Saturday, December 24, 2016

IMPORTANT : January Blog will be joined together with February issue for one large issue on Korea/Japan and much more.  It will be available on February 14th 2017.  I have been sick most of January but my lungs are clearing (still coughing). At least no more fevers.  Can't wait to finish this issue.  My friend Charlene has been to Japan twice and now to Korea too.  Discovered some really unusual things from interviewing her, I, for one, never knew. I'm hoping you will really enjoy that issue.  Ruth

                  DECEMBER 2016 BLOG
       May all your days be happy and bright!

December is another misnamed month. It is a Latin word that means ten for the tenth month as in the Roman Empire. Oh, well I guess it is too late to change it now. BUT I still agree with the Romans that March with spring arriving should be the first month of the year.

December has a beautiful gemstone: turquoise is known for its lovely colors that range from powdery blue to a greenish robin's egg blue. In ancient times it was Persia that had this sky blue stone and the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt but today the United States supplies the most turquoise with Arizona leading the pack in production by value, as well as quality. That is why turquoise is much used by Native Americans in their jewelry.  It is a softer stone so be careful in exposing it to direct sunlight, perfumes, natural oils and solvents. 

December's flower surprised me. I thought it would be the  lovely pontisetta but I was wrong. It is the lovely white narcissus. During Roman birthday celebrations family and friends offered congratulations and brought gifts and many times included gemstone jewelry of turquoise.The meaning of the December birth flower is respect, modesty, and faithfulness.  

I hope you enjoyed running through the months, their meanings, flowers, and gemstones this year. Best of Everything!

Meet Barbara Jackson - A Crewel Jewel

When I opened up the latest issue #92 of INSPIRATIONS I immediately flipped through the beautifully illustrated magazine as I always do the minute it arrives I saw a familiar face -Barbara Jackson. I smiled and flashed back to meeting this delightful needleworker, designer, and business woman.

I met Barbara years ago at a National ANG seminar busy setting up the boutique with her helpers while Mark (my husband) were busy setting up the bookstore. Every year for many years we'd meet again at another national seminar. Lots of hard work but fun.  I admired her energy and passion for needlework and loved hearing her stories about going to The Royal School of Needlework in England for classes.  After three years of summer study Barbara graduated this prestigious school "with distinction".

She went on to create her own crewel designs and carried Pearsall's silk. They became very popular at her boutiques.  The most memorable seminar was in 2001.  The seminar was packed - over 1000 participants - some from many other places in world.  It was heavenly with a great time had by all.  Mark and I packed up and left the hotel on September 8th. Barbara left on September 9th. As she drove out of the hotel from the underground parking area the whole building shook.  A plane had hit the Capital Building. Mark and I were at his sister's in Xenia, Ohio eating breakfast and watched with horror as the second plane hit the other Trade Center tower.  We hardly spoke the entire trip to my brother's house in Metamora, Illinois - our ears were glued to the radio.  I later discovered many of our needleworker friends spent as much as another seven days at the hotel since airports were closed. How can we ever forget that?

Today Barbara is very busy designing, teaching and from what I read from the INSPIRATIONS she is working on her language skills in French and reading 18th century history. as well as designing more great crewel patterns and kits. I urge you to say hi to Barbara on her beautiful website: and see what she is up to.
Some of Barbara's Crewelwork

I hope you got this issue of INSPIRATIONS so you can read the entire article.  We do carry Inspirations by the issue or by subscription.


                         Another of Barbara's crewel designs

This is a bit of Barbara's introduction to crewel: "In early America, crewel was worked on plain weave linen with a handful of colorful wool, while in England, Jacobean crewel found its home on study linen twill with a wider spectrum of hues. ..... But what should come in the 21st century, but with its abundance with its abundance of wool yarns, silks and overdyed threads."  As she writes, she found mixing traditional designs with those subtly dyed threads 'intoxicating!'  Join Barbara in the fun and learn more from the books listed below.

Amor, Shelagh - Crewel Embroidery: A Practical Guide - Follow an expert instructor's special techniques, starting with the simplest stitches, from stem and chain to French knot and trellis filling. Expand your repertoire to more than 100 variations, with instructions on transfer methods, color choices, and color schemes. The process unfolds, from selecting your designs to final framing and finishing. Put it all together with 10 original floral projects for clothing, soft furnishings, and framed wall hangings.  $19.95

Blomkamp, Hazel - Crewel Intentions: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery - This book continues the concept of using non-traditional techniques and materials in crewel or Jacobean embroidery. It showcases four large projects, each with an accompanying small project similar in technique, and shows needleworkers how to be creative with threads, alternative stitches and beads even using patterns similar to tartan and houndstooth check. Every project is clearly explained with ste-by-step instructions and lots of photos. $29.95

Blomkamp, Hazel - Crewel Twists: Fresh Ideas for Jacobean Embroidery - Hazel uses a wide selection of materials to update techniques and inspire embroiderers to explore while working loosely within the confines of crewel work styles. She show us how to be creative with fabric, threads, beads, and alternative stitches, borrowing techniques from other forms of needlework, and still producing a product that is typical of the crewel or Jacobean style of embroidery such as including beads and metal threads, monochrome embroidery using threads and beads within the same color range, techniques employed in needle-made laces with designs defined by means of texture, and more traditional embroidery including shading and satin stitch and the many variations of trellis couching to provide texture and interest.  $29.95

Burr, Trish - Crewel and Surface Embroidery: Inspirational Floral Designs - The 16 achievable projects are challenging but not overwhelming, decorative but also practical, with pleasing color schemes and clear step-by-step instructions. The skillful blending of wool, silk, and cotton guides the beginner and inspires the experienced stitcher to create this unique style of embroidery. The numerous photos, illustrations, and row-by-row color keys make the projects an effortless task and a joy to stitch.  $24.95

