June 15, 2021

Year-Round Patriotic Tree

      We should celebrate America every day, so why not put up a patriotic tree?  You can leave this decorated gem out year round.  I have posted pictures of other themed trees, Christmas, Valentine, St. Patrick, Easter/Spring and now we are enjoying this red, white and blue delight and it's easy to create.  The whole family can participate, which makes it all the better.  From the Spring tree, I removed anything that was not red, white and blue.  There are round Christmas balls, flowers, Dollar Tree U, S and A, letters (all on one banner which I cut apart), ribbon, lace, cut out paper stars I down-loaded free from the internet, silver ice-cycles to add extra sparkle along with the twinkling white lights and three large flags surrounding the top hat made from a coffee can. Scroll down to see the top hat tree topper photo. The only expense was one dollar for the USA sign and two more dollars for some extra flowers.  I was short on the red and blue.  Any-who, I love how it turned out.  Consider doing your own and God bless America!

The tree topper is made with red and white checked fabric covering a coffee can.  A painted cardboard brim, computer printed paper stars, a recycled bow with added ribbon, the white plastic coffee can lid, an embroidered star from an actual American flag and glitter complete the hat.

June 11, 2021

Precious Perfection


     These beautiful robin eggs were discovered by my brother, Bob Harkins, a retired Navy Chief. (I'm very proud of him, as you might guess.) They are in a rose bush, of all places.  Pity the poor critter who tries to snatch them...smart mama bird. Well, as soon as he sent me this photo, I knew I had to share. Thank you, Bob.  Thank you, Lord, even more!

June 9, 2021

Nao Santa Maria in Fernandina, FL

     Here she is, the Nao Santa Maria.  Built in a Spanish shipyard by the Nao Victoria Association in 2017, this is a full-sized  replica of the original ship that carried Columbus across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492.  It was constructed to  celebrate the 525th anniversary of the "meeting between two worlds."

Videos to enjoy: 

5 Facts about Santa Maria - interesting

Amelia Island Florida Santa Maria Video - beautiful

 

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida 

is a wonderful place to live!


June 6, 2021

Birdhouse Save


      My Bruce built our courtyard gate ages ago.  Sea air, sun, rain and wear and tear have been hard on it and the top of a picket broke off.  What should I do?  Well, I once saw a picture of a wooden garden bench with one of the back pickets cut in the shape of a birdhouse. Hmm.  It came to me that I had a small birdhouse and, by jingo, it perfectly filled the empty space.  Our son-in-law, Mark, secured it with screws and now I have a special addition that not only adds charming curb appeal, but, maybe, an actual bird could make a nest inside.  Of course, if that happens, we will have to lock the gate shut until the babies take flight, lest they are jostled. Entrance through the garage will work just fine. Odds are slim, but how sweet would that be?

May 25, 2021

A Floral Remedy, The Goodbye Lie Diaries with Breelan and Miss Ella

Goodbye Lie Diaries

(Through the magic of electronics, mental telepathy and a smidge of time travel, I am able to communicate with my clan of characters from our Goodbye Lie series. The result is The Goodbye Lie Diaries, scattered throughout this blog. -jmm)


Late 1800s

Fernandina, on Amelia Island, Florida   

   

TELEGRAM

Breelan Dunnigan

FROM: BREELAN DUNNIGAN

TO: ELLA DUNNIGAN

GIFTED BOUQUET STOP VASE NECK TOO BIG STOP REQUEST SOULTION STOP AUNT COE SENDS LOVE  

*******************************

Miss Ella

FROM:  ELLA DUNNIGAN

TO:  BREELAN DUNNIGAN

TIE STEMS WITH GREEN RIBBON 2 INCHS ABOVE VASE EDGE STOP LOVE MOTHER

*********************************

Current Day

Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

Jane Marie writes:

     With regard to the above telegram from Breelan Dunnigan to her mother, I wondered if, once Breelan arrived home to Amelia Island, Miss Ella would speak to her daughter about the cost of sending such a frivolous request.  But Bree wanted an answer and she went to her mother first. I like that.  Apparently, Aunt Coe never heard of this solution. Neither had I.  Having a fresh bunch of flowers, naturally, I tried the trick. Putting them in a vase with too large a mouth, I tied the stems with a green ribbon scrap and it worked. See the photographs below.  Thank you, Miss Ella!    


Where is the ribbon?

The secret green ribbon works!😊


May 17, 2021

10 Books About Amelia Island Includes Our Goodbye Lie Series

\\

 



***
     I am so pleased to share this post from The Arbor Company Blog. Of the ten books featuring Amelia Island, Florida, there are six in the non-fiction genre, three mysteries and one romance.  That romance is my Goodbye Lie series!  The ever-unpredictable characters in the novels, our Critter Crew and I want to sincerely thank Melissa Sloper, Executive Director of The Lakeside at Amelia Island retirement community, for including us.  


The Lakeside at Amelia Island is a lovely retirement community operated by The Arbor Company.  Located at 649 Amelia Island Parkway, Fernandina Beach, Florida, 32034, call 904 274-4953 for information.


May 10, 2021

Best Mother's Day Gift Ever

      

     I have always heard watercolor painting is difficult to master because water is a moving thing. Too much or too little will ruin your desired goal. I'm not bragging, well maybe a little, but take a lookie-see at this beautiful watercolor rose painting my granddaughter, Ava, created for me.  I love it!  And I told her the next time we get together, we're going to frame it.  Thank you, baby girl.  I just had to share it with all my online friends out there.  

                                                 -Grammy 

 


May 9, 2021

Happy Mother's Day!!!

      


     Isn't this a beautiful wreath for all the mothers out there to see and enjoy? I know my mother in Heaven would love it.  To me, it represents the tender devotion mamas have for their children, no matter their baby's age.  My friend, Jolene Woods, was sweet enough to let me snap this treasure of hers.  Happy Mother's Day, Jolene, and Happy Mother's Day to ALL!


wreath hand crafted by Tammy Haya 
 Message Tammy on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tammy.haya.1
 if you'd like her to make something special for you or yours. 

May 6, 2021

Pictorial Bouquet for Mom

 

     If you are unable to be with your mother this Mother's Day, along with a selfie, send her pictures of your flowers, greenery, herbs, whatever you have, as a long-distance pictorial bouquet. (I recently did this with a friend far away.  I think she really appreciated the gesture.)  Don't have any outdoor plants of your own? Take some pics of the neighbor's vegetation so she can see what you look at each day.  Try a picture of a houseplant you've been nurturing.  Don't have flora of any kind? Take a shot of what you're cooking on the stove or  have just pulled from the oven. It doesn't matter what you text or email your mom because communication of any kind will tell her she's in your thoughts, the same as you are in hers. Nothing need be fancy.  If you're watching your pennies, and who isn't, send her a few snaps of the goings-on in your world.  She really wants to know. And a phone call or video chat would be a bonus.  Just sayin' ...   😉

 


                              needs fertilizer

         a cheat picture inserted here from a bouquet not my own




                                                   first tomato of the season!

Make and/or recall memories on 
Mother's Day

May 5, 2021

April 20, 2021

Announcing Our Gnome Mascot Family


R. Novel Gnome with Chappy and Graph

      Please meet the newest members in our GraciousJaneMarie.com mascot family. Left to right: R. (Romance) Novel Gnome and his diminutive friends, Chappy (Chapter) and Graph (Paragraph). Proudly representing this Amelia Island Southern Fiction Blog and The Goodbye Lie historical romance series, the gnomes are joining Abby, our Spokes-Dog,  the various and mostly four-legged members of our Critter Crew, Martha Bear, our Spokes-Ursine and her always mischievous bear friend, Teddy O.  (Teddy is in the process of planning a GTHYOOT -  Glad Ta Have Ya On Our Team staff party.  Those of us who have attended past Teddy O parties, dread, I mean are always somewhat surprised that, so far, we have survived each one. We can only hope this gathering  won't be too eventful, that the goings-on don't make a post here. This is a family friendly blog, after all.) 

