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!

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