Wood and metal groaned overhead as the opening in the roof of the vintage camp trailer widened, allowing in a sliver of light. Alex slowed the saw, careful not to buckle or splinter the wood. Katherine shifted her weight to the other foot, sweating profusely in the hot trailer, standing toe-to-toe with Alex. Noonday sun glinted off the edges of the silver roof, nearly blinding them both as the opening for an air-conditioning unit grew in size.
Katherine’s eyes narrowed as she watched the saw vibrate in Alex’s hands. No matter how hard she tried to focus on the growing hole in the ceiling, those hands, so familiar yet changed, drew her in and she couldn’t look away. Then again, she was afraid if she took her eyes off his hands for one second, she’d be transfixed by his upper arms, flexing and tense, working to control the saw as it cut through the roof of the trailer.
She wiped her forehead with her shoulder. The man was handsome as sin, she had to admit, but he was also a mystery, and that felt strange since she’d once identified with him more so than anyone else on the planet. She’d been intimate with the teen-age Alex on multiple levels, yet she hardly knew the man he’d become.
Fate had been unkind, throwing them back together, but it couldn’t be helped. Katie was eyeball deep in this RV park project, and she knew she needed Alex’s help, but it was a bitter pill to swallow, considering their past.
Holding the roof panel so it didn’t twist as the opening neared completion, Katherine gritted her teeth and squinted behind her safety glasses as sweat rolled down the middle of her back. Any second now the pieces of roof metal and wood would give way.
How this whole working together thing could continue, she had no idea. Was she going to keep watching Alex, waiting for him to give in to the sexual tension sizzling between them? Because if that was the case, she just might implode. Or would she simply get it over with and throw herself at him? Finally just appease her tormented hormones, come what may?
With a groan of bending steel and a splintering crack of wood, the roof panel came loose. Katherine gripped it over her head in her gloved hands, careful not to cut herself, as Alex set aside the saw to help her lower the raw edged square of roof into the small trailer. With a sigh of relief, the couple made eye contact, sending sensual sparks flying.
Maybe Alex would get tired of working on the trailers, Katherine worried, watching his jaw clench. He must be sick of her worrying and obsessing over details, not to mention the unrelenting heat. She knew she could be cantankerous when she was overheated and stressed out. On the other hand, he wasn’t Mister Congeniality these days either. He’d much rather smart-off when things got serious, rather than have an actual conversation. Was it fair to expect her to forget what he’d done, just pretend it had all never happened? He’d been the one to dump her, after all.
Hometown Girl Again
COMING JUNE 2018
Leaning into the electric drill, Katherine watched as the screw unwound from the corroded metal trim edging the vintage camp trailer. She stopped just short of the screw dropping, to expertly slip one hand under the drill. The screw fell into her palm and she reached to open her hand over the plastic yogurt container on the rolling cart, then turned her attention to the next screw in the long row.
Burt wiped his hands on a rag and shuffled across the garage. “That trim is more delicate than it looks,” he said. “I don’t like to let it sag while I work.”
Another screw dropped into the container and Katie straightened, leaning back to survey her work. “Makes sense,” she muttered, unable to keep from cringing at the million screws left in trim of the 1954 Anderson trailer. Even though she was catching on quickly, she’d likely still spend most of the day simply removing trim. Burt had explained that this was the first step of removing the outer skin of the camper, and it had to be done.
Three days ago when they started, she’d been shocked to learn they would be stripping her newly purchased camper down to the wood studs. Somehow the word restore didn’t seem like it should mean completely disassemble.
She dropped another screw into the yogurt cup, determined to pick up her pace. The more Burt told her about trailer restoration, the more she wanted to get on to the next step.
Puffing out a long breath, Katie wiped her forehead once more. “Half the joy is in the ride,” her mother used to say. “Slow down, don’t just focus on the finish line or you'll miss everything along the way.”
With a frown she leaned into the drill once again. Her mother was gone, and the work needed to be complete so she could get this camper down the road. Her new glamping park wasn’t going to build itself.
Hometown Girl Again- COMING SUMMER 2018!
The Shabby Chic movement, and my romance series it's inspired, are all about seeing beauty in the old and worn. My leading ladies find solace and satisfaction in some old thing with a great patina. This concept lends well to the core basics of Earth day, which this year is April 22. Reuse and recycle, love it and find a way to put it back to work, in order to help save the environment. No need to throw away items that could offer more function. My grandma always said “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without,” and I couldn’t agree more. Take a moment this week to talk to a friend or family member about the advantages of recycling, especially if your re-loved item turns out beautiful!
What is it about spider infested, filthy old things that make my hearts race?
