Sunday, April 26, 2015


MAY BLOG 2015 


If you never had children - it doesn't matter. We all had a mother to celebrate. And I discovered you can be a "mother stand-in" to someone who has been deserted by their own mom. I had the pleasure of being a "mother stand-in" for a young man I met at a nursing center when I was doing hospice volunteering. Tim suffered from M.D. and had been deserted by his parents. They never came to see him even though the facility he was in invited his parents a number of times and offered to pay for them to get there. They were too involved in themselves, getting the alcohol they needed and money for gambling to make a short trip.
      In spite of his background and circumstances, Tim was a personable and loving 13 year old (I met him on his 13th birthday.)  He had many interests including art and even though he was unable to move anything but two fingers he amazed everyone with his artistic ability. After making inquiries after the party I discovered Tim might live only two or three more years at most but lived to be thirty-two years old. I give Tim's love of life and positive attitude credit for his longevity.  We made an instant connection and I became his "stand-in mom".  Every Mother's day when I'm with my family we always talk about our missing family member. It wasn't different on the eve of Mother's Day with my son and his family and this Sunday when I was with my daughter, Donna, my granddaughter Brianna, daughter-in-law Laura and my little great granddaughter, Kinsey. She is now old enough to learn about Tim and understand he WAS a REAL member of our family. 
       There is always a person who needs a "stand-in mom. But I offer a bit of advice. If you get involved, you need to stick to that person knowing they can not be deserted again, that you have become their new family.
       Tim had never been to a wedding so Mark and I got married at Tim's facility with him being best man. Our friends and family and the staff loved it. A bit of happiness in the middle of of an institution dealing with great sorrow was so uplifting for all.  Family's should be about empathy and love. Tim might not have received that from his own family but somehow he deep inside he knew love existed and my family proved to him it did.
       I was with Tim when he died. Mark came and my grandson Danny who had spent a summer being a volunteer for him drove after work to be with him.  Everyone was at his funeral.  And his urn was placed in the niche next to my parents and Mark and I will be on his other side someday.  A family should be forever.

There is lots more to Tim's story.  I'd like to share what we all learned from him with you at some future date. Thanks for listening.


If you look closely at the upcoming month of August 15 you will notice that month will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens only once every 823 years! The Chinese call it "Silver pockets full." Whatever you call it enjoy all the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I'm not planning on being here in 2838 so I'm definitely going to celebrate!


Human beings are born collectors, probably something in the DNA. So I'm sure many of you who are reading this are collectors of something you value. I have my own collections - pop-up books, family photos, angels, camels and I am the proud owner  of Tim's collection of crosses he got as gifts over the years. 

Lores Klingbeil, a needleworker, book collector and friend recently introduced me to an ultimate collector, Joanna S. Rose who, for over sixty years, has amassed a collection of red-and-white quilts. a number of them dating back to to the early 19th century. But don't call Joanna a collector, she'll deny that. She calls herself an "accumulator". If fact, when she was asked how many quilts she had accumulated she thought maybe seventy. Wrong! Her "accumulation" was actually at 651 quilts.  She was shocked.

In 2011 when she was going to turn 80 her husband asked what she would like for her birthday. She told him two things: "Something I'd never seen before and a gift to New York." What she had never seen in its entirety was her quilt collection. Her husband did her proud. He rented the 55,000 square foot space of Manhattan's Wade Thompson Drill Hall at the Armory in New York for about ten days. Hosted by the American Folk Art Museum, "Infinite Variety: Three-centuries of Red and White Quilts this mind-blowing display of Joanna S. Rose's quilts was laid out in a strikingly modern

design carried out by Thinc Design, a New York firm that was responsible for the interiors of the National September 11 Memoria and Museum and the Beijing Olympic Games Pavilion. What a husband! Her gift to New York: This exhibit was free to the public. The public who crowded enmass to see this spectacular exhibit and Mrs. Rose herself got to see her entire "accumulation."  At least they saw the accumulation to date.  She is still acquiring.

Lasco, Linda Baxter and Ann M. Hazelwood - Red, White and Quilted - Twelve traditional patterns drafted from a private collection of antique red-and-white quilts become a dozen fresh ways to enjoy the combination of colors. Apply today's quiltmaking techniques and add quilting designs from some of today's best machine and longarm quilters for a spectacular finish! Included are complete instructions for each wall hanging to full-size pattern along with thoughts from the renowned quilters to inspire your own quilting solutions. A gallery of even more red-and-white beauties tops off this book.  $22.95

American Quilter's Society - Redwork for Quilts - Originally known as Penny Squares, these blocks are little pieces of history that work in modern quilts. Each of these 59 redwork embroidery designs can be used as a quilt block. Versatile designs to applique, embellish, or quilt.  $12.95

Cribbs, Tricia - Redwork Quilts -book 2 - Four vintage redwork designs - the author reminds us that it is good to look back at photos and remember childhood things.  She hopes these designs bring back precious memories of your own childhood days.  $10.95

McCall's Quilting - Red, White and Sometimes Blue - From the pages of McCall's Quilting, these beautiful projects bring a new freshness to favorite color combinations. Enjoy 17 sparkling designs that you can turn to when looking for traditional, pretty projects of great value.  $24.95

Shay, Joan - Redwork Embellished - This book takes historic outline embroidery to a 21st-century level. Redwork and its lesser-known sisters, blue, black, gold, and greenwork has come into the modern era. Our author combines light, lovely pattern designs with simple embroidery stitches and fun, easy, Appli-bond three-dimensional work. This book gives quilters a new tool for jazzing up everything from pillows to wall hangings. Choose from 13 projects featuring flowers, single-color themes, multi-colored designs, and more. Combine them to start a medallion center for a full-size quilt or scatter individual designs throughout your home for bright bursts of color.  $24.95

