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, October 27, 2014


Like some of her characters, award-winning author Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs—everything from a lifeguard to a ride attendant at an amusement part to store clerk to administrative assistant in an international real estate firm to general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm. These jobs have given her plenty of material for her writing. Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking “What if?” Learn more about Vicki and her writing at her blog.

I Can do That!
Several years ago, my mom and I were perusing the clearance rack at Hobby Lobby and found needlepoint Stitch and Zip eyeglass cases. Despite having never stitched needlepoint in my life, I bought two with the thought, I can do that!

I did those cases in the basic stitch and when my girlfriend wanted to try advanced classes, I learned fancy stitching. However, I’ve stuck with painted canvases in the basic stitch, sorta like a paint by numbers thingy.

For my new daughter-in-law, I needlepointed this stocking:

For myself, I made the handbag shown at the top of this blog post.

Like most writers, some real life creeps into my writing. My heroine from Temporarily Employed, Hattie Cooks, carries handbags, and I love handbags. She drives a Wrangler, and I’ve owned many a Jeep. When Hattie checks out Allan Wellborn’s apartment, what does she find? Here’s a sneak peek:

A. Wellborn’s apartment appeared to be the same as other guys' with great emphasis on the television. His had evolved into a huge, 3D flat screen. His media equipment had been stored on a store-bought shelving unit, instead of crammed onto a cinder block and plank shelf or tottering precariously on a microwave rolling cart.

I assessed the other areas and noticed a dark chocolate leather couch, end tables which matched a coffee table, ceramic lamps, remotes, et cetera. Most likely, his mom had assisted in picking the furniture as his stuff looked too coordinated. And my suspicions were confirmed when I found the needlepoint pillows she’d crafted laying about.

No visible stains or smells were anywhere. No underwear tossed about. The kitchen looked clean with wooden barstools pushed to the peninsula. His computer desk, placed in the dining area, looked well organized. Books and papers were piled in neat stacks. Gratefully, I didn’t see his gun lying around, which led me to the relieving conclusion he had no plans to shoot me tonight.

Yep, there’s needlepoint. LOL. Surely, there’s something you like to make—cooking, sewing, papier machĂ©. So are you crafty?

Temporarily Employed
New Job. New Love. And Murder.
Hattie Cook's dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite Insurance Company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced. The last thing she wants is to clash with By-the-Book Detective Wellborn, no matter how much he makes her heart pound.

Detective Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life. When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves. Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?

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vicki batman said...

Good morning, Lois! I love to needlepoint and started a new project yesterday. I hope our guest will share what is their favorite craft.

Thank you so much for hostessing me.

Marian Lanouette said...

I've gone through so many crafts, and loved them all when I was doing them.
Needlepoint, knitting, sewing, crafts but now all my free time goes to writing. I absolutely love this bag. The work is superior.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Marian! Well, you can't see the thread change color in the pix. I had a dye lot issue. It's fine, and I love the bag. Thanks for posting, sweetie.

chris keniston said...

I don't do crafts - but I do have a think about needlepoint pillows and footstools and benches and... well, you get the picture!

I think a beautifully done needlepoint work can add just the right touch of warmth to a room. Whether it's a small pillow on friendship or an antique firescreen.

Absolutely love my needlework (winking at vicki)

Robin Coxon said...

I'm a craft hoarder. I love to crochet, make jewelry, paint with oils/acrylics, and anything else that crosses my path. Your needlework bag is superb. It takes a lot of patience to do something so refined.

Anna Gibson said...

Hi Vicki! You're needlepoint is beautiful. I love to cross-stitch. I made a black lab several years ago for my aunt and uncle after their lab Bo died. I also like to crochet.

Marilyn Baxter said...

I've done lots of crafts -- counted crossstitch, decoupage, sewing, jewelry, knitting -- but the only two that have stuck are sewing (only simple things like zippered pouches in a variety of sizes) and knitting (I'm currently learning to knit on a round loom and have made a baby hat). I tried needlepoint but didn't succeed.

My craft time is limited due to writing and the day job, but when I'm stuck on a plot point, I'll pull out some knitting and that helps clear my head AND produces something useful.

