Posted in Books, Craft, Excerpt, Scrapbooking

A Scrapping Moment from Masked to Death

masked-to-death-cover-frontSince May is National Scrapbooking Month, I’m sharing a small scrapbooking moment from Masked to Death.

Excerpt:

Ronnie’s confession shook me. I felt off-kilter. A scrapbooking class was being held on deck six, so I headed there, needing to clear my mind while I figured out what to do. Scrapbooking calmed me and centered my spirit. I knew this trip would rev up some anxiety, so I bought a travel planner. It was more portable than a scrapbook, yet the same techniques were used for decorating it. Instead of pictures, words were the main focal point. I had brought colored pencils and an array of travel stickers for decorating the pages.

I spotted a crew member pushing a cart loaded down with cruise-themed scrapbooking supplies and followed. Other women and a few men joined our parade to the lounge area in the back of the ship.

“Find a spot while I set up.” The young woman began sorting through the packages of products and stacking them by theme onto a table.

I spotted Garrison sitting at a table in the back, flipping through a book. When I sat down, he closed the leather book about the size of an 8×8 album. The cover was embossed. I tried reading the script font, but he covered the writing with his forearm.

“Here to scrapbook or just looking for some peace and quiet to read?” I asked.

“I’ve wanted to learn some new techniques and now was the perfect time.”

“You and Bob didn’t have anything special planned for this morning?”

“Odessa stopped by this morning to tell Bob the captain wanted to meet with him.”

“About what?”

“I’d rather not know, so I kissed Bob goodbye and told him I’d be here. I’m sure it has something to do with John. I wonder where Ronnie is. She had said she’d meet me here.”

“When did you talk to her?” I doodled in my travel journal.

“At breakfast. Why?”

“Curious,” I said. “No other reason. She might have lost track of time or something unexpected came up.” The captain had issued a gag order. Ronnie said to stay quiet. And here I was blabbing—or almost blabbing, which was just as bad. “This probably isn’t the wedding you dreamed of.”

“The event meant more to Odessa than us, so we caved on pretty much everything. Our only sticking point was no alcohol at the event out of respect and love for Ted, and yet she had the champagne flowing freely, and now we also have John Roget to contend with. I’m not looking forward to him and Odessa coming face to face.”

“He’s stayed away so far.”

“That’s true. Maybe he only came to spend time with Claire and not to stop the wedding. John is a hard one to figure out.”

“He isn’t the only one.”

Garrison’s eyebrows rose. “Do tell.”

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Posted in Craft, Disney Layouts, Scrapbooking

Preparing for a Crop: Page Kits

May is National Scrapbooking Month, so I thought I’d share my process of putting together page kits before a crop retreat. Usually, I’d just pick a project to work on and pack up all pictures, embellishments, and paper that would work for it. I also bring a nice selection of colored cardstock, and a huge amount of white and black as those are my go to colors for matting or the base of a layout.

In April, I attended a crop where we had a limited amount of space for supplies so I decided to put together page kits. I completed so many pages that it will now be my go-to method for cropping away from home. I also liked the fact it cut back on the trips I had to make to and from the car, and setting up, as I brought fewer items.

I placed all of  my Disney paper and embellishments, any scrapbooking bling that would work for the album onto my cropping table and started matching them to my pictures. I wanted to make a second page for a previous layout, so I took out that layout to make sure the papers I chose complemented it. Since there were more pictures than space on the 12×12 pattern paper, I used a Flip Flap to gain extra picture space.

 

I placed all my Disney paper and embellishments onto my scrapbooking table Next, I pulled out different types of embellishments and scraps of pattern and laid them on the page until I found a combination I liked.

If I really liked the structure of a page, I snapped a photo on my cell before I packaged it up in a 2 gallon Ziplock bag. Since I didn’t want to interrupt my kit making, I wrote down any titles or embellishments I wanted to make on a sticky note and put it on the kit. Completed packet

 

Posted in Books, Craft, mystery, Scrapbooking, Vacations, Writing

Masked to Death has left port

masked-to-death-cover-frontMasked to Death, the fifth book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series, is now out. I went on my first cruise at the end of 2010 and feel in love with this type of vacation. When part of the plot came to me, I started thinking about where to set the book and recalled that in book one, Cropped to Death, Ted mentioned that his mom worked on a cruise ship. My muse said, “Perfect.”, and the story developed from there.