Storm, Dolores - Happiness and Cheer Redwork Through the Year - This book is a seriously cute collection of redwork embroidery designs that capture all the joy of the holidays and seasons that celebrate Halloween, Christmas, Easter, May Day, Thanksgiving, and five more events and occasions youngsters have always adored. Each fun design uses only one or two easy embroidery stitches and can be worked in your favorite floss color -- redwork doesn't have to be red! Our instructions also show you how to give your stitched piece an authentic folk-art look.  $9.95

Zonder, Laura - Sew Red - This is more than just an inspirational sewing book. It's an appeal to women to take charge of their heart health to prevent heart disease. With dozens of gorgeous fashion, home, and accessory projects, and designers who share their own personal experience with heart disease, there are also tips for keeping your heart fit.  $22.95

Storm, Dolores - Work and Play: Redwork Through the Day - This book presents 10 whimsical embroidery designs of youngsters romping and playing games, and doing chores. These irresistible playful designs are from Dolores Storm of who has been winning the hearts of stitchers everywhere with her folk-art portrayals of childhood.  $9.95

To learn more about red in stitching don't forget the classic book by
Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn - #19 Red - part of their wonderful series on stitching and textiles - They show the color red in its many shades and hues provides the focus for a range of inspirational samples from diverse and unexpected sources. Readers will be encouraged to record observations, and from these, create their own stunning pieces of work.  $21.95


Harvey, Tamsin - Constantinople Quilts - Travel to an exotic land with timeless designs inspired by Turkish Iznik tiles from the Ottoman Empire. Bursting with flora and organic symmetry, the book's exquisite fusible applique projects will inspire you. Your journey begins with the basics - choosing the right fabric, threads, and needles for hand-stitched or machine applique. Newer or busy quilters can start with table runners or bags and work their way up to the author's stunning master quilts. Photos enhances eight patterns that effortlessly go from ancient places to contemporary spaces.  $29.95

Hughes, Val - Felt and Fibre Art: A practical guide to making beautiful felted artworks - Val Hughes' collections showcase their versatility including stunning panels, wearable arts, wall hangings, bags, jewellery and accessories. She explains how to use your senses and emotions as an inspiration for your own textile artwork, and how to use wool and water to bring them into reality as felt. Each collection is explored through themed galleries of her inspirational wearable art alongside step by step projects for you to try.  $35.00

Nikipirowicz, Anna - Twenty to Make Crocheted Purses - Crochet is amazingly popular, arguably overtaking knitting as one of the hottest craft trends. The author works for Rowan Yarns as a designer and is well-known in crocheting circles. Her designs are stylish, desirable and a modern take on vintage purses, using a variety of yarns and different crochet stitches. $9.95

Quinn, Sue - How to Sew Little Felt Animals: Bears, Rabbits, Squirrels and Other Woodland Creatures - For over 30 years Sue Quinn has designed gorgeous little felt animals that appeal to both adult collectors and children. Now she would like to share her master secrets. Colorful, strong and easy to use, felt is the perfect material to make this collection of charming classic woodland animals. Follow the clear step-by-step instructions to create a group of endearing little creatures that you will want to make and keep.  $17.95  Due in July

Rowe, Rachael - Christmas Stockings - Talented designer and expert sewer, Rachael Rowe, has created twenty Christmas stockings for you to make in a wide variety of styles; shabby chic, country style, modern and sophisticated, traditional and more. The techniques required are all shown with step by step photos at the beginning, then each project has full step by step instructions and selected step photos, with beautiful, styled photographs of the finished stockings. All the templates needed are provided.  $12.95

Search Press - A-Z of Crewel Embroidery - Search Press brought the rights to the A-Z books and is bringing them back in full-color but now very affordable. This comprehensive guide to crewel embroidery contains all the embroiderer needs to know to work dozens of stitches, and includes full advice on everything from choosing the wools, fabrics, and the tools required along with a multitude of tips to help get you started.  Full size patterns included and over 500 step by step photos.  $19.95

Search Press - A-Z of Needlepoint - This book encompasses 65 stitches, including the most popular and commonly known, cross stitch and tent stitch, with easy to follow instructions and over 1200 step by step photos. Included is up-to-date information about fabrics, threads and tools along with dozens of helpful hints makes this book a must have addition to any needleworker's library.  $19.95 

Search Press - A-Z of Whitework - I was so glad to find out this was among the A-Z books being released in June as I get calls for this book all the time. This book encompasses Candlewicking, Mountmellick, Cut Work, Applique, Shadow Work and Net Embroidery. All techniques are shown in over 1000 step-by-step photos. Loads of tips and fascinating historical information is included.  $19.95

New Sampler Designs from Brenda Keyes

Brenda brings us sampler lovers two new delightful patterns to stitch. 

The first is called "Plant Wisdom Sampler" - the verse reads: If happiness be your pursuit, Plant wisdom and enjoy the fruit." This lovely sampler in rich in colors with lots of interesting motifs including a large willow tree, a pretty potted inner border, and a bold row of colorful houses. The design size: 16 3/4x 16 3/4 inches.  The stitch count is: 235 x 235.  The skill level is intermediate. Extra alphabets and numerals are included in the pack to allow you to personalize the design.  $19.00

Second is her Cuckoo Sampler - This sampler is third in the series of her The English Folk Song Range. The verse reads: "Oh cuckoo is a pretty bird. She sings as she flies. She brings us glad tidings, and she tells us no lies." The design size is: 13 1/4 x 9 1/2 inches. Skill level is intermediate. This is a beautiful colorful design full of pictorial interest.  $19.00

Just a Reminder about classic books

The Autopsy of the Montenegrin Stitch - Exhumed by Amy Mitten is a small spiral-bound book that includes over 100 stitch diagrams to help you work this complicated stitch. Whether you are working the stitch horizontally, vertically, diagonally or around corners, this book has a detailed stitch diagram to assist you. The montenegrin stitch is a reversible stitch and this revised (exhumed) version has instructions for the traditional methods, reversible to four-sided-stitch method and a double-sided method. This book has received grand reviews over the years.  $36.00

The Bible of Illuminated Letters: A Treasury of Decorative Calligraphy - Margaret Buczek - I love this book full of the ancient art of illuminating manuscripts that is attracting new
enthusiasts among artists, art students, and lovers of calligraphy. The author, a professional calligrapher, shares her knowledge with us step-by-step in this full-color book. Learn to make illuminated alphabets from historical periods including Celtic, Gothic, and Romanesque in both upper and lower case letters. She also includes ideas for borders and decorations, and full instructions for gilding. Inside spiral-bound.  $24.99


I've been collecting pop-up books for years and never get tired of perusing them.  Each time I discover something new on the pages. I'm amazed how clever paper engineering has become since the first pop-ups popped on the scene about 150 years ago. Today a number of pop-ups even include sound and light. What I'm thrilled to report these fabulous artistic books are finally getting the attention they deserve at book fairs. This year for the first time, a dozen pop-up book fairs have been organized by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers. The events began in April. I am so excited these books are now "popping up" in a wide variety of such book fairs so booklovers who have limited access to pop-ups now will have the chance to view them at their leisure.

There's another part to this story. The booksellers at each venue will be collecting donations of behalf of UNESCO's South Sudan Literacy Project. A donation of $3.00 sends one book to a child in South Sudan. A $15.00 donation purchases a set of 12 school books for a classroom, and $500.00 provides 45 school book collection for a rural community. This event is spreading world wide.  How wonderful is that!  Remember that pop-ups especially the very early ones are extremely rare. Most of these book are purchased for kiddies and little fingers tend to be very harsh on the moving parts so when you purchase used pop-ups check every page to make sure all the parts are there.

In case you would like to collect pop-ups yourself or purchase them for friends or family I've included a variety of modern pop-ups - still available to purchase. I tried to pick a selection of collectible pop-ups that might whet your interest and I feel might stand the test of time.  

Carter, David A. - Love Bugs: A Pop-Up Book - Love is in the air with this mini-edition of Carter's bestselling "Love Bugs". This pop-up book is like a small box of Valentine chocolates, and the book's appealing heart shape sits nicely on a shelf.  All color.  $6.99

Cestro, Dario  and Paula Zaffoli - The Treasures of Venice Pop-Up - The Marvels of Venice, a magical city suspended like a dream between water and sky. As you venture into this world of magic, you will discover the most famous monuments: Rialto Bridge, St Mark's Bascilia, Ca'de Oro, Doge's Palace, Santa Mari delia Salute, Gran Teatro.  All are described in simple words so children can enjoy this book as well as adults. $22.50

Fischer, Chuck - Christmas Around the World: A Pop-Up Book - Master pop-up artist Chuck Fischer's most glorious creation yet, featuring Christmas in France, Germany, Russia, Latin America, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Italy and the U.S. Includes removable booklets and a functional advent calendar. $30.00

Fischer, Chuck - Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book - Fischer's richly painted depictions of the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, are brought to life in intricate pop-up scenes by paper engineer Bruce Foster.  $30.00

Gruelle, Johnny and Kees Moerbeek
- Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees Pop-Up - Master paper engineer Kees Moerbeek has seamlessly adapted Gruelle's most popular story and original art to create this fun world in three dimension.  $29.99

Komarck, Michael - Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up to Westeros - Follow the action of the TV show from the opening credits with this clever, detailed pop-up book that's packed with "Game of
Thrones" factoids and unexpected surprises. This book is an engineering feat. The famous pop-up designer, Matthew Christian Reinhart has put his skills into action.  $65.00

McCarthy, Watson and Courtney McCarthy - M.C. Escher Pop-Ups - Specially created pop-ups explore the marriage of art and mathematics in Escher's popular work. These marvelous paper constructions allow us to appreciate in new ways the artist's impossible geometry and his themes of infinity and paradox. The book also features quotes from Escher on the original pieces of art as well as reproductions of a number of his other works.  $29.95

Price, Denise - Freedom Trail Pop-Up Book of Boston - The author's debut is this creation of this pop-up. Ms. Price is a self-taught paper engineer and illustrator who has crafted the
city of Boston's first ever historical pop-up book.  $29.99

Sabuda, Robert - The Little Mermaid: A Pop-Up Adaptation of the Classic Fairy Tale - Sabuda is the King of pop-ups and this is one of his finest. This book has been called a fantastic under-the-sea tale is now a pop-up masterpiece with amazing three-dimensional paper structures that pop off each page.  $29.99

Sabuda, Robert and Matthew Reinhart - Encyclopedia Prehistorica Sharks and Other Sea Monsters - In this companion volume to their "Encyclopedia Prehistoria Dinosaurs" (which we can order) these pop-up masters explore the prehistoric underwater world, where monsters like megalodon rules the waves.  $29.00

Ug, Philippe - Pop-Up Op-Art: Vasarely - This pop-up celebrates artist Victor Vasarely that will delight readers of all ages. Widely accepted as the "Father of Op-Art" he worked his entire life to create mesmerizing works that were both visually
complex and accessible. This artist's creations spring to life in delicate and vibrant three-dimensional forms that trick the eye and excite the imagination.  $29.95

Whately, Bruce and Chris Beatrice - Aesop's Fables: A Pop-Up Book of Classic Tales - This great pop-up rendition of a classic collection includes, "The Tortoise and the Hare", "The Goose
that Laid the Golden Egg", and eight other tales vividly illustrated and expertly engineered.  $27.99