Pamela Stone said...

My crafting niche is quite small these days, but I used to sew and absolutely loved latch hook. I still have some latch hook Christmas rugs from way back in the good ol' days when I had time. These days I'm lucky to carve out half an hour to write. Great book, BTW.

Patricia Kiyono said...

I love to do crafts - there isn't much I haven't tried! I especially loved doing Lois Winston crafts that I found in various craft magazines. Since I started writing, I've cut back on the crafts and limit myself to sewing, card-making, and scrapbooking. But my supplies are still in the basement, in case I get the urge to paint, make jewelry, or just make something different!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Chris! I love needlepoint and it comes in such a wide variety of subjects. I'm constantly amazed at what the FB Needlepoint group puts up. They are truly creative. And you're welcome! haha

Hi, Robin! I'd always wanted to do a bag of my own. I'd been buying them finished on eBay and ETSY, but doing one I knew would be greatly satisfying. And it was. My stitching? Well, I thank you for the compliment. Probably like my mom who could critique her own work to death, but was in actuality, gorgeous.

Hi, Anna! I have done very little crochet. I'm stuck with needlepoint. It's my love. Counted cross stitch makes my eyes go wonky. I'm actually embroidering pillowcases for gifts right now. Hugs.

Hi, Marilyn! Excellent point about how crafting can relax you. I take my needlepoint to RWA and people join me and chat while I stitch. It's so much fun!

Hi, Pam! I've never done latch hook rugs. That has to be quite the feat. Show them to me someday--okay?

Hi, Patricia! I look back on things I've made and how much I treasure them. I have a popsicle picture frame from way back I'd given my mom and she returned it to me a few years ago. She treasured it and now, I get to.

And are glue guns the greatest invention?

Lois Winston said...

Hi Patricia--
I always get a huge kick out of hearing that someone has done one of the craft projects I designed for a magazine. Thanks for mentioning it!

Angela Adams said...

I wish I had a talent for needlepoint, Vicki! Your crafts are lovely! Thanks for sharing.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Angela! Thank you so much for the compliment. I hang with Handsome and stitch. I like some small needlepoint projects that I can put in a zip lock bag and stick in my handbag. You never know when you might be stuck somewhere (like kids' soccer/baseball/singing practices).

Phyllis said...

Hi Vicki. Your needle work is just Fab! As you know, I make jewelry, crochet, loom knit. I use to cross stitch and I've been known to make a number of wreaths. I normal fix things of which i credit all those years of crafting.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Phyllis! and I have been the lucky recipient of your jewelry. Doing other crafts lets my mind go places and a lot of the time, to my books and I might even wiggle out a problem. Hugs.

Red said...

Hmm . . . I wasn't crafty so much as trying to be artsy. I used to paint all the time, mainly oils, sometimes acrylic. I still love the smell of very expensive paint. Silly me.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Red! I can't paint at all. Not at all. I did do the wine painting class and did a decent job. I think it is funny you like the smell. Kinda the way I liked big pink erasers in grade school. Hugs.

Lynda Coker said...

I love the scene on your bag. Do you create original designs of your own? I have enjoyed counted cross stitch for years, but working with my itty bitty fabric pieces is my favorite. I cut them up and them put them back together in mosaic, collage fiber art pieces I design. If you like, you can view some of my designs at the link below. Great post, Vicki, enjoyed every word and the photos of your work.

COLORCRAZED Fiber Art Anyone Can Do

karla eakin said...

Very beautiful needlepoint Vickie. I like doing counted cross stitching. I have made several pieces as gifts for my relatives. It's a nice way to relax.

Liese said...


I soooooo admire those with such skills. I used to sew, but it's been years! Love your writing even more!


vicki batman said...

Hi, Lynda! No, this one came with the scene prestitched and that was what appealed to me about doing it. So I got off easy with fill in the background. Just a lot of background!

Hi, Karla! You are the master of do counted cross stitch. My eyes go cross. I've got enough eye twitching going on without that. Now, I have done stamped cross stitch with not problem. Hugs.

Hi, Liese! And I love your writing too. I wasn't very good at sewing. My perfectionist mom had me ripping stuff out too much. LOL.