2020 Monthly Color Challenge - July

July - American Robin- Rust

The color this month is Rust and the pattern may be found at Patterns by Jen.
I have these two pieces of fabric and now I'm not sure which one is rust. I think there is another month that is Cinnamon, so I am somewhat confused. I chose the one on the right, but now when I look at the Robin, it probably should have been the fabric on the left.
It's very important to square up each section according to the directions.

I also think I may have reversed the background and the main fabric. Pip and Charlie are weighing in.

Do you ever look at the selvedge on your fabric? This line of fabric is Monkey Wrench by Tula Pink so it has bananas on the selvedge. There are quilters who make crafts out of these unusual strips of fabric.

Check out the Bloggers for this month:

Don't forget to link your block at the end of the month to win fabulous prizes! Details at Jen's Blog. Join us on Facebook and share your block Quilt and Learn with Patterns by Jen

Follow me on IG at kathy.nester

#2020monthlycolorchallenge #julyblock

Tula Pink's City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks

June 2020

I am a member of the Sew Modern Bee FB Group. Before the Pandemic we met in person at Junto Space in Broomall, PA, now we are Zooming and connecting through Facebook.

A few of the members wanted to have a project that we could each make individually, but have it be a universal theme, project, etc. One of the members has made one of these quilts and as soon as we saw it, we knew it is the one we wanted to do. I purchased the book through Amazon before I even left the Zoom meeting. I am a huge Tula Pink fan, so it is no contest as to which fabrics I will use. Others are using other designers or groupings. We have committed to making 30 blocks from the book before the September meeting. It's a public Group, so come join us!

The only essential tool in addition to the usual ones, is a 6.5 inch square ruler. Using a scant quarter inch, moving my needle one space is giving me an exact 6.5 inch block.

These are two of my favorite blocks!

I decided to photograph each block with its number, so I won't forget which one it is and I am pinning it to the back of my block. I have a few pieces from several Tula Pink fabric lines, so I hope in the end, they will all play together nicely!
A quilting friend offered to send me Tula scraps when I mentioned I am using her fabrics in this project. Isn't this the best? Quilters are super generous people and I am honored to include these in my quilt. 

20 done, 80 to go!

A quilt shop opened for in store sales and I was able to purchase 1/4 yard cuts of some more Tula Pink Fabric!

 30 completed, 70 more to go!  (maybe)

#tulapinkscitysampler #100modernquiltblocks

The Ultimate Betrayal

The Ultimate Betrayal (Maximum Security Book #3) by Kat Martin.  Canada: HQN, 2020. 352 pages. ****

When his best friend's sister asks for his help in proving her father innocent of being a traitor what's a guy to do? Brandon Garrett is between jobs as a body guard when Jessie Kegan walks into his Maximum Security Office and explains why her father is innocent and how she wants to prove it. When gunshots explode through the windows of the office and a black SUV with tinted windows speeds away, Brandon is convinced that Jessie needs protection. Colonel Kegan can't defend himself against the charges because he has been found dead of a heart attack, so it's up to Jessie and Brandon. Brandon is instantly attracted to Jessie and tries to keep their relationship on a professional level even if she has a sweet little body to match her fiery long hair. The relationship between Brandon and Jessie is a steamy one, complicated by Brandon's loyalty to her dead brother and his best friend.

This is book #3 in the series, I have not read the first two. It can easily be read as a stand-alone. Martin weaves a story of espionage, romance, mystery, and murder. This is a classic story of who can you trust and who is telling the truth? It becomes obvious pretty quickly that there is more going on than just the theft and time is running out. A quick fun read!

I received an ecopy for a review.

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

For more information on Kat Martin, https://www.katmartin.com/

#theultimatebetrayal #espionage #murder


The Half Sister

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones. New York: Minotaur Books, 2020. 290 pages. **** 

Kate and her sister Lauren each had their own relationship with their father. Since his death, their relationship is strained for a number of reasons; Lauren is happily married with children while Kate and her husband are trying desperately to have a child. Sunday lunches at their mother's house have become uncomfortable and are about to be changed forever by a stranger's knock at the door. Who is this young woman and why does she claim to be their half sister? Kate doesn't believe her story and yet Lauren begins to recall inconsistencies in her parent's past. Did their father have a child by another woman? Does their mother know?

