February 26, 2013

Add a Touch of Vintage

Patty, a friend of mine, showed up in this self-decorated denim jacket.  What was the instant trim she added? Her grandmother's brooches!  She told me it's her way of keeping her beloved grandmother close to her.  So check out your treasure boxes, ladies.  If you're fortunate to have pins from your relatives, add them to a blazer, any jacket or even a sweatshirt, purse, evening bag or tennis shoe. Even now, I have a sparkling black butterfly pin on a ball cap I wear when we're walking Abby or strolling on the beach.  You can often find broaches at yard sales and, of course, vintage shops. It's a fun, nostalgic look and there is no sewing involved so anyone can do this.

PS   When we attended the Gone With The Wind 50th anniversary costume ball in Atlanta, Georgia, I hung a bow-shaped brooch from a pearl necklace. It looked was very period. See below.
 Oh, another friend tacks (sews with heavy thread or embroidery floss) colorful buttons all over the sleeves and/or front of her jackets.
Be  creative and be YOU!

February 23, 2013

Another Book Title

The titles of future books come to me.  The contents of those books, not so much. What about money saving tips from Dashing Through the Dough?

February 17, 2013

A Lucy Moment- The Moon

With all this talk about asteroids and meteors, I am reminded of one of my and Barbra's Lucy moments, as in Lucille Ball. (Barbra is our daughter.) I had just gotten a new telescope for my husband Bruce's birthday and the whole family was anxious to try it out.  Darkness couldn't come quickly enough.  Since we live near the beach, city lights are not too much of a problem, so looking heavenward toward the stars on a cloudless night offered a bounty of constellations and brilliance.  This particular night happened to have a full moon shining.  How perfect.  We set the telescope up at the end of our driveway. We read the directions by flashlight and looked in the eyepiece to see the bright red of the traffic light half a mile away.  We were giddy with delight.

"This is a deep space scope," said Bruce. "We should be able to see the craters of the moon with this thing."  Excitement was ours.  We outfitted the proper lenses in the proper position and each took a peek at the moon.

Let me rephrase that.  We each tried to take a peek at the moon.  None of us could see it through the telescope.  "Now, wait a minute," said Mark, my son-in-law. "This should be easy.  We look at the moon with our naked eyes, make sure the lens cap is off, point the thing at said moon and..."  Looking in the eye hole place again, "Where the heck is it?" (Or something similar with a bit of colorful language added.)

Bruce tried. Mark tried repeatedly.  We battled the flying jaws (no see-ums) nipping at our scalps, the buzzing mosquitoes and the chill in the air.  After an hour, the men announced they were going inside to watch TV. Not to be undone, Barbra and I put on jackets, and doused ourselves in bug spray. We looked, she turned it, we changed lenses, I twirled dials, we aimed at the stars, at the moon, at anything. Alas, we saw nothing but black.

As I was about to suggest we give up and donate the contraption to charity, Barbra burst forth with, "I've got it!  I've found the moon!"

Never doubting my child, nevertheless, I had to make confirmation. With fingers crossed, I looked in the eye piece and there is was!  The moon, our moon! The same moon our very own astronauts walked upon and we were seeing it up close and personal, craters and all!

"Step away from the scope," I ordered. "If you sneeze, you might jar it and our moon may be lost to us forever.  I'll get the men. We'll show them!"

All hunkered down, watching some violent drug movie they'd each seen ten times, it took a great deal of my persuasive power, aka whining,  and the bribery of a pan of freshly baked brownies to lure them out to the driveway to see our discovery.  First Mark took a gander.  Then Bruce.  Then, then, then.... they started laughing at us.  The nerve!  Here we had braved relentless insects and tropically chilly temps of some 64 degrees, give or take, and there they were, laughing at us.  We thought the dolts would be glad, happy and proud of us, the same as Barbra and I were of ourselves.

"I fail to see the humor," I snarkily said.

"Me either," Barbra concurred. "You guys just won't admit that Mom and I found the moon when you two couldn't."

"My darling," Bruce said, still laughing.  "You didn't find the moon.  What you found was the driveway.  You have the telescope pointing at the cement and the craters you're seeing are the little holes in the concrete."

"Look in the eyepiece," Mark said.  He squatted down, ran his hand back and forth between the scope and the drive and, with each pass of that hand, our moon disappeared then reappeared.

The last I heard of the not so dear old telescope, it was making the rounds through the family.  Whoever could find the moon or anything besides a traffic light was the winner and, you guessed it, their prize was ownership of same.  All I can say is, "Viva la planetarium!"

February 14, 2013

The Fog ...

It was about 8 am. The sun was shining in the east on a heavily foggy morning. I was driving the coast highway along Amelia Island in Florida and had to pull over to snap this photo. 
 It is the stuff of which historical romance novels are written ...


Happy Valentine's Day!

February 11, 2013

Amelia Island Museum Gift Shop

I am pleased to tell you that the Amelia Island Museum of History here in Fernandina Beach, Florida is now carrying my novel, The Goodbye Lie, in their gift shop.  This is particularly special to me because 25 years ago, I took docent training at that museum. And from that training plus lots of research in their archives, I culled interesting historic facts about the area that would later, in part, be the basis on which I would begin my Amelia Island Trilogy.

Housed in the old Nassau County jail built in 1878, we have seen our oral history museum grow so much since Bruce, my husband, was one of the first men to swing a sledge hammer to knock out the bars of the cells. Jack Patrick Dunnigan, in my upcoming Mark of a Man, is one of the characters who spends time in his hometown jail.

We have been involved with this fascinating place for a long time. Years ago we purchased a piano key as part of a community effort to restore a square grand piano. Later, I modeled an antique dress in a fashion show fund raiser. Our handbell choir used to practice in one of the ground floor rooms.  I learned French heirloom hand sewing and smocking at the museum. I quilted a couple of squares for the two quilts we made.  It was my idea to make two, one to raffle off and the other identical quilt of cross stitched local buildings to keep and hang in the museum.  It was so much work but so worth it.  Today, Bruce gives a talk to students called Historic Preservation as a Contact Sport.

As you can tell, we love our little museum, which is not so little any longer.  If you are in the area, make the effort to visit.  You'll learn, you'll enjoy and who knows what treasures you will find in the gift shop of the Amelia Island Museum of history.

Amelia Island Museum of History
233 South 3rd Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904 261-7378

This photo is copied from the Amelia Island Museum of History website at

February 3, 2013

Before and After

Our two year old rescue dog, Abby, has found her world, on the beach and the boardwalk.  Her reputation as a biter is somewhat exaggerated.  She's more of a barker and growler ... 
 little Abby strutting along the Atlantic Ocean
However, being so cute, Abby prefers to go incognito, lest she is tempted to sharpen her choppers on  unsuspecting animal lovers who insist on petting her. 

Abby workin' that Carmen Miranda/secretary/clown look

February 1, 2013