Tuesday, December 15, 2015

January Blog will publish on January 23rd, 2016

 The 4th medical emergency I have had to deal with in the last month - is me! I took a bad fall when I caught my foot in Mark's rear transporter wheel when, he by accident, backed up. I went down like a cut tree on my right side - my shoulder taking the brunt of the hit on tile. I have a fractured head of the right upper arm bone with massive contusions from below the elbow to the shoulder but all should heal okay. So the blog should be out Saturday, January 23th 2016. Sorry for the delay but the bleeding got worse and it is so painful to use the keyboard for long.  Next month will be timely. I will be fine.  Ruth                         


                       Welcome Aboard Our Latest Blog! Don't forget to find the discount code in this blog and receive a 20% discount on any new book you order.

To Applique or to not Applique that is the question!   

Humans having been messing with fabric for about 100,000 years and haven't stopped yet. In fact, I was reading a copy of The Smithsonian that mentioned technology has stepped in to the textile world and even garbage is being created into fabric.

Applique is derived from the French verb 'appliquer', meaning to put on. So applique is the art of placing one piece of fabric over another. Quilters love doing this technique. What's nice about applique is a needleworker can feel free to try out her artistic skills and find out whatever she or he decides to design is correct whether it is something very simple or really complex. It's all up to the designer.  This is a great way to use up all those fabric scraps, buttons, dress trims  we collect! 

If you want to attempt this art I've included a number of books to get you started or add to whatever you know and show us the techniques used around the world.

Annie's Publishing - Applique: Techniques Made Easy - Have you ever wanted to try a variety of applique techniques all in one book? This book has an assortment of different techniques to try while making stunning quilts and other projects.

Ashston, Darcy - Outstanding Owls for Applique - This book contains 30 different full-sized owl patterns for applique plus numerous options for projects including large quilts, small quilts, tote bags, embroidery projects, wool projects and much more. Instructions include both hand and fusible applique options. I love these owls!  $22.00

Speaking of owls if you want to see art rendering of the real deal I discovered a neat little book, Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by artist and ornithologist Matt Sewell in which he captures 50 species of these birds using pop-art watercolors and witting and irreverent descriptions.  $12.99

Curtis, Helga - Herbs, Spices and Fruits of the Bible - Designer Helga Curtis has selected 15 plants found in the Bible to use in creating applique blocks. Designs for five spices are given: mustard, saffron, cumin, mint and cinnamon.  $9.95

Fassett, Kaffe - Little Ribbon Patchwork and Applique - 20 design samples by Heart Space Studio using Kaffe Fassett's ribbons and fabric, with projects for the home.  $19.95

Henderson, Tope Terri - Applique in Reverse - The secret of her technique is to use large pieces of background fabric underneath the applique designs for easier handling. Tiny seam allowances are a thing of a past. Beginners who love the look of applique can easily master this useful techniques. The book has a menu of 13 block patterns and two border designs from Teri's Garden Nouveau quilt. She shows you how to transform those patterns into nine additional projects: a tote bag, table runners, a bolster, and wall hangings with her applique in reverse technique.  $24.95

Lawrence, Angela - Needleturn applique: The Basics and Beyond - This book visually demonstrates the full range of step-by-step needleturn applique techniques. 10 easy and fun projects.  Full size patterns included.  $27.95

Shore, Debbie - Love to Sew: Quilted Covers and Cosies -This best-selling sewing author has designed 18 neat quilted projects that sewers of all abilities will want to make. She introduces basic quilting, binding and applique techniques, as well as detailing the materials needed. There are cosies to keep things warm and covers to protect and enhance valuables such as tablets and phones. You will get egg cosies, mug hug, tea and coffee cosies, covers for a toaster, sewing machine, bottle, tissue box, chair back and more. She includes clear step-by-step photos are provided where needed and there are beautiful styled shots of the finished pieces. All templates are provided. $12.95

Smith, Rebekah - Wool Applique Folk Art - These projects inspired by 19th century American life that includes instructions on finding and repurposing wool. Hand stitch 14 folk-art projects, each with full-size patterns and step-by-step instructions, including bed covers, wallhangings, and table runners.  $29.95

