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Glo Magazine

I am thrilled to say that Glo Magazine has chosen my painting “The Blue Vase” for their March Cover. To read the magazine online follow this link. The magazine is free and will be available at many businesses and to find one when they come out click on Newsstand locations.

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Book Review: The Sunshine Girls by Molly Fader

Right out of the shoot, I want to say I loved this book. It addressed so many different aspects of life in 1967. The Vietnam War, friendship, abortion, death, drugs, race, family relationship and secrets.

Iowa, 1967 BettyKay is heading for nursing school because in that era women only become teachers, nurses or wives and mothers. She comes from a farming community where the sons are expected to stay home and help with the family farm and her boyfriend does that. He drives her to school in the family truck and supports her decision whole heartedly and promises to talk to her every Sunday.

Kitty is her roommate with a southern accent. She has style and sarcasm, and it takes BettyKay awhile to get used to her and to have a friendship with her that will last 50 years. Kittys own background story is very interesting and so different from BettyKays.

Jo, (and please forgive me if this name is not correct as I don’t have my book in front of me) is an African American girl. She walked into the school and of course had people ignoring her and having to sit by herself until BettyKay asked her to sit with her and she eventually rounded out the trio of friends. She decided to go to nursing school and serve in Vietnam so her brother would not be sent to the war. She takes no time off to have fun and plans to graduate early. She keeps her eye on the light at the end of the tunnel so to fulfill her family obligation.

Kitty was just glamorous, and flirtatious but would also sew for others on the floor. She was sewing for Jo in return for her notes from class. There was only one phone on the floor and if Kitty would get a call she would go to the phone and hang up on it without even talking to the person on the other end.

BettyKays boyfriend visits one day, with a uniform on and tells her that he has enlisted to go to Vietnam. She is shocked of course, wondering why he didn’t discuss it with her. He said he didn’t want to be talked out of it and that he leaves the next day. They spend the night together and then in two months she realizes that she is pregnant. This was not a surprise in the book, and you will see it coming but what happens after is very interesting and cements the friendships.

The book moves through the early lives and then the adult lives of the three women and back and forth. It weaves and builds a good story that way. I am going to stop here because I hope you pick up the book and get immersed into their lives.

I will tell you that the reason the book is titled “The Sunshine Girls” is that is what new nursing students are called.

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Book Review – The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel

This author was recommended to me by my friend Nan. I had said that I like history novels and she said that this author writes them, and she liked her very much. I have been getting some of my reads from the library which is so convenient, but I love the feel of real books in my hand. I also like to refer back to them when writing a review, so it hasn’t stopped me from buying actual paperbacks. Many times I purchase used also.

Here is my review:

Setting is Paris 1939, on the verge of WWII.

Two women, who are American but married Frenchmen.

Elise – is an artist, carves wood and paints and her husband is a well-known artist.

Juliette has a family owned small bookstore along with her husband and children.

These two women are both pregnant and due very close together. They meet in the park one day because Elise has an episode and faints. Juliette came over to render some assistance and eventually she gets Elise back to the bookstore and has the doctor come and examine her and then they become fast friends after that. They both have healthy baby girls who are months apart and they grow up like sisters together. Juliette also has two other children who are boys, and she had a daughter earlier who only lived 13 days and it buried in a nearby cemetery where she visits often.

As the war gets closer to their area Elises husband has been meeting with others underground against the Nazi’s and other bad players of WWII. There are times where he is gone for days, and this is a bone of contention between the two of them because she would like him to be home with them. One day he comes to her with papers that have changed her identity and their daughters also. When she examines the papers, she realizes that the daughters’ papers say a totally different name than hers. He has told her that she needs to get away because she has his last and if she and the daughter are captured then they will be killed. They are looking for him. She needs to leave the daughter in Paris with the papers and go hours away from there.

This tore her up and couldn’t imagine leaving her and walking away. There was a woman in their neighborhood who was Jewish and she made arraignments for her two children to be taken somewhere to be cared for and stay, hopefully, safe. She then went herself away also and finding another place that she had stayed for most of the war until someone ratted them out and they were captured and sent to a concentration camp.

Elise left her daughter with her friend Juliette and family to care for like their own. It was not an easy break at all like you can imagine and she found her way to Ambergene, France to find herself caring for children in a farmhouse where children were kept safe from the war. In the Authors notes at the end of the book she visited this area while writing the book and there was an actual place where the children were kept, and I am sure there were many of these places throughout Europe.

In Paris, back in the little bookstore all was relatively safe and quiet until the Renault Plant was bombed because it was making trucks for the Germans who occupied the country. A stray bomb missed its mark and hit the bookstore destroying it and most of the people in it.

