January 31, 2011

Welcome to Lois Winston, author of crafty mystery, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun; BONUS How-to: Make a Button Pot!

Today I welcome Lois Winston, author of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, an Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery new this month from Midnight Ink.

The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series features magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” (And how can you resist a book with a crew of animals, including a devilish French Bulldog?)

Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and non-fiction, as well as being an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an associate of the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency.

About the Book:

When Anastasia Pollack's gambling-addicted husband permanently cashes in his chips in Vegas, her life craps out. She's left with two teenage sons, a mountain of debt, and her nasty, cane-wielding Communist mother-in-law. Not to mention a loan shark demanding $50,000.

Anastasia's job as crafts editor at American Woman magazine makes life even stickier when she discovers the dead body of ├╝ber-ambitious fashion editor Marlys Vandenburg hot-glued to Anastasia's office chair. Marlys collected enemies and ex-lovers like Jimmy Choos. When evidence surfaces of an illicit affair between Marlys and Anastasia's husband, Anastasia becomes the prime suspect. Can she sew up the case and keep herself out of jail before the real killer puts a permanent end to her investigation?

** Comment on this or any of the other blogs during the month-long tour to be entered into a drawing to win one of five copies of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. If your email isn’t included in your post, email Lois at lois@loiswinston.com to let her know you’ve entered.

* Watch the Video * Check out Anastasia Pollack's blog
* Keep reading for her take on crafts and a fun, easy how-to!

Now, here's Lois:

Thanks for inviting me to guest at Candid Canine today, Chris! In ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in my recently released Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, Anastasia is living with quite an eclectic menagerie, including Mephisto the Devil Dog, her communist mother-in-law’s French bulldog. I dare say, the dogs in your books are a lot nicer!

Anyway, I’m here today to talk about crafts, not dogs. I’m always amazed when people tell me they don’t craft because they have no talent. The beauty of crafting is that anyone can do it, talent or no talent, depending on the project. Just as you wouldn’t pick up a paintbrush for the first time and expect to recreate the Mona Lisa, you don’t start crafting projects meant for experienced crafters. You begin at the beginning. Do that, and your confidence will grow with each project, and you’ll begin to challenge yourself, moving from beginner projects to intermediate projects to advanced project.

I’m a big fan of buttons as a crafting medium. Who doesn’t have a tin, box or jar of miscellaneous buttons squirreled away somewhere in the house? Maybe you inherited them from your grandmother or mother. Maybe they’re simply all those extra buttons that are pinned to clothing you’ve purchased over the decades. I love crafting with these buttons. You can turn them into anything from jewelry to home dec items.

By the way, did you know that the button was originally created for ornamentation, not as a fastener? Primitive buttons made of shell, bone, wood, and metal have been found dating back to 2000 BC. However, evidence of buttons being used as closures is not found until sometime around 1200 AD. By the middle of the 13th century there are references to button makers in the laws governing French craftsmen guilds. (Bet you weren’t expecting a history lesson when you started reading, were you?)

So back to crafting… the photo of the button necklace (which was a gift from a crocheter) is a project that requires a certain amount of skill. Although it’s a simple project if you know how to crochet, it’s intimidating for someone who doesn’t crochet.

Now take a look at the flower pot picture. Cute, isn’t it? And you know what? It’s a project that’s easy enough for a child. So don’t be intimidated. Pull out your stash of buttons, and follow the simple directions below. Happy crafting!


Materials: Terra cotta pot (any size); clear acrylic sealer; tile cement or glue for plastic/metal/glass (Note: if doing this project with children, be sure to buy the non-toxic variety of glue); assorted buttons without shanks; felt; marking pen.

1. Make sure pot is clean (scrub well in soapy water, rinse, allow to dry.)

2. Coat the inside and outside of the pot with clear acrylic sealer.

3. Place the dry pot on a scrap of felt. Trace around base of pot to draw circle. Cut out the circle inside traced line so that circle will fit over pot base without sticking out beyond the bottom edge.

4. Glue felt to bottom of pot.

5. Glue buttons randomly around pot.


  1. Very cute idea. I used to do a lot of craft projects, but have had little time lately. Still, I try to do something every now and then and it's quite relaxing. Thanks for sharing this project. I may spruce up my flower pots with this!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Caridad! I don't know how you accomplish all you do as it is. You must have perfecting cloning and are keeping it a closely guarded secret. ;-)

  3. Lois,
    When I saw the title of this blog I thought you'd "gone to the dogs" but then you switched to crafts.
    My wife is quite talented at crafts, but I'm only crafty with words. More market for her product than mine at present.

  4. Great blog, Lois. I love the history lesson and especially your philosophy of "everyone can do it" on crafting.

    Thanks, Chris, for hosting.

  5. Ah, Jeff, you mean I still haven't convinced you that you can craft?

    Thanks, Camille!

  6. Interesting history on buttons ... it took so many centuries for someone to realize that they could be fasteners!

    boots9k at wowway dot com

  7. Shirley, sometimes the simplest things took the longest to come to be. Look at how long people were on the earth before someone invented the wheel.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I enjoyed the post and especially the comment about not expecting to paint the Mona Lisa the first time - I craft for relaxation, so that made sense to me.

    pennyt at hotmail dot com

  9. I wanted to share that I found this book at my library - if it was not for this post I wouldn't have even noticed it. I look forward to reading it.


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