A Day in the Life of Cora Chevalier by Mollie Cox Bryan

Death Among the DoiliesMoving from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Indigo Gap, North Carolina, has been a kind of culture shock. We’ve been so busy preparing Kildare House for the first craft retreat that we’ve barely had time to absorb all the changes.

My best friend Jane and I have moved here to start a new business—and new lives. I used to be a counselor in a women’s shelter and developed an anxiety problem—so dreadful that my doctor nearly ordered me to quit my job. In the mean time, I had started a blog, “Cora Crafts a Life,” where I wrote about my craft projects with the women I counseled. Crafting can be a healing experience. Turns out, it’s a thing people are very interested in. Who knew? My blog took off and I realized I could turn it into more than a happy, friendly safe online space and started dreaming of my own craft retreat. And here we are. (If you’d like to read about how we found this place check this out.)

Jane came into the shelter one day and we renewed our friendship from when we were girls. She needed our services, which broke my heart, but it paved the way for our new venture. She’s an extremely talented potter and will be teaching pottery classes at the retreat. Kildare House has a lovely carriage house on the property. Jane’s refurbishing into a studio and apartment. Her and her daughter, London, live in the upstairs apartment and the bottom floor will eventually be her studio and shop. The situation is pretty much in flux here—even as we approach opening day.

Jane is finishing up with the painting of the inside of her house, while the outside of it gets painted—overseen by the historical commission, of course. (In fact, the painters are outside right now, as I work on my blog post. They are a noisy lot.) Kildare House is one of the most historical properties in the town. We have to abide by certain rules and regulations, governed by them. For example, the color of the carriage house has to be historically accurate. We don’t mind—after all, the historic charm of Indigo Gap is one of the reasons we purchased this place.

I’m trying to keep my blog updated as we go along with all the preparation for the retreat, so my readers will feel a part of it. On my to do list today: write a blog post, meet with a caterer, and with a man named Edgar Thorncraft from the Historical Commission about our parking situation during the retreat. Also, a shipment of broom straw is expected any minute. Our first retreat is hosting Jude Sawyer, who makes the most exquisite brooms. I don’t really like the idea of having a man teacher at an all-woman retreat, but his name pulled a lot of people in—and it got Ruby O’Malley on board.

Ruby lived on the property when we bought it. She was grandfathered in to the sale. Literally. She’d been living in the gardener’s cottage on the property for more than twenty years and the owner wanted to make sure she had a place to live, which was so nice of him, wasn’t it? Turns out, she’s an herbalist and fits right in with our craft retreat plans, even though she’s taken her good old time about saying “yes” to be a teacher for us. Jude Sawyer’s name did the trick. I call him a “rock star broom maker.”

This busy time has been good for me. I’m not saying there are no moments of stress, but so far, I’ve not had any panic attacks or other problems. I know in my heart this is the right path for me and am hopeful that it works out so I can continue helping others through crafting. One of my favorite crafts is take old things and turn them into something pretty and useful. As I continue to fashion new things out of old, make plans for my first retreat, I feel like I’m really just beginning to craft my own life. Everybody can use a fresh start, can’t they?

Simple DIY Tea Cup Bird Feeder
This is one of the simplest bird feeders you can make from tea cups. If you don’t have extra tea cups on hand, there’s always the Goodwill and other secondhand shops. Using old tea cups to feed the birds? What could be better?

Supply list:

  • A tea cup and saucer.
  • Wild bird seed.
  • Super adhesive glue.
  • A hanger or string.

Make sure your cup and saucer are clean and dry.

Squeeze some of the glue onto the edge of your saucer. Tip your tea cup onto its side and place on top of the glue. You will need to let it set for about twenty-four hours before you hang it outside.

Next all you have to do is pour in your birdseed and hang up your feeder.

Death Among the Doilies is the first book in the NEW Cora Crafts mystery series, published by Kensington, August 2016.

For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents—and most of her savings—into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian . . .

But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches . . .

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About the author
MOLLIE COX BRYAN is also the author of the Agatha Award-nominated Cumberland Creek mystery series, as well as the new historical fiction “Memory of Light.” She currently writes and crafts in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband and two daughters. Please visit her at molliecoxbryan.com, where you can sign up for her exclusive newsletter. For scrapbooking, recipes, and other crafty-freebies, join her on Pinterest. Visit her online at Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Death Among the Doilies. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 4, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

32 responses to “A Day in the Life of Cora Chevalier by Mollie Cox Bryan

  1. Linda Herold

    I would love to win a book in a new series! thanks for offering this chance!

  2. Can not wait to read this series.

  3. Looking forward to reading this new to me series.

  4. A lot of people looking forward to this new series!!! Someone is going to be very happy to win this one! I can’t wait to read it! Thanks!

  5. I enjoy her scrap booking series so I’m sure I will enjoy this one too.

  6. Denise Zendel

    I am a crafter, so am always interested in anything craft related. What appeals to me about this character is, she’s fragile, but she keeps on going and by helping other people, she helps herself.

  7. Looking forward to this new series.

  8. Loking forward to the new series! And I will have to Google a pic of the teacup birdeeder, it sounds cute. Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. I’m so excited for this book. And the teacup birdfeeder sounds so cute and simple. I may end up doing that for a project with my teen group at the library. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Barbara Hackel

    A different slant on crafting! Should be a great book and I am looking forward to reading it! Thanks Dru Ann and Mollie! 🙂

  11. Looking forward to the book! Thanks for a chance to win.

  12. Peggy Hyndman

    I’m looking forward to this new series! Thank you for a chance to win.

  13. Can’t wait for this series to come out!

  14. wendynewcomb

    I remember having doilies all over our house, I think most kids today may not even know what they are. I wish I had some of those doilies that were made by me mom and grandma!

    wfnren at aol dot com

  15. This cute cozy sounds captivating and perfect. Thanks.

  16. I love creative titles. Really want to read this one.

  17. From anxiety ridden counseling to a craft retreat. An excellent move.

  18. Interesting premise, love the cover art, and the characters sound like those you want to get to know. A fun new series and a great idea – craft retreat.

  19. I can’t wait to read it.

  20. Wow, this one looks great. And the teacup bird feeder idea is awesome!

  21. Love craft fairs. This sounds fascinating.

  22. Doward Wilson

    Thanks for the great post & chance to win. I can’t wait to read this new series by one of my favorite authors.

  23. Looks like a great start to a new series. Indigo Gap sounds like a delightful town. I’m looking forward to reading “Death Among the Doilies”.

  24. I can’t wait to start this new series.

  25. Sounds terrific – love to win!

  26. Thanks so much everybody for all these wonderful responses! I’m so excited about this new series and really hope you like it!

  27. Love the diy bird feeder. Will have to try that one. Thanks for that and the chance to win!!

  28. Vicki Highley

    I have to go to the Goodwill store and get some teacups with saucers. I loved the birdfeeder and I have added the book to my TBR list.

  29. elainehroberson

    Another new-to-me author to try. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  30. a crafting retreat! Sounds like such a fun book. Looking forward to reading this title. Thanks for the chance!

  31. What an interesting way to use a teacup…the book sounds great…
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  32. I love your other series too. Can’t wait to read this one too. I love crafting and dolies. I would also love to win this book. Thanks for the contest.