Sullivan, Jeanne - Simply Successful Applique - Learn new applique skills and get pinpoint accuracy more easily than ever before in this comprehensive visual guide with a bonus CD of full-size template patterns. Seasoned quilters and sewers will also love using these new techniques for more complex designs.  $29.95

Tirico, Deborah Gale - Gorgeous Wool Applique - Sewing with luxurious felted wool, discover the secrets to dimensional applique. Take your embroidery skills to the next level with 8 colorful projects including penny rugs, pincushions, and pillows. Easy-to-learn techniques such as thread-matching, needle-slanting, and fabric-layering. This book includes full-size patterns with placement and embroidery guides. Full-size patterns come with placement and embroidery guides.  $29.95

Potpourri of Needlework Books  

Wanted to let you know I heard from Annie's that a new DVD has been released for the last 5 years 2011-2015 of Sampler and Antique Needlework Magazine. What a great idea the magazine's followers especially if you are short certain issues or just rather have them all available on a disc.  $29.95


I know the author of the book as she lives in the valley and pleased that major distributors have picked up her latest book, Sonoran Borders: Threads of Friendship. This is the fictional journey of two young girls, Feliciana and Emily, who met in the in the Sonoran Desert more than a century ago. Though their time together was brief, their friendships spans a lifetime through correspondence and a shared love of needlework. The tattered remnants of old keepsakes found in the attic come to life in the 21st Century at the hands of this writer, stitcher and pattern designer. Stitch along with the girls, recreating 11 projects, as their story unfolds.  $27.95 

Aoki, Kazuko - The Embroidered Garden - This author has a unique talent for translating the beauty of the garden with needle and thread. By using 40 motifs, she  explores the roses and wildflowers that appear season to season, as well as the
From Book
bees and butterflies. The designs are exquisite, detailed, and artfully rendered. She also presents that feature the embroidery brooches, notebook covers, pin cushions, and pouches. Detailed how-to illustrations are included.  $21.95

Atsumi, Chiba, Minako, Kamio, Kamio Mari - Japanese Paper Embroidery - These three talented Japanese crafters have created a range of delightful paper projects that are modern, stylish and fun to make. Each project is accompanied by a full-size template and notes on how to embroidery the design, and there are clear and detailed instructions on the materials and tools you require; the essential technique of embroidering on paper; and eleven base embroidery stitches that can be used individually or in combination to create all of the exquisite designs in the book. Choose from a range of ideas that includes drawing, writing and more creative projects including paper clocks, notebooks, envelopes, decorations, book marks and card for all occasions.  $19.95

Aunt Martha - Aunt Martha's Embroidery Patterns - Tea Time - This 8 page book contains over 18 different designs and is printed with a single -color heat transfer ink. Transfer with your iron, stitch, and enjoy! Decorate towel, napkins, aprons, toaster covers, bibs, pillows, needlepoint canvas, quilt blocks, tablecloths, fabric and more.  $4.50

Chandler, Ruth - Modern Hand Stitching - Enjoy the confidence of knowing basic hand stitches - then freely play your heart's content with pattern and form. 6 stitch chapters. Includes a gallery of stitching inspirations with step-by-step illustrations.  $24.95

Ganderton, Lucinda - Embroidery: A Step-By-Step Guide To More Than 200 Stitches - Contains step-by-step instructions and clear photos showing how to complete more than 200 stitches. Includes how to chose the right threads, needles, and fabrics.  $15.95

Lapierre, Corinne - Fabulous Felt: How to Make Beautiful Accessories and Decorations - 30 easy-to-make, stylish decorations all made from felt. The book includes templates, a comprehensive techniques section, guide to embroidery stitches and beautifully hand-drawn illustrations to accompany every project that include mug hugs, hanging decorations, seasonal decorations, pillows, ornaments, wall organizers, brooches, children's toys and more.  $22.95

