featuring guest mystery authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, May 31, 2010

CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--GUEST AUTHOR AND SCRAPBOOK CRAFTER JOANNA CAMPBELL SLAN

Today I have something a bit different for all you crafts and mystery lovers.  Author Joanna Campbell Slan is our guest crafter.  Joanna is the author of the Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery Series.  Kiki is a scrapbooking amateur sleuth, and Joanna includes scrapbooking projects and tips in each book, along with a coupon for a special offer for crafters. The first book in the Scrap-N-Craft series—Paper, Scissors, Death—was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. The third book in the series—Photo, Snap, Shot—has just been released. Publisher’s Weekly has praised it as “a cut above the usual craft-themed cozy.”

Joanna has graciously offered a copy of
Photo, Snap, Shot.  So be sure to post a comment this week to be eligible for the drawing.

Joanna also teaches projects at scrapbook stores and scrapbooking conventions around the country and has written for most of the scrapbooking magazines. Visit her at www.JoannaSlan.com where you can sign up for her free newsletter.  You can also catch her weekly blog at http://www.KillerHobbies.blogspot.com and her personal blog at http://JoannaSlan.blogspot.com
-- AP            


GLITTER UP!

By Joanna Campbell Slan

Readers tell me they love Kiki’s down-to-earth personality. She’s a lot like most of us. She loves too much, worries too much, and eats too much. But when someone she loves is in danger, Kiki rises to the occasion. Recently Kiki became part-owner of Time in a Bottle, the store where she works. While she’s always been very creative, the fact she’s financially responsible for the store’s success has made Kiki even more creative about her craft.

Lately Kiki and I have both noticed that glitter is HOT!

If you love the look of bling—and who doesn’t?—here’s an inexpensive way to put a bit of glitz in any hum-drum project. It’s easy to make your cards, invitations, and scrapbook pages sparkle!

Supplies: A stamp, an inkpad, and paper to create an image OR a piece of patterned paper OR a ready-made embellishment. A piece of typing or copy paper to catch the excess glitter. Some clear drying glue, a few toothpicks, a small watercolor brush, and glitter.

1. Stamp your image and color it in.
 * Tip 1: I don’t worry about coloring outside of the lines when I plan to cut out my image.
 * Tip 2: Blend your pencil colors together expertly by overlaying your colored image with a lighter shade. After I finished coloring, I went over the entire tea cup with a white lead pencil. The layer of white blended my colors and brought a smoother, more finished look to the final image.

Alternately, choose a patterned paper or a ready-made embellishment and skip to Step #2 below:

2. Using a toothpick, spread clear-drying glue on the portion of the image you want to sparkle. I spread the glue inside the flower on the teacup.
* Tip 1: A toothpick dispenser built like a salt shaker is perfect for scrapbookers. The holes in the top allow you to shake out one or two toothpicks as needed, using one hand!
* Tip 2: Always test your glue to be sure it dries clear. Some of those glue makers lie!

3. Sprinkle the glitter onto your project. Lightly tamp the glitter down with the tip of your finger.
* Tip 1: Fold a plain piece of typing paper in half and put it under your project. That way when you are done, you can tap the project against the typing paper, tap the glitter into the fold, and return the extra glitter to its container. Replace the glitter one color at a time so you don’t dilute the colors.
* Tip 2: The smaller the image, the finer the flake size of the glitter you’ll want to use. On this project, a large flake glitter would have obscured the borders of the flower.

4. Before the glue dries, use a clean toothpick to “clean up” the edges of your stamped and glittered image. You can wipe away any excess glitter with the tip of the toothpick.
* Tip: Use a small watercolor paint brush to brush away stray bits of glitter.
           
5. Let your project dry thoroughly before you cut it out. (How many times have I hurried through this step and messed up? You don’t want to know!)

6. Adhere your new and improved embellishment to your project.

And that’s what I call, putting on the glitz! It couldn’t be easier!

Thanks for stopping by, Joanna!  So, readers, have you glittered up anything lately?  Tell us about it.  You may be the luck winner of Photo, Snap, Shot.  Remember, anyone who posts a comment this week is entered to win.  Check back Saturday to see if you’re the lucky winner. -- AP

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Thanks to all who stopped by this week at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. We hope you’ll come back often and also tell your friends about us. We have lots of exciting posts and guests planned for the months ahead.

