featuring guest 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.

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Monday, May 17, 2010


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.


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.


Nancy Herkness said...

Hey, Anastasia, nice to have you in the blogosphere! Love the topiary! Even I might manage to create that. I just finished blocking the baby blanket I knitted and potted all the plants I bought at the nursery on Sunday, so I'm ready for the next project. I'm thinking topiary.

Kathy said...

A blog about books and crafts. Can life get any better?


Thanks for stopping by, Nancy and Kathy! That topiary is super simple, Nancy. And it doesn't take very long to complete. Let me know if you do make it.

Anonymous said...

Books and crafts - two of my favorite things. I would love to read and review your book about the killer glue gun when it comes out. Also it sounds like a book my Arthritis doctor would love as she loves mysteries.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Deborah said...

How cool a new blog to follow,I love crafting and reading books,great topiary .So glad to see your blog.Deb,,3mays@bright.net


Thanks to Anonymous and Deborah. Hope you both enjoy the blog, and I'd love to have you review the book when it comes out, Anonymous.

Kathye Quick said...

Hi Anastasia-

you sound like you have a preyty normal family to me; at least not unlike mine. I'm looking forward to getting to know you.

PS - Dry shampoo will help during the week. Ojon has a grat one.

Kathye Quick said...

Darn it - I still can't spell

Diana J. said...

This blog is a stretch for me, I am intrigued. I was referred at Club Posh. Crafts and books are two of my favorite things. I love the topiary. I will love coming and seeing which crafts I might have time to try making.

I loved the description of your family. My DIL lives with me and I told her see you don't have it so bad with me. *ROFLMHO*

Congrats on your new blog.

Diana J.


Thanks for the shampoo tip, Kathye!
Glad you could stop by, Diana. Hope to see you both back often.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Fun blog!


Thanks for stopping by, Kandy!

Candy Erb said...

Anastasia; Great information. I needed something simple for my 2-4-year-old preschoolers to work on for the next couple of weeks and this is perfect. Of course their scraps of fabric are not cut perfect but that is the beauty of letting them experiment with scissors and making something to take home to be proud of. Thanks so much, Candy, in Iowa


Candy, the beauty of this project is the strips of fabric don't have to be perfect. No one will ever know (wink, wink), so it is perfect for little fingers. I've got quite a few kid friendly crafts coming up in the weeks and months to come. I hope you'll stop by often and find lots of projects for your pre-schoolers.

Jeanne S. said...

I love the topiary! Looks like a nice quick little project. I'm looking forward to following your blog.


Glad you stopped by, Jeanne. I hope you'll come back often. The topiary is a quick and easy project. You can also do miniature versions by scaling down the size of the Styrofoam ball, dowel, and container.