Linn, Don - Sophisicated Stitches - Turn an ordinary quilt into an heirloom with these 66 graceful, versatile designs of art deco motifs, flowers, and Japanese crests. "Mr. Quilt" includes instructions for using the designs to fill any space because they can be enlarged or reduced. Try your hand at machine quilting, applique, and embroidery in individual blocks, medallions, or open spaces. $19.95 

McNeil, Suzanne - Vintage Stitching Treasury: More than 400 Authentic Embroidery Designs - This nostalgic treasure chest of vintage art embroidery patterns offers hundreds of authentic designs from the classic magazines and needlework catalogs of yesteryear.  $19.99

Nelson, Lydia Loretta - Stitch Kitsch - This book puts the fun back in sewing. She features 11 featured designs and 44 playful projects that make perfect gifts. Embellish with embroidery, buttons, beads, trims, and fusible applique. $22.95

Saito, Yoko - 120 Original Embroidery Designs - The author presents 120 original designs that combine the embroideries with applique and quilting to create what she calls "patchwork embroidery". All designs detailed and unique. She also includes 20 "patchwork embroidery" projects.  $42.95 

Saito, Yoko - Woolwork - This book focuses on quilt bags and other projects made primarily of wool and yarn-dyed homespun. Instructions are included for rug hooking, needle-felting, piecework and applique. She'll have you scouring your closets for wool clothing no longer used.  $32.95

Search Press - A-Z of Smocking - Again, Search Press has brought back another of the much beloved A-Z books. This book features every smocking stitch, clearly explained for beginners, but also has inspiring examples and new or little-known techniques to appeal to experienced smockers. It shows how to work the stitches, read graphs, and select colours, fabric and threads. It teaches how to pleat and block a garment, gives advice on different techniques such as ribbon weaving, counterchange, template and freeform smocking and much more. It includes great hints, ideas and inspirational photos. There is advice on the fabric, needles and thread needed and a glossary of smocking terms.   $19.95

Sugashima, Yoki - The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden: 40 Beautiful Floral Designs to Embroider, Plus 20 Project Ideas - Welcome to Yoki's world of stitching. The projects include: Spring violet sewing machine cover, butterfly pincushion, spring snowflake scissors cover, red clover cushion cover, fern leaf shirt, fall bittersweet over mitt, rudbeckia apron, aster napkin ring, acorn egg cozy, fall leaves coaster set, winter snowberry brooch, barette with yew spring, flowering kale necklace, and much more. She includes all techniques, tools and materials and a stitch directory.  $26.95

Watson, Sarah - Pen to Thread - From the creative pen of illustrator and fabric designer, Sarah Watson, come 750 charming whimsical motifs. All these motifs and alphabets are included on a handy CD-rom for easy resizing. Any motif can be made distinctly your with the author's easy-to-follow instructions.  $26.99


Cat Mysteries ala Sofie Ryan 

I am fascinated that writers with so many degrees end up writing mystery stories. Take Sofie Ryan, she has two degrees: Bachelor of Science in biology and Bachelor of Education and loves math. You'll also meet Barbara Mertz who has a doctorate in Egyptology and wrote historical mysteries. Of course, such education doesn't go to waste with their writing - in fact, it helps.

Sophie is married with a teenage daughter and lives on the east coast and loves math and running but writing has captured her spirit.  She writes mysteries involving cats because she loves their independent spirit but unfortunately she can't have one of her own because her husband is extremely allergic to them. In her bio she laughingly says, "If my hubby dies first she's getting a kitty."  Yes, she shows a great sense of humor that flows into her cat mysteries. Fortunately she has become acquainted with many cats in the neighborhood and has studied their habits that is obvious in her books. All cat and mystery lovers will be happy she's written these stories.

Near the end of her blog she gives simple but great advice to would-be-writers: "Read, read, read." Then: Write, write, write." In other words practice makes perfect. I think that could be applied to any interest we are involved in. So, I will say to all needleworkers: stitch, stitch, stitch as well as read, read, read.