I’d also like to thank Marilyn Meredith for being our guest author for this week’s Book Club Friday and for offering a copy of No Sanctuary to one of our readers who posted a comment this week.

The winner this week is Carol M. Carol, please email your mailing address to me at anastasiapollack@gmail.com. I’ll forward your address to Marilyn, and she’ll mail your book to you. Happy reading! -- Anastasia

Friday, May 28, 2010

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY--GUEST AUTHOR MARILYN MEREDITH/F.M. MEREDITH

It's Book Club Friday.  Today’s guest mystery author at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers is Marilyn Meredith. Marilyn is the author of nearly thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series and writing as F.M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series.  Dispel the Mist is the latest book in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and An Axe to Grind is the latest book in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series.  Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com.

Marilyn will be giving away a copy of No Sanctuary from her Rocky Bluff P.D. series to one lucky reader who posts a comment to Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers this week. -- AP

People often ask me why I feel qualified to write mysteries about people in law enforcement. My answer is, I’m probably not qualified. I’ve never been in law enforcement, but I’ve know a lot of people who are. Years ago, we had several police officers and their families as neighbors. We partied with them, our kids played together and I had coffee with the wives. The one thing I observed was how the job affected the families and what was going on in the family affected the job.

A few years later, my son-in-law became a police officer. Since my daughter didn’t like to hear his stories about what he did on his graveyard shift, he came to my house for coffee and told me instead. He even took me on a ride-along after making me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone I was his mother-in-law. That’s when I started writing my Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series set in a small beach community, much like the one I was living in at the time.

When I moved from the beach city into the foothills of the Sierra, I went on several ride-along with the local police department. One was with a female officer, the only woman on the department, and from 2:30 a.m. until 6 a.m., she didn’t get a single call. During that time, she poured out her heart to me about how hard it was working in a male dominated police force, and the difficulties raising a child as a single mother. Later, I interviewed the female resident deputy in the little town where I live, and I met a wonderful Native American woman who grew up on the nearby Indian reservation. These three women influenced the creation of  Native American Deputy Tempe Crabtree, the resident deputy of the mountain community of Bear Creek—which has a striking resemblance to the place I’m living now.

I belong to the Public Safety Writers Association that has many members who are or were in law enforcement. Though I sometimes ask them questions about how something might be done, I’m quick to add that the Rocky Bluff P.D. is my department and I can do it anyway I want.

My latest book in the Rocky Bluff series, An Axe to Grind, is about the murder of a stalker, though because it has an ensemble cast of characters, you’ll learn a lot about several officers on the Rocky Bluff P.D. as the murder is investigated.

My books are available in all the usual places—the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, as well as some of the earlier books in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, can be purchased from my website, too.  All the books are also available as e-books from Kindle and other e-book sites.

One other thing I probably should add about my books is my characters usually don’t use bad language and I always close the bedroom door.


Don't forget to post a comment to be entered in the drawing to win a copy of No Sanctuary.  Check back tomorrow to find out who won. -- AP

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TRAVEL WITH SERENA--PACKING TIPS

Serena Brower is our travel editor at American Woman Magazine.  I have to admit, I’m green with envy at times because she gets to explore the world on an expense account.  Serena will stop by from time to time to share travel tips and discuss vacation ideas for those of you (unlike moi) with the time and funds to have a vacation.--AP


Benvenuto! Willkomen! Beinvenue! Welcome!  Serena Brower here, and today I’d like to share a couple of great packing tips with you.  Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, overnight or a week, to a world class resort or cabin in the mountains, you need to pack for that trip.  And you’d probably like to do so in such a way that you don’t have to spend the first few hours at your destination ironing the wrinkles out of all your clothes, right?  So here’s how you keep those wrinkles to a minimum:

First, hold on to any large pieces of cardboard that come your way.  Cut them to fit inside your suitcases, several sheets per suitcase.  You can store the cardboard right in the suitcases.  They’ll be out of the way and handy when you need them.  Next, go out and buy a large box of gallon size plastic zip bags and a package or two of tissue paper. 

