Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Welcome Back - November 5th 2013

            "The bookshop has a thousand books,  all color, hues, and tinges.

              And every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges."

                          - Nancy Byrd Turner -  (from the Bookshop)

Grab a cup of tea and some goodies and get comfortable for our journey into the world of needlework books and other areas.  Many years ago I discovered that needleworkers are avid readers and love historical novels, mysteries, children's books and more.  When it comes to books I'm very eclectic in my choices and devour books on many subjects.  I will include the books that I discovered thanks to staff, customers and myself to be too good to pass up.  If you have any favorites please let us know.  I love to include your favorite books. Give me a call at 1-800-429-5075 or e-mail me at: rkernbooks3@gmail.com

If you want to order a title call us at the above 800 number, e-mail us or feel free to send your order by mail at: Ruth Kern Books  P.O. Box 35366  Phoenix, AZ 85069.




Eakin, Jamie Cloud - Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects - We are lucky to get the instructions for this jewelry created by a beadworking superstar. She explains the fundamentals of beautiful design, from picking the beads to choosing a palette. Through 30 gorgeous step-by-step projects especially chosen to show principles of  construction, Jamie lays out the secrets of creating fringe, multi-strand, shaped, and other forms of beadwork. Her goal: to help beaders create their own jewelry built around unique focal pieces. She makes me want to get my own beads going.  Time!  I need a gift of more time!   $27.95 

Fitzgerald, Diane - Shaped Beadwork & Beyond: Dimensional Jewelry in Peyote Stitch - Here is another beading superstar. I've met Diane and was fortunate enough to handle her gorgeous beadwork.  I learned about her travels to South Africa to study Zulu and Xhosa beadwork, the Czech Republic, Germany and other countries to learn about the glass bead industry.  She has published 12 books and teaches across the United States and internationally.  Her new book builds on Diane's earlier book, Diane Fitzgerald's Shaped Beadwork and includes 40 stunning projects. In each chapter Diane explores a different shape - from starry necklaces and heart pins to a Pirate Eyes bracelet and she goes in exciting new directions with beautiful complex designs that play with patterns, crystals, and more.   $27.95 


Foster, Bruce, paper engineer - America's National Park - Pop-up Book - Enjoy our gorgeous national parks in spectacular three-dimensional scenes. This coast-to-coast journey features 18 of our most popular parks, six as stunning pop-ups - Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and Yosemite national parks by a master paper engineer. All pop-ups are done in the style of WPA posters by award-winning illustrator Dave Ember and dedicated the men and women of the National Park Service who protect these special places for future generations.  $34.95  

                                                   Grand Canyon Pop-up

Westing, Jemma, paper engineer/designer - Optical Illusions Pop-Up - This book is an astonishing pop-up of more than 50 mind-bending illusions that fool your brain into seeing what's not there with dazzling and colorful illustrations that will amaze you.  just lift the tab and turn the disks to learn the truth behind the illusions and discover how they work. You can even create your own pop-up illusion with a spectacular 3-D sculpture that changes from every angle.  $19.99  

Matheson, Christie - Tap the Magic Tree - This is a delightful, innovative picture book about the changing seasons and the magic and true interactivity of turning a page. The author invites the reader to tap, rub, touch, and wiggle illustrations to make an apple tree bloom, produce fruit, and lose its leaves.  Full color.  40 pages. $15.99

Children never get tired of alphabet books, in fact, I've discovered they are a favorite of the younger set.  With the holidays coming I thought I'd include some snazzy alphabets for kiddies and cat lovers of all ages.

Gallerani, Gabriella - Alpha Cat - Alpha cats are an elite breed they are cats with a pedigree (well most of them) and painted by scientific illustrator Gabriella Gallerari to be are honored in alphabetical order of breed.  Each great cat owns his (or her) own letter - around which to climb, hide, stretch, play, yawn or simply show off. Thus A is for Angora, B is for Bengal, C for Ceylon and so on. But Alpha cats are also the cats that have made history - literature, movies, cartoon, music, and gave happiness of writer's, scientists, kings and politicians.  $24.95 

Sobel, June - B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC - Nice to see an alphabet book that will hold the attention of little boys (girls welcome too!). This is an exhilarating alphabet board book for ages 1 -3. It is filled with trucks, bulldozers, forklifts and even a roller coaster!  $7.99

