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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Little Lamb Jack in the Box * Plus* UP HAB and Website Header


Little Lamb Jack in the Box

Baby had a little lamb
It's fleece was white as snow
It hid within a little box
and jumped out to and fro

The one of a kind Little Lamb JITB is made using paper mache, paper clay, acrylic paints, ribbons, buttons, a coating of natural beeswax and a print of my "Little Lamb" painting on the front of the box. This JITB also plays the tune "Schuberts Lullaby". Box measures about 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" closed. The original one of a kind painting measures 8x10". This is not a toy for children. Now available on Etsy.



UP Hot Air Balloon

This Hot Air Balloon was inspired by the movie "Up" by Pixar. It is one of my favorite cartoons with a wonderful story about an elderly man who goes on an adventure in his helium balloon floating house. I had originally created this balloon last year with small plastic balloons. I decided to stick to my forte and replace the plastic balloons with hundreds of little paper ones. I should have done this in the first place as I like it much better the way it is now. The little house is made of cardboard, paper mache and paper clay with colorful acrylic paints and a gel medium coat. It is attached to the balloon through the chimney with cotton strings. Also included is a removable banner that reads "Go On An Adventure". The balloon is a paper mache base covered with almost 600 1 inch paper balloons. The entire piece measures about 8"w x 17"h. This is a one of a kind piece of art. Due to its handmade nature it is to be handled with care and it is not intended as a toy for children. Now available on Etsy.



Website Header

I have been dreaming of an animated header for my website for the longest but I've had no time whatsoever to create it myself and my neck hurts like crazy after sitting at a computer for long (thanks to a previous injury). So I commissioned kooldesignmaker.com to create the header for me. I worked with Mike who went above and beyond what I expected. The price was reasonable, communication was great and turnaround was quick. Go to my webpage to see it in action at www.mannm.net. My daughter loves waving back to the paper doll.



Friday, December 3, 2010

Top Hat Derby Hop


I had alot of fun making this hat for Lemoncholys Top Hat Derby Hop. I'm such a sucker for creative blog hop parties.

The hat and its decorations are made almost entirely of paper including cardboard and mulberry papers. Pretty artist papers were layered and trimmed into fancy feathers. Vintage bouillon trim lays on top of the light blue paper ribbon while vintage white gelatin souffle puffs were made into flowers and tucked into empty spaces. German glass glitter stars and a sparkly felted bird were added for fun. And, finally, silver glitter swirls were painted to the side and rim of the hat for yet another special touch.




Thursday, November 25, 2010

Slimey the Worm

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Two years ago I blogged about a Slimey Worm that I made (read the original post here) and I've gotten so many emails from fans about it since.

As promised, I'm finally making a few of them available for sale. I had alot of fun making them and will put them on Etsy as time allows.

Here is a work in progress photo. One evening, after working on "slimeys" all day, I had a nightmare that there were a bunch of worms crawling on my ceiling over my bed while I was sleeping. The worms were all "Slimey" in his pre-paint stage so they looked like nasty white maggots. It was a terrifying dream but I was laughing when I woke up.



Here is a video of a Slimey I made attached to rods to maneuver as a puppet.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Wedding Cutout Card

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I think the best gifts to give (and receive) are personalized ones; especially the ones that are handmade. For my wedding I received a knit throw and a photo album. Neither were my style or taste but I thought that it was so nice for someone to put thought into presenting a one-of-a-kind gift just for me. Ten years later both gifts are still special to me whereas towels, sheets and other registered items, although gratefully received, eventually went into the "been there seen that" corner of my mind.

For my sister-in-laws wedding gift, I wanted her to receive something special too. Even if it should eventually end up in a drawer or shoe box I know it will be something to treasure for years to come. Here are photos of the personalized card I made for her along with a nice picture frame to present it in. I also made a mini replica of her bouquet with paper flowers.



I hope you like my work! If you would like to give such a card to a loved one yourself, I am again accepting custom orders via Etsy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mad Hatter Marionette

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So, why is a raven like a writing desk?

Originally the riddle had no answer, but Carroll made one up later. Many readers have invented their own answers ever since, including the most famous "because Poe wrote on both", and my personal favorite "because there's a B in both and an N in neither".

In a new preface that Carroll wrote for the 1896 edition of Alice, he gave what he considered to be the best answer to the Mad Hatter's riddle. This is what he wrote: "Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz: "Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!" This, however, is merely an afterthought; the Riddle as originally invented, had no answer at all. "Note the spelling of "never" as "nevar" (discovered by Denis Crutch). Carroll intended to spell "raven" backwards. The word was corrected to "never" in all later printings, perhaps by an editor who thought he had found a printer's error. Because Carroll died soon after this "correction" had destroyed the ingenuity of his answer, the original spelling was never restored. Whether Carroll was aware of the damage done to his clever answer is not known.