Here’s a short description about Masked to Death:

A Caribbean cruise is the perfect setting for a Roget wedding, and Faith meeting Ted’s family. She also hopes the vacation gets their stalled romance moving, but it doesn’t take long for that dream to capsize. Ted’s daughter hates her. The ex-wife is adored. Odessa Roget is surly. And the banned father of a groom, John Roget, requests Faith’s assistance in bringing down a jewel theft ring masterminded by his ex-wife.

Having had a man she loved accuse her of a crime, Faith won’t let Odessa travel down the same path and agrees to help. Faith sets her course on uncovering the true criminals—which might be a groom’s best friend. The romantic week turns disastrous as a wedding is interrupted, suspicious deaths point to murders, and Ted’s daughter schemes to reunite her parents. Instead of diamonds being a girl’s best friend, Faith finds they’re cruising her toward Davy Jones’ Locker.

Over the next few weeks, you can find me (or Masked) visiting a few places in cyber world where I’ll be answering some questions, talking about creating a travel journal and a fictional cruise, and where some readers will let you  know a little bit more about Masked to Death. I hope you can stop by.

January 25 – Dru’s Book Musings – Guest Post, Vacation Time With Faith Hunter

January 27 – Bibliophile Reviews –  REVIEW, INTERVIEW

January 28 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST, Creating a Cruise 

January 29 – Brooke Blogs – INTERVIEW

January 30 – Valerie’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

January 31 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

February 1 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

February 2 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW, GUEST POST, Travel Journal

February 3 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

February 4 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST, Scrapbooking and Murder

February 5 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy Too! – Excerpt (shopping on a cruise) from Masked to Death

February 6 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

February 7 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

Posted in Books, mystery, Scrapbooking, Self-Rescue Princess, West Virginia

Release Day–Framed to Death

Framed to Death CoverIt’s here…release day for Framed to Death. I hate picking a favorite (and I probably say this with every book) but I have to say this cover and the story is one of my favorites. It wasn’t the easiest one to write, to be honest it gave me huge fits at times, but it holds a special place in my heart. My character grew a lot from the ending of Embellished to Framed. I loved writing this journey for her and having her take on an issue causing havoc in her community.

I’ll be making some guest appearances around the world wide web, and I’ll also be at Malice Domestic this weekend. Please stop by and say hi at my stops to enter into a giveaway.

Here’s my schedule:

April 25 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

April 26 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

April 27T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

April 28The Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

April 29Tea and A Book – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

April 303 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – SPOTLIGHT

May 1Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

May 2LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

May 2Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

May 3Musings and Ramblings – GUEST POST

May 4A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

And now a little introduction about Framed to Death:

Eden has turned into a hotspot of crime, and Faith finds herself smack dab in the middle of the flare-up. When a favor for a friend links Faith to the synthetic marijuana problem invading her town, no good deed goes unpunished becomes the title of her life. The town accuses the police of favoritism toward her, putting a strain between Faith and Ted, and a new officer is determined to prove Faith’s guilt.

When the criminal is outed, Faith’s relief is short-lived. A fire takes out the store—along with the suspected dealer—and she’s now number one on an officer’s suspect list. Faith sets out to prove her own innocence, and her digging sparks the truth to life. Instead of the truth setting the town free, Faith finds out it might destroy Eden, the friends she holds dear, and smother out her own life.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

Kobo

 

Posted in Books, Craft, Excerpt, mystery, Scrapbooking, Uncategorized, West Virginia

National Craft Month: Cropped to Death Excerpt

I had hoped to have a crafting blog post ready for today but it’s been hectic at the office this week and my hours work hours needing shifting around, so I didn’t have time to finish making my project. This month, I’ve celebrating National Craft Month by alternating between different hobbies: scrapbooking, crocheting, and coloring. I had thought about chatting about my experience with making a photo book through Shutterfly, but as we don’t have the book yet (and I did a scrapbooking post last week) I thought it better to wait.

CROPPED front smSince Cropped to Death is currently on sale for 99 cents for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks, I thought I’d share an excerpt of Faith preparing for a beginning scrapbooking class–and she gets interrupted.

