Thursday, October 15, 2020



NO ONE LIKES WAITING.... so we are changing our format.  No waiting for the blog to publish.

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Thursday, August 20, 2020

                JULY/AUGUST 2020 BLOG
Don't forget to find the discount code for a 20% discount on any new book.

                WELCOME !  WELCOME!
Please Welcome Plants and Flowers into your Embroidery as Well as your Home and Garden.
       "You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way."
                               "Walter Hagen"

Every time I see a piece of cement poured where land used to be or see a tree removed, I shiver.  Without our green world we won't have enough air left to breathe. I watch the rain forest disappear (called our lungs) and I worry about the world for my grandchildren. I'm sure most everyone is aware of this but what can we do about it? Besides donating money to a cause, we have the option of keeping our home full of green inside and out. I speak out of guilt since I've been SO busy with business and life I haven't done enough with "green" inside and outside of my own home.  In fact, inside I have one measly cactus blooming.

What brought me to this realization to see what was lacking in my own life? I was browsing through the current issue of Inspirations Magazine issue #107 ( Who can resist perusing that magazine!) and it happened that this new issue was full of embroidery themes using plants and flowers of all kinds.  I felt so happy after looking at these incredible beautifully done embroideries of the natural world I turned back to the beginning and looked at it again. That's when it hit me, I didn't have enough of nature inside my house. As I looked out my office window I saw plants and bushes but they definitely needed more tender loving care. Yes, I've got lots of to do, but so does most everybody. This lack needed to change.

I figured I could start small with adding plants inside the house and when Phoenix cools down in September get started on the outside - one small step at a time. But we also need the color of greens and flowers on our walls, on pillows, coverlets, sweaters, etc. Sort of a constant reminder of the natural world about us and how we can't survive without it.  We need to plant flowers, grow then, tend to them, press them and of course, embroider, quilt and bead them. What would a wedding be like with them. In fact, most holidays and special events and a number of other life passages are marked by flowers. Think December and poinsettias come to mind; Easter - lilies; Love: roses. Smell a flower and an event in your life flashes before your eyes: marriage, prom, a baby's birth, a particular Valentine's Day.  If you've ever gotten a corsage, or a bouquet of flowers or a plant as a gift or a token I'm sure you remember that warm, happy feeling  that gift brought.  Funerals are barren without flower arrangements. Even early man placed flowers in the graves of their loves ones.

I have a dear friend, Maria who I met in Egypt in 1987, and now lives in the Houston area. She loves gardening and unless the weather defeats her she is out there tending to her "plant children". She even talks to them as she works. If you think that sounds crazy, I checked out talking to plants on-line. Guess what? The Royal Horticultural Society, researchers at two universities in Korea and other researchers have discovered that plants respond to sound whether our voices or music. No, they don't have ears but they respond to vibrations. The plants grew stronger and taller. Tomatoes grew better with music. Another study seemed to prove that plants can detect one sound from another. Plants can also warn other plants about predators. And beware what you say in front of them. Exposed to kind statements they flourished while the ones exposed to nasty talk withered up. So Maria is absolutely right about talking to her plants.  Don't forget the music!

Our green world is amazing and beautiful. No wonder artists whether, painters, beaders, quilters, or embroiderers go back time and again for inspiration from nature, as do writers and musicians.

My Beloved Poinciana Trees
I never tire of flowers or plants of all kinds. When I lived in Cairo for the first time, I arrived there on the first day of spring, alone, a stranger in a strange land and settled into a third floor flat in Maadi, a suburb of Cairo. From my apartment windows I had a view of two narrow streets, other apartments and gardens. A few days later I knew I was home when some birds built a nest in the tree outside my living room windows. Soon trees blossomed into delicate yellows, pinks and lavenders. One morning I discovered the giant dull green buds of the enormous Poinciana trees (flame trees), had exploded into gigantic fiery orange blossom lined in gold. The newly unfurled leaves glistened a brilliant green. The outstretched, large branches were heavy with fiery orange blossoms lined in gold and arched like rainbows over me as I walked. Years later, here in my office, I can close my eyes and still see these blooming trees clearly. In fact, I was so taken by this spectacle, I wrote a short story with these gorgeous flowering trees playing a symbolic role. Every May I get a little homesick for Cairo and those blooms.

So in honor of all the wonderful plants and flowers in our lives I would like to dedicate this issue to all the wonderful designers, needleworkers, quilters and beaders in Inspirations Magazine and all of you needleworkers, quilters, and beaders out there that bring the green in our world alive with your art. I wish I could send each of you a flowering plant in thanks for being a part of my needlework world but I can only write this blog and hope it helps you remember the wonderful green world we live in.

Below you will find lots of wonderful needlework books that focus on our wonderful green work to inspire your art.

Aoki, Kazuko - Embroidered Wild Flowers: Patterns Inspired by Field and Forest - This is a repeat of a recent blog book since the embroidery motifs offered here evoke wildflower meadows and woodland walks. With life-like flowers, as well as mushrooms, leaves, trees, and birds, the flora and fauna presented here offer a delightful and beautiful range of motifs drawn from photographs, clear step-by step instructions, and detailed diagrams, this book will be an inspiring guide for those new to embroidery and a fresh new look for these more experienced with needle and thread.  $21.95

Bateman, Lorna - Embroidered Country Gardens: Create Beautiful hand-Stitched Floral Designs Inspired by Nature - This author's teaching has taken her all over the UK to South Africa, as well as to Russia, France and the USA. This is her beautiful book and a thorough when it comes to instruction for this type of free-style surface embroidery and these instructions are clear and easy to follow. There is plenty of scope in the book for personalizing your embroidery projects and making them unique, since the elements in the embroidery can all be combined in myriad ways whether you are a beginner or more advanced needleworker.  You will learn how to create individual flowers and how to make them into beautiful gardens.  $26.95

Burr, Trish - The Kew Book of Embroidered Flowers: 11 Inspiring Projects with Reuseable Iron-On Transfers - I just wrote this book up in another blog but had to run it again because if anyone knows flowers and embroidery it is Trish Burr who lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. These embroideries are reworkings of botanical artworks from Kew's Art Collection. There is one "starter" project to encourage readers to try out techniques and eighteen small elements that can be worked individually or as a group, and nine further projects. All the projects are shown step-by-step, with an order of work diagram given where appropriate. The templates are included at full size at the back of the book.  $40.00

Eddy, Ellen Anne - Thread Magic Garden: Create Enchanted Quilts with Thread Painting and Intuitive Applique - A flower garden is a place to daydream, make wishes, quiet the mind, or spark imagination. bring this special space indoors by making a floral art quilt using embroidery techniques. Learn how to develop your own vivid designs and then choose the best fabrics, threads, and embellishments to create special effects with Ellen's innovative no-pattern approach, you'll be on your way to becoming a master art quilter just like her.  $29.95.