I put everything on hold when I sit down to read a Sandie Jones novel. I am lucky enough to get an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) and want to enjoy every minute of it. The Half Sister does not disappoint. At some point, I thought I had it all figured out and was prepared to be smug about the ending. Was I ever wrong! Very entertaining and surprisingly enough, the second psychological thriller novel this week that I have read about half sisters. (Sister Dear by McKinnon) Each unique and equally entertaining. Jones gets better and better with each book and is a master at building the suspense and then-- that added twist. I look forward to future novels and recommend this one.

Other books by Sandie Jomes:
The First Mistake
The Other Woman - her debut novel

SANDIE JONES has worked as a freelance journalist for over twenty years, and has written for publications including the Sunday Times, Woman’s Weekly and the Daily Mail. She lives in London with her husband and three children. The Other Woman is her debut novel and a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club pick.

#thehalfsister #psychologicalthrillers #sistersfiction


A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery Book #3) by Dianne Freeman. Kensington Books, 2020. 288 pages. ****

Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, married the man of her mother's dreams and she is determined that her sister will not do so. While Frances' husband was dashing and handsome, he was also feckless and a philanderer.  When Lily insists that the wedding to Leo must happen sooner rather than later, Frances needs a venue far away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton’s family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the estate and get to know each other. When a series of accidents occur, Frances is thrown into the role of sleuth and left wondering if someone is conspiring to stop the wedding. Mr. Treadwell, Leo's best man, seems to have his eye on Lily and has his own reasons for staying so close. Throw in the mother of the bride who is disappointed in the choice of groom and chaos ensues.

This lighthearted mystery filled with danger and romance is delightful!  This is the third book in the series and can be read as a standalone. I haven't read the other two. Dianne Freeman has captured England in the late 1800s. A time when wealthy American mothers were marrying off their daughters to impoverished, but titled British aristocracy. The upstairs - downstairs descriptions were reminiscent of Downton Abbey complete with snobbery and humor. The mother of the bride tries right up to the wedding day to convince her daughter to marry better than Leo. I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery. Fans of Agatha Christie will enjoy the strong female characters of Frances and Aunt Hetty.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Dianne Freeman is the acclaimed author of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. Her debut novel, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, won both an Agatha Award and a Lefty Award and was nominated for the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award from Mystery Writers of America. She spent thirty years working in corporate accounting and finance and now writes full-time. Born and raised in Michigan, she and her husband split their time between Michigan and Arizona.
For more information about Dianne Freeman, https://difreeman.com/about/

#mystery #cozymystery


Coronavirus Quilt Finishes and life during a pandemic.

April 2020

Just like everyone else, I am having a hard time getting motivated to quilt and sew. I made masks for a local hospital, family, friends, and neighbors. I used Leah day's youtube tutorial for a pattern, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNX0cRrYj6U

Elastic is hard to come by and I have read that it is irritating to the ears, so I started making masks with ties. More labor intensive, but they seem to fit better, if worn properly.

A local hospital gave my Quilt Guild members fabric and a pattern to make their masks. It is a woven material that is used to sterilize medical instruments.

I have added a Free Mask every day to the Little Free Library in front of my house. Someone left a roll of Toilet Paper in return two days in a row. 

I have decided that I really need to get some of my UFOs finished during this stay at home time. Motivating myself is another story!

I completed this quilt top at my Quilt Guild's Retreat in March. It is a free pattern by Sew Can She at https://www.sewcanshe.com/blog/2018/6/19/baby-heart-log-cabin-quilt-free-quilt-pattern This sweet baby quilt is for a friend's Grandbaby. #Coronavirusquilt1

I participated in Gudrun's Elvira Quarantine Quilt Along, http://pennyformythoughts-nona.blogspot.com/2020/04/quarantine-quilt-along-elvira.html

I have ordered red matching fabric for the binding and waiting for it to arrive to finish this quilt. #Coronavirusquilt2 #qqal1

I have a friend whose daughter is having a baby girl in the fall and wanted a girlie, pink quilt. Hope from GEDesigns is a fast, fun, easy quilt to make and to use up scraps of fabric. I also made a lap size Hope quilt. 

#hopequilt #coronavirusquilt3 #coronavirusquilt4 #qqal2

$35,000 was raised for charity through the sale of the Hope pattern by GEDesigns. For more information and yummy recipes, https://gequiltdesigns.com/blogs/ge-happenings/hope-quarantine-quilt-along-2-event
During this pandemic, I am starting the Tula Pink's City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks as part of a Sew Modern Bee. 

I am trying to make the "Stay at home" time count in my life and not get discouraged by world events. It has been a trying two weeks with the Pandemic and justifiable protests. On June 5th, my county in Pennsylvania moved from red to yellow in the transitional phase. Hopefully, green is right around the corner.  Green began on June 26th,  however, most people are still being cautious. Masks and social distancing are a must when going outside of the house. 

I have continued to work on the 100 Modern Quilt Blocks and have found these blocks to be addictive! Updates available at https://pennyformythoughts-nona.blogspot.com/2020/07/tula-pinks-city-sampler-100-modern.html.


Her Shallow Grave

Her Shallow Grave (Detectives Kane and Alton Book 9) by D.K. Hood. Bookouture, 2020. 134 pages. ****

Black Rock Falls is a popular winter ski town until someone decorates the trees along the Glacial Heights Ski Resort slope with body parts.  Sheriff Jenna Alton and Deputy Dave Kane can't believe their eyes when they see the discolored frozen arms and legs. What makes it even more alarming is when the Medical Examiner decides they are from two different female bodies. When no one is reported missing, Jenna turns to the homeless shelter in town to find the identity of the missing women. Jenna is more determined to find the killer when macabre snow sculptures turn up in town to scare the locals and the tourists. Dave  has his hands full when he stumbles upon a kidnapping in progress and saves a woman from her abductors. The victim is so grateful that she is convinced  Dave loves her and begins to stalk him. Is there a serial killer in town or is someone passing through and dropping bodies? Is Dave's admirer fanciful or does she have a sinister purpose for showing up wherever he is? Time is running out for the next victim.

I received an ecopy for a review. 

This is the 9th book in the series started in 2017. I have not read any of the other books and it doesn't seem necessary to enjoy this thriller. The plot is well-developed and creates a balance between the subplots within the story. The suspense builds when Jenna and Dave have a few suspects to consider, any one of them could have transported and stored frozen bodies. Gruesome and enthralling, a perfect escape from present day reality. Now I have to find time to read the first 8 books in the series.

D.K. Hood is a USA Today, Amazon, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of crime, mystery and psychological thrillers. Born in London and traveling extensively before she settled in Australia, she is best known for writing the “Detectives Kane and Alton” series of psychological thrillers. She currently publishes her novels with Hachette, which she has asserted is a dream come true since she has always had a love for books from a young age. Her debut novel was “Don’t Tell a Soul,” a crime thriller that was an Amazon USA bestselling title, the first of the Detectives Kane and Alton series. For more information on D.K. Hood and a list of the books in order, https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/d-k-hood/

#mystery #psychologicalthriller

2020 Monthly Color Challenge - June

June - Bluebird

The pattern for this month's block may be found on Patterns by Jen's Blog. This is block #6 and we are halfway through this year's challenge. 2020 is my third year participating and it has been so much fun!

I am going for a bold look in this color quilt, so this blue is perfect!

I love the way that the bugs line up on this strip, however, once sub cut, 

they have a totally different look!

Charley likes this block best!

Don't forget to link your block during the last week of June to be eligible for some great prizes from our Sponsors. Details on Jen's Blog.

Check out this month's bloggers:
Patterns by Jen
Quilty Creations by Fawn
Everyone Deserves a Quilt
Katie Mae Quilts
Purple Moose Designs

#2020monthlycolorchallenge #juneblock #bluebird


Stitching A Life

Stitching A Life: An Immigration Story by Mary Helen Fein. CA: She Writes Press, 2020. 304 pages. ****  (YA, grades 7-9)

Based on the true story of the Grandmother of the author, Helen Breakstone Fein. Helen was born (Hinde) in a small village in Lithuania to a poor Jewish family with no prospects for improvement or education. Her brother was in danger of being drafted into the Russian army at the age of twelve, so her father devises a plan for his family to go to America. Chaim Breakstone immigrates first and sends money for sixteen-year-old Helen to join him. She arrives at Ellis Island, meets her father and moves into her Aunt Rose's apartment on the Lower East Side of New York. Rose helps Helen find a job in the thriving garment industry and she and her father devote themselves to bringing the rest of the family to join them in the New World. Helen and her family build a new life and settle in New York.

A young adult inspirational story of resilience against all odds, family, friendship and love. Combining fact with fiction Fein tells the brave story of her grandmother traveling by ship to America by herself and the sacrifices she and her Father make to have the rest of the family join them.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Mary Helen Fein was born in New York City in 1943. She attended schools in New York and began writing at the age of twelve when her mother died. Writing has ever since been an important part of her life,  a way to understand and process life's events. Today she lives in Northern California, where she owns her own website design company, writes, paints, and teaches Insight Meditation. In 2014, she published her first novel, Loss of Deliverance -- the story of a young woman's adventures in the drug trade during the 1960s. For more information --www.maryhelenfein.com



Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay: a novel  (Clay Edison book 3) by Jonathon and Jesse Kellerman. New York, Ballantine Books, 2020. 368 pages. ****

Deputy Coroner Clay Edison has a new baby, is working the night shift, just trying to survive and to get some sleep. What he doesn't want is the discovery of a decades-old skeleton of a child while workers are excavating a local park. Members of the community don't want the park replaced by a college building and this find fuels their protests. When a local businessman calls to suggest the identity of the skeleton could be that of his missing or dead sister, Clay is drawn into a mystery that may be best left buried. What other secrets are buried with the skeleton and will Clay be able to protect his family from the violence and threats?

I received an ecopy for a review.

This is the 3rd book in the series, however, it can be read as a stand-alone. I have not read the first 2 and enjoyed the story. (I will probably go back and read the others and future books). I am a Jonathon Kellerman fan especially his Alex Delaware series and have read a few novels by his wife, Faye Kellerman. What a talented family! An entertaining mystery with a few unexpected twists and turns, total escapism. Any parent can identify with the sheer exhaustion of Clay and his wife and sympathize with the mother of the dead infant. There are many parallels in this page-turning plot which tie the mystery together.

From Amazon...
Jonathan Kellerman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than three dozen bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, True Detectives, and The Murderer’s Daughter. With his wife, bestselling novelist Faye Kellerman, he co-authored Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. With his son, bestselling novelist Jesse Kellerman, he co-authored The Golem of Hollywood and The Golem of Paris. He is also the author of two children’s books and numerous nonfiction works, including Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children and With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York."

For more information on Jonathon Kellerman, http://www.jonathankellerman.com
#mystery #fathersonauthors #mysteryseries


the book of two ways

The book of two ways: a novel by Jodi Picolt. New York: Ballantine Books, 2020. 432 pages. Publication Date September 2020. *****

"Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband, but a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong."

Dawn survives that plane crash and is faced with her life choices when told to "leave everything behind" Dawn had not contemplated her own death, what is a life well-lived, what is left unfinished? She has spent the last 15 years working as a death doula living a normal life with a husband and a daughter. A death doula helps those who are dying and their families transition the inevitable. Dawn is well-suited to the task, but it takes caring for someone her own age to cause her to question her life choices. Dawn throws caution to the wind when the airline offers to take her wherever she needs to go and she soon finds herself in Egypt seeking what she left behind 15 years ago; the man she once loved and an unfinished dissertation on The Book of Two Ways -- the first known map of the afterlife.

I have always been fascinated with anything Egyptian and curious about parallel timelines, so this book pulled me right in from the very beginning. I had never heard of a death doula and had to look it up. (more on that subject at the end of this post) One line in the book really struck me, "somewhere, in a parallel timeline, there is another me at my funeral." Picoult has the gift of tackling tough subjects, presenting controversial topics cloaked in fiction and leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions. The book of two ways is a story of love, friendship, secrets, promises made and not kept, choices and responsibility. I can't wait for someone I know to read it so we can discuss it, I have been talking about it all day to my husband, it is one of those books. I recommend it for Book Clubs, some fabulous discussion points.

The quote at the beginning of the book is so apropros "To die will be an awfully big adventure." J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

For more information about Jodi Picoult, visit https://www.jodipicoult.com
To learn more about her research and see pictures of her trip to Egypt: https://www.jodipicoult.com/the-book-of-two-ways.html

For more information on death doulas:
Becoming a death doula

#deathdoula #paralleltimelines


Sister Dear

Sister Dear: a novel  by Hannah Mary McKinnon. Canada: Mira, 2020. 368 pages. Publication Date May 26, 2020. *****

Eleanore Harwicke has always wanted a traditional family, a mother and father who loves her and a sister as a best friend. Instead she is estranged from her mother and sister, never feeling good enough or accepted for who she is. The only constant in her life is her loving father who is in hospice and dying. Eleanore happens to overhear a conversation between her parents suggesting that her father is not her biological father and that she is the product of an affair. Eleanore makes it her mission to seek out her father and his family and to determine if he knows of her existence. She soon discovers that she has a sister who is beautiful, successful, and has lived the life that Eleanore has dreamed of and always wanted. Inveigling herself into her sister's and husband's lives allows Eleanore the opportunity to vicariously live the life that should have been hers and to get back at her father and mother.

Sister Dear is one of those books that draws you in from the very first chapter. It reminded me of those suspenseful movies where I squirmed in my seat and kept muttering, "don't open that door," "don't go in there." I thought I had it all figured out, however, was I surprised. McKinnon has a diabolical mind and has created a psychological thriller with a surprising ending (no spoilers here). I recommend this book for the sheer fun of it. Fans of B.A. Paris and Mary Kubica will enjoy McKinnon as well.

I received an ARC for a review and I am particpating in a Blog Tour!

“Maybe it was the failed attempt at a start-up company, or an early mid-life crisis, but one morning I decided to follow my oldest passion, started writing, and never want to look back.”

For more information on Hannah Mary McKinnon, https://hannahmarymckinnon.com.

Hannah Mary McKinnon is available to join your Book Club to discuss her books, information at https://hannahmarymckinnon.com/book-club/

#sisterdear #psychologicalthriller


Quarantine Quilt Along #2 - Hope

Quarantine Quilt #2 - HOPE

 I participated in my 2nd Quarantine sewalong on Sunday, May 3rd, 2020. 

The first Quiltalong was Elvira on March 22, 2020. 

This quilt was designed by Gudrun from Gedesigns for the second Quarantine Sewalong. I had the choice to pay 2.00,  5.00, or 10.00 for the pattern. All proceeds from the sale during the sewalong are going to 3 charities Hope Breakfast Bar St. Paul, Girl Scouts River Valleys Cookies For A Cause, and Chefs Feed Our Front Lines.

The pattern can be purchased here. Gudrun provides youtube videos throughout the day and all of the information is available on her website. It's a fun day---Gudrun's husband creates a playlist of music on Spotify, Gudrun provides recipes for snacks and cocktails, guest speakers and shortcut hints. 

I used a layer cake and a navy Moda solid. 

The blocks are easy to assemble.

Two of my favorite tools while sewing this design. The 10 inch square to square up the blocks. The numbered pins to keep the blocks in order while sewing them together.

Placing pins in the squares helped keep them in order when I picked them up to sew together. 

Gudrun has many suggested layouts in her pattern booklet and on her website, someone posted this layout on the FB page - Gudrun's Quilt Crew and I loved it. 

HOPE is sewn together! I am trying to decide if I want to applique the word "Hope" in the center of the heart.

The next decision is how to quilt it and should I do it myself or send it out to be quilted?

The sale of the pattern raised $35,000.00 for the three charities listed above. 

#hopequilt #qqal2

I enjoyed making this quilt so much, I decided to make it again. A friend's daughter is having a girl and wants a pink baby quilt. I love how it turned out. I am sure there will be other Hope quilts in my future!