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The Missy DuBois Mystery Series by Sandra Bretting

There are several reasons I don’t commit white-collar crime, in addition to the most obvious ones.

First and foremost: I don’t relish the thought of going to jail. Not to mention, it’d damage my moral compass.

Another reason, though, involves the FBI. What would they think if they perused the hard drive on my computer? Its agents would peg me for a wacko…or worse.

Check out my computer’s search history, and you’ll understand my fear. In the last week alone, I’ve researched the shelf life of arsenic, autopsy procedures specific to Louisiana, and the type of Glock officers carry in St. James County Parish.

It’s all part of writing a mystery series and trying to get the details right.  Since I began my career as a journalist—I wrote for publications like the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle—I’ve been trained to ferret out mistakes before they go to press. Continue reading “The Missy DuBois Mystery Series by Sandra Bretting”


The Best of 2016

Quail Veronique by Mary McHugh

Serves six.

6 quails
3 tbsps. flour
2 ½ tsps. salt
½ tsp. white pepper
5 tbsps. butter
¾ cup dry white wine
¾ cup seedless green grapes
4 tbsps. blanched, sliced almonds

Mix the salt and pepper with the flour.
Dip the quails in the flour, salt, and pepper.
Brown the quails in the butter in a deep skillet.
Add wine, cover, and cook for about fifteen minutes over low heat.
Add grapes and almonds.
Cook until quails are tender, about five minutes.



A Real Maine Clambake by Barbara Ross

People often ask about the inspiration for novels and for me it was when fellow Kensington author Lea Wait (Twisted Threads, Threads of Evidence, Thread and Gone) told me her daughter celebrated her wedding reception on a private island where a family ran a Maine clambake. Lea and I are neighbors in Maine (where neighbors means she lives at the other end of the peninsula where I live) and we love to get together to talk books, writing and lobster.

ea’s story marinated for a while before I wrote the first Maine Clambake Mystery, Clammed Up(which takes place, not surprisingly at a wedding). At that point, I’d never been to the real Cabbage Island Clambake where Lea’s daughter’s wedding reception had been held. I wrote the early drafts of Clammed Up over most of a snowy New England winter when the clambake was shut down for the season. I actually think that was a good thing, because it ensured that everything about the Snowden Family Clambake—the family, the island, the tourists—came out of my imagination.


Continue reading “The Best of 2016”

Scrapbooking by Thomasine Rappold

When I’m not writing romance novels or working at my day job, I enjoy working with my hands. I’m no expert at any particular craft or hobby; I don’t knit or sew, and unlike Daisy Lansing, the heroine of The Lady Who Drew Me In, I don’t paint or draw.

My favorite projects involve making something old seem new again.  I have a tendency to hang on to things of sentimental value. When there are memories attached, it’s hard to let go, and my basement is crowded with old furniture I plan to refinish one day, and other items I can’t seem to toss out. These stored treasures include special cards, letters, and various paperwork as well.

Like most proud moms, during my daughters’ childhoods, I’d put away special school papers; award certificates, programs from school plays and science fairs, drawings, and every report card and school photo since kindergarten.  By the time my eldest daughter was a senior (thirteen years ago!) I had a large stack of papers crammed in my hope chest. I knew it was silly to keep it all—I had to get rid of it—it had to go…but where?

Scrapbooking had become popular, so rather than trashing the material, I decided to use what I’d collected to create a book to give to my daughter for her high school graduation. A keepsake that depicted the years of her school life, the years that—to me, anyway—had flown by in a flash.


Continue reading “Scrapbooking by Thomasine Rappold”

Capturing Memories with Digital Scrapbooking by Mae Clair

As a kid, I loved scrapbooking, but fell out of the habit as I got older. There was a period when I was too busy with other things to pause and tuck memories away in a book. Today, I’ll dig out those old scrapbooks with their crinkly pages, magazine clippings and faded photos, and take a stroll down memory lane. I love old photographs, even when they’re yellowed and faded. That’s part of the charm of yesteryear.

Several years ago, a friend introduced me to digital scrapbooking. At first, I had no idea what she was talking about. Scrapbooking I understood, but digital scrapbooking? If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s the creative process of saving treasured memories in a digital format. I’ve since created memory books themed around birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, even holidays. They make lovely keepsakes and gifts, and are fairly easy to do. Continue reading “Capturing Memories with Digital Scrapbooking by Mae Clair”

Repurposed Fence Board Birdhouse by Meera Lester

A cute little birdhouse provides shelter and elements of charm and whimsy to a garden. Ideally, you’ll build your birdhouse and hang it in early spring when birds are already searching for a place to start their families. Birds that nest in tree cavities such as wrens, bluebirds, chickadees, titmice, tree swallows, and woodpeckers will also nest in a birdhouse.

For this simple, easy-to-make birdhouse, an old fence board is repurposed. You’ll need:

Fence board (6 feet long by 7.5 inches wide)

Saw for cutting the board into pieces (and use a miter saw for cutting angled edges on the two SIDE sections)

Impact drill and 2-inch finishing screws; or, hammer and nails to attach the wooden pieces together Continue reading “Repurposed Fence Board Birdhouse by Meera Lester”

Kensington Craft Off! Lauren J.

Clothespin Ornaments:

I grew up in a house of very creative and crafty people. My dad used to spray paint intricate backdrops for photos at my birthday parties (themed, of course). My mom took home decorating to a level that would make any interior design magazine feel shame. I say all this to brace you for the fact I have zero artistic abilities when it comes to arts & crafts. I still struggle to color inside the lines (this is not an exaggeration).

However, I did grow up with one Christmas tradition that I looked forward to all year long: hand painted clothespin ornaments! These were a staple in our house, we made them into everything imaginable. Magnets on the fridge, strands of garland for the fireplace, name tags for parties, cardholders and ornaments that covered every inch of a tree.

Warning you will get messy. Embrace it!



Continue reading “Kensington Craft Off! Lauren J.”

Kensington Craft Off! Claire H.

Winter Luminary:

Set the mood at your next holiday party, or just around the house, with a Winter Luminary! This is a fast and easy decoration that can help use up some of the things you might have cluttering your cabinets.

I made a little snow topped winter village scene for the Kensington Craft Off, but you can decorate yours with anything you’d like.

15300669_10157781567870075_5280220_n Continue reading “Kensington Craft Off! Claire H.”

Kensington Craft Off! Sadie Hartwell

Sadie Hartwell’s Candle Cozies

I love candles. There, I’ve said it. I live near an amazing candle factory store in New England and let me tell you, if they’d let me move in there, I would—as long as they’d let me put in a bookshelf and a coffee maker. So here are a couple of ideas for cute holiday candle holders.


For the knitted version, which you can easily make in an hour or two, you will need:

-Size 13 knitting needles

-Bulky weight yarn, about 10 or 12 yards

-A pint-size mason jar, or any glass jar that’s about 5 inches high with a circumference       of about 9 inches. Cozy will stretch.

-Small flameless candle

Gauge is not important. Cast on 26 stitches. Continue reading “Kensington Craft Off! Sadie Hartwell”

Kensington Craft Off! Marie Bostwick


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