Fold your garments and wrap each in a couple of sheets of tissue paper.  Place the wrapped garments into a plastic zip bag and seal, but don’t squeeze all the air out the way you would for freezing food.  Leave some air to act as a cushion.

Pack your shoes and any hard items in the bottom of the suitcase.  Place a sheet of cardboard over these items.  Lay your bagged items in one layer on top of the cardboard.  Place another layer of cardboard on top.  Repeat layering bagged garments and cardboard layers until your suitcase is full.  Following this packing method may not eliminate all wrinkles from setting into your garments, but it will reduce your ironing time to a bare minimum.

What a great idea!  Thanks for sharing Serena.  So dear blog readers, do you have any travel tips or stories you’d like to share?  Let’s hear from you.  Remember, anyone who posts a comment this week is entered in the book giveaway from our guest mystery author on Book Club Friday. -- AP

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MONEY MATTERS WITH SHEILA--COUPON CODES

Posting today is Sheila Conway, American Woman’s money guru.  Even if you’re not in the financial abyss I’m stuck in (really, how many of you have a loan shark breathing down your necks?), in these economic times we can all use a little help making those Washingtons, Lincolns, and Hamiltons stretch a bit further.  Sheila will post from time to time, offering tips to help you do just that.-- AP


Sheila here.  And happy to be part of Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers even though I want no part of killers -- crafty or otherwise -- unless we’re talking about killing a few pounds.  I’m all for that, and thanks to health editor Janice Kerr’s post last week, I’m now walking more. 

Before I go any further, first, a disclaimer:  I am neither an accountant, a banker, nor a stock broker.  So I won’t be offering advice in my blog posts on the nitty gritty of finance.  No suggested stocks to buy.  No questions answered regarding IRAs or 401Ks.  No discussions on money markets vs. bonds.  What I will offer are practical tips for helping busy women make the most of the money they have.  Because when you do that, you wind up with more money. 

Today I’d like to tell you about a little used source of shopper savings.  We all clip coupons, right?  Personally, my dream is one day to have enough money that I don’t have to clip grocery coupons every week.  Realistically, that’s only going to happen if I win the lottery, and how realistic is that?  Especially since I don’t buy lottery tickets.  Enough about me, though.  How many of you check the Internet before you shop?

The Internet offers a wealth of discounts, whether you’re shopping online or the old-fashioned way by actually going to a store.  Whenever you order something online, first do a search of the retailer’s name, followed by “coupon codes.”  Even if the site isn’t offering any deals at the moment, there may be multiple offers still available.  I recently ordered some clothing from an online retailing who was having a 25% off sale.  The homepage gave the coupon code to enter at checkout to receive the discount.  However, by doing a quick search, I discovered another still valid coupon code that not only gave me the 25% discount but also included free shipping.  I saved an additional $12 by spending a minute or two doing an online search.

In addition, before going shopping or out to eat, you should make a practice of first checking the store or restaurant website.  Sometimes special offers are listed right on the website homepage, but often you have to hunt them down.  Search for the retailer’s name, followed by “store coupon,”  or the restaurant name, followed by “discount offer” or “coupon.” 

In these tough economic times retailers and restaurants are offering more and more incentives to lure in customers and diners.  Become a savvy consumer and take advantage of these offers.  

Have a tip for saving money or stretching your dollars?  Let's hear from you.  Everyone who posts a comment this week will be entered in a drawing to win a book donated by our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

COOKING WITH CLORIS--REAL MEN WILL EAT THIS QUICHE

If you’re a woman of a “certain age” you’re familiar with the phrase, “Real men don’t eat quiche.”  Those real men never tasted the quiche Cloris shares with us today.  Trust me.  ALL men, whether nerd or alpha male, will clamor for seconds and even thirds of this baby.  My teenage boys can each scarf down an entire pie in one sitting.  Good thing they burn up calories the way they do.  Their mother, on the other hand, has to settle for a thin slice along with a huge salad.  Oh, to have the metabolism of the average teenage boy…-- AP



CLORIS’S REAL MAN QUICHE
(serves 4)


Ingredients:
9” deep dish frozen pie crust
5 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 tsp. garlic powder
 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup cooked bacon, broken up into tiny pieces
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese


Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Beat eggs, slowly pouring in half and half, then garlic powder.  Mix together zucchini, bacon, and cream cheese.  Place mixture in frozen pie shell, covering bottom of pie shell evenly.  Pour egg mixture on top.  Sprinkle with mozzarella  and parmesan cheeses.  Bake 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bak and additional 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Cloris’s hot summer tip
:
Make the quiche first thing in the morning and serve cold for dinner.

