Search

Hobby Reads

Because everyone's hobby is having fun! Visit us @ www.kensingtonbooks.com

Category

Crafts

Confessions of a Terrible Knitter By Amanda Flower

2018 is going to great year for my readers! I will have four books coming out! Two are part of the Amish Candy Shop Mysteries. The first one to release it Lethal Licorice in March. It’s a fun mystery that includes candy, Amish culture, a twisty mystery, and a very mischievous pot-bellied pig. The reason four books are dropping this year is because I wrote four last year, which is a lot. It’s not personal record, which was six novels–completely nuts and will never happen again– but it was enough that I’m tired and need to relax and recharge a bit. I am exhausted.

Here’s the problem with relaxing and recharging, I’m terrible at it. I’m not Amish–never have been. (I thought I should put that out there since I get asked that question a lot since I write about Amish people.) However, I understand the Amish need to be busy ALL THE TIME. I need a project. I hate days where I feel like I don’t accomplish anything. For me, those are the very worst. I think this is one of the many reasons that I love being a writer because I always have a project going. However, this need, when I really should take a break so that I don’t teeter over the edge into complete burnout, isn’t great. So I have to find something else to do on the cold winter nights when I’m not writing. That’s where my knitting comes in.

Confession time. I am a terrible knitter. Seriously. If I made you a sweater, it would come out as a strait jacket. Do yourself a favor and don’t put on anything that I make. Ever.

Once when I was on a writing break, I knitted a whole family of ugly snowmen, including a snowcat and snowdog. (Photo included for your amusement.) I have also knitted pumpkins and Easter bunnies. This is the honest truth. Currently, I am working on a scarf. The project is at the touch-and-go stage. I thought things were going great until I knitted when I should have pearled, and now I have to unravel half of what I have done.

Even though I am a terrible knitter, I find the craft soothing. It keeps my hands busy and gives me a sense of purpose when I need a break from writing. Also, unlike my writing where I hold myself to a high standard, I don’t expect much of my knitting. I know it will be ugly. I know it will make my friends and family laugh, and I’m completely fine with that. It’s liberating to do something for fun with no expectations.

Do you have a craft that you love to do that you are terrible at? I would love to hear about it!

 

Too many sweets spoil the murder . . .

Harvest, Ohio, is a long way from New York City, where Bailey King left a coveted job as a head chocolatier to take over Swissmen Sweets, her Amish grandparents’ candy shop. Now, while caring for her recently widowed grandmother, she plans to honor her grandfather’s memory by entering the annual Amish Confectionery Competition. But between lavender blueberry fudge and chocolate cherry ganache truffles, Bailey may have bitten off more than she can chew when the search for a missing pot-bellied pig turns up a body suffering from sugar overload—the fatal kind . . .

A candy maker from a neighboring town who wanted Englischer Bailey disqualified for being an outsider, Josephine Weaver died from an allergy to an essential licorice ingredient. The suspects include: Josephine’s niece, a young woman going through her rumspringa, or running around time, and Bailey herself. Now it falls to Bailey, who’s sweet on the local sheriff’s deputy, to clear their names and entice a killer with a cast-iron stomach for cold-blooded murder . . .

Recipe Included!

Amanda Flower, a national bestselling and Agatha Award-winning mystery author. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Northeast Ohio. Follow Amanda on Social Media at: Facebook Twitter Instagram

 

Advertisements

Confessions of a Terrible Knitter By Amanda Flower

 

2018 is going to great year for my readers! I will have four books coming out! Two are part of the Amish Candy Shop Mysteries. The first one to release it Lethal Licorice in March. It’s a fun mystery that includes candy, Amish culture, a twisty mystery, and a very mischievous pot-bellied pig. The reason four books are dropping this year is because I wrote four last year, which is a lot. It’s not personal record, which was six novels–completely nuts and will never happen again– but it was enough that I’m tired and need to relax and recharge a bit. I am exhausted.

