March 16, 2019

The Irish Dunnigans Approve

     The Dunnigan family in my Goodbye Lie series highly approves of me sharing with readers a photo of my very own  Saint Patrick statue, actually made from peat*! (I have to brag that we got it in Dublin, Ireland! What a treat of a trip that was for us.) Michael Dunnigan, the patriarch in the novels,  is second generation Irish, so Saint Paddy's day is one of his favorite holidays.  
label on the bottom of the statue

*Peat- I had heard the word peat, but didn't know exactly what it was.  Wikipedia says: Peat, also known as turf, is an accumulation of partially  decayed vegetation or organic matter.  It is unique to natural areas called peatlands, bogs, mires, moors, or muskegs.  It is often cut out and dried for use as fuel and in gardening.

Many an Irish cottage burns peat in the fireplace. I was given incense-like cones made of peat to light. They made our own seaside cottage smell with the realism of an Irish home. Very, very cozy.

March 12, 2019

God Never Fails to Impress plus Goodbye Lie Diaries - Peeper

Dancing Girls

(Impatiens Bequaertii)

flowers that look like something else

Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid


flowers that look like something else

Swaddled Babies


flowers that look like something else

Parrot Flower

(Impatiens Psittacina)

flowers that look like something else

Flying Duck Orchid

(Caleana Major)

flowers that look like something else

An orchid that looks remarkably

like a tiger

flowers that look like something else

Happy Alien

(Calceolaria Uniflora)

flowers that look like something else

And his friends…

flowers that look like something else

Angel Orchid

(Habenaria Grandifloriformis  )

flowers that look like something else

Dove Orchid Or Holy Ghost Orchid

(Peristeria Elata)

flowers that look like something else

White Egret Orchid

(Habenaria Radiata)

flowers that look like something else

The Darth Vader

(Aristolochia Salvadorensis)

flowers that look like something else

An Orchid That Looks Like A Ballerina

flowers that look like something else

Monkey Face Orchid

(Dracula Simia)

flowers that look like something else

Hooker’s Lips

(Psychotria Elata)

flowers that look like something else

Moth Orchid


flowers that look like something else

What a wonderful world!

A friend sent these beautiful photos to me by email and I had to share. If anyone knows who created this email, please tell me at graciousjanemarie@yahoo
 and I will happilycredit them. 👍


The Goodbye Lie Diaries

Late 1800s
Fernandina on Amelia Island

Grandmother Peeper writes:   Them is some perty flowers there, Jane Marie. I hope whoever made them pictures steps forward sos they get the high praise they deserve.  Aunt Noreena, next door, keeps ordering them orchid flowers from somewheres about once ta year and once ta year she kills 'em dead.  She needs ta stick to plantin' weeds.  They will grow - even fur her.

(Peeper and Aunt Noreen, aka Noreena to Peeper, are recurring characters in my Goodbye Lie series.  Their constant, and often funny, squabbling has gone on for so long, nobody can remember who began the fussing. -jmm

March 5, 2019

Hollywood Hearts - Groucho Marx Quotes

     If you don't know, I love clever things. Here are some quotations from the great slapstick comic, Groucho Marx.  Thank you, Groucho

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. 

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others.

From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it. 

I must confess, I was born at a very early age.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

March 1, 2019

Amelia Island Book Festival 2019

Characters from 
The Goodbye Lie series
 bestowed the title, 
Scene Queen, upon me!

Those same characters are shameless. They love me to tell their stories and like to flatter me so I will show them in a beautiful light.  I only tell the truth about them.  Just sayin'... 😉
I had another enjoyable day meeting authors and the public at the Amelia Island Book Festival, here in Fernandina Beach, Florida.  Thank you to everyone who makes this annual event in February happen!

February 26, 2019

Popeye, Am I Too Analytical?

Now I ask you, am I too analytical?  Someone said that to me recently. I have never been accused of such before this.  However,  I take it as a high complement because I think of scientists and mathematicians as analytical, and they're really smart people. Just because I commented on Popeye having wee knees, do I deserve this title? Sure I do  Hey, maybe if I continue said analysis of life, might I be Jeopardy worthy?  Nah

( Image found on Pinterest.  If anyone knows the source, please contact me and I will give credit, of course.

