December 31, 2011

Here's to the Future

from all of us at!!!

May we all treaure the gift of reading...

Jane Marie Malcolm
Nancy Kamp
Martha Bear
Pickle bearling
Pansy bearling
Art bearling
Teddy O
Wink E Bear
Mr. Buzzbee
Breelan Dunnigan
Carolena Dunnigan
Jack Patrick Dunnigan
Marie Dunngian
Michael Dunnigan
Miss Ella Dunnigan
Aunt Noreen
Nora Duffy
Aunt Coe Fries
Warren Lowel Duffy
General Dogsbody
Mr. Wickers
Taffy Wickers
Lil Cheese Wickers
Bruce Malcolm
Bob Harkins
Kate Brown
Captain Fancy Patch
and all the others who contribute to and participate in our stories, website, blog and wild, wacky and wonderful world at in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries!

December 22, 2011

Annual Holiday Letter 2011

My Own Dear Friends,

Since our lives on Amelia Island, Florida are chockfull of dubious delights, artificial adventures and loony-bin hilarity, we want to share just a part. Here goes:

Father works in a factory. A rat fell from the ceiling onto his shoulder. Father became disgruntled when they changed brands of pencils. Management offered him a lateral transfer from white socks sock stretcher to black socks sock stretcher. He realizes this is an honor.

Daughter only run one marathon and three triathlons this year. She is 7/8 inches shorter than she was twelve months ago, using the excessive pounding on her feet, as the reason. The family knows better. She's just lazy.

Auntie Rantie took Lucky to the store and they never returned. We sure miss that dog.

Cousin Freddie is considering being either a lingerie model or a lady cab driver.

Son-in-law is much better now.

Father enjoys having his eyebrows licked by the cat while he watches the wrestling channel.

Mother's orange crop was abundant this season, but blemished because she used no pesticides. Embarrassed by their spots, under cover of darkness, she left a box on the church doorstep. Dreada, the nasty neighbor, saw the whole escapade, and is now blackmailing Mother. Her price? The use of our paperclips on demand. We wonder how long we can endure.

Son ate his finger.

Bird passed away and Father put him in the freezer until the ground thawed enough to dig a hole.

Granddaughter learned how to drink from the left side of the glass.

The cat, we'll call him Gleet, hacked-up a big one.

Father stubbed his toe and said, "Shucky darn!"

We had a frozen pizza on Wednesday.

The Atlantic Ocean is still in the same place.

Merry Christmas from Amelia Island

PS To find earlier Annual Holiday Letters from Our Family and to get a better understanding of our exotic lifestyle, visit

December 18, 2011

Say It Ain't So, St. Joe

Take a look at the picture of our front yard to the right.  Note the absence of one, Saint Joseph.  Yes, friends, in the middle of the night, someone absconded with the third member of our Christmas family. We thought perhaps it was the wind but after searching the neighborhood and asking any and all if they'd seen him, the sad answer was the same.  No.  Because he lights at night with a bulb, he not only was snatched, he was unplugged! This means the crime was premeditated!
I used to work at our local downtown Christmas shop.  One day I discovered the Baby Jesus was missing from his little manger. I was horrified until I said to myself, "If they want and need him that badly, they can have him."  I'm thinking along those lines with regard to Saint Joseph. If they need him for some good reason, to their minds that is, then you have him with my blessing.  If they took him only for the purpose of vandalism, then I suspect their little prank will haunt them every Christmas of their lives. A mild haunt it may be but a haunt, nevertheless.

Merry Christmas one and all- and I include YOU!

from The Goodbye Lie Diaries - Miss Ella
December 1880s
Fernandina, Florida                                                                              

Dear Jane Marie,

Thievery of any kind is abhorrent, but to steal a symbol of the Holy Family is near unspeakable. May we all be so forgiving as you. May your Christmas be blessed and may the new year being the best of delights.

With sincerest love,

Miss Ella

December 16, 2011

Santa Paintbrush Ornament

I saw a similar Santa Claus ornament made from a paintbrush in a Lowe's magazine. I ran to the dollar store, got a few inexpensive brushes in different sizes and we were off!  I goosed mine up from the sample photo in the magazine and the result is pretty cute.  It can be made in an afternoon with paint you have around the house if you do much crafting at all.  Add some cotton balls for his hat trim and a mustache and  wahoo!  This is a fun family project for the children, too.