Gardner, Sue - A to Z Crewel Embroidery - Includes step-by-step photographs and invaluable hints for creating original designs in styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, each one accompanied by comprehensive information about the wools, fabrics and equipment required and a multitude of tips to help you get started. Shows 45 stitches and techniques.  $19.95 

McDonald, Jaqui - Essential Stitch Guide to Crewelwork - In this invaluable book, one of a series of books on different techniques of embroidery, this author takes you through detailed instructions on how to work basic techniques, stitches and more. Approximately 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 in size. Lots of color.  $21.95

Shaughnessy, Katherine - New Crewel: The Motif Collection - This author takes a modern approach to crewel embroidery.  This is her stunning collection of 30 motifs in circular patterns using five new stitches, and ten inspirational projects. This includes photos and color diagrams of each motif, along with how-to-illustrations plus a CD of the motifs for easy download. $16.95


Collinge, Dr. Annette - Embroidered Treasures: Flowers - This beautiful book showcases the Embroiderer's Guild's huge collection of embroidered flowers through the ages. These wonderful embroidered treasures are as varied as wall hangings, children's dresses, bridal bags and samplers, some of which date back to the seventeenth century. The images are shown with extended captions giving the country of origin, age, size and technique used to make them. $35.00

Epstein, Nicky - Knitting in Circles - Circular patterns for sweaters, bags, hats, afghans and more. 100 patterns and twenty projects from cable to lace to rich color work. Nicky has authored many, many gorgeous knitting books and this one is great too.  $24.00

House, Lizzy - 1001 Peeps: Five Magical Projects Book - In this beautiful book the author has taken 5 would be stand alone patterns and put them into one place, for a better value and a better product. With incredible photography, winning designs, and incredible quilting, this book is sure to inspire and enable you. Book includes 4 quilts and 1 large crewel embroidery. $34.95

Ishii, Sachiyo - 20 to Make:- Mini Knitted Charms- Charms and dangles are popular accessories, used to decorate purses, bags, mobile phones, and so on. Sachiyo provides patterns for 20 different designs - all in her distinctive, cute and fun style. All the projects are really quick and easy to make - each one can be made in just 15 minutes! They are great for using up scraps of yarn. There are ice cream cones, beach huts, strawberries and mushrooms, as well as love hearts, owls, cat and mouse, and stars, to name a few.  $9.95

Pickett, Jan - Decorated Lettering - This book contains essential calligraphic instruction and a myriad of ideas for decorating your lettering. There is instruction and inspiration for a huge range of styles, techniques and media by this master calligrapher.  $19.95

Polley, Sandra - The Knitted Teddy Bear - This is a serious teddy bear is destined for an heirloom collection. Inside this book are dozens of patterns for his/her unique clothing. $10.00

Redmond, Wen - Wen Redmond's Digital Fiber Art - Compose, create, and print innovative art quilts starting from your own digital photographs - even those from your phone! Well-known fiber artist Wen Redmond starts with the tools, and equipment you'll need - any imaging-editing software and a standard inkjet printer - and teaches you to alter images, print them on a variety of fibers, and accentuate them with stitching.  $29.95

Search Press Classics - A to Z of Sewing for Smockers - Part of the bestselling A-Z series of specialist needlework books, this how-to focuses on garment construction for smocking enthusiasts. Presented in an easy to use style, this book is overflowing with hundreds of step-by-step photos and invaluable hints for creating beautiful heirloom garments from blouses to bridesmaids dresses.  $19.95

Search Press Classics - A to Z of Wool Embroidery - Clear step-by-step instructions lead the reader through the stitches themselves; and beautiful designs created by readers of Inspirations magazine in Australia aid the needleworker in putting the techniques into practice. A handy guide for beginners and accomplished embroiderers.  $19.95

Stratford, Sue - Knit Me, Dress Me, Love Me - This book taps into the market for cute, easy knits with a vintage feel, including knitting patterns for seven different cute animal toys, - a rabbit, a kitten, a mouse, a puppy, a panda, a teddy and a monkey, each approximately 8 inches high. All are easy and quick to knit. Each animal is accompanied by a mini knitted version of itself that is kept in the little shoulder bag or backpack that each toy carried. There are patterns for the outfits in which to dress the toys - most of them are knitted and some sewn garments - all one size, and designed to fit every animal, plus the bags and other accessories. The chapters are split into themes such as Out to Play, Picnic time, Time for School, with clothes appropriate for each theme, including pajamas, outdoor clothes, summer dresses, school uniform and so on, with added accessories. Readers are encouraged to use up scraps of yarn and fabric or re-using materials from another item long since outgrown so the toy has special significance.  $19.95

Sweet, Amee K. - Elegant Soutache - The versatile soutache cord, in its many variations, combined with beads to become a new elegant art form to the most elegant jewelry.  $30.00

This book is not new but back in print!

Home Sweet Home an Embroidered Work Book - Country Bumpkin -  This is one of my favorite books and according to past sales one of needleworkers favorite too.  This is a delightful workbox in the shape of a whimsical English cottage filled with lovely accessories and covered in an exquisite garden of stitches. This workbox is sure to become not just a treasured heirloom, but a valuable accompaniment to every stitching project. The pages are filled with delightful photography, gorgeous diagrams and features detailed instructions for the embroidery, construction and more.  $34.95

Most Requested Needlework Books of 2016

Can't leave 2016 without remembering the most requested needlework books of this past year. With all the hustle and bustle of 2016 maybe we should slow down and review what we learned and what we accomplished.  Happy New Year! 

Arthur, Sandra - Can Do Hairdos: Techniques and Threads and Stitches for hair - This book hasn't been out very long but definitely reached the most requested lists.  The book is 5 1/2 x 8, spiralbound and color photos of different styles.  $25.00

Baird, Carolyn Hedge - Teeny Tiny Needlepoint Stitches - This is my favorite cover on a needlepoint book this year and the inside doesn't disappoint either. If you need stitches perfect for small spaces on your canvas this is it!  $30.00

Boren, Michael and Carol Lake - Twisty Stitches I: String Art for Needlepoint - This was the first book in this series, is a large spiralbound book with an entire study on Amadeus through Jessica Stitches with step-by-step photos. Since this is A to J there is a second volume out.  $58.00

Browne, Clare - English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanium - In medieval Europe, embroidered textiles were indispensable symbols of wealth and power. Owing to their quality, complexity and magnificence, English embroiderers enjoyed international demand and can be traced in Continental sources as "opus anglicanium" (English work). This sumptuously illustrated book draws on the new research and detailed photos to offer an introduction to that design, production, and use. Essays by leading experts explain the embroideries artistic and social context, while catalogue entries examine individual masterpieces.  $89.95  (discount code: 16dec)

Cole, Alison - Stumpwork Masterclass - This was the number one requested book this year. This gorgeous color book by Alison takes you through everything you need to know about doing stumpwork and more.  In fact, all of her books are constantly requested and I distribute them here in the states.  I couldn't be prouder of that.  $49.95

G., Sharon - It's About  Darn Time: Over 125 beautiful darning stitches and hints - If you every wanted to learn about darning stitches in needlepoint or improve what you already know - here's the book for you. She divides the book into eight chapters: Darning 101, Horizontal Darning, Open Lacy Paterns, Mixed Darning, Darning Patterns, Darning with a Bead, Diagonal Darning, and Zigzags. The graphs are large and easy to use.  $49.95

Gone Stitching - Got Stitches: Multi-Layered Stitches for Needlepoint - This book has been around for a while but is still requested. All the graphs are showed in color and is categorized by the number of threads per stitch. Whether you have two, three, or four different threads they have the perfect stitch for your project. For the adventurous stitcher, they have also included chapters on trame and trellis stitches.  $29.95

Oliveria, Elaine - Stitch Winter - The author of two other best sellers: Stitch Landscapes and Ins and Outs, brought us a new winner this year: Stitch Winter that was created to expand your abilities to take risk with color, threads and embellishments of course featuring winter themes.  Tips for working the graphs into a particular area. The graphs are large and clear.  $48.95

Wilford, Judy - Embroidered Landscapes: Hand Embroidery, Layering and Surface Stitching - Design and recreate realistic hand embroidered landscapes, from coastlines to deserts, escarpments to plains. This author's stunning process combines different genres, textiles, traditional stiches, and embroidery styles. Part I covers the materials and equipment, lays out a simple landscape, and demonstrates background layering and surface stitching. Part II contains a range of projects, each developing and extending the various techniques. $29.95

Witney Antiques - Now Whilst My Hands are Thus Employed: Three Centuries of Historic Samples - This full color catalog illustrates around fifty samplers. Many of these pieces are from private collections and were for sale this past summer. These samplers cut across all levels of society embracing both the affluent and the poor and stands as a testament to the skill and perseverance of the young and talented teachers.  $35.00

Meet Kristi Abbott

Kristi and I have something in common - popcorn!  Every Sunday night I might a huge pot of popcorn, add salt and butter and I'm in heaven! Along with a large salad and a glass of red wine I spend the evening writing and noshing!  My little dog, Buddy moves in next to me and wants his share of popcorn.  I am going to try some of Kristi's popcorn recipes for fun.  Kristi aka Eileen Rendahl and Eileen Carr was born in Dayton, Ohio, but now lives in northern California. Wherever she is I look forward to her next popcorn mystery.

Kernel of Truth (Popcorn Shop Mystery #1) - Opening a gourmet popcorn shop was never on Rebecca Anderson's bucket list. But after a failed marriage to a celebrity chef, she's ready for her life to open up and expand. She has returned to her hometown of Grand Lake, Ohio, with her pop-corn-loving poodle Sprocket, to start a new business -naturally called POPS. As a delicious bonus, Cordella 'Coco' Bittles, a close family friend who has always been like a grandmother to Rebecca, owns the chocolate shop next door, and the two are thinking of combining their businesses. But when Coco's niece, Jessica, discovers her on the floor of her chocolate shop, those dreams go up in smoke. The local sheriff thinks Coco was a victim of a robbery gone wrong, but Rebecca isn't so sure. As suspects start popping up all over, Rebecca is determined to turn up the heat and bring the killer to justice in a "jiffy"!  $7.99

Pop Goes the Murder (Popcorn Shop Mystery #2) - Despite Rebecca Anderson's best efforts to distance herself from her ex-husband, the guy keeps popping up. When Antoine offers to feature her breakfast bars and popcorn fudge on his popular cooking show, she suspects he's once again trying to butter her up but the TV exposure for her gourmet popcorn shop, POPS is too good to turn down. Things take a shocking turn when the crew comes to Grand Lake to film in her shop, and Rebecca discovers Antoine's assistant electrocuted in a hotel bathtub. Now the police want Antoine to come clean. Her ex may be a pain, but he's no killer. So Rebecca decides to bag the real culprit. If she isn't careful, however, she may be the next one getting burned.  $7.99

For those wanting more than popcorn here are a few more tasty mysteries.

Alexander, Ellie - Fudge and Jury - It's almost spring in Ashland, Oregon, and the town is preparing for the Shakespeare and the annual Chocolate Festival. Business is cookin' at Torte, and the store is expanding as Jules team whips up crepes filled with mascarpone cheese and dark chocolate. Torte stands a chance of being this year's confectionery belle of the ball! Life couldn't be sweeter unless murder taints the batter.  Evan Rowe, of Confections Couture, makes a chocolate fountain that would put Willy Wonka to shame, and his truffles are to die for literally? Yes, the world-renowned chocolatier has just turned up dead right after sampling a slice of Jules decadent four-layer chocolate cake. Now all eyes are on Jules as she tried to find the mysterious ingredient in her own recipe. Can she sift out the truth before another contestant bites the buttercream?  $7.99

McKinley, John - Assault and Beret (Hat Shop Mystery #5) - This has been a N.Y. Times bestselling series. Londoner milliner Vivian Tremont and her American cousin and partner, Svarlett Parker, tip their caps to their beloved shop of Portobello Road in Notting Hill and set off for Paris, where Viv can't wait to teach a hat-making class. But she has another reason to travel to the City of Light; to find the man she impulsively eloped with years ago and have their marriage annulled.  William Graham is not only handsome and charming, but he also has a glamorous job as an insurance investigator who works with priceless pieces of art, most recently a small Renoir that has been discovered in a junk shop. But when both Will and the masterpiece suddenly disappear, it's up to the ladies from London to follow the trail of clues, They'll need to hold on to their chapeaux, however, because someone is a master in the art of deception.  $7.99

Mugavero, Liz - Custom Baked Murder - (Pawsitively Organic Mysteries) - Kristin Stan Connor gladly turned tail on her high-flying job and moved to a quaint New England town to sell organic pet treats. But with her nose for solving murders, there is no such thing as a quiet life. Summer is winding down in Frog Ledge, Connecticut, but Stan's love life and career are both heating up nicely. In between planning her new pet patisserie and café, Stan is setting into living-in-bliss with sexy pub owner Jake McGee. Love is on the menu for Stan's mom, Patricia, too, who's engaged to Frog Ledge's mayor, Tony Falco. Mayor Falco's dogged ambition isn't popular with locals, but it's his executive coach, Eleanor Chang, who's inspired a dangerous grudge. When Eleanor is found dead, there's a whole pack of suspect to chose from. Stan has first-hand experience of Eleanor's unsavory business tactics. But finding out who forced her to take a fatal plunge off the corporate ladder means unearthing some shady secrets and a killer who's too close for comfort. Includes gourmet pet food recipes.  $7.99

Page, Katherine Hall - The Body in the Wardrobe: A Faith Fairchild Mystery) - Attorney Sophie Maxwell has come to Savannah to be with her new husband, Will. But nothing throws cold water on a hot relationship faster than a dead body. Worse for Sophie, no one believes the body she knows she saw is real, Will is spending an awful lot of time in Atlanta on a case he claims is urgent, and she's been tasked with house hunting for them with his former sweetheart, who Sophie can't help but suspect wishes Sophie would return to her Yankee roots! Fortunately, Sophie has a good friend in Faith Fairchild. With teenage Amy being bullied by mean girls and husband Tom contemplating a major life change that will affect all the Fairchilds, Faith is eager for distraction in the form of some sleuthing. In between discussions of newlywed  agita, surprising Savannah customs and , of course, fabulous low country food, Faith and Sophie will pair up to unmask a killer.  $7.99

Ross, Barbara - Iced Under (Maine Clambake Mysteries) - Inside the mystery package is an enormous black diamond necklace that once belonged to Julia's great-grandmother who disappeared in the 1920s. who could have sent it and why? Julia's search for clues takes her on a perilous journey through her mother's recent unexplained death of Jacqueline's long-lost cousin Hugh who'd been missing and presumed drowned for more than forty years. To protect her mother's inheritance, Julia must fend of a small army of feuding relatives, solve the mystery surrounding Hugh's demise, and get back home before the next Maine's blizzard buries them all.  $7.99

Hope you enjoyed your visit with Ruth Kern Books

If this is your first time with us I'd like to introduce you to our company. We've been in business for 24 years and have set up needlework bookshops at both the ANG and EGA seminars and for other needlework bookshops as well as having sites on the web.  

Can't find a certain book? Give us a call Monday thru Saturday at 602-943-0738 and if you need to leave a message I'm probably helping Mark, my husband with M.S. or running books to the post office. I will return your call ASAP. Or you can e-mail at To reach us by mail: Ruth Kern Books 7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 8502. Always love to hear from you all.

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

Happy Holidays. I'll see you in January of next year!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

                NOVEMBER BLOG  2016

Come on in! Love to see you!  Bring your cup of tea and a snack and enjoy browsing through this blog. Don't forget to find the hidden discount code buried in one of the articles for 20% off on any new book.  Glad to have you join us. 

This year I've been researching each month to discover what the name of each month means, what the flower and birthstone are. So let's get into November, my birth month. First of all, so many of the months we've visited the meanings are all wrong, same with November as novem in Latin means nine but November today is the 11th month. Well, that because November in the Roman calendar was the ninth month, back when March was the first month of the year, but now we use the Gregorian calendar. What a mess! I wonder why the names weren't changed. But who am I to question the powers to be?  It's my birth month and I'll accept the name.

The birth stone for November is the topaz. What may surprise some of you is that the topaz comes in many colors as I show in the picture I've included. Even with all the color choices I've always loved the smoky topaz. At one point in history the colorless topaz was thought to be a diamond. During the middle ages the topaz was thought to heal mental and physical disorders and improve the eyesight. Hmmm! Maybe I could have used the topaz and skipped the cataract surgery I've just had. Well, I think I will just enjoy the stone and leave it at that.

