 2017

Holding On -- or Not

Before Irma arrived to mess with us, I got a depressing reality check: according to Photobucket's account renewal date I have until November 16th to switch 13 years of images on PBW from their host service to Blogger in order to preserve all my blog pics before I delete my account with them. Which I might be able to do, if I devote a little time every day to uploading and coding, but I also have two other blogs with Photobucket-hosted images (Disenchanted & Co. and PBWindow) to redo.

Here are the number of published posts on the three blogs:

Paperback Writer: 4407

PBWindow: 1252

Disenchanted & Co.: 201

Total: 5860

Not all of my PBW or Disenchanted & Co. posts have pics, but I've been pretty liberal with images on both. PBWindow was my photo blog so that's 100% pictures.

I've been blogging steadily since I started my very first blog waaaay back on November 3, 2001. Sixteen years on the internet; thirteen of them right here. But with all the headaches involved in forging ahead with blogging until I decide to retire (sometime in 2027, Lord willing) I am thinking about how long I want to (or actually can) hold on to all this. I do have all of my blogs backed up, btw, so I won't lose anything even if my Photobucket account goes poof.

Here are what I see as my options:

1. Close the account, let the pics vanish, and not do anything about them. PBWindow would become a complete void, but the written content would still be there on the others. This doesn't work for me because I'm more of a do-something gal.

2. Hang on for another year with Photobucket to have the time to manually switch everything on all three blogs over to Blogger. What gives me pause about this is that Google (which hosts all the pics on Blogger), could go the way of Photobucket and become insanely difficult to use, or up their annual pricing, or behave like jerks, and all my efforts would all be for nothing. Also, I've been burned by hosting services before, so I don't trust any of them.

3. Turn the archives of all the blogs into PDFs and make them free e-books. Possibly the fastest/easiest/cheapest route.

I'm inclined to go with door#3, so I did a test run with Disenchanted & Co., resizing the pics and making it more readable, and it took me about two hours (I cut and paste every page of the blog into a Word document, and then turned it into a PDF with Adobe.) Then I did a cut and paste of one year of posts from PBWindow and converted them to a PDF, which was quicker (about 20 minutes.)

Since I already have my blogs backed up as Word documents, I can turn them all into PDFs right now, save them on my Google drive, and then go back and edit the e-books at my leisure. I have a bit more to think about, but I'll let you all know what I decide before I do anything drastic.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Made It

Hurricane Irma was no picnic, but we made it through without harm, and only moderate damage to the house and our property. Some roads are still closed and/or flooded, and of course millions are still without power, but we and our neighbors are helping each other however we can. As you might expect gas, bottled water and fresh food are very scarce, but trucks are arriving every day, so I hope soon things will get back to a relatively normal state.

What I'm doing: right now, checking on elderly neighbors, clearing the debris from the yard, and providing meals, bathrooms and laundry for friends and neighbors who are still without power. Simple things like a hot shower and clean clothes really help, so if you're in a situation to do the same, please do.

To be sure your donations get to the people affected by Hurricane Irma, I suggest a donation to the Red Cross. You can find out more by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS. You can also text the word IRMA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Friday, September 08, 2017

PBW on Hiatus

As of right now it looks like we will be dealing directly with Hurricane Irma starting tomorrow night. The last time we faced a storm this strong we had no power for 21 days afterward, so I may be scarce for a while. We have made all the proper preparations, and have been through many storms like this both here and in South Florida, so we feel confident that we'll make it through again.

Since I won't be around to approve comments or update PBW I'm going to put the blog on hiatus for the duration. I'll check in when I can and let you all know how we made it through. In the meantime, please send good thoughts and prayers for all the people of Florida and the Caribbean. This time we're really going to need them.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Another experiment with uploading to Blogger, this time in bulk, and a little amusement for your Wednesday. For two bucks my daughter bought this chemistry book at a local antique mall:

It's 142 years old, but in beautiful condition:

Inside we found two makeshift book marks: an article outlining the then-radical method of teachers beginning the school day by discussing the latest news with their students:

We also found a folded scrap:

Unfolded to reveal some student's math notes:

I love old books, especially ones that come with treasures hidden inside. What have you found inside an old book lately? Let us know in comments.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Off to Prep

I'm taking off today to get some household things done in the event we get a visit from Hurricane Irma. For those who are likewise watching her, the National Hurricane Center is your best bet for the most up-to-date and accurate information on the storm.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Art Journaling

Now if I've filched the Blogger links and recoded them correctly, this post should show three pics from my summer art journal. I've gotten back into sketching, drawing, painting and collaging in a small way, mainly to refine my motor skills now that I've got more control over my alternate index finger (aka my middle finger -- arthritis has toasted the joints of my official index finger.)

I've also missed my journaling art. I love to sew, and quilting will likely be my primary art-for-fun forever, but sometimes I need a break from the needlework. Having an art journal allows me to play with color and ideas, and express my POV in interesting ways. Over the years I've also collected a massive amount of images, interesting papers, and recycled materials, and working them into art makes me happy while being green. I've also missed painting watercolors, terrible as mine always tend to turn out. It's not the final product that really matters anyway for me; it's the making of it.

As with my experience with adult coloring books keeping an art journal is very soothing. I do write in mine, but not much (and taking a little rest from words is likewise calming and relaxing.) Since it's usually a negative mood changer I have been working on a couple of pages almost every day while moving my youngest off to college. I find I prefer to end my day with art journaling because it works out all the snarls and worries from my thoughts, and allows me to sleep better once I do go to bed. Because I do it just for fun there's no pressure. I don't have to be profound or say things important or even think about it much. I let my ideas loose and see what happens.

Combining collage with doodling is my favorite form of art journaling. Here I put together a pretty little Victorian paper doll I've had sitting in a drawer for years on a recycled bit of black card stock, and used a silver gel pen to doodle around her. Since one of her feet had been torn off I added a clip of the word Paris from another paper remnant to cover the amputation. The end result (see next photo) might look a bit wonky, but I liked it -- and with journaling of any kind that's all that matters.

Incorporating an overall theme for an art journal can help you navigate through the pages with more direction. I have a couple of vintage Victorian scrapbooks filled with loose calling cards and advertising art that I might raid and make into a strictly Victorian scrap-art journal. I've also seen Halloween and Winter-themed art journals that are gorgeous.

Art journaling isn't just helping me cope with being an empty nester. One thing I noticed immediately when I came back from my spring/summer hiatus is that nothing has changed with the toxic levels of dark and evil out there in InternetLand. Honestly, I think it's gotten worse. The only way I know how to combat that kind of ugliness is to be part of the light. Writing may be my big hurricane lamp, but art is my crystal chandelier. If I can inspire just one of you to start an art journal, that's two chandeliers. Three if you get someone else to join us, and more if they do. Imagine if we could all do that, and spread the creation until we bring a little light to everyone we know.

Think about it: if you decided to make an art journal, what would you keep in yours? Tell us in comments.