  

R. (Romance) Novel Gnome
     R. Novel oversees our gnome team as head story consultant and editor. A tree root inspector by trade, he wanted a change because, by the end of the day, his beard was too often matted with mud and nematodes. Word of mouth led him to us after he'd completed a correspondence course on apple head doll making. His qualifications are slim. No matter because his services, being free, are within our budget. 
     His uniform consists of a sock imprinted with books. (The set of socks was a gift from my retired Navy Chief brother, Bob Harkins. Should R. Novel decide to change his hat, said sock has not been harmed in any fashion by glue, thread or scissors.  R. Novel's beard is a Dollar Tree mop draped over an orange Dollar Tree safety cone.  His golden nose is a perfume bottle cap.  The heart on his beard is from my sister, Nancy Kamp, jewelry designer and teacher extraordinaire.  His moustache is faux fur.  A sharpened mini-pencil tied to his hat with twine and a Goodbye Lie business card complete his look. 


Chappy
     Chappy (Chapter) is our pacing gnome.  His job is to review the flow of my writing, pointing out the good, the bad and the boring. He helps me with this blog, too, when he can spare the time between snacking and napping.  His faux fur beard is over a mini Dollar Tree safety cone.  His hat is a fuzzy sock, with a pencil, paperclip and pinchie-thingie as added embellishments.  The heart he wears has a sparkling crystal in the center, also from Nancy. 
  
Graph
     Graph (Paragraph) is in charge of grammar and punctuation, sometimes rearranging the order of his namesake, i.e., my paragraphs.  His skill set is limited, but he tries very hard, spending his breaks diagramming sentences with pretty colored pencils. We hired him because he is sincere and willing to work for paperclips. 
     He has a shiny green nose, courtesy of Nancy.  And, in the spirit of uniforms, he wears a heart and his hat is trimmed the same as Chappy's.  His hat is half of another pair of fuzzy socks. Never a wastrel, I wear the mate along with Chappy's extra sock. Yes, I sometimes don mismatched socks.  I do it because I am too busy to take the time to sort socks.  Also, I don't look at my feet after I put on my shoes.
     You'll see and hear from our devoted mass of assistants, here and there.  After all, do you think I can imagine all this great blog junk to write about plus my novels, by myself?   
      

April 8, 2021

Free Spring Tree Plus The Goodbye Lie Diaries - Carolena Dunnigan

Spring Tree
     Here is a simple idea for another free seasonal tree.  This time, it is a Spring Tree. With supplies scrounged from cupboards, closets and the garage, it didn't cost a penny.  Silk flowers, bows, decorations from what used to be a fanciful grapevine wreath, a small stuffed bear and light gray bunny, a few pastel ball ornaments, and a garden angel from my kids, well, just plug it in and you have a soft spring-like twinkling tree! Create your own and watch for smiles. 
                           -Jane Marie 

***

The Goodbye Lie Diaries

(Through the magic of electronics, mental telepathy and a smidge of time travel, I am able to communicate with my clan of characters from the The Goodbye Lie series. The result is The Goodbye Lie Diaries, scattered throughout this blog.)

Late 1800s

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

*Carolena writes:  


 Good day, Jane Marie,

*Carolena Dunnigan
     I have enjoyed seeing your Valentine and St. Patrick's trees and now your spring tree. Mama and the Littles decorated our parlor palm for Daddy. He hinted and, quite frankly, pestered her into making him his own Irish tree. She loved the end-result. As it turns out, I am inspired now, too, and want to help bedeck a spring tree of our own. I have some lovely hair ribbons that will be perfect, draped over the palm fronds.  If I know my family, I imagine we will decorate one evening soon, immediately after dinner. That way, we can sit back and admire our efforts whilst having a slice of Peeper's vanilla pound cake. Mmmm. 
     I do hope Aunt Noreen doens't come over for one of her intrusive visits. I dread she will critique the finished palm plant and hurt feelings. If she does, I may just let go of my tongue and tell her what I honestly think of her.  I get so tired holding back and not challenging her rudeness. I pinched my finger this morning when I closed a stall door and it still hurts.  I would so enjoy taking my suffering out on her. Of course, if my sister Breelan participates, she may beat me to it. She stands up for herself and injustice more often these days. Being the oldest, I think Bree is fashioning herself after me and growing a backbone. 
      