The flower of the month of November is the chrysanthemum which I love. "Mums' are one of the most cultivated flowers in the world. The name comes from the Greek words "chrysos", meaning gold and "anthemon" meaning flower. The flower is a member of the daisy family. In some parts of Asia
Chrysanthemum tea is popular and in China the leaves are steamed and boiled for eating. In Korea the flowers are used to add flavor to wine.  Believe it or not keeping mums inside your house is said to reduce air pollution. The flower is a choice for the 13th wedding anniversary. 

I've never met Yvette Stanton but I truly admire her.  I'm convinced she has more hours in her day then the rest of has. How is it she gets to travel around the world, teach classes, design embroidery and have authored so many embroidery books. Maybe while she is teaching embroidery she can instruct us how she schedules her life. 

Before I introduce her new book I need to introduce this prolific, passionate embroiderer.  She is from Australia, the land of so many great embroiderers, and teaches there at shops and needlework guilds. Her embroidery focus is whitework of all kinds. She learned to stitch as a girl both in school and at home and has never lost her passion for this embroidery style.  

Though her first two books were published by a large international publishing house to great success she, having been trained in graphic arts, decided to test her skills on publishing herself.  I admire her business savvy. But I still need to know how she does all this in the same 24 hours I have.

We share one medical event in our lives.  Yvette became sick with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 2008 and I was sick with that in 1991.  I know what she went through. Hard to get out of bed at all, hard to concentrate on a project, and hard to enjoy life.  It took me two years to overcome this illness and I see she conquered her battle with this horrible disease.  At the end of her illness she wrote an article on how to take care of people when serious or chronically ill.  Thank you, Yvette.

Yvette is a serious traveler and goes to countries where white work embroidery is an art.  She's been to Italy, Portugal, Ireland and England. Her and her family also spent three months in Ethiopia. What was next?  I'm guessing it was Norway since she has come out with a new book, Early-Style Hardanger this year. 

Her new book covers a type of hardanger, not often seen outside of Norway and is quite distinct from contemporary Hardanger. She has included 10 projects with a range of contemporary applications, including a blouse with embroidered cuffs and collar, soft furnishings for the home, table linen, and small articles suitable to give as gifts. You will discover what makes early-style Hardanger different from contemporary Hardanger. The historical and cultural information, including many photographs of historical examples of Hardanger that helps you place the embroidery within its cultural context. The left-and right-handed step-by-step stitch and technique instrucitons are easy to follow, making it easy to learn. You will learn to avoid problems and have the self-assurance to fix any mistakes you make.  $29.99


Elegant Hardanger - This is the 2nd edition and revised, this 64 page book contains 170 clear diagrams that show you stitches and techniques, plus 15 projects all beautifully shown and charted. You will even learn to do the harder hardanger stitches, hints and tips, how to fix mistakes, and more.  $19.95

Mountmellick Embroidery, Inspired by Nature - This book includes detailed instruction, history, patterns and includes the technique for knitting the characteristic edge fringes and for this traditional whiltework embroidery of Ireland. $29.95

Portuguese Whitework Embroidery - Bullion embroidery from Guimares in northern Portugal. Drawn thread work and bullion embroidery combine to create needlework in this unique style. Includes pattern insert covering projects.  $29.95

Sardinian Knotted Embroidery - From the town of Teulada in Sardinai, Italy. A simple knotted stitch creates the pattern and textures of this lovely embroidery.  11 projects and step-by-step and left and right-handed instructions. Includes pattern insert covering projects.

Ukrainian Drawn Thread Embroidery - With Merezhka Poltavska Yvette brings us unique counted thread technique detailed through historic perspective, step by step drawings and photos and sampler projects.  $19.95


The Left-Handed Embroiderer's Companion - This book is a great step-by-step stitch resource for left-handed embroiderers. If you are a "lefty" and feel "left"-out of embroidery techniques here's your chance to learn all of Yvette's tips and tricks for doing loads of stitches. $27.95

The Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion - This book is for right-handed embroiderers who want to improve their techniques, stitches.  Yvette includes lots of tips and tricks for doing just that.  $27.95


           (And Probably Never Will)

(I wrote some of this six years ago and with new information I'm bringing this revised edition back)

I'll be honest, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the technical age. I was happily set in my ways and tired of running to keep up with all that changes that seem to happen non-stop. Fax machines, tiny cell phones that take pictures, I-pods, computers, electronic credit card machines, and on and on were becoming a necessity to survive in business. I waved my white flag, but very selectively. I drew my line in the sand between what is necessary technology and what is not important to own.  This is what I decided:

1.  No cell phones except for emergencies and traveling safety. Everywhere I go I see cell phones glued to ears - now "smart phones".  I've asked myself, why do they constantly need to be talking to someone. Even while driving.  Now we have learned talking and driving has sent traffic accidents spiraling up. Some states have passed laws against talking and driving. (discount code: 1716)

2.  Yes to faxes. I can read them at my leisure. They don't interrupt what I'm doing.  I can fax papers today I needed to hand deliver or mail before faxes.  Great invention.

3.  No hand held devices for music, movies, e-mails, etc. They are costly little machines. Perhaps if I was traveling but I'm not.  Even then I don't think so. Doesn't anybody look at the real world anymore? Is nature passé?

4.  Yes to computers.  They make work, like writing this blog easier. I do a lot of writing and I don't miss typewriters and correction tape at all!  Research on the web is neat but you have to be careful of the source of information.  I don't read my newspaper on-line. I love to fold the paper back to an article or crossword.  I rip out interesting stuff.

5.  No to electronic book reading machines.  Why?  No, I'm not afraid as a bookdealer these gizmos will take over the book business.  In fact, I read that Amazon is opening a brick and  mortar bookstore. According to a report on a news show, these gizmos are selling but seemed to have plateaued. Audio books, however, are in. I can remember when book dealers were shaking in their boots because Crown Books, a large discounted book chain opened. We're still here. Then everyone was afraid of Amazon and the web.  Guess what? We're still here and plan to be inspite of electronic reading devices.

