August 30, 2015

Brunswick Manor and Goodbye Lie Diaries

Brunswick Manor, Brunswick, Georgia

Welcoming Front Door 
My husband, Bruce, and I love a bed and breakfast. It was our anniversary and with little time to getaway, I googled bed and breakfasts near Amelia Island, Florida.  I found Brunswick Manor in Brunswick, Georgia, just an hour's drive.  I read somewhere that Angelina Jolie and Jerry Seinfeld have stayed there.  I can see why.  It is simply a magnificent structure.

Major Columbia Downing from Downingston, Ohio, built this mansion in 1886.  This is  my favorite time period in history, as proven by the settings, 1882 to 1898, in my Goodbye Lie series of historical novels.  Owner of a naval store in Brunswick, he was also a bank president. After a long history of the house being a private residence, then a multiple dwelling, according to the brochure, in 1989, it eventually became the renowned bed and breakfast it is today.
Front Veranda
Welcome Hall

A Creative Mix

Oh, how I love decorative hinges. - jmm
I saw this worn spot in the corner of the carpet in the game room.  I got to wondering why it was worn only in this spot.  Had something been spilled, and the housekeeper scrubbed a bare spot? What traffic pattern would have cause it? Perhaps it had once been in the dining room, the center protected by a huge table.  Maybe this spot was where the servants repeatedly crossed to and fro from the kitchen as they presented daily delicacies to the owners. Maybe ...

Along one wall in the hall, these treasures are found, saved from a Catholic Church that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Could this be one of those paintings done by a traveling painter? The body of a little boy is already on the canvas and all the artist has to do is paint the head of the actual child.
A Delightful Breakfast

The Goodbye Lie Diaries

Fernandina, Florida

Michael Dunnigan, patriarch, writes:
Michael Dunnigan
   I have read your story about what they are calling Brunswick Manor, in your time, and am enjoying all your pretty colored pictures. I wanted to tell you that Miss Ella and I have been to that house, sat on that porch and ate dinner at that very table. Major Downing and I have dealings with regard to his naval store and my Aqua Verde Passenger line and ship building business.  My brother-in-law, Clabe Duffy, has, likewise, worked with Major Downing, in his banking pursuits. 
   As my blessed mother told me, it is best never to speak ill of anyone, especially in small towns like Fernandina and Brunswick, lest it queer your friendship as well as potential business.  Now if my sister, Noreen, she's Clabe's wife, could just remember that. I witnessed her less than gracious remark about Mrs. Downing's  embroidery having too many  knots on the back, the only time the Downings came to our Amelia Island and we all dined at Duffy Place. I am very happy to say the Major and his Mrs. have not held my sister's shortcomings against me and have invited Miss Ella and me back up to Brunswick.  He is a fair man.


Michael Dunnigan is the father to four grown children, each of whom is featured in The Goodbye Lie historical trilogy set on Amelia Island, Florida in the 1880s. Through the magic of electronics, The Goodbye Lie Diaries, scattered throughout this blog, allow the characters to interact with Jane Marie, the author, and she with them. This way, between epic novels, readers may catch a glimpse of their friends, the colorful players in the books.

To learn more about Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie series, peruse this blog and click on this link to purchase e-books and paperbacks: Purchase The Goodbye Lie series HERE
For more info on Brunswick Manor, visit their 
website: Brunswick Manor

August 25, 2015

Makeup Discoveries

I researched 19th century makeup for my Amelia Island's Mark of a Man historical romance novel and discovered a few fascinating things.
(Click on the link to learn about   Amelia Island's Mark of a Man   )

  • Because great amounts of lead-based potions and dressings were applied to the face and hair by women and men, there was often hair loss, including eyebrows.  They used a pencil to fill in the thin spots.  That seems reasonable.  More interesting is that pet mice became popular for the single purpose of using bits of their fur to make false brows.  The glue/adhesive required was not so reliable and often times, or so I read, the glue let go, resulting in oddly shaped brows.
  • The ladies would sleep the night away wearing slices of raw meat, beef preferably, lashed to their faces.  The reason is obvious, isn't it?  It reduced wrinkles.
  • Because there was no real deodorant in 1858 and other bodily functions were less than sweetly odoriferous, the Great Stink of London  was named, and a sewage system was implemented. 
  • Theatre folks burned corks and used the char for eyeliner.
  • Finally, there was a young girl named Mabel who mixed Vaseline with coal dust to create a kind of mascara.  Her brother, T. L. Williams, thought it a fine idea, and formed the now world-renowned Maybelline line of make-up.  The name is a combination of Mabel and Vaseline!
Thank you to Jan Glazer, Beyond the Barricade,, for putting such educational things online for all of us to enjoy!  Click on the link to find out more fun stuff about the theatre.  

