Thursday, June 16, 2016


                       JUNE 2016 BLOG 
                      And what is so rare as a day in June?
                 It is then or never when our most perfect days come.
                                  - James Lowell-

June is one of four months that are thirty days long and the month that summer officially begins.  I live in Phoenix, Arizona so I smile at that.  We've had days over 100 degrees already.
This weekend we are expecting temperatures of 119 degrees. That's June!  Trying hard to outdo all the other summer months.  July, August and September don't usually get THAT hot because the humidity goes up for our "monsoon" season.  I found Louisiana hotter at 82 degrees hotter than Phoenix when we go over 100 degrees even when our humidity goes up - since it is rare for it to go higher than 30 - 40 percent.
Originally from Long Island, New York, I vividly remember the humidity at 95 percent. UGH! I love the dry air of Arizona.

History says that the name June comes from the Latin name Junius, other sources say the month is named after the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of marriage and the wife of the supreme deity Jupiter or that it comes from the Latin word iuniores, meaning "the younger ones". Remember May, mariores is the opposite since it means "the elders".  Take your choice of the source of the name June.  I think I'll go with Juno since this month is known as the month of marriages.  

June is also called the month of roses but honeysuckle is also a birth flower for the month.  June is fickle about her gemstone having a total of three: the pearl, moonstone, and alexandrite, the gem named after Russian Czar, Alexander

II and is extremely rare.  If you want a stone to show off this is the one. Top quality alexandrite can cost more than $30,000 a carat. But beware if you can afford such a

stone. There is lots of fake alexandrite out there. If you get to the Smithsonian, take a peek at the largest known faceted 66 carat alexandrite stone the museum has on display. The better quality the stone the more intense the color change. 

At that steep price, I guess I'll be sticking to the lovely pearl and moonstone.

 Soutache or Not To Soutache That is The Question!                  
By Amee K. Sweet-McNamara

When I first saw soutache (pronounced sou (like the old French money and tash (rhymes with posh) on a friend's outfit, I fell in love. Learning it could also be made into jewelry I was totally head over heels with this work. 

Soutache is simply a flat, narrow decorative braid and can be used to decorate clothing, drapes, hats and is even used in bookbinding, where it is attached to the top and bottom of a
book back to reinforce the spine. Soutache is used  of a particular width or color to show rank. Even athletic uniforms use soutache to outline names or numbers. Using this braid in décor or on clothing has been around for centuries.  I love it all but if I had to pick it would be the jewelry made with soutache.

When it comes to soutache jewelry nobody does it better than Amee K. Sweet-McNamera. But beware. Once you see her work you will be as hooked as I am. 

Amee is as unique as her amazing soutache jewelry. According to her website she owns her own business called "Amee Runs with Scissors" and is always ready to employee women interested in pursuing careers in the visual arts. As you can easily see from the name of her business she is looking for "out-of-the-box" thinkers. She not only designs her jewelry, but only she, and a handful of talented staff stitch it.  She has an astute business sense as well - a rare combination and keeps her work in balance while still having fun. 

Where do all these designs come from?  She says in a blog, "her muse" who is not at all angelic but instead annoying and relentlessly persistent.  This nagging is what steams her onward and gets her through any wall she hits and keeps her going until the project is
finished. She starts with a sketch of a designs elements and pushes the design and research until she has that idea exactly what she visualized. And what she brought from first thought to finish is awe-inspiring. 

But enough of me talking.  What do they say? A picture is worth a 1000 words.  So I'll stop banging on this keyboard and make sure you can enjoy Amee's work I posted here. Her website is:  And she does sell kits.

I also found neat pictorial instructions on Threads Magazine website explaining, "How to make Loops in Soutache Braid."


Sweet-McNamara, Amee K. - Soutache and Bead Embroidery - In this book Amee introduces you to an old material in a new way. where you can practice new embroidery skills, and create gorgeous unique pieces of jewelry. Amee's secret ingredient is soutache, a type of colorful braid that she winds, binds, and stitches into great designs. The first section of this book focuses on learning the techniques, while the second section teaches you how to incorporate these techniques into beautiful soutache projects. With photos and illustrations taking you every step of the way, beginners will start with small earrings and workup to necklaces, cuffs, and pendants, while experienced stitchers can dive right into the new design ideas.  $21.99

Sweet-McNamara, Amee K. - Elegant Soutache - Learn to create stunningly intricate jewelry using soutache a form of ornate braid or tassel. Providing plenty of photos step-by-step instructions as a guide, Amee shows intermediate-to-advanced jewelers the various techniques needed to make bracelets, pins, necklaces and earrings - from a richly hued Shimmering Sea Turtle pendant to Crystal Coil Earrings and a Day of the Dead Bracelet, these 12 colorful pieces have been called magnificent.
$29.95  This is due out in September/October which gives us some time to master her earlier book before taking on these advanced techniques.  Taking orders now.

Papp, Csilla - Sensational Soutache Jewelry Making: Braided Jewelry Techniques for 15 Statement Pieces - In this book you'll learn the basic techniques of soutache embroidery and then create bracelets, earrings, brooches, rings and necklaces. Get inspired by the author then use your imagination to put your own twists on projects. Color and stone choice combine with elaborate braids to make these pieces distinctly yours. $24.99

Valious, Anneta - Soutache: 30 Gorgeous Bead Embroidery Designs - Bead embroidery featuring soutache, a decorative braid, is a great technique to pull braid, embroidery stitches and stones together. The author describes the entire process and provides projects for rings, pendants, brooches, and barrettes and more. Fabulous step-by-step photos and instructions in this first English language book on soutache. $27.95

If you want to learn how to make braid here are some good books to start with:

Carey, Jacqui - 200 Braids to Twist, Knot, Loop or Weave - Hundred of great braided designs are arranged by structure from twisted and knotted pieces to more elaborate looped and woven examples. Each braid features a beautiful close-up photos, materials list, step-by-step instructions, and easy-to-follow color illustrations to guide crafters along. Each technique is explored indepth, followed by tips on starting and finishing braids and advice for incorporating braids into other textile projects.   $27.95

McNeil, Suzanne - 'Kumi' Braiding with Beads, Thread, Yard, and Cords - The braiding wheel makes creating gorgeous braids easy to accomplish. this portable and inexpensive craft makes it perfect for sharing with a group. When your braid is complete, add the sparkle of glittering pendants for a chic, new look that will be the talk of your friends.  $8.99

Owen, Rodrick, Flynn, Terry Newhouse - Andean Sling Braids: New Designs for Textile Artists - Learn to make the decorative braids used in the sling-making traditions of Peru and Bolivia; this detailed guide, including 400 step-by-step photos, teaches the technique and over 100 designs for weavers, craftspeople, jewelry designers, basket weavers, and others interested in using braids for embellishment. In-depth detailed instructions are given, along with clear diagrams; recommended braiding yarns for sling and kumihimo; detailed set-up, making and finishing instructions; and many fascinating contemporary applications. This book introduces a new piece of equipment, the core frame, and gives instructions for making it from wood and dowels. When the core frame is used with a braiding stand and bobbins, a wide variety of core-carrying braids become accessible to kumihimo braiders. Most of the braids, from 4 to 40 strands, can be made on a braiding card and 50 patterns can be made on the stand without a frame.  $39.99

And New Out:

Kemp, Beth - How to Make 50 Fabulous Kumihimo Braids: A
Beginner's Guide to Making Felt Braids for Beautiful Cord Jewelry and Fashion Accessories - Find 50 flat braiding projects, including friendship bracelets, shoelaces, bag handles, jewelry, watch straps and more, and an enclosed kumihimo square loom. Clear instructions and step-by-step photos make this a great guide for everyone into braiding.  $21.99

BULLETIN!  Change in Price
 Last month I wrote that Witney Antiques was bringing out a new sampler book: Now Whilst My Hands are thus Employed: Three Centuries of Samplers - These samplers were stitched by schoolgirls from all levels of society, from the affluent to the disadvanged poor and institutional orphan. This large catalog (72 pages larger than Witney's past catalogs) attests to the fact that the sampler provided an occupation which banished idleness as well as being a means of instruction in literature, geography in the embroidering of maps, mathematics and even the sciences. The samplers date from second half of the 17th Century through the 18th and the 19th Century and show how styles change along with attitudes to education and the aspirations of the society in which they were created.  The price is corrected:  $30.00


Barickman, Amy - Land That I Love: Customized Embroidery Projects - In this embroidery design book, you'll discover that home is where your heart is - or where your state pride resides! Each state is represented with line art and instructions to trace and transfer art work right from the pages of this book. Each state shape is done in two styles and sizes, the state name with font choices (and the state's slogan), state flowers, birds, and major cities, university and college pennants, iconic motifs that distinguish each state's culture. $24.99

Barickman, Amy - Vintage Made Modern - Folk Art Motifs - Simple stitches for quilts, dish towels and pillows. Over 400 line art motifs designed for hand embroidery including animals, plants, flowers, everyday household items, abstract designs and much more. Ten decorative accent borders also included. Two patchwork quilt designs included on early 1900's styles - one on-point featuring decorative borders and colorful embroidery and the other in a classic red and cream redwork style.  $24.99

Collinge, Annette Dr. - Embroidered Treasures: Flowers - Our author has a strong scientific background but has had a lifelong interest in embroidery. In this book she brings us a main introduction to the collection held by the UK Embroidery Guild flowed by a shorter, more specific introduction to the subject of flowers in embroidery. It is organized into chapters by embroidery technique, containing around 90 items, including wall hangings, framed pictures, samplers, stomachers, pockets, scarves and stoles, bridal bags, table runners and table cloths, cushion covers, handkerchiefs, handkerchief sachets, tea cozies, fire screen panels, children's dresses, collars and cuffs, sleeve panels, table dollies, robes, shawls, bandoleers, jewelry boxes and even a pot of flowers. All great photos with extended captions giving details of country of origin, age, size and technique used.  $24.95

Country Bumpkin - A-Z of Sewing - This is a complete manual for the beginner through the seasoned sewer. Develop skills and learn to create a professional finish. A comprehensive guide to machine and hand sewing. Trouble-shooting tips and glossary of terms included. More than 180 sewing techniques.  $19.95

Critcher, Sylvia - Raised Quilt and Stitch Techniques - This practical guide to raised quilting and stitching techniques used. She shows you how to produce a variety of different quilting styles, and then combine them to create contemporary designs. this renowned quilting expert and teacher, shows you how to work techniques including trapunto, Italian quilting, le boutis, French-style cording and English quilting. She builds upon these techniques combining them to create fresh, stylish designs.  $24.95

Search Press Studio - 100 Little Crochet Gifts to Make - This book comprises projects from some of our best-selling authors. A wide variety of themes are covered from beautiful crocheted flowers, beanie hats, Christmas projects, cut bears, lovely hearts and stylish purses. Special stitches used are explained in detail, and yarns are described in generic terms, so that readers can use what is available to them. The techniques used in this book are simple enough for experienced beginners to master, and easy for more seasoned crocheters.  $19.95

Southan, Mandy - Beginner's Guide to Silk Painting - Twelve innovative step-by-step projects illustrate clearly Mandy Southan's fresh and original approach to silk painting. Each one teaches you a new technique, so you can build skills while producing beautiful silk paintings. Perfect for the complete beginner but also ideal for experienced silk painters wanting to learn new techniques. This renowned silk painter demonstrates all the techniques you need, beginning with clear advice on materials and using color and then moving on to basic techniques.  $17.95

Weston, Jem - Knitted Nursery Collection: 14 cuddly toys and colorful accessories for babies - The designs range from a super simple striped blanket with matching elephant to a fluffy-tailed squirrel with matching intarsia blanket. The projects use a selection of Rowan yarns with generic equivalents.  $19.95

Wilford, Judy - Embroidered Landscapes - Our author takes the timelessness of landscape and combines it with the wonder of minute detail, the intimate relationship with its flora, seasonal and day-to-day changes. to utilize a continuing source of fascination and inspiration. This book is lavishly illustrated in color, with detailed step-by-step instructions accompanied by explanatory photos.  $29.95

Yang, Veronica - Perfect Patchwork Bags - From a roomy market tote to a tablet sleeve and handy backpack, these simple patchwork purses are fun to quilt and carry. Vintage silhouettes feature simple patchwork designs like strip piecing, log cabins, triangles, hexagons and curved shapes. Full-size patterns plus clear instructions on adding pockets, straps, zippers, piping, and hardware will help confident beginners take their sewing skills to the next level.  $24.95


Please meet Victoria Hamilton with a Great Duel Writing Personality

Actually, she is neither Victoria Hamilton or Amanda Cooper but her real name is Donna Lee Simpson. Gee, if I had national bestsellers I would want my real name on the books. But that's me. Writing is hard work (but I love it) and I want to look at a cover and see my name so I could believe it was mine all mine!

Donna has over 37 novels and seven novella published to date. Maybe with so much writing success she doesn't need to see her name on a book. She has written three different mystery series including The Vintage Kitchen Mystery Series which I've already included in a newsletter.  In her own blog she admits she always had a desire to write a mystery and the publication of her first Vintage Kitchen Mystery in 2012, A Deadly Grind, in May of 2012.  She admits she has a load of hobbies and passions including collecting kitchen utensils, tea cups, cooking and baking muffins, loves tea and crochets, cross-stitch, and beading, among other crafts but writing comes first.  I think she'd be a great lady to get interesting subjects with over a cup of tea and of course, a muffin.  (discount code: rose16)

Have fun reading her mysteries by this beloved mystery writer. 

Bran New Death (Merry Muffin Mysteries) - This is first in this series. Expert muffin baker Merry Wynter is finally ready to turn her passion into a career. But after a dead body is found on her property in Autumn Vale, New York, she's more worried abut cooking up an alibi. She's inherited this Mansion from her uncle. Someone has been digging giant holes on the grounds, but with its restaurant-quality kitchen, the place has potential for her new baking business. She even has her first client - the local retirement home. She finds out her uncle wasn't popular so she also inherits that resentment.  Now with a local's body on her estate she has to prove she had nothing to do with his death. Includes delicious recipes.  $7.99

Muffin But Murder (Merry Muffin Mysteries) - Merry Wynter hopes to find a buyer for the castle she has inherited but when she throws a party to draw interest, she finds someone who's bought the farm. Will she ever be able to sell this white elephant and return to her glamorous life in New York City? $7.99

Death of an English Muffin - (Merry Muffin Mysteries) No biters yet for her mansion, so for extra dough Merry decides to take in renters.  The idea pans out, and Merry's able to find a handful of tenants eager to live in a real castle. The only problem is most of them are crumby, tea-swilling old biddies part of what she calls, The Legion of Horrible Ladies led by the terrible nasty - and fabulously wealthy - Cleta Sanson. This abrasive Englishwoman keeps everyone whipped into a frenzy - until she meets an embarrassing and behind a locked door.  $7.99

Much ADO about Muffin - (Merry Muffin Mysteries) - When muffin baker Merry Wynter sees an innocent woman accused of murder. Opera singer Roma Toscano may have a crippling case of stage fright, but she certainly is stirring up drama as she prepares for an upcoming performance at Merry's Wynter Castle. With her flamboyant style and flirtatious personality. Roma attracts fans as well as critics, including the town's postmistress and Merry's bitter foe, Minnie Urqhart. But Roma and Minnie's heated rivalry goes cold after Merry discovers Minnie dead at the post office. While every clue seems to be another ingredient in the investigation of Roma. Merry thinks the case is half-baked, and she's eager to get her mitts on the real killer.  $7.99

Now from her alter ego: Amanda Cooper

Tempest in a Teapot - Tucked away in the Finger lakes region of Upstate New York is the charming town of Gracious Grove, where time moves slowly, gossip spreads quickly, and the scones are to die for.  When her fashionable Manhattan restaurant goes under, Sophie Taylor retreats to her grandmother's cozy shop, Auntie Rose's Victorian Teahouse, where serenity is steeped to perfection in one of her many antique teapots. The last thing Sophie expects is a bustling calendar of teahouse events, like her old friend Cissy Peterson's upcoming bridal shower. Not everyone is pleased with the bride-to-be's choice of venue - like Cissy's grandmother, who owns a competing establishment, La Belle Epoque, and has held a long-simmering grudge against rose for stealing her beau sixty years ago. Tensions reach a boiling point when Cissy's fiancé's mother dies while sampling scones at la Belle Epoque. Now, to help her friend, Sophie will have to bag a killer before more of the guest list becomes a hit list.   $7.99

Shadow of a Spout - Avid teapot collector rose Freemont takes a break from her Victorian tea house only to find a new mystery brewing elsewhere. Leaving her home in Gracious Grove behind her, Rose is off to the annual convention of the International Teapot Collector's Society. Her granddaughter Sophie is minding the tea house while she's away. Rose is eager for tough cookie Zunia Pettigrew to appraise a prized antique teapot she believes may be a holy water vessel from China. When Zunia declares the pot a fake, Rose is really steamed. After Zunia's found dead beside Rose's dinged-in teapot, Sophie must rush to her grandmother's aid and find the real killer before Rose is steeped in anymore trouble.  $7.99

The Grim Steeper - Mid-October in the charming Finger Lakes town of Gracious Grove means it's time for the annual Fall Fling Townwide Tea Party. The highlight of the festivities is a roaming tea-tasting, which includes a stop at Auntie Rose's Victorian Tea House. Sophie's sort-of boyfriend, English teacher Jason Murphy, but Jason's dean has accused him of falsifying grades to help an athlete at the local college. But the dean shows up under Sophie's Japanese Maple later that night, murdered, and now Jason is suspected of far worse than fudging grade reports. It's up to Sophie, her Nana, and their friends, the Silver Spouts, to pore over the clues to find out who really decided to teach the dean a lesson.  $7.99

And other good mysteries to peruse.

Buckley, Julie - A Dark and Stormy Murder (Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1) - Camilla Graham's bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla's new assistant, she can't believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she'll get to live rent-free in Camill's gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana. But Lena's fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without a dead body, found on her new boss's lakefront property. Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camila's books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist's mysterious estate before the killer writes them both out of the story for good.  $7.99

Byron, Ellen - Plantation Shudders: A Cajun Country Mystery (Cajun Country Mystery) - This book was nominated for the 2016 Agatha Award for best first mystery and for the 2016 Left Award for best humorous mystery. It's the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned home to her family's plantation-turned bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival-elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other-one from very unnatural causes - Maggie and the others suddenly become suspects in a murder.  With the help of Bo Durand, the town's handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives? Decades-old secrets and stunning revelations abound in this debut novel.  $7.99

Coco, Nancy - All You Need Is Fudge - Fudge shop owner Allie McMurphy is making fudge treats for the annual yacht race but a killer's stirring up a batch of trouble. Allie is pulling out all the stops making chocolate centerpieces for the occasion. Unfortunately, she and her bichonpoo, Mal, also pull a dead body from the murky waters of the marina. When Allie's boyfriend's sister becomes the prime suspect, Allie dives into investigating the murder herself. amid bitter feuds and hushed-up scandals, the courageous candymaker quickly gets in over her head. Some is trying to fudge the facts to keep a secret  worth killing for.  $7.99

Reed, Hannah - Dressed to Kilt (Scottish Highland Mysteries)-
The national bestselling author of "Hooked on Ewe" is back with a mysterious murder that leaves the Scottish village of Glenkillen shaken and stirred.  $7.99

Hechtman, Betty - Gone with the Wool (Yarn Retreat Mysteries)- The national bestselling author of "Wound Up in Murder" spins a deadly yarn of knitting bees, butterflies, and beauty queens. Every October thousands of monarch butterflies flock to California's Monterey Peninsula to spend the winter there. There are always big doings to welcome them but who expected murder? $7.99

Huber, Anna Lee - A Study in Death - From the national bestselling author of "As Death Draws Near" comes a riveting mystery featuring a most unusual and romantic sleuth in Scotland 1831. Lady Kiera Darby is thrilled to have found both an investigative partner and a fiancé in Sebastian Gage. But with her well-meaning sister planning on making their wedding the event of the season, Kiera could use a respite from the impending madness. after she's commissioned to paint the portrait of Lady Drummond, Kiera is shocked to find her client prostrate on the floor. Both a physician and Lord Drummond appear satisfied to rule her death natural, but Kiera is convinced that poison is the real culprit. Now, armed only with her knowledge of the macabre and her convictions, Kiera intends to discover the truth no matter what, or who, stands in her way.  $7.99

Moran, Terrie Farley - Read to Death (Read Em and Eat Mysteries) - At their seaside café Read Em and Eat bookstore café, Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield offer fresh scones, great books, and excellent detective work.  With their book club season wrapping up with "The Florida Life of Thomas Edison," they decide to take their group on a day trip to the beautiful Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Hiring driver Oscar Frieldand, who is known for his colorful stories and love of the cafe's Robert Frost fruit tartlets, the bibliophiles set off for a day of sunshine and history. After a great excursion, the club returns to the café for lunch and a book discussion, but the group falls silent after Oscar is fund dead in his van. The sheriff's deputies have some questions of their own for the group, and if the ladies don't find some answers soon, the next book they read might be from a prison library.  $7.99

Wiken, Linda - Toasting Up Trouble - A delicious new mystery series featuring the Culinary Capers Dinner Club who are fearless when it comes to cooking up new dishes and putting the lid on crime. Event planner Jennifer J.J. Tanner has a full plate. First, it's her turn to choose the recipe for the next meeting of the club, a gathering of foodie friends who experiment with entrees for their creative and gastronomical pleasure. Second, she is organizing an Italian princess party for the twenty-one year-old daughter of a high-tech millionaire. But one thing J.J. didn't plan on is that the caterer for the event hotshot chef Antonio Marcotti would end up murdered the night of the party. Or that she'd end up being a prime suspect after having had a heated argument with the unscrupulous chef. Now it is up to J.J. with help from her fellow club members and a handsome if mysterious private eye to trun the tables on the real killer.  $7.99


I hope you enjoyed your visit. If you haven't visited us before I'd like to introduce you to our business. We've been in business nearly 23 years and have set up needlework bookshops at both the ANG and EGA nationals and regionals and other needlework groups as well as being on the web.

Can't find a certain book? Give us a call whether the title is in or out-of-print. We have a website as well as this blog: It is being worked on but still very usable.

Questions? Give us a call Monday thru Saturday at 602-943-0738 between 8:30 am to 6pm Arizona time.  Yes, we are the people who never change their clocks forward or backward.  If I don't answer I'm probably in the middle of helping Mark, my husband with M.S. or at the post office mailing books, so please, please feel free to leave a message and I will return your call ASAP. Or you can e-mail us at: or To reach us by mail: Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.   LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.