Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mug Shot Drinkware

Mary Putnam, wife of author David Putnam, is here being crafty with quite a conundrum. Mary has been our guest here on Crafty Thursday before making book bracelets. Today she tackles a new project. 

Is it a shot glass… or a glass that's been shot? Perhaps both!

I've been having way too much fun making little promo item's for my husband's thrillers (which also include a good shot fun and romance), and mixing up drink pairings, so I figured, why not combine the two! I also favor crafts that are quick and easy and fun. 

These glasses just required a couple of glass pens and an oven to decorate; the mugs were a bonus find.  

My detective-turned-writer husband was not fooled, but I had a little chuckle.  

While shopping for drinkware craft supplies at the local dollar store, I was thrilled to find that windshield prank thing and some design-your-own mug kits, for $1! Score! 

I had a few leftover mini-books from my last craft adventure making earrings and bracelets

and found some extra mini-books fit perfectly (great gifts for my guy-writer pals)! 

A first I started to attach them to the paper template that came with the mug but found they looked better without the paper -- just attached directly to the mug lining. Don't forget the bottom!

For decorating directly on glass, I tried a few methods. I'm not the most talented freehand artist or Dremel tool wielder -- also not a fan of the sound of glass being scratched. My handwriting is not that lovely either.

I favored a combination of pens with paint ink you bake to make permanent. 

Directions on the DecoArtglass paint marker(™) pen

Shake well. Allow painted project to air cure approximately 8 hours, then bake at 375°F for 40 min (at temp) in non-preheated over. Dishwasher safe. 

I considered trying chemical glass etching, recommended by a friend, but those were some very expensive, nasty chemicals. Perhaps next time. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that method. (Some of the chemicals also specifically mentioned they shouldn't be used on glass that would touch food.)

Also, since I usually have to do some experimenting before I come up with my final answer, I started my shopping at the dollar store where they usually have several kinds of glassware that don't break the bank as I "practice" for the final answer.  

My gun-tottin', word-slingin' writer hubby "Deputy Dave" Putnam favors a large caliber (.40 or .45) weapon for fighting crime, so I drew some large bullet holes to surround with spider-like cracks. I darkened the hole part in one experiment, but the deputy and I agreed it looked better without the "hole" filled in. Luckily this ink is easy to "erase" with a fingernail (before you bake it -- after baking it's pretty well stuck on there).

I also liked the gray/silver color for the majority of the spider lines, accented with just a little bit of black depending on how subtle you want your design to be. (The Giant Mug pictured above had a little less black for a more subtle look.)

Also, I put the two "holes" (entry and exit?) slightly vertically shifted from each other as though the shooter shot the glass at slight angle.

One step fancier: epoxy, plastic transparency + inkjet printer.  

Since I planned to give these away as promo items, figured out a way to add: in a small but legible format at the bottom of the glass in the little divot. I printed the words in a small font on some transparency plastic using my InkJet printer, cut them out with the help of this little hole punch tool I found in the scrapbooking section at the craft store (scissors work too), then attached them to the "finished" glass using some epoxy resin.

Note that not all divots are created equal: these more expensive glasses at smaller divots and my epoxy efforts made them a little like Weebles that wobble… (if you're old enough to remember that 70s toy). 

These less expensive "dessert glasses" (3 for $1!) had nice deep divots for easier "decorating."

One final note: I tried adding some color -- a red "bloody" thumb print -- but that made it look to me like the glass was dirty so I opted to keep it simple with just the black & gray; which also just happens to pair well with the cover my husband's latest thriller: THE SQUANDERED.

While "testing" this mug, I accidentally caught The Author Himself in the "backdrop" of this photo shoot.

Happy crafting!


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mysterious London: Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap

Agatha Christie, London, The Mousetrap, that is what's in store today on Mystery Playground. Kerry Hammond is at it again. She took us on a Jack the Ripper Tour and to the many London locations mentioned in Agatha Christie books. Today she will tell us about another Agatha Christie highlight: The Mousetrap.

Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap began its run in London in 1952, making this year its 64th. In my opinion, it is a must see for any mystery fan visiting London. One of my favorite things about The St. Martin’s Theatre is that it is dedicated to The Mousetrap, complete with a neon sign out front that announces how long the play has run.

The play’s action takes place in a couple of days, a couple of snowy and cold days, at Monkswell Manor. It begins with the murder of a woman named Maureen Lyon (although this murder is only heard, not seen). When the curtain parts, you see the Great Hall of Monkswell and meet the young couple who have just converted it into a guest house. One by one the invited guests arrive, and even some uninvited ones. And then one by one the guests begin to die. One of them, of course, is the killer.

Prior to visiting London, I read an article in The Telegraph entitled 10 things you didn’t know about The Mousetrap. I have to admit, I was pretty clueless about the play and found the article very interesting. Specifically, that Agatha Christie originally thought the play would run for about 8 months.

The play was well done and the actors were wonderful. At the end of each performance, the actors ask the audience to please not reveal the final plot twist. Even though millions of people have attended a performance, it would be unfair to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

Visit some of the highlights of Kerry’s trip to Ireland, such as James Joyce’s Dublin and the Blarney Castle Murder Hole.

Follow Kerry on Twitter @kerryhammond88.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Crime & Beyond Book Club Reads Roger Hobbs

The Crime & Beyond Book Club picked Roger Hobb's Vanishing Games this month. How did the club like the book? Kerry Hammond reports back...

The Crime & Beyond Book Club's most recent pick was Roger Hobbs’s second book, Vanishing Games.

Roger Hobbs has been writing from a very young age, completing his first novel at just 13 (although his website proclaims that it was a dreadful science fiction book). He became an international bestselling novelist after signing a book deal for Ghostman at the age of 23. Ghostman features Jack, a career criminal who steps in to try and clean up when a bank robbery goes horribly wrong. His specialty is cleaning up and making himself and others disappear.

Vanishing Games finds Jack in Macau six years later. He’s summoned by Angela, his mentor, who disappeared without a trace after the bank robbery. Angela is in trouble after a sapphire heist has gone horribly wrong and turns to Jack for help.

Our book club loved Ghostman and couldn’t wait for the sequel. We were not disappointed and Vanishing Games was met with high scores and rave reviews. Jack may be a criminal, but he’s a likeable criminal and we enjoyed his reappearance in Macau. Hobbs does a great job of bringing the city to life and describing the seedy underworld that lurks behind the glitzy casinos and wealthy visitors.

Hobbs has a wonderful way of outlining Jack’s criminal activities and chronicling his adventures that makes it hard to put the book down. The stories draw you in and keep you hooked until the end. We anxiously await book three, which is to take place in Bangkok. Hopefully we don’t have long to wait.

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Follow Kerry on Twitter @kerryhammond88