Category Archives: Blog Hop Party

Reading Break for Quilters

Song of the Storm book cover Calling all quilters. The sun is shinning, the birds are singing, it’s too hot for sewing. If you’re ready to take a sewing break and read I have the perfect book for you. SONG OF THE STORM is book three in the Stone Trilogy by Mariam Kobras.

With another captivating episode in the Jon and Naomi Stone saga, author Mariam Kobras has quilted her magic. SONG OF THE STORM,  the last (maybe) book in the Stone Trilogy continues with the real-life characters, conflict,  love and tragedy.

Life with a rock star isn’t easy, but hotel empire heiress, Naomi is determined to build a life together with her soul mate, rock star Jon Stone. Jon is just as determined. However, just as in our lives, their road to happiness is often rocky and the baggage both carry from the past, too many times,  gets in their way. Good news, that another child is on the way leads to more insecurities for both of them.

The book isn’t just about Naomi and Jon though. Their lives are intertwined with family and friends who also have issues. A subplot of the book revolves around one of those close friends, Jon’s manager Stan.

Stan has long-held a one-sided love for Naomi. When he meets Maya, he believes he’s found Naomi’s replacement. Except, happiness isn’t always easily achieved. Maya has a maturity well beyond her young age. She realizes long before Sal does that their love is not made to last. Will Stan find a lasting love? Only readers of SONG OF THE STORM, and the author of course, will know.

The reappearance of Naomi’s parents adds more tension to the story. They have little belief in their son-in-law, and often display concern for their only daughter’s safety, both physical and emotional. Given their background, and knowledge of the past, it’s easy to understand. Yet, this reader, wanted them to just love their daughter and accept her marriage. However, since that rarely happens in real life, it felt right that they continue to suspect their son-in-law and the marriage.

In the middle of all of the tension, and emotional confusion we are reminded that family, friends, and love are what is truly important when the characters are forced to deal with the real-life tragedy and drama of the September 11 attack.

Wherever you were, the emotions you felt that day will return as you are taken back to that unforgettable experience. However, Jon, Naomi, their family and friends remind us that hope and love are eternal.

SONG OF THE STORM  is a perfect read while you take a break from sewing and quilting. You can curl up on the couch under the air conditioning and continue the journey with Naomi and Jon. If you haven’t read book 1, THE DISTANT SHORE, and  book 2,  UNDER THE SAME SUN, no worries, this book stands alone. Although you WILL want to get book one and two, because you won’t be ready to let them go and you’ll want more time with them.

WARNING!! Do not read this by the pool if you are also watching young children. You will be pulled into the story and forget where you are. Leaving children unsupervised around water is not recommended. However, if  there are no children present, read and allow yourself to be whisked away.

For more reviews, or to meet Mariam herself, check out her blog at  where all the links for the blog hop can be found.

Mariam

A is for Applique

For our ancestors an applique quilt represented wealth because of all the fabric used. They are not traditionally patchwork. At least not small patches.Not only were scraps not used in making the blocks, but these quilts had extra fabric on them!

Applique represents a wealth of time. Actually, appliquers don’t have any more time than other quilters. They just enjoy applique and are willing to spend their time stitching them. Of course, there are several methods of applique, some more time intensive than others

Maybe it’s a wealth of love that the quilter was willing to take the extra time to stitch down the applique pattern. An entire quilt can be made using applique blocks.

There are several methods of applying fabric to fabric to create an applique.

There is the needle turn, which almost makes the design look as if it’s floating on the background. This needle-turn Sunbonnet Sue was made over thirty years ago. Thank goodness my sewing skills have improved!

Sunbonnet Sue 2 - needle turn

The quilt with these little girls has long since bit the dust. However, since it was made for my daughter (she loved it to pieces) and the “dresses” are all feed sack fabric from her grandma, I saved the “girls” to be reused in another quilt at some point.

When I use applique now, I prefer to use a zig-zag stitch. It can hide a raw edge and makes using applique go much faster. When making quilts for six grandkids, fast is sometimes important. Another advantage of zig-zag applique is the sturdiness, which makes it the perfect method of children’s quilts.

Overall SamAnother hand sewing method is to do the blanket stitch by hand. It’s a pretty look, but much too labor intensive for me. Not to mention I wouldn’t keep my stitches even, and it looks best with even stitches. Heather Nelson, a young lady in our quilt guild used thirties reproduction fabric for her girls. Don’t you agree, her even stitches makes the applique?

Heather's Sunbonnet Sue

There are other methods of applique, do you use one of them? While I do my appliques by machine, I love the look of the hand work. How about you, do you use one method and enjoy the look of another?

A Challenge is More than a Dare

It's all about me button

I mentioned here about my newest addiction, blog hops and challenges. And yes, I’ve fallen under the spell of another one. I’m a little surprised that I took the bait on this one. It is far outside my normal range.

Some of the challenges I’m participating in are more like dares. I dare myself to complete the task. I dare myself to stay on track with my goals and resolutions for the new year. A challenge is a dare to myself. In some cases I double dog dared myself.

This challenge though is different. Yes, it is a dare in a way. But, it’s also keeping with my word for the year, change. I’m going to try something different, I’m going to try a change. This challenge is an applique pattern designed by Amy Butler. While I love applique, I don’t often use it in my quilts.

Also, this piece is designed to be embellished. I don’t embellish. My quilts are functional quilts. Made and meant to be used. Embellished quilts are seldom put on beds. That’s a change for me, a challenge, to do some embellishing. While it won’t be a traditional functional quilt. First it’ll be too small to put on a bed, and second, it’ll have do-dads (embellishments) on it.

However, once it’s finished I will hang it on the wall. Seeing it will make me smile, and that’s a function.

The hop will actually take place in February. February 21-28 to be exact. We will receive our patterns in the next few days which will give us plenty of time to sew and blog about our beautiful creations, before unveiling them.

Madame Samm is holding the hop/challenge and Marlene, from Stitching by the Lake is our cheerleader.

This isn’t just another challenge though. It offers benefits. First, entering and completing the challenge will help deplete the scrap box. Not a lot, but every little bit helps.

Second, I need to improve my appliquing skills. I haven’t seen the pattern yet, but I’m thinking this will be a machine applique piece. There are times when applique is the only option, for me. Fabric painting, or embroidery are also options. However, they don’t have the appeal for me that applique does.

Here’s a picture of a quilt I made three years ago that demonstrates how much help my applique need.

tyler's baby quilt

Ok, my camera skills need improving too. I don’t think you can see how bad the stitching is on the appliqued boys. Trust me, it could be improved. That’s the goal with this challenge, to improve my appliquing prowess.

It’s not just a challenge for challenge sake. It’s a challenge with a purpose.

Is There Too Much of a Good Thing?

Remember the holidays of your youth, and maybe even the more recent “healthier” versions? Holidays where the family and friends gathered for visits and food. Lots and lots of food. Tables groaning from the weight of the food. Every flat service as a food-server.

Remember those meals? Remember how we’d leave the table barely able to walk because everything was soooooo good and we consumed much more than our usual daily fare?

Remember those feelings? Well, currently, that’s how I am with blog hops and challenges.

It seems every time I click on a blog I’m following they are about to begin a blog hop or challenge. Worse, they’re inviting me to join in. It wouldn’t be so bad if the hops didn’t sound like fun, but they always do. Right now I’m following, or participating in a couple of challenges or hops.

1. The Ultimate Blog Challenge, UBC – the brain child of Michele Scism. The idea is to post on our blogs ever day in January. Every.single.day. Today is day 12 and this post will be number 8. I have another post in mind, was going to tack the information here, but why not give it its own post? That will leave me three behind. With any luck I’ll come back tonight and post about my week with post 10. Then I’ll only be two posts behind. 🙂

2. The Finishers – A Facebook group devoted to cleaning out and finishing projects in our UFO stash. It started last year, I finished, I think, three UFOs. This year will be better.

3. Get it Done – From Judy Laquidera at Patchwork Times. For this challenge we list four projects we’ve started and plan to finish in a given month as well as four more projects we’d “like” to complete. My list is here.

4. The Rainbow Scrap Challenge – From the Super Scrappy Blog, oh my how I love anything with scraps. For this one, a color will be selected each month and we will make something, or finish something, in that color. January is all about pink. Hot pink. I need to get cracking on that one. This challenge didn’t require a sign-up, but I do need to add her button to my sidebar.

5. In the non-sewing/quilting lane we have reading. Specifically reading historicals. This challenge comes from Historical Tapestry.

6.  On Friday’s the goal is to link up with The Gypsy Mama, write for five minutes, no editing, no over thinking, and posting.

As if those weren’t enough, I’m adding another challenge, hop to my plate. It gets it’s own post.

I love Blog Hops and challenges. Enough is enough however, for me there is too much of a good thing. How about you, is there such a thing as too much? Are you involved in any hops or challenges?

Mariam Kobras- Word Scraps Create Novel- Under the Same Sun

What happens when a quilter starts writing?  Scraps of fabric make beautiful quilts, word scraps create wonderful stories. At least in the hands of former quilter, Mariam Kobras.

Mariam has gone from sewing scraps of fabric together to form a warm, comforting, cover to stitching words together to create an entertaining, enjoyable read.  Under the Same Sun, is the second in The Stone Trilogy, and follows Naomi, Jon and those close to them as they try to regain control of their lives after the shooting of Naomi. The event  affected  them all in different ways. Added to the mix is Naomi’s desperate wish to have a second child and her difficulty in conceiving.

Mariam’s characters and situations, while figments of her imagination, are real and she could be telling the story of their lives were they actual living, breathing, people instead of just “real” characters from her fertile imagination.

She expertly stitches events and feelings together to form a tapestry that one can almost reach out and touch. Her descriptions are beyond good. She writes with layers, much like a quilt.  Each sentence another stitch in the written quilt, the story.

Mariam’s beautiful sensory descriptions of each new venue allow her readers, even the most frugal of us, to feel as though we’ve traveled the world with Naomi and Jon. Whether we are dancing on a lakeshore in Geneva with them, shopping at Harrods in London or decorating her house in Brooklyn, with Naomi, we are there. We can see the area, feel the smooth wood of the Steinway or the rough cobblestone road, the local aromas waft around us, as the sounds mingle with those of our real surroundings.

Real life drama fills the book and the resolutions are satisfying and make sense.

Sometimes in reading the story I wondered, “how did she know about that?” Because a portion of my life so closely followed the happenings in the book. There are so many real life situations in the book, that most people will be able to relate to at least one of them. Even if we have no idea what it’s like to be a rock star and have more money than we could possibly need.

While Under the Same Sun is the second book in the series, it also stands alone. That is you can read it and understand who everyone is without reading The Distant Shore, but why would you want to? Reading the books are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

And of course, Mariam needs to buy a Porsche. How can she do that if we don’t all rush out and buy both books?

I am so happy  to be a part of Mariam’s blog tour, that way I got to read the book sooner. I’d been looking forward to reading it as soon as I finished, The Distant Shore. Now, I am eager to read the final book. Oh. My. Gosh. It won’t be out until next year !

This was the sixth stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the Amazon.com bestseller list on its first day on sale!

There’s only a few left, so order yours now, then while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters for free.

But first, write a comment below about this blog post for a chance to win one of three copies of Under the Same Sun (plus some pretty gosh, darn, yummy chocolate)! You can get additional chances by following Mariam at every stop on her hop and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog. You won’t regret it.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, 10/23, Mariam will be visiting Carrie Bailey.  Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!

about the author: Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, where she met her husband. She lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and  two cats.

Join Mariam on Facebook,  her blog, and her publisher’s website.

I am linking up with The Nester during the month of October and posting about one subject each day (more or less). My subject is “scraps”.  Check out her website for other blogs writing on the subject of their choice.

Networking, Partying for Quilters and Authors

get-ready-to-party

Finding readers for our blogs and meeting new people is often tricky. Why not have, or attend a party? After all, who doesn’t like a party? And, if the party will help you find new friends, readers, and customers, it’s the best kind. Plus, you don’t have to get all dressed up and drive to these parties. They’re held online. Sweet!

What kind of party does all that? A Linky Party. No, it’s not a party with different chain links. It’s a party with blog links. A  place where bloggers can meet, share information about their blog, and find other blogs of similar interests. All this sharing creates more traffic and new readers for everyone.

Linky parties are sometimes called a Blog Carnival, Blog Hop, even a Meme. Whatever they’re called, they’re fun and help you meet new readers and friends.

There are link parties for every type of blog. Since I’m a writer (mostly inspirational, faith-based writing) and a quilter, writing,  inspirational and quilting posts those are the parties that most interest me.

Here are a couple of writing linkies. Unfortunately  there doesn’t seem to be one blog or website to serve as a landing-place for other author or inspirational blogs that also host parties. If you have, or know of a blog with a linky party for writers in general and/or inspirational writers, please leave the URL in the comments section.

First up on the Linky tour is Lisa Jo, also known as, The Gypsy Mama,  Lisa sponsors Five Minute Friday, a party for bloggers write on the prompt she provides for five minutes, no over-thinking, no editing, posts on their blog, and link up with her. Lisa Jo is both an inspirational blogger, and an author blogger. Her prompts generally lead to inspirational posts.

Next up is Madison Woods  and her Friday Fictioneers. For this party, bloggers write something based on a photo Madison posts. Did I mention it’s fiction?

Another writing party is the Six Sentence Sunday, held by  Carol Shenold  on her website. For Six Sentence Sunday she invites authors to leave six sentences from their work, on their own blog, and then leave their blog address in her comments section. The six sentences can come from a recently published book the author is promoting, or six sentences from a WIP (work in progress). Bloggers’ choice.

Crafting and sewing blog parties seem to be all over the internet. There are at least three blogs, The Blog Guide Book, The Well Crafted Home blog, and Carol’s Homework; Today’s Assignment, Be Inspired, that list linky party blogs on their blogs.

Two of the blogs listed are:  Sumo’s Sweet Stuff and Free Pretty Things for You. Sumo’s Sweet Stuff has, Market Yourself Monday. A blog party for  crafters to link up their latest projects, attract new visitors to their site, and visit other blogs to get some inspiration! Free Pretty Things for You has, Whatever You Want Wednesday, a party for DIYers and Crafters to post, well, whatever they want. There are a few rules, every party has its own guidelines.

If you can’t find a party, blog hop, carnival, or meme you like, why not start your own? Liz the Party Girl, and her husband, Doug the Master of Ceremonies work together on their blog It’s a Blog Party: Celebrating Blogland, have an entire series on linky parties.

Have you tried a Linky party? Feel free to share your party experience with us as well as any parties you support or sponsor.

Stop the Presses! Another “party”.  Ok, “stop the presses” is cliche, and that was the prompt yesterday at Joe Bunting’s blog, The Right Practice.  Since writers, like everyone else, need practice, he posts a prompt/story idea six times a week for his readers to use for fifteen minutes of writing.Yesterday’s prompt was to write using cliches.

Results of the exercise can be posted in the comments section, which will attract readers to your blog, or you can just comment with a link to your blog. Either way it’s a win-win (isn’t that another cliche?) you get to practice writing, thus improving your writing skills, and your attract readers to your blog, and build your blog community.

Blog Hop

I’m baaaaaaaack.

I know I’ve been MIA this week, I had planned to take the entire week off and not blog until Monday, March 19. This week was supposed to be devoted to building a website, and making this blog look nicer, and better represent me. Since I’m not having much luck on either front and, Michele/Mishka is doing it again, organizing a blog  hop, I’m back sooner than planned.

This Hop is especially nice because it celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. As a child I wasn’t fond of this day. However, as an adult I’ve come to enjoy the day and celebrate the greenness of the month.

I had so much fun on the last blog hop, met some great people, made new friends, and Michele does an outstanding job organizing these events. Naturally, when I learned she had another one in the works I wanted to participate. When she’s not working on blog hops, she maintains the Quilting Gallery site which includes so much more than I can list. If you’ve never been to her site, please check it out.

For my part in the hop, I will be offering a set of five quilted postcards, as well as a copy of my book. Your choice, print or an E-copy. All you have to do is follow this blog, simple. The post cards aren’t made yet, but I’ll come back and post a picture of them once they’re finished. The book, of course, is ready to go.

All you have to do is sign up to follow me, if you’re already a follower, just leave me a note in the comments to let me know and I’ll add your name to the pot. All new followers will have their name added. You can find the rest of the partying bloggers here. Have fun, and good luck.