August 21, 2015

Gone With The Wind Red Dress Discovery

Hey to all you Windies out there aka "fan-atics" about Gone With The Wind , like me. That whole romantically themed book is, in part, what inspired me to write historical novels set in the deep South. Well, whether you've seen the movie once or twenty times, I don't know if you've ever seen the back of Scarlett's famous red dress. You know, the one she wears to Ashley's party? When she enters Melanie's front door, the camera shot is only from the front.  I came across this wonderful photo of the back of the dress on Facebook. It comes from the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, in Austin Texas.  ( Click here for more on the wonderful costumes in their GWTW exhibition:  Harry Ransom Center As you study the photo on the right, notice the gathered bustle,looks to be velvet, the few scattered crystals, all the feathers and if you click on the link above for more pictures, you'll see it had a train, too!

Did I ever mention that, when I grow up,  I want to be a period costume designer?

August 18, 2015

Vivien Leigh, a Star

My sister, Peggy Brown, vacationed in Hollywood.  Knowing I'm a big Windie, meaning Gone With The Wind fan, she searched the Hollywood Walk of Fame and snapped this photo of one of the most delicately beautiful women from the past, Vivien Leigh, star of that film.  How sweet of Peggy.  She knows her sister well.  Thank you, Peggy.

There are over 2,500 stars, all five pointed, on the Walk!  

Click on the link below for lots of pretty pics of Vivien and more. (Thank you Google Search.) -->Vivien Leigh Pics and Quotes   

Read my Goodbye Lie series set on Amelia Island, where Little House on the Prairie meets Gone With The Wind ... info at 

August 13, 2015

Book Lover Gift Ideas

I love clever. I was signing books for the Book Loft, the local book store in our historic district on Centre Street, in Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida, when I spied a girl wearing this gem of a tee-shirt.  You know me.  I might, will and do ask anybody just about anything. (Remember, they call me the Question Meister.) In this case, I asked if I could snap a picture of her shirt, so I could share it with you. Obviously, she was sweet enough to allow the intrusion. Her permission kept me from doing it anyway, thus preventing my stay in the slammer on assault charges of some sort.  Do you see the lengths to which I'll go for my readers?

Oh, I searched online and found several different images bearing this phrase.  If you're like me and love books, get one for yourself or a friend who likes to read. Perhaps there is a pillow or throw out there, too, for the college student, graduate, librarian or teacher.  Hey, you can make your own framed cross-stitch piece.  You can decorate a cake for a reader!  You get the idea. These are fun gifts for us literary-types! 

PS  If anyone knows who came up with this phrase, Read 'em and Reap, please let me know so I can credit them. 

August 9, 2015

Grammy Camp - Felt Paper Dolls

Goodbye Lie Diaries
Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Miss Ella writes:  
   Good day, Jane Marie,
I wanted to tell you about the felt paper dolls I make with the children and grandchildren.  We enjoy this very much because they are simple, colorful and we keep adding to their dolly wardrobes. I have read about your Grammy Camp. Perhaps you might try this. 

Present Day
Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

Jane Marie writes:
   Such a wonderful suggestion, Miss Ella!  Granddaughter Ava and I have made several dolls ourselves, including a mermaid!  The ideas are endless.  Since felt sticks to itself, it is so easy to change from a dress to a nightie to a party dress.  And, too, felt squares are inexpensive!  Add trim from our craft supplies and away we go! Thank you.  Our readers will love them!

basic doll pattern                   doll pigtails with bangs patterns

Easy instructions:

Basic Doll Body - Fold a 9" x 12" sheet of paper or newspaper in half lengthwise.  (Be careful it is an older sheet of newspaper to be certain the ink won't rub off.) Draw half a pattern of a basic doll body against the fold. Draw several sizes, if desired.  Cut out and lay the opened full body on flesh color felt, making two. Glue one directly on top of the other with school glue to add stability to the doll form. Let dry. We added tiny eyes and a tummy button with a black pen and  a  light dusting of pink powder blush to the cheeks with a cotton swab.

Hair - See the pictured pattern for pigtails and notched bangs.  Make sure the hair is large enough to fit over the doll head.  Glue the bangs to the back of the hair, just around the upper and side edges. Let dry.

Clothing - Draw the most basic outline of a slightly over-sized short dress, shorts, tank top, nightgown, gown, bathing suit, etc., over the basic body, being sure the garment extends 1/4" or so beyond the edge of the body so it doesn't show. You can make the outfits reversible by simply cutting two of the same shape in different colored felt.

Trim -   Add buttons, bows, lace, rhinestone, a pocket, shoes, even a Christmas stocking as pictured at the right, etc., securing with school glue, where necessary.  

Have fun!

