August 30, 2014

24 Hour Salad - Miss Ella's

24 Hour Salad
from Miss Ella's
 Fernandina Flavors Cooking Collection
Matriarch Ella Dunnigan concocts, creates and is responsible for foods served on the fictional Dunnigan family Aqua Verdi Passenger Line ships in the 1880s.  A little bit of make believe  plus a whole lot of real good taste result in this delightful salad still made in modern times.  (For your convenience, recipes are generally written in today's amounts and measurements.)

Layer ingredients in order and DO NOT MIX :
  • 1 head of lettuce torn (or 16 ounce bag of prepared lettuce)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 chopped celery (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
  • One 8 ounce can of sliced water chestnuts (optional) 
  • One 10 ounce box of frozen peas

Combine and spread over peas:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar     
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (lite is optional)

Sprinkle the mayo mixture with Parmesan cheese to taste.

  • 1 boiled egg, sliced (optional)     
  • Radish roses or slices (optional)
  • Bacon bits (optional)
Cover and refrigerate or keep on ice over night.

(Reprinted and tweaked from

August 24, 2014

Lavender Stick - Goodbye Lie excerpt

  lavender stick before dog attack
I like history and many of its gentile customs. One of those customs is the making and gifting of a lavender stick. The lavender stick or wand in the photo was given to me many years ago by a friend.  Handmade, it has always been one of my treasures.  In spite of it now being half chewed, it still is.  You see, Abby, our singing, joke-telling, talking Chihuahua got hold of it,  leaving her chopper marks behind. (Do a search on this blog for Abby or scroll down through past posts to find out about her.) I caught her in the act of destruction as she proudly trotted it about the house.  Happily, I was able to retrieve it.  Bent but not completely broken, it is visually less than its former self.  Additionally, the sweet lavender scent has been replaced by the pungent odor of doggie tonsils.  Oh well.  I still have the picture.
I made mention of a lavender stick as a gift to Breelan Dunnigan in my Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie historical novel.  Here is a short excerpt from that novel:

     With every meeting, Breelan discovered Trip to be more attractive. When they weren't together, he sent a daily messenger with suitable gifts, all of which were to be carried, eaten or looked upon. Aware of the proprieties, Trip understood that a gift to be worn was too personal and certainly too improper to accept. One day the present was butterscotch candy. On another, an envelope of lily-of-the-valley seeds was accompanied by a note saying he didn't know if the warmer weather in Fernandina was conducive for this particular specie's growth, but it might be fun to give the seeds a try. Then, it was the sheet music to Vanishing Moments. He'd penned along the margin:

We danced to this song the night we met.
                     A time remembered, I shan't ere forget.

      Later, a scented lavender stick tied with pastel ribbons was discovered on the porch. Finally, Trip surprised Breelan with a charcoal drawing of them both, side-by-side on a swing. He wrote how he'd described her beauty to the artist. The resulting resemblance was remarkable!
     The most exhilarating event of all was the ride in a hot air balloon. Two days before they were to set sail for Fernandina, Trip turned his back to Nora and Will and the man in charge of controlling the basket in which they all flew, and took Breelan's hand. Up there in the blue of a cloudless New York City sky, he said, "What I'm about to disclose may shock you."

Discover how to make your own lavender stick by clicking on the link below.  Thank you, Fairegarden.

August 17, 2014

Grammy Camp - Catty Shack

Lions and tigers and leopards, oh my! 

I like to think of myself as being in touch.  I don't know how I missed it, but missed it I did.  I'm talking about Catty Shack Wildlife Sanctuary in Jacksonville, not far from Amelia Island, Florida. It's been around for over 25 years and I only recently found out about it!

According to our tour guide, the tour was included in the price of entry, there are currently 45 animals living there. Sadly, the animals come from situations where they have been mistreated, illegally owned or in too small cages. Whatever the reason, once a cat enters this happy
place, it is welcomed and cared for there the rest of its life.


Open to the public on the weekends, we took granddaughter Ava on a Sunday afternoon in July during her stay at our house aka Grammy Camp.  Man alive, was it ever hot for us, but not for those cats. We arrived to find mostly tigers, also lions, cougars, leopards and even arctic foxes, almost all asleep in their huge wire fence enclosures. That was until about 2 pm when all the cats came alive, seemingly for no particular reason. Then in a carefully choreographed dance of unlocking and opening gates, the cats knew the drill, and momentarily wandered into their holding spaces. It was then we saw the head keeper driving around in his jeep, placing treats for them on cement slabs inside their cages. The huge kitties instinctively understood it was time for their snacks and when directed back into their homes, they were excited to munch on large paper red, white, and blue balls filled with chicken parts.  As it was explained, they don't eat the paper. They remove the chicken, gobble it down and play with the smashed and torn balls.  There is no fighting because there are enough balls to go around.  
Oh, did I mention we watched as several of the tigers enjoyed a cooling splash-about and swim in pools inside their enclosures.
In a perfect world, these wonderful creatures would be living free.  It is clear the folks running the Catty Shack love their animals and treat them as the treasures they are.
For more information visit or call 904 757-3603.