So does this recipe sound good to you?  Have a favorite you want to share?  Let’s hear from you.
Everyone who posts a comment this week will be entered in a drawing to win a book donated by our Book Club Friday guest author.--AP

Monday, May 24, 2010

CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--ENCOURAGING CREATIVITY

It’s no secret that I think more people should do crafts.  If people didn’t craft, I’d be out of a job, and with my dead husband’s loan shark breathing down my neck, the last thing I need is to lose my job!  So it will come as no surprise that I’m all in favor of adults and kids alike stepping away from the video games and picking up glue guns and paint brushes.  Besides, crafting might just save the world some day.

All right.  You can stop snickering.  I really mean it, and here’s why:

Creativity is a skill that needs to be nurtured in order for our kids to grow into the leaders of tomorrow.  Solving problems and resolving conflicts require creative thinking.  Although children are born with wonderful curiosity and creativity, very early on both tend to be squelched.  With outside influences trying to make children conform to a prescribed norm, our homes should be a center for our kids to have the freedom to express themselves.  Sometimes it’s just way better to color outside the lines. 

The more kids see their parents engaging in creative pastimes, the more likely they’ll want to join in.  Keep ample supplies of paint, glue, markers, paper, chenille stems, craft sticks, pompoms and other basic craft materials handy for those “I’m bored; there’s nothing to do” days, and forget about the mess they’ll make.  We all need the freedom to make messes.

Finally, you can help spread the crafting message to others.  Instead of buying another video game the next time your child is invited to a birthday party, consider purchasing a craft kit or supplies instead. 

So how do you promote creativity in your own kids?  Share your experiences with us.  What’s worked for you and your family and what hasn’t? Everyone who posts a comment this week will be entered in a drawing to win a book donated by our Book Club Friday guest author.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

"MONSTER IN MINATURE" BOOK WINNERS

Thanks to all of you who stopped by for our first week at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. The rest of the editors and I are thrilled by the response we’ve had so far and hope you’ll all come back often and also tell your friends about us. We have lots of exciting posts and guests planned for the months ahead.

I’d also like to thank Camille Minichino, our first Book Club Friday guest author, for offering 6 copies of MONSTER IN MINIATURE as giveaways for our inaugural week.
The winners of those copies are:

Kathy
Donnell
Jeanne S.
Candy Erb
Kathye Quick
Babs

If I’ve listed your name, please email your mailing address to me at anastasiapollack@gmail.com. I’ll forward your address to Camille, and she’ll mail your book to you. Happy reading! -- Anastasia

Friday, May 21, 2010

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY -- GUEST AUTHOR CAMILLE MINICHINO/MARGARET GRACE





I’m thrilled to have Camille Minichino as our first guest author at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers.  Camille is a retired physicist turned writer.  As Camille Minichino, she's published eight novels and a short story in the periodic table mystery series featuring Gloria Lamerino; as Margaret Grace, she's published five novels in the miniature mystery series featuring Geraldine Porter; and as Ada Madison, she's poised to release a new series, academic mysteries featuring Sophie Knowles. She also blogs at Killer Hobbies.

Camille has very graciously offered to give away 3 copies of her latest release, Monster in Miniature, to readers who post comments this weeks.  Check back tomorrow to see if you’re one of the lucky three.-- AP

Cozy Scenes, with a Twist
by Camille Minichino

My cute, folksy hobby of making dollhouses and miniatures has turned bloody.