You'll need:
1 paintbrush, any size
paint for handle- 2 colors
paint for face- white mixed with a splash of pink & pink for cheeks
paint for eyes - black with white for reflection
cotton balls
glue, ribbon to hang & scissors                                                  
glitter paint (optional)

1. With scissors, trim the corners off the bristles, rounding the edge to look like a beard.
2. Paint the handle, front and back, one color.  When dry, paint a second, contrasting color on the handle making stripes or dots or whatever design you want.
3. When dry, mix a splash of pink paint with white and paint the face on the metal band of the brush, front and back. 
4. When dry, dot two black circles for eyes with the tip of the handle of a large craft paintbrush or the eraser of a pencil. When eyes are dry, add tiny dots of white for the reflection which will bring the eyes to life.
5. Dot pink on the face for cheeks in the same manner.  When dry, add clear glitter paint, if desired.
6. Stretch several cotton balls to look like fur and glue all round the the paintbrush, front and back, for the fur trim.
7. Take a small piece of cotton, stretch for the moustache, twist in the middle and adding a drop of glue, only in the center, press in place.  When dry, gently twist the tips of the moustache to make them pointy, if desired.
8. Cut a 6 or 7 inch piece of narrow coordinating ribbon, slip it through the hole in the handle that is hopefully already drilled when you purchased the brush, knot the ribbon, and hang your decoration. :-)


December 13, 2011

Gingerbread House of Your Own

We made our Gingerbread House from a kit purchased at the grocery store. We bought extra gumdrops thinking there would not be enough candy in the kit to make it fancy.  Wrong.  There was plenty of candy. We were forced to eat the gumdrops so as not to waste them, of course.

The gingerbread roof and walls were pre-made.  All you have to do is follow the simple instructions and "glue" everything together with the white frosting which is included. The frosting sets in a few minutes so you can complete the house in an afternoon.

One thing I learned and will do when I make another ginger house is that rather than putting the walls and roof together, then decorating  the whole thing, I will decorate the walls first as they lay flat. Once dry, I will glue them in a vertical position, completing the house.  The reason for this is that it's difficult to keep the decorations from sliding down the walls until the icing sets.  You have to hold the decorations in place until they are stuck where you want them.

This project was much fun and I understand why building a Gingerbread House is a tradition with so many.

Merry Christmas all! 

December 4, 2011

November 29, 2011

A Wishbone Thank You

We received this email from a reader:

I just wanted to say thank you for the article on the history of the wishbone. In my family breaking the wishbone after the holidays has been a tradition carried on by my grandmother as well as my mother, sadly both are gone now. I fully intend to carry on the tradition, however I have a broader understanding of what the whole ceremony is about now. I found it to be fascinating how something so simple can have such a history behind it.

Thank you so much for the information and satisfying my curiosity.

May you have a happy holiday season!

With gratitude, Dale

I'm glad you enjoyed the article, Dale.  For those who missed it, I've reprinted it here.  The original is on our website at

 Wishing on a Wishbone
by Jane Marie

Our Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps like yours, ends with a special ceremony. Around Stately Martha Manor, our patriarch, Bruce, will ceremonially place the wishbone, the "pulley bone" as his grandmother called it, on the lighted shelf above the sink. There it remains until Easter when it's bone dry. Then we dust it off and use it for its main purpose - not as a support for a turkey's head, but to bring good luck to the person who comes away with the largest piece of bone in a little tug of war for two. For anyone unfamiliar with this tradition, each person takes hold of one end of the turkey's double-pronged clavicle. They pull until it breaks. The winner gets a wish.

There are several tricks that might help you win the contest.

• Place your thumb higher up on your half of the wishbone and give a quick snap. Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn't.

•Try using just your first finger alone, or your first finger and thumb to exert a little extra pressure.