The second half of the book focuses on the characters after the war and how their lives changed and what they did to live. Some moved on, others were mentally challenged, and some had still terrible things happen to them.

It took me a chapter get into the book but then it took off for me and I enjoyed it. Be sure to read the authors notes. It is a good historical novel that was released in June 2023.

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San Xavier Mission

We were taking a trip to Tubac, which is town with many galleries, shops and restaurants. This is south of Tucson, but along the way is the beautiful San Xavier Mission. It was founded in 1692 and it is situated in the center of a Papago Indian settlement or as they prefer to be called the Tohono O’ohdam.

The original foundation was laid in 1700 but the actual building of this mission took 14 years , 1783 to 1797. You can learn more on their webpage.

The ornate ceiling. This building was built by the villagers of Bac, Franciscan Friars and the Tohono O’odham Indians.
The Background of the Alter built entirely of burned brick and covered with gilded and painted plaster.
In the Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother right off the Sanctuary.
The Mary Pew Benson Garden.
The Nativity in the Mission. It was so interesting and one like I hadn’t seen before, I wanted to find out more. My findings led me to Santa Rita Abbey and one of the nuns does sculpture. They are a cloistered community high in the Santa Rita Mountains.
This is Grotto Hill and I did not walk up it but it did look so inviting and interesting. My back and legs were protesting all the beautiful hills in Arizona. I found an article that spoke well of San Xavier Mission and Grotto Hill with no pop ups to deal with.

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A Few More Favorites

I was in awe of this mountain range. We were visiting The Historic Empire Ranch and then drove the area around it. It was like being in The Big Valley show. The information that I can find says that it is the Santa Rita Mountains.
This cow had a really pretty face and was just lounging under a tree with no leaves there in The Big Valley.
I cannot remember which bird this was but it was gorgeous, a falcon….maybe. This was at the Desert Museum again.
I happened to get him taking off in flight. That wingspan….Wow.
Casa Escondida at the Barrio in Tuscon. Loved the purple house and the prickly pear cactus.
The blue porch with the peach house, so pretty.
This prickly pear has a purple tint. Many edible things are made with prickly pears, syrup, jam to name a couple.
I am enamored with the barrel cactus too. The yellow things on top are fruit, they happen after the flowers are done blooming. When they fall off the Javalinas may come along and eat them.
Not a stunning sunset but a beauty. Those blues along with the touch of peach are soothing.
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Just a Few Favorites a little at a time

My friend Cathy would feed the birds daily. I just loved the quail that would come running to eat the seed on the ground. They were so cute and this is just one of many that would come out from desert.

I did not get to see a real Javelina but I think this has to be one of the cutest after all they don’t seem to be just another pretty face. This was found in Tubac which was a wonderful town full of art.

Cathy and Marks neighbor makes these sculptures. I have pictures of quite a few. They were amazing and I am sure heavy. They have a lot of rebar on them.

This was taken out of the window looking at the mountains. I cannot remember which ones they are but the sunset was bouncing off this. The white plants are cholla.

We went to a raptor show and I was standing at a perfect spot because the birds landed in that dead tree. The is a great horned owl and his head is turned around.
We drove through the Barrio Viejo in Tuscon where these houses of the late 1800s – early 1900s have been revitalized. They are very colorful with a lot of desert landscaping. 
A hill with many Saguaros with lots of arms. You are seeing water drops in the morning. We were on our way to the desert museum. I have many more favorites but this was enough for now. It was a fantastic trip and our hosts were so accommodating. They had a beautiful home and this desert was not how we thought it would be. It was fun to go somewhere that we had not experienced before.
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Arizona

Tom and I just got back from a vacation in Tuscon visiting our friends. It gave us a whole new perspective and appreciation of the desert and cactus. We had such a wonderful time and I will be posting pictures as time goes on. I found this 20 minute video from the National Parks Service which explained a lot about the Saguaro Cactus and the Sonora Desert along with other cactus too, there are so many. We stayed smack dab in the middle of the Saguaro National Park. Hope you enjoy this and it educated me more about that surrounding area we were in. The link is right here.

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For the New Year 2024

Here it is the fifth day of January and the New Year has really started out pretty well. We spent New Years Eve in Detroit and attended a Red Wings game. They played the Bruins and unfortunately lost but it was still fun with a packed house. I am showing my favorite player, Mo Seider # 53. He is a young defenseman (age 22) and is just a steady guy doing his job. He is a favorite, there are many of his jerseys being worn at every game we go to. The weather cooperated, not too cold, we stayed the night and got back on New Years Day around one to just take it easy.

One of new calendars, my husband, Tom knows I love lighthouses and picked it up. I was thrilled to see the Manistee light because two years ago we took a sunset cruise that took off from Manistee.

