featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Award-winning author Paty Jager not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it. With fifteen novels and a short story published, she continues to have characters cavorting in her head. Learn more about Paty at her blog www.patyjager.blogspot.com and website. -- AP

Quilts, Color, and Mollusks
I’m a crafty person both in hobbies and in killing off characters in my action adventure and mystery writing.

One of my favorite hobbies is making quilt tops. I don’t make near as many as the avid quilter, but I enjoy the process of picking fabrics and putting them together in an eye-pleasing pattern.  The type I like best are baby quilts. They go together faster, and I can pick out fabrics that are fun for not only a baby but the parents, too.

For instance, I had a friend who is a cowgirl at heart and her husband likes old cars. I knew she was having a boy, so I found vintage looking western and car fabric to make the quilt out of. That to me is the fun part, making something that fits a person’s personality.

Right now I have a “sunflower” themed quilt that I am sewing together. It’s for me. Sunflowers put a smile on my face and the bright colors that are in the fabrics I picked shout summer and good times to me.

I’m a bright colors kind of person and while researching the Maya for my book Secrets of a Mayan Moon, I discovered some great information about how they dyed their woven fabrics, papers, and even the clay they used.
The color red came from a tree called brazilwood. The wood was boiled in water to remove the dye. Another source for red came from the cochineal. This is an insect that eats prickly pear cactus. The insects were collected, put in hot water, steamed, or baked, then dried and crushed.

The fruit of the avocado was used to dye cloth green.

Yellow dye came from the blackberry plant, not the berry.

The indigo plant was broken into pieces and boiled to make blue dye, and a clay was boiled with cloth to make blue cloth.

Purple came from blackberries which made a deep purple. Wood of the logwood plant gave off a black purple, and the glands of several species of mollusk also gave the Maya a purple dye.

Black was made by grinding the seeds of a genipa tree.

Secrets of a Mayan Moon

Child prodigy and now Doctor of Anthropology, Isabella Mumphrey, is about to lose her job at the university. In the world of publish or perish, her mentor’s request for her assistance on a dig is just the opportunity she’s been seeking. If she can decipher an ancient stone table—and she can—she’ll keep her department. She heads to Guatemala, but drug trafficking bad guys, artifact thieves, and her infatuation for her handsome guide wreak havoc on her scholarly intentions.

DEA agent Tino Kosta, is out to avenge the deaths of his family. He’s deep undercover as a jaguar tracker and sometimes jungle guide, but the appearance of a beautiful, brainy anthropologist heats his Latin blood, taking him on a dangerous detour that could leave them both casualties of the jungle.


Paty Jager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paty Jager said...

Thanks for having me here today, Anastasia and Lois.

Miss Viola said...

I love how you've mixed your love of quilting with such interesting information on the Mayan people; and your delightful book! ~Viola

Cora Blu said...

Nice post from one quilter to another. I'm quilting my book cover as a potential giveaway. Happy quilting. :)

Liz V. said...

I stand in awe of your talent as a quilter and writer.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Very interesting post, Paty. I used dyes in one of my books and did some research, but my book was set in Texas. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Using natural dyes sounds fantastic. I loved those big sunflowers on your quilt. And here I thought quilting was a lost art.
I wish you every success...

Paty Jager said...

Hi Viola! Thanks! I had to think about what I did that was crafty(in a good sense LOL)and then plug it with the book.

Cora, What a great give-a-way! I'm not that talented.

Liz V. Thank you for the kind words. I don't consider myself that gifted at either but I enjoy doing them both.

Hi Caroline, Some of the same plants should be in Texas. It's fun when that kind of information can be added to a story. I don't have any of it in the story but looked it up when I was trying to find out about ceremonial attire.

Sarah J. Quilting is big in Oregon. There are almost as many quilting shops as restaurants. LOL I love the sunflowers too!

Anonymous said...

I like sunflowers too. Definitely a sign of happiness.

Quilting is something I've always wanted to learn. However, I have never made the time to do it. That also comes with my desire for a sewing machine again. Ah, maybe one day when I find a way to schedule in hobby time. :)

Paty Jager said...

Maggie, I only make quilts as an outlet, and not that often.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Love your quilt, Paty, it's so bright and cheery. The books sounds good. I've long been fascinated by the Mayans.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Linda! I love that about the material and pattern. Thank you. It was fun learning more about the Maya as I did research for the book.

Sandy L. Rowland said...

I love that you quilt! Bright color suites you, though I don't know where you find the time. Natural dye and textiles is a great way to incorporate something real into your books, add something solid. A very interesting post!

Paty Jager said...

Hey Sandy! Thanks! I just like cheery colors. I tend to research more than what gets in the book. :( But at least I have the info to use in another one should that come up.

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Fascinating info on natural dyes, especially the one using insects. That's one way to turn that bother into something beautiful!

Kathy said...

Just bought Secrets of a Mayan Moon from Amazon. My kindle is the best Christmas present my kids ever gave me.

Paty Jager said...

Hey Genene! LOL,That is true! Thanks for stopping in!

Hi Kathy. Thank you! I agree, I love my kindle too!