     Yes, I've tried the machines - both the Kindle and the Nook. Did I like them? No. Why? First of all I'm not impressed with a gizmo that does what is already being done a much simpler way. Publishers like it and push it on us because it saves them time and money. The paper in books is recycled so it is used over and over.  Great idea!  Now whoever invented writing and paper - they were geniuses! If I decide I want to read a book I can go to the library, a bookstore (new or used), borrow from a friend, or order on-line. I don't need to fumble with a machine to get to words. I don't want to push a a button, download a book, buy another machine, and deal with problems machines always come with.

     Books are warm and inviting. Many have wonderful covers and there is information on the back cover as to what the book is about and lots of great reviews. I like that. I like the feel of a book I like to mark pages with a Post-It so I can refer back to favorite passages. Books are recycled to other people, friends, veterans, schools so they live on. Now with book readers we'll have more batteries and electronic machines in land fills.  Yes, books cost a bit more money but used books cost way less and there are discounts available. When you load a book in to machine that costs money too. So does the machine and you need a computer to operate it.  I've read these reading devices can freeze up and you need to call tech support. I don't need that to happen at night when I'm reading.  UGH!

     And speaking of reading at night I've been reading science reports that are advising that reading from those screens at night can effect the brain and sleeping. They are advising no machines and screens TWO HOURS before sleep. That's when I have time to read! And I can't afford lack of sleep.

     IMPORTANT - The other thing discovered about these screens on Kindles, etc. that these machines affect their brains, in fact on a test of 125,000 children using these screens under the age of seven, part of the brain had shrunk. That scares me. I have friends who run an award-winning charter school from kindergarten thru sixth grade here in Arizona and they do not allow screens in their school.  The kids that come into the school unable to read (in the third grade) are reading, have comprehension for what they read and can spell within that first year in this school. Something they couldn't do in public school. Why? My friends after years of study concluded the only way to learn to read was using phonics something many public schools do not - they use sight reading.  Also my friends encourage them to love learning and right now are teaching the kids ancient Greek. The kids pour over a huge globe and tons of reading material and are encouraged to tell the others what they've learned. And they read books - no computers.

This is why I stay with books. Those kids love to run their fingers over shelved books and select what they want to read - me too! So call me old-fashion! I consider that a compliment. But if you have an opposing opinion, my ears are open.  If you agree, I'd love to hear from you too.

I must put this wonderful book here.  This is something you can't do with books stored in a machine.

Thompson, Damian - Books Make a Home: Elegant Ideas for Storing and Displaying Books - This book explores the important role they play in decoration, as well as functional items. This author and bibliophile tours the rooms of the home and discovers many techniques for shelving, stacking, and closeting volumes, and illustrating how each space can be brought to life by books. Alongside inspirational photographs is a wealth of practical design solutions for each space and size of collection. She also shows us how to create new space for an ever-growing collections; how to combine books with other personal effects to create eye-catching displays; and helpful feature spreads will illustrate how to organize and care for your books.  She also includes quotes from famous readers throughout this book.  $29.95


Belliville, Cathy - Let's Begin Making Bobbin Lace - This book is a collection of lace patterns which the Lace Museum in Sunnyvale collected and use in their beginning bobbin lace classes. It includes the full curriculum of Cathy Belleville to develop an overview of basic bobbin lace skills.  $44.00

Braun, Rachel - Embroidery and Sacred Text: New Designs in Judaic Needlework - Some 20 years ago, Rachel Braun began to explore ways that Jewish texts could be embroidered literally and figuratively in original needlecraft designs. She combines the precision of a mathematical mind with the spiritual depth of a true artist. Her embroideries commemorate life cycle events such as bar mitzvahs and births, but also comment on Torah texts and the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness. Along the way she invents five new Hebrew fonts, designs, five new English alphabets, and reproduces the templates for her designs. She readily shares her insights, providing accessible explanations while also conveying the joy of designing with thread.  $24.00

Brown, Christen - The Embroidery Book: Visual Resource of Color and Design - 149 Stitches - Step-by-Step Guide - Enjoy the tranquility of slow stitching with this step-by-step guide, visual guide to 149 embroidery stitches, motifs, and extras. Go beyond the basic color theory-robust, color charts take the guesswork out of choosing thread, silk ribbon, buttons, beads and trims. Then take your embroidery to the next level with luxurious seam treatments, and stunning stand-alone designs.  $27.95

Brown, Pauline - The Encyclopedia of Embroidery Techniques: A Unique Visual Directory of All the Major Embroidery Techniques. This is a Search Press Classic. This book is a comprehensive directory of embroidery technique for both the beginner and the experienced embroiderer. She includes 240 stitches, ranging from cross stitch to Assisi and from machine embroidery to quilting, each one illustrated in full-color and accompanied by explanatory artwork. An inspirational gallery includes finished examples of traditional and innovative pieces from around the world.  $19.95

Ciotti, Donatella - Tatted Lace Accessories - In her latest book, this author teaches the reader how to make tatted lace, also known as frivolite, a durable yet delicate form of lace constructed using a series of knots and loops. Although it has been a traditional crafts for centuries, Donatella's step-by-step instructions focus on more modern needle techniques, making the craft accessible to a contemporary audience. This type of lace has been very popular in high in high fashion design. This book includes 22 gorgeous designs to make including bracelets, earrings, necklaces and brooches. Illustrated and explained with diagrams and step-by-step photos to help you make the items exactly as shown, or use them as inspiration for your own designs. There are ideas for special occasions, such as weddings or christenings as well as table decorations, purses, mobile phone holders and much more.  $17.95