Ehlert, Lois - Eating the Alphabet - One of the author's best-loved books is now available in a sturdy, easy-to-hold paper edition for readers from kindergarten through Grade 2.  From the everyday apple to the exotic xiqua, colorful collages of fruits and vegetables delight the kiddies as they learn their ABC's/ The book is in full-color.  $6.95

Johnson, Stephen, T. - Alphabet City - This is an old favorite of mine first printed in 1999.  That early date tells us this book has become a favorite of many others.  I was first introduced to it by Caela Tyler, a great needlework teacher with a great imagination.  This author proposes a new look at the urban landscape, pointing out how letters appear in a variety of places from interstates to a simple sawhorse at a construction site. This is a Caldecott Honor book.  $6.99


Hoskins, Nancy Arthur - Universal Stitches for Weaving, Embroidery, And Other Fiber Arts - This interesting book is a text for either beginning or advanced fiber artists that teaches how five basic stitches, plus 195 of their variations and combinations work upon warp and fabric in functional and decorative ways. Part I: Identifies the five universal stitches and provides detailed diagrams and learning projects to mastering each. Part Two presents inspirational weaving, embroidery, and needlelace pieces for adventurous fiber artists who dare to mix techniques, and also presents ideas for combined stitch techniques, driven by ancient fabrics from Egypt, China and Peru. Part Three: focuses on how the five universal stitches can be applied to master interlacing, wrapping, looping, chaining, and knotting stitches with ease taught by this master fiber artist. She introduces an integrated method of learning stitches with a unique visual diagramming system that greatly simplifies the process of learning all 200 stitches for use in loom weaving, tapestry, and openwork, or as edges, joins, and fringes.  Nearly 100 full-color designs and samples.  $24.99 

Witney Antiques - Historic Samplers: What's in a Name? People & Places - I look forward to Witney's catalogs every year.  This year their catalog explores the forgotten details of the daily lives of the sampler makers hundreds of years ago.  As this catalog says in the forward, "who would suspect looking Eliza Manley's sampler that her father was Portland, Massachusetts first bank robber?"  Lots fascinating stories like this one.  Open this full-colored book and disappear into the lives of young sampler makers from all levels of society.  $32.00  

Chronicle Books - Stitch Encyclopedia: Embroidery - This is one volume in a number of stitch encyclopedias that Chronicle is releasing for various types of needlework. This book about embroidery stitches presents the fundamental stitches for needlecraft in simple, easy-to-follow color illustrations.  This encyclopedic, dip-in, dip-out approach is well-suited for beginners looking to build a foundation of stitch techniques as well as seasoned stitchers. $35.00 

Morimoto, Sachiko - Stumpwork Flowers - The author offers a modern prospective on the floral motifs that have been a stumpwork mainstay for centuries. It features 19 floral motifs and eight projects, the simplistic designs show off the author's mastery of this craft. ( Code:N13DLK)  The introductory section not only showcases the artistry of her stumpwork but includes step-by-step photos and illustrations of all the techniques used making this book suitable for embroiderers of all abilities.  Sachiko encourages us to take up stumpwork and the neat contemporary designs will draw readers in. Simplicity has a wonderful beauty of its own.  $24.95 

National Academy of Needlearts - A Needleart Judge's Reference - NAN took on this much needed project of judging needlework properly.  But it isn't only for judges - just think what you can learn to improve your own stitching.  The list of contributors (teachers & designers) is impressive.  All the material is presented in a readable and easy-to-use format from non-technique considerations:  such as color, design, matting, ethics through techniques, other skills and considerations such as writing a critique, artist statement, organizing a show and more.  This book has been well-received by needleworkers.  $29.95 

Vatsyayan, Kapila - Embroidery in Asia: Sui Dhaga: Crossing Boundries through Needle and Thread - It was hard to decide whether this belonged in Embroidery or History - actually both fit.  This volume compromises some of the essays  presented at one of the HC-Asia Project seminars by participants from Palestine, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Attention was drawn to the role of women who have demonstrated a high degree of creativity in needlework. Through the humble and ordinary needle and thread, they established many bridges of communication between and amongst cultures.  $49.95


Cooper, Tarnya, Ian W. Archer, Lena Cowen Orlin - Elizabeth I & Her People - The reign of Queen Elizabeth I spanned over 40 years, and was a time of economic stability with outstanding successes in the fields of maritime exploration and defending the country. This book explores the stories of those individuals whose achievements brought about those changes. It features many remarkable portraits of the queen and her courtiers, including sea captains and explorers.  $45.00 

Marshall, Rosalind - Mary Queen of Scots - Imprisoned in castles for 18 years, executed by her cousin, England's Elizabeth I, the story of Mary Queen of Scots (1542-1587) is the stuff of legend. With an innovative approach, the books uses jewels, textiles, furniture, documents and portraits to gain insights into Mary Stuart the sovereign and woman, and of this period in history. Drawn together are surviving relics intimately connected with Mary and wider Renaissance material from public and private collections.  $15.95 

Mortimer, Ian - The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century - Looking at the past as a foreign country, this guidebook allows readers to experience the Middle Ages as never before.  $26.00   He also did the same in another volume for Elizabethan England.  $27.95

Ian Mortimer Midevil England


Thanks to Edgar Allen Poe mysteries became popular. I don't think he lived long enough to enjoy the genre he created.  Today mysteries are one of the most popular type of fiction reading.  Years ago I started taking paperback mysteries to the ANG and EGA seminars for the bookstore.  This was so successful mysteries always are boxed with the needlework books and claim their own personal section.  Monica Ferris embroidery mysteries gave me the idea so I will start with her latest title.

Ferris, Monica - And Then You Dye - Betsy Devonshire, full-time owner of the Crewel World Needlework Shop and part-time sleuth, has hooked more than a few crooks in her USA Today bestselling Needlecraft Mysteries. Now Betsy learns the hard way that a murder is still a murder, any way it is presented.  We carry all her titles. $7.99

By the way, Monica is a wonderful guest speaker and is so funny when I had the pleasure of hearing her speak, I had tears of laughter in my eyes and a "stitch" in my side.

Hechtman, Betty - Yarn to Go: A Yarn Retreat Mystery - Dessert chef Casey Feldstein doesn't have a knitting needle from a crochet hook. But after her aunt dies unexpectedly, leaving Casey to run her yarn retreat business, the sweets baker finds herself rising to the occasion- and trying to unravel a murder mystery.  Book includes a knitting pattern and a recipe.  $7.99  We carry all her other titles as well. 


Logan, Kyle - Buttoned Up ( Button Box Mystery #4) - For Josie Giancola, owner of the Button Box shop, every button is a tiny work of art with its own story to tell - a story that just might end in murder. In this mystery, artist Forbis Parmenter has invited Josie to the opening of his latest exhibit of voodoo-inspired works. He plans to make a show of completing the centerpiece - a button encrusted statue - when Josie arrives with the final button. But at the big moment, Fobis bolts out of the gallery in panic.  Is it another of his publicity stunts, or is something more sinister afoot?  Josie gets her answer when the eccentric artist is found dead in the arms of a statue with his lips sealed with buttons.  $7.99 


This "corner" is for anybody who would like to share a favorite book.  This month I have reviewed The Printmaker's Daughter.  I found myself reading this historical novel set in 19th century Edo (Tokyo today) after several book friends praised it to the sky. At the time I heard about it I was reading Mr Timothy by Louis Bayard, (one of next month's reviews), the latest Oscar Wilde mystery (delicious) and The Crown, all based in either Victorian England or the reign of Henry the VIII.  I was on a roll with historical England and not thinking about historical Japan at all but I ordered myself a copy of The Printmaker's Daughter curious to see what all the hoorahs were about.  My mind being set in another place and time I had nearly convinced myself this wouldn't be my cup of tea.  As soon as it arrived I opened it to a very short Chapter I then flipped to Chapter II - Edo 1800. Before I finished that chapter I was hooked  which moved me to turn in a new reading direction and go against my current reading loves.

