giveaway · Holiday · Uncategorized

My 31 Days of Holiday Movies

Holiday Movie CollectionI love holiday movies. Holiday movies are one of the things I love most about this time of year. I love the spirit, and yes the uncomplicated problems which turn into such angst-filled movie plots. While I love dramas, during the holiday season I prefer to watch movies that are a lighthearted.

I’ve always had a couple of my favorites on DVD but wouldn’t have called it a collection. When we switched cable providers and no longer had the Hallmark channel I missed the fun, whimsical, and yes at times cheesy, but always with happy ending holiday movies that were shown every night and all day on Sundays. There are a couple of other networks that run holiday movies (even all day on Sundays), but some of them didn’t have the same lighthearted feel as the Hallmark movies.

I caught a horrible respiratory infection at the beginning of the holiday season last year and really missed my holiday movie binges. To cheer me up, my husband bought me a couple Hallmark movies–and my collection started. (The summer is a good time to snap up holiday movies at a discount on Amazon.)

It was so great to pop in a Christmas movie when the ones on Lifetime or UP just didn’t feel my particular holiday viewing need. When it was time to relocate the holiday movies back downstairs, I realized I hadn’t watched all the movies in my collection. This year, I wanted to make sure I enjoyed all my movies (and my collection had grown since last Christmas) so I created my own holiday movie schedule to include in my Christmas planner. 2015-12-03 12.20.16I will switch them around if I decide I really want to watch a particular one. There are just some days where nothing but Elf or Christmas With the Kranks will do. I love having all the movies written down (and some days have more than one listed) and knowing that I’ll be visiting each set of characters during the holiday season. My family was amused, and I believe a little perplexed, at this addition to my Christmas to-do lists. I already have my cookies to bake list, appetizers for Christmas Eve list, shopping list, decorating list, and now I have created my own holiday movie guide. I know some people find all the planning and to-dos that come along with the holidays stressful, but I love it. I look forward to the day after Thanksgiving as I know it’s time to display and show my holiday/Christmas love. (Bring out the Christmas sweaters!)

GIVEAWAY: If you’d love to start your own holiday movie collection, I’m giving away a copy of Christmas With the Kranks (based on the book Skipping Christmas by John Grisham). To enter, comment with the name of your favorite holiday movie. Currently, I have 46 movies in my collection and would love to make it 50. Help me add some titles to my wish list. I’ll draw a winner on December 7.


Books · Excerpt · giveaway · Holiday · Scrapbooking · West Virginia

Scrapbooking Moment from Embellished to Death

West Virginia Craft Week is coming to end for 2015. I’m already looking forward to 2016 as it really got me in the crafting frame of mind and I completed quite a few projects this week. To end the week, I’m sharing a small scrapbooking moment from Embellished to Death, the third book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series published by Henery Press. I hope you enjoy it.

EMBELLISHED front under 2mbExcerpt:

“Hi, can I help you?” I smiled at the young woman in front of me.

She held out an heirloom photograph. The edges had a slight yellowish tint and a slight burn mark on the bottom. In the middle of the picture was an old couple surrounded by two couples holding infants, seven teenagers, and three elementary-aged children. It looked like a family portrait had been taken in front of the house where the couple lived. There was a small clapboard house, a large horse, and numerous pieces of old-time farm equipment.

“I was going to crop the photo but my friend said not to. She said I’d regret it. I just think the background is too busy and the family gets lost.”

I stood and led her to where we had some pattern papers in soft colors. “Your friend is right. In a few years, you might regret not having a picture of your family’s ancestral home.”

The young woman lightly touched the image of one of the young couples. “My great-great-grandparents didn’t live there. My great-grandfather wanted to impress his in-laws so he had the picture taken at the farm he worked at. His wife sent the picture with a letter to her parents so they wouldn’t worry about her. She wanted them to know her new husband was taking good care of her and the baby. This picture convinced her parents that their son-in-law was so successful, he could also take care of them in their aging years

I laughed. “That is an incredible story. I bet a lot of family stories were born by this one picture.”

The young woman grinned at me. “That there were. You know what, I’m going to make a whole scrapbook album about how this one picture changed my great-grandfather’s life. Ten years later, he did own that property.”

“He wanted to live up to his in-laws’ expectations.”

“No.” Her smile broadened. “His in-laws loved it so much that he wanted them to have it so they’d move out of his home.”

About Embellished to Death:

When Faith Hunter agrees to help PI Bob Roget find an identity thief at a local scrapbook retreat, her friendly croppers’ weekend quickly morphs into a dangerous one. As croppers share their own memories, a killer collects them for her new identity, and doesn’t appreciate Faith in the picture.

Faith struggles to balance her professional, detecting and personal lives as threats and secrets keep her off-balance. Things turn deadly when a woman is killed and Faith is blackmailed. Truth and lies collide when Faith discovers croppers aren’t the only ones embellishing, and the results might end her life.

Thank you for spending time with me during West Virginia Craft Week. There’s still time to enter for a chance to win the reading journal. Click on the link at it’ll take you to the post. To enter, comment on what is your favorite book.

