Portland author Shawn Bowman has a fantastic, funny new book out called Criminal Crafts (also the name of her stellar website + twitter) – a collection of thirty outlaw projects for scoundrels, cheats, and armchair detectives.
From cocktails to crime scene carpets,
Shawn has created some pretty incredible projects for mystery, thriller, and noir lovers. They range from the super-simple (Invisible Ink)
to the cleverly complex (Case-the-Joint Craft Caddy).
A few other favorites of mine include the Pulp Fiction Pendant
and the Instant Disguise Drink Bling.
Shawn will also show you how to hide a file in a cake, mix an absinthe cocktail, add a secret smuggling compartment to a vintage handbag, and stitch up your own voodoo doll. She is incredibly awesome, and I am so excited that we are teaming up for a book party at my favorite-favorite neighborhood bookstore, Murder By The Book, in a couple of weeks!
MBTB will be hosting an event for both of us on April 29 at 4:00 for snacks, drinks, craft projects to make (think invisible ink, ransom notes, and comics magnets) and a book signing. Along with Criminal Crafts, they’ll have copies of World of Geekcraft, Modern Log Cabin Quilting, and Button It Up on hand!
I will bring my most mysterious book projects along (like the Coraline mystery sewing box and Linda Permann‘s crocheted Tribbles) for folks to check out, and word on the street is that MBTB will be getting their very own Shawn-made Crime Scene Carpet to decorate the store. Speaking of decorating…
I was amazed to see a brand-new addition to my favorite part of the shop a few months back… Crafty Crimes! Jean set aside all the light-hearted crafty mysteries into a new mini-section and let me bring in lots of vintage craft supplies to decorate the shelf. It was so much fun and I LOVE stopping by and finding something new – I think crafty mysteries are very relaxing to read, and most of them have a free pattern or project included, which is a nice extra. For anyone else who’s interested, here are a few of my favorite series I’ve read. Monica Ferris is a prolific author whose amateur detective heroine, Betsy, owns a needlepoint shop in Minnesota called Crewel World.
Maggie Sefton’s detective heroine, Kelly, is part of a knitting circle who meet up at their Colorado yarn shop, The House of Lambspun.
Sally Goldenbaum’s Seaside Knitters series is set in a tiny town on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, centering on a yarn shop as well. (Are you starting to see a pattern here??) I really love reading this one, I love her characters especially.
My absolute favorite crafty mysteries series is Cricket McRae’s, which is beautifully done. It follows a multi-crafting (like me, she does all kinds of stuff) heroine named Sophie Mae, who lives in Washington State (PNW pride!). There are five books and counting in this series – highly recommended. I also really enjoyed Buttonholed, by Kylie Logan… a mystery about vintage and antique buttons, what’s not to like there?!
You can swing by Murder By The Book to pick up Criminal Crafts or any of these crafty mysteries (or they do mail-order by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or over the phone at 503-232-9995)! I love MBTB – well worth a stop when you’re in Southeast Portland… or in my opinion, a destination worth planning a trip to Portland around.
If you go:
Criminal Crafts + World of Geekcraft + beyond Book Party
Sunday, April 29 at 4pm
Murder By The Book, 3210 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland
Drinks, snacks, craft projects and book signing
PS – On another crafty note, I’m teaching my wool cross pillow class on Saturday, April 14 at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store (another SE Portland treasure!). The class is from 10:30-1 and $40 covers all the materials you’ll need to make a cross pillow in class, plus fabric to bring home for your next one. PMQG members always get $5 off classes… hope to see you over there too!