FEBRUARY – The month of love and romance and Valentine’s Day

Did you ever wonder how it all began?

Historians aren’t 100% in agreement as to the beginnings of this holiday. Many believe it started as a Pagan ritual known as Lupercalia when goats and dogs were sacrificed and their skins, soaked in the animal’s blood, were used to slap the women of the village. The women welcomed the treatment, believing it helped to make them more fertile in the coming year.

Around the 3rd century A.D., the Catholic Church banished the Pagan ritual and recognized three different saints named Valentine, but, here again, there is no consensus among the researchers.

It is known that Americans began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, a woman began selling the first mass-produced valentines she made with lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. In 1913, Hallmark Cards offered premade valentines, and in 1916, began mass producing them. It is estimated that 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.

We have friends who save their money all year so they can celebrate Valentine’s Day in grand style. They buy special gifts for each other, spend the evening with dinner and dancing, and playfully renew their wedding vows. Hubby and I are lower key in the celebrating—maybe a card, maybe a dinner out, or not. It all depends on the activities surrounding the day.

My quilt project for February was done as a challenge from the aforementioned husband. He said, “Do something that you haven’t done in a long time.” I immediately thought of a miniature project. And what better subject than a heart?

Each of the squares of red fabric in the heart finish as one inch squares. To keep the challenge going, I hand-sewed all of the red squares together, then added the background fabric using the machine. The fabric heart is in a 7 x 9 inch frame.

With the leftover fabric, I made two-sided hearts and put them on florist wire. I put the hearts into a red and white artificial flower arrangement I put out in February.

I hope you enjoy the month of love and romance and make every day a Valentine’s Day.

Gini

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

I hope everyone is as excited as I am about starting fresh in January. I have a group of friends that are truly motivated with goals and intentions, so when I asked them about their projects for the coming year, they could count on their fingers the what, when, where, and how they would be successful.

When I inquired about their decade goals, I was totally surprised. They looked at me with deer-in-the-headlights expressions and mumbled, “Well…I… Let’s see… Um…I’m not sure.”

Could this be true? Do my dedicated friends only think in one-year increments? I was surprised – shocked, really – until one person explained that thinking long-term was scary for her. The last time she’d planned long-range goals, she accomplished them sooner than she’d planned and was left floundering with all her “free” time.

My reply of, “How wonderful. What a gift. Let’s plan more goals for you,” wasn’t received well.

I finally realized she hadn’t given herself time to do some future thinking to challenge herself to set bigger goals that were “scary” and would stretch her skills to accomplish them.

It is a known fact that we plan to do more than we can accomplish in one year, but we also don’t plan to do enough in the years beyond the first and are left with “Is this all there is?”

So I challenge you to grab a cup of tea, coffee, or “whatever” and spend some enjoyable time doing future thinking for the next few years in order to make this decade an awesome adventure.

For myself this year, in addition to writing, I have the challenge of making quilts – my first passion – for wedding and baby gifts. In our current society, hand-made gifts are seen as unique and special. And that is how I want my gifts to be.

My first gift this year is for a baby arriving in February. It is always relaxing and comforting to work with the pastel colors and add a flannel backing for warmth.

In this picture I have set out fabric and supplies and have made a few sample squares.

And here is the finished quilt, ready for the expecting parents. I can’t wait to hear when the little one arrives.

Each month this year I will show you my current quilting project and the challenges I will face making it.

Until next time, I wish you happiness and joy. The kind my characters receive after facing and overcoming their challenges.

Gini

Quilts Galore

I’ve always enjoyed books about independent women who are strong enough to successfully run a business and balance that with family. If there is a man in the story for her, that’s even better.

With the publication of my first book, Quilts Galore, you’ll meet Marianna Spencer, a professional quilter; her family, the attractive craftsman next door and the tight-knit, supportive community of Wolf Creek Square.

I brought my love of quilting to this story. I share Marianna’s love of fabrics and quilt patterns, and some of my award winning pieces were original designs. I have many boxes of fabrics and enjoy visiting quilt shops and quilt shows.

I’ve also brought a touch of history into the story. Sometimes it is fun to learn who were the settlers and how they forged homes and towns from the wilderness and how that history influences the lives and loves of the current residents.

I hope you enjoy reading about Marianna and her friends in Quilts Galore.

Next up for me is Country Law, my next novel in the Wolf Creek Square series.