Coping in Crisis (COVID-19)

How Are You Doing?

We need hope now more than ever. However, there’s a time for naive hope and a time for common sense coupled with faith. Wash your hands and stay at home if you can, please.

I’ve been debating whether or not to post about the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly because it’s all we see, hear, and think about these days. Believe me, I’d much rather be writing about how amazingly prolific I’ve been while “staying-in-place” here in California – but that wouldn’t be true. Currently, my creative works-in-progress are simply works-on-file.

But that’s okay.

Now is a good time to turn our thoughts to others. Man, it’s hard to do right now! Of course, I’m worried about my family, my friends, my community. (And myself.) The population of the entire world is in crisis (I’m making a specific distinction here, because our earth has been in crisis for some time, but far too many have been ignoring that for a while now). In so many ways, we feel utterly helpless, especially knowing that the worse is yet to come for those of us in the U.S, throughout Europe and honestly, around the world. What can we do?

It would be nice if I had a fitting, blanket answer for everyone, but I don’t. As a woman of Faith, the answer for me is listen to our sensible medical experts and pray.

It always saddens me to know that many folks find prayer offensive. I hope those people are able to have a deep appreciation for meditation & can also access the sense of comfort that comes to many of us who pray.

I’m grateful to be able to utilize both methods in order to keep the overwhelming currents of anxiety and paralyzing fear of the unknown at bay presently. I’m also reading more, especially when I can’t sleep at night.

What are you doing to help ease your emotional burdens?

Please find whatever supportive communities you can to help you hang onto hope in your heart and common sense with both hands. If you can help the most vulnerable communities like the elderly and the homeless, please consider making a monetary donation to local charities. Right now, many children out of school still desperately need access to warm meals. School districts and volunteers around the nation are stepping up. Consider checking out Let’s do what we can!

Because I’m feeling so physically idle, I’ve been sewing cloth face masks for our healthcare workers, just in case. Honestly, I hope that no one will be so desperate to have to use them, to be honest. I mean, when I read this article stating there’s truly a legitimate call for volunteers to sew masks, I couldn’t believe it. But here I am, gathering materials from my quilter’s stash and learning how to make what I’m calling “desperation masks”. (Truly, I hope that our healthcare workers will soon have enough APPROPRIATE MEDICAL-GRADE PPE to meet the inevitable demands that are soon to come.)

These homemade masks are surely a last resort for our healthcare workers; they remind me of a thick bandanna with 4 layers of fabric. Perhaps they can be used to cover the singular N95 mask that many of our healthcare workers, such as my sister-in-law, are having to reuse day after day.

I hope my collection will soon return to my fabric stash, unneeded, because our community’s appropriate medical-grade mask supply needs have been met. But the mere act of making these masks is a bit therapeutic for me. It gives me something constructive to do; sewing these masks lets my idle hands work while my frantic mind finds a quiet space.

If you’d like something to do & you have more fabric than you know what to do with, check out these two resources: Joanne’s and My masks are a bit of a hybrid because I don’t have liner & I made ties out of fabric instead of using elastic (I called my local store, but they were out, so I improvised).

I’m truly sending Love & Light to all of you. Please be safe and connect with all the valuable things you hold dear that have nothing to do with money. Be well.

Sending Love & Light,

©Atina Atwood 2020 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.â„¢

Ready for California sweet romance? Add Luck of the IrishLove Games and Playing Cupid to your reading list. All titles are currently $.99 or free through March.

– Atina Atwood is the author of the Holiday Heartbeats series and a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest for more, and sign up for Atina’s newsletter here.

It’s Quiltin’ Time! My “H” Quilt

The end of the year is coming so quickly, and I almost don’t have enough blogging days to cover all the topics that I want to talk about! That’s a wonderful way to close out the year. One of my 2018 resolutions was to try out quilting as a hobby. Well, I love it, and I’ve completed more projects than I can write about here, but I simply have to include a favorite every now and then.

My “H” Quilt

My last big quilt of the year is what I fondly call the “H” Quilt. One of the characters in my latest novella has a grandmother who created a quilt with the letter H as the predominant pattern. I was so inspired by it, I decided to make a quilt just the way I imagined! Admittedly, I’m sure that Mrs. Hanley’s quilt is leagues and bounds more beautiful, especially with the quillting part, but I am so proud of imagining a design and finding a way to make that thought into not only something tanglible, but also useful!