August 14, 2014

For Book Lovers

I was looking through photos on my computer and found this picture below.  It was with a group of shots from the little town of Madison, Georgia, but I don't remember from what book it came.  Apparently I liked the paragraphs enough to make a permanent copy for myself at the time, only to be forgotten until discovered again now.  I especially like the second paragraph.   It makes you think. I'm glad I found it to share with you.

August 12, 2014

Joke Telling Dog + Goodbye Lie Diaries - Aunt Noreen

Abby, the sometimes Talking, sometimes Singing, and now the Joke Telling Dog, once again delights her fans and tickles their giggle spots with a direct quote from the upcoming Amelia Island's Mark of a Man.  Turn up the volume, click on the picture and smile! 

If you can't quite understand what Abby is saying because of her canine accent, listen again, or read her words below and then laugh out loud:

"Ooo!  A bug!  You step on it, Aunt Noreen.  You have the biggest feet!"

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Aunt Noreen writes:  Honestly, Jane Marie.  Sometimes I think you
Aunt Noreen
deliberately encourage your dog to make fun of me. Just because Abby read Peeper's insulting quote in the manuscript of your next book, is no reason for you to put it on this blog, as you call it, for the whole world to hear and see. Peeper has already told  the ladies at our monthly bunco game what she said and they tittered at me behind their fans. And you call yourself gracious? Anyone would guess you are blood-kin to Peeper because you both are so much alike. Do not assume I mean that as a compliment.

(Aunt Noreen and Peeper are featured players in Mark of a Man. They fuss, they fight, they're funny and always, always suffering at the hands of the other.)

August 9, 2014

Grammy Camp - Perfume People + Goodbye Lie Diaries - Marie

Granddaughter Ava and I planned on making Perfume People last summer at our annual Grammy Camp, that's when I first thought of the idea, but just ran out of time.  This year, we made sure to do this fun project and you can see the results. 

Ava's Bing-Bong


Some empty, fancy perfume bottles and scraps of ribbon, lace and netting, plus markers, buttons, rhinestone jewels, hot glue* and whatever is in your stash of craft goodies and you and yours can make your own Perfume People.  No two will ever be alike, either! Create a create family, a theme, create a holiday scene. Enjoy!

*Always keep a cup of water beside you when you work with hot glue.  Should you burn yourself on the glue, and it happens, quickly dip your finger into the water and it will stop the hurt.

Ava's Glugette

Grammy's Fruitie Hootie

Grammy's Clowngwin

Grammy's Calipsoul

Ava's Art-Pooch

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Marie writes:  Oh my goodness! Your Perfume People are
Marie Dunnigan
delightful!  I can entertain the children for hours making these.  I will put forth the word immediately that all the women we know should save their empty perfume bottles. Between Breelan, Carolena, Nora, Sophie Belle, our mother, Miss Ella, and the girls in our Aqua Verde office, we should have enough in no time.  And with all the sewing and mending that goes on around Dunnigan Manor, there will be enough ribbons and so forth that the little ones won't fight.  I don't know what your hot glue is but it sounds dangerous.  We will use our usual paste and, hopefully, get the same wonderful results. I can't wait to tell everyone about the new friends, Perfume People, they are about to meet.

(Marie Dunnigan is a featured player in Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, part of the Goodbye Lie Trilogy, set on Amelia Island, Florida in 1898.)

August 5, 2014

Lucy Moment - Could It Happen To You?

So there I was, peacefully deep in thought about how best to shock readers into believing the blind woman was about to drill a ... Well, that's when I was interrupted by a man, fortunately an acquaintance of mine, holding a gray rag of some kind.  Being an expert on rags, you should see the contents of my closet because I hate to go shopping, I quickly deduced it was more than a mere rag.  My friend asked if I recognized the item he was holding.  I shyly admitted that, indeed, I did.  It was my husband's boxer shorts!

After they all, there were others in the room, finally cleared the tears of laughter from their eyes, my friend explained. "I was walking past your car and spotted this hanging from the mirror on your passenger door.  Explain yourself."

"It's quite apparent, isn't it?  Bruce is a bad shot," I said. "He must have tossed his shorts in the dirty laundry basket in the garage or thought he had.  Not realizing he'd overshot the target, they landed on my car mirror and I've been driving around town for two days with his drawers flapping in the wind for all to see, like a football fan flying his colors." All I could think to say after that was a weak, "Go team?"

recreated drawers hanging from Graciousmobile
close-up of drawers