*Carolena Dunnigan is the featured player in Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow, set in 1889 Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida.  Judgmental, often with a quick temper, she is the interior designer for yachts and ships in the family's Aqua Verde Passenger Line.  Commissioned to build a yacht for a world famous conductor, Paulo Alontti, deceit reigns, driving the story into the horrors of the great Johnstown, Pennsylvania flood.  One reader wrote: I can smell the flood waters! This is all part of Jane Marie Malcolm's Goodbye Lie historical mystery/romance series.

Buy e-books and paperbacks from The Goodbye Lie series HERE! (You will be redirected to Amazon.com. 👓 📚 👍)


April 4, 2021

HE IS RISEN!

     HE IS RISEN INDEED!

 


(The wooden church was inspired by Barb at The Shabby Tree. My friend, Doug Roselle, cut the wood, nailed it to the base and sanded it for me.  The star was cut from a copper sheet years ago for a grapevine wreath by Larry Dingman, a master horticulturalist. I made the cross from clay. It was a necklace, originally. Thank you, Doug and Larry.  -jmm)                 

March 29, 2021

Cotton Ball Bunny Face

     Draw then cut out a circle with  ears for the base of your bunny head. Mine from chin to tips of ears is 8 inches and 5 inches wide.  Cover it with cotton balls.  Take those balls and dip in coffee.  Squeeze them out and place outside in the sun to dry.  Meanwhile, run to the dollar store and pick up a pair of false eyelashes.  Our local store had a dozen different styles!  Fluff the dry cotton balls and hot glue to the cardboard base.  Brush some pink blush on the ears for color.  Glue on the the lashes, add a ribbon bow with a flower and a little pink nose or just leave the lashes, but you must have lashes.  That's the best part.  I love my bunny head, inspired by Barb from the online Shabby Tree.  Thank you, Barb.  Enjoy! 
                                  - Jane Marie
 

March 23, 2021

A Flirtation or Danger? - Excerpt from Amelia Island's Mark of a Man

In Miss Ella's Rose Garden   
  
"One last thing, please. I'd like to speak with Miss Marie* about her schedule at the camp. Do you know where she might be, Miss Ella?"

   "I believe she's with our maid, Doctor. I'll get her for you," she called down.

   "Thank you, ma'am. Tell her, please, I'll be waiting out back. I'd like to have a look at your rose garden, if you don't mind.  From Peeper's window up there, it looks like you've some fine specimens."

   Flattered for her efforts, "I'd love to come down and point out the different varieties, but I've got to get some food into Peep before she drifts off. Be sure to examine my Blank Double de Coubert. I've only just planted it last spring. It's the six-foot bush with the large white blooms on the end of the back row. Be careful though. Her extra sharp thorns bring blood if they stick you."

   "Yes’m. And please keep me informed through Miss Marie on Peeper's progress."

   "I'm so happy you've come all the way out to Dunnigan Manor to see about our Peeper," Miss Ella said. "Once again, thank you for all your help."

   As Frankie left the house, his mood was light. After encircling the pretty ten by twenty foot flowerbed three times, he pursed his lips in sudden impatience, and decided to leave. He would catch up with Marie another time. The screen door squeaked then slammed. From behind the trellis full of yellow roses, he could see her holding several carrots. As she passed, his hand struck, taking hold of her wrist and stopping her dead.

   "You scared the fool out of me!"

   "I need to know if you can work an extra shift Tuesday next. One of the nurses can't make it."

   More hours at the camp were far from what she wanted. "Let me think on it while I give our horses some treats."  She walked into the barn and he followed.

   "I need to know now.  I have a schedule to plan. Can I count on you or not?"