Multicolored “H” quilt designed, pieced, & quilted by Atina Atwood.

I love the vibrant colors, and the alternating pattern of lights to darks certainly gives the quilt a festive look. I didn’t use any sort of fancy quilting technique during the process (I finished this one up in one day); I also haven’t even started binding it. Too many end-of-the-year deadlines are taking priority at the moment, but I’ll get to it in a few days.

Inspirational fabric makes the backing of this quilt as much fun as the front. What feels better than warm love and little bit of TLC at the same time? This was a fun project, and I look forward to making more quilts in the coming year. What are you looking forward to?

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more.

It’s Quiltin’ Time! Pillow Talk

This Doesn’t Count As Quilting, But…

So, while in the midst of creating worlds and waging a daily battle of fleshing out 2-dimensional characters, as you likely know by now, my acquired hobby of quilting keeps my hands busy when my mind needs a break.

This has actually become a really exciting hobby for me, because it’s fulfilling in the sense that I get to be creative, and it’s practical, because I’m actually making things that can be used. The most satisfying part is knowing that I make beautiful projects that I gift or donate to others. Quilting is truly a labor of love, and since I’m all about love and kindness, happiness and romance, this is an artisan skill that is absolutely right down my alley. But for every quilt made, we also need pillow cases!!

I love These Pillow Cases!


My latest project stems from a monthly sewing club at my local quilt shop that I’m starting to visit on a regular basis. The club president is dynamic, kindhearted, and has the absolute best sense of humor with an incredibly infectious laugh. I’m pretty sure that at least a small essence of her personality and temperament will manifest in one of my recurring characters in an upcoming work. I look forward to really getting to know that character, as well as the actual person who’s inspiration behind it!

In the meantime, these are my lovely pillow cases, the first made for a dear friend who happened to fall in love with the fabric when we were shopping together. The second set is likely for my niece.

I was so excited about the  outcome, I just had to share!


Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

It’s Quiltin’ Time!: My Mug Rug

Gummy bears and red wine (Montepulciano) are a strange combination for any self-respecting foodie, but they were the first things that I decided to enjoy on my very first scrappy reversible Mug Mat!

Honestly, I prefer calling it a Mug Rug, but either way, its purpose remains the same. I made it out of the literal scraps that I had remaining from my latest quilt. It was a fun little project, and I was finished in under an hour from start to finish, thanks to a quite a few World Cup distractions…

I’m pleased with the result, especially because I created something useful out of something many others might have thrown away. What a wonderful feeling!

Sending Love and Light to you all.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

It’s Quiltin’ Time! Binding Love in Fabric

So while I’m here enjoying my summer, I have a chance to continue indulging in my newest, latest, greatest hobby – quilting.

On the one hand, someone may think that it’s likely perfectly normal that a “chick lit” and romance author (no, they’re not synonymous) has fallen in love with such a hobby, but that’s not necessarily the case. As a matter of fact, although quilting is enjoying a resurgence of  popularity, it’s still not exactly what every other 30-something year old is itching to get into.

That’s okay; more fabric for me. 🙂

Just to recap, I started machine sewing and quilting just six months ago in January 2018. Since then, I’ve actually successfully completed 14 projects, ranging from a 6-piece set of reversible quilted placemats to a king-sized quilt. It’s so exciting to try new techniques, and with every project, I create an entirely new pattern and/or throw a new, unique twist on the classics (like making a 3-D  Dresden quilt for my mom).

Quilting is as therapeutic as it is addictive. Don’t believe me? Just think about the impact that the AIDS Memorial Quilt Project has made on the world. Before that, people were actually able to tuck the tragedy of the epidemic in the backs of their minds. Yet, when one sees something, and can touch it, it becomes a tangible link to the heart. To me, that’s exactly what a quilt is.

As a writer, quilting is an extension of my innate need to communicate. Quilts tell stories.   Every single block represents something to the quilter, and historians and anthropologists alike drool over such fantastic discoveries with chopped up fabric that has been stitched back together in seemingly arbitrary patterns. There’s always an element of romance attached to them, even in tragedy. Love is what really binds a quilt together, not just thread.


To be honest, I think that today’s quilters get a bad wrap. Sure, you’ll encounter cliquish snobs, but as in anything else, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to subject yourself to that kind of environment. Thankfully for me, I have two amazing local quilt shops that are friendly, welcoming, and seem to want to add some “fresh blood” to their stock. I’ll be the first admit that I haven’t yet taken the plunge and joined some kind of quilt retreat, but then again, I haven’t yet done that with any writing conventions, either.

