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Putting the pieces together…

My templates for my crazy quilt have arrived along with an ergonomically designed rotary cutter which filled me with dread. That’s not just because Amy has weaponised one in the past, but because my stupid arthritic hands haven’t been able to use one for a long time. But this one has a comfort grip and I’m only cutting short lengths along a template so I can triumphantly cut for ten minutes at a time.

Have you any idea how frustrating it is to have to do that when you want to get on and play? To have to be sensible and practical and plan everything? I really hope you haven’t, but I’ve decided to make a couple of my characters have to live with rheumatoid arthritis because it seems such a shame to waste almost 44 years experience of it and because I want to show all the things that are still possible, albeit slowly and often painfully.

On Sunday, I said it was going to be made of velvet, and someday it will be. For now, though, it’s being made from a big bag of flannel offcuts that I inherited from someone who’d had them for 40 years, which I presume, means it’ll be a vintage quilt. It didn’t cost me anything and I can happily (or relatively happily) make all my beginner's mistakes on it without caring about it too much. And I already have, because I forgot that the pieces weren’t symmetrical and that the squares were stacked back to back, but only a few are wrong and there are plenty more. Some won’t be big enough as they are, so I’ve sewn them together to make it a little crazier and today’s picture shows you some all laid out and ready to pin. I can absolutely assure you that this is going to be one of the ones that Amy starts full of good intentions and ends up getting Peter to do the cutting. I can also imagine it starting as a big quilt and ending up as a sofa throw as reality meets dreams. Don't you hate it when that happens?

I like it though and it's totally unlike my normal style, which is very good for me.

So (or maybe Sew) you see, I am being sensible while trying something new and sneaking out of my comfort zone and it’ll be a fun project as Christmas gradually creeps closek. Less than 6 weeks to go now, so the cooking will become more and more festive as the days close in and I can spend less time outdoors. Are you the same? Do you have more time for reading or do you get caught up in a manic Christmas rush? And that leads me smoothly on to this week's special offers that are all at 99p or 99c.

There are two Oldcastle books, Buried Trouble, and Where there’s a Will. These are sweet, old-fashioned stories with a touch of crime and some feisty heroines so a nice pre-Christmas read

There are also 2 books from my Eleanor Neville Shadows series - Guardian Angel and Daymare. Guardian Angel is the story of a widowed mum who finds herself caught up in trouble and discovers her late husband was a spy. Daymare is a journalist who finds herself caught up in the story of her lifetime and psychically linked to a spy who doesn’t want her in his head.

And, and imagine a drum roll and trumpet fanfare, the new book this week takes me full circle and back round to my roots as a short story writer. ‘A Christmas Sampler’ is a book of Christmas-themed short stories from all my series that I hope will be ideal for those times when you haven’t got time for a whole book. Visit Windy Bay, hear from the Ghost of Lavender House and watch Amy Hammond trying to keep secrets from Peter Cunningham. See what old friends are doing and, I hope, make some new ones.


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