Good News!  There are also pop-up cards and invitations available to add a sparkle to your invites:

Jacobs, Michael - Cards That Pop-Up, Flip and Slide - A few simple cuts and folds are all it takes to create over twenty cards and envelopes with moveable parts. From pop-up trees to flipping leaves and sliding message panels, the mechanism that makes these cards spectacular are easy to re-create or adapt to whatever suits your fancy! Everything you need to get started is inside, including clear instruction, easy-to-follow patterns and introductory information on tools, materials and techniques. Each card will fit inside a standard A-2 or #10 envelope. Tips, tricks and ideas for personalization help you create unique cards that will be remembered for a long time to come.  $23.99

Mathon, Maurice - Pop-Up Cards and Invitations - This book includes 15 pre-printed, ready to cut designs with detailed instructions and full-sized patterns for birthdays, holidays, special events, invitations, and greeting cards. You can make your own colorful pop-ups by simply scoring, folding and gluing ordinary papers and card stock.  $14.95

Parragon - Bonnie Marcus Collection Shaped Pop-Up Notes - This tin contains 20 "pop-up" cards, printed with an irresistible combination of distinctive illustrations from stationery-sensation Bonnie Marcus and uplifting quotes to brighten your day.  Simply fold the cards in half to "pop-up" your design.  $8.99

If you want to make your own pop-ups:

Jackson, Paul - The Pop-Up Book: Step-By-Step Instructions for Creating Over 100 Original Paper Projects - For all levels of artistry, here's a clear and practical guide to the magical craft of three-dimensional and moving books. Illustrated with full-color photography. It includes easy-to-follow steps and outlines techniques for greater personal experimentation. More than 500 color photos and templates.  $25.99

Needles: Mightier Than the Sword  

Needles are so common today we don't spend much time thinking about them except what type we need to use for a particular needlework project and making sure we don't prick a finger while searching for one. I've decided to call the needle mightier than the sword because a needle can create great works of art or mend things while swords are used to destroy lives.

Michelle Hufford, owner of Come to the Point Needlepoint Boutique, sent me her article on needles that I've included below. We had been talking needles - We decided needles were one of the most important inventions in human history. Because of needles we are dressed, homes are decorated and books were bound to name just a few of the great happenings that were possible due to the needle. Her article explains just how valuable a needle was:

" Nowadays, if a needle is no longer usable, we think nothing of tossing it and pulling a new one out of the packet. Since a packet of ten needles costs no more than three dollars putting a rusty or broken one in the trash won't set back our budgets. We all have a plethora of things anyone, so what's one fewer?

I recently reread the fabulous article on the history of needles in the September 2010 issue of Needlepointers. It was quite an eye-opener. In times past, such callous treatment of the household's prized possession was unthinkable! The singular is used intentionally. Many upper-class households owned just one needle, which was bequeathed in the will. A primary duty of the Lady of the house was to ensure that the needle was kept intact, sharp, and rust-free. Doing so was quite an undertaking. Poorer families would have shared one needle among them. 

The article outlines methods of storing needles through the ages. Needle cases were made of everything from bone, to bronze to velvet. Emery-filled strawberry shaped pincushions became popular in the early 19th century, and are still available.

Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques, we have many styles of needles available, most of which are reasonably priced."

Thanks Michelle. Now I'd like to add how the Japanese do justice to celebrating the needle. Every year, for over 400 years,  the Festival of Broken Needles (Hari-Kuyo) is celebrated on the 8th of February.  During this festival women come together at a shrine bringing the needles broken during the previous year to give them a sacred final resting place. 

The ladies, all dressed out in kimonos, stick the needles into a block of tofu that is said to soothe the needles after their years of hard labor. After prayers to the Sea Gods and a blessing by the priest, these carefully wrapped needles are sent to their final resting place. In a show of respect no sewing is done that day. The women pray that the energy and power of the needles come to them for the coming year so their work may improve. Why do they do this? The Japanese believe all objects have a soul, that these objects receive part of our soul when we use them. A woman's deepest secrets are shared with the needles as they use them. How fascinating! (discount code: MY15)

I think we should take a second look at our needles and perhaps remember them in special ceremony celebrating all the pleasure they give us.

As far as keeping them secure, I'd like to recommend the Needle Index. What I love about this little spiral-bound book storage system is that it allows us to store our needles according to size and usage.  How handy is that!  $9.95
Inside the Needle Index Book


In case you are not familiar with Ruth Kern Books I'd like to introduce you to our business. We've been in the needlework book business for over 23 years. We have been responsible for setting up bookshops for the ANG and EGA for over 21 years.

We offer a free out-of-print search and stock lots of out-of-print books at our shop. If you are searching for a title give us a try.

We have a website that is being updated this year but is still plenty useable.

Questions? Call us Monday through Saturday toll-free: 1-800-429-5075 between 9 am to 6 pm Arizona time. (we are the people who don't ever change our clocks.) I love hearing from you. I always have time for book lovers. Or if you rather use the computer e-mail me at: or  To reach me by mail: Ruth Kern Books 7235 N. 9th Avenue. Phoenix, AZ 85021.

IMPORTANT! Don't forget to locate the discount code in this blog that gives you a 20% discount on any book you order from us.

Have a great life!  Keep plenty of time for stitching and reading!

Thursday, April 9, 2015




Berry, Jennifer Ford - Organize Now!  Our author is a life organization expert for over thirteen years. She reminds us that clutter has a cost. It steals your storage space, robs your time and energy and takes away the peace and beauty of your home. This updated and expanded edition of this bestselling book features even more quick, effective organizing ideas. Long-term goals help keep the clutter away for the moths and years to follow, so you can maintain the order you create. Find help with everything from time management and routines to mental clutter (I like that term! It's also called monkey brain.0, paperwork, pets, purses, rooms and life events. So don't let piles of paperwork (guilty!), overflowing closets and overbooked schedules drain your resurces and energy anymore.  The book is 6"x 8" in size, inside spiral- bound for easy-use and set up as a week-by-week guide.  $16.99


I've included a selection of books on tea, teapots and serving tea with an emphasis on teapots. What started me down this teapot path was my discovery of a new mystery series that features teapots. The bestselling author, Amanda Cooper ( a pseudonym), has written other mystery series: Vintage Kitchen and The Merry Muffin Mysteries under the name, Victoria Hamilton. Now she tackles antique teapots. Amanda Cooper, herself, enjoys collecting vintage kitchen, old books, teacups, teapots and other ephemera so she writes what she knows. Sounds like an interesting person to me. She loves to hear from her readers so if you are into her interests read one of her books and get in touch. The two titles in the series now available are:

Tempest in a Teapot - When her fashionable Manhattan restaurant goes under, Sophie Taylor retreats to her grandmother's cozy shop, Auntie Rose's Victorian Teahouse, where serenity is steeped to perfection in one of her many antique teapots. But underneath this pretty exterior are old tensions and rivalries and unfortunately a death. Now Sophie has to bag a killer before another guest gets on the hit list.  $7.99

Shadow of a Spout - While avid teapot collector, Rose Freemont is at the International Teapot Collector's Society, Sophie is minding the tea house. Rose is eager for Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China. When Zunia declares the pot is a fake, Rose is really steamed. When Zunia is found dead beside Rose's dinged -in teapot, Sophie must find the real killer before her grandmother is accused of the crime.  $7.99

A novel came to my attention about teacups I couldn't resist.
Greene, Vanessa - The Vintage Teacup Club - When a young bride comes across a beautiful vintage tea set at an outdoor market in the English countryside, she's convinced it's fake. But two other women have fallen in love with it, too. So they come up with a solution: they'll share it. The women establish a sisterhook, sharing the ups and downs of their lives and banding together through it all.  $15.00

That was fun but lets get down to tea and teapots.  Tea is my favorite beverage - all kinds of tea from Irish Breakfast to Silver Needle. I drink caffeinated tea for breakfast and then switch to non-caffeinated for the rest of the day and evenings and experiment with new teas constantly. I do have a small collection of teapots but nothing that compares to others who have a real passion for this intriguing and useful object. What would a tea party be like without a great teapot?

The Victorians knew how to enjoy tea and took time every afternoon for tea.  This was such an important ritual that famous painters during that era put this classic event on canvas. Because of these gorgeous paintings we have a compelling history this wonderful leisure time I wish we could all still participate in. 

I love to take teas at hotels and tea shoppes and imagine what it must have been like to take tea in the Victorian era.  What always leads me to ask the question what happened to our leisure time? From early morning to late evening we are all so busy. I decided to get off this merry-go-round and think I've found a way to jump off without giving up housework, relationships, my writing, and my beloved business.

Believe me it wasn't genius that got me here. I got pushed to the maximum level of stress, letting events and things control me. I then found myself sitting in my doctor's office with an irregular heartbeat that turned out (fortunately) to be from stress. My only prescription was to discover why I never left any time for me and what to do about it.  So I've worked in some stress releasers: walking my little dog, Buddy, first thing in the morning.  Happy dog and happy me listening to the birds sing, enjoying the flowers, trees and people on my path. (And I thought I didn't have TIME for that!) I also made a journey, with friends, to The Japanese Garden, a short ten minutes from my house, a garden I wanted to visit for years, but thought I didn't have TIME for. I plan to revisit this oasis in Phoenix many times and take the TIME to enjoy a tea ceremony as well.  I now meditate at lunch time, something I felt guilty about doing and shouldn't take Time for. The result of these changes: I get my work done the same as always!  Wow! A door has opened to a new life-style. It may not be the Victorian leisurely afternoon tea times but this works for me.  And no more irregular heartbeat.  

Teapots have taken an important place in my new lifestyle.  These lovely objects are my reminder to cool it, take time off to enjoy the natural world and my friends. When I find myself slipping backwards to the hussle and bustle (Type A) attitude, I grab a teapot and make a cup of tea to think about why I'm stressing and how I could plan what I need to do better. 

While I was working on this blog and researching tea books I discovered something I never knew - there is a teapot museum in this country housed in Trenton, Tennessee!  This museum is due to one man's passionate collecting of teapots over 525 of them are on display. Dr. Frederick C. Freed was born in Trenton, Tennessee in 1889 was an avid traveler. During these trips he began collecting veilleuses-theireres (nightlight teapots).

If you are like me you're asking yourself - what's a veilleuses-theirers teapot?  I discovered in the information on the mueseum that this kind of teapot found its way into this world in the 18th century when ceramists in Europe began producing a device to use in sickrooms and nurseries. The veilleuse started out as a simple, utilitarian warming dish set atop a pedestal containing a shallow dish of oil. When the oil was lit the flame shone through the translucent sides of the pedestal producing a soft night light-effect. Artist's began producing more decorative containers for tea and beverages. 

His private collection of these pots that date from 1750 to 1860 is the largest in the world.  His brother encouraged him to donate his collection to their hometown which he eventually did.  When a new Municipal Building was constructed Dr. Freed had a special display case built to permanently house this collection. Over 3,000 visitors annually come to see the collection.  But it doesn't end there. Trenton now calls itself a "TEA-RRIFIC" place to live!  Annually, every May the town holds a Teapot Festival. 

Guess what I put on my bucket list to visit?   Trenton, TN. Maybe we'll see each other there. By the way, if the Municipal Building is locked when you get there - no problem! Just mosey next door to the Fire Department and ask for the key.  Thank you Dr. Frederick C. Freed!