   Inside the stable, the smell of clean hay filled their nostrils. "I put in enough time there. I would rather—"

   He tore the carrots from her and threw them onto the floor, grabbing her wrist again. "You'd rather do this?" He jerked her to him, grinding his lips into hers. "Where have you been? You haven't met me at the beach one time this past week," he snapped. "I'm going crazy without you." He wanted desperately to keep kissing her, but there was no darkness to conceal them. "I see that Lt. Seever talking to you in camp. You'd better tell him to quit drooling over you." He pressed his lips to her throat. "If I have to make up a reason, I'll have him or any other bastard court martialed and strung up to keep them away from you!"   

   "Shh," Marie warned, catching her breath. "Don't be silly. The lieutenant and I have never met like this. I swear." She wished about now it was Lt. Seever kissing her. She didn't dare explain the lieutenant had asked permission to call, and she'd kept putting him off. She was sorry she had. Trying to hold the doctor away, "What if someone sees us? What will I say?"

   "Say you're giving me a tour of the place or something. Tell them the truth, that you're feeding carrots to the damn horses. It doesn't matter."

   "Clover did buy two new saddles last week. And there are some barn cats in the loft."

   "Marie. I don't give a pig's squeal about any of that. All I want is to touch you again. Come on." He led the way deeper into the barn. He envisioned Marie lying on the straw and having her right then and there.  The cottage by the sea was so much more private, less risky. At this point, though, he was ready to take that risk. He needed release, and badly. He was beyond the point of discomfort. He'd been holding back from other women, saving himself for her introduction into his wicked and wild world. Anticipating fulfillment, his eyes squinted and his lips tightened across his white teeth.            

   They passed half a dozen horses and two wandering goats, frightened several chickens and one squawking peacock out of the way until he spotted an empty stall. It was still too much out in the open. Although his intentions would take only a few minutes, he still wanted some sort privacy. "Come on. You said you've got cats in the loft?" He got behind Marie and pushed her up the steep ladder. "This should be fun. There are books out there saying making love to a woman in a hay loft is romantic."

   As she climbed, with him two rungs behind her, she whispered, "Make love? I couldn't do such a thing. And here in the family barn? Oh no. "

   Frankie didn't hear what Marie was saying. He focused on the round rump he imagined beneath the sway of her skirts. Once in the loft, he led her to the southwest corner, the furthest corner from the house, and pulled her down on top of him. His mouth was on hers and his kisses were anything but tender. Her hands on his chest, she struggled to put space between them, trying to catch her breath. He would have none of it. He easily overpowered the minimal strength in her arms and she collapsed hard onto him.

   He flipped her onto her back, and it seemed his full weight was crushing her. "Please, not now. Not here. This isn't how it's supposed to be." She wanted to scream yet wouldn't as the horror of shame at being caught permitting such a disgusting act soured her lunch. "I don't want this, Frankie. Stop it. Stop it!"

   His hand fumbled at her dress, bunching it up around her middle. The dry straw poked and stung her bare skin not covered by her stockings. His knees bruised her thighs apart the same time he fingered the buttons on his trousers. Tears scorched Marie's eyes when she saw her bodice open and felt her chemise rip apart. He delighted in her exposure and her embarrassment no longer mattered. Someone had to help her, anyone. One scream escaped, until his hand covered her mouth, squeezing her cries silent.

   "Not another sound or you'll regret it," he breathed into her face. "I've waited too long for this. I'll wait no longer."

   ***************************

*Marie is the youngest of four adult Dunnigan siblings featured in Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie series set on Amelia Island, Florida in the late 1800s.  Throughout her story, Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, Marie's young life seems destined to end in despair unless she stands up to fate. 

 


March 16, 2021

And a Happy St. Paddy's Day to You, Too!


 This Irish Claddagh necklace was a gift from my dear brother, Bob, a retired Navy Chief.  The hands represent friendship, the crown is loyalty and the heart love.  It is very special to me.  Thank you, Bob. -jmm

☘☘☘

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!

March 15, 2021

Accidental Irish Dinner!

