Julie in Michigan

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Painting the Furniture, Start Model for Mama

This was pretty fun - These pieces were kits I found up in Holland for the rocking chair, stool, table and lamp and bible. The crib was from Michaels. I painted and decorated and made the mattress for the crib.

Notice the wire frame model for Mama sitting in the rocking chair. I molded this with jewelry wire and plan to make head and hands with polymer clay and sew clothes on the rest of her.

There is a better picture below where Mama is sitting on the edge of the table~

Framing the Dollhouse

The window trim and walls had to be painted before assembly.

Wallpaper  applied and floors stained and glossed.

They recommended taping it together before gluing walls. Good idea!

Start of the Dollhouse

I found this kit at a garage sale, I'd never put together anything so intricate before but it was only $15 and I thought it would be a wonderful, fun thing to do for my great granddaughters!

It has been fun. First I had to punch out all the pieces. There were about ten sheets of thin plywood with pre-cut patterns but I had to use a blade for some and sand them down and remember to pencil in the part number as I went along. This took about a week I think.

The finished size will be 32"H x 24"W x 17"D  Big!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Inspiration for Serious Fiction Writers

The first half of Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz
 challenged me to stay tuned in. However, by the midpoint, my perspective changed and I was hooked, increasingly disappointed with each chapters end, knowing that each cliff hanger would require several more chapters to be read before I knew what would happen to my character.

My character was Bibi, a more than interesting heroine, in a coma with brain cancer. Leading a double life, she walks us through the dimensions of her imagination.  There were many times where I was disoriented, wondering, is this happening real time, a memory or a dream? The supernatural is ever present in the story as we travel with Bibi, running into the expected and intensely unlikable unexpected characters.

The question prevails, are our memories important pieces of who we are? I believe so. Pleasant and unpleasant they shape us and define us and in the end, they are who we are. We cannot erase events from our minds; although hypnotism, drugs and spells may proclaim to do so. Our childhood memories are still with us, buried deeply perhaps, but eventually we must pull them out and process them as adults. They are often gifts in disguise.

Facing her memories, this is where Bibi finds healing. The story builds from many directions, all coming together in an unexpected ending where it all it makes sense. Most importantly for me was the inspiration I found as Bibi explored how her interactions with her characters in her imagination brought them to a reality so vivid she struggled to believe they were her creations. It was recently suggested to me that I interview my characters from my writing and let them respond through the typewritten word. Bibi took this technique to a higher level. I enjoyed this book.

I received this book without charge, in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Blossom of Bright Light, A Jimmy Vega Novel by Suzanne Chazin

While this was an entertaining mystery, an enjoyable voice in fiction, the characters told the truth of a national tragedy, immigration. The story line was imaginative but so close to the truth for many undocumented immigrants who enter this country from Mexico, pinning all their hopes and dreams on their oldest and most capable child. They sacrifice so that the children can attend school, strive to learn and earn good grades in hope of a better life for themselves and often for the family as well.

Unfortunately, if the child is a girl, she is most in danger of being sacrificed to the attentions of those who would gain financial and/or sexual advantage over her from her fears for her family’s safety. The story told in this book could easily be founded on a reality. Children impregnated by older men in the community, men sometimes respected because of their success in their business, the girls afraid to reveal they have been raped by those who publicly win the approval of their friends and families. Most horrific of all is women seeking this financial advantage at the cost of a young girl’s future and the political process that overlooks the cost to many in favor of campaign dollar support.

Babies born to babies, the cycle continues with the veil of secrecy, that the girl is somehow to blame. Often her only sin is her silence, necessary to protect her family from the worst fate of all, deportation. When the family is doing all they can to stay together and the law forces parents to return to their country of origin, the children are even more susceptible to the horrors that may befall them as their family protection is lost.

The story depicted was fictional, the alignment to the truth undeniable. The author told the tale in an enjoyable fashion and I read it through in one day, which truly speaks to the author’s ability to spin a tale. Unfortunately, the enjoyment was bittersweet as I was unable to bury my head in the sand as the character’s misfortunes and disappointments are paralleled in reality.

I received this book without cost in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Way of the Fairy Godmother by Jennifer Morse

I loved this book. It came at a time in my life when I needed to hear the very words she was saying. A shift in perspective is often all that is needed to enable one to go through a stressful time.  As I read this book, it spoke to me in true tones, as if peeking into my life to see what comments would help.

As Jennifer states, “Adopting the Fairy Godmother as a personal symbol of happiness buffers us”. She buffered my reality from the stress of enduring a time where I needed to rest for a while where I was. Even though I was crushed under the weight of a failed relationship, until I was ready to pick up the threads of my life and turn my attention toward LIFE once more, I needed a Fairy Godmother to help me wait patiently until the time was right for my move.

We are all aware of the dangers of focusing on negative, stressful or unwanted circumstances that can morph our bodies and spirits. That unhappiness can create a prison of unhappiness which is never in the interest of our health and well-being. But sometimes we need to be where we are for a bit longer and bring the light of the Fairy Godmother into our room.

How do we do that? Calming and Soothing, and knowing we have power over our reactions and circumstances. We cannot let our challenging circumstances define us. Gratitude, which Jennifer calls ‘Appreciating’, is so important in the interests of our well-being. Finding some, provides us with more of it.

During this period the author calls, “The Great Silence”, it appears our efforts have been for naught, our labors fall into a void. Our hearts desires are met with silence. This would be akin to the time in which Cinderella waited for love, enduring the negativity of her stepsisters and step mother, until her Fairy Godmother came to lend a hand. A positive attitude, gratitude, a spirit of acceptance will construct a foundation upon which our Fairy Godmother can arrive.

Ms. Morse helps us construct that foundation for our own personal Fairy Godmother.