There is plenty more information on these teapots on the web:

But for now I hope you will join me in a cup of tea and enjoy perusing all the books I've included in this blog.

Hatch, Kathleen - A Teacup Collection: Paintings of Porcelain Treasures - In painting as pretty as the porcelain they depict, this gift book celebrates one of the finest teaup collections in the world: the 300 piece archive of the Clark Art Institute, which dates back to the eighteenth century and presents coveted designs of the day from Europe and China. Artist Molly Hatch, with exclusive access to this largely unviewed collection, pored over the details of each cup to create this visual treat. Including page after page of paintings of the cups, and led off by introductory essays, this is both an intriguing relfection on the art of collecting and an utterly charming gift for tea dreingks and teacup collectors.  $16.95

Meliach, Dona Z - Teapots: Makers and Collectors - Dive into the tantalizing, eye-catching objects that are called teapots, though tea is not necessarily their purpose. Meet 227 artist and think sculpture. Our author tackles the burgeoning activity of teapot making and collecting with over 450 dazzling color images of teapots, from fourteen countries. Some of the ceramic, silver, mixed metals, glass, wood, and paper teapots are not functional, but they are fun. Even teapots made of soft materials and techniques associated with wearable clothes, such as wrapping, weaving, quilting, and crochet are presented.  $49.95

Okakura, Kakuzo - The Book of Tea; A Japanese Harmony of Art, Culture and the Philosophy of a Simple Life - This book was originally done 99 years ago and was made to be read aloud by the author at Isabella Stewart Gardner's famous salon in 1906 in Boston. The story of how he came to write one the 20th century's most influential books on art, beauty, and simplicity all steeped in the world's communal cup of tea. His incredible journey took him from Yokohama to new York, Paris, Bombay, and Boston, where his life intertwined with such luminaries as Rabindranath Tagore, John Siner Sargent, Henry James, John La Farge, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse. His writings influenced the work of such artists as Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keeffe.  $7.95

Peltier, Warren - The Ancient Art of Tea: Discover Happiness and Contentment in a Perfect Cup of Tea - The author is the Director of the Chuan Ming Chadao Tea Culture Research Center and is a well-known expert. he brings us a look at the philosophy, history, and culture of tea in China. The health benefits of tea, from green tea to white, oolong and black teas, are well known today. How to create the perfect, healthy cup of tea is a process few people truly understand making this book a needed guide. Making a perfect cup of tea is a dynamic process that requires the right environment, good spring water, a suitable fire to boil water, skill in steeping tea, and deep understanding of tea connoisseurship.

Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales (UK) - With stories to enchant readers of all ages, these fairy tales pull you into their own magical words. From twists on the classic fairy tales of old to completely new fairy tales, let these charming fairy tales sweep you away into the realm of fantasy. With 35 stories, including 2 poems, written by 21 different authors, this book is a wonderful collection of short stories, each story just long enough to enjoy with a cup of tea.  $8.99

Souter, Keith - The Tea Cyclopedia: A Celebration of the World's Favorite Drink - Learn all about tea rooms, growing and drinking to reading tea leaves and making a great cup of tea. This book is an indispensable reference for anyone interested in all things tea. Commencing each chapter with insightful quotes, it not only captures the historical beginnings of this beloved drink, but also explores tea's involvement in politics, health, the economy, and even fortune-telling.  $19.95

Woodhead, Steve - The Teapot Book - This book is for today's potter who wants to tackle this critical piece in their artistic development. Rich illustrated, this highly practical book will be invaluable for students, professional potters, teapot collectors, and all fans of the teapot.  $59.95


For all the sampler lovers out there (and I'm one of them) some delicious new sampler books have come available:

Newell, Aimee E. - A Stitch in Time - This book has been referred to as an extraordinarily rich piece of scholarship. This in-depth analysis of samplers, quilts, and textile arts created by aging women in antebellum America reveals how they used needlework as a key tool to visually express their deep feelings and values. Each chapter explores a theme and is full of personal details, beautiful illustrations, and rich evidence that supports the author's findings. (mary15)

Tarrant, Naomi - Remember Now Thy Creator - This is a wonderful new book about Scottish Samplers from the National Museum of Scotland - The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. If you've been into samplers for a number of years you will recognize Naomi Tarrant as an expert in this field. The time span covers the first emergence of a specific Scottish style 1700 and ends with the introduction of the 1872 Education Act, which made schooling a local government responsibility and led to the downplay of samplers. $42.00

Caughley, Vivien - New Zealand's Historic Samplers: Our Stitched Stories - This is a unique glimpse of New Zealand's cultural history thrugh more than 80 samplers. This book includes samplers by colonial women as well as those who stitched samplers during WWII, and finishes with the 1990 Globe Theatre project involving 500 embroiderers around New Zealand. I'm working hard to get this into the states so stay tuned.  I'm not sure of the retail price yet.  

If you want more information on samplers and sampler making the following is a list of classic books to help you out.