The Mad Hatter has a card on his hat which says '10/6'. What does it mean?

The card is a price tag in 'old' English money: pounds, shillings and pennies, which was then written as l/s/d. Lewis Carroll has explained the meaning of the tag in his Nursery Alice: The Hatter used to carry about hats to sell: and even the one that he's got on his head is meant to be sold. You see it's got its price marked on it - a "10" and a "6" - that means "ten shillings and sixpence." Ten shillings and six pennies (expressed in conversation as "Ten-and-Six") was quite a large sum in the mid-1800's. Chris Somerville emailed me and amplificated: The actual amount was significant also. Professional people (doctors, lawyers, architects etc) all charged fees, not in pounds but in guinneas. One guinnea was one pound plus one shilling. And while pounds were the currency of trade, guinneas were the currency of the professions. We used to have a gold coin called, and valued at a guinnea, and a smaller gold coin, a half guinnea, valued at ten and six (10/6). The pound, however was merely a paper note, as was the half-pound or ten shillings. So the hat worn by the Mad Hatter was priced at half-a-guinnea, signifying its superior style.

These and other fun facts can be found at Lenny's Alice in Wonderland site from which they were quoted.

The Mad Hatter Marionette has been made available for sale on Etsy.
The Marionette was inspired by those made at Castle in the Air by Ullabenulla.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tea Party Fun

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Everyone finally made it for the Mad Hatter's tea party today. Although the Mad Hatter was late, thanks to his watch, again. He made the mistake of setting his watch to July O'clock instead of June O'clock.

But once the hatter arrived they had a grand time eating delicious chocolate with coconut frosting cake and green and lemon teas.

The Dormouse admired the Hatters hat so much and he wished he had a hat to wear of his own. No worries! The hatter made him a hat in two seconds flat (never mind it was a teapot lid). But my! He did look dashing!

They ended the party with a long game of cards and promised to meet again next year whenever their gracious host Vanessa, of A Fanciful Twist announces the date.

The Mad Hatter is a marionette made out of wood, paper clay and paper. He will be available for sale on Etsy later this month.

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Special thanks to...
"Alice" was made by
Christine Crocker and the "Dormouse" was made by Jennifer Murphy. If you love art dolls and great photography please visit Christine Alvarado of Du Buh Du Designs; her work is inspiration for my own.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mad Hatter's Tea Party Postponed, Postponed, etc.

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Well getting this tea party on the way has been a mad experience indeed. We were all supposed to meet for tea on Saturday, June 26 but the Hatter lost his watch so he forgot to wake up that morning. The tea party was postponed for the next day. When he finally woke up the next day and got ready to start tea the Dormouse called to say he got stuck in a teapot again and couldn't make it all the way. The tea party was postponed for today. When the table was all set this morning Alice called to say she fell down another rabbit hole and couldn't find her way out. So, needless to say, the party is postponed till tomorrow, Tuesday, June 29. Please stop by again and let's hope there are no more mad experiences.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Mad Tea Party 2010

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A Fanciful Twist is hosting The 3rd Annual Mad Tea Party this month. This is a virtual event where tea party participants will blog hop, on June 26, 2010 to see dozens of Mad Tea Party posts.

Visit my blog on the 26th to see a unique M Ann M creation made just for the occasion!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Art Is...Wikedly Good. The East Coast Art Retreat

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On October 7-12, 2010, "Art is...You" will celebrate its 4th anniversary under the theme of ART IS....WICKEDLY GOOD. I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching 2 classes this year on the 7th and 8th. "A Jack In A Box" will be taught on Thursday and "Hot Air Balloon Wiz Style" will be taught on Friday.



Please visit the Art Is...You website for more information and to register for my classes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Family Painting Update and Art for Sale

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When my daughter was born 17 months ago I made a painting called I Don't Want to Live on the Moon. It is based on one of my favorite Sesame Street songs (I submitted a post about it last year January). The main character in the painting is inspired by my childhood dog, Buster, who has long ago passed away but still remains in my heart. I wish he were still alive so my children could get to know such a loving creature.

Before and after...


The original painting included representations of just myself, my husband and my daughter. But since the birth of my son, Justin James, 3 months ago, I have added him to the painting. I have also updated the lyrics of the song so that they're typed instead of handwritten (I hate my handwriting). I asked my son what he thought of the painting and this was the face he made in reply - I think he likes it.




Along with this post, I also just wanted to let my readers know that I've listed some great artwork for sale on EBAY at great prices. All of the art is original and one of a kind by fantastic artists in the folk art industry including Jennifer Murphy and Lisa Kaus.


All of the pieces are in great condition but I just can't keep them anymore. With every child I have, my studio space gets smaller and smaller. I went from a room dedicated just for my work to a room shared with storage/guests and finally, to a desk in the corner of the play room - oh well - having children makes you realize priorites and the real importance of life. So stop by my Ebay listings when you get a chance! It would be a shame for these beautiful pieces to be shut up in an attic from now on!

Mermaid Castle Lamp

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About a year ago I made a trip to California to visit family and for some sightseeing fun. While there, I prescheduled to take an art workshop at Castle in the Air. The instructor, John McRae is an exceptionally creative artist who continues to offer some of the best classes I've ever seen.


In the workshop I took, we created beautiful Mermaid Castle Lamps. This class was an exciting experience and I came away with this very special piece of art. The castle measures 16"h x 11"w and it's being offered for sale on my Etsy site at wwwmannmnet.etsy.com. (There is a similar one listed for sale on the store's website made by the instructor. It is substantially larger and both are soooo pretty in person). The light of the lamp shines through two windows of the castle.

The Mermaid Castle Lamp is also my Paper Mache Artisans Etsy Team 6th Webshow Challenge submission. Twenty five percent of the proceeds from this sale will be donated to the Red Cross relief effort for Haiti if purchased within the 2010 year.

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 OWOH Giveaway Winner! ~ A HAB Story ~ Part IV

And the winner of my 2010 One World One Heart Giveaway is...

Heidi from ON, Canada

An original hardcover copy of my short novel will be on its way to Heidi from My Hiding Place in Cyberspace (picked by random number generator #20). Thank you to all who left comments and some excellent reading suggestions. To Heidi, I look forward to reading Suzanne's Diary. Other than Jane Austen, my favorite romance novel writer is Catherine Cookson. If you get a chance, pick up one of her books; especially The Wingless Bird, The Black Velvet Gown and The Gilyvors.

A big THANK YOU to Lisa at the Whimsical Bohemian for hosting an even bigger One World One Heart event.

And without further delay, here is the fourth and final part of my short story, Susan's Flight.

At exactly a quarter past midnight that night, Susan tiptoed through the front doors of the barn. She was so anxious all day that she didn’t even think to change her outfit from earlier that day.

“De Rozier?... De Rozier?” But there was no reply. She looked around the barn which was only lit by the moonlight coming through the cracks of the wood. There was no sign of De Rozier – or the balloon. Disappointed and somewhat afraid of being alone, Susan started to make her way out of the barn.

“Psst!...Susan!” She heard De Rozier call her. He was standing in the back doorway of the barn as he was motioning for her to come to him. She ran over to him delighted that she was not abandoned. As she exited the door she gasped at what she saw before her. The Aerostat Reveillon!

There it was right before her eyes! It was slowly rising as it was being inflated by several men. Before she knew it the balloon was quietly floating above her, fully expanded! There were six men each holding ropes down preventing it from lifting it off.

“Hurry, there’s not much time!” exclaimed De Rozier “Get in the basket!”.

“Pardon me?!!” cried Susan. “What was it that you said Mr. De Rozier?!”

“My dear Susan, please, call me Pilatre. My love; I give you the gift of being the first woman in flight. It’s okay; I have tested it out myself. It is quite safe, trust me. Such a beautiful and wonderful creature as you is deserving of no less honor. Please, my dear, join me in the basket whilst we explore the skies if for just a few moments. Alone. Together.”

Susan couldn’t move. She was in shock. Not only by the thought of going into the sky in the contraption but also by De Rozier’s expression of love. She felt as if she were to faint. She quickly took her smelling salts out of her green purse to prevent such from happening.

She looked at the balloon, then at De Rozier, then back at the balloon.

De Rozier gently held Susan’s face in both hands and said, “My love, will you join me?”

Susan began to melt at his gaze and said, “My love, Pilatre, I couldn’t think of anything more wonderful in the world.”

Pilatre helped Susan into the basket and then climbed in himself. Four of the six men let go of their ropes and they gently lifted off. To make sure they stayed over the general expanse of her father’s acreage, the two remaining men strongly held onto their ropes.

Susan and Pilatre floated up to about 100 feet in the air. It wasn’t as high as the balloon was capable of going but it was more than high enough for Susan. She couldn’t believe her eyes. Everything below her kept getting smaller and smaller. It seemed to get colder the higher they went and she was glad she had her shawl with her. Pilatre also noticed the drop in temperature and draped his jacket around Susan’s shoulders.

“My love, Susan. I opened my own physics museum several years ago and I provide demonstrations to nobles. I am successful in my field and the Montgolfier’s have asked for my further participation with their invention. They have even given me the Aerostat Reveillon for further studies! Perhaps I will improve on their design and invent my own flying envelope one day! What I’m trying to say, my dear, is that I can promise that you will live in comfort and want for absolutely nothing the day you become my wife.”

Susan couldn’t breath. Was it a combination of being so high in the air and of shock? Susan almost collapsed. Pilatre held Susan tight in his arms as they retreated to the floor of the basket where they sat and stretched out their legs in each other’s embrace. Before they knew it, the flight was over and they felt the basket lightly hit ground.

“It is time to go my love.” With the help of his men, Pilatre climbed out of the basket.

Once safely out, Pilatre held out his hands to help Susan and then quickly took his hands back. “Wait,” Pilatre said teasingly. “You never gave me an answer. Will you marry me?”

“Yes.” Susan laughed. “With all my heart.” “Yes”.

Susan and Pilatre walked away hand in hand with the balloon behind them glowing in the midnight sky.

THE END

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2010 OWOH Giveaway ~ A HAB Story ~ Part III

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More pictures and details about Susan, the main character in my short story and my giveaway, "Susan's Flight"....

This 6 inch figure, named Susan for my story, was made by Miss Clara. I sent Miss Clara historical artwork depicting the clothing style of the 1700's for her to base Susan's outfit on and she interpreted it head on. She made her exactly as I wanted.
Miss Clara is an extremely talented artist who makes small delicate figures out of paper and reworks their photos into stunning dreamy scenes. Her work is one of my favorites and I truly admire her talent. Please visit her blog at http://www.lescarnetsdemissclara.blogspot.com/
Here are photos of the two small figures (Susan and De Rozier) I made out of modeling clay to fit inside the balloon's basket. They measure about an inch and a half tall.




Here is Chapter III of "Susan's Flight"

Panorama of Versailles 1715

There was a huge crowd at the great courtyard of the Chateau de Versailles the following morning. The demonstration was to take place before the public and before King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. De Rozier and Susan met at the fountain as planned but only for a brief moment as De Rozier had to assist with the preparations. Before De Rozier departed, he whispered in Susan’s ear, “If all goes well with the flight, meet me at the barn of your father at a quarter past midnight tonight. I have something to give you!” And off he went.

The balloon was set up on a huge wooden dais covered with canvas made especially for the occasion. The process of inflating the envelope began at about one in the afternoon. To inflate it, they burned a combination of straw, chopped wool and dried horse manure underneath the balloon. As the straw burned it released heat that helped the balloon float. The wool and manure made lots of smoke and helped keep the burning flame low, which lessened the risk of the balloon catching fire. Once the balloon took shape the lines holding it were cut and it immediately rose, lifting skyward the three animals. Susan was astounded and the crowd roared. The flight lasted approximately eight minutes, covered two miles, and obtained an altitude of about 1,500 feet. The craft landed safely in the woods after flying. The flight was a success!

Since all went well with the flight, Susan anticipated meeting with De Rozier that night. The balloon was scheduled to be returned to her father’s barn for storage before sunset. Was De Rozier going to help her get a glimpse of it up close?! She was thrilled at the thought!










Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2010 OWOH Giveaway ~ A HAB Story ~ Part II

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The Hot Air Balloon I created for my short story, "Susan's Flight" was made based on several drawings of the first flight in 1783. I wanted it to be similar in design and color to stay as close as possible to the original.




The balloon was made using paper pulp, paper mache, paper clay, mulberry paper, cardboard, acrylic paints, vintage tassels, sealing wax and gel medium. It hangs from a heavy duty clear line and measures about 10" tall and 8" wide.

Next week I will post Chapter III of the short story along with more information and pictures of the paper figure I had commissioned just for this story.

Here is Chapter II of "Susan's Flight"

The pre-celebration ball was full of beautiful gowns, delicious foods and punch. Everyone from several towns over came early to celebrate the Montgolfier’s unveiling of the Aerostat Reveillon the next day. After all, this was the most important invention of the century! Dignitaries, lords and noblemen had come to witness history in the making. Susan was proud to be on the guest list through the affiliation with her father but she had to occasionally remind herself to stay humble; as only a proper lady should. She was just thinking of such when she noticed a man grinning and staring at her from across the room. How daring! And now the bold creature was making his way toward her! She gasped at the thought of his approach and turned away to escape to the boudoir. As it was so crowded in the dancing hall she didn’t get far before she felt a touch to her arm.

Flinching, she turned around to see the bold man smiling the same grin. Up close she could see that he was pleasantly handsome and fairly young; perhaps in his middle twenties.

“Good evening, my lady”, the bold man said as he bowed and took her hand.
“My name is Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier. I believe you are the daughter of the American investor, Mr. Dyer?”

“Miss Susan Dyer…I am pleased to meet you” said Susan shyly while curtsying. Susan suddenly remembered a conversation she overheard father having with the Montgolfier brothers about the man, de Rozier. She remembered most of the conversation because the men seemed so proud to admit their acquaintance with such a fellow.

Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier was born in Metz, an important town on the border of France. His interests in the chemistry of drugs had been awakened in the military hospital of Metz. He made his way to Paris at the age of 18, then taught physics and chemistry at the Academy in Reims, which brought him to the attention of Monsieur, the comte d’Artois, brother of King Louis XVI. De Rozier returned to Paris, where he was put in charge of Monsieur’s cabinet of natural history and made a valet de chambre to Monsieur’s wife, Madame, which brought him his ennobled name, Pilâtre de Rozier. He opened his own museum in the Marais quarter of Paris on 11 December 1781, where he undertook experiments in physics, and provided demonstrations to nobles. He researched the new field of gases and invented a respirator.

Coming back quickly from her recollections, Susan returned to her conversation with de Rozier. “Yes”, my father was holding the Montgolfier balloon until it was transported to the storage houses at the royal palace here in Versailles.”

“Indeed, and incidently, I believe you almost got to see the balloon last night in your father’s barn…?”

Susan gasped and turned bright red from blushing. So it wasn’t the horse that startled her! It was this man who must have been spying on her just as she was spying on the secret balloon.

“Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me,” De Rozier said and he eased her nerves with a wink and a smile. Changing the subject, De Rozier proceeded to explain his involvement with the balloon and what he knew about tomorrow’s flight.

It so happens that De Rozier was present at the first public demonstration of a balloon by the Montgolfier brothers at Annonay and he was now assisting the brothers in the Versailles flight. The king was concerned about the effects of flight into the upper atmosphere on living creatures. It was De Rozier who suggested that the first living beings be a sheep, a duck and a rooster. The sheep was believed to have a reasonable approximation of human physiology. The duck was expected to be unharmed by being lifted aloft. It was included as a control for effects created by the aircraft rather than altitude. The rooster was included as a further control as it was a bird that did not fly at high altitudes.

Susan became comfortable listening to De Rozier as he continued to explain the scientific factors in creating such a balloon. His voice was calming and he reminded her of her father.

Remembering her curiosity concerning the makeup of the balloon, Susan asked De Rozier what the balloon looked like and what it was made of.

“The balloon is constructed of taffeta coated with a varnish of alum (which has fireproofing properties). It is sky blue and has golden flourishes and other decorations.
It is designed in collaboration with the wallpaper manufacturer, Reveillon. It measures 37,500 cubic feet. It’s actually quite taller than this building we’re standing in.”

“Oh I can’t wait to see it! It sounds absolutely stunning!”, cried Susan.

“Yes, indeed it is, but not as stunning as you, my lady”, said De Rozier. Susan blushed for the second time that evening.

Susan and De Rozier enjoyed the rest of the night in each other’s company. Susan learned about his family, his childhood and his dreams of becoming successful in his field. Susan told De Rozier about her own life and about growing up in the Americas before she came to France. They got to know eachother very well and Susan already began to miss him as the night came to an end. They talked, laughed and danced until it was time to go home. They bid each other goodnight and promised to meet by the large fountain at tomorrows unveiling.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 One World One Heart Giveaway ~ A HAB Story


A day late...but after a couple of gliches, this post is to announce my latest project and my 2010 One World One Heart (OWOH) Giveaway.

I would like to present "Susan's Flight". It is a short story I wrote based on true recorded accounts on one of the first ever hot air balloon flights. The story revolves around a flight on September 19, 1783 with the first living beings in a hot air balloon. The characters in the story are all real but the stories are made up. Every week I will post one of four chapters of the story along with more details and pictures of the project.

Here is Chapter I ...

Susan's Flight - Chapter I

Susan fled the barn so fast that she almost forgot her shawl behind the haystacks from which she was hiding. A noise startled her to her senses and she made her escape before she even got a chance to look under the large tarp. She realized later that it was probably just her father’s horse looking for a midnight snack. She didn’t mean any harm. She was just trying to get a glimpse of the famous Montgolfