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Words from the Heart is the third book in the Amish Letters series. Each book in the series features hand-written letters, and Words from the Heart centers around Ivy Yoder and Noah Schlabach, who help Noah’s Aunt Cevilla clean out her attic. As they go through the boxes, they discover a variety of treasures. Some are valuable, some not so much. When they discover a bundle of letters written during the Korean war, they realize that some things are priceless.
I really enjoyed writing this story. Since Noah is an auctioneer and antiques expert, I had fun researching different kinds of heirlooms and antiques. The Amish hold a variety of auctions that sell anything from livestock to broom and dustpan sets. They are often run by the Amish themselves, depending on the size of the auction. Although an Amish auctioneer isn’t that unusual, Noah is a little different in that he travels around the country to organize and auctioneer Amish and English auctions. Ivy isn’t into antiques, but she does like history and genealogy, and has an appreciation for things from the past. The two of them not only learn some surprising things about Aunt Cevilla, they also unexpectedly fall in love with each other.
I’ve always loved the history behind objects from the past (I’m an avid Antiques Roadshow fan), but I also knew that realistically not everything has an exciting story or is worth a lot of money. For example—crocheted doilies. I crochet a lot myself, and I learned how from my grandmother and mother when I was a child. I can remember watching TV with them while practicing each new stitch. It’s one of my favorite memories.
I also knew first-hand what it was like to have a lot of doilies passed down through the family. But one can only have so many doilies lying around the house. Trying to figure out what to do with them led me to discover upcycling, which is repurposing objects creatively. There are so many things you can do with doilies other than putting them underneath a candle holder. You can:
• Display them on a canvas as wall art
• Sew them together to make a table runner/curtains/tablecloth
• Sew them as patches on jeans or a t-shirt
• Decoupage them on a dresser
• Stretch them on embroidery hoops and hang on the wall
• Glue them on mason jars
• Sew them together to make a pair of gloves and/or a scarf
• Stiffen small ones to make Christmas ornaments
• Paint them bright colors using fabric paint
• Wrap them around a chunky wooden bracelet
These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are endless.
Since I had doilies on my mind, I also decided to try my hand at crocheting them myself. It seemed so daunting to me when I was a child and I saw my grandmother do it. She was from Romania and couldn’t read. Instead she would look at a picture and use that as her pattern. I can’t do that, but I did find some doily patterns from the 1930s and made an attempt. I thought it turned out rather well for my first try.
Here’s a picture of one of my grandmother’s creations. She really enjoyed filet crochet, which is the type of crochet in the center of this piece. I can’t imagine looking at a picture and recreating this!
Neither one of these doilies is perfect, but that doesn’t matter. Value is in the eye of the beholder. I’ll always be fond of my purple doily, not because it’s well done, but because it was my first one and I had fun making it. I’ll always cherish my grandmother’s doilies, not because they’re perfect, but because she made them. These objects are from the heart, just like the letters Ivy and Noah discover in Words from the Heart. They might not mean anything to anyone else, but to them (and the secret person they were written to), they were valuable beyond measure.
In addition to doilies, I also enjoy crocheting mandalas, which are basically simplified doilies. Here are a few I made over the past year.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with these yet. Maybe my grandchildren or great-grandchildren will find them in a box in the attic someday, possibly along with copies of some of my books!
Do you have any heirlooms that are special to you? How do you display them?
If you’re interested in crocheting and upcycling, you can find lots of patterns and ideas on my Pinterest boards. Feel free to follow me! I also post a lot of my crochet creations on Instagram and Facebook.
More about Words from the Heart
Her fingertips brushed against something else in the box of doilies. She lifted a bundle of letters, neatly tied with a thin red ribbon . . .
Ivy Yoder hasn’t heard from John King in over a year. She knows it’s time to let go of the idea that they will one day marry, but she’s humiliated to be one of the oldest single women in her Amish community of Birch Creek. When quirky Cevilla Schlabach asks her to help clean out an attic, Ivy is grateful for the distraction.
Noah Schlabach isn’t from Birch Creek, or even Ohio. His job as an auctioneer takes him around the country and away from a typical Amish life, but he still remains devoted to his family. So when his aging aunt asks him to help clean out her attic, he agrees. Plus, who knows what curious items he might find up there?
As Noah and Ivy work side by side, they come across a different kind of treasure: a packet of letters written during the Korean War. Soon they are swept up in the story of two young people falling in love—even as they remain determined not to fall in love themselves.
Words from the Heart is a moving story of lost love letters, fragile fears, and the beauty of taking another step forward.
Kathleen Fuller is the author of several best-selling novels including A Man of His Word and Treasuring Emma. She is also a wife, mother, crafter, coffee addict, football fan, and chocolate aficionado.