Andrele, Patricia and Lesley Rudnicki - Sampler Motifs and Symbolism - This is a book every sampler lover should own. It gathers and lists alphabetically the motifs found on American and European samplers of earlier centuries, to illustrate or describe their motifs as an aid in their identification and to give the motifs symbolic meaning and, when possible, the sources of those meanings. This book also provides present-day sampler makers with assistance in choosing motifs with symbolism appropriate to the theme they are employing or occasion they are celebrating.  Our authors also include a reproduction of a Scottish Sampler plus four new traditional samplers with complete graphs and instructions for each.  $34.95

Bennett, Eileen - The Evolution of Samplers - This is an embroidery and sampler time line with 262 entries and annotations that cover a 400 year history of sampler making. 29.95

Bennett, Eileen - The Red Book of Sampler Stitches - Who better than a sampler expert and designer show us wonderful sampler stitches to use in our own work?  Plenty of graphed stitches to chose from.  $29.95

Embroidery Guild of America - Elizabeth Muir Sampler - This sampler dated April 28, 1831 is part of EGA collection of needlework.  The sampler includes two alphabets, several bands and twenty-seven different motifs.  The stitches used are cross-stitch over two linen threads some cross stitch over one linen thread, back sttich, satin stitch, diagonal satin stitch, Algerian eyelets, straight stitch, ray stitch, half cross stitch, closed herringbone and a diagonal herringbone variation.  $28.95

Fall, Cheryl - Simply Samplers: Easy Techniques for Hand Embroidery - This author of thirteen books and two thousand articles on embroidery and crafts brings the sampler into the twenty-first century with 16 beautiful contemporary designs for sampler art using cross-stitch, surface, counted-thread, and free-style embroidery that includes instructions and diagrams for each technique.  $19.95


At the end of this month The Needlepoint book: New, Revised and Updated Third Edition by Jo Ippolito Christsenen will  finally make its debut on April 28th. This is the much enlarged version of what needleworkers refer to as "The Black Bible".  She includes information on new fibers, updated information on materials, as well as how to work and care for them; dozens of new stitches; and diagrams and stitch guides for select projects included in book. Also featured are thirty-two pages of color photos with all-new projects and a new ribbon stitch chapter.  $60.00.  Don't forget use the code and get a 20% discount.  

Goldsmith, Becky - The Quilter's Practical Guide to Color: Includes 10 Skill-Building Projects - Learn how every quilt has a foreground and a background, how to use clear versus gray colors - plus other essentials that will shake up your design process. Put your new color skills to the test with 10 pieced and appliqued projects designed to focus on specific aspects of color. With visual examples used to explain all color topics, this go-to guide will give you an edge when it comes to quilt design.  $29.95

Ribbonwork Flowers: 132 Garden Embellishments - Beautiful Designs for Flowers, Leaves and More - Gather, twist, and stitch an array of lfowers from elegant ribbons and lace. Readers will learn clever twists on vintage ribbonwork, construction, plus hand-sewing basics and an overview of techniques. Fashion your own floral arrangements from interchangeable petals and leaves, two never-before-seen stem designs, and wrappable centers. A gallery of bouquets will inspire you to craft realistic blooms, embellished with fruit, flourishes, and garden accessories. From Single-stem posies to bountiful bouquets, this has something for everyone.  $26.95

McPeak, Cecile and Rachael Martin - Pincushion appeal: Patterns for Pincushions to Make You Smile - This came out several years ago but a customer's request reminded me of it and I decided to include it here. With tille time and materials, anyone can create these distinctive pincushions, learn clever ways to embellish, and create a  work of art that has lasting appeal.  $16.99

Haxell, Kate - Sew-licious Little Things - Our author includes 35 gorgeous little projects inspired by byzakka, a Japanese term for finding beauty in the ordinary, and for objects that have meaning and that bring happiness to their owner. Wonderful objects to brighten your home space from a mug cozy and ovengloves to a bookmark. She also includes totes, purses, washbags, cases for cell phones, laptop and keys and more.  $21.95. 


Andersen, Laura - The Virgin's Daughter: A Tudor Legacy - This is the first book in a great new saga about the next generation of Tudor royals, which poses the thrilling question: What if Elizabeth I, the celebrated Virgin Queen, gave birth to a legitimate heir?  $15.00

Gaynor, Hazel - A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers - This is the unforgettable story of two long-lost sisters whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences.  $14.99

Gregory, Phillipa - The King's Curse - From the Queen of historical novels comes the story of lady-in-waiting Margaret Pole and her unique view of King Henry VIII's stratospheric rise to power in Tudor England.  $16.99

Griffin, Nicola - Hild - This has been called a brilliant, sweeping historical novel about the rise of the most powerful woman of the Middle Ages: Hild. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal. Hild is the king's youngest niece and can predict what will happen in an almost supernatural way.  $27.00

Hauser, Thomas - The Final Recollections of Charles Dickens - This author blends a historically accurate telling of Dickens' life with a gripping portrait of betrayal, murder, obsession, and love. It's the story of Dickens' coming of age, caught between the worlds of England.s ruling elite and the seamy underside of London society.  $23.00

Hoffman, Alice - The Dovekeepers - This fascinating tale of four extraordinary bold, resourceful, and sensuous women in Masada in 70 A.D. is also a miniseries produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the team behind the Emmy Award-winning ministeries The Bible.  $16.00

Meissner, Susan - Secrets of a Charmed Life - Kendra, a young American scholar in Oxford, interviews an elderly woman who is ready to give up secrets that she has kept for decades, beginning with who she really is, but what Kendra finds out is both a gift and a burden - one that will test her convictions and her heart.  $15.00

Moran, Jan - Scent of Triumph: A Novel of Perfume and Passion - when French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother. She has no idea that her life is about to change forever. Set between privileged lifestyles, and gritty realities, commanding newcomer Jan Moran's novel is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilence.  $15.99

Oates, Joyce Carol - The Accursed - This is a thrilling tale by one of America's finest writers. This story is in the best gothic tradition, a lesson in master craftsmanship. This tale sprawls, reaches, demands, tears, and shrieks in homage to the traditional gothic, yet with fresh surprising twists and turns. Called brilliant by Publisher's Weekly.  $15.99

Oliveria, Robin - I Always Loved You - This is the story of Mary Cassett and Edgar Degas. The author wonderfully recreates the irrestible world of Belle Epoque Paris, writing with grace and uncommon insight into the passion and foibles of the human heart.  $16.00