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August 6, 2015

Amelia Island Museum WWII Exhibit

     Bruce, my husband, and I recently attended the newest exhibit, Florida in WWII, at our wonderful Amelia Island Museum of History. Being temporary, you can catch it until September 23, 2015. It is sponsored by RockTenn.   
     A traveling exhibition by the Museum of Florida History, Florida in World II presents an overview of this seismic world event and its effect on the State of Florida.  Topics include: life on the home front, military training, the German U-boat threat, and Floridians in military service... The museum will feature a companion exhibition drawn from the personal collections and war-time reminiscences of museum members and people from our community.( Copy in italics is taken from Amelia Island Museum literature.)
     We also were graced with the presence of a WWII veterans and others, recounting their service/experiences or that of a relative during the war.
Left to right are Gerhardt Thamm, author of The Making of a Spy: Memoir of a German Boy Soldier Turned Army Intelligence Agent and Boy Soldier: A German Teenager at the Nazi Twilight, Calvin Atwood, Marine vet WWII, poet and educator, William Birdsong, vet, museum docent, Frank Ofeldt, vet, Fort Clinch re-enactor and collector of military memorabilia, Thea Seagraves, director of museum tours and volunteers, Dave Roeser, vet and Coast Guard re-enactor. 
     If you will be on Amelia Island before Sept 23rd, I encourage
Bruce as captain of the ship
you to stop by the museum at 233 S. 3rd Street in Fernandina to see this presentation. And it's not just this exhibit. There is so much more that tells the tale of our Isle of Eight Flags over time. One of my favorite parts is the tall ship area. Steer the ship's wheel, look out the porthole and watch the coastline pass by as you sail or turn your face into that of the captain of the ship with a handheld mask!
     Always  educational and so interesting, the Amelia Island Museum of History is certainly worth your time.  For info, please visit

August 2, 2015

Grammy Camp - Braided Rug - Goodbye Lie Excerpt

braided rug from tee-shirt hems
Granddaughter Ava and I made this braided rug at Grammy Camp. Unlike the rugs my grandmother created from folded strips of old clothes, ours is made from the hems of tee-shirts. You see, we were making diapers for Honduras at church one afternoon. We cut off the hems from all the shirts and they were going into the trash until it came to me how we might use them to make a rug.  I tried looping one randomly colored hem into the next, pulled tightly, making a knot and then we braided three strips into one long length. The final step will be to sew that long braid flat and into an oval using the zigzag stitch on the sewing machine. I could hand sew the braid, of course, but that would take too much time from playing with Ava. 

Loop one circular tee-shirt hem into another, pull tight and make a knot
The following Goodbye Lie excerpt was inspired by my Grammy: 
Miss Ella
     Miss Ella shook her head at her sometimes moody, but very wonderful husband, thinking how lucky she was to have him. Back inside the aromatic kitchen, she checked the steeping jelly kettle of peaches, stirred the pot of salt pork and bean soup, and cleared a spot for the hot cornbread among the fresh radishes and onions. It had been such a peaceful afternoon. Too peaceful, she realized.

     Where was Jack Patrick? Her only son, age eight, was usually so noisy, she knew his whereabouts every minute. She left the kitchen, went down the long hall past the stairs, and entered the front parlor to find her mother, Hettie Eckert, known to all as Grammy. Grammy was swaying in her rocker, intently working on a braided rag rug, and there was Jack Patrick, sneaking up from behind, scissors in hand, about to cut the soft wild-hair wispies from his sainted grandmother's head. 

     "Jack Patrick!" yelped his mother. 

     Calmly placing the shears back in the sewing basket, he stated, "Mama, I hope lightning flies through the window and kills the cat. I'm innocent!" 

     She knew exactly how innocent he was. She allowed the boy to dash out the front door before he caught her laughing.  Fortunately, since Grammy's hearing was not quite as keen as it once was, she was oblivious to her grandson's near attack, figuring only that his mother was yet again reprimanding the boy for his usual mischief.     

     Leaning against the wall, Miss Ella thought back to yesterday, remembering her middle daughter, eighteen-year-old Breelan, as she’d mimicked Grammy in the construction of her own rug. Over the last few weeks, Breelan had torn three-inch strips of cloth, folded their frayed edges inward and sewn the long thin tails, one to another. She had arrived at the final step of braiding and stitching the tails into a flat oval rug, when her mother had overheard her say, "This will be my scrap mine of colorful memories. I've made it from the worn dresses and torn trousers we've saved, Gram, just like you taught me. When I have my little girl, I want you to show her how to make your rugs, same as you've shown me."

     Miss Ella hoped her mother would still be around in the time it took Breelan to have a child old enough to learn the art of rug making. And interestingly enough, Breelan seemed certain her child would be a girl.

     "Whenever I look at my rug, I'll think of this pretty dress." Breelan pointed to the tail made from green plaid taffeta. "I couldn't wait for Carolena to outgrow it so it would be mine. Its lace petticoat was edged in red satin ribbon. I'll tell you a secret, if you promise not to tell Mama."

     "I promise, honey," Grammy had conspired...

Miss Ella, Grammy and Breelan are featured characters in The Goodbye Lie, set in 1882 on Amelia Island, Florida.

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