All this competition began at least 2,400 years ago with the Etruscans who lived on the Italian peninsula. The Etruscans believed fowl were fortune tellers because the hen announced she would be laying an egg with a squawk and the rooster told of the coming of a new day with his early morning crowing. A circle was drawn in the dirt and divided into twenty wedges that represented the twenty letters in the Etruscan alphabet. A piece of grain would be placed in each wedge. A hen would then be allowed to peck at the grain. As she ate, a scribe would list the letters in order and those letters would be interpreted by the high priests to answer questions.

When one of these chickens was killed, its collarbone was considered sacred and left under the hot sun to dry. Anyone was permitted to stroke an unbroken bone and make a wish, thus, the name wishbone. The Romans took many of the Etruscan customs as their own and since everyone wanted good fortune, they fought over the bones, breaking them.

It is said that the phrases "I need a lucky break" or "I never get a break" come from being the loser in this tug of chicken bone contest.

The English heard of this superstition from the Romans and called their wishbones merry thoughts after the merry or happy wishes that most people desired. When the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in the New World, they brought along the custom of breaking the wishbone. When they discovered the northeastern woods of North America were filled with turkeys, they changed their custom from the chicken bone to the turkey bone.

Every time you have the privilege of breaking the wishbone or witnessing someone else doing it, just remember that's how they did it way back when. Wayyyyyyy back.

November 21, 2011

Eating with Memories

We began a tradition that everyone can participate in and enjoy.  Each year, on the same plain table cloth and with permanent colored markers, each of us draws/writes and dates a sentiment they are thankful for or want to share. Be sure and put newspaper under the tablecloth so the marker doesn't stain your table. Once done, iron the drawings to help set them so they won't run so much in the wash.  Yes, some permanent markers will get fuzzy - see mine below. No matter, we can still read it and that's what counts.

While we dine, we study the art and accompanying script surrounding our plates and laugh and remember our times together.  Give it a try and make new memories with those you love.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Jane Marie

1882 November
Fernandina, Floria

Miss Ella Dunnigan * writes:

Miss Ella

What a grand idea, Jane Marie! All can join in and draw on the tablecloth, even the little ones. Thank you for sharing. From Dunnigan Manor through time to Stately Malcolm Manor, may we slow our lives and take stock of all God has done for us. Be blessed on Thanksgiving day and every day.

*Miss Ella is matriarch to the Dunnigan family from Jane Marie's historic fiction novels, The Goodbye Lie series.

November 15, 2011

So Long Old Kitty

We first met Old Kitty aka Ping when our daughter, Barbra, was just out of college and moved into an apartment where no pets were allowed. Yup. Her father and I were awarded custody of her two huge cats, Taylor aka Tubby and Ping. We first saw them as they stood at the top of the stairs, looking down on us and they had the fluffiest tails of any animals I had ever seen. As time when on, Barbra hinted she might want her cats back. No way, Jose.

Old Kitty in front, Tubby behind (who photographed much darker than he really was)

Well, we lost Old Kitty today. I wish I could write he is off on some kitty adventure around the neighborhood because, in a former life, I think he was an escape artist. (One New Year's Eve party was spent circling many a block to find him.) There was never an open door, into another room or to the outside that he didn't try to dash though. 

Old Kitty lived a long life of 18 years. We are sad to think he'll never meow to be brushed, or push his nose under our palm for a scritchy-scratch or squeak for entry into the bedroom or bathroom by way of the linen closet kitty tunnel or chase the flashlight in the dark or lick the paper shredder bin to scratch his tongue, or so we assume, or sleep on a pair of shoes or sleep in any paper bag and every box lid while we played board games. With feeding stations in the kitchen, the front bath and the back bath, you would expect him to be rotund. Not at all. His full coat of long white and gray fur gave him the appearance but not the heft. Half Siamese and half junk cat, or so the vet guessed, Old Kitty's crossed light blue eyes lent him the look of confusion. In fact, we never thought him too bright, but he, along with Tubby, were two of the sweetest, most gentle kitties we have ever had.

Now he rests behind our house, buried up in the sand dunes overlooking Mr. Ocean, joining Tubby and our other animals who live happy lives together in that Perfect Pet Place we call Heaven, while they wait for us to come home as they did here on earth.

Please give your special animal an extra hug in honor of all those wonderful critters who have gone before us.

