Nothing can quell Angeline Dunwich's excitement as she stands before Wattle Lane Keepsakes. As she opens the door to her scrapbooking shop for the first time, Angeline hopes to encourage the residents of her small New Zealand town to explore their creativity and capture memories. Little does she know that Wattle Lane Keepsakes will very soon become the weekly destination for four women drawn to scrapbooking for widely different reasons.
Every Thursday Angeline teaches the Scrappy Cupcake Angels how to find joy through scrapbooking, and each of the four learns to confront her fears and to understand what is important in life. As Grace works on a scrapbook for her mother who has dementia, she wonders if it will help her mother cling to her last memories. Tegan scraps her travel photos with an insatiable wanderlust while contemplating where her heart really belongs. As Jodi creates beautiful layouts of her daughter, she questions whether any of her efforts will help mend her broken family. Kayla finds it easiest to express herself through her art, but secretly speculates whether she will ever gain the confidence to realise her dreams.
As Angeline opens her home and her heart to her new friends, only time will tell if the Scrappy Cupcake Angels can help her overcome her own greatest fear and fulfil a lifelong dream.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
About the Author
Kristah Price has had several novellas published in magazines in Scotland. She loves books, scrapbooking, and quilting, and she currently lives in the sunny Art Deco city of Napier, New Zealand, with her partner, Nick, and their beagle-cross, Cody. Kristah’s author website is: www.kristahprice.com
Read an Excerpt
Scrappy Cupcake Angels
By Kristah Price
Abbott PressCopyright © 2012 Christine Price
All right reserved.
At nine o'clock, on a fine, frosty morning in the middle of winter,
Angeline Dunwich placed an "open" sign in the window of the end house in Wattle Lane. As she stepped outside, a sudden gust of cold wind whipped down the alleyway and curled around her ankles, causing her to shiver. Carrying a sandwich board to the end of the lane, she set it down on the pavement before walking briskly back.
Nothing could quell the feeling of pride and excitement that rose within her as she paused at the freshly painted picket fence. Before her stood the culmination of her dreams—the two-and-a-half-story, mustard-coloured house with periwinkle trim and gingerbread details, a bay window, a front porch, and a gabled roof. Wattle Lane Keepsakes, Angeline's own scrapbooking shop, and a place that she hoped would bring joy to the folk of Kerrigan as she encouraged them to explore their creativity and capture their memories in beautiful and fun works of art.
The first floor of the house had been transformed into a shop, with a room at the back for teaching classes, while retaining all the Victorian features that Angeline loved—polished hardwood floors, wainscoting, and high ornate ceilings. The second floor had been renovated to provide her with comfortable living accommodation, and at the very top, tucked beneath the gabled eaves, the wonderful attic had been put to good use as a studio.
The crisp morning sun shone on the window display, catching the golden hair of the quirky paper angels, which Angeline had crafted from decorative papers and ribbons. As she gave the window a final quick polish, she smiled at the angels nestled among a selection of projects arranged to entice customers into the shop. When she had finished, she went inside and straightened the racks of decorative papers and cardstock, adjusted the packets of stickers and embellishments that hung from hooks and carousels, and made sure the project sheets were where people would see them. She wanted everything to be perfect.
The advertisement she had placed in the Kerrigan Chronicle for the grand opening hadn't given too much away. Wattle Lane Keepsakes—a place to explore your creativity and embellish life's magic moments was all she had said. She didn't want to attract only people already hooked on scrapbooking. Angeline thought that if she could draw people into the shop out of curiosity, they would discover for themselves the world of delights she had to offer. She would supply them with the tools and inspiration to create beautiful keepsakes and fun pieces to delight their family and friends. All her customers needed to provide were their memories and enthusiasm.
It wasn't long before the first customers began to arrive. The small heater in the back of the shop had already begun to spread its warmth when a woman stepped through the doorway, looking a little frazzled as she ran a hand through her short, blonde hair.
