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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hell or High Water is now Available on Kindle!

My third book, following the life and adventures of Grace Jackson, is finally finished and published.  I've tried to wrap up all of the loose ends, so Grace and Co. can enjoy their lives peacefully for a while.  Not too long I hope, but I have other projects waiting.  I hope you read it and enjoy it.  And if you do enjoy it, please leave a review!

Grace Jackson is getting her life back on track. Mamaw is back home, Nate has moved in, and Grace and the crew are heading to a job on Blair Mountain in Logan County, West Virginia. Their dig is hampered by heavy rain and flooding, and when a nearby mudslide uncovers some bones, Grace finds herself digging up old secrets as well as human remains.

 Amazon link

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mud, Sweat, & Tears is Free This Week for Kindle!

While I'm still working on my third book, "Hell or High Water" I'm currently running a promotion on Amazon for my second book, Mud, Sweat, & Tears.  It's free!! (June 1-5, 2015)  


Returning home after a ten-week stint on the Chesapeake Bay, Contract Archaeologist Grace Jackson assumes life will be returning to normal. However, she doesn't make it through the front door of her home before that illusion is shattered. Mamaw is missing, Lottie is still on the run, and Grace and the gang will be called to the forests of Fayetteville, WV to assist with the recovery of a body buried in the park for more than two decades. Set against the backdrop of Bridge Day in the New River Gorge National River, normal will have to wait.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Castle Diaper Cake

Diaper cakes are a dime a dozen on Pinterest, so for my niece's baby shower, I decided to try my hand at it.  How hard could it be?  Well, plan to set aside at least two hours if it's your first time.  I'm sure the pros can knock one out in under an hour, but I'm certainly not at that level.  I could, however totally do it, and so can you!

What You'll Need:

64 diapers - I bought a box of 100.

A 6" x 60' roll of tulle.  This will lend a very slight color cast to the diapers, so choose a color that works with your theme.  I believe organza ribbon would also work, although I didn't try it!

1 roll (or partial roll, it won't take much) of crepe paper.

3 to 4 sheets of scrapbooking or construction paper - various patterns.

About 5 feet of 2-3" wide ribbon and any extra bits of ribbon, buttons, pompoms and/or any other bits you want to use to decorate the castle.


Hot glue - preferably low temp.  You can use high temp, but it takes longer for the glue to dry and it's much more painful when you stick your finger in it.

Step 1)  I started by making four 'towers' by rolling up three diapers lengthwise, rolling the first one to make the middle, then adding the other two on each side.  Try to keep the printed side of the diaper on the inside of the roll so you don't have a cartoon character sticking out somewhere you don't want it.

 Step 2) I cut a length of tulle to wrap the tower in, leaving enough to overlap, and then slid a piece of crepe paper underneath the overlap.  Since diapers are crazy expensive, I wanted her to be able to actually use the diapers later, which wouldn't be possible if they're covered in glue.  The crepe protects the diapers and gives the glue something to hold onto.

Step 3)  After I scribbled some glue down the length of the crepe paper, I ripped another section off and placed it on top, sandwiching the the two ends of the tulle between the two pieces of crepe.  Once the glue was dry, I trimmed off the extra tulle and crepe paper.  (Because, as you can see from the picture below, it looks like a hot mess at this point.)  If you wanted to make this a little fancier you could use a piece of ribbon over the seam, but I had these turned to the inside and you couldn't see them anyway.

Step 4 ) For the castle walls, I staggered 6 diapers, three on each side, making sure that the printed sides were all facing the same way so I could hide them later.  I slid the crepe paper between the diapers and the tulle, then wrapped them lengthwise, with the seam over the printed area.  Again, I cut enough tulle to leave an overlap, then sandwiched it with the hot glue between the crepe.

Step 5) For the base of my 'castle' I ran a strip of tulle down my table, and then laid out 12 diapers, overlapping them in a regular pattern.  As a word of advice, don't cut the tulle from the roll until you've rolled up the diapers, because they're going to shift as you go.  Because I couldn't predict ahead of time where my strip of crepe paper should be, I stuffed it under the tulle after I had it rolled and tulle cut off.  Using an ungainly method of holding the roll against my body, placing the hot glue on the seam and then ripping off another piece with my teeth, I managed to make the bottom of the cake.  I did this again with 10 diapers for the middle section, and a third time with 6 diapers to create the top layer.

Step 6 ) Stack your layers, place your towers, and then set the walls around it all.

Step 7) Once you have your diapers stacked up into the shape you want, then comes the decorating!
I used wide ribbon around the base of the walls to keep them from falling over, around each tower and the two visible bases.  To make pointy castle-like roofs, I cut half circles in sheets of decorative paper.  The large top roof was a full sheet of paper, while the smaller ones were only quarter sheets.  Then I glued ribbon around the bottoms, lace on the inside of the top, and ran a bamboo skewer down the top of the largest roof with a flag I'd glued onto it (paper, although ribbon would have been cute too) so that the roof wouldn't fall off.  A rounded 'drawbridge' completed my castle, and I later added a sparkly monogram sticker on the front.

All in all, I thought it turned out pretty well, and it added a little extra something to our fairy-tale themed baby shower.