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, July 18, 2016


Cheryl Hollon now writes full time after leaving an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in various countries around the world. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks. Learn more about Cheryl and her books at her website.

Making a Spoon Rest from a Beer Bottle

The cover art for Cracked to Death (Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery #3) is filled with wonderful items made from recycled bottles that have been fired in a kiln. After that they can be used to make cheese trays, clocks, wind chimes, or wall hangings. My favorite reuse trick with a beer bottle is to make a spoon rest (pictured above). I have several in the kitchen and they definitely help keep drips off the stove and countertops. The beer bottles are easily cleaned in the dishwasher, so I have several.

My husband, George and I have a glass studio in a freestanding cottage behind our house, and we enjoy making promotional gifts for my book tours. For this book, I will be giving away all sorts of bottles.

First, I have to say my favorite part of the process is selecting the beer bottles. I like to retain the design on the bottles so I only select the ones that have a screen-printed image. If they have paper labels, those have to be removed along with the glue. On my last forage to the specialty beer shop, I came home with these lovely bottles.

I think THE MUSE by Angry Orchard is my favorite so far. It’s a sparkling cider with an amazingly fresh and crisp flavor with a hint of apple that will make a perfect cheese tray. I’m also happy with the ROGUE Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout – absolutely delicious and a perfectly literary gift.

The preparation is fairly simple. We just rinse them off and place them in the kiln so that they don’t touch or roll over on each other. Here’s a kiln load ready to be fired overnight.

The most fun is opening the kiln the next morning and taking them out and washing them to reveal a bottle that has flattened out perfectly. For example, it didn’t break, roll, or burn away the lovely design.

I’m using these in auction baskets for the upcoming Bouchercon conference in New Orleans this September, along with SleuthFest in Florida, and definitely for Malice Domestic in the Spring. I’m thinking that I’ll need more beer.

Cracked to Death
When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer . . .

It's the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb's Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat—a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane.

Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah's interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin's lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through uncharted territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin's death.

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Cheryl said...

Thanks for having me as you guest. I'm delighted to be here.

Cheryl said...

Gack! Need more coffee. YOUR guest not you guest. Grumbling off to the kitchen.


We've all done it, Cheryl--especially first thing in the morning when we haven't yet had enough coffee. :-D
Thanks for stopping by to share your great craft with our readers.

Vickie Fee said...

These are so cool, Cheryl -- killer prize giveaways! An August deadline has put me behind on my reading, but Cracked to Death is on my TBR!

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Vickie -- enjoy!