All I really want to do is . . . read. by Linda Reilly

Whenever I’m not writing, my nose is usually buried in a book…or in my e-reader, as the case may be. But late last year a friend who lives in my apartment community suggested that we start a crafting group.

Yay — a crafting group! was my first thought. We floated the idea and were delighted that several residents showed up for the first meeting.

But now my fellow crafters and I had the challenge of finding projects that would be fun to work on but wouldn’t bust our budgets. This past month, I suggested that we each buy wooden letters at the crafts store and decoupage them with images meaningful to us. Everyone liked the idea, and at the next meeting several crafters brought projects close to their hearts. One woman brought a large wooden E (her granddaughter’s initial) and decoupaged it with Disney princesses cut from a $1 workbook. Another crafter had bought the four letters of her new rescue dog’s name and decoupaged it with adorable pawprint paper. She plans to display the letters on the wall above Lily’s bed.

I hadn’t decoupaged anything since the 1970s, so I had to reacquaint myself with the process. Luckily, not many materials are required. I bought a jar of Mod Podge, an X-Acto knife (with which I promptly slit my thumb testing its sharpness), a foam brush, my choice of paper, and the four wooden letters of the message I wanted to create. I’d hoped to find paper that resembled the pages of a book, but . . . no such luck. I did see paper with cats on it, but it had a Halloween theme, which was not what I wanted. I ended up choosing paper with a distressed pattern—a look I truly love. The process, somewhat simplified, is:

  • Cut out the paper letters either by using the X-Acto knife atop a cardboard base, or with scissors, as I did
  • With the foam brush, coat the top of the first wooden letter with a layer of Mod Podge
  • Carefully place the cut-out paper letter atop the coated letter; with your fingers, smooth out any wrinkles (after it dries, minor wrinkles won’t be visible)
  • Wait about ½ hour and apply a coat of Mod Podge over the paper letter; allow to dry
  • Repeat with the other letters

Using the X-Acto knife to cut the paper around the letters was definitely not easy. I ended up tracing my letters and cutting them out with scissors. My project didn’t come out perfect, but I created the message I wanted to display in my office — the message that will ultimately hang on my wall. It’s shown here atop my bookcase.

Do you enjoy crafting? If you have any ideas for my crafting group, I’d love to hear them!

In my second Cat Lady Mystery, CLAWS OF DEATH, watercolor artist Lara Caphart is busy with her own projects. Between caring for cats at the shelter she runs with her aunt, selling her watercolors to fund animal charities, and solving a murder…well, she doesn’t get much down time. What little she has she enjoys spending with handsome attorney Gideon Halley, who thinks Lara is the cat’s whiskers. You can meet all of them here at:

The meow of death . . .

Whisker Jog, New Hampshire, is a long way from Hollywood, but it’s the place legendary actress Deanna Daltry wants to call home. Taking up residence in a stone mansion off Cemetery Hill, the retired, yet still glamorous, septuagenarian has adopted two kittens from Lara Caphart’s High Cliff Shelter for Cats. With help from her Aunt Fran, Lara makes sure the kitties settle in safely with their new celebrity mom.

But not everyone in town is a fan of the fading star. Deanna was in Whisker Jog when she was younger, earning a reputation for pussyfooting around, and someone is using that knowledge against her. After being frightened by some nasty pranks, Deanna finds herself the prime murder suspect when the body of a local teacher is found on her property. Now, it’s up to Lara, Aunt Fran, and the blue-eyed Ragdoll mystery cat Lara recently encountered to collar a killer before another victim is pounced upon . . .

Praise for Linda Reilly’s Deep Fried Mysteries

“I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzler of a mystery. Reilly cooks up a perfect recipe of murder and mayhem in this charming cozy.” —Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of the Hat Shop Mysteries

“Smart, sassy, and a little bit scary. Everything a good cozy should be!” —Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mysteries