Gula, Kristen - 200 Embroidered Flowers: Hand Embroidery Stitches and Projects for Flowers, Leaves and Foliage - Learn how to stitch all your favorite flowers, leaves and foliage, with this collection of tutorials for 200 embroidered flowers and foliage. Some included are: roses, daisies, daffodils, pansies and buttercups as well as more exotic blooms. This author and embroidery expert teaches you to create these gorgeous flowers with using less than 10 embroidery stitches. Choose from a collar motif, pillow cover, table decoration, shoe embellishments and many more!  $24.99

Higuchi, Yumiko - Embroidered Botanicals: Beautiful Motifs that Explore Stitching with Wool, Cotton, and Metallic Threads - This author is celebrated for her striking embroidery designs with a Scandinavian flair. The motifs and patterns she offers here are true to her style: simple and graphic yet soft imagery drawn from nature.  Here she creates different motifs for different tyes of thread-wool, cotton, pearl cotton, and metallic. Clear step-by-step instructions and detailed diagrams, this book will be an inspiring guide for those new to embroidery and a fresh and unique offering for those experienced needleworkers.  $21.95

Hughes, Joyce - Thread Painting a Garden Quilt: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Realistic 6-Block Project - Written by an award-winning quilter, designer, teacher and author, Joyce provides detailed descriptions for needed supplies and how to use each item so that even beginner quilters can enjoy her technique. Her instructions are very clear and she incorporates knowledge that really show the readers the progressions of depth as you add each color/type of thread. As you work through this book, you'll be amazed at how your skills with your machine are improved.  $24.99

Grisola, Georgia - Bead Tapestry Patterns Peyote Water Lilies by Monet - This woman beader is incredible. Her beadwork of famous artists paintings is so amazing and she does her patterns in large print so those who will be her work don't have to wear their eyes out trying to bead these Miyuku Delica size 11 beads. The final beading project is 12x12 with 65 matte colors. There are large images, a lot of the color numbers with amounts and Word charts. I plan on doing more on her and her work and life in a later blog. But here is your chance to become an artist in your own right.  $22.00

Li, Fen - Bead Flora: The Revival of French Beaded Flowers - Something as simple as seed beads can be transformed into flowers. Learn the old-world art of French beaded flowers with revitalized techniques and patterns. Welcome to Fen Li's dazzling world of everlasting flowers. What you will discover is a rich variety of stunning shapes and colors, as well as a versatile craft. Learning to create these flowers will, in fact, get you carrying on a tradition rooted in the Middle Ages, winding through European monasteries and eventually crossing the Atlantic. Fen brings you classically inspired yet subtly innovation patterns.  $39.00

Meadow, Katie - Crafting with Flowers: Pressed Flower Decorations, Herbariums, and Gifts for Every Season - make your own unique, whimsical jewelry and gifts inspired by nature's beauty! Everyone could add a bit of brightness to their life. This book will introduce different methods of drying and pressing flowers and the more modern technique of microwaving! The crafts are organized seasonally, so you can happily craft all year round, and always have gifts at hand. Learn lovely spring crafts using bright, beautiful flowers, summer crafts aimed more at weddings, celebrations, and festivals, and autumn will move to more cozy self-care crafts like bath melts and dried flower body scrubs, and winter will include crafts such as bookmarks and soaps. This author is an artist based in Lancashire, England, who creates botanical jewelry and keepsakes, so the wearer can take a little bit of nature with them wherever they go.   $19.99


I couldn't leave the world of green without writing about Mrs. Mary Delany. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Delany's paper flowers you have missed some amazing art. No one before her or one since her has ever had the patience and enormous talent to create botanically correct flowers out of paper. She called them her paper mosaics. She loved to garden and from this love she constructed flowers on paper. Amazingly, she didn't start this craft until she was in her seventies!  See, it is never too late to begin something new.  (discount code: green20)

Mary was born in 1700 in England into a privileged family distantly related to royalty. But her fortunate birth, like most things in life, was both fortunate and unfortunate. The fortunate thing was she never had to make a bed, wash a dish, or work at anything she didn't like to do: in fact all that was expected of her was to maintain a good reputation. The unfortunate thing was her family, even with the proper lineage, lacked a good income and forced her, at the tender age of seventeen,  to marry an elderly, titled, moneyed drunk. a relationship that thankfully only lasted until she was twenty-four.

As a respectable widow, Mary lived a life of parties, operas, games and educated conversations and company. Although her income was small she had the correct background, was attractive, entertaining so she was invited to the best estates for long visits and never expected to pay for anything. Her small home was closed up in her absence to save money. Her dearest friendship was with the Duchess of Portland. They had common interests in botany,
painting, gardening and art. Mary was also a master embroiderer and her handiwork that survives is as admired today as it was in her time.

She was courted by many gentlemen but marriage was extremely distasteful to her.  She was in no hurry to wed although in her society that was highly approved of. But suddenly at the age of forty-two she married a Dr. Delany, a move that surprised everyone. They admired each other for "proper manners and breeding". The good doctor sent Mary a proposal of marriage by mail and apparently ready for "proper" companionship, she accepted. This was far from a love match but they did like each other. Whatever the relationship was, it worked for the duration of their marriage. Childless, it has been hinted at, she probably didn't want any.

When widowed for the second time, Mary spent much time with the Duchess. During that time, and into her seventies, she invented her famous paper botanical masterpieces, 970 in all, of which, 110 of these are proudly owned by the British Museum. How did Mary make them? She used tiny pieces of colored paper to represent the parts of the plant or flower, using lighter and darker paper to form shading and all these pieces were placed on a black background. Each "mosaic" was botanically accurate to the last detail. On the back of each picture she recorded all the historical and botanical information about the plant.  What an amazing feat. In fact, she's my inspiration that some of us are "late bloomers" and it is never too late to try something new.

One last note. Her paper flowers were admired by the Tiffany Studios and they created plates, cups and saucers, vases and more using her botanical flowers.  I wouldn't mind having a set of those!

I've included some books below so you can enjoy this amazing personality.

Peacock, Molly - The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 - In 1772 upon the death of her second husband, Mary Delaney arose from her grief, picked up a pair of scissors, and, at the age of 72, created a new craft. Over the next decade, Mrs. Delany produced an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum. Internationally acclaimed poet Molly Peacock weaves in delicate prose creates a profound and beautiful examination of the nature of creativity and art. This gorgeously designed book, featuring over thirty-five full-color illustrations is presented and designed on fine paper, with colophons and decorations as well as a gripping memoir.  $25.00

Princeton Architectural Press - Paper Flowers Cards and Envelopes: The Art of Mary Delany - Each exquisite paper flower in this elegant collection blooms with extraordinary detail and color. Eighteenth-century British artist Mary Delany created those lovely flowers from tiny pierces of paper on black ink backgrounds. The fine shading and depth are as intricately detailed as a botanical illustration and scientifically accurate. This set of twelve of her flowers features sunflowers, rhododendron, cornflowers, water lilies, and more. Gorgeous!  $16.95

Turner, Tiffanie - The Fine Art of Paper Flowers: A Guide to Making Beautiful and Lifelike Botanicals - If you want to create your own paper flowers, Tiffanie Turner, is a licensed California architect, fine artist and instructor in the art of paper flower making in the United States and worldwide and who has been exhibited.
She includes step-by-step instructions for over 30 of her wonderful paper flowers from bougainvillea to English roses to zinnias. These stunning creations can be made from simple and inexpensive materials and the book's detailed tutorials and beautiful photography make lifelike results.  $25.00


Ashford, Julie - Spellbound Beaded Tassels - This book is packed full of projects. All of them have detailed recipes and are fully illustrated with step-by-step instructions, and all are graded for difficulty. The basics are explained from terminology to techniques and design ideas and inspirations are provided throughout. Each chapter starts with a main project which introduces the theme and takes you step-by-step through the construction projects and others to simple ideas that you can develop further. With full colour photography the author has also included handy tips and hints.  $19.95

Ashford, Julie - Spellbound Festive Beading - Follow the clear step-by-step instructions to make a dazzling array of beaded beauties, stars, icicles, and snowflakes, and an adorable beaded Christmas Tree, Santa, Angel and Christmas Pudding design that look great as earrings and work equally well as small decorations. Learn how to take the designs further by changing the bauble size, create mobiles, make beautiful beaded tassels, or simply take your favorite element of a design and create a beautiful piece of jewellery.  $19,95

Ashford, Julie - Spellbound Festive Beading Three - Packed with beautiful ideas to create stunning designs perfect for Christmas, this book brings great beading projects perfect for Christmas. There are beautiful projects for the beginners and those perfect for the more experienced beader. Each major project is fully illustrated with step-by-step instructions with lots of diagrams to guide the beader through the making process. The book is in full-colour with foolproof instructions and diagrams.   $19.95

Ashford, Julie - Spellbound Floral Beaded Jewellery - Create your own beautiful floral jewellery with small beads, needle and thread. Each major project has fully illustrated step-by-step instructions with lots of diagrams to guide you through the making process, and is followed by further instructions to create even more pieces inspired by, and related to, the major project. There are beginner through advanced projects. To complete the collection there is even a very cute Bee Hive beaded box with a hinged lid. How neat is that! Having been a beekeeper I like that!  $19,95

Burr, Trish - Trish Burr's Embroidery Transfers - This great resource book contains over 70 of Trish Burr's fabulous embroidery designs on easy-to-use iron-on transfer paper, with full-colour stitch inspiration for each. There are over 70 neat designs from her books plus 6 new bonus designs. Choose from a wonderful range of inspiring designs, including flowers, birds, figures, animals and small vignettes. At the book's start is a short section which gives colour inspiration for every design plus advice on using the transfers.   $16.95

C and T Publishing - Stitch a Masterpiece: 25+ Iron-on Embroidery Designs from Famous Artists; Van Gogh, Monet, Matiesse, Cezanne and More - Transfer and embroider famous art from around the world! Over 25 embroidery designs from some of the most visually stunning paintings of all time. Celebrated works from Cezanne, and Klimt are now available as iron-on transfers to make stitching their artwork a breeze. Transfer and embroider beautiful paintings from such artists as Van Gogh. Includes line-drawings come in multiple sizes and watches and color guide to get you stitch. Full-color paintings with stitched up inspirations iron-ons will transfer several times. $19.95

Dalby, Kathryn Chipinka - Star Signs Embroidery: Zodiac Patterns to Customize and Create - Create a beautiful piece of art to hang on a wall, or a personalized gift for a friend. The traditional art of embroidery is easy to learn with this fun kit for two projects: 10 skeins of embroidery floss, 2 needles, 2 pieces of fabric, a 6-inch embroidery hoop, 24 seed beads, and water-soluble transfers for anything you want to embellish! Mix and match zodiac signs and names with the design patterns to create something unique and special! The great directions and beautiful photos make it easy to create your own work of art that can be enjoyed for generations to come.  $19.99

Healey, Elizabeth - Lace Reimagined - This original and exciting guide to lace is a visual feast of inspiring step-by-step projects; it will encourage you to experiment, inspire you with handy tips, and provide sources for further inspiration. The 30 projects in this book span the colour spectrum and make use of a range of media including paper, fabric, thread and even concrete! This book includes in-depth features and fascinating asides relating to the history of lace and it will encourage you to experiment and inspire you with handy tips for these inspiring step-by-step projects. The projects use bobbin lace, needle lace, needle weaving and drawn-thread work, all of which are clearly illustrated for beginners. Some projects feature techniques such as using concrete and paper-mache; some feature ready-made lace, either entirely, or as something that can be added to.  $19.95 

Henry, Charles and Elin Petronella - Mindful Embroidery: Stitch Your Way to Relaxation with Charming European Street Scenes - Escape the chaos of everyday life by embroidering yourself a romantic and tranquil getaway. Allow Charles Henry and Elin Petronella to whisk you away to a French countryside. Discover the hidden gems of Paris, stroll down the colorful tiled streets of Lisbon or float along the canals of Venice. Beginners can confidently complete any design and enjoy the meditative process of creating something gorgeous one stitch, and breath, at a time.  $22.99

Higuchi, Yumiko - Simply Stitched with Embroidery: Embroidery Motifs for Purses and More - This book introduces Japanese embroidery artists newest collection of motifs, showcased on a variety of purses, wallets and bags, Enjoy her simple, folk-inspired floral and animal designs stitched in her signature style, as well as nine lovely bag patterns inspired by the motifs. Beautiful step-by-step photos clearly explain Yumiko's favorite techniques for sewing bags, installing metal purse clasps, and making pompoms for the bags and a helpful embroidery stitch guide outlines the eight basic stitches used in creating these designs in this book. Full-size templates are included for all 20 embroidery designs. $19.99

Horrox, Jan - How to Make Cloth Dolls - Here is a practical guide to cloth doll making by renowned artist Jan Horrox. This book  contains 6 wonderful step-by-step projects and ideas for many more, this highly practical guide is aimed at those who are new to doll making as well as more experienced needlecrafters. jan's dolls are exquisitely made, yet by breaking down the process  down into easy-to-follow steps, they become surprisingly easy to achieve. Full of character and life, Jan's dolls are made using a wide range of colourful fabrics, trims, ribbons and buttons and are ideal for using up scraps and oddments of materials. There are clear, step-by-step instructions for making hands and feet, making hair, and needlesculpting and painting the exquisite face to really bring the dolls to life. There are also instructions for making webbed fingers and delicate fairy wings as well as a mermaid's tail. Full-size templates for all the body pieces are supplied at the back of the book.  With 6 projects to choose from, including fairies, wood nymphs, mermaids, witches and s steampunk doll, this book provides all the means and inspiration you need to make your own gorgeous dolls.  $23.95

Landry, Wendy - Velvet on My Mind, Velvet on My Loom: Velvet Weaving Past and Present - For over 1000 years, velvet textiles were woven by hand with great ingenuity and artistry. This book recounts a transcontinental story of their development into one of the most beautiful, luxurious and economically important products of the medieval and Renaissance periods, in constant demand at courts throughout Europe and Asia. Velvet expert Landry offers a consistent theory of the origin and spread of this weaving technique and the technological innovations that accompanied it. The instructions feature techniques and equipment accessible to ordinary handweavers and introduce ways to attain complex results without complex equipment.  $70.00

Morita, Miw - Enchanting Embroidery Designs: Whimsical Animal and Plant Motifs to Stitch - Create your own world using bright thread colors and imaginative stitches. This book is full of motifs that are both simple and playful, from zany crocodiles, and cuddly cats to big-eared bats and stealthy ravens. This books invites you to be creative with its whimsical designs and instructions . You can use these projects as visible mending techniques or simply to add interest to a piece. Simple how-tos take you through every recommended stitch.  $14.99

Ray, Aimee - Doodle Stitching Embroidery Art: Move Beyond the Pattern with Aimee Ray - Use floss like a boss! Hand stitching ideas with best-selling Aimee Ray. With her help, you'll move beyond the pattern to reflect on your artistic self-making hoop framed embroidery art, decorative charms, and fabric scrapbooks. Create artwork you'll display in every room of the house! Mix and match motifs and personalize wall art with lettering and numbers. With 20 projects to chose from Embroidery Art will intrigue both beginners and seasoned embroiderers.  $19.95 

Redford, Catherine - Butterfly stitches: Hand Embroidery and Wool Applique Designs - Beautify with butterflies! Applique and embroidery designs for nature lovers. Let your creativity take flight with a rainbow of embroidered butterflies! Internationally recognized teacher instills a passion for embroidery and embellished wool applique. Embroidery, applique or a combination of both? The choice is yours, as you customize 12 designs for 36 unique looks! With an overview of materials, basic stitches, and a robust gallery of ideas, you'll be ready to unwind in the lure of hand stitching.  Have fun!  $19.95

Rose, Tilly -  Stitched Memories - Learn to create a unique textile art using vintage cloth and embroidery to tell a story and preserve. memories. Our homes are full of treasured items from the past. Tilly Rose encourages you to seek out your precious stash of pre-loved items and transform them into beautiful and practical textile artworks that celebrate the lives of your ones loved ones and preserve your memorie3s for generations to come. Learn how to make 15 great projects, including cloth journals, lavender hearts, framed collages, wall hangings and miniature quilts. All of the designs have a story to tell and are made using vintage fabrics, threads, lace, ribbon, buttons, materials at home, you can have fun sourcing them from online marketplaces., thrift stores and flea markets, and try mixing them with modern fabrics and embellishments for a more contemporary look. The projects incorporate a range of exciting techniques, all explained through clear instructions and step-by-step photos, including layering and collage, hand embroidery, transferring your own design to cloth, stamping, applique, embellishing, patchwork, free motion embroidery and photo transfer.  Enjoy the journey.  $19.95

Thompson, Cindy-Lou - A Masterclass in Needle Felting Dogs - If you have ever wanted to improve your needle felting and take it to a whole new level to create more lifelike dogs this is your book. Covering different breeds of dogs with step-by-step instructions and photos, you will be taken through body shapes, proportions, armatures, coats and blending. You will be shown how to create realistic accessories such as eyes, noses, mouths, ears and nails with a professional finish with different textures costs, clipping and shaping, and finishing off, using a variety of mediums and methods, some of which have never been revealed until now. $17.00

West, Stacy - Buttermilk Basin's Ornament Extravaganza: 45 Easy-To-Stitch Designs! - Add vintage flair to your holiday home with 45 wool-applique ornaments.  Embellish wool applique with hand-embroidery stitches, buttons, and trims to add vintage flair to your holiday décor. Traditional Christmas designs, including snowmen, stockings, and ugly sweaters to round out the mix of lovely little fusible applique motifs that will bring you joy. Complete with tips for wool applique and embroidery basic stitches are fun to make, give, or display.  $25.99

Thanks for Visiting Us!

If this was your first visit I'd like to introduce you to our book business of almost 27 years. During this time we've set up many bookshops for the ANG and EGA seminars and a variety of other needlework organizations as well as doing this blog now.

Can't find a certain book? Please give us a call and we'll go to work to find it for you whether it is in-print or out-of-print.

Call us Monday thru Saturday at: 602-943-0738. If you get the dreaded message machine please don't be shy about leaving a message. I'll get back to you ASAP. Or you can e-mail me at:  Or mail your order to: Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

MOST IMPORTANT! Remember to look for the discount code hidden somewhere in this blog that gives you a 20% discount on any new books you order from this blog or the previous ones still available on this site - on the right.



Friday, June 19, 2020

Suh, H. Anna

                 MAY/JUNE 2020 BLOG

Don't Forget to Find the Discount Code in this Blog and get 20% Off All New Books!

               LET'S READ AND CREATE

                           Reading gives us someplace to go 
                           When we have to stay where we are.
                                         Mason Cooley

I was reading the Sunday comics and discovered this wonderful saying in the "Mutts" comic strip.  Of course, because of COVID19 we are staying home more but that hopefully gives us time to do things we've put off or things we always wanted to get started. Maybe there is a new needlework technique you wanted to learn or a book you wanted to read or both. Why not? 

If you decide your not "in the mood" to work on a project don't listen to that voice. I'd like to share with you what two important creators had to say about that mood "thing". 

While I was reading the little book, The Blank Canvas -Inviting the Muse by Anna Held Audette, I discovered this, "Contrary to popular myth, artists don't go to the studio only when they are in the right frame of mind. Francis Bacon said he was NEVER in the mood before he started. 'As you work, the mood grows on you. There are certain images which suddenly get hold of me and I really want to do them. But it's true to say that the excitement and possibilities are in the working and can come only in the working."

Okay, Francis Bacon, I hear you. I know the days when the "mood" colored my plans to get some writing done. Maybe some of you have been there too.  Talent or the need to create, we think, should magically take over and lead us down the path to creating something beautiful.  Wrong! Most of us have a hard time with the isolation  that comes with our choice of creation. Anna Held Audette tells us, "of the two abilities, talent and the will to work, it is the latter that plays the more important role in an artist's development." She tells the story of a Chinese artist who is asked by a man to draw a rooster for him and upon agreeing the artist asked the man to come back in one month.

The man returned on the date decided and the artist drew him a magnificent rooster in a few minutes. The man didn't want to pay a large sum of money for something that was done so quickly. The artist quietly opened the door to another room where he saw hundreds of rooster drawings.  What it takes to create something wonderful is lots of time alone working. I got the message and think about that every day I face a blank computer screen or a blank piece of canvas.

For Vincent Van Gogh he found the mood he needed to create in wandering the countryside and watching people. He spoke bluntly about it in a letter to his brother, "I don't know myself how I paint it. I just sit down with a white board in front of the spot that appeals to me. I look at what is in front of my eyes, and I say to myself that white board has got to turn into something. I come back, dissatisfied. I lay it to one side and when I have rested a bit, I go and look at it with a kind of awe." So, remember, you are not without ideas, they just haven't bubbled up yet! Just start thinking and doing! It'll come.

So what inspired him. As I read more of his letters it became clear to me: Color! Color was his inspiration. Yes, he loved to paint nature and peasants but color was certainly one of his muses. In his letters he describes places, nature, people, seasons and even bugs in terms of color. He traveled widely in search of color. "Spring is tender, green, young corn and pink apple blossoms. Autumn is the contrast of the yellow leaves with violet tones. Winter is the snow with the black silhouettes. But now if summer is the contrast of blues with an element of orange in the golden bronze of the corn - one could paint a picture which expressed the mood of the seasons year each of the contrasts of the complementary colors. Walking directly on the spot all the time, I try to grasp what is essential. In the drawing later I fill in the spaces which are bounded by contours - either expressed or not, but in any case felt, with tones which are also simplified."

I saw it suddenly, he didn't draw what he saw but what that made him FEEL, what inspired him went onto canvas. Little did he know how inspiring his letter would still be over a century later. I also discovered Van Gogh was not only a passionate artist but a passionate reader. I'm sure his love of reading gave him much inspiration too. I can't imagine a life without books. It's amazing how much inspiration I get out of reading. So to pass on some of this inspirations I've included these books that can hopefully inspire you to be more creative.

I have to make Frederick the Mouse by Leo Lionni the first book in this selection of books on getting creative. If you haven't read this children's book here's your golden opportunity. Frederick teaches his mice friends and us the power of creativity. The first time I read it I immediately related to Frederick.  Like Frederick I am a dreamer and a memory storer.  Maybe you are too. Take the pleasure in Frederick's simple but impressive story.  Leo Lionni certainly has created a marvelous mouse story teller.  $ 7.99 (Discount Code: Jun20)

Audette, Anna - The Blank Canvas - I love this little book. It has so much meat in it. Drawing upon demand from the wellspring of creativity is central to being an artist. The help and comfort offered in this book will benefit artist of all kinds whether you are suffering from an "artistic block", problems of creative expression, or overcoming self-doubt and criticism. $18.95

Mein, Annemieke - The Art of Annemieke Mein: Wildlife Artist in Textiles - This is a beautiful classic is brought back again by Search Press. This artist was the first artist to be accepted as a member in the Wildlife Art Society of Australia. Her astonishing three-dimensional creations are works of extraordinary skill, born
out of a passionate commitment to seeing the world with a loving eye. She paints and stitches to faithfully reproduce her chosen subjects and to enhance the tactile quality unique to textiles. Numerous techniques are sued such as applique, trapunto, quilting, pleating, felting, beading, weaving and plying.  It's one of my favorite all time books. $35.00

Picker, Adiana - Petal: A World of Flowers Through the Artist's Eye - This award-winning artist and illustrator whose clients range from Vogue and Gourmet Traveller, Mecca cosmetics and also works in film costume design. She loves flowers, if fact, she says she has had a lifelong obsession with them so I thought it would be very inspiring to see her "eye" for these plants, folklore, fame, scent and meaning behind our favorite blooms. $37.00

Norby, Jacob - The Creative Cure: How Finding and Freeing Your Inner Artist Can Heal Your Life - The author is a writer, creative coach, and teacher of the popular online course Creative UnBootcamp.  He says that saying, "I'm just not creative" could not be further from the truth. He adds, "If we don't exercise our creativity regularly, our lives can feel dull, stagnant, and rote." There is a way out of that feeling, Jacob says. He is knows it for real. By his mid-thirties, he was running a successful mortgage company and lived in a big house  and had fancy cars. He explains how he traded in his stagnant way of life for one full of meaning and purpose, and offers to help you find your own creative practice.  This book arrives on September 15th, but you can place your order now.  It's $18.95 but don't forget to use your 20% discount.

Reisem, Holly, Hanna - Time Management in 20 Minutes a Day - She proves that managing your time doesn't have to take a lot of time. If your ironic struggle in life is that you don't even have time to learn better time-management skills, this is the book for you! Holly gives us straightforward suggestions that focus on simple and proven strategies that you can do in 20 minutes or less.  Learn how to stop doing all the little things you didn't even realize were wasting so much of your time.  $14.99  

Stosuy, Brandon - Make Time for Creativity: Finding Space for Your Most Meaningful Work (a self-guide) - Venture into a space that intimately discusses how to find time to express yourself and develop your talents. The author is the founder of The Creative Independent) and taps into working artists to provide perspective on how creativity can be prioritized among the other demands on your time. This book provides an inspiring framework for building your own creative process and using your time meaningfully. While be available on September 8th but can be ordered now. $16.99  Don't forget to use the 20% discount good on any new book you order. (No picture available yet.)


Suh, Anna H. - Van Gogh's Letters: The Mind of the Artist in Paintings, Drawings, and Words, 1875-1890 - How could I leave out one of my biggest inspirations! Vincent Van Gogh wrote hundreds of letter to his brother Theo, as well as to family members and fellow artists including Paul Gauguin in painstaking detail and beautiful prose, the progress of his work. This book presents more that 150 of these stirring letters, excerpted and notated with the art it describes, including sketches, drawings, and paintings. $24.99


Angell, Laura and Lynsey Angell - Bargello Needlepoint: A Pattern Directory for Dramatic Creations - These two sisters take us through a brief history of the technique as well as a great tutorial of the stitches and brings bargello designs up to date with 40 stitch patterns, graded from easy to advanced. A wealth of designs follow, enhanced with full-color photos and easy-to-read charts and also guidance for creating textures and smart finishes at edges and suggestions for using fancy and alternative yarns and experiments with freestyle patterns.  $22.95

Arnfield, Catherine - Felted Animal Knits: 20 keep-forever friends to knit, felt and love - Learn how to combine knitting and felting to create stunning, realistic animals authored by textile designer and Knit2Felt founder, Catherine Arnfield. If you have basic knitting skills and are looking for fresh ideas and new techniques to try with only a few basic tools this book is for you.  $23.95

Boden, Diane - Quilled Animals: 20 cute creatures to coil and shape - I know - this book isn't about needlework but I couldn't resist this 20 quilled animals that can be used for cards of pictures. There are clear step-by-step instructions to start and enjoy this craft so they are easy and fun to make. $11.95

Boutique-Sha - Modern Kogin: Sweet and Simple Sashiko Embroidery Designs and Projects -  If you haven't already discover the art of kogin, a style of traditional Japanese sashiko embroidery with modern appeal, here is your chance.
Historically, kogin was used as a pattern darning technique to add warmth to the clothing worn by farmers in the villages.  $19.99

Envoldsen-Harris, Carina - Thread Doodling: 20 Modern Designs for Stitching in the Moment - Just think, with 1 needle, 15 stitches and 2 hoops, you can embroider over 20 different designs to discover your creativity in your calmness. The author also includes 11 extra transfer designs. If you love mandalas, geometric shapes, knot gardens, doodles and abstract patterns this book has them all including easy-to-follow techniques, plus a fuss-free, crash-course in straight-away stitching.  $19.95 

Francis, Tina - Modern Bargello - How to Stitch 15 Colourful Projects - This tapestry needlepoint and textile artist has had her work exhibited around the UK. There is a project here whether you are new to bargello or have experience with it. Learn how to combine bold, bright colours in attractive, creating an illusion of 3-D. Use her easy-to-follow patterns and approachable instructions to master appealing designs, then turn your creations into wearable and interiors . The stitches take on a rhythm of their own which makes it extremely relaxing and only a handful of materials required - canvas, tapestry wool, tapestry needle, instructions.  $16.95

Garland, Claire - Magical Woodland Knits: Knitting Patterns for 12 Wonderfully Lifelike Animals - A magical collection of 12 knitting patterns for wonderfully lifelike animals and birds accompanied by the author's sketches and studies of the natural world whether a bird, gray squirrel, barn owl, yellow-necked field mouse, wolf, fox, wild rabbit and even a roe deer fawn.  $24.99

George, Kathleen - Mandala Bookmarks Vol 1: Large Print Cross Stitch Patterns - This book is an "Extra-Large-Print" cross stitch pattern. Stitching their beautiful cross stitch patterns is a labor of love and very time-consuming. The large grids and alphabetic symbols used in this cross stitch pattern book makes tackling such a large project much easier and more enjoyable. $19.99

George, Kathleen - Starry Night: Van Gogh cross stitch pattern - This author is the founder of Cross Stitch Collectibles, and designer of more than 5,000 fine art counted cross stitch patterns since 1998. She also began the successful international phenomenon of designing boldly-colored fractal cross stitch patterns . The book is an "etra-large print" cross stitch pattern. The large grids and alphabetic symbols used in this cross stitch pattern book makes tackling such a large project much easier and more enjoyable. $22.95

Healey, Elizabeth - Lace Reimagined: A Creative Guide to Making and Using Lace - This book is a practical exploration of lace and how to use it. It is packed full of inspiring projects and some basic lace-making techniques for beginners that makes this book unique on a trendy subject for textile artists, fashion designers, and embroiderers. Also included are in-depth features relating to the history of lace; it will encourage you to experiment, and inspire you with handy tips.  $19.95

Hisako, Nishiko - Cross Stitch Wild Flower and Grasses: 32 beautiful cross stitch motifs - Stunning and trendy cross stitch designs for home and clothing embellishment with beautiful cross stitch step-by-step patterns for all levels and embellish any item with beautiful cross stitch design.  $19.95

Johnson, Susan - 19th Century Charted Alphabets from Europe: for Needlepoint and Cross Stitch - This book is a compilation of several antique booklets and includes 46 alphabets in a variety of styles and sizes to give you letters perfect for everything. Please note that, like many antique alphabets, the letters "I" and "J" were considered interchangeable as you will see in this book. $26.95

Johns, Susie - Circus Embroidery: More Than 200 Motifs and Projects to Stitch - This book includes 12 embroidered projects, some practical and some decorative, using the motifs as embellishments. With spreads made up of template outlines on one side and the finished stitched items opposite, it couldn't be easier. Have fun with jugglers, tightrope workers, performing animals, banners, flags, tents, ticket office, signs, big cats, musicians, ringmasters, and more.  $22.95

Kim, Minki - Zakka Wool Applique: 60+ Sweetly Stitched Designs - Admirers of Minki Kim's machine-sewn illustrations will adore her new Zakka motifs in wool, perfect for hand stitching and eash enough for beginners. She brings us 63 impossibly cute designs celebrate the best of everyday life, from morning rituals to nature's beauty. Display your work on six heartfelt projects, including a pretty purse, patchwork coasters, and a boxy sewing case. A robust gallery shows ideas for handmade gifts and even more fun ways to decorate your space.  $25.95

Kubota, Hiroko - Cat in My Pocket Embroidery - Japanese embroidery artist, Hiroko Kubuta, was inspired by her son's love for cats and she designed the patterns for these remarkable shirts. She presents step-by-step directions for reproducing the playful designs. Her technique allows crafters to "paint with thread" by using a small needle and single strands of colorful embroidery floss. Ten original projects that transform ordinary items into works of art that feature adorable felines peering at you. How fun to travel with a kitty in your pocket.  $21.95

Lapierre, Corinne - Felt Animal Families - Make six beautiful animal families in felt including a raccoon, a deer, a mouse, a ox, a bear and a rabbit. Learn to make easy-to-sew animals using small amounts of craft felt and lovely clothes and accessories to accompany the animals. $23.95

Larochette, Jean Pierre, Larochette, Yadin, Lurie, Yael - Anatomy of a Tapestry: Techniques, Materials, Care - The history, legacy, and boundless creativity of weavers over the centuries is the base in this helpful guide for new weavers. Jean Pierre Larochette is a fourth-generation French Aubusson tapestry weaver and he gives us a great glimpse into the multiple combination techniques that form the art of the weaver. Each technique is exemplified by diagrams, woven models, and examples. Larochette shares theories and approaches to conservation, including new scientific research to help in the much-needed task of preserving these creations for centuries to come. Along with distilling traditional information on the art, this book's precise written instructions and clear visual examples and flat binding - assist you in both creating and preserving your tapestries.  $45.00

Newton, Amy - Cross Stitch Planner: Grid Graph Paper Squares, Design your own pattern, WIP Notebook Journal - The purpose of this book is to keep all of your cross stitch notes and information all in one place. It is a great way to record and keep track of your progress and stay organized.  $19.99

Noguchi, Hikaru - Darning: Repair, Make, Mend - This is the first UK edition of the cult darning book whose author has become the guru of visible darning in Japan. With 12 different darning techniques and guide makes the methods easy to follow. The stylish photography shows off the artistic and minimalist style of the designer's work. This humble tradition of darning is elevated to an artform in this guide. She explores fundamental techniques to repair worn-out socks and moth-eaten sweaters and more that turn your darning stitches into attractive features on your clothing.  $29.95

Pye, Lizzy - Goldwork Embroidery: Techniques and Projects - The author is a hand embroiderer and has graduated from the Royal School of Needlework and has taught embroidery in the UK and abroad. Here she brings us a guide to materials and equipment, advice on getting started, preparing fabrics, and transferring designs. She also includes helpful direction of design strategy. Step-by-step photographs to guide the reader through each technique. Great instructions show how to combine with goldwork, including silk shading and six projects that show how to use and combine the various goldwork techniques.  $45.00