Angeline approached her with a cheerful smile. "Hectic morning?" As she spoke, she noticed that a dull sadness lurked at the back of the woman's pale blue eyes.
"Oh, yes." The woman gave a wry laugh. "Mornings are usually hectic in our house. Our youngest, Ben, started school last week. He just loves it and can't wait to get out the door in the mornings. But he likes to walk rather than take the car, so we usually need to get an early start." She frowned. "I guess with Ben at school all day, I'll have more time on my hands now."
"Then you've come to the perfect place," Angeline said. "I imagine you took some photos to capture Ben's special day?"
The woman nodded. "Oh, loads. They're all on the computer. I haven't printed them out yet."
Angeline led the tall blonde to a wall display of colourful stickers. She slid a packet from the brass hook. The packet contained pictures of everything school related, from a lunchbox, schoolbag, and notebook, to a blackboard, pencil, and desk. She handed the sheet of stickers to the woman.
"This would be perfect for a first day at school layout. You could make an album documenting Ben's first school year. You could work on it together. It might be fun to include samples of Ben's handwriting, and you could scan his art work and stories into the computer, then print them to fit into the album—something for you both to look back on in the years to come."
"I wouldn't know where to start." The woman frowned as she followed Angeline to the counter.
"Why don't you come to a scrap and chat morning on Thursday, and we'll get you started. Nothing formal, just a small, friendly group." Angeline slid a piece of gold paper and a pen along the counter. "Just pop your name and phone number on here." She glanced down at the paper as the woman scribbled her name across the background of embossed angels that danced across the page. "We'll look forward to seeing you on Thursday, Jodi."
"What should I bring?"
"Just bring along some photos of Ben's first day at school, and we'll take it from there."
Angeline walked with Jodi to the door. As she held the door open for her, she noticed an older woman standing outside the shop, looking in the window. Wrapped in a warm winter coat and scarf, her shoulders were hunched against the cold. Angeline beckoned her inside.
"You look as though you could do with a cup of coffee," Angeline said. She led the new customer to the back of the shop where a coffee machine was set up beside a Victorian high-backed walnut sofa that Angeline had found in the local antique shop.
The older woman sank back against the comfy tapestry cushions. She exhaled slowly, as though releasing a morning's worth of stress into the air, to mix with the aroma of coffee that swirled tantalizingly through the shop and drifted out the door to lure in passers-by with the temptation of warmth and comfort.
"I've just popped out to do a few jobs while my home help keeps an eye on my mother," the woman said, accepting the steaming mug of coffee that Angeline handed her, with a generous spoonful of sugar added. "My mother has dementia. Some days she doesn't even remember the names of her own family."
Angeline sat down beside her, noting the woman's appearance as one who spends all her time taking care of others and has little time left to spend on herself. She listened as the woman expressed feelings of sadness at the changed, distant person her mother had become, of guilt at her own happiness in fleeing the house for a couple of hours.
"You could make your mother a memory book," Angeline suggested. "With photographs of family, places, and things that were important to her. Did your mother save old cards, ones that held special meaning for her? You could include some of those in the book. You could decorate the pages with pretty papers, and pieces of ribbon and lace, and you could look at it with her every day to help her remember. Then, when your mother no longer recognises the people and places in the photographs, at least she will have something nice to look at and to touch."
The woman lifted her head and smiled at Angeline, her eyes a little brighter.
"That's a wonderful idea! I have a box full of family photos at home. And there's a room full of Edie's belongings that she no longer has any use for, but I've been reluctant to part with. Perhaps I'll sort through it this afternoon and see what I can find to use. It seems like a much better idea than just throwing everything away."
"Come and have a look at the albums," Angeline suggested. She rose from the sofa and led the woman to a shelf that held scrapbooking albums of varying sizes, shapes, and designs. "You'll want one without the plastic page protectors so that your mother can touch and interact with the things on the page."