De Bree, Hans - U.S.-Made Fully Machine-Embroidered, Cut Edge Shoulder Sleeve Insignia of World War II and How They Were Manufactured: A Collectors Guide - This highly detailed reference book is for both novice and experienced collectors, and is focused on the World War II U.S. -made, fully machine-embroidered, cut edge shoulder sleeve insignia (SSI). It provides guidelines that can be considered when determining whether a SSI is original World War II era manufactured or not. Also, the difference in SSI manufacturing are explained in such way as to create a timeline in a patch collection. Knowing these details will add to the personal value of a collection and make it much more than simply just having a group of patches. In addition, the book will help collectors avoid spending money on something that is not what it seems; copies; reproductions of World War I, Interwar, or World War II SSIs; and post-World War II SSIs.   $59.99

Embroidery, Stitchex - Fancy Teapots Hand Embroidery Patterns - Hand embroidery patterns of 10 Fancy Teapots - perfect for tea towels, wallhangings, and just any kitchen décor. Designs are beginner friendly and consist of straight stitches only. All you need to do is transfer to your fabric using your favorite method and start stitching! Our embroidery is designed in the redwork style, but feel free to use your creativity to explore other colors to match your project. Each design is provided in 4 sizes ranging from about 3 inches to approximately 7-8 inches. Use your imagination to create your own projects ranging from quilts to pillow covers to wall-hangings and more! Also included are a few basic embroidery tips, but a basic embroidery knowledge is helpful.  $12.95

Fabre, Josie - Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry - In this book, designer Josie Fabre, full-time scientist and mother, shares several techniques that allow for much quicker creation of the Peyote stitch. While this stitch is often the first stitch learned by beginning stitchers, it is extremely time-consuming. She simplifies the process with her detailed instructions and original, multi-drop, flat peyote, patterns. Her inspired bracelet patterns range from the traditional wide to slim width, some include clean edging, some are finished with a stitched toggle clasp, and others use a double clasp. While bracelets are the main jewelry pieces, she has also included necklaces and earrings.  $21.99

Hartley, Florence - The Ladies hand Book of Fancy and  Ornamental Work: Directions and Patterns from the Civil War Era - This Dover edition of Civil War-era guide to crafting and handwork fetures 262 engraved patterns, drawn from English, French, and German sources. Directions and patterns for decorating collars, hair ornaments, cushions, purses, and other items encompass several techniques, from beadwork and braiding to crochet, knitting, and many varieties of lace work and tatting.  $14.95

Higuchi, Yumiko - Zakka Embroidery: Simple One - And Two- Color Embroidery Motifs and Small Crafts - This book presents designs that are an elegant blend of Japanese and Scandinavian style. The motifs and patterns are spare and graphic, yet softened with organic shapes and imagery drawn from nature. The result is embroidery that evokes a personal feel and conjures a sense of nostalgia. Here Japanese designer Yumiko Higuchi presents embroidery motifs to be stitches using just one or two colors. Each embroidery design is paired with a simple craft project, transforming the stitched fabric into a functional object, including pouches, pillows, aprons, and more.  With beautiful photos. clear step-by-step instructions, and detailed diagrams.  $19.95

Kaur, Harpreet - Embroidery Designs for Neckline - This reprinted vintage embroidery book contains 50 beautiful embroidery designs for neckline which are searched and collected from the internets.  $15.95

Kuthiala, Surabhi - Positive Paisleys: 44 Beautiful Paisley Designs: Flower Patterns, Heena Patterns, Beautiful Borders and Full Page Patterns and more: Hailing from the Princely state of Rajasthan (India), I have always been enticed by the beautiful Paisley designs around her in form of Heena, Mehndi, Wall Carvings, Tapestry, etc. This book is an attempt to bring this ancient art to life.  COLOR AWAY!  $12.95

Lewis, Garth - 2000 Color Combinations - Color theory concepts and perception with selection of works from contemporary designers.  $25.00

Nicholson, Nancy - Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs - Folk art is influencing everything from fashion to interiors. This collection includes 20 embroidery designs with project ideas to show you how to use the designs to create beautiful and practical home décor items and accessories. The techniques for the stitches and project instructions are shown using Nancy's stitch diagrams so extremely easy to follower whether you are an experienced stitcher or a newbie.  The 20 projects are divided between felt and fabric sections and include: pin cushion, lampshade, tote bag, cushion, table runner, and coaster and pinafore.  $22.99

Pesel, Louise - English Embroidery - I- Double-Running or Back-Stitch - If you have been embroidering for a good while the name Louise Pesel is familiar. This vintage handbook on double-running or back-stitch, will diagrams and scale drawings taken from 17th century samplers and other sources. This book is an affordable, high-quality edition complete with the original text and artwork.  $19.95

Vogelsinger, Nichole - Boho Embroidery: Modern Projects from  Traditional Stitches - This is a book that details 20+ embroidery stitches that work well with hoop art and incorporates applique. It will visually inspire creatively with the goal of creating your own textile art that can be displayed in a hoop. $24.95

Historical Fiction - An Oxymoron?
"Oxymoron _ Figures of Speech that uses seeming contraditions; realm or domain of the impossible." Websters

As I sit at my desk going over a very long "to-do" list my mind snags on the words, historical fiction. My mind can "snag" easily, to easily when I discover something I just have to know more about. Right now, it's historical fiction that, at first look, seems an oxymoron to me. How can history be fiction? Or fiction a history? I chew on this for a bit. I understand that straight history can sometimes go down dry and tasteless. Just the facts, Ma'am, just the facts. That's great for research but some people like their history in a story form and that's where the fiction comes in. A good historical novelist will not twist the history out-of-shape, nor the setting, nor the real historical characters true nature. Instead they take all of that and then with using the insight of good research and their talent for telling a story breathes life into the time and people they are writing about. That's what keeps us up at night, unable to put the book aside. And history told this way seems to stick in our head. We remember a story better than lists of dates and places. So perhaps historical fiction is not a contradictory figure of speech after all. I love historical fiction and I write it too.  I hope you love it as well.