How could dragging and manipulating a half ruined piece of furniture that weighs more than anything I ever lifted in my heyday at the gym, be so thrilling that instead of collapsing against the wall with my eyes bugging, I still have the energy to circle the thing with my eyes shining?
When did roaming the paint department looking for brushes and rollers and tape become more fun than the shoe store at the mall?
At what point of my life did I decide shabby was better than shiny, old was better than new, and something that needed completely worked over was so dang attractive?
When did I decide that an old farmhouse with no plumbing or electrical was my dream home?
I may never be able to pinpoint when the shabby chic bug bit me, but I’m so glad it did. I’m more productive, less wasteful, more creative, and far more stiff and sore. My thoughts wander through the possibilities of an item; what is once was, what it could be, and then what would it be if I did something entirely new with it. I stop to chat with folks about their gardens and their projects. I search out the odd little shop with an artistic owner rather than a brand name box store.
Did this happen when I wandered into that first little boutique and my mouth fell open in surprise and pleasure at someone else’s creativity? Was it the day I looked at the item thinking I understood what it was, and yet someone had come up with another way to use it that was gorgeous?
Or maybe my heart had simply forgotten how much I’d loved crayons and play dough and finger paints.
All I know for sure is that as my attention narrowed to focus on what some call a trend, my heart and mind opened to encompass a broader and far more colorful world.
I want my author website to visually represent my novels, so this week I contacted a professional web designer to rework and redesign the whole thing from the bottom up. Now the big question, if I had to choose five or six pictures that would immediately bring to life my stories, what would I choose?
Those of us who love to rework, remodel, recycle, and pick through treasures know that shabby style is not a goal but a process. It’s a journey. It’s a vision not only to redesign a space, but to search out lost and unexpected gems that will come together in a way that is charming and meaningful.
Most of us have experienced the stress and joy of tearing things completely apart and pieced them back together. Shabby style is that excursion, the whole tour from ugly and horrible, (outdated and nasty dirty) to unthinkable, (How will I ever fix what I just uncovered?) to salvage, (I can except this) to fabulous, (Not exactly how I’d planned it in the beginning, but…) and then the never ending tweaking (Ohhh this would be perfect in the…)
The photos I select will need to include the bare and naked middle part of reworking a piece or a space, as well as the calm and serene, comfortable and beautiful part at the end; maybe a few piles of junk, stripped screw heads, or a second hand shop? Nothing could convey the aching back or the endless brain drain involved.
And what about the characters in my stories? How can I ever hope to capture the essence and wisdom of Winnie, or the meddlesome charm of Marge? How to convey frustration and sadness and joy?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand words mean ten thousand things to five different people. So perhaps I will use words to convey my design goals to the web designer and believe that her talent lies in translating them into visual representations of my novels.
I’m happy to report that this week I got back final proofs for book two of my Shabby Chic series! I received not only the book block, which is the formatted version of the text part of the book, I also received the cover design! Needless to say, this blog is late because I’ve been up to my eyeballs in proofreading.
For some reason I can work for months on editing and rewrites of a novel, but when I see the cover design, the book finally seems real. The digital artist at Friensen press, along with my author rep Brelan, have a done a great job on both novels to come up with designs that reflect the core of my story.
I loved the grubby feel of book one to represent Tara and her issues, and I am just as thrilled with the outdoor rusty garden jibe they sent me for Book Two. Julia would love the peeling teal paint and the roses on the back cover.
If you’d like to see what book two, Shabby Chic After All, will look like, you can check out the front page of my website. Authorkirstenfullmer.com
I’m home! After a month of travel out west, and enjoying my sweet new grandbaby, I’m finally home again. I’m stationed on the sofa with one leg tucked under me, my computer on my lap, and Bingo curled up and snoring by my side, just where I belong.
Yesterday I spent the morning making Mother’s Day cards for my mom and my mother-in-law. Both are in poor health and I’m not sure how many more Mother’s Days I’ll get to have the honor. I can never just pull out a few supplies to make cards, I have to drag out every box full of paper stacks, stickers, pencils and markers, embellishments, two sided tape, glue, stamps and stamp pads I own. Then I am forced to dig through each and every box to find the items that suit the situation and my mood. Yesterday, for some reason, I fixated on birds and flowers, spring theme. My table was piled with stacks of crafty items that had to be continually shifted and sorted and moved over to make more space to work. Am I the only one who can’t create without everything I may ever need in plain sight?
As for my own mother’s day, my sweetheart bought me a Yonana! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a cute little appliance that turns frozen bananas into what looks like soft serve ice cream. It tastes like guiltless smashed frozen bananas, but feels like a treat. My naughty sister Melanie told me I could also put chocolate chips and cookies through the thing to doctor up the banana, but I’m trying to forget that and stick with my low sugar frozen fruit. I’m thinking I can keep this up until at lease next week, when mother’s day actually happens.