Here’s the problem with relaxing and recharging, I’m terrible at it. I’m not Amish–never have been. (I thought I should put that out there since I get asked that question a lot since I write about Amish people.) However, I understand the Amish need to be busy ALL THE TIME. I need a project. I hate days where I feel like I don’t accomplish anything. For me, those are the very worst. I think this is one of the many reasons that I love being a writer because I always have a project going. However, this need, when I really should take a break so that I don’t teeter over the edge into complete burnout, isn’t great. So I have to find something else to do on the cold winter nights when I’m not writing. That’s where my knitting comes in.

Confession time. I am a terrible knitter. Seriously. If I made you a sweater, it would come out as a strait jacket. Do yourself a favor and don’t put on anything that I make. Ever.

Once when I was on a writing break, I knitted a whole family of ugly snowmen, including a snowcat and snowdog. (Photo included for your amusement.) I have also knitted pumpkins and Easter bunnies. This is the honest truth. Currently, I am working on a scarf. The project is at the touch-and-go stage. I thought things were going great until I knitted when I should have pearled, and now I have to unravel half of what I have done. Continue reading “Confessions of a Terrible Knitter By Amanda Flower”

Glass Project by Cheryl Hollon

 

Shattered At Sea: A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery #5

“Hollon clearly knows . . . how to craft a good mystery.” —Sheila Connolly, New York Times bestselling author

A Mediterranean cruise gives glass shop owner Savannah Webb a chance to demonstrate her expertise—and fire up her skills when it comes to foul play . . .

When Savannah signs on to perform glass blowing on a ship that departs from the UK, part of the appeal is that she’ll get a chance to meet her boyfriend Edward’s family. An added bonus is that Edward’s cousin, Ian, will be joining them on board. But when Ian disappears at the beginning of the cruise, the ship’s authorities initially consider it suicide.

Savannah tries to balance her growing suspicions with work on her shows, but her relationship with the other glass artists begins to crack. And she can’t let love color her judgment when Edward suddenly jumps to the top of the suspect list. His fate is in Savannah’s hands, and she’ll do everything she can—on land and sea—to clear his name . . .

Praise for the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series

“Hollon hits a homerun.” —RT Book Reviews

“Will keep you guessing to the end!” —Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author

BUY NOW!

Lea Wait – National Crafting Month

Inspirational Women of Deerfield

In my Mainely Needlepoint mystery series my protagonist, Angie Curtis, runs a business in which a group of needlepointers (men and women) in a small Maine harbor town do custom needlepoint for gift shops, decorators, and individual customers, and do their best to identify and restore antique needlepoint.

A unique concept? Perhaps today. But from 1896 until 1926 women in Deerfield, Massachusetts, also banded together under the leadership of Margaret Whiting and Ellen Miller, to revive needlecraft skills lost since colonial days, and literally created a cottage industry.

Studying patterns from the past, ordering linen thread from Scotland and fabric woven by students at Berea College in Kentucky, they trained women (most years twenty to thirty women were in the group,) checked each piece assigned and completed to ensure high quality, and sold the resulting needlework (at first only in three or four shades of blue on white linen) at an annual exhibition and sale. Tablecloths, napkins, doilies, place-mats were decorated with simple, graceful, subjects from nature: strawberries, thistle, clovers, birds, bees, and berries.

People ordered work from the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework in advance, happy to pay the high prices they charged. Today their work is in textile and regional museums. If you find a piece of embroidery from the early twentieth century, look for a “D” inside a circular wheel, and, if you find it, know you have a sample of work by the industrious women of Deerfield.

Continue reading “Lea Wait – National Crafting Month”

Crocheting Skulls by Ginger Bolton

I KNOW IT’S STRANGE, BUT . . .