Craft · giveaway · How To · Scrapbooking

Reading Journal

RJ FrontWest Virginia Craft Week has inspired me and to get some some crafting done this week. I’ve planned out a tablecloth (know the pattern and fabrics I’m going to use), watched craft classes on Craftsy, made cards, and have completed some reading journals. I keep track of the books I read on Goodreads, but it’s more of a “I have read, want to read, give this book so many stars” list rather than my thoughts about a book. And as I enjoy the act of handwriting, I thought a journal would be a perfect place to jot down my thoughts, feelings, and questions a book inspires.

My journal began as an ordinary composition notebook. RJ Blank Comp NotebookI could’ve bought one with a design but I wanted to personalize it a little more. I wanted not just my thoughts on the book to showcase who I am, but also the journal itself. The next step was hunting and gathering paper and embellishment options from my scrapbooking stash. RJ Gathering Embellishments I have quite a stash, so this step took me a little while as I pulled out choices then put some back. My poor desk was looking like a section of a scrapbook store. I wanted to have enough items so I could get the right “feel” for the journal, but not so much I’d decide to work on the laundry instead.

Next, I placed a few sheets of pattern paper on the notebook along with ribbon and embellishment choices. Once I had a design I liked, I cut the paper to fit the cover and rounded the outside corners. I liked the rounded corners of the original notebook and wanted to duplicate the look. I love the ribbon marker included in diaries and other journals so I added one to mine. I glued the ribbon to the back of the cover, making sure it was lined up so it wasn’t caught in the crease of the book, then added the pattern paper for the back cover to help secure the ribbon. Once the ribbon was in place, I added an embellishment to the bottom of the ribbon.RJ Ribbon close up 1 2015-10-07 21.11.49







I didn’t like seeing the edge of the pattern paper, so I added a strip of washi tape on the front and back cover. I was enjoying making the journal so much, I couldn’t just make one so I made another to giveaway. To enter for a chance to win the reading journal, please share your favorite book in the comment section, and list your email address so I can contact the winner. A winner will be drawn on Tuesday, October 13.

book giveaway · giveaway · Heroine Interviews

SRP Heroine Interview: Aggie Mundeen from Smart, But Dead

Today on the Self-Rescue Princess, I’m chatting with Aggie Mundeen about her latest case, and the woman who is helping Aggie tell the world all about her adventures.

  1. SMART BUT DEAD cover frontTell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Pushing forty and appalled at the prospect of descending into middle-age decrepitude, I blasted off to the local university to study the genetics of aging. I’d find youthful hints for readers of my column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” and I’d learn how to stay young myself.

Despite conflicts with my professor, I was fascinated learning about  human genome projects and  DNA. Then I stumbled upon a dead academic. Detective Sam Vanderhoven, San Antonio PD,  reminded me to avoid the investigation. But dangerously curious and programmed to prod, I  was compelled to find the killer. I wound up the prime suspect and was on target to become next campus corpse.

  1. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

Nancy G. West, who tells my stories, heard that genes affect aging and wanted to know more about it. That’s what usually gets me into trouble. As a business and English literature major, she didn’t know squat about genetics. Her last science course was college biology. So she had to rely on scientists to explain genetics. Unfortunately, they speak their own language. She had to decipher what they told her and then put it into language she and I could understand.

  1. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

Never. While working my way up to vice-president in a Chicago bank, like a squirrel counting nuts, I did think I should be enjoying a more exciting existence. When I had an unexpected windfall, I fled from the brutal winters and moved to Texas.

  1. Who would you say is least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

Detective Sam is appalled when I assist in his investigations. But it’s extremely satisfying to solve crimes and restore justice. He believes that, too, and I like being around him. He’ll just have to get used to me.

For Nancy:

  1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Weakness: I prefer writing scenes with Aggie and Sam before I’ve completed the research needed for the plot.

Strength: I love writing dialogue scenes with Aggie and Sam.

Strange isn’t it, how our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness?

  1. Describe what being a self-rescue princess means to you.

I’d rather die than become a clinging vine. But I’m not ashamed to ask for help when I need it.

  1. What one bit of advice/wisdom would you like to pass on to young women?

Take time to find out who you are before you go looking for somebody you think will make you complete.

  1. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

Determination and perseverance wins. Even if the goal changes or moves farther away (or you’re arrested and somebody wants you dead), you’ve won the prize of being able to persevere.

  1. If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

Since we’re all multifaceted, our lives have many themes. I guess my song  would be “I Did It My Way”,— with help, compassion and the grace of God.

  1. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat? (another book featuring this heroine)

If Aggie and Sam manage to get out of the mess in Smart, But Dead without killing each other, there will undoubtedly be another situation where  I’ll feel obligated to use my sleuthing skills.

Nancy has offered to giveaway an autographed Advanced Reader Copy to one lucky commenter on this post. Let us know about something you’d like to learn more about, and please leave an email so Nancy can contact the winner. The winner will be drawn August 30.

If you like to learn more about Aggie and Nancy, Aggie reveals more at Talk to Aggie on Nancy’s website:

Twitter: @NancyGWest_