After the woman had selected a large, spiral-bound album with a bright, fuchsia-coloured fabric cover, Angeline took her to the counter to complete the purchase. When they were finished, Angeline slid the gold angel paper in front of her. "If you'd like some help in starting your memory book, I'm holding a small group for beginners on Thursday morning. You're welcome to come along."
"Oh, thank you, but I'm not sure if I can. My home help comes on Thursdays—Mondays and Thursdays." The woman frowned as she buttoned up the collar of her winter coat. "Perhaps I could ask her if she'll watch Edie again." With a decisive nod, she picked up the pen and wrote her name over the embossed angels that drifted across the page.
"Wonderful! I hope we'll see you on Thursday morning, Mrs. Barnes," Angeline said, glancing down at the name. She handed the woman a Wattle Lane Keepsakes bag with the album tucked neatly inside.
"Please, call me Grace," the woman said, as Angeline showed her out the door.
During a brief lull between customers, Angeline sat down on the sofa and absorbed the warmth from the heater while relaxing with a mug of coffee. She had just finished tidying the magazines on the table in front of her when the doorbell chimed, and a young woman with a long swinging ponytail and clothing entirely inappropriate for a Kerrigan winter waltzed in.
"Hiya," the young woman said. She caught Angeline's eye and smiled. "Do you have any travel stickers? I just got back from Europe and I have loads of photos. I thought I might put them into some sort of album." She shivered slightly as she edged towards the heater.
"You must find the New Zealand winter cold after coming straight from a European summer," Angeline said, rising to her feet.
The woman rubbed her hands briskly up and down her arms. "It does take a little getting used to."
"I have a range of die cuts and themed papers that would be perfect for a travel album," Angeline said. "Europe, how wonderful! How long did you go for?"
"I was over there for a year." The young woman's eyes sparkled as she launched into a highlighted travelogue of her time spent living and working in England. Standing with her back to the heater, she regaled Angeline with accounts of her fun-packed excursions to France, Italy, and Greece.
"I'd love to see your photos," Angeline said, when the young woman paused for breath. "Why don't you come along to our scrap and chat morning on Thursday? You can use the die cutter, and the punches and stamps to embellish your pages."
"Sounds like fun." The young woman followed Angeline to the counter and picked up the pen. With a flourish, she added her name to the page. After purchasing a magazine, she said, "See you Thursday," and left the shop, a Wattle Lane Keepsakes bag swinging from her wrist.
Angeline glanced down at the list and saw Tegan Vail's sweeping signature scrawled across the page. When she looked up again, she noticed a dark-haired girl standing by the far wall. She was dressed entirely in black, apart from a knitted purple scarf wound around her neck.
The girl gave a brief smile when she saw Angeline looking at her, then quickly glanced away. "What beautiful papers," she said, in a quiet voice. Her green eyes, underlined heavily with black kohl, lingered on the racks of papers in rich Bohemian colours and old-world designs.
Angeline watched as the girl delicately stroked the textured papers, lifting them slightly to inhale their smell. When the girl had looked at Angeline, Angeline had seen in her eyes a passion that she knew all too well. A passion for creating, for seeing possibility in everything around her.
"Do you have a project in mind?" Angeline asked, as she approached her.
"No. Yes. I mean, nothing in particular, but I have so many ideas." The girl smiled shyly.
"I know exactly what you mean. I'll leave you to browse." Angeline began to walk away, then paused and turned back. "If you feel like sharing some of your ideas, we're having a scrap and chat on Thursday morning. Just a few people. There's a list of names on the counter if you'd like to come."
The girl nodded, then turned to look at the small packets of coloured buttons, brads, and assorted embellishments that hung from the carousel. Twirling the carousel to inspect each side, she finally decided on a packet of insect-shaped buttons. After browsing around the rest of the shop, she placed the buttons on the counter, along with a roll of green ribbon, a pad of walnut ink, and a palette of chalks.