. . . I like to crochet skulls. It all started when I was visiting the Mystery Playground blog and saw the words “Skull Shawl.” And then I saw the picture, and I knew I had to have one of those skull shawls. (For like-minded crocheters out there, here’s the link: http://www.mysteryplayground.net/2014/05/crafty-thursdays-super-awesome-skull.html)

Well, I had to have one of those skulls if my crochet skills were up to it . . .

I thought, I’ll start one, and see how it goes. The only lightweight yarn I had on hand in a sufficient quantity was a lovely dusty rose, so I gamely began crocheting skulls.

One of the nice things about crocheting is that ripping out is very easy. And it’s also easy to restart after you rip out the mistake.

I did a lot of ripping out with that first shawl, but I discovered that I really liked seeing those cute skulls take shape, and if they were a little wonky and misshapen, well, that just made them more realistic.

In addition to the dusty rose shawl, I now have a gray ombre one and a black triangular scarf made of bulkier yarn. I can bunch the scarf around my neck on cold days, and no one will even notice that I’m wearing skulls. I’ve started a shawl in thin white crochet cotton, for summer (ahem) glamor.

Have you ever had so much fun making something that you couldn’t help making another one? And another, and . . . ?

Continue reading “Crocheting Skulls by Ginger Bolton”

Enter to WIN!

 

Hey everyone…this is Jo:

I’m so excited to share Hannah’s next mystery.  It’s Raspberry Danish Murder, and I’ve been in a baking frenzy to finish it for you.  In honor of the upcoming release, my publisher sent me a gorgeous raspberry pink Kitchen-Aid mixer to match the book.  I’ve been having so much fun making the recipes from the book, including:  Raspberry Danishes, Cherry Chocolate Bar Cookies, Upside Down Pear Coffee Cake, and Chocolate Butterscotch Crunch Cookies, that I wanted one special Hannah fan to get a mixer to match mine.  I twisted my publisher’s arm, and they finally agreed to get one lucky winner one that matched mine.

Now how will we find that one Hannah super fan who will win the raspberry mixer?

I know!  We’ll have a pre-order sweepstakes campaign.  All you have to do is pre-order Raspberry Danish Murder and register your pre-order in the form to be entered.

All the details to enter are below.   Good luck!  I hope you win!  Do be sure to send me pictures of the delicious recipes you’ve made in your new raspberry mixer.

Love you guys.

Jo

 

Readers who pre-order Raspberry Danish Murder before 2/27 are entered into this contest.

* 5 runner up winners receive free copy of Banana Cream Pie Murder (2/18mm) or a copy of Christmas Cake Murder (hardcover 10/18)

* Grand Prize Winner receives this raspberry Kitchen Aid

ENTER TO WIN!

 

 

 

Easy Centerpieces by Lena Gregory

When Gia Morelli flees New York City and escapes to the outskirts of Central Florida’s Ocala National Forest, she uses the last of her savings to buy a small house and open the All-Day Breakfast Café. Her best friend, Savannah Mills, helps her set up and decorate the café. Before Gia arrives, Savannah makes blue and white gingham curtains, dark blue tablecloths, and cushions with zipper covers for the light-colored wood chairs. She also adds a few strategically placed paintings of local scenery and hangs a hand painted, wooden open/closed sign in the front window. Savannah does an amazing job creating the comfortable feeling of home Gia was striving for.

Unfortunately, Gia doesn’t share Savannah’s creative talents. She’s also out of money, so when it comes time to make centerpieces, she has to come up with something cozy but inexpensive. With very little time left, Gia decides on an easy, inexpensive idea that anyone can make, even her.

Gia loves the beach. Although she hasn’t had much free time since arriving in Florida, she does manage to sneak away for a little while, and when she does, she heads straight for the ocean. She walks along the beach with a bucket in hand, collecting anything she finds that catches her interest; beach glass, seashells, small rocks, twigs, beach grass, driftwood, even a length of old fishing net. After that, she strolls through town and hits up the antique shops, and even the dollar stores, and picks out a variety of glass containers, mason jars, and small candles.