Book number two of my shabby Chic series, Shabby Chic After All, is getting close to release! On Monday I should receive the final proofs for approval of the cover and finished text. It seems like it takes forever to publish and I’m very excited to get book two out to my fans. As soon as folks finished book one, Shabby Chic at Heart, their first question is always “When will book two come out?”
Book three, Shabby Chic Forever, is well under way, and I have to say that I’m loving Elliot. He has become one of the quirkiest male characters that I’ve written. Funny how they take on a life of their own!
I better get back to work now. I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day. If you don’t have someone to celebrate with, may you search out someone who has mothered you and send them some love!
This morning I find myself on a bumpy plane ride home to West Virginia. With no major airports in our home state, the trip is all small planes and checked bags. My finger hovers in the air over my tablet, attempting to touch the correct selection for Sudoku, only to have the plane pitch and bounce and I hit the wrong number once again.
It’s been an exciting and eventful month of travel and grand babies, but now I get to return to my quiet empty nest, to enjoy steaming mugs of coffee over an early morning table across from my husband, and curling up on the sofa with my little Bingo dog.
I miss the grandbaby, sweet little Lucy, even now. Her velvet soft skin and squeaks and grunts will have to be transmitted to grandma by video clips and Skype. As we descend and the plane hops from side to side down through the clouds, my mind already slips back into my novels, to Smithville PA, where book two of the Shabby Chic trilogy is nearly ready for print. The final proofs will be arriving this month for review. Julia and Chad will make their debut mid summer, and I hope you all enjoy another fun filled visit with Tara and Justin.
Book three of the Shabby Chic trilogy is taking shape as Lizzie and Elliot butt heads planning the opening of the day spa. Lizzie loves her tiny prairie style farmhouse, so my days will be filled with helping her design and decorate her home as she finds her way through adjusting to small town life. Rusty vintage treasures and furniture with chipped and natural finishes will fill her rooms, herbs will be hung to dry in her kitchen, and her weaving loom will arrive.
Elliot, completely out of place in the country, will grapple with the craziness of Smithville folk as he falls for Lizzie and her off beat ways. Justin and Tara may manage to entice him to stay on longer and design a new project with Justin, similar to the one they’d originally planned for the project Tara claimed in book one.
So it’s true, as wonderful as traveling and family may be, and it was truly a gift to be by my son’s side to greet his new daughter, getting home is also a treat. I can’t wait for Bingo to jump around my feet and bark happily when I arrive, for quiet evenings walking through the wooded beauty of our neighborhood with my husband as Bingo sniffs along our well-worn rout, snuggling into cold sheets with my sweetheart, and of course, returning to the world of my novel friends.
Some blogs are pure happiness we share, and this is one of those. I am now a grandma! I knew seeing my son and daughter-in-law with their new baby would be one of those life moments you never forget, but it was even better than I dreamed.
I think and write about family and vintage love and antiques, the appreciation for old things and the love of renewing them, but a new baby in the family brings the old and young together in a whole different way. Images of the last week are locked in my mind, such as a soft pink hand tied quilt made with love, laid across the arm of the antique rocker my son bought for his beautiful wife as a welcome home gift. Aunts bring casseroles, cousins crochet afghans, and children hovering curiously around the baby for a peek. Even my mother’s cowlick, which was passed along to me, then to my handsome son, now on the sweet forehead of my granddaughter, brings my mother closer to my heart.
The love of vintage items warms our hearts, like family drawn together in joy and awe. New treasures are created for special events, and will be cherished for a lifetime, then handed down again and again.
May we all relish the current amazing moments of our lives and create new treasures for future generations to find and love.
I’m out of state this month visiting my wonderful son and his beautiful wife. The two of them are blessing us with our first grandchild very soon! I came out early to help them move and set up their new home in preparation for the baby, and lucky for me, my daughter-in-law loves to shop second hand stores!
In the last week we’ve found mismatched but fabulous china, a sweet pedestal table with cottage style chairs that just need fresh paint, an old brass head board, and lots of frames for family photos, all in second hand stores. We couldn’t find any old dressers so we got a few unfinished wooden chest-of-drawers to paint. Painting furniture always reminds me of my mother teaching me, with news paper spread across the driveway, brush in hand and bandanas ties around our heads.
The moving is done now and we can settle into the joy of sanding and painting. When that is finished we have baby quilts to tie and bind as we await the arrival of the baby. I can’t think of a better way to spend time with my adult kids than passing along the joy of furnishing a home for their family.
May you all find a treasure for your family to enjoy in the coming weeks!