Example: I was finishing up a lovely little lawn scene. I'd used an ordinary coaster for the base, covering the cork side with foam of different shades of green, and "planted" sweet yellow flowers here and there. I placed a 2-inch-high white wicker chair on the "grass" and added a cushion, a straw hat, some books, and an eighth-inch cup of macchiato. I knitted a tiny afghan and threw it over the back of the chair.

Darling, really. But something seemed off to me. Until I added a Winchester rifle and a few drops of "blood." That did it; I was satisfied. I'd turned the piece from a cozy sunny-day reading corner to a crime scene.


I used to favor charming and adorable—pink Victorian houses in 1-inch-scale (1 inch equals 1 foot of "real" space) with lavish ballrooms and tiny chandeliers; English country cottages with rooms full of crocheted carpets, painted wood furniture and miniature loaves of bread and cupcakes made of crafts dough.


But since entering the mystery writing community, my scenes have taken on a different twist. They're now cold and bloody. It figures: my outlets for donating the pieces are mystery conferences and mystery fans who win scenes from drawings announced on my blogs.

I still make cute dollhouses a couple of times a year and give them away to schools and hospitals as raffle prizes. But, I confess, it's the crime scenes that are the most fun. Over the years I've created an embalming room, a funeral parlor, and way too many bathtubs with a tiny hair dryer, boombox, or iron thrown in. Check out the gallery at http://www.dollhousemysteries.com for samples.

I can't wait to read Lois Winston's Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun and get to know Anastasia better. From the title alone you know it's going to be a great read, another of those times when crafts supplies turn deliciously deadly.

Thanks for letting me visit, Anastasia!

And thanks for stopping by, Camille, and also for offering copies of Monster in Miniature to three lucky people who post comments this week.  Remember, everyone, check back tomorrow to find out who the lucky winners are.--AP

Thursday, May 20, 2010

BEAUTY WITH NICOLE--LOTIONS AND POTIONS AND CREAMS, OH MY!

Nicole Emmerling is the beauty editor at American Woman.   She’ll drop by on Thursdays from time to time to offer various beauty tips and trends to help us all look our best.  She’s got her work cut out for her, given so many of us (me!) have little time to pamper ourselves and even less money to do so.--AP

LOTIONS AND POTIONS AND CREAMS, OH MY!
by Nicole Emmerling

Many of the editors at American Woman are like Anastasia, of a “certain” age and fighting it every step of the way.  How much have you spent over the past year on anti-aging lotions and serums to ward off or reduce the onset of crow’s feet and laugh lines?  Too much, I’m sure.  Products found in drug stores can run you $50 and up.  Specialty products from high-end companies can be as much as $200 for less than 2 oz.  What price beauty!


Well, listen up, ladies, because the truth is that no matter what Madison Ave. is touting, none of these products lives up to the hype.  You may see minimal improvement, but is minimal improvement worth maximum bucks?

If you want your skin to look young, healthy, and vibrant, this is what you need to do:

  • Wash your face twice a day.  Many women are afraid to wash their faces too often because they’re worried about drying out their skin.  What you should be worried about is all the crud and toxins that build up on your skin throughout the day.

  • Hydrate.  Regular moisturizing gives your skin a healthy glow and can act as a barrier against both pollutants and air borne bacteria.  Using moisturizer is far more beneficial to your skin than any pricey anti-aging serum.

  • Exfoliate.  The outermost layer of your skin is made up of dead skin cells.  Use an exfoliating scrub once a week to remove this dead skin.  Then apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. 

  • Use sunscreen every day, no matter the weather.  Yes, we all need Vitamin D, but sunscreen is a skin’s best friend.  Always protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.  Trust me, those wrinkly prune women you see walking around all spent way too much time working on their tans as teens and young adults.  Besides, wrinkles may be the least of their worries.  Melanoma kill. 

  • Get a good night’s sleep.  Aside from those unsightly bags and dark under eye circles, lack of sleep can cause excessive production of stress hormones that may slow collagen production, and collagen is what keeps us looking young.


One final piece of advice: May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Know the signs of skin cancer and have any suspicious growth checked by your doctor.  