February 15, 2019

St. Francis Mission Church Tea, Yulee, FL

copied from St. Francis website
     I was invited to speak at this lovely Ladies Tea the Sunday before Valentine's Day.  What with the frilly lace table clothes, floral patterned dishes, colored glasses, a light lunch of chicken over biscuits, grape and yogurt salad, strawberry shortcake and sharing tidbits about my novels, I was in my element.  The women were friendly and chatty and I will remember their sweet hospitality always. 
     Oh, they gave me a gift basket containing, in part, a St. Francis member-created cookbook, chocolate bars and movie tickets! 
Jane Marie Malcolm and crafts which tie into her Goodbye Lie series

Miss Ella, Breelan, Carolena Marie, Grammy, Peeper and even Aunt Noreen  from the late 1880s in  my Goodbye Lie series told me they would approve because they have similar teas quite often! -jmm

Ladies in hats! (photo by Lyndan)

February 8, 2019

Valentine Cracker Candy- Goodbye Lie Diaries - Miss Ella

Yes, there are crackers under the chocolate!
Late 1800s                     Fernandina on Amelia Island Florida

Miss Ella's diary entry:          You know how I love tradition, Jane Marie. When I move on to my Heavenly home, I want my children and grandchildren to remember the sweet treats we made together, the ones I have to hide from my husband, Michael. 
Miss Ella
   Here is my recipe for Valentine (or any time) Cracker Candy. It is very easy to make with handy ingredients. As usual, please translate my recipe, from my time into your
modern time, so your readers understand the proper preparation.

Jane Marie responds: Thank you, Miss Ella. My modern changes are listed in blue below. Ava, our granddaughter, helped me make your delicious crackers. You were right about hiding them.  I had Ava hide them from me! 

Miss Ella's Cracker Candy

Crackers, plain (Saltines) - enough to cover your baking sheet in a single layer (one sleeve)
1/2 cup butter, melted 
1 cup sugar and a smidge of molasses, mixed (Or we used brown sugar alone with no molasses.
1 spoonful vanilla (1 teaspoon)
1 to 2 cups chocolate - shaved (1 bag of chocolate chips)
Miss Ella Dunnigan
Grease your baking sheet (with non-stick spray).  Cover your flat baking sheet with a single layer of crackers. Melt the butter. Add the sugar with molasses (or brown sugar)and boil while stirring for 2 minutes, maybe 3, as it thickens a bit.  Stir in your vanilla.  Drizzle over the crackers.  Bake in a hot (425 degrees Fahrenheit ) oven for 3-5 minutes. While still hot, sprinkle the chocolate over top and spread evenly as it melts. Let cool and break into pieces.   

*Did you know the name cracker, the edible kind, came about when a baker in 1801 in Massachusetts named Josiah Bent burned the biscuits and they made a crackling noise as they blackened! 

* Origin of the name cracker found online at - Crackers: Invented in New England. Thank you, - jmm

February 4, 2019

Goodbye Lie Diaries -Breelan's Idea for Valentine's Day

Late 1800s                                                               

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Breelan Dunnigan's diary entry for February: Here is a simple idea for your special Valentine or perhaps an anniversary gift.  The only cost to you is that of your time spent thinking about your favorite someone. Man, woman, child, friend, relative or grocer, if you want to get that personal, make a list of the top twenty, or as many as  you want, random things you know about your wonderful one.  Write then down in your best handwriting on a lovely piece of stationery.  Roll it up and tie with a ribbon. It will be a keepsake for a hope chest, too, for generations to read and get to know the person honored.  And there you have it.   
Happy Valentine's Day from my time to yours.
Breelan Dunnigan