As Angeline placed the girl's purchases into a bag, she noticed that the girl's purple scarf had silver beads threaded onto the fringe, her black denim jacket had a dragonfly embroidered on the pocket in metallic blue and garnet threads, and the black fabric bag slung over her shoulder had tiny black and turquoise beads sewn across the front in sweeping swirls. Angeline pretended not to notice when she saw the girl glance down at the angel list, reach for the pen, then draw her hand away. Hesitantly, she reached for the pen again, and then wrote her name beneath the others in a neat, gothic script.
"See you on Thursday," Angeline said cheerfully, as the girl left the shop. She glanced down at the name. Kayla McKenzie. She wondered if Kayla was a student, although she hadn't been dressed in a high school uniform. Yet, her decision to add her name to the Thursday morning list indicated that she didn't work in a job with regular hours. Angeline hoped that Kayla would return on Thursday so she could learn more about her.
The shop was invaded by an influx of customers after school finished, drawn to the new store out of curiosity. Mothers with children in tow, eager to find new after-school activities, browsed the shelves, while little fingers reached for packets of colourful stickers. High school students searched for new pens and pencils, along with inspiration for their art projects. Angeline sent them all away with supplies to make birthday cards and invitations, mini friendship books, journals, and fun albums.
At five o'clock, Angeline brought in the sandwich board from the now quiet lane. She flipped the sign in the window to "closed," switched off the heater and the coffee machine, turned out the lights, and climbed the narrow wooden stairs to her home above the shop. She was exhausted, but elated, with the success that the day had been.
It was cold upstairs and Angeline wished that she had thought to come up earlier and light the fire. She switched on the little benchtop oven—just the right size for one person—and popped in a dish of leftover chicken casserole. Then she crossed the polished, wooden floorboards to the little fireplace with the decorative wooden surround, and lit the fire. The bright, flickering flames were quickly comforting, although it would take some time for the room to warm. Sitting down in the comfortable wingback chair facing the fire, she pulled the gold paper from her pocket and studied the names written across the embossed angels.
Jodi Peyton Grace Barnes Tegan Vail Kayla McKenzie
An eclectic bunch, each with their own hopes and dreams, and each drawn to Wattle Lane Keepsakes for very different reasons. Angeline couldn't wait for Thursday morning when they would all come together.
Her new family of friends.
Jodi set the bags of groceries down on the bench as she glanced at the sunflower clock on the wall. The visit to Wattle Lane Keepsakes, followed by the grocery shopping, had filled the morning in nicely. The house seemed quiet after the hectic weekend. On Saturday, Ben had invited his new school friend over to play. It had rained on and off the whole day, which meant muddy floors to clean afterwards, and a house to straighten that looked as though a tornado had passed through it. But that was the way she liked it—a home full of activity and laughter, with no time to stop and think, to dwell on where things had gone wrong.
After putting the frozen foods away in the freezer, she lined up the canned and packaged goods in the neatly arranged cupboards that she had spent hours cleaning and sorting on Ben's first day at school—the morning she had returned home to an empty house and felt so hollow she thought she might just fall inside herself and drown in a deep well of nothingness.
"Perhaps you could get a part-time job," Scott had suggested. "We don't need the money, but it would get you out of the house, give you something to do to take your mind off things."
But finding a part-time job during school hours was easier said than done. Jodi had not worked since before Charlotte was born, and she had no skills worth mentioning.
After emptying the oranges into the large green fruit bowl that sat on the corner of the bench, Jodi scooped up her handbag. She paused as something dropped to the floor, then stooped down to retrieve the rectangular card that had fallen from her bag. The card, which had a piece of gold ribbon threaded through a hole at the top, appeared to be a bookmark. Printed at the top of the bookmark were the words Wattle Lane Keepsakes, and below it, the name Angeline Dunwich. Jodi stared at the Victorian angel stamped beneath the lettering. She must have picked up the bookmark absently from the counter before she left the shop.
Excerpted from Scrappy Cupcake Angels by Kristah Price Copyright © 2012 by Christine Price. Excerpted by permission of Abbott Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.