Tiraboschi, Roberto - The Eye Stone: A Novel of Venice AD 1106 - Edgardo D'Arduino, a cleric and a professional copyist, has heard stories that in Venice, there exitsts a stone that can restore one's sight. after a series of horrific crimes haskes the cloistered world of the glassmakers, Edgardo realizes there is much more at stake than his faltering eyesight.  $16.00

Weir, Alison - The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I - Weir brings suspense, acclaimed author Weir brings to life one of England's most scandalous royal love affairs: the romance between the "Virgin Queen" Elizabeth I and her courtier Lord Robert Dudley.  Called an irresistible read by Booklist.  $26.00

Willig, Laren - That Summer - From modern-day England to the early days of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Willig's novel takes us on a up and down journey through a mysterious old house, a hidden love affair, and one woman's search for the truth about her past - and herself.  $15.99


Some of these mysteries are new titles from series but if you need the earlier books just call us.

Allan, Barbara - Antiques Con - A Trash 'n Treasures Mystery - Small-town sleuths, Brandy and Vivian Borne - with their trusty shih tzu, Shush - head for a Big Apple comics convention to sell a rare 1940's Superman drawing. When an intruder breaks into their hotel suite, their madcap Manhattan misadventure is only beginning.  Includes tips on antiques.  $7.99

Barrett, Lorna - Book Clubbed: A Booktown Mystery - after a Chamber of Commerce recopetionist is crushed by a fallen bookcase, volumes of secrets are revealed - one of which may have been a motive for murder. While helping the newly elected Chamber of Commerce president solve the mystery, Tricia Miles discovers a hidden chapter in her own family history.  $7.99

Bolin, Janet - Seven Threadly Sins - Willow Vanderling, owner of the embroidery boutique In Stitches, must step in after a murder strikes during a fashion show in the eighth whodunit in this series. Includes an original emboridery project and tips.  $7.99


Carlisle, Kate - The Book Stops Here: A Bibliophile Mystery - Brooklyn Wainright appears on a hit TV show as a rare-book expert and appraises a valuable first-edition copy of The Secret Garden. After the episode airs, a man claims the book was found at his garage, and he wants it back - or else. Soon afterward, Brooklyn discovers the body of the woman who brought the book to the show.  $7.99

Catillo, Linda - The Dead Will Tell: A Kate Burkholder Novel - This was a Boston Globe Best Book of 2014. The Amish town of Painters Mill is haunted by its past. Chielf of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide. Evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing an elusive trail that somehow points back to a long-ago tragedy.  $7.99

Coco, Nancy - Oh Say Can You Fudge: A Candy-Coated Mystery with Recipes - Mackinac Island's Historic McMurphy Hotel and Fudge Shop is supplying Fourth of July treats, and Allie has hired the biggest name in aerial fireworks to create an unforgettable spectacle. Unfortunately, Allie finds him dead, covered with fireworks, just before the entire warehouse of pyrotechnics goes up in smoke.  Is it arson or murder?  $7.99

Daheim, Mary - Clam Wake: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery - In the author's latest mystery, innkeeper and irrespressible sleuth Judith McMonigle Flynn and Cousin Renie face off against a cold-blooded killer in the beach retirement community on Whoopee Island.  $7.99

Donally, Claire - Hiss and Tell: A Sunny and Shadow Mystery - This is the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series. Sunny Coolidge is covering a celebrity wedding for the local paper - until she gets an expose on murder among the fat cats.  $7.99

Hart, Carolyn - Death at the Door: A Death on Demand Mystery - Annie Darling - owner of the mystery bookstore, Death on Demand - has a dual murder to solve: a local doctor and the wife of an artist. Someone may be trying to frame the artist, and Annie must discover who wanted both victims out of the picture.  $7.99

McKinlay, Jenn - Dark Chocolate Demise: A Cupcake Bakery Mystery - This N.Y. Times best selling series now bakes up sweet surprises, but Mel and Angie are in for a fresh batch of
trouble during the first annual Scottsdale Old Town Zombie Walk. The fun turns to fright after Mel finds a real dead body in a prop casket outside the bakery's truck. Includes recipes.  $7.99

Parra, Nancy J. - Flourless to Stop Him: A Baker's Treat Mystery - Gluten-free baker Toni Holmes has to separate the wheat from the chaff to clear her brother of murder in this third installment of Parra's Series.  Includes gluten-free recipes. $7.99

Reilly, Linda - Fillet of Murder: A Deep-Fried Mystery - First in a new series. Talia Marby serves up delectable English deep-fried fare in the heart of the Berkshires, but she soon discovers there's something fishy going on when a fellow shop owner is found murdered.  $7.99

Ross, Barbara - Musseled Out: A Maine Clambake Mystery - This busy summer tourist season in winding down in Busman's harbor, but Julia Snowden senses trouble brewing for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. David Thwing, the shifty "Mussel King" of upscale seafood restaurants, is sniffing around twon for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles. Includes recipes.  $7.99

Ryan, Sofie - Buy a Whisker - A Second Chance Cat Mystery - In the coastal town of North Harbor, Maine, shop owner Sarah Grayson is dragged into a controversy over developing the waterfront. Most of the residents, including Sarah, are for it, but baker Lily Carter is the only holdout. after Lily is murdered, it's up to Sarah and her cat, Elvis, to collar the culprit. $7.99

Thompson, Victoria - Murder in Murray Hill: A Gaslight Mystery - The residents of 19th century New York City turn to midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect them from the worst crimes. Now, the two must track down a criminal preying on innocent women.  $7.99


Viets, Elaine - Catnapped! A Dead-End Job Mystery - Husband and wife PI team Helen Hawthorne and Phil Sagemont have barely scratched the surface of the world of show cats when a cornered kitty kidnapper's claws come out.  $7.99