Quine, Becky - Crewelwork Embroidery - Crewelwork has a long history, but this book brings the technique right up to date. It mixes contemporary styles with older traditions to give an us an exciting, new beautiful style of embroidery. Advice on design is given along with working with color and how to plan and stitch a piece of embroidery and how to transfer a design onto fabric. There are step-by-step sequences to more than 40 different  stitches ranging from filling to outlining stitches. The author is a tutor and conservator/restorer with the Royal School of Needlework. She found a Stitch in Quine, which specializes in hand embroidery kits. $45.00

Sidore, Micala, Bremer-David, Charissa - The Art is the Cloth: How To Look at and Understand Tapestries - This is a colorful guided tour from an expert, enabling weavers, textile lovers, and art lovers to notice and appreciate what tapestries can do and how they do it. They give us how-to strategies enabling weavers and non-weavers to notice and appreciate the meaning of these artworks. You'll discover much to enjoy in photos of more than 300 tapestries from over the centuries. Sidore enables you to think about the weavings in ways you have never before considered as she groups pieces that talk with each other. Through her wonderful teachings you will become increasingly sophisticated in understanding what you're seeing. Learn about the use of trompe l'oeil, the importance of the direction in which the weaver weaves, and more.  $45.00

Strambio, Isabella - Macramé for the Modern Home - Learn to make 16 beautiful Insta-ready macramé projects to hang on your wall, decorate your home and transform your outdoor space. use simple knitting and natural dyeing techniques, all clearly explained step by step. The author uses 100% recycled materials and completely natural dyes.  $19.95


Everything has a history even the humble pincushion. As far as can be asserted they come to light in the Middle Ages of Europe and known by a variety of names such as: pin-pillows, pimpilowes, among others. There are some survivals of that time show they had elaborate embroidery. Highly popular were porcelain baskets with a pin cushion inside. Even rocking chairs were popular designs for the cushion. Usually the pincushion is filled with cotton, sawdust, wool, though some were filled with emery powder to clean and sharpen the pins.

Pincushion dolls were popular in late 19th century Europe. Those that remain in good condition are very collectible today but hard to find. The figurine of a woman stops at the waist where a pincushion can be stitched to it that resembles a skirt. They continued into the 20th century and reflect Art Deco or other such styles.

I think most all of us are familiar with the tomato and strawberry pincushion with the strawberry filled with emery to sharpen and clean pins and needles.  I have my grandmother's and I think of her every time I pull a needle or pin from it. What I didn't know about this design was that it was designed in the Victorian Era. Some say this tomato design came from a belief that if you placed a tomato on the mantel of a new house. When tomatoes were out-of-season people made up a ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust that eventually became a place for pins.  Was this true? We'll probably never know since different vegetables were common as pincushions then.

Whatever their history, pincushions are here to stay. Below are a number of books with great pincushion designs just waiting to be created. Maybe you'll be inspired to create a design of your own. Have fun!

Annie's - Pincushions and More - Discover the joy of making
small useful projects from your stash and gifting them to others who share your love of sewing and quilting. This book contains lots of inspiration to create 13 unique pincushions and three needlebooks. Templates are given on a 30x21 inch insert. Have fun and let your creativity flow.  $9.99

Haxell, Kate - Super-Cute Pincushions - Find 35 whimsical and creative pincushion projects that are pretty to look at as well as practical to use. Choose from an array of imaginative ideas, work with a range of materials including seed beads, buttons, lace, ticking, felt, and ribbon. Easy-to-follow, illustrated step-by-step instructions.  $19.95

Hoey, Aneela - Stitched Sewing Organizers: Pretty Cases. Boxes, Pouches, Pincushions and More - Celebrate and use your sewing skills with Aneela Hoey's 15 stylish yet functional patterns for a wide variety of sewing organizers designed to work together and even fit into larger ones and can be made into a coordinating set. Showcase trendy fat quarters and half-yards or use up scraps of your favorite fabric as you make gifts for your friends or to bring to swaps.  $26.95

Hunter's Design Studio - Chunky Wee Pincushions Pattern - These sweet wee pincushions are made of classic quilting blocks in three sizes: Large 4'x4' top 2" tall, Medium 3"x3" top 1 1/2" tall, Wee: 2"x2" top 1" tall. The blocks are foundation paper-pieced for greater accuracy.  $12.00

Jangles, Jennifer LLC - Happy Camper Pin Cushion Needlecraft Kit - Well, we can't go very far but here is a pincushion ready to travel wherever your imagination will take you. This kit includes everything you need to create it but scissors. The finished camper is 3" tall. This makes a great gift as a kit  or finished.  Have fun!  $19.95

Nyberg, Amanda Jean - Plenty of Pincushions - Vol. 1 - Pincusions are nearly instant gratification projects. Make several pincushions, some to keep and some to share with your sewing friend. Paper piecing skills are required for the flying geese and pineapple pincushions. This pattern includes instructions for 5 pincushions: Flying geese (4 in. finished), Friendship ( 3 3/4 in. finished), Diamond ( 4 1/2 in. finished), and Sailboat ( 4 in. finished).  $10.00


Sudo, Kumiko - Thimbles and Things - This book allows you to create handmade treasures for all who love to sew. These 12 delightful, easy-to-sew projects make sewing even more fun! Showcase even the smallest scraps of your favorite fabrics. Each little project is created to please those who love to sew. There are thimbles, pin-cushions, needle cases, and every other needlework accessory you can imagine. $17.95


If this was your first visit I'd like to introduce you to our book business of 27+ years. During this time we've set up numerous bookshops for ANG and EGA seminars and a variety of other needlework organizations as well as doing this bolog.

Can't find a certain book? Please give us a call and we'll go to work to find it for you whether it is in-print or out-of-print.

Give us a call Monday through Saturday at 602-943-0738. If you get the dreaded message machine, please don't be shy about leaving a message. I'll get back to you ASAP. OR you can e-mail me at OR mail your order to: Ruth Kern Books  7235 N. 9th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85021.

DON'T FORGET! As a reader you get a 20% discount on your order of any new book(s) ordered. Just find the hidden code somewhere in this blog.

AGAIN, THANKS FOR VISITING!  Next Time in August - out-of-print books and more new books.