Jane Marie

P.S. Taylor's showbiz name is Mr. Buzzbee (he purred/buzzed so loudly, the vet couldn't hear his heart beating)  and Ping/Old Kitty's stage name is Spew (who too often lost his lunch). They live on in my free and silly online Rascally Readers short stories with Martha Bear® at . And Then There Were More features Spew and Mr. Buzzbee at

November 13, 2011

Goodbye Lie Diaries- Breelan- Full Moon

Breelan Dunnigan-heroine
of Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie at
1880s November
Fernandina, Florida

Breelan writes: Two nights ago, the moon was full and oh so very beautiful. Waite suggested we ride to Amelia Beach. I could find no excuse to deny him and why would I? A dash to the ocean atop Noir with my love racing beside me... At water's edge, we slipped off our mounts to wade in the tide, guided by the golden gleam spilt down from the moon onto the gentle waves. We fell asleep in each others arms to awaken at dawn by the sound of sea birds. Our life is paradise. We are blessed.


2011 November
Fernandina, Florida

Jane Marie writes:  Bruce and I saw the full moon out the front door and walked down to the beach.  There is no other word for it but glorious. While we didn't sleep on the sand as you and Waite did, we sat on the wooden walk-over and talked...and talked more. It was a night of memories for us, too.  I took a photograph, but the picture does no justice to the wonder of our shared lunar delight. 

the moon over Amelia Island, Florida

November 9, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

It's that wonderful time of year, time to fill your shoe boxes with treasures for Operation Christmas Child, part of Samaritan's Purse, the worldwide children's charity. National Collection Week is November 14-21st.

This time we filled our box for a 10 to 14 year old boy, complete with a Whoopie Cushion!  What young man wouldn't  love that? You can include your picture and a note and even follow your shoebox as it travels, if you want, according to the official website below. Once your box is completed, there are drop-off locations around the country. Oh, you will have to add a check for $7 to cover shipping and postage. 

For more info and FAQs, please go to

PS - In case you can't fill your shoe box just now, you can do it later and send it year round to:

Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan's Purse
P.O. Box 3000
801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607

Thank you and God Bless the Little Children.

November 7, 2011

Greyhounds As Pets

I recently attended a Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) gathering in Jacksonville, Florida with my friend, Herb Hilderbrand and his family. What a delight! Until yesterday, Herb and his wife, Cindy, owned four greys.  By the time the party was over, they had adopted a fifth!

I had never been around greyhounds but, like everyone, I'd seen pictures. They are sleek animals with barrel chests, long legs and long thin tails.  What surprised me the most was how utterly docile and loving they are.  There were maybe 40 or 50 dogs, most of which were strangers to each other. Not the first one nipped nor did I feel threatened by any of them. What I did worry about was stepping on their toes because doggie toes were everywhere.

Human fingers are never still when a dog of any breed is present and a pet or scritchie-scratch, as we call it around our house, is a constant.  When we weren't petting, we were walking them. Strong animals, I was holding two leashes at one point and had to seriously plant my feet for fear they would pull me over.  I can't imagine how Cindy handles four at a time. Then again, they are her babies and they mind their mama.

If you have a space for them to run, consider adoption.  My few hours with the greys introduced me to their gentle world . All they want from you is love.

Jane Marie, four greys in matching golden jackets and Cindy, their mama
"Smile pretty, both of you!"

just a little group stroll

November 5, 2011

Hollywood Hearts - Bells of Saint Mary's

I have been a handbell ringer for – Let’s just say someone once called me the senior member, not for my age, but because I’ve been a ding-a-ling for the longest time. I figure this is as close to playing in an orchestra as I’ll ever get.

After several years of looking for the music to The Bells of St. Mary’s, our director found it at an antique auction. She transposed the notes and turned said sheet music into handbell music for us.

When I heard the melody on our first run through, tears came to my eyes because my father, Leo, liked that song. I don’t know if it was because of the pretty melody or because it is the theme song to the charming movie of the same name about a Catholic church and school, starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. (The Bells of St. Mary’s is the sequel to Going My Way, also with Bing and Ingrid.)