Despite this, I’ve been learning so much from the Internet, stories and tips shared on various social media platforms, and of course, from the sweet and sassy ladies at my local quilt shops in San Diego. I’ve created love presents for my family, and I even made two quilts for the daughters of one of the mothers in my online mom’s group who is really going through some very hard and scary times. I don’t know this woman, and she doesn’t know me, but I was so grateful to reach out to her in this way, just to remind her that she is loved and though of, even by strangers.

When she sent me a picture of her darling babies wrapped up in the quilts that I’d made, smiling such beautiful, full and appreciative grins – well, I can’t even begin to tell you how fulfilling that moment was for me. I think that only a quilter can truly understand. Meh, maybe that’s not true. It isn’t some exclusive club that knows the location of the Holy Grail; the feeling is something like this; whenever you create something out of the pit of your gut, from the recesses of your heart, and you give it away with the calm expectation of receiving absolutely nothing in return, and then someone genuinely thanks you for what you have done, showing you that they feel the love you put into the work you’ve done, and they appreciate its value and worth, then you know what I mean.

This is exactly the same thing that any writer goes through when they present a new novel or work to you. It’s a part of them, even when it’s not even remotely about them. It’s a pitiful attempt to share some form of expression with you, and with one little response, a nudge, a nod – it totally becomes both worthwhile and rewarding.

What hobby do you have that brings you immense satisfaction (besides reading, of course)? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to leave your comments! I’d love to hear from you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow Atina on Twitter! 

Strip Show

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while, you may have come across the fact that I have absolutely become a fan of #quilting. It’s gaining a resurgence in popularity, and I’m so excited to say that I’ve been bitten by the quilting bug.

There’s something hugely whimsical and romantic about creating quilts with bright and colorful prints. I’m definitely attracted to the “scrappy” look right now.

I’ll admit that the vast majority of the people in my online groups are actually grandmas, but there are also men, and people who are “young” enough to know how life was living as a teenager in the ’90’s.

I’m having a great time experimenting and discovering things, and I just completed a full-sized quilt from start to finish in just TWO DAYS! If you’re familiar with the process of quilting, this is really quite a feat. It’s not perfect- the lines are far from straight, but I absolutely love it!!

I’m calling it “Strip Show”, because I used vertical strips to create the blocks, and because I think that the title is funny. I’m happy to share a picture of my result – imperfections and all. ❤️ I’ll post my pattern in a later blog post.

It’s Quiltin’ Time!

I’ve got a new hobby. As crazy as it may sound, I needed to find another creative outlet in order to prevent myself from fatiguing in others. So, what is this new hobby? Well, for one thing, it isn’t cheap. It’s addictive. It’s definitely a hobby that both women and men get super excited about. For many, it can be a viable source of extra, or even primary income. Its a craft. It’s an art. There’s a competitive sector for it around the world. It’s admittedly attractive to grandmas, but I’m okay with that because I’ve always had respect for my elders. (Actually, people of all ages are into it.) It’s challenging and deceptively easy-looking… until you actually get started. It’s artisanal work. It’s relaxing, almost meditative. It’s tons of fun!!

Ladies and gentlemen, my new hobby is quilting.

(I’ll patiently wait for you to recover your senses. Because I know that the title of this post gave you no hint whatsoever.)

After just two months, I’ve shifted from someone who had never even worked on a sewing machine before to someone who has completed two full quilts from start to finish and created an additional 6 quilt tops as well as 6 double-sided quilted placemats. I’m so excited! It’s a great feeling to be able to create on a daily basis without feeling the pressure of turning it into product. I intend to gift or donate the quilts. This is a beautiful and fulfilling hobby that can bring love and light to others. It can’t get much better than that.

During my college days, I performed in an off-Broadway musical called “Quilters”. It tells such a beautiful story that I’ve never forgotten. As a writer, it isn’t unusual that I would be attracted to quilting, because the blocks of any quilt are symbolic. Many quilts, their fabrics, and their stitching styles reflect cultural and historical significance. The blankets are literally designed to tell as story!

Once again, the apple isn’t falling very far from my tree of creativity. 😉

I’m excited to see where this new hobby takes me, and I’d love to share some discoveries with you on my blog as well.

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