Award-winning playwright and author Ellen Byron writes the Cajun Country Mystery series. She’s also written for various TV shows, include Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly Odd Parents and has had more than 200 articles published in national magazines. In addition, Ellen has also worked as a cater-waiter for the legendary Martha Stewart, a credit she never tires of sharing. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
From Book Cover to Ornament
I have a passion for Christmas ornaments that I’ve nurtured since childhood. When I was in middle school, my mother announced we’d no longer have a Christmas tree. It was a rough year and she didn’t feel much like celebrating anything. But the thought of not having a beautiful tree so horrified me that I volunteered to take over tree trimming and de-trimming duties. Mom signed off on this, so I became the Keeper of the Ornaments. When I married, I incorporated some of my husband’s family ornaments into the tradition. In total years, our decorations span almost a hundred years, with the oldest ornament dating back to 1928.
But not only do I love collecting ornaments, I love making them, too. I can’t let a year go by without making something for our tree. I have over a dozen gorgeous needlepoint and cross-stitch ornaments, but those get expense to make and finish. I’m madly in love with my book covers, so I debated an affordable way to turn them into ornaments and landed on an old hobby of mine – decoupage.
I always have stickers of my book covers made by Moo as either a giveaway or a way to decorate notepads for swag. With the artwork handled, translating the covers into ornaments was easy. I bought plain round ornaments from Michael’s Crafts, painted them, added a coating of Mod Podge to each, affixed the stickers, then added another coating of Mod Podge. Once the ornaments dried, I decorated each with an assortment of bling. Cute, huh?
I haven’t turned my most recent book, Mardi Gras Murder, into an ornament yet, but this post has inspired me. I’ll definitely use the iconic Mardi Gras color palette of purple, green, and gold. I’ll also add as much shimmer and shine as the ornament can support. Because, yes, the ornament will decorate a Christmas tree. But it also celebrates a second holiday. As the tongue-in-cheek New Orleans saying goes, “Happy Almost Mardi Gras!”
Mardi Gras Murder
A Cajun Country Mystery, Book 4
The resilient citizens of Pelican aren’t about to let some hundred-year flood ruin their Mardi Gras festivities, which include Courirs de Mardi Gras – Mardi Gras Runs – a gumbo cook-off, and the Miss Pelican Mardi Gras Gumbo Queen pageant contest. But when a body of a stranger washes up in the bayou behind Crozat Plantation B&B, and a pageant judge is shot, Maggie Crozat is convinced that the deaths are connected. Does someone want the pageant queen crown bad enough to kill for it? Or are the deaths somehow related to the Orphan Train, which delivered its last charges to Cajun Country in 1929?