Turner, Lucille - Gioconda - A Novel of Leonardo da Vinci - A solitary child, Leonardo da Vinci's only intimate friend is Lisa Gherardini, the girl who spied on him in his workshop and on his nature walks. Spurned by his tutor, he is sent despairing father to Florence as an apprentice. Under the guiding hand of Verrocchio, the master sculptor, he begins to make his name. But success requires sacrifice; Florence demand a level of conformity impossible for him. Forced to leave, Leonardo places himself at the service of the charismatic, power-thirsty Duke of Milan. His journey leads his back to Lisa and the portrait he has waited so long to paint, the culmination of his life's work.  $13.95

I usually discover a multitude of books but this time I'm going to concentrate on this one.  I have read it, and parts of it more than once.  Lucille Turner is a masterful storyteller and writer. This is her first book, and it is brilliant.  I've read a lot about Leonardo da Vinci and I'm blown away with her wonderful research and incredible use of words.  It is not wordy, every word is selected specifically for each sentence.  Even if you never heard of Leonardo da Vinci you will know him intimately if you read this remarkable novel.  She gives a reason why the Mona Lisa was never delivered and her conclusion fits perfectly.

To make sure you know something of Leonardo, I included a brief overview of this man, considered the most brilliant man who ever lived.  When writing about the creative process he wrote: "THE QUEST MUST BE UNDERTAKEN ALONE, FOR THE DESTINATION LIES WITHIN."

Leonardo knows of what he speaks. Although he eventually worked in a artist workshop with the best including Sandro Botticelli and he had assistants, Leonardo lived inside his own head. He'd take long walk in the nature he loved and inspired him and wrote copious notes - the letters always backwards so you needed a mirror to "decode" it. His invention.  By the way, his name means Leonardo of Vinci - the town he was born.

His entry into this world on April 15th, 1452 was to an unwed peasant mother, his father a notary. He received an at home education in Latin, geometry and mathematics from a local churchman. There were many signs of his genius in childhood and by age of 14 he was apprenticed to a workshop. But he was more than a impressive artist; he wanted to understand human anatomy and autopsied bodies which was frowned at that time.  He wanted to understand how the body worked not only for his art but he wanted to understand illness. But this was only a few of the many areas of science and art he excelled in.

When in Italy some years back, I was fortunate to visit the museum named for him. I was stunned to learn of his engineering feats including his interest in flying, machines, and architecture. Thank goodness his notes, designs, and paintings are still here.  I also had the opportunity to go to Milan to the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie to see

Leonardo's most famous painting - The Last Supper done in 1498. When I arrived it was in the process of restoration - half of the large painting was restored, the other half undone.  It was a great opportunity to see the before and after of this famous work.  The Last Supper is one of the most reproduced works of art.

How can I speak Leonardo's name and not mention his most  famous woman, Mona Lisa or la Gioconda, the woman he brought fame since he painted this woman in 1503.  That elusive smile that has been studied to death and honored. It is so perfect that Vasari was quoted as saying, the painting would make even the most confident master despair and lose heart. Lucky for us this small portrait is in the Louvre, Paris, France, in a near perfect state of preservation.  

I've only nicked the surface of his life but I hope this sparks your interest. Being a genius is not an easy road to walk. No one really understands you.  You see the world from an entirely different perspective and are involved in ideas and creativity beyond the average mind so you walk alone leaving the others far behind. Many knowledgeable people have poured over his myriad of notebooks and realized that although we are astonished with his discoveries and inventions Leonardo was not satisfied, he still yearned to learn more.

No, we will not be another Leonardo da Vinci but we can learn to think in a more creative way for our own passions such as needlework.  I've included some books that designed to open up your own creativity in new ways. Leonardo was right to do our ultimate best in creativity we must have "alone time".

Gelb, Michael - How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: 7 Steps to Genius Every Day - Genius is made, not born, and human beings are gifted with an almost unlimited potential for learning and creativity. Now readers can sharpen their senses and liberate their unique intelligence by following the example of the greatest genius of all time, Leonardo da Vinci. Halftone art throughout.  $18.00

Lester, Toby - Da Vinci's Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image - To quote the critics, "This is a wonderful book. The author helps us understand, the unique intensity with which Leonardo saw the world. he saw it not only in its infinite diversity, but also as an impression of his own self, an explanation of what it means to be human." This book keeps us from taking for granted a familiar person. This story is like a detective mystery with lots of satisfactory number of insights in this man and the world he lived in. Dive in and don't come up until you've reached the end!  $17.00

Shlain, Leonardo - Leonardo's Brain: Undertanding Da Vinci's Creative Genius - This best-selling author explores the life, art, and mind of Leonardo da Vinci, seeking to explain his singularity by looking at his achievements in art, science, psychology, and military strategy and then employing state of the art left-right brain scientific, research to explain his universal genius. Shlain shows no other person in human history has excelled in so many different areas as da Vinci and he peels back the layers to explore the how and the why.  $18.95


If this is your first time with us I'd like to introduce you to our company. We've been in business for 24 years and have set up needlework bookshops at both the ANG and EGA seminars and for other needlework groups as well as having sites on the web.

Can't find a certain book? Give us a call Monday thru Saturday at 602-943-0738 and if you need to leave a message I'm probably helping Mark, my husband with M.S. or running books to the post office. I will return your call ASAP. Or you can e-mail me at To reach us by mail: Ruth Kern Books 7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.  Love to hear from you.

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

HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  We all have plenty to be thankful for.