Excerpt: 

I headed into the paper racks, weaving through the reds and yellows to reach the browns. The hues ranged from sand to a brown so dark it could pass for black. What shade and texture should I use tonight?

A smoother paper worked better for beginners, as it was easier for tearing and for making other embellishments, but I had no idea the skill level of the women signed up for the contest class and mini crop. A texture cardstock added an extra dimension to the work and gave the beginning layout a little edge. If using it for a border, tearing the texture paper added a nice jagged effect with feathering detail.

Maybe a sheet of both styles using a monochromatic scheme. That worked. A deeper beige mixed with a sand almost white shade. Neutrals worked well with any photos. I’d take a look at the students’ pictures when they arrived and pull complementary colors showcased in the photos.

Time to pick embellishments. I gathered up sheets of letter stickers in a variety of fonts and colors for the layout titles. I stopped in front of the clear stamps and picked out an alphabet set. I’d buy the stamps and share them tonight with the class. Hopefully, they’d love them so much, the two attendees would want a set for themselves. To save some money, I’d go with standard neutral paint colors. If the croppers wanted a hue with a little more pop, they could purchase it.

The bell above the door jangled. I took the items out of the basket and arranged them in piles on the tables. Before the crop started, I wanted to check on the amount of choices offered for the class participants. I snapped my fingers. Items for the prize basket.

A shadow fell over me. I jerked upright, and the wind whooshed in my ears even though I was inside. This fear issue was getting annoying. I hated feeling vulnerable. Taking in a deep breath, my heart rate slowed to normal as I realized a new customer, not a stalker, entered into the store.

A dark-haired woman in her late teens hovered behind me. Two splotches of red bloomed on her cheeks and she stammered. “I was wondering if. Well, if you could…would you mind…”

I smiled and waved my hand over the products on the table. “It’s not too late to sign up for the crop tonight.”

She pushed a piece of paper toward me. “I was wondering if…”

I held my pleasant smile and waited.

“If I could… like… get…”

The smile strained my cheeks.

“Your autograph.”

“My what?” I kept my reaction in check, uncertain if amusement or anger was more appropriate.

“Aren’t you the owners’ granddaughter? The one mentioned in the paper?”

I went with anger. Before the scolding exploded from my mouth, the young woman turned and fled out the door. Why couldn’t the store reach celebrity status because of our awesome customer service rather than because of murder?

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend, and is able to enjoy their families and their hobbies.

 

Posted in Craft, Disney Layouts, Scrapbooking, Uncategorized

Scrapbooking With the Project Life App

BHApp_IconDesign_FINAL-640x480On Facebook one night, I saw an ad for the Becky Higgins Project Life App and considered it for just a moment before deciding it wasn’t something for me. Yes, I did take some photos on my phone but not enough to purchase an app for making layouts. Though, the app was only $2.99 so not a huge investment. The next evening after work, I wanted to do some crafting (March is National Crafting Month) but was too tired to want to drag out my paper scrapbooking goodies, nor did I feel like traversing downstairs to get yarn for a new crocheting project. What was I to do?

The Project Life App was my answer. It wasn’t that much and I could do some scrapbooking without leaving the comfy recliner (I was really feeling lazy), and I could make some of my pictures into pretty layouts and share on Facebook and Instagram. There were some photos I’d love to have in layout form but don’t want to traditionally scrapbook (another way of saying not having to print them out), and some of those layouts wouldn’t “fit” in any of our scrapbooks.

daughtry PL layout

writing PL layoutI purchased the Becky Higgins Project Life app and started creating. I fell in love! The app includes some layout styles (you can purchase more) and also some kits. There were enough options that I wouldn’t have had to purchase more kits but I need some specific kits for pictures (who am I kidding I love scrapbooking goodies even virtual one)  so picked up a few extras.

I’be made 10 layouts so far and find the process relaxing and it’s becoming my go-to method of relaxing at night. I’ve enjoyed browsing through my phone’s photo gallery and “remembering” events that had taken place. The first day in using the app, I was a little disappointed I couldn’t change the font but discovered the other day there was. When I typed in my journaling, I decided to hit the little up arrow and font choices popped up, including changing the color of the journaling. And if I hit the capital A, I could increase or decrease the size of the font. I was loving the app even more.festival of fantasy PL layout

I’m hoping there will be some new font styles that can be purchased because I’d love a swirly cursive font.