      So there I was, making pancakes for dinner from scratch. A little too much liquid in the batter was apparent when I poured three dollops of such onto the hot skillet. They immediately ran together to form one big shamrock- looking flapjack.  Adding a little green food coloring to the rest of the mix then, I proceeded to fill the family with semi-lovely Irish clovers! 
☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘☘


March 8, 2021

Ain't It the Truth

It's New and Improved!

(What's better?)

It's Old and Still Working.  

                                                                             -jmm







March 1, 2021

Free St. Paddy's Tree and The Goodbye Lie Diaries with Michael Dunnigan


      Here is our St. Paddy's tribute, another seasonal tree for free!  It's a living Norfolk pine with white lights strung up and down the sturdy trunk.  A shamrock scarf tied in a bow is the tree topper.  Add gold and green balls along with light and dark green hand drawn and cut construction paper shamrocks, just balanced on the branches.  Beneath the tree is a black plastic pot filled with necklaces we've collected over the years from our annual Shrimp Festival in May. (Well, except for Covid cancellation last year and this.) Add an oxalis/shamrock plant and a Halloween top hat with a big green bow and you have a fun tree that will cheer the Irish in everybody!  Decorate your own real or artificial plant or tree with green.  The whole idea is not to have to spend any extra money, a thing rarely done.   Enjoy! -jmm   





***

Goodbye Lie Diaries

(Through the magic of electronics, mental telepathy and a smidge of time travel, Jane Marie is able to communicate with her clan of characters from her  The Goodbye Lie series. The result is The Goodbye Lie Diaries, scattered throughout this blog.)

Fernandina on Amelia Island

Late 1800s

Michael Dunnigan
Patriarch *Michael Dunnigan writes:  As Peeper says, "Boy howdy!"  Your green tree is truly an honor for my family.  I humbly thank you.  I would relish a tree like this in our parlor.  Since the ladies are far more handy at such things than I, perhaps a gentle prodding will result in one of our own.  To be factual, prodding will not be needed once they see this beauty.  I predict my wife, Miss Ella, will make a party of it and involve our littles, who are not as little today as they were yesterday.  Youth is far too fleeting for me.  Then again, look at my babies, Breelan, Carolena, Marie and Jack Patrick and what joy they bring us as they journey into adulthood. I correct myself and add mostly joy.  They do keep their parents' lives eventful, but we shan't speak of such at this time.  Instead, I thank you for this Irish delight!   

Most sincerely,  M.  Dunnigan


*Michael, featured player in The Goodbye Lie series, heads the Dunnigan household in the late 1800s in Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida.  In reality, he just thinks he does.  His wife, Miss Ella, pretty much runs his life, in a sweet, and most helpful manner, of course. The number one characteristic about Michael is that he adores his family even when his patience is stretched to exploding as his adult children discover their unpredictable futures.  

February 18, 2021

Another Peeperism - Fashion

Remember this and ya best be wise.
 A low cut blouse will oft call flies.           - Peeper

 







*


Peeper**

Who is Peeper? 
    ** Mid 1880s - Peeper Clegg is the wise and beloved grandmother from  The Goodbye Lie romantic mystery/suspense series who knocked on the Dunnigan family front door one day when Mr. Michael was off to war.  There, in the tiny seaside town of Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida, she had heard his wife, Miss Ella, and little girls, Breelan and Carolena, could use help.  Pushing her way over the threshhold, once Peeper entered the home, she never left.  And everyone who knows this adopted grandmother loves her often outlandish personality, her always loving ways, her delicious forced feedings and her elixer-fixers. (That is everyone except Aunt Noreen, who lives next door, visits Dunnigan Manor far too often and raises a ruckus every time she appears.  Of course, Peeper relishes needling Aunt Noreena, as she calls her.) So, through the magic of electronics, a scattering of stardust and a fluttering of bluebird feathers, she and the others on Amelia Island can communicate from their time to ours and we can communicate back!      

* Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com - Thank you -jmm

Want more Peeperisms? 
Click here --> Peeperisms!