Drill Drainage Holes in Ceramic Containers to Create Classy Cheap Flower Pots Using this Technique…

It all started when I accidentally found a container that a potter friend had given me long ago. It is a beautiful bonsai dish—but the potter forgot to add holes for drainage. I showed it to my wife and she said, “Oooooh, that’s pretty. Can we get a hammer and chisel and put a hole in the bottom?”

How do you put drainage holes in a ceramic container?

How do you put drainage holes in a ceramic container?

“No,” I replied. “A hammer and chisel would only shatter it—but there is a tool that will drill a hole…”

“Is it a difficult or complicated job?”

“No,” I replied, “it’s so easy that even a girl could probably do it.”

About an hour later, after she started speaking to me again, we decided to make a trip to Home Depot to purchase a “glass and tile bit” to use with our DeWalt drill (hereafter, in redneck manner, referred to as “the DeWalt”). It took a bit of looking to find what we needed.

Looking for a glass and tile drill bit at Home Depot

Looking for a glass and tile drill bit at Home Depot

We found the bits that we needed in the Bosch display and I chose 3/8 and a ¼ inch bits to use for our project. I didn’t think we would use the ¼ inch bit and I proved to be correct.

1/4 and 3/8 inch Bosch glass and tile drill bits. Just what the doctor ordered

1/4 and 3/8 inch Bosch glass and tile drill bits. Just what the doctor ordered

We got together the necessary items for the job—the DeWalt, glass and tile bit, water, the container, and a piece of slate for the work surface. The water is to reduce the heat generated by the friction of the drill.

Drill, glass bit, water, and a container to drill a hole in

Drill, glass bit, water, and a container to drill a hole in

The glass and tile bit looks like this. Be careful when asking for help at the store because a lot of times the clerk will try to sell you a masonry bit which is a different item and won’t do the job.

vBosch glass and tile drill bit is a good item to use when creating neat flower pots.

Bosch glass and tile drill bit is a good item to use when creating neat flower pots.

The DeWalt has a “keyless chuck.” To use it, hold the drill as shown below and run the drill slowly while holding the black thingie. This will tighten the drill’s grip on the bit and things will work properly.

tightening a keyless chuck

tightening a keyless chuck

Pour some water in the container and start drilling. This is a slow process. You will need to put a bit of pressure on the drill to make it work but you don’t want to push too hard. If you try to go too fast the dish will crack.

Pour a little water over the surface to be drilled to keep it cool. Watch the pressure

Pour a little water over the surface to be drilled to keep it cool. Watch the pressure

When the hole begins to develop, it is advisable to have an assistant hold the container to keep it from spinning when the bit goes through.

Have your helper hold the container when the hole is almost done--it may catch and jerk

Have your helper hold the container when the hole is almost done–it may catch and jerk

And there it is—a nice clean drainage hole.

A nice clean drainage hole. YaY

A nice clean drainage hole. YaY

I think we should have two holes, don’t you?

bonsai dish with drainage ready to plant

bonsai dish with drainage ready to plant

Well, Sweetie really liked that one. She started gathering containers. “Look,” she said, “This bowl will make a wonderful pot for my geranium. All it needs is a drainage hole.”

Another container that needs a drainage hole

Another container that needs a drainage hole

And she went to work.

Next thing you know she'll probably be going to yard sales to look for old china dinner bowls to drill holes in

Next thing you know she’ll probably be going to yard sales to look for old china dinner bowls to drill holes in

I sometimes like to use clay saucers to make elf man gardens or to show off small bonsai trees. We drilled a hole in a clay saucer while we were at it.

Drill a hole in a clay saucer and use it for a dish garden

Drill a hole in a clay saucer and use it for a dish garden

I spent the rest of the afternoon watching Sweetie play. By the way, Sweetie’s name is Dekie Hicks and she runs Wheredepony Press and makes books for people who write them. She likes her bonsai trees, too and you may see some of them on her blog site: ponderingthepony.blogspot.com

I watched as she paid attention to the drainage in her “new” flower pot:

Rocks and pot shards added to enhance drainage.

Rocks and pot shards added to enhance drainage.

I watched some more as she potted up her new geranium

potting a geranium in the "new" pot.

potting a geranium in the “new” pot.

There’s the newly potted geranium and what I refer to as, “Happy wife, happy life.”

A fun afternoon playing in the yard

A fun afternoon playing in the yard

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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A story about a story-My self publishing experience part two

My self publishing experience part two-gaining confidence and editing

I had a book in mind, a half a manuscript sitting on my desk at home, and a desire to see what other people were doing. I am usually not a timid person but one winter night in 2007 I walked timidly into a meeting room at the Rome Library. I was in some new and unfamiliar territory.