January 30, 2019

Mr. Potato Face Plus Potato Stamping, A Goodbye Lie Fave

     Tis Himself,  Mr. Potato Face!
I sliced off the end of a potato and revealed this fun face! To me, he is easier to recognize as a human face than the Man in the Moon. (While I can make Mr. Moon out, Bruce, my husband, has never been able to see that guy up there in the sky.  Perhaps the possession of an imagination, or lack there of,  has something to do with that. Just sayin' ...  Luv ya, Brucie. )
     Potatoes often remind me of potato stamping.  This complicated thought process of mine is just one more extraordinary ability I possess. Another example of my special powers is my mastery of the  canjo . (That's for another blog.) I can play one and a half tunes, after all. My mind just works cleverly like that, especially about complicated matters. Over the years, I have had several people, who know me well, ask how a person like me can write novels. Folks can be so kind.
     Well, back to potato stamping.  See instructions below for this fun, family activity. It is reprinted from January 25, 2014 and I originally wrote the article for our website, way back when.  Instructions, like a good recipe, doesn't change much.  

Note the surface of the heart is not cut completely flat in my haste to make it. Therefore, the heart won't be solid. It still works

 I cut a rose into a potato, stamped a piece of paper and took it to Staples office supply where they made this rubber stamp!

Heart and rose stamps for any occasion 

Potato Stamping - a Goodbye Lie Fave

     Potato stamping is a wonderful family activity. It is featured in my historical romance novel, Amelia Islands Goodbye Lie Trilogy, set in 1882's north Florida.  In the story, the Dunnigan children are kept occupied with this activity so as to protect them from the frantic goings-on by the adults around them. 

Caution:  Since a knife is needed for cutting the potato, an adult must be present to supervise.
Paint.  Read the label on the paint before applying it to make sure you're using the correct type for the object you will be stamping.  If stamping on wood, acrylic (washable) paint will work. It also works on poster board and paper.   Use fabric paint for fabric, especially if it will be washed.  Be careful of water color paints because they may be too thin.  The outline of your stamp might look blurred.
     Always test the consistency of paint and the coverage of your stamp on a paper towel or rag or wood scrap, whatever is similar to your intended finished product.
     Once the paint on your design is completely dry, heat set paint on fabric designs with an iron set on high.  Stroke the iron over the picture while it is covered with a protective cloth (like an old pillow case) for three or four minutes.   Do not scorch and DO NOT USE STEAM.

You'll need:
  •  Sharp knife (for adult hands only)
  • 1 large fresh potato, at least 3" in diameter to make two stamps
  • Pencil for outlining pattern on potato or cookie cutter
  • Paint - see notes above
  • Paint brush, sponge brush or cotton swabs
  • Aluminum foil or paper plate for paint palette
  • Paper towels for blotting and testing stamp
Wash the potato to remove any dirt and pat dry with paper towels.  Do not peel.
Cut the potato evenly in half using a large knife to make a clean cut.  It needs to be as flat a surface as possible without ridges - these will show when you stamp. 
Decide on what image you want to stamp.  A simple pattern will be easier to cut into the potato than an intricate one.  If making initials, make them block style, bold and backwards!  Save the complicated snowflake-type shapes for when you've mastered the easy stuff.
With the pencil, trace or draw your pattern free-hand on the cut side of the potato, or press a cookie cutter 1/4 inch into the flat white surface of the potato.
Cut away the area outside the stamp so that the stamp protrudes by at least ¼ inch.  I found it was best to cut away small sections at time, being careful not to let the knife slip under the actual stamp part, or it will fall off.
Squirt a small puddle of paint on the foil.  With a brush or cotton swab, paint the stamp portion of the potato, making sure the stamping surface only is evenly covered.  Wipe off any paint that slops over the edge.  You want a crisp outline. 
Test your stamp on a paper towel to see how much paint and pressure are required before you actually begin stamping your project.
To change colors using the same stamp design, wipe away any excess paint from the stamp and paint on a new color. For a faded design, just keep stamping without reloading any paint until the design is too light to see. 
Let the paint of an already stamped design dry before partially stamping over it with another color if that's the look you desire.  If you want the colors of the paints to blend, then quickly stamp the new color over the color used just before it.
Get creative.  Personalize items or decorate wrapping paper, book covers, picture frames, stationary, brown bags as gift bags and lunch bags.  Stamp gift tags, envelopes, refrigerator pictures, T shirts, paper and cloth napkins, tablecloths, doll clothes, pillow cases, etc.  If you can think of it, you can decorate it. 
Embellishments for T-shirts or fabric purses:
  • Sprinkle glitter on the paint while it's still wet so it will stick.
  • Glue tiny beads, buttons (sewn on fabric) or ribbon bows (safety pinned for removal for washing if necessary)
  • Outline the stamp with a marking pen or paint a boarder around each stamp pattern or random stamps on the object you're making so it will stand out. 
  • Spatter paint - Dip an old toothbrush in gold paint or any other color and run your finger along the bristles from tip back toward you, while pointing the toothbrush at the object you're decorating.  The paint will speckle the surface.  Practice first on a newspaper to test the technique and discover the coverage you want.
"Necklace" look - Repeatedly dip the flat new eraser of a pencil into paint and dab it onto a shirt in a draped pattern to resemble the beads of a necklace.  Make it a choker or a long necklace, whatever appeals to you.
If you cover your potato stamps in cold water in the refrigerator, they will keep for a day or two.

Enjoy! jmm

January 24, 2019

Another Southern Tradition - Another Lucy Moment

     The day before New Year's, I was in the grocery store on a quest. When I told the clerk, "Hi, I'm a Yankee looking for a can of those good luck beans they eat down here in the South.  You know, those green-eyed peas."  She looked at me strangely, saying nothing.  "Oh, so you must be a Yankee, too! Where are you from?"
     "Savannah," she replied, volunteering nothing more. 
     Hmm, maybe it's a religious thing for her and she doesn't believe eating food will bring
prosperity, I thought.  Whatever, we found them on the next aisle and I thanked her for her help.
     Between you and me, I can't imagine why they're called green-eyed peas when there is nothing green about them. (Refer to the picture above.) Perhaps I will Google this question and be surprised at the answer. I just might wear out Google with all my questions, being the Question Meister I am.

January 22, 2019

A Southern Tradition - Another Lucy Moment

    The day before New Year's, I was in the grocery store on a quest. When I told the clerk, "Hi, I'm a Yankee looking for a can of those good luck beans they eat down here in the South.  You know, those green-eyed peas."  She looked at me strangely, saying nothing.  "Oh, so you must be a Yankee, too! Where are you from?"
     "Savannah," she replied, volunteering nothing else.
     Hmm, maybe it's a religious thing for her and she doesn't believe eating food will bring prosperity, I thought.  Whatever, we found them on the next aisle and I thanked her for her help.
     Between you and me, I can't imagine why they're called green-eyed peas when there is nothing green about them and they look more like beans than peas. (Refer to the picture above.) Perhaps I will Google this question and be surprised at the answer. I just might wear out Google with all my questions, being the Question Meister that I am. 

P.S. All my Lucy Moments are true! It's silly in my world. That's why I share with you. 

January 16, 2019

Speaking of Diets

     And who isn’t, my darling daughter, Barbra Boutin, suggested we go on a diet together. Great idea, right? We can encourage each other daily. Then she suggested we both give up cheese. This is what I often give up for Lent. Besides, I get protein from cheese. I suggested  we give up sweets. (I once mentioned my granddaughter, Ava, said, “Grammy, you have very sweet teeth.”)
     Well, Barbra’s teeth are far less sweet than mine, so her temptation for treats is not as great. Instead, she went for a 30-day diet that consists of good for you yummies as pictured above. This healthy, yet still inviting, breakfast serving was created, photographed and consumed by Barbra. A meal, any time, of eggs, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, avocado, roasted potatoes, some sort of compliant ketchup, whatever that is, and strawberries, now that I could go for, for sure. She also informed me there are fresh tomato slices under the eggs. 
     Yes, I could stay her course, if only I had someone to prepare such delights. So, since I don't (in part because I'm lazy), as of January 2nd, I have skipped desserts and am drinking low sodium V-8 juice. Oh, did I mention I gained a pound?