These are the books she has in her new Second Chance Cat Mysteries:

The Whole Cat and Caboodle (Second Chance Cat Mystery) - Small town Maine second-hand store owner Sarah Grayson as adopted a black cat she named Elvis. She and her new friend have to solve the mystery of their elderly neighbor Maddie, who is fund with a dead body in her garden.  $7.99

Buy a Whisker (Second Chance Cat Mystery) - Things have been quiet in the coastal town of North harbor, Maine, since Sarah Grayson and her rescue cat, Elvis, solved their first murder. Sarah is happy running Second Chance, the shop where she sells lovingly refurbished and repurposed items. But then she gets dragged into a controversy over developing the waterfront.  $7.99

A Whisker of Trouble (Second Chance Cat Mystery) - Spring has come to charming North Harbor, Maine, and with the new season comes a new haul for Second Chance. Sarah is turning her keen eye to the estate of collector Edison Hall, hoping for fabulous finds but when her rescue cat Elvis discovers a body in the kitchen, everything goes paws up. The body is of an appraiser who had been hired to check out Edison's wine collection. When Edison's sister shows up she hires Sarah's friends a kooky and charismatic trio of ladies who call themselves Charlotte's Angels and work out of the shop to solve the murder. But as it becomes a cat and mouse game of lies, ons, cheats, and family squabbles, can Elvis and Sarah claw their way to the truth before the killer slinks away forever?  $7.99  (due in February 2016)

This interesting author she is also into fabric collage so I thought I'd honor her art with some books on the subject in case you'd want to join her in this neat art form.

Bleiweiss, Sue - Colorful Fabric Collage: Sketch, Fuse, Quilt! - Easy-to-manage techniques for creating vibrant art quilts and colorful accessories, this book walks the reader through the techniques that this renowned quilter uses to create her colorful, vibrant art quilts. Reader will learn easy fusing techniques that serve as the basic for her design, along with ideas for keeping and using a sketchbook, hand-dyeing fabric, and adding further embellishments. Offering techniques and projects, this book leads readers through the steps to successfully design, fuse, and quilt 14 projects. You are invited to tap into your own creativity by encouraging you to drawn on the project pattern drawings and sketch your own quilt designs from scratch. She makes it easy!  $26.99

Eichorn, Rosemary - The Art of Fabric Collage: An Easy Introduction to Creative Sewing - Fabric collage in a method of quilting that gives every sewer the ability to express personal creativity while learning innovative sewing technique.  $21.95

Loveless, Ann - Landscape Art Quilts, Step by Step: Learn Fast, Fusible Fabric Collage - This author shares her time-tested method for creating one-of-a-kind art quilts based on your favorite landscape photos. With step-by-step instructions, she shows you her free-form method of cutting and placing fabrics on fusible web and finishing with free-motion machine quilting.  $27.95 

Malaney, Jeanine Rvard - Painting with Fabric: Creating Art with Fabric Collage and Landscape Quilting - Painting with fabric, artist Jeanine Rvard Malaney explains how to create artworks utilizing fabric. This wonderful artist is not only known for her watercolor and oil painting, and of course her fabric artworks. $29.95

Meier, Rebekah - More Fabric Art Collage: 64 New Techniques for Mixed Media, surface Design and Embellishment - This artist inspires you to stretch the boundaries of fabrics, papers, and fibers. Explore more than 60 new surface-design technique with 7 richly layered projects. Learn how to combine creative processes like resists and image transfers with unique surfaces, embellishments, and objects to create dimensional works of art. Transform everyday materials such as batting and foil into something even more extraordinary than you ever dreamed was possible. Mixed-media artists at any skill level with find something fresh and fascinating to try.  $27.95

My Second Mystery Writer - Barbara Mertz better known as Elizabeth Peters. 