Here is Bing singing the school song lyrics from the Academy Award winning 1945 movie, Bells Of Saint Mary's.

As for the lyrics, all I ever sang knew was this: “The bells of St. Mary’s, dah, dah, dah are calling...” Well I read the words on the sheet music to discover The Bells of St. Mary’s is actually a love song!

The bells of St. Mary’s at sweet eventide, shall call me beloved, to come to your side, And out in the valley the sound of the sea, I know you’ll be waiting, yes waiting for me.

At the porch of St. Mary’s I’ll wait there (for/with) you, in (my/your) soft wedding dress with its ribbons of blue, In the church of St. Mary’s sweet voices shall sing, for you and me dearest the wedding bells ring.

The bells of St. Mary’s, Ah! Hear they are calling, the young loves- the true loves- Who come from the sea, And so my beloved, when red leaves are falling, the love-bells shall ring out- ring out for you and me (repeat)
Words by Douglas Furber, Music by A. Emmett Adams 1917

Give a listen to the pretty tune and enjoy Deanna Durbin's version, live from 1937 - . Thank you to  for uploading this gem on You Tube.

So If you have a chance to see the movies or perhaps add them to your collection, your heart warm and The Bells of St. Mary’s melody will float sweetly through your thoughts.

Hugs and blisses,
Jane Marie


Goodbye Lie Diaries – Breelan- Magic      
1880s October 
Fernandina, Florida

Breelan writes- Ah, so that’s why you have me ringing handbells in our Goodbye Lie series, Jane Marie. I enjoy playing, too, like you do. Fort Clinch is my favorite place to perform, up on the wall. But then you have played there for Easter Sunrise Service, I'll bet.

My handbell group would love to play The Bells of St. Mary’s. However, as you understand, I am unable to change the future and this music has yet to be written in my time. Isn’t it wonderful that I can mentally see the photographs you put up and correspond with you like this? Magic is a better thing, as our Martha Bear says…


Jane Marie adds: Say hello to Martha Bear at . She loves the company.

November 3, 2011

MARK OF A MAN Working Cover

Here it is - the working cover of Mark of a Man, my next novel in the Amelia Island Trilogy©, The Goodbye Lie series, coming 2012!  Set in 1898, danger, drama and deceit are just part of Mark of a Man set on Amelia Island, Florida...  jmm

October 31, 2011

Year of Living Graciously - November

Hold hands with a mate, sibling, friend or child - in public.
Pumpkins are orange.
Ghosts are all white.
Candy is yummy.
Enjoy your fright night!


October 25, 2011

Major Award!

My painting efforts were recently awarded with, not one but two, count 'um, two blue ribbons at the Northeast Florida Fair! Below is a glass carafe bearing a colorful palm tree.

Below is the tall ship I painted. There is a story behind this. Notice the smaller version in the lower left corner of the picture.  That is a photo of the much larger painting done my mother. Her painting is the favorite of all my siblings. Since my brother, Bob, is a retired Navy Chief and currently a tall ship sailor, who better to keep company with this treasure in the place it was created, our family home.  I took the photo just to have a copy of my mother's wonderful artistry. After a year or so, it came to me that I should try and re-create her ship. To see the ship through her eyes and stroke on paint in similar hues touched my heart as I realize my love of color is the same as hers. 

But wait, there's more.  On my list of things to do is the making of Captain Fancy Patch videos. Captain Patch will be played by my ever-cooperating husband, Bruce. He will read my silly and family friendly Martha Bear™  teddy bear stories meant to encourage reading through our free online Rascally Readers program at And what kind of pirate would he be without a ship? Well, Captain Patch has one now and so you have the origin of the Rosie Freckle. Mom would get quite a chuckle out of all this, I'm sure.

October 22, 2011

Easy Mummy Hand

I saw a photo of a homemade mummy hand in Martha Stewart Living magazine.  I didn't read the directions so made my own version.  It's easy and fun and you can keep it from year to year.  Make several for Halloween decorations.