Have a beauty tip you'd like to share?  Let's hear from you!  And remember, everyone who posts a comment this week is entered to win a book from our Book Club Friday guest author.-- AP



 


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

HEALTHY LIVING WITH JANICE--REAL NJ HOUSEWIVES

Today I’d like to introduce you to Janice Kerr, American Woman’s health editor.   Janice will be dropping by from time to time on Wednesdays to bring you tips, ideas, and other assorting information on how to live a healthy lifestyle.  To read more about Janice, you’ll have to wait until Book Two in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries by Lois Winston.  In the meantime, catch Janice here at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. -- AP

REAL NJ HOUSEWIVES
by Janice Kerr,
American Woman health editor

I’ve lived and worked in New Jersey all my life, and for all my life I’ve had to put up with my state being the butt of the rest of the country’s jokes.  Television isn’t helping.  First it was
The Sopranos, then The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  Last year brought us the worst of the lot so far, the first season of Jersey Shore (with only one of the eight member cast actually from New Jersey, the other seven come from New York and Rhode Island!)  It’s obvious that Hollywood loves to make fun of the Garden State.

The newest Jerseyite plastered across our televisions and the Internet doesn’t help our long suffering image.  She’s
Donna Simpson, a 42 year old mother of two with a most unusual goal.  She wants to weigh 1000 lbs.  That’s half a ton, people!  And she’s well on her way to reaching that goal.

Let me tell you, we here in New Jersey didn’t need this.  Our state has suffered enough.  It’s enough to make anyone go out and exercise another few hours a week.  And that’s just what the newest health studies are now telling us -- one hour a day, seven days a week of moderate to strenuous exercise to maintain our weight as we age. 

And that brings me to a story about another New Jersey woman, someone we can all admire.  Two years ago
Karen MacNamara weighed over 300 lbs. -- about half the size of Donna Simpson.  But Karen realized she needed to shed weight to stay healthy.  This 53 year old woman lost 137 lbs. by changing her eating habits and taking up walking -- a form of moderate exercise.  Go Karen!  Now that’s a New Jersey housewife we can all admire!



So what do you think of these two NJ housewives?  Let's hear from you!  And don't forget by sharing your thoughts, you're automatically entered to win a book from our Book Club Friday guest this week.--AP

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

COOKING WITH CLORIS--CHICKEN, VEGGIES, AND MANGO SALAD

With summer right around the corner, American Woman food editor Cloris McWerther will be presenting quick and easy warm weather recipes that require a minimum amount of prep time.  Being a working mother herself, Cloris knows all too well that there aren’t enough hours in the day.  Of course it doesn’t help that I’ve been dragging her off to track down dastardly killers lately.  You can read more about that come January with the launch of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun (written by Lois Winston), the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, and featuring me, Anastasia Pollack


For now, though, enjoy this refreshing main course salad.  Cloris tells me you can throw together the ingredients first thing in the morning before leaving for work, and the salad will be ready for you come dinnertime.  Obviously, she’s never been in my house first thing in the morning!  If your morning routine is anything like mine, you better make your salad the night before.-- AP

CHICKEN, VEGGIES, AND MANGO SALAD
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
3 lg. cucumbers, sliced
1 cup frozen mangos, diced
1 med. size zucchini, sliced
¼ cup dried cranberries
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 T. granulated sugar
1 T. dill weed
½ cup wine vinegar
½ cup apple juice
½ cup water
½ cup chopped walnuts
lettuce


Directions:
In a lg. bowl combine cucumbers, mangos, zucchini, dried cranberries, chicken and dill weed.  In a saucepan combine sugar, wine vinegar, apple juice, and water.  Bring to boil.  Pour over veggie/fruit mixture.  Chill at least 3 hrs.  Add walnuts right before serving.  Serve over a bed of lettuce.


Cloris will be back next Tuesday and every Tuesday with more great recipes for busy working women, but we'd love to have you, our readers, share some of your quick and easy summer recipes.  And don't forget, those of you who post a comment this week are entered for a chance to win a book from our guest author on Book Club Friday.--AP




Monday, May 17, 2010

CRAFTS WITH ANASTASIA--WELCOME! AND A PATRIOTIC TOPIARY

Welcome to the launch of Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, the blog of Anastasia Pollack (that’s me!), crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth.  You can read all about how I became a reluctant amateur sleuth come January with the release of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.  I’m allowing author Lois Winston to tell my story because frankly, between dealing with my day job, my dead husband’s loan shark, and a household that includes my crazy communist mother-in-law, my eccentric Russian princess (in her mind) mother, two teenage sons, Ralph the Shakespeare quoting parrot, Mephisto the Demon Dog, and the corpulent kitty Catherine the Great, who has time to write a book?  Certainly not me.  I rarely have time to wash my hair these days.