Barbara Mertz (1927-2013) wrote under a number of pseudonyms but her best known one was Elizabeth Peters who wrote about a feisty, intelligent, arrogant but likable single lady, Amelia Peabody, from the Victorian Era. Miss Peabody after inheriting a fortune ends up exploring the Nile and finding the love of her life (and his) Radcliffe Emerson. They marry, get into archeology and back they go to Egypt. Barbara Mertz knows of what she wrote having her PhD in Egyptology from the famous Oriental Institute in Chicago and her knowledge shows in this entertaining well-written series of 19 books. (discount code: 15dec)

Barbara Mertz didn't want to confuse her academic work with her fiction writing thus the pen names. Her books written under Elizabeth Peters, (she used both her children's first names to create her pen name) mirror her the best.  Why did she write fiction instead of being an archeologist? When she got divorced she couldn't find work in her field so she started writing and found she had a knack for it.  All these books hit the New York Times bestseller lists.  She was quoted as saying, "she was so happy to be published that she would have used the name of Jack the Ripper to get there.  Well, she was forced to do that!  Until she died in 2013 she lived with a number of cats (named for the pharaohs) in a 1820 stone house near Frederick, Maryland.

I read lots of history and historical fiction with very little time for mysteries yet even though I've lived in Egypt four times to research my historical novel that is now in the hands of an editor - who loves it thus far,) I overlooked these historical mystery books until a friend Dorothy Struthers passed her copies of the series on to me a few months ago. I glanced through the first book, began to read it and got hooked.

I've been to so many of the sites in the book I've thoroughly enjoyed "revisiting" those places. But you don't have to be a lover of Egyptology or even have any knowledge of this field to get involved in these stories. What hooked me are
the unforgettable characters she created. Her sense of humor shines through them yet you take these wonderful characters very seriously - a knack few writers even obtain. Such wit and adventure.

All I can add is to say her books are a tasty treat. To paraphrase a potato chip commercial I remember, I bet you can't read just one. I'm on my way to reading all 19. After all, I want to see how she ends the 19th book. 

Barbara Mertz was named Grand Master at the inaugural Anthony Awards in 1986 and was awarded Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1998. In 2003 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Malice Domestic Convention.

Long Live her books!

I've listed the first four in the series.  Hope this tempts you! You won't regret reading them.

Crocodile on the Sandbank - Set in 1894, this is the first installment in what has become a beloved bestselling series. At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing a opinionated archaeologist who doesn't need a woman's help - or so he thinks.  $10.00

The Curse of the Pharaohs - Now married to Radcliffe Emerson and a mother to a small boy they named Ramses, Amelia is bored with home life as is Radcliffe, so they go back to Egypt leaving the boy in the loving hands of Evelyn now married to Radcliffe's brother.  Be ready for more fun and adventure, and mystery on a dig in Egypt.  $10.00

The Mummy Case - Again another adventure in Egypt only this time Amelia and Radcliffe known as "The Father of Curses" are accompanied by Ramses, their genius eight year old son. Denied a permit to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor, they are resigned to digging in a mound of rubble in the middle of the desert.  When an antique dealer they know is murdered in his shop they are on the case with few clues such as a scrap of papyrus.  $9.99

Lion in the Valley - This time they have access to the much-coveted burial chamber of the Black Pyramid in Dahshoor. With the brazen abduction of Ramses and an expedition cursed by misfortune and death -Amelia is alerted to the likely presence of her arch nemesis the Master Criminal, notorious looter of the living and the dead.  $9.99

If you haven't visited this blog before - WELCOME!  We've been in the needlework book business for over 24 years.  For 21 years we set up bookshops for the ANG and the EGA seminars (both regional and national) and other needlework organizations.

Can't find a certain book? Give us a call whether the book is in- print or out-of-print. We have a website that is being updated but is still plenty usable: ruthkernbooks.com

Questions? Give us a call Monday through Saturday: 602-943-0738 between 9 am to 6pm "Arizona time". (Yes, we are the people who never change our clocks forwards or backwards.) To fax: 602-944-4108 - This is a new fax number. If you prefer you can e-mail me at: rkern3@mindspring.com
 or rkernbooks@gmail.com.  To reach us by mail: Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

Most Important! Don't forget to find the discount code in this blog that gives you a 20% discount on any new book you order.  We can't discount out-of-print books.

Have a wonderful life! Remember to keep plenty of time available for stitching and reading.

See you next year: January 2016.