To read part one of this series, CLICK HERE

 I can still remember the first time I walked into the Rome Area Writers meeting. I was warmly welcomed and I sat in the back of the room to see what happened. Dick Ingram was president of the group at the time and I found later that the term president in that group was synonymous with the word moderator. Dick went through a business discussion and then opened the meeting up for readings. I was able to listen to others read their writings and to hear the comments and criticisms-both negative and positive. I joined the writer’s group that night and it proved to be a good move.

 A month later, I pumped myself up and took something to read to the meeting. I remember standing in front of the group and saying, “I’ve never done anything like this before and I hope I don’t embarrass myself.” My fears turned out to be unwarranted and, as my brother Billy would say, “They ‘plauded.”  The criticism wasn’t so bad and I found a lot of the comments helpful. I felt like maybe I was on to something. There was this good looking lady there, too, with a funny name that I didn’t quite get.

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 A conference with the editor takes a twist. Dekie, John, and the coon dog

A conference with the editor takes a twist. Dekie, John, and the coon dog

 I decided that I liked the readings and attended a few poetry readings here and there, most notably at a very nice shop named Cobblestones, and run by Mark Watters and his lovely wife. I will always appreciate the opportunity that I was given by this nice venue to listen to others and to present my own offerings. My poetry was probably all right, nothing special, but I found that the audience also enjoyed a bit of southern prose. That’s what I’m good at. I saw the good looking lady with the funny name again at one of the poetry readings. I still didn’t get her name, though.

 I kept working on the book. I knew it was getting good and I would read a chapter or two in front of people at the writer’s group or at a group reading, judging the worth of my work by watching facial reactions as I read and by listening for laughter in the right places. Sometimes I got reactions where I didn’t expect them and no reactions where I wanted them. Reading the work out loud was quite a help, too, in that I could get a feel for the sound of the stories. At one point I made an important discovery as I found myself censoring the work, taking out the “f-word” because I didn’t want to cross the line of other’s sensitivities.  I ended up going back to take out anything that I didn’t think would be appropriate to read before a mixed group.

 I read a lot and I have noticed since the social changes of the sixties that the use of profanity has lost its shock value and become common in popular literature. I was writing about rednecks and figured that profanity was necessary in the dialogue. My mother and I talked about it:

          She said, “you need to take that word out.”

          “But,” I replied, “I can’t write about rednecks without using “the word.”

          “If you want my friends to read it, you need to take the word out.” She said.

          I thought about it and realized that she was right. If writing with profanity had become commonplace then I would do the uncommon thing and take out all of the profanity. I didn’t just take out “the word,” either, I took out all of the profanity except for one place where it just had to be there to make the situation work. The one exception was that I studied on it, pondered on it, philosophized about it, and decided that the word Sumbitch was all right to use sparingly.

 I was hooked on the Rome Area Writers meetings like an alcoholic would be dependent on AA. At the third or fourth meeting I asked if anyone knew a competent professional editor who could help me. I was introduced to the lady with the funny name. Her name was Dekie which I later learned was a contraction of her middle name, Dekalb. The story goes on, but it’s another story, and anyway, I ended up hiring Dekie to edit my work.

 At our first meeting I gave Dekie a printed piece of my manuscript and a check.

At our second meeting a week later, Dekie laid my manuscript on the table before us and I saw a million red and yellow marks all over the pages. It may have been two million marks, but you get the message. I stood and looked and felt like I had been beaten with a sledge hammer. I mean, I thought I had given her some good stuff to look at. We sat down to go over it.

 “First,” she said, “You have to totally re format the writing. What you have given me is formatted for the internet with no indentation and double spaces between paragraphs. It needs to be done in a book format.”

 “But that’s the way I like it.” I said

 She gave me a look that I will never forget and firmly stated, “You ain’t Faulkner.”

 It took me a long while to understand what she had said. I now know what she meant and I always keep it firmly in mind. I started paying attention to my editor and making the changes she suggested. I found that there are two kinds of editing, substantive editing which deals with the story and with the words that make it up, and copy editing which takes care of all the other problems.

 I have realized that good and competent editing is the most important part of producing a book I cannot emphasize this enough. Dekie made a list that makes the editing tasks clear:

 Copyediting, such as:

  • Word choice
  • Punctuation
  • Basic grammar
  • Proofreading

Substantive editing, such as:

  • Add/delete sections, chapters, etc.
  • Tone/point of view
  • Flag words/phrases for unintended meanings
  • Organization & presentation of material
  • Collect, prepare, and arrange materials for publication (as in anthologies, etc.)

I will leave you with this for now while I prepare for next week’s continuation which deals with what happens after the manuscript has been completed and edited. I hope you are enjoying the story.