Anyway, even though Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun doesn’t come out until January, I’m launching my blog now so that you’ll all get to know and love little ol’ me and the rest of the gang.  Besides, May is both Creative Beginnings Month and National Book Month.  Bet you didn’t know that, did you?  See, stick around and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn here.  Not to mention having loads of fun and getting lots of free stuff (see below.)

Since I haven’t yet figured out how to clone myself, blogging every day was so not going to happen unless I enlisted the aid of my fellow editors at American Woman magazine and an assortment of interesting guests.  Besides, I know crafts and killers, and I figured you’d enjoy a bit more diversity.  So as you can see from the schedule on the sidebar, I’ll be offering all things crafty on Mondays -- sometimes tips, sometimes free projects, and sometimes surprise guests.  

Tuesdays will feature recipes to die for from food editor and my personal Dr. Watson, Cloris McWerther.  On Wednesdays drop by for decorating tips and all things green with former flower child and decorating editor Jeanie Sims, savings tips from our money guru Sheila Conway, or healthy living tips from our health editor Janice Kerr. Thursdays will feature beauty editor Nicole Emmerling, one of our revolving-door fashion editors, or travel editor Serena Brower.  Look for the occasional guest on these days as well since these editors are often off at photo shoots in exotic locales while the rest of us bottom feeders toil away back at the office.

On Book Club Fridays I’ll be featuring murder and mayhem with guest blogs from mystery, suspense, romantic suspense, and thriller authors dropping by the American Woman Book Club to talk about their latest books.  Some, like our guest author coming up this Friday, will offer a free book to a lucky reader who posts a comment to the blog that week. 

As you can see, my fellow editors and I have planned a site with something for everyone, but we’d like to hear from you as well.  Have a question for one of us?  Drop us a line at anastasiapollack@gmail.com, and we’ll answer it in a future blog.

PATRIOTIC TOPIARY


Materials: metal, wood, or ceramic container or clay pot, approx. 6” x 6” x 6”
15” long 5/8” wooden dowel
6” white Styrofoam® ball
1 yd. 1” wide blue print ribbon
3” x 45” piece blue gingham
scraps of red, white, and blue fabric
floral foam, enough to fit inside container
straight pins
green excelsior
hot glue gun and glue sticks
tacky glue

Note: Use hot glue for all gluing except where tacky glue is indicated.  Model shown made with red glitter metal container purchased from crafts store.

1.  Insert dowel halfway into Styrofoam® ball.  Remove dowel.  Dispense glue into hole in ball.  Reinsert dowel.

2. Glue floral foam inside container.  Insert dowel into center of floral foam.  Remove dowel.  Dispense glue into hole in floral foam.  Reinsert dowel.

3.  Apply a thin coat of tacky glue to dowel.  Wrap ribbon around dowel to cover.

4.  Tear fabric into 1-1/2” x 6” strips.  Place two strips wrong sides together and tie a knot at center.

5.  Insert a straight pin into knot.  Dip pin in tacky glue and quickly insert into Styrofoam® ball.  Repeat until ball is completely covered.

6.  Glue excelsor over floral foam inside container.

7.  Tie blue gingham strip around container.

My ghost writer Lois Winston is also an accomplished designer.  Check out her Plays in Dirt cross stitched apron in the June issue of Create & Decorate magazine; her Circus Fun bib and bloomers in the May/June issue of Just CrossStitch; and her Rose Wedding Sampler and Go Confidently Sampler in the June issue of The Cross Stitcher.


And don't forget, those of you who post a comment this week are entered for a chance to win a book from our guest author on Book Club Friday.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers will launch in two weeks on May 17th.  See you soon!
Anastasia