Here is my picture of the Manistee light as we were getting ready to go out on Lake Michigan. I laugh every time I think of when I made a post on Facebook about this picture. I made reference to the cat walk and was put into Facebook jail because I was writing about something inappropriate.

Another calendar, a mini Susan Branch that I keep right in site of my computer. I do love her watercolor painting and notes and quotes. Out today is a new blog post on her site, it’s always interesting.
I always use her two year pocket calendar that is just as cute as her larger calendars. The cover papers are very sturdy and that is handy because I take it in and out of my purse a lot. I love the primroses on the front.
A friend and I exchange calendars each year and usually it is a Charley Harper Calendar. This year I asked for this Terrry Runyan calendar. I just love her cats, this one will be going down into a room that I am turning into guest room and extension of my studio.
Most of the pictures here today are taken on my new little digital camera. In the near future we are flying to Arizona and I wanted a small camera that is not my phone. Or a small one to take to the beach that is easier to handle than my Nikon while sitting in a beach chair.
I am still learning where everything is and these Starbucks cups could have used a flash. I don’t know what I am going to do with them but maybe some of the designs may be some inspiration.
We have been looking for travel items and have found a few at Meijer. We are not checking a bag but doing a carry on and another bag to put under the seat. I had been looking all over for some root pump and found some made by Big Sexy Hair. It’s pretty cute if I do say so. I have found little Secret deodorant and the little bottle for my shampoo and a travel blow dryer at half price with some extra CVS points. They almost gave it to me!

This weekend we will be seeing a Lions game. They have been very exciting and we started going to the games when they were 0 AND 16. We have gone through 4 coaches, the owner William Clay Ford passed away, then Martha Ford, his wife took the helm and now Sheila Ford, the daughter is the chairwoman. Dan Campbell, the coach has been there for three years but played for the Lions in 2006. He is from Texas.

There are many exciting things coming up in the next months. This is my first painting for the year. I am just sketching in with watercolor crayons and pencils. This is so the mark dissolves when I use the paint. This is a special piece which I will talk about when it is completed.

These are the books I am reading right now on my kindle app. I saw them on facebook and bought them. The first five or 6 were a total of $6.99 and I couldn’t find them in the library, so I went for it. These books are entertaining with a retired policeman who lost his wife a year before. He didn’t know how to cook and decided to take a trip to different small cities and learn how to make different dishes. He is accompanied by a dog who was kicked out of the police academy for disobedience. It is fun to read what the dog is thinking and of course the retired policeman falls into cases. It is Albert Smiths Culinary Capers and I purchased on, of course, Amazon.
Our tree and lights are still up. I love to look in there and see them. I am really enjoying them now since I don’t have to do anything, just enjoy. We probably will take them down next week. There is a little snow coming so I will take down the outdoor lights but we don’t turn them on anymore. I have been getting the applications in for upcoming art shows. There are many new painting ideas swirling in my mind. I would like to paint a couple of pieces of furniture and get pictures hung. I am planning on working on needlework and hopefully a little quilting. Plans for the redo of the guest area, and short term would like to clean out my bird feeders and put new food in and plant some succulents to replace others that didn’t make it.

This little guy comes onto our porch to eat the cat food. I believe he may make it into a painting.

I hope your New Year is going fine and until next time.

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At the End of the Year Book Reviews

I am catching up on the books I have read and not reviewed to start the new year fresh. I downloaded the library app so I can read in bed before I go to sleep. I take a muscle relaxer because I sleep on my back all night since I had a back fusion. It takes approximately 15 minutes before I start getting sleepy and having that app has been great. I have read my favorite author, Kristen Hannah four of her books in a short period of time. One of my problems is when I am into a book I have to read it to the end. So I am still into it when I wake up the next day. I don’t get much done until I finish it.

Angel Falls, released June of 2010, most of Kristin Hannahs books are set in the Pacific Northwest like this one. Mikaela Campbell is married to a doctor, Liam Campbell. She met him when she took her child from a previous relationship to his office for an illness. She had moved to the small town recently and the doctor was very smitten with Mikaela. They ended up getting married and lived in the country on a horse farm. As the children grew she was very involved in the school and was loved.

One morning she was in the barn and one of the horses got frightened and knocked her out. She was taken to the hospital and was in a coma. Her husband was told that she would not wake up but he would not give up. He would go every day and talk with her, play her favorite music, tell her stories, talk about the past and tell her about the kids. He was just trying to figure out a way to get her to come back to them.

He decided to go through her closet and found clothing that she had kept but hadn’t worn. He also found a bag that contained a large diamond engagement ring and a photo of Mikaela and a movie star, Julian True. She would not talk about her life before she came to Angel Falls and this was a clue to it.

