With an office already overflowing with books (and a bookshelf in the living room threatening to collapse with kids’ books), I’ve been toying with different ideas of how to increase our bookshelf space while taking advantage of unused wall space in our living room.
And then I came across this post on turning Billy bookcases from Ikea into built-ins–“I could totally do that!” I said. “It’ll be easy!” I said. Well, it wasn’t too hard–not with so much help from both my dad and husband–but it was definitely time-consuming. The end-result, though: SO worth it.
This is a shot of the wall before, and I wish I had another picture to get the full wall–I left out the corner bookcase overflowing with books, but basically, it’s a boring wall with a mess of wires from the TV in spite of our attempt to hide my husband’s many gaming system connections with shelves.
The first thing I did was research cheap bookcases–Billy bookcases would have been perfect, but the nearest Ikea is in Charlotte, and I didn’t have the time or the inclination to make the trip. Shipping costs would have been more than the 4 bookcases I would need, so that was out.
But then I found these on Home Depot’s site: South Shore 5-shelf Bookcase.
It was perfect for what I needed: cheap and easy to assemble. So I ordered the 4 bookcases, had them delivered to the store, and we picked them up a week later. Once my husband assembled the first one (while I kept the kids literally off his back), he was able to put the second one together in about 20 minutes or so, and I finished the last two.
But that’s when we encountered the first problem: the baseboards and shoe molding. If we wanted the bookcases to be completely flush, the baseboards would have to go. I still wanted to use the baseboards, though, so we made plans to put them on the front of the bookcases. My dad’s the one who devised the platforms we’d build to raise the bookcases to the height of the baseboards (5 1/2″). The bottom front edge of the bookcases (essentially the bottom shelf) were 4″ tall, so we knew we had to build a platform 1 1/2″ tall.
I made a sketch of the wall (which I won’t post here because it’s ridiculous looking and discernible only to me), and figured out that we could fit two bookcases on either side of the TV. I also really wanted storage and a way to hide those hideous wires, so I found another post where the person had, in a stroke of brilliance, just used pre-made wall cabinets to add storage to their built-in bookshelves (post is here if you’re interested).
I found these 30″ wall cabinets at Overstock.com and knew they’d be perfect:
Based on the wall measurements, we realized we could fit two bookcases on one side of the TV, two cabinets side-by-side beneath the TV, and two more bookcases on the other side. We could have made one giant platform for everything to sit on except for one small snag: the cabinets, being wall cabinets, were designed to hang on the wall and therefore had no bottom edge to attach a baseboard to. Also, on the floor, the doors would drag, so they’d have to be elevated either way. Why not just use floor cabinets? They’re much more expensive.
So we knew we had to make 3 separate platforms: 2 for the 2 pairs of bookcases, and 1 for the pair of cabinets.
With my husband working long hours at the pharmacy all the time, my dad and I had to get started without him if we wanted it ever done! We channeled my woodworking grandfather as we cut plywood and boards and assembled the platforms.
Here’s what it looked like when we finished:
And here’s a shot of the platform from the front, with a bonus shot of Jude Baby giving Scout kisses.
This is how it looked when we got all the bookcases completed and mounted on to their platforms. Next up was putting together the two cabinets (I actually did that! But I had to call in Husband’s help to work on those European hinges) and building the platform for the cabinets–this was thanks to Dad, and it must have been cold that day, or else I was chasing kids, because I have exactly zero pictures of that process. But he built it in nearly the same way as he did the bookcase platforms, only he used bigger boards.
Probably one of the most inventive things is what Dad came up for (and Husband helped build) to hide the wires for all the gaming systems while still providing shelf space. I dubbed it “The Contraption.” It was basically a box with shelves, but the innovative part was the fact that they drilled holes at the top of the box and fed PVC pipes through the holes. The PVC pipes, once painted white, would hide the wires coming down from the mounted TV while being able to float to different shelf levels and feed right to each gaming system. Again, I failed at capturing the process of it, but here’s what it looked like installed:
The whole thing was looking pretty put-together at this point, but it needed trim, crown molding, baseboards, and shoe molding. Mom’s the painter in the family, so when we got everything mounted and installed, she went to work with extra white semi-gloss paint. We finally finished everything up, and here’s the final product:
We are SO happy with the results! The bookcases allow for the display of favorite pictures and breakables, there’s plenty of room for our books, and the shelves and cabinets have space for all of Husband’s gaming systems and games.
The paperback of Arcana with its newly redesigned cover has been out for a few weeks now, and if you haven’t had a chance to get a copy yet, now’s your chance to score a free one! My sweet and thoughtful editor, Nicole Frail, is giving away two Arcana paperbacks via Rafflecopter, and the entry form is super easy:
There are a lot of reasons my experience with my editor and with Skyhorse has been amazing, but one of them has to be that not only was Arcana released as a hardcover last year, but next month, it’ll be released as a paperback…
With a brand new cover!
I’ve known about this new cover for a long time, and I’ve been selfishly keeping it under wraps, but it is GORGEOUS. I know I said that about the first one, but if possible, I think I love this one even more.
I think this one speaks more the historical setting of the book while still maintaining that flare of fantasy…I hope all of you love it as much as I do!
So beautiful, right?? Be sure to check back next month, because I’m sure I’ll be holding a giveaway as soon as I get my author’s copies!
Now that I’ve been working as a therapist again part-time, I’ve just been struck by how many people struggle deeply with problems with self esteem–scars they carry since they were very young, voices that once berated them that have turned into their own voice, constantly criticizing them. I work with them on learning to love yourself again, to fight back against that inner critic, but the writer in me wanted to offer a different take on what it’s like to have to fight your own thoughts. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to your own mind, and this vignette is in honor of all those who struggle to beat back that inner critic.
Today just happens to be World Mental Health Day, so I thought it might be fitting to post this. So many struggle with various forms of mental illness but are too afraid to seek help. Low self esteem is often one symptom of a bigger problem, but there’s help! One great place to find more information and get support is through NAMI (National Alliance of the Mentally Ill). They do so much to educate against the stigma of mental illness, and they are an invaluable resource.
You can do it. You can learn to love yourself again.
THE MONSTER WITHIN
You are so ugly.
I try not to listen. I try to keep walking, but I feel this sick need to look. She’s beckoning me—tugging me along as surely as if I have a tether connecting from me to her.
Don’t do this, I tell myself, even as she says, You should take a long look at yourself.
My chest is constricted as tightly as though I tied a belt around my ribs. And still I move inexplicably forward.
I got rid of all the mirrors in my house—even took down the big ones in the bathrooms. But I left this full-length one in my bedroom. It stands sinisterly in one corner.
I move until I am looking directly into it.
I can’t breathe. My chest hurts—am I having a heart attack?
I don’t want to look, but I do anyway.
She’s looking back at me with a sneer. Disgusting, she mouths, and I cringe like a beaten dog. Look at yourself.
And I do.
I think: I’ll never eat again.
She scoffs. You’ll fail. You fail at everything.
The image in the glass changes. I still have a big nose and small eyes, but now I’m just a kid. A second grader. Daddy and his friend fill the living room with smoke. I slink by, but they see me.
“That your kid?” the man asks. “She’s uglier than sin.”
I try to make my body smaller as I race toward my room.
Daddy says nothing, but his silence is louder than words.
Still ugly, she says.
The image blurs. My stomach hurts so badly I double over. It’s an old pain; it’s stuck with me longer than my daddy did.
Now I’m older. Still a little girl, but in fourth grade now. Mama looms over me like a bird of prey.
“You’re such a little idiot.” She looks down at my wet pajamas, her mouth twisted in disgust.
“I had a bad dream,” I whisper.
“No wonder your daddy left us.”
The girl in the mirror bites her lip to keep from crying, and I swallow my own tears.
Just walk away, I tell myself. You don’t have to think about this.
My feet don’t move an inch.
You’re unlovable, she says. That’s why your daddy left. That’s why they all leave.
The image changes again. I’m older now. Sixteen. I’m on my first boyfriend’s couch, and he’s on top of me. I keep trying to pull my hooded sweatshirt down to hide my stomach, but his hand snakes under it anyway.
His hand is light on my stomach, skimming toward my chest. “I don’t know why you try to hide under all those clothes. You’re beautiful.”
It wasn’t enough. He left me, too.
All alone, she says. You’ll always be alone.
The image blurs and it’s me again. On the floor now, tears wet in my greasy hair.
You are so ugly when you cry, she says.
You’re too stupid to have a good job.
You’re too unlovable to have any friends.
You’ll die alone.
I am ugly when I cry.
I am too stupid to have a good job.
I’m too unlovable to have any friends.
There is a demon that lurks in my mind. She sounds like my daddy, my mama, magazines that tell me my body type is all wrong, but most of all, she sounds like
I choke on black sadness. I crumble beneath the words the monster whispers.
I remember, also:
The second grader whispering to herself that night: I am beautiful.
The fourth grader clutching her report card of straight A’s.
The sixteen-year-old thinking for just one moment she was beautiful.
I pick myself up. I go into the kitchen and pull open the junk drawer. I grip the hammer in my clenched fist.
She stares back at me from the mirror. Daring me.
The hammer shatters the glass in great shards down upon my feet. The cuts sting, and I welcome the pain.
Behind the broken glass is another mirror. I stand in front of it with hammer brandished, but I stop when I see her.
An eye for others who are hurting
A woman who has made it her career to help others
A woman who can cook just about anything
Legs that are strong
Hair the color of ink
Someone who truly listens
I may be beaten, but I am not broken. I am resilient. I will take back my life.
I am not stupid.
I am loved.
I am not alone.
I am beautiful.
Tressa at Wishful Endings was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to do a giveaway again this year for her Tackle Your TBR Read-a-Thon, and I just happen to have an extra hardcover of Arcana plus bookmarks lying around to send out to someone :).
The paperback of Arcana will be released in January, AND the second book in the series, The Order of the Eternal Sun will be released next summer, so this is a good chance to get a copy of the hardcover with its original cover design!
I’ll contact the winner when the contest is over and ship it out to you ASAP–all you’ll have to do is tell me how you’d like it signed. I would love it, though, if you added the book to your Goodreads list and liked my FB page!
Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London’s most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.
Through her late mother’s enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin—and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere—hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.
But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine’s arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor—even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.
With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?
How I did on last week’s goals:
As I’ve seen happen to many others participating in RSW, my goals had to change when I got comments back from my CP! This is on THE ORDER OF THE ETERNAL SUN–the second book in my Arcana series that I already turned into my editor. Luckily, I still have plenty of time to make edits on it, so I just turned in a draft to make deadline, and now I can take my time polishing it :).
I met my other goals by putting aside GONE WITH THE WIND briefly to read THE DARKEST MINDS–I missed that series somehow when it first came out, and now I’m obsessed. So, I’ll probably be reading book 2 of that series this week.
My goal(s) for this week:
1. Edit 5 chapters of ORDER OF THE ETERNAL SUN
2. Read another book
3. Help the kids with reading
4. Exercise at least 3 days
A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revise:
These are a few lines my CP highlighted while reading THE ORDER OF THE ETERNAL SUN as ones she liked–it’s a bit of sibling banter between the main character (Lucy Sinclair) and her older brother (Robert Sinclair):
I glance away. “Surely you don’t want to hear about all that. Tell me of officer’s training at Cambridge.”
“Shooting practice, marching, rigorous physical exercise. There. Your turn.”
“I believe this dance is about to end,” I say. I stare at the symphony and will them to cease playing.
The biggest challenge I faced this week:
Switching gears from one MS to another, but this is nothing new!
Something I love about my WiP:
With ORDER OF THE ETERNAL SUN, I loved being able to return to the same world as ARCANA, only with a focus on Lucy (the younger sister) instead. Lucy is caring and kind and completely obsessed with art and fashion, so it’s been fun being in her head.