January 8, 2019

The Thing About Coffee

before the "treatment"
     My husband, Bruce, has always said, "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing to excess." Well, along those lines, I heard coffee is good for plants.  I had some left in the pot and thought I'd give a swig to my Christmas cactus. Hey, if a little coffee is good for them, why not empty the pot? In this case, I'm guessing I poured on about a cup.  The next morning, I awakened to find all the blossoms had fallen off and all the green stems had shriveled up.  I informed Bruce his theory on excess does not work in every case.  He dismissed my findings and confirmed he will continue this particular practice.  Just thought I'd share.

January 3, 2019

Transition Tree

     Several weeks after Christmas last year, I decorated the still live evergreen with pink and white paper hearts and red lights for Valentine’s Day. It was not dropping too many needles, so it worked well.
     This year, I decided to transition between the Christmas and Valentine's Day trimming. I came up with the Winter Tree. Blue snowflakes, ribbon and ice cycles with a white drape representing snow, does the trick. Take note of the wild wolverine on that snow, under the shelter of the tree. Oh, and the angel on top works because angels go with everything.  (If you don't happen to have blue snowflakes, use what you have and cut snowflakes from white paper or light blue paper, for that matter. It's your tree!)
     If the tree is still in good enough shape, Valentine's Day pink hearts are next. I think, however, by St. Patrick's Day, we will probably be able to use it as kindling, but who knows?  

December 30, 2018

With the Happy Comes ...

Ever-Watching Abby,  the Food Warden
     Everybody is wishing everybody else a happy new year, myself included. But with the happy comes the new year diet. And with the diet comes the going without fun food. With the prize of a skinnier you as a goal, may I present a poem I composed over a 4.78 second period. With that much intense thought, you know it's good. For your encouragement:

A clean, fresh start,
A brand new year,
Those sugary sweets?
We must steer clear!

We shall do this,
Oh, yes we can.
And remember, dear friends,
Don't ingest luscious Spam!

Happy 2019
the Dunnigan Family Players
 Jane Marie!

December 18, 2018

2018 Christmas Letter

a few of our stylish and talented family members, 
each more lovely than the other 

Dear Friends and Others to whom we want to brag about our outstanding
     As you well remember, this letter has become an annual ritual from our cozy seaside home in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida.  Here we share activities, memorable quotations, anything we deem worthy and, boy howdy, are we full of worthy!  We begin:

Too many candidates are always running for election. Father  has a system all his own to pick one.  He is a graduate of E-bub's School of Feather Fluffing, so the family appreciates his wisdom. 

Miss Dental Flosser, the beauty queen, has crusty elbows and small feet. 

The olive oil turned rancid.

August 9th was on a Thursday.

Pink is a favorite color.

The librarian didn't do it.

Cousin Irk likes his toilet paper without splinters.

Mother got a new car and has doused it with perfume.  She feels they should give a discount for that dreadful new car smell.

A pillow is on the couch.

There are no spiders in the corner cupboard, but that can't be verified until Uncle Fug puts his hand in there.

Nasalin Fection warned she will never stay at a house with crooked tinsel.

It rained.  Then, it stopped.

Aunt Notsomuch said every hand should have five fingernails.  She can be most unreasonable.

"You got the wrong kind of pie."

Uncle Ree Moat had to quit his tree climbing job because he got his first pedicure and they sawed off his only means of getting up trunks.

Someone struck the middle C key on the piano.  The case is still under investigation.

The cat sniffed the celery a second time.

Mother buried some hair.

The TV tilts forward so the best seat in the house is on the floor. 

Seven and three is seventy-three.  Sister's detention is paying off.

There is more pepper than salt in the shakes.  Father is considering small claims court. 

Sister said her birthday present was hard to unwrap because it had too much tape on it. After a family meeting was called, a quorum of the group agreed to limit one roll of tape per gift. 

Someone should cut the grass.

Once again, we hope you all enjoyed our newsy letter.  Until next year, brush your teeth!

Hugs and Blisses
 Amelia Island 
 May Good Times be Yours 
During the Holidays!
(and the rest of your days, too)