Posted in Craft, Everyday Life, Quilting, Scrapbooking, Uncategorized

Celebrating National Craft Month

creativity takes courageDuring March, we’re celebrating National Craft Month on the Self-Rescue Princess (along with doing an interview or two). There will be posts from authors about their crafting projects, excerpts from novels featuring crafting moments, and reviews of crafting books.

I love crafting. When I was a little girl, I sewed Barbie clothes by hand and spent hours coloring, imaging I was actually painting a masterpiece. The first baby quilt I ever made was also handsewn. I was stationed in Germany and brought the fabric at the large Post Exchange at a nearby Barracks. It was green with rocking horses on it. There weren’t many options so I picked the fabric I thought would work for a boy or girl (I had a girl!). I didn’t have a sewing machine, as sewing hadn’t been something I had thought about doing for a long time, but I had a need to make my baby her first blanket. Baby quilts have now become one of my favorite items to make.IMG_1913

Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at my crafts: cross-stitch, costuming bears (hot gluing strips of silk and lace onto articulated bears), beading, sewing, scrapbooking, paper cut/die cutting creations, and quilting. Megan's afghanLast year, I added crocheting to my list of crafty endeavors. I still sew, quilt, scrapbook, paper cuts, and crochet. Occasionally, I’ll make a card or two but don’t do it as often, and I only make cards for specific occasions rather than because I’m in the mood to craft.

When I’m itching to craft, but not up to working on a particular project, I’ll pull out my paper, fire up the laptop and get my die cutting machines humming so I can make “cuts”. I find the process relaxing, and I get to embellish. There’s nothing quite as fun as getting out glitter, chalk, and pens to make my paper creations come to life.2014-10-28 19.15.18

Anything Goes Cut Party and stuff 014

I’d love to see some of your creations so please feel free to share some of your projects in the comment section. Let’s inspire each other to craft more in March.

Posted in 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.

Posted in 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.

Posted in Cooking, Craft, Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking Recipes

When I started scrapbooking a little over fifteen years ago, I joined some internet scrapbooking communities so I could learn more techniques and connect with other crafters. It was in one of these groups that I meet my friend who showed me there was more to preserving memories than a traditional scrapbook. She had gifted me a recipe album and it opened up my eyes to the different ways we can share our story with future generations. All of the recipes were done like scrapbook layouts. I had a couple of cookbooks but never thought about making pages for my favorite ones, or when a book got ruined, taking out the recipes I used and making a layout to preserve them.

2015-09-26 12.05.12Nowadays, I find myself using recipes I find on the internet more than my cookbooks as it’s easier to find a recipe to use with the ingredients I have on hand. But, sometimes I couldn’t find the recipe again. Either I forgot to bookmark it, my favorites got wiped out, or if I printed the recipe it was getting illegible from using it while cooking and the website wasn’t printed on the page. I kept reminding myself to scrapbook the new recipes so they’d be protected in a protector, and I liked showcasing the recipes with a little of my own creative spin.

recipe crop
My cropping set up for working on the recipe pages.

It wasn’t until we started getting the Blue Apron orders that I knew I had to set aside some scrapbooking time to work on my recipe pages. We were enjoying the recipes from Blue Apron and I wanted to keep them in a binder. Why just put them in a binder when I could make some layouts with them? I’d have to find an alternate method of scrapbooking as the traditional way wouldn’t work as the 8 1/2 x 11 inch cards had the ingredient list on the front and the steps on the back. Pocket style scrapbooking was the way to go. I could see both front and back, and by using 12×12 pages, I could add some decorative touches and comments.

I bought a Fuse, a tool that’ll seal the page protector, so I could create my own pockets. I placed the recipe into the binder, then fused on the side so the recipe stayed in place. I added pattern paper on the top and side of the recipe to add journaling and embellishments. On the side panels on my pages, I noted our favorites and also any changes I’d make the next time we cooked the recipe. There was one where the mint was a little strong for me so I noted “less mint” for the next time.

2015-09-25 17.40.44