When she gets back to the café, she sifts through all of the interesting things she found on the beach and sorts them into jars. Some jars get candles in the center—of course, she’s careful not to put anything flammable in those. Others get beach grass or twigs sticking out the top. If the jars have no fun decorations on them, she ties a ribbon or a leather cord around them.

When she’s done, she sets a jar in the center of each table, then she creates a setting on the counter behind the register. She spreads a small bit of fishing net on the counter and arranges the jars among pieces of driftwood. With the lights dimmed and the candles lit, her customers can enjoy an intimate setting with their meals.

Continue reading “Easy Centerpieces by Lena Gregory”

Watercolor painting by Karen Rose Smith

After my dad retired, he took up acrylic and watercolor painting. When he passed on, I kept his paints and decided to try my hand at both. I found I enjoyed the watercolor medium best. There is a challenge in using different kinds of paper, combining colors that take on a life of their own when mixed with water, and creating just the right effect. Life got busy back then, and writing took up more and more of my time. I left the art behind for years.

But last year, with my love of cats a major passion, I decided to pick up my brushes again and try feline portraits. For me, the fur is the most difficult aspect. The eyes which are the easiest for me are truly the windows to their souls. Since we have six rescued inside cats (Halo, Paddy, Zoie Joy, Zander, Freya and London) as well as care for two ferals, I’m constantly around cats.  I love them like children.  I have studied them for hours and hours and constantly photographed them.  That helps when trying to catch their expressions, their fur variations and their beauty.

Painting with music or an audio book playing in the background is relaxing. I forget about everything else and focus on the cat or cat photo in front of me. Since family and friends are cat lovers too, the watercolor paintings make wonderful presents.

Continue reading “Watercolor painting by Karen Rose Smith”

The Amish Quilting Circle and Sister’s Day: an idea is born

Where do you get your ideas? is probably one of the most asked questions of authors. Ask a hundred of them and you will get a hundred different answers. And those answers will be different if you ask them the next day. Why? Because ideas are all over. I pull from personal experiences, people I know, people I see, stories I’ve heard loved ones tell, and more.

Most writers are introverts, which makes me something of an odd duck. I’m an extrovert and have no problem talking to people. One of my favorite things to do is get people telling stories and see what comes out. This is no different with the Amish. I am blessed to have Amish friends who live in Lancaster County, and I love to hear them tell their stories. See, most Amish don’t get on the telephone and chat up their friends all afternoon long. Most stories are shared in person. Sisters’ Day, after church, out to supper (yes, my Amish friends love to eat out), and even just an afternoon sitting in the shade while peeling apples or shelling peas.

Sisters’ Day is a wonderful phenomenon where sisters (go figure) get together for all sorts of activities. They can have cookie exchanges, make comfort patches, go shopping, or just sit around and eat and talk.  The Sisters’ Day I got to experience was a canning day. The sisters split the cost of supplies and canned a whole bunch of soup. We all worked together chopping, mixing, boiling, and sealing the jars. And did I say a whole bunch? We canned over eighty quarts of soup!

Sisters’ Day is where I heard about an Amish group of women who had banded together because none could have children. It’s also where I heard about an Amish woman who was trying to adopt two little English girls and the troubles they faced. I heard about a widow who was marrying her husband’s best friend in order to have help taking care of her children. There were tales of Amish men abandoning their wives, Amish wives abandoning their husbands, and a host of other problems that most of us wouldn’t dream the Amish face. Trouble conceiving, fertility treatments, special needs children, dietary problems, husbands and wives losing that honeymoon feeling. It’s all there and more.

I have often said that I take ideas from the “English” world and imagine how the Amish would cope, but The Quilting Circle stories are unique as they came straight from the Amish themselves.

Continue reading “The Amish Quilting Circle and Sister’s Day: an idea is born”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: