Friday, July 17, 2015

Black-Eyed Susans--book review

I promised to share with you some of the books I've been reading while I recouperated.  So I will start with the most recent one.

Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin


I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The Lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there.  Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving "Blacky-Eyed Susan," the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave.  Tessa's testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now almost two decades later.  Tessa is an artist and single mother.  In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans--a summertime bloom--just outside her bedroom window.  Terrified at the implications--that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large--Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution.  But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly.  An innocent life hangs in the balance.  The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories--and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly afterher rescue.

What they don't know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a fortress of secrets.  As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter.  Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues?  She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and the lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

My thoughts:

This book is fantastic! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a great psychological thriller. When I started reading this one I couldn't put it down. I even took it to the bathroom with me! Oops, TMI, sorry.

This book is very thought provoking.  I find it difficult to put into words. The author never tells us what happened to Tessa. We know she was found in a wheat field left for dead.  There was anther body and bones from even more victims. But what happened to Tessa? Was she raped, tortured, what? How long was she held before being found? We glean much information from reading but I personally would have liked to know the background. Much was left for your imagination. Maybe this is why it is so good!

The ending is tied up neatly and we are not left hanging, so please give it a chance. I don't think you will be disappointed!

Monday, July 13, 2015

WOW!!! It has been a while

It's hard to believe it has been so long since I posted, but it has been. I went on my annual stitching retreat in November and I got really sick and had to come home.  Went to doctor and was hospitalized for nine days ( including surgery). Then there were the holidays to get through. I did have a rush to finish up some new designs (see Lady K Needlearts). But mostly I have been reading and sleeping. My body seems to be taking much longer to recover than usual.

I will be adding reviews of some of the books I've been reading over the next few weeks. Today I thought I would share a bit about what I've been stitching. Many years ago I saw a chart for a Blackwork Greenman  (by Vickey Macky of FanXstitch) and fell in love with it.  I bought the chart and threads for it and then decided I wasn't up to the task of stitching it. A few weeks ago I thought of it and pulled it out. As I said, I haven't been doing a lot of stitching lately (haven't stitched in about four months or so) but this one started bugging me.  I finally said *what the heck* and gathered my things together. I began stitching on it a few days ago and haven't been able to put it down.  This is a scan of what I have accomplished so far. Not a great pic but maybe it will give you an idea of my progress.

Wip as of 7/10/2015

And this is what it will look like when finished:

Until next time.....

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Boy it is hot in SC

Things have been hectic around my house over the last couple of months--even more so than usual.  My heat pump went out, then my plumbing, then .....well you get the picture.  Let's just say I am on my second round of threes.  I am making do with a window ac unit until I can get the heat pump replaced, but I am finally getting back to my stitching.  I released a new design in May and have another ready to release in July.  Be sure to check them out over on my Lady K Needlearts site.  I am now working on two new designs to be released later this year.

I have also finished up a model for Carriage House Samplings and a consignment piece.  So I am back in stitching mode.

 My ebay site is still going. So if you want to check out what I have listed, please do so.  My ebay name is madstitcherdesigns.

Victorian Motto is having a wonderful give-a-way of her new floss colors.  Be cure and check it out :Victorian Motto

That's it for now.  Gotta get back in front of the AC so I can stitch.  Until next time....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Look Back in Time

A Few years ago I became enamored with Crazy Quilting.  I simply love it.  Pam Kellogg of Kitty and Me Designs was the first I had really noticed and I began following her blog religiously.  I wanted to do this also.  So I made plans and started collecting fabrics and laces and trims and ribbons and fibers, and beads and charms and...and... well you get the idea.  However I could never make myself start one.  I was terrified of piecing the fabrics--not the embellishing!  Can you believe that?  If I didn't have a pattern to follow I wasn't sure how to begin.  And I kept procrastinating.  

I am afraid of Crazy Quilting! Yes...I have finally admitted it. I know the basics. I can sew. I know the specialty stitches used for seam treatments and I love to embellish. I have been an avid cross stitcher for more years than I care to admit and have become addicted to specialty stitches. But for some reason the thought of putting all these things together and actually doing it as a Crazy project is just overwhelming to me. So what did I do? you ask. Well what any normal cross stitcher would do. I improvised! I designed a cross stitch/specialty stitch design that looks like Crazy Quilting! I decided if I can do it on cross stitched fabric then I can do it on regular fabric. So here it is: (It matches my Ipod)

And here it is in RED! Stitched for a friend--I just love this one.