After much soul-searching Liam hatched a plan to contact Julian True, someone from her past. Mikaela’s mother also was asked about Julian and she did not want to bring him back into their lives. Will Julian be the one that can help bring Mikaela back? She was just deep in her coma and there was nothing wrong with her brain. Please read it, another good book by Kristen Hannah.

On Mystic Lake, Released December 2007 This book starts out with Annie Colwater preparing to send her daughter abroad for school for a semester. She and her husband take the daughter to the airport. On the way home the husband tells Annie that he is leaving her for a younger woman and that he is in love with her.

Annie Colwater is left in a large home, by herself, a home that has her touch everywhere because she is the one that had the house built. Her husband is a successful businessman so they could have this kind of home overlooking the water.

She had given the daughter and the husband everything of her. She was totally blindsided by this as she had hoped that they could travel since the daughter will be gone. She is lonely and afraid and decided to go to Mystic, a small town in Washington State where she grew up and her father lives.

Annie slowly starts meeting up with old friends from high school. Friends that she had not kept up with but should have tried. She was shocked when she found out that her very best friend had died. When she tried to find out how she died everyone skirted the issue. Her friend had married the boyfriend that both girls loved. He became a policeman in the city. She finally went to visit him and found that he had a six year old daughter who quit talking when her mother passed away.

So when you read on you find out how the best friend died, how the little girl started talking and how the policeman overcame his drinking problem.

This was an outstanding read.

Winter Garden Released February 2010, I like it when Kristin Hannah’s books have a lot of historical basis. It took me awhile into the book to get the meaning of the title and later I had an Ah Ha moment.

There are two sisters, Meredith and Nina that come together to help when their father becomes ill. One is a famous photographer and the other runs the family apple orchard business. They have a mother, Anya who is cold and disapproving all the time. When they were younger their mother would tell bits and pieces of a Russian fairy tale. When the father was dying he asked for a promise to get the mother to tell the fairy tale all the way through.

That is when they take their mother to Russia and they learn about what their mother had to endure in Leningrad during the war.

I really had no idea about Russia during this time and the history was interesting. It also has a surprise ending.

True Colors Released April 2010. There is a father in this book who is a disapproving man and cares much about the family reputation and pines after his wife who passed away. There are three adult daughters who became very good friends One, Winona, is an excellent lawyer, but is overweight and would love to have her father’s approval.

Aurora is the middle sister who is the peacemaker and trys to keep everyone happy. She has a hidden pain.

Vivi Ann is the beauty, the dreamer, and is adored by everyone she meets. Vivi Ann lives on the horse ranch that has been in the family for three generations. It is large and they always need help. The man they had hired up and left one day so they advertised for some help. A stranger applied for the job and turned everything upside down.

To read on you will find out more about the stranger, who committed a crime and went to prison, whose loyalties will be tested.

Enjoy!

This book was inspired by a first book titled Dewey, by Vicky Myron. Dewey was a kitten that someone placed in a book return one January 18, 1988 at the Spencer public library in Iowa. As you can imagine it was a very cold day. That cat became very popular and if you didn’t know about Dewey or as his complete name is: Dewey Readmore Books you can learn about him within these pages.

So many people wrote to the library and told them about their cat stories that the author picked nine of them – get it? Nine Lives……to write this book. Cats that have helped people through tough times, illness, divorce, parents dying, children dying. I can’t go through every story, but I had to have my tissue with me. If you are a cat lover as I am, I suggest you read both books. They’re amazing.

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Paintings in the Shop-Workshop Ladies-Christmas

I recently finished this painting and it has been added to the online shop. It can be purchased in three sizes. The Blue Vase

Thinking ahead for Valentines Day, Orange Hearts has also been added. It would be perfect in a card or a framed print for you or your special person.

Here is another print that can be purchased in three sizes. The original has been sold but the print can be found in the online shop. Think Mosaic

The Dinosaur Chicken has also been added, he is a fun, mixed media heron. He or She is a replica of the bird that walks around the retention pond looking for tasty fish.

Got the tree up for Christmas. A few years back decided on a pencil tree because it is so easy to put up and take down. But the main reason is so that this one doesn’t climb it……

Sophie and five of her other ornery housemates.

The 5 X 7 nutcracker painting was donated to Artlink for their ornament silent auction.

I had a mixed media workshop in early November and these fun ladies joined me. They came up with some wonderful creations. They also wanted to do a slow stitching workshop and a stamp carving workshop too. I thought that was a great idea so stay tuned.

The director of the Georgetown library asked if I would like to show my art for November and December. If you are out that way stop in and take a look, it is right behind the check out, you can’t miss it.