With Chapter II read I turned to the afterward in the back of the book to learn more about this wonderful writer and her piece, "Who was the printmaker's daughter?" My historical loving brain was captivated  by Katherine Govier's story of her research into the main characters of Hokusai, the great Japanese artist and his dutiful daughter, Oei, a gifted artist in her own right who was robbed of her place in the art world by her eccentric, autocratic father.  We must remember that in 19th century Edo no woman dared to go against a father or husband's wishes. Pleasing a man was a woman's role in life. A wealthy woman who displeased her husband could be banished to serve as a courtesan in a bordello for years.  It was a time of Shogunate rule, rulers who decided what books could be still printed and what art was acceptable.  Hokusai turned a deaf ear to many of these edicts and went his own way.  I loved the father and daughter visits to the Pleasure district and meeting poets, publishers, artists, and the women of the bordellos at this late 18th - early 19th century in Edo. 

Under Katherine Govier's skillful hand Oei and her times come to life with confident understanding of the culture and insight into a daughter's lowly place in the home even if she is her father's favorite.  We, in modern day America think we create ourselves when this book reminded me how we are still very much shaped by the times we were born into and where we were born, what level of society we are raised in and what family expects of us.  In Oei's case, an extremely difficult world for a female. 

This wonderful Canadian author has been rightly- rewarded by her country for this fine work of fiction. She is the winner of the Toronto Book Award, Canada's Marian Engel Award and has received the singing praises of a multitude of critics. Publisher's Weekly called her work, "brilliant, lyrical, absorbing and intense."  As for me her writing style including dialog never let me forget where I was - no false notes in the this novel that spoil the story.

Interestingly, I was writing about the Art Needlepoint Company when I discovered on their website they feature canvases of famous artists including Hokusai's famous "Waves"   I've included several prints I found on sites known to be by Oei. Today with the fancy technology available prints signed by Hokusai (he signed most everything that left his studio - his or not) are now being analyzed for brush strokes, theme, and color. More art historians have become convinced a number of prints done by Hokusai in his 80's are probably Oei's work.

                                                  Known Oei work

                                               By both Hokusai & Oei

Because of this wonderfully researched and fascinating story of two great Japanese artists I was able to appreciate Japanese art even more.  This book is available in paper for $14.99.


Doreen Finkel and I became acquainted by pbone when she called me about a new book for needlepointers she co-authored with Janet Perry,  Japanese Woodblocks.  What timing!  I was reading The Printmaker's Daughter and was becoming fascinated with Japanese art. Now I had an opportunity to enjoy this fine art in needlepoint.  Serendipity is definitely alive and well!  The more we spoke the more I realized we had a similar philosophy in business. I believe books are inspiration in print and picture form and Doreen believes inspiration lives in canvas and thread and great art. Whatever form inspiration takes it is the lifeblood of anyone in the arts whether needlepoint, literature, music, art.  I am convinced these arts are forever entwined.  If I hadn't become educated about Japanese Art through my reading I would have never fully appreciated their Japanese Woodblocks book available from us at $39.95

As Doreen herself told me, "Art Needlepoint Company was founded on the simple idea that art, like good design, should be available to everyone.  Our canvases represent a large variety of artists from nearly all centuries and genres. We like to think of the art of needlepoint as the ability to create maximum effect from a minimum of materials. With so much art work available across time, there is at least one if not dozens of works of art for every taste and every skill level. With a myriad of thread and stitch choices, stitchers can unleash their creativity to make each canvas their own."   

A second book is now available as well: How to Stitch Beginner Landscapes Realistically - $39.95.  What I love is there will eventually be a book for each category of canvases on their website so whatever type of art you delight in, you are sure to find an artist or painting to your taste.  How to choose? Doreen advises, "Pick whatever you are in the mood to do. Make sure you aim for getting emotionally involved.  Learn to trust your choices - go with what's in your heart - be creative in color and thread choices.  This is not about perfection - this is going on a creative journey called needlepoint. "   
Hokusai Landscape

We needlepointers are lucky. Two more books are on the horizon  around January - February of 2014 - In Bloom and  the second called, Animals. More   good news: Doreen and Janet are partnering with Rosalyn Cherry Soleil on a book about her journey in needlepoint as well as two international teachers.  Stay tuned for updates on future blogs.

Now, it's time to get another cup of tea and peruse The Art Needlepoint Company website at: www.artneedlepoint.com.   It is a sheer delight.  With all the artists they have available on canvas I am now ordering in books about them.   A WORD OF WARNING: You will get hooked! 

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