You'll need:
1 old glove (gardening perhaps), washed and dried
white gauze
gray crayon

Stuff the fingers and glove fully with crumpled newspaper.  Begin wrapping gauze around the fingers, one at a time, ending up by wrapping the palm and back of the hand.  Tuck the end of the gauze in to secure it or it may be glued. Scuff the surface with gray crayon to make it look old and dusty.  See pics below.  Enjoy!

old, clean gardening glove
begin wrapping fingers with gauze
finished mummy glove!

October 10, 2011

The Goodbye Lie Diaries - Captain Waite Taylor- Nor-easter

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida
October 1880s

Captain Waite Taylor writes - Southbound on the Gentle Comfort from Savannah, Georgia to Fernandina, Florida, a nor'easter stirred the seas the last 24 hours. As usual, many passengers felt the rise and fall of the  deck as we rode the waves to home port of Amelia. It is wonderful to spy my Breelan waiting on the dock  of our island home. I love the waters but I love my Breelan more...    


Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida
October 2011

Jane Marie writes - We recently had a nor'easter on Amelia Island. We have wooden walkovers crossing the dunes now and I stood atop one to take these photographs below. The wind was blowing so hard, it shook the walkover and I am surprised the pictures are not blurry. I am glad you made it home safely. I know Breelan is, too...


October 5, 2011

Goodbye Lie Diaries - Breelan's Witch Fingers!

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Breelan writes-
We Dunnigans enjoy Halloween, as you know, Jane Marie, and make Edible Witch Fingers for our annual party. You  might try them in your century. The children have a wonderful time trying to create what they think is the most realistically frightening finger. Give them a try.

This is what you will need:
Pumpernickel dough (Peeper makes the most wonderful pumpernickel bread)
Almond slivers
Sesame seeds

Roll small balls of dough between your palms to form 3 to 4 inch snake-like shapes for the fingers. Place almond slices on the tips for nails.  Score with a knife three times for knuckle wrinkles just beneath the nail and then again half way down for the second joint of the finger. Blunt the opposite end from the nail to make the finger appear severed.  Gently bend and squeeze the finger to look crooked and old.  Sprinkle with a seed or two to look like tiny warts. Place your raw fingers on a buttered cookie sheet. Let the dough rise then bake in a moderate over until done, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the heat. 

October 2011
Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

Jane Marie writes-
You know, I once saw a picture of Halloween Witch Fingers.  Can't remember where or when or I would give them credit, of course, but since you sent the directions, we couldn't wait until Halloween and had to try them.  They turned out great!  We added a bit of red decorative icing on the "severed" end to look like blood.  We dipped them in warm honey butter and will make them again nearer to Halloween. We going to a party and will take them along to impress everyone.  By the way, since I don't have Peeper nearby to make the dough, my hubby Bruce got some at the grocery ready to bake. I'm sure it's not as good as Peeper's fresh bread but it made for good looking fingers.  I snapped a picture for you to see our work.  Thank you for the fun idea! 

PS We also made some marshmallow eyeballs with raisins in the center and added "blood."

raw dough before baking

baked Witch Fingers and Marshmallow Eye Balls

October 1, 2011

Scarecrow Costume - Easy

I has the girls dress like scarecrows for a fall Bunko party at my house. My costume cost me nothing because I gathered everything I needed from around the house. So if you happen to need a costume for Halloween, be a scarecrow and have fun! Find out how below:

Jane Marie as a Scarecrow

You'll need:
Straw hat
Leaves cut from construction paper in fall colors
Silk flower - 3 to 4 inch in diameter
Small ornamental bird (optional)
Old plaid shirt
Jeans or overalls
Multi-color raffia for tie
Natural color raffia for hat/hair (optional)
Rope for belt
Garden gloves (optional)
Old colorful shirt for vest (optional)
Neck kerchief (optional)
Straight pins and/or glue stick
Dark brown eyeliner
Gold eye shadow
Pigtails or braids tied with wired ribbon (optional)

Look at a variety of leaves and cut out similar shapes for hat. Slip leaves in hat band or tie a piece of raffia around the hat to make a hat band. Pin or use glue stick to keep leaves in place but don't harm hat. Secure large flower on front with pin. 

Optional:  Pin or stitch long strands of raffia inside hat to hand down and  appear as hair or put hair up in pigtails or braid and tie with bright wired ribbon. Bend ribbon so it stands out from face.

