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.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Formerly an aquatic toxicologist contracted to the U.S. Army and currently a freelance reporter, Southern author Maggie Toussaint loves writing mysteries. She’s published ten novels which blend mystery and romantic suspense. Dime If I Know is her latest mystery release. Her new paranormal mystery series kicks off in May with Gone and Done It. However, today Maggie joins us to discuss her love of arts and crafts and offers directions for Cinnamon Stick Ornaments. Learn more about Maggie and her books at her website and blog. 

Cinnamon Stick Ornaments

I love arts and crafts almost as much as I love writing mysteries. When my kids were little, I’d be doing the craft project long after they left the table. Dog years ago, a fellow crafter showed me how to make these cinnamon stick ornaments, and they have become a tradition at our house. Every few years, I dust this idea off and create a new batch for family and friends. Instead of the pricey cinnamon sticks in jars at the grocery store, you can buy them in bulk at craft stores. Even the bulk-packaged sticks smell heavenly.

Cinnamon Sticks (I use 4 to an ornament)
String, yarn, ribbon, lace, mini-garland, and/or wire
Embellishments (small decorative items)
Hot glue gun

Begin by heating up your glue gun. Glue two cinnamon sticks together, then add two more (forming a bundle,) one at a time so that you have a stack of cinnamon sticks.

Glue a piece of string/yarn/ribbon/lace/mini-garland around the sticks.

Add whatever embellishments you desire. Ideas can be as diverse as your creativity. You might select mini pine cones and a spring of evergreen. You might go for bells or old earrings or glittered sprigs of plastic plants. 

Anything goes, but secure it with glue.
Your ornament only needs a hanger now. You can use a traditional ornament hook, or make a loop with a length of anything.

TIP: After Christmas, seal the cinnamon stick ornaments in a plastic bag or container so they’ll still be fragrant next year.

Dime if I Know
Family traditions are often the glue that holds a family together. In Dime if I Know amateur sleuth, Cleopatra Jones is feeling somewhat adrift. She’s got Mama and her girls, and a St. Bernard with puppies, but she wants to be married again.

The thing is, her love interest, sexy golf pro Rafe Golden, is happy with the status quo of dating. While Cleo wrestles with her traditional sensibilities, Rafe is accused of murdering a former girlfriend. Cleo’s as loyal as they come, and she rises to the challenge of proving his innocence, only the deeper she digs, the more dirty laundry gets aired.

She’s left to wonder if we ever truly know the people we meet.

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Claire said...

My nose is sniffing the air in anticipation of my making some of these, Maggie. I am so allergic to most fragrances that I shun almost all scented decorations. But spices and pine are ones that give me no trouble - and now my tree can smell wonderful.

E. B. Davis said...

Maggie--I've already read your book. I love your MC and series. Keep them coming!

Here's another cinnamon stick holiday craft. Someone gave it to me, so I don't know the details, but the cinnamon stick has a painted face, a little red cap and a red plaid scarf glued into place. Glued on the back is a stick pin. I wear it during the snowy months, sort of a cinnamon snowman. Fun to wear and good to smell.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I'm so glad these appeal to you, Claire. I too have scent issues. I often try to hold my breath through the perfume department of most stores. And those scented inserts in magazines for said perfume? they make me dizzy and sneezy.

I'm happy to report no such symptoms with these beauties. And you can easily run a self-check by opening your cinnamon spice jar and trying the scent before you invest so much as a second in the craft.

I have to warn you. Making these things is addictive.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi EB! I'm so happy you're a fan of my mysteries. That's the nicest Christmas present of all!

Those cinnamon stick pins sound really cute. I'm going to save your idea for the next time I have a moment to think!

Thanks for popping in.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I'm so very happy to be here today, and I thank Lois for making it happen. As it happens, I have grandkid duty for a few hours today, so I will check back later in the day to respond to more comments.

So happy to see everyone, and I truly hope you have a blessed and peaceful holiday season.

Celia Yeary said...

They're so pretty, and I can almost smell them. Is there anything that smells so good as a pine tree and/or cinnamon? Perfect combination. I used to make wreaths--out of everything--starting with a corn husk wreath and find things to pretty it up--or start with a pine bough wreath--quilted wreath--I liked to give them for gifts. I enjoyed that so much.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I'm also a big fan of your romantic mystery novels, Maggie. And I like this craft idea. The smell of cinnamon wafting through the house is the best thing on a cold, December day. Happy holidays!

Andrea Cooper said...

Great idea! I always have cinnamon sticks in the spice cabinet and never know what to do with them outside of tossing them into a cup of tea :)

Marni said...

Thanks, Maggie! This is so easy but good smelling and adaptable. I'm passing it on to my daughter for her children's church craft series!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Celia, All of your wreath ideas sound wonderful. I always intend to do more stuff like this, but with my day job, my spare time is golden. This year I'm choosing to spend it with family to make memories. But, oh mercy, how I would've enjoyed one of your wreaths. Thanks for sharing your craft ideas here. Maggie

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Jacqueline! Your comment means so much to me. I appreciate your kind words. With all of this acclaim, I'm going to have to find an ego shrinker before this is all over, LOL.

All this talk about cinnamon has put me in the mood for some mulled cider. Ummm. I can just smell it now.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Andrea, I hope you put all your cinnamon sticks to good use! I'm so happy you came by and left a comment. Happy holidays! Maggie

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Marni, I'm sure your daughter will have a blast with this craft idea. One of the things I like is that everyone of these looks different, giving it a one-of-a-kind quality. It will be a craft that keeps on giving year after year.

Thanks for swinging by and leaving a comment!

Terry Ambrose said...

Ii had no idea you were multi-talented, Maggie! What a cool idea!

Karen McCullough said...

Cute idea! I'm going to have to try it with my grandkids. And I'm looking forward to reading the new book!

Polly Iyer said...

Great idea, Maggie. Makes me almost wish I had a tree to hang them on. And you know I love your books too. I'm lucky because I get to read them before anyone else.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Terry Ambrose! I don't know as I'm multi-talented, but I have a special "heart" for arts and craft. At some point I aspired to be a true artist, but it didn't work out - complete lack of talent. But arts and crafts are a good fit for me. Thanks for stopping in! Maggie

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Karen, This is definitely a kid and grandkid friendly craft. I'm so glad you stopped by. Be sure and let me know what you think about Dime If I Know. Maggie

Maggie Toussaint said...

Polly, You say the nicest things! I'm so happy to see you here. Perhaps there could be some Jewish version of this that works as a drawer aroma fixer. Thanks for being my critiqued. Maggie

Gemma Juliana said...

Hi Maggie,
I love this idea, and cinnamon is one of my favorite scents of all. Talk about aromatherapy! I love your writing as well. I recently read Death, Island Style and it got me into the holiday frame of mind. Thanks for sharing this lovely idea with us today, and I'll be checking out your new book!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Gemma,

Thanks so much for your kind words. Death, Island Style is a hoot - and has a definite Christmas feel since it's set in a Christmas gift shop.

I hope you have the opportunity to make these ornaments. They are fragrant and functional!


Maggie Toussaint said...

Thank you, Lois for having me visit your blog today. I had a blast. It was good to see old friends and to meet new ones. I hope we'll keep in touch and have many more opportunities to get together.

Blessings and peace to everyone!

Maggie Toussaint

Adele Downs said...

I'm going to give these ornaments a try. Thanks for the great tips. All the best with your new release!


Molly MacRae said...

Nice idea, Maggie. Thanks!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for your comments, Adele and Molly. Merry Christmas, All!