 Related reading

To read part one of this series, CLICK HERE

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

 

 

A thank you and a love story

A big event in my life is rapidly approaching. For this week’s article I have decided to share my “thank you” to the Rome Area Writers group.  I have been a member of this group for over four years and they have helped me in many ways. Their motto is, “Writers helping writers.” This piece was written for my reading at the April 14 meeting.  I hope you will like it.  It is also a love story.

John Schulz, Dekie Hicks, and Speck the coon hound

John Schulz, Dekie Hicks, and Speck the coon hound

 Thank You Rome Area Writers

 This month’s prompt, I believe, is “why do I write?”  I have thought about this and the only answer I can come up with is that I often get little movies going on in my head and they develop over a period of time to a point that becomes interesting and I feel a need to tell about them.  So I sit down at my computer which has evolved from a word processor which evolved from an IBM Selectric which evolved from an Underwood manual.  I love the computer because of the back space feature which lets me delete and start over.

 The movies develop while I am writing and the changes rapidly turn the story into something I never thought of.  I love the mutability.  I love the way the story develops as I write it. I love the way I can think about it later and think, “I should of put a coon dog in there” and then go add it to the story.  It gives me a feeling of power, also.  Fiction is wonderful.  If I don’t like the way someone is behaving, I can change them or kill them off.

 It kind of reminds me of a John Prine line

“We talked all night ‘til you said something neither of us knew”But all of that is not my message tonight.

My message is to say thank you to RAW.

And to tell you that I will probably miss the next meeting.

 A little over four years ago, I was living by myself, changing my lifestyle into I knew not what.  I had decided a year before to spend some time writing that book that I had always wanted to write.  I had made a lot of changes in my life and I was casting about, looking for direction.  I had exorcised a lot of unwanted people, places, and habits. I was looking for a start on something different.  All I really had going for me was my landscaping and my book.  I had even gone so far as to throw the tv out the window. 

 I maintain the flower beds in the library garden in Rome, Ga, and one day while I was there, I saw a sign that read “Rome Area Writers meets Thursday.”  So I thought that would be fun.  I showed up Thursday and found nothing—no meeting—nothing.  So I researched it and found that the meetings were on the second Thursday and I had gotten the third.  I was ready the next month.

 I went to the meeting and enjoyed it so I joined.  I remember being extremely nervous about my first reading and saying something like, “I’ve never done this before” but it went well and the nice people made me feel good about myself and about my writing.  So I kept up the writing and the readings.  It felt good.

 But I was looking for an editor and thought, “what better place to find an editor?”

And I found one, too.  I met with her and we made a financial arrangement.  I will never forget the first editorial discussion when I showed up to find my manuscript red lined all over the place with some big yellow magic marker lines thrown in for color, interest and contrast.  It was worse than any graded paper I ever got back while majoring in English at the University of Georgia.  I was a broken man.

 The editor pointed out lots of flaws and things that needed changing.

I said, “But I like it that way”

She looked me straight in the eye and said,

“You ain’t Faulkner”

And of course, she was right.

 So I listened to the editor and made the changes and went through many more editing sessions.  It got easier and easier.  My work was turning into a book and I was excited.  I looked forward to second Thursdays at which I shared my progress and at which I received lots of helpful reaction. 

 I had explored many self publishing options and checked out companies like Authorhouse, X libris, and Trafford.  I decided they were rip offs.  I have always had a good talent for spotting a scam. I did more research and then more research and figured out that I needed to do it myself.  So the editor and I set up Wheredepony Press and began a learning process.  The learning process turned into a two year endeavor. The book was published. The book, Requiem for a Redneck received excellent reviews and won a first place award from the Independent Publishers Book Awards for “Best Southern Fiction.”  We were validated.

 Somewhere during all of the editing and publishing I had fallen in love with the editor.  I had started out to write a book and had ended up with a book and a partner.  I had found the direction that I had been looking for.

 One of those movies that goes on in my head still has me pausing in front of the sign that reads “Rome Area Writers meets Thursday night”

 That sign made a lot of difference for me.  I met wonderful, helpful people and entered into a new dimension.  I am happy for that.  That’s what I wish to thank you for.

 And next month’s meeting?  I don’t think I will be here because the meeting is on Thursday night and I will be preparing for a wedding which will be on the following Saturday, May 14.

 The editor and I will tie the knot.

Thank you, Dekie Hicks for giving me direction

And Thank you, Rome Area Writers.

 Thank you, Dear Johntheplantman Readers for all of the support you have given.  This site has become popular way beyond my expectations.

 John P. Schulz

 

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If you would like a consultation with John Schulz, Landscape Artist, in your yard,

Please contact me by email

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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