Roll up the sleeves of an old plaid shirt. Cut the sleeves of another old colorful patterned shirt and use as a vest if you want.  Tie a length of rope around waist.  Pin raffia bow at neck or tie kerchief around neck. Wear jeans or overalls.

Apply gold sparkly eye shadow on lids and up to eyebrow. With dark brown pencil eyeliner, draw three long lashes above each eye and three long lashes below each eye. Outline lips with same pencil extending a line two inches straight out from each corner of the lips.  Add three vertical lines on each extended cheek line to look like stitching. Apply medium or dark lipstick inside brown lip line, reapplying lip line if necessary. Apply heavy blush to the apples of the cheeks. Add blush or lipstick to tip of nose, if desired.  

October - Year of Living Graciously

Each month I suggest an idea for living graciously.  Give October's a try:

Tell a clean joke!

Scroll down the right side of this blog to view the entire Gracious Living list.

September 27, 2011

Goodbye Lie Diaries - Breelan - Writer to Writer

September 2011
Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Jane Marie writes:

Hi Breelan,

Wanted to tell you that this past weekend we had a gathering of local authors in our city Rec Center near Main Beach.  The weather was great, the public was welcolm (my personal spelling of the word)  and it was a full day of a wide variety of books from 45 writers. This was the first annual and we expect next year's show to be bigger! An especially big thank you to our two book stores downtown on Centre Street, Books Plus and The Book Loft. You'd love these places. Oh, the photograph below is me at the show.  I played with the color of the picture for giggles. If you're wondering what the black fringe is across the top, it is chair legs.  I was in front of the stage.

Being a part time reporter for the Florida Mirror, the forerunner of our News Leader, as well as in charge of advertising for your family's Aqua Verde Passenger Line, do you get much time for writing your stories?

September 1880s
Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Hello Jane Marie,

I do so love seeing your creative photographs. What fun that must be to have the means to not only make the pictures but colorize them at your whim.

As to your question about my writing, I steal the moments when I can.

How very exciting to share your books not only with the town folks but with other authors. There is talk of starting some sort of gathering for the writers in my century. Seems everyone is so busy, it is difficult to pin down a time and place. We only have four ladies and one man who show interest right now. Once our group is established, we hope it, too, will grow, the same as your annual book show.

It is less than kind to say this, however, I can confide in you. One reason we are slow to commence our writers' gathering is Aunt Noreen. She wants to join. Can you imagine that?  She's driven half the ladies from the Orchid Society and the Sunshine Ladies at church are about ready to string her up!  When you created Aunt Noreen, you surely created a pistol!

PS I fancy the idea of spelling my words however I like, the same as you. Should Sister Anestassia ever hear of such a thing, I fear she will have a hissy. Now that would be quite comical!

September 25, 2011

Round & Round

Used to be, I roller skated all over the neighborhood, like the other kids. I carried a skate key on a string around my neck to adjust the metal clamps that attached to the front sides of my shoe soles. Every now and again, they would rip off those soles or come loose, flip out and back and slam  the back of your heel. Owwww.  Those were the days. I remember, too, being the winner of the "Name That Tune" at the roller rink. Baby Elephant Walk, said I, to win some plastic bagpipes.

I am happy to say that after a couple, oh heck, a few decades, they still have roller rinks with tons of kids of all ages skating. I know this because I recently attended a birthday party with my granddaughter, Ava. She was so cute learning and I was right beside her,  myself on wheels.  While the music is modern day and so loud it would leave you deaf if you stayed in the place longer than two hours, I have the picture to prove that I too braved the danger of the whirling wheels and stated. I wasn't as graceful as I once was nor was I as swift, but I still have the knack for falling down! It's just like that "riding a bike thing."  You never forget how.

"Okay, who took the skate key?"

September 12, 2011

What a Life

Note the little fellow in the middle stretching his leg!  Tough duty, huh?
Looking at Tiger Island across the Amelia River, Florida

September 6, 2011

Goodbye Lie Diaries - Miss Ella's Double Splendor

Link to the Past... 