It is the Flutterby Garden Pocket and it is a bit unusual but I love it. It is an IPod/Cell phone pocket with two different looks. I first stitched the basic design (I used this for the back side)  and then began to add embellishments to give it a bit of Zing! (For the front).   It was easy to use what I had on hand--fibers, ribbons, lace, buttons, charms, beads, pearls. As you can see I added a tatted butterfly to mine! Just use your imagination!

[After I finished it, I decided to make it available for others--both cross stitchers and crazy quilters! I have included some seam treatment suggestions and finishing instructions for this as well as the cording and tassel making instructions. This pocket is very versatile. It can be used not only for your IPod or cellphone but also for your credit cards/cash, your keys, Driver's License or anything else you like!  Just send me an email for more info.]

Now it is years later and I still love Crazy quilting and I still have the plans and urge to do some of it.  So stay tuned to see what I do this time.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Today is release day for my newest design--French Elegance II.  This one was so much fun to design and to stitch.  Please check it out over on Lady K Needlearts.

I am now working on another one.  Can't seem to slow down once an idea takes form.  I will share when I can.  

In other news... I have been adding lots of charts, fabrics and other things over on eBay so please check it out.  My name there is madstitcherdesigns.  I have really been clearing out stash and have barely touched the surface.  After all I have been collecting for 45+ years!!  At the moment it is mostly charts and quilting fabrics but I will also be adding cross stitch fabrics, fibers, etc. as soon as I finish going through the charts.  I may also add some books as my library has been growing exponentially also. 

I know I promised photos of my quilt project but I haven't had a chance to get the camera out yet.  But I will...hopefully this weekend.  There is just so much I want to do and not enough time in the day to do it all.  .

Denises's Piece

Back in October I told you I finished a consigned piece for Denise but forgot to take a photo of it finished before mailing it off.  Well she was kind enough to send me a photo of it all framed up and I love it.  It is a Norman Rockwell painting charted out and is solidly stitched.

  I love the mats and frame she chose.  

Until next time...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feeling Guilty

I am really feeling guilty now.  I have begun to reorganize and reduce my stash.  That means eBay.  I have put quite a few charts, fabrics and scissors on eBay and have much more to go through.  (Please go check it out--madstitcherdesigns is my eBay name).   But through there I met a wonderful stitcher who has a great blog and it has made me feel so guilty for neglecting mine. His name is Kevin and if you want to check it out his blog is Cabbages and Kings.  I know I should be better at posting but sometimes I wonder if anyone out there is actually reading it anyway.  But at least it is a record of what is going on with me.  

I am getting ready for the weekend as my Stitching Sisters is having our second Quilting class. I am going to try to get the photos taken and share with all of you what I am planning.  Kiki will be here later this evening for the weekend and the rest are coming tomorrow and Saturday.  We always have a fun time and hopefully it will be productive as well.

Until next time...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sorry I've been away so long...

This weather is really affecting me.  We have had 2 winter storms, an earth quake,  and an aftershock within 2 weeks! ( No damage to us as we were a bit farther away from the epicenter  but we sure felt it!) This is so unusual for us here and it is really taking it's tole on me.  We are still running with emergency heating as my heat pump is going to have to be replaced and I have to figure out how I'm going to pay for it.  This is $7000 that I don't have!

I have been spending most of my time stitching and reading.  I have just finished the model for my newest design which is going to be released on March 15th.  You can read more about it on Lady K Needlearts.  I really enjoyed this one and hope you will like it also.  I also completed a new model for Marty at Carriage House Samplings which is going to be released shortly so keep your eyes out for that one as well.

My Stitching Sisters met at my house for our holiday get together and one of the ladies mentioned an interest in learning to quilt.  Kiki is our resident expert quilter and teacher and she agreed to have a quilting class here for our group.  So I am now taking a quilting class.  We had the first class the weekend of Feb 6th and I will tell you all about it next time as that will take up an entire post and I need to take some photos to share with you. Needless to say we had a lot of fun!

Presently I am back in designing mode and have three new projects ongoing.  So I have been really busy.  I am hoping to do better with my posting but you know me.

Until Next time...

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

What's with this?

What is with this weather?  We are having a snow and ice storm that you wouldn't believe.  I know it is affecting people all over, but folks  THIS IS SOUTH CAROLINA!  We are not accustomed to this.  I am so cold.  My heat pump went out yesterday (the day before the storm hits, of course!) and we are using emergency heating.  I just hope the power doesn't go out.  I hope you are all safe and warm inside.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Forget to Remember--Book Review

I have been busy reading during this cold weather and I found this book to be very enjoyable.  It was written by Alan Cook and is the first of three in the Carol Golden series.

Forget to Remember by Alan Cook

This book is very well written and has a very interesting plot.  Carol was found beaten almost to death and now has no memory of who she is or what happened to her.  She gives herself the name of Carol just because she likes it and begins on her trek to discover who she is.  From California to North Carolina to London to Scotland and back again she follows clue after clue and finds two possibilities for her identity.  More attempts on her life leads her to consider hiding and giving up her search but she continues on with the help of a friend.  Each twist and turn pulls you deeper into the life of Carol Golden.  Who is she and why is someone determined to kill her?

As the plot thickens, the level of interest and intrigue makes this story difficult to put down.  Mr Cook did a marvelous job developing characters you want to get to know.  This was very enjoyable to read.

Until next time....

Friday, December 13, 2013

Great give-away

Nancy of at Victorian Motto is having a great 12 days of Christmas Give-away!  Check it out here.  Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I am celebrating the anniversary of my 29th birthday.  Won't you join me?  It has been uneventful which is what I expected.  My hospice nurse made a special trip to my home to bring me a cupcake!  I have receive several cards and emails and my son has forgotten it.  I am not going to remind him as it will just make him feel badly.  He is working so hard these days I don't know how he remembers what day it is.  I am giving myself my trip to Myrtle Beach as I usually do, so I will be sharing it with my friends next week.  Only 6 more days to go!

I am going to get back to my stitching for a little while and read a few chapters before bed.

Until next time...

Edited to Add:  Jason did remember!  He just came home and brought us dinner as it is a bit too late for us to go out.  He has to get up at 4:00am to get to work.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Wow it's that time of year once more.  Can you believe it?  I hope that each of you has a great day and if you are taking little ones out for Trick or Treat please be careful.  

Until next time...

Monday, October 21, 2013


I finished up the consignment and yes, you guessed it...I forgot to take a photo of it before I mailed it off to it's owner!  I cannot believe I did that.  My only excuse is that I was trying to get it into today's mail and rushed to get it in the mailbox.  Oh well..It was a still life by Norman Rockwell which had been turned into cross stitch.  I was solidly stitched with over 16,000 stitches!  But it turned out really well.

I am now working on my next model so it will be a while before I have any stitching to show unless I take a break to work on one of my WIP.  Which I may do since I may take one with me to the beach.   Is is November yet?  Almost!

My latest read is a series by Jenna Bennett.  I bought the complete collection of the Savannah Martin Mysteries and have gotten through the first two of them (there are seven).  So far it has been very enjoyable.  

#1  A Cutthroat Business

Everyone has warned new-minted realtor Savannah Martin that real estate is a cutthroat business. But Savannah doesn't think she's supposed to take the warning literally ... until an early morning phone call sends her to an empty house on the 'bad' side of town, where she finds herself standing over the butchered body of a competitor, face to face with the boy her mother always warned her about.

Rafe Collier is six feet three inches of testosterone and trouble; tall, dark, and dangerous, with a murky past and no future--not the kind of guy a perfect Southern Belle should want to tangle with. In any way. But wherever Savannah turns, there he is, and making no bones about what he wants from her.

Now Savannah must figure out who killed real estate queen Brenda Puckett, make a success of her new career, and avoid getting killed--or kissed--by Rafe, all before the money in her savings account runs out and she has to go back to selling make-up at the mall. 

# 2  Hot Property


When Savannah Martin's fellow Realtor and friend Lila Vaughn is robbed during an open house, Savannah rushes to the rescue with tea and sympathy, or at least a really good lunch and a shoulder to cry on. However, Lila seems more peeved than distraught, and her main gripe is that the sexy robber who tied her to a kitchen chair--for her own good--didn't follow her suggestion to tie her to the bed instead.

Lila's description of the man fits Savannah's old school-mate Rafael Collier to a T. Rafe has recently turned up in Savannah's life again, and he isn't above doing a little breaking and entering. Metro Nashville Homicide Detective Tamara Grimaldi is of the same opinion, and when Lila turns up dead, tied to her bed and strangled, Rafe becomes a suspect. Now Savannah must get busy finding the real murderer before Detective Grimaldi can arrest the wrong man.

My Thoughts:

So far this has not been disappointing.  I have enjoyed getting to know Savannah and her friends.  The first book is quite good but the second book is even better than the first and I think it will just keep getting better as the series progresses.  It is well written and the character development is well constructed.  The only problem I have is with Savannah's attitude towards Todd but I am not going to spoil it for you.  You'll know what I mean when you read it for yourself! :)~  (teasing!)  I am looking forward to continuing this series.  I am having trouble putting it down each night.

Until next time...


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Only Three Weeks to Go!

I am still waiting for my model to be framed and I am very antsy!  I cannot wait to see how Peggy framed it for me.  I am letting her choose the frame for me this time as I had to send the piece through the mail.  I trust her completely and know she will do a great job.  The consigned piece is almost finished and I do hope the owner likes it.  I will get a photo of it when I get it completed.  Shouldn't be too much longer.

I just realized it is only three weeks until our annual trip to Myrtle Beach!  Kiki, Angel and I will be going for sure.  Jeannie and Ester are not getting to attend this year.  I wasn't sure I would either but thanks once again to Kiki I will be be there.  We will be leaving on November 8th and returning on the 12th.  Kiki will be coming here on the 7th and spending the night and then will stay over again on the 12th so she doesn't have to drive so much in one day.   I really can't wait.  I have been very isolated this year and just want to get away from this house for a few days--see the world, smell the sea air, hear the waves,  experience life!

I will save my next book review for another day.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

What's Next?

I finished my model! Yeah! so now I have to get it to the framers so I can get the photograph done and the chart printed.  I am thinking maybe a November 15th release (fingers crossed) so keep checking out Lady K Needlearts  for all the latest updates on the design works.

I will be starting a consignment piece shortly then on to my next model.

As I stated in my last post, when I finished reading  Front Page Fatality I couldn't wait to read the next book in the series so I downloaded Buried Leads into my Kindle and began reading right away. The author is LynDee Walker and she is a very talented writer.


When an Armani-clad corpse turns up in the woods, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke smells a scoop. A little digging, and Nichelle uncovers a web of corruption that stretches all the way to Washington, D.C. Politics. Murder. And a dead lobbyist. It's everything Nichelle's ever dreamed of.
The cops are playing it close, the feds even closer, and Nichelle’s afraid her boss will assign the story to the political desk any day. Richmond’s new ATF SuperCop makes an arrest before she can say “Louboutin,” but Nichelle’s gut says he’s got the wrong guy.
Her sexy Mafia boss friend warns her off the case, her TV rival is hot on her designer heels, an ambitious copy editor wants her beat, and victims are piling up faster than she can track them down. As Nichelle zeroes in on the truth, it’ll take some fancy footwork to nab this headline before the killer nabs her.

My Thoughts:

Well, I certainly was not disappointed.  This book was very smartly written and had a clever plot with a surprise ending.  I love Nicey's character.  She is strong willed and stubborn but classy as she winds her way through clues in her fabulous stilettos.  The complexity of the her character and the interpersonal relationships with the other characters makes this series a joy to read.  I highly recommend it.

Until next time...

Friday, October 04, 2013

It is October!!!

I cannot believe it is October already!  Where has this year gone?  The days are getting shorter and cooler and I am catching my breath!  I am still working madly to finish my model.  I had hoped to have a release date of October 15th but that isn't going to happen so I will just keep plugging along as quickly as I can.  My son is working hard and has just seen his new schedule which includes the peak season hours--Christmas will be here before we know it and he is gearing up.

I have been trying to read a bit each day and am still keeping it a bit light as I want to relax and wind down at the end of the day.  I will get back to my thrillers once my deadlines have been met.  My most recent book is titled Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker.


Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.

My Thoughts:

This book is very enjoyable.  It is written by a former journalist who knows the ins and outs of the newspaper business so it is very informative and intelligently written.  There are some very humorous scenes so be prepared to laugh but it is also a well written murder mystery with lots of twists and turns.  I cannot wait to see what Nicey gets into next!

Until next time...

Monday, September 30, 2013

New Book Review

Things have been a whirlwind around my house.  I haven't gotten as much done as I had hoped but I am still working.  At the moment I am working on a model of my next design which you will be able to read about over at Lady K Needlearts .  

I have been managing to read a bit each night.  The latest is Designed to Death by Christina Freeburn.  


Faith Hunter planned the perfect event at her grandmother’s shop, Scrap This, featuring local scrapbooker and Life Artist Diva, Belinda Watson. But the extravaganza goes up in a cloud of glitter when Belinda and her cousin, Darlene, brawl over scraplifted designs. Faith attempts to break it up, but only makes things worse. Then when Belinda turns up dead behind the Scrap This store, Faith’s involvement goes viral.
As accusations against her turn vicious, Faith sets out to prove her nemesis, Darlene, committed the crime, only to realize they are both innocent. Now they must team up or the murderer’s plan will come together seamlessly with the frenemies sharing a jail cell—or worse, a funeral.

My thoughts: 

I really enjoyed this book.  The characters and plot are well developed and interesting.  It especially touched home with me because it focused on copywrite infringement which affects all crafts--not just scrapbooking or needlework.  I like how Ms. Freeburn handled the subject.  This cozy mystery is one that I recommend for anyone who wants to relax and enjoy a nice read but also for those interested scrapbooking.  there are lots of ideas here that you might find helpful.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

I can now disclose....

The TNNA Market is now over so I can disclose photos of what I have been working on.  First I did Agness Rowlandson for Carriage House Samplings.
Agness Rowlandson

Then I did the series of four Boys which co-ordinate with the Girls series done some time ago.


This one reminds me of Jason and my Dad when Dad took my son fishing. Although Jason always had a dog instead of a cat it still fits and brings back wonderful memories.
Jeremiah reminds me so much of my son Jason with his dog Dusty.  I think I will have to stitch this again for him--making the appropriate color changes to reflect him.  

See I told you I had been busy! I know you thought I was just loafing! These were fun to stitch and Marty was wonderful to work with.  I look forward to stitching more models for her. 

Until next time...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Touching Base

I just received news that the four pieces I stitched for Carriage House Samplings will be release at the TNNA St. Charles Market on August 24th.  They are the Boys Series and I think you will like them--I know I do.

I have just finished one of my larger designs and am starting the model stitching for it.  I am hoping to release it in October.  Please keep a watch over at Lady K Needlearts for more information of my designs.

I have been trying to get some things done around the house but you know how that goes.  Since my son is working 10 and 12 hour shifts right now it is hard to find the time when he can do any of the *honey do* things that I need for him to do.  But we keep trying.  I am hoping to get my carpet removed and laminate  floors down in my office, hallway and family room before it gets time to think about holidays.  So keep your fingers crossed for me.

As for my reading lately:  I just finished reading a novel and a couple of  novellas from Patricia Mason.  The first book is called In Deep Shitake.
          "Take one devastatingly handsome movie star.
          Add one outrageously sexy female private eye with a 

          penchant for food-word obscenities.
          Mix in a dose of mistaken identity and a handful of 

          Russian mobsters...And they're all In  Deep Shitake."
This is a funny cozy mystery featuring Mo (short for Imogene) a PI who is forever getting into trouble.   She shouts out different foods to substitute for the profanities she is trying not to use anymore.  Thus the word Shitake (mushroom) here.  This was a great relaxing read.  I followed it up with Shitake Happens which is a prequel to the book and contains two short novellas.  Then finished with A Very Shitake Christmas.  While these books are not very intellectually challenging they are a fun and relaxing read which is what I have been needing lately.  If you like cozies I think you will enjoy these.

Until next time... 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pieces of Tracy by J. Daniel Parra

A few weeks ago I was asked to participate in a book tour for J. Daniel Parra and his new book Pieces of Tracy.  I didn't know what I was getting into but I said yes.  I thought we were talking about a simple review as I have done before.  That, however, I have discovered was not the case and I have let Daniel down in a big way.  I can only apologize to him and his publisher as well as to each of you.  The book is fabulous and it deserves much more than I can give it here.  You really need to read this one!  I wish I could go back and do it over.  I actually had the chance to interview Daniel but didn't realize it.  What did I miss?

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the media kit)
Meet Teresa Felicia Santana León. In New York, she’s Tracy León, a would-be artist and telemarketer who falls for an older tycoon, Bruce Babich. When Bruce’s mother sends her to Rome to find a stolen painting, Tracy assumes an alter ego, the zesty Felicia Santana. In Rome, she meets a younger artist named Mario Giordani who helps her on her quest.
Before long, she is juggling two romances and two distinct identities: Tracy, demure trophy wife wannabe in New York’s high society, and wanton, thrill-seeking Felicia in sultry Rome. Against the backdrop of these exciting cities, she follows her divided heart, even if it leads her in the wrong direction.
The secrets behind the stolen painting send her on an unforgettable journey that prompts her to re-examine her own talents and inspirations. As the pieces come together, Tracy faces a life-changing choice, one that will lead to surprising discoveries about love and her own identity.

My Thoughts:
Dual personalities...boy, do I understand those!  Tracy/Felicia has two personalities, two love interest, and two wonderful cities to live in and explore. Although I didn't always understand Tracy's actions, I could relate to her dual personage.  I do disagree with some of her choices.  The characters are well developed and Daniel does a wonderful job expressing the contrasts between the two identities and how they affect the other.  Although we see that Tracy will never really change we also see her begin to take risks and explore the art she loves so much.  So maybe this is a change after all.    This is a very complex situation with humorous moments and it shows insights into the world of art and psyche.  The locations are breath-taking and well described.  I felt the heartbeat of of the cities  and I want to visit them but must do so vicariously. I give this one a thumbs up for a wonderful and pleasurable read.

For a more comprehensive review (as it should have been here)  and an interview with Daniel please check out   I promise the next time I have an opportunity like this one I will recognize it and take advantage of it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Where has the time gone?

I have been very busy for the last couple of months...Where did the time go?  I have been stitching for one thing.  I just finished up four models for one of my designers but I cannot show them to you at the moment.  They should be released shortly, however.

I have also been working on my own designs for release in September and February.   I am hoping to release 4 in September and 2 or 3 at Market in Nashville.  But we will see if I make it.

I haven't really felt like doing any deep thinking, complex reading so I have been reading my cozy mysteries.  I find that whenever I just want some light easy enjoyable reading a good cozy mystery is what fits the bill.  So over the last two months I have read all 19 of the Hannah Swenson Bakery Mysteries by Joanne Fluke.  

My review is simple.  These are quick and enjoyable and simple to read.  I love mysteries and these are easy to solve but with enough twists and turns to make it interesting.  My only question is...Will Hannah ever choose which guy she wants!?

 I suggest reading them in order to get the background information as it was given. 
 If you want to do the same then the correct order to read them is as follows:

1: Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
2: Strawberry Shortcake Murder
3: Blueberry Muffin Murder
4: Lemon Meringue Pie Murder
5: Fudge Cupcake Murder
6: Sugar Cookie Murder
7: Peach Cobbler Murder
8: Cherry Cheesecake Murder
9: Key Lime Pie Murder
10: Carrot Cake Murder
11: Cream Puff Murder
12: Candy Cane Murder
13: Plum Pudding Murder
14: Apple Turnover Murder
15: Devil's Food Cake Murder
16: Cinnamon Roll Murder
17: Red Velvet Cupcake Murder
18. Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook
19. Gingerbread Cookie Murder (co-author)

Til next time...


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Back again....and book review

Things are beginning to quiet down a bit after the Nashville Market rush.  I have been working on some new designs and have been reading a bit also.  Nashville was good this year.  Thanks to all of you who have purchased my latest design--Celtic Charm.  I hope you enjoy stitching it.

Recently I was sent a pre-release copy of a book for me to review.  It is by Sarah Graves and the title is A Bat in the Belfry.   I really enjoyed this one and encourage you to get it as soon as it is released.  You can pre-order it from Amazon  (No affiliation just a good read)

Review:  A Bat in the Belfry: A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery by Sarah Graves

Who killed 14 year old Karen Hansen?  This is the question facing the police department of Eastport, Maine.   Karen was a teenager raised by a drunken father who was trying to find her way out of Eastport.  She wanted to go to NY and become a model but she needed some money.  Her plans were all made but something went terribly wrong.

Sam Tiptree was a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser.  Still in his mid-twenties he is struggling with his personal relationships.  Maggie, his steadfast true love and Carol, the young daring thing out to get her man. 

Chip Hahn had been friends with Sam Tiptree since they were kids in Manhattan.  Facing problems with his girlfriend Carolyn, he decides to go to Maine to visit with Sam and get his head together.  But what is he hiding?

Lizzie Snow quit her job in Boston and heads to Maine trying to find more information about her still missing niece.  Her sister Sissy was killed eight years ago and her 1 year old daughter was never found.  But now Lizzie has reason to believe she may be in Eastport.  So she turns in her badge and gun and is determined to find her.

When her houseguest is accused of the murder, Jacobia "Jake" Tiptree begins her own investigation along with her best friend Ellie White and Lizzie Snow, the retired police detective.  While a raging storm rains down on Eastport, they work relentlessly to prove Chip's innocence and discover the truth.

More characters include the frustrated police chief-Bob, the local drug dealer-Harvey, his sidekick, Bogie, Dylan the state police officer, Karen Hansen's father and many more.

My thoughts:

The plot of this book tends to ramble a bit, but Ms. Graves writes in the first person which makes this book easier to follow.  There are some ambiguous scenes which I really feel distracted from the overall plot but they did help develop the characters.  The storyline was very interesting and kept me reading chapter after chapter.  This is my first time reading Ms Graves but I am now going to locate her other books and read them.

Until next time....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Little Bit of Madness--book review

I am feeling much better-finally and wanted to share what I have been up to.  I just finished my new release for the Nashville Market and started on my new designs for an early summer release.  In the meantime I have been reading.  The most recent finish is a Little Bit of Madness from Sheryl Browne.

Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, is too cuddly for sweatpants, she suspects. But then, her class at The Harbour Rest Home are similarly clad. Celia loves her work as an art therapist. She's proud that she gives her elderly independents something to look forward to, even if her partner, Martin, disapproves of her efforts. He also has other things on his mind - telling complicated lies to Celia so he can sell Charlton Hall, his mum's house, to pay off his debts. Meanwhile, Celia fights to secure gallery space for her geriatric charges' artwork, and to keep The Harbour from being closed. She's even ready to abseil from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her old people, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the flagstones. When she does fall, however, it's much more painful - in love with PC Alex Burrows coming to her rescue.

My thoughts:

A Little Bit of Madness centers around the elderly and eccentric residents of The Harbour Rest Home and Celia Summers the art therapist who befriends them. While this is definitely a romance novel it is so much more than that. The love seen in the caring of these elderly residents is what brought me to the enjoyment of this book. The elderly are so often treated as forgotten citizens and this book illustrates just how memorable and productive these citizens are. I especially loved the dialog between the characters. The interactions between the Colonel, Eleanor, Rosemary and the loving and doddy May is so humorous and spellbinding that you can't stop reading. Ms. Browne did a great job painting these characters.

Other reviewers have stated there are "gaps" and areas that could be improved in the literary sense (and this is true) but I found this book to be totally enjoyable and worth the read. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So sorry...

I am so sorry I have been away for so long.  I got sick right after Christmas and have spent weeks trying to recover my strength.  But never fear I will get back to my story--even though the holidays have passed.  And I have been reading a lot so will also restart my book reviews.  I do hope you enjoy them.  For now I will just catch you up on what I've been doing.

My step-daughter and her family came to visit the Sunday before Christmas and it was a lot of fun.  The grand kids are growing so rapidly.  Kaitlyn is truly a little lady and Jeb has really filled out and matured I can see the young man inside.  He was just getting over the flu, and I guess he was still contagious.  But it was worth it to get to spend time with my "babies."

Christmas Day was spent very quietly with only Jason and me. We had a nice dinner and watched "It's a Wonderful Life" which is Jason's favorite Christmas movie.  We just cannot have Christmas without watching it.  I got to do a little stitching and a little reading -- all in all a very satisfying day.

The following weekend was the Stitching Sisters Christmas Party and Kiki, Angel, Angela and I had a wonderful time visiting, stitching, eating, laughing, eating, stitching, eating talking and then sleeping very little.  It is so much fun when the girls come down and we can spend some quality time together.  I get really lonely here by myself all the time so it is truly a treat for me.  I was also gifted with stash, candy and a gift certificate to Amazon which I am using for my Kindle books.

After the weekend I came down with this nasty version of the flu and while it ran it's course fairly quickly it left me so lethargic and weak that I really didn't feel like doing anything  for much longer than I expected.  However, I am feeling better now so hopefully I can get caught up with everything quickly.  I have managed to finish one large design for the Nashville show and I am trying to get the model stitched for a second design.  If I don't get it finished for Nashville then it will be released in April.  For info about my new releases check out my designing blog Lady K Needlearts .  I try to keep updates there.

I am so blessed.  I often complain about so much but when I count my blessings they certainly outnumber the problems.  Thank you Lord.  Until next time...


Saturday, December 29, 2012

The ongoing story...

“It can’t be happening!”  The Mad Stitcher almost ran to the sofa to investigate that spot of light blue peeking out from behind the cushion.  “No, No!”  She cried.  Her beautiful Nativity Stocking was a mass of crushed and wrinkled Aida.  Now these were not the ordinary little wrinkles.  These were the kinds of wrinkles that happen when someone sleeps on them and wallows on them and totally mangles them!  And everyone knows you cannot get these kinds of wrinkles out.  That’s what she gets for laying the freshly washed and pressed piece on the back of her sofa to admire.   She never noticed when it had fallen behind Jason as he slept.  What would she do now?  Stitching it again was the only thing she could think of, but only the good Lord knows if she was going to get everything done once—much less doing something twice!  Well, she couldn’t worry about it now.  So after her cry, she got back to “Magnolia.”

The stitching was going well.  And soon she was once again lost in this beautiful design.  MS stitched for the rest of the evening and into the wee hours of the morning.  Bo was restless and kept waking up so she knew she wouldn’t get any sleep.  She finally went to bed at about 3:30 am and was able to sleep until 7:00.  As much as she wanted to get back to her stitching, MS had to go check on Mom.  So after breakfast she got Bo ready and away they went.  Mom wasn’t feeling well and had several things that she needed MS to do.  Mom also had senile dementia and was almost as forgetful as Bo.  (But not quite!)  Her checkbook was a mess and it took MS almost an hour to straighten it out.  When the bills were paid and the notes written and Mom was positive that everything was done to her satisfaction, MS took her leave with the promise to call her later.  She decided to run a few errands while she was out.

She was finally able to get back to her stitching after Bo was in bed.  He was exhausted after the day of running here and there, and hopefully he would sleep better tonight.  They had only  one scavenger hunt all day, so all told it had been a fair day.

The days passed with pretty much the same routine.  “Magnolia” was coming along nicely, Bo was keeping life interesting, and MS was trying to keep what little was left of her sanity!  On the morning of the 13th the final stitch was placed in “Magnolia” and MS could have cried with relief.  As much as she loved to stitch and as much as she loved this design, she really HATED deadlines!—especially one of such importance.  She placed a call to Karen to find out what to do next.  Should she mail it back or would Karen prefer to meet her somewhere to get the completed piece?  Because of time constraints with the photographer, printers, etc., it was decided that they would meet at The Stitch & Frame Shop the next day.  This suited the Mad Stitcher, as she needed to restock some Krieniks and beads.