Rosalie Spielman is a mother, veteran, and retired military spouse. She was thrilled to discover that she could make other people laugh with her writing and finds joy in giving people a humorous escape from the real world. She writes for the multi-author Aloha Lagoon mystery series and her own Hometown Mystery series. Learn more about Rosalie and her books at her website.
The Finished Quilt
The Decade Quilt
For many years, I strove to express my creativity through textiles, as in quilting, sewing, or yarn related crafts. I do pretty well with counted cross stitch, which appeals somehow to my need for order and precision. I've been taught crochet, knitting, quilting…but let's just say, there's a reason I'm a writer! With writing, I can envision a story and through some magic, make it come out in reasonably understandable form. I might get stuck in that messy middle for a while, but eventually, the story is complete. But creating an epic textile art? Mmm, no magic happening there. Case in point: the infamous Decade Quilt.
Around 1998, I visited my sister where she was stationed in Ohio. She had bought her first house, an older house with some antique wallpaper. After I returned home, I sought out vintage-style material that would go with the wallpaper and set to work.
I was at Fort Bliss, Texas at the time and had friends who were quilters. Under their instruction, I had learned to quilt. My friends were surprised to hear I wanted to do a full-sized bed quilt but were happy to give me advice.
I didn't have trouble piecing the quilt top. That's the fun part to me that appeals to my sense of order, like cross stitch does. Then I combined the quilt top with the batting and backing and set to hand quilting it.
Yes, hand quilting a full-sized quilt. By myself.
When I finished the top, I took one square and
made a pillow to show my sister what she had
in store. The cat was out of the bag…
It was slow going. So slow, that my husband's assignment was up, and it was time to move. Off we went to Germany. Three years later, we left Germany for Virginia, where my son was born. Then after a few years, we headed back to Fort Bliss, where I gave birth to my daughter and reconnected with my quilting friends. They were amused – and probably not surprised – to see that the quilt for my sister was still unfinished.
When we got orders to move on, I asked my friend to use her fancy quilting sewing machine to finish the quilting on the project for me. She said no, that I should finish it for it to mean more. I told her I was not going to move with it again, and if she wasn't willing to help me out, I would throw it out. I was not going to move that thing again!
So, finally, in 2008, after my friend finished quilting it with her machine, I finally gifted my sister her Decade Quilt, which in no way matched the walls of her current house, or any houses she had lived in since that one with the crazy classic wallpaper.
She's used it on her bed ever since (at least when I visit) even though she has other quilts. Like her quilt from the Quilts of Valor foundation. Along with my husband, father, sister, and brother, I was presented a quilt in 2018. Quilts of Valor is an organization that creates and gifts quilts to veterans. I included a scene in my newest Hometown Mystery, Murder Comes Home, where my main character Tessa Treslow, her best friend Deputy "Freddie" Frederickson, and boyfriend Nick Hunt, are all presented with Quilts of Honor at the New Oslo Veterans Day ceremony.
I have been tempted to give back to the foundation by creating a quilt for another veteran. But I think they'd want it in less than ten years…
Readers, do you have an unfinished project out there, haunting you?
Murder Comes Home
A Hometown Mystery, Book 3
Army retiree Tessa Treslow is as excited as the other residents of New Oslo, Idaho, when the cast and crew of the TV show Picks with Ricks comes to town! Tessa and her Aunt Edna put their car restoration business on hold to let the celebrity antique hunters pick through their old garage, hoping the trash contains a treasure that will help fund their new business. But it turns out that the pickers come with TV cameras, likeable stars, a stressed-out producer—and a murderer!
The show’s lead makes an insistent offer on one of Aunt Edna’s renovation projects and won’t take no for an answer. And when Tessa finds the show's cameraman dead in the restored 1965 Mustang, Tessa knows murder has come home yet again. And the mystery takes a very personal turn when the dead man is found with an antique inscribed pocket watch connected to the former owners of Aunt Edna's farmhouse. As Tessa digs into the history surrounding the pocket watch and the relationships of the TV crew, shocking details—both old and new—arise. Will Tessa be able to catch a killer...before they return for a repeat performance?
Preorder (available 11/7/23)
Gemma Halliday Publishing is donating a portion of the presales of Murder Come Home to Disabled American Veterans (DAV).