1880s  September
Fernandina, Florida  

Miss Ella

Miss Ella writes:

My husband, Michael Dunnigan, got us all out of bed this morning to see not one but two rainbows. Magnificent. And they were not out over the Atlantic as usual.  They were sitting over our little town of Fernandina.  I wish I could share them with everyone.


2011 September
Fernandina, Florida

Jane Marie writes:

As happenstance would have it, Miss Ella, the weather conditions on this September morning of the 21st century were the very same as they were on your 19th century September morn. My husband, Bruce, got me out of bed, too, and there were the rainbows.   You said you wished you could share them with everyone. Let me do it for you with the photographs I took.  Enjoy!


1880s September

Fernandina, Florida

Miss Ella writes:

My stars! To be able to see a fleeting thing of beauty then keep it with you like this forever--I thank you, Jane Marie.

September 3, 2011

GBL Diaries- Breelan Thanks JMM

1880s  Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida
Breelan write and Jane Marie answers...

Dear Jane Marie,


   I want to thank you for finding me inside your imagination. I like who I am. You could have made me  hateful like Aunt Noreen but instead I'm lovable. Oh dear, I do not mean to sound boastful. It is just that I generally have more friends than enemies. Well, until I have my Goodbye Lie adventure. I shiver as I remember. My life in danger, my family, too... There are bad people in the world, even here on tranquil Amelia Island in the Atlantic Ocean and you found them.  It makes for a great tale I have to say. The best part of all is you deliver me into the hands of the man I love, although it is quite the struggle to be together.  I want you to know how happy I am to be able to tell you my feelings in these Goodbye Lie diaries.  What fun to reach through time like this!
   Most sincerely,
   Breelan Dunnigan

Dear Bree,

Jane Marie
    I am so very, very glad, happy and proud, as they say, to discover you, too!  Little did I know that the loss of my husband's job making me homesick for Fernandina when we moved away for two years then back again, would be the catalyst to spark me writing the twisting chapters of our  Goodbye Lie series. Notice I write our series.  It is not mine alone for without you, the rest of the Dunnigan family and the Fernandina townfolk plus the unwelcome intruders to cause conflict, we would not have exciting escapades to share with the whole world. Did you realize that folks all over the earth read about you and yours?  It was meant to be, sweet Breelan.
   Much love, 
   Jane Marie

August 31, 2011

A Goodbye Lie Recipe - Mocha-Choco Cooler

Martha Bear
our website spokesbear
Martha Bear and I love to bake and cook and eat. We often make this refreshing, low cal, CHOCOLATE cooler. Treat yourself and the family.  Heck, treat everybody!

Mocha-Choco Cooler

You'll need:

•1 cup non-fat milk
•2 tablespoons lite (regular is great too) chocolate syrup
•1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules (decaf is optional) or to taste
•2 tablespoons sugar (or 2 sugar substitute packs), sweeten to taste
•7 ice cubes

Mix all of the above in the blender, and whirl on high until the ice is crushed and the drink is frothy.

Makes about 2 cups, enough for 1 tall glass.

August 30, 2011

Year of Living Graciously - September

September - Relax when you can and avoid looking at a clock as much as possible.

August 28, 2011

The Goodbye Lie Diaries - Breelan

1880s August
Fernandina, Florida

Breelan Dunnigan writes - We walked on the beach after church today. The dragonflies and damselflies are everywhere! Of course, I really can't tell the difference between them except I assume the smaller ones are the girls. In any case, I don't believe I've ever seen so many in my life. Peeper calls them Devil's Darning Needles. Where does she get these things? Marie is afraid they will bite. Daddy says their tiny mouths pinch you a wee bit but only if you catch them and they have to defend themselves. They're too fast to catch without a net and who would want to do that anyway? Well, Pat used to when he was a child. Oh, I just looked out the window and there goes little Mac running after some with a fishing net.  He's like his Uncle Pat for sure. I do love them so. 

NOTE:  I read Breelan's diary entry so went outside to see if there were tons of dragon flies down by the beach and, sure enough, there they were.  Actually, they are everywhere, not just near the water. They flew past so quickly I was able to snap only a few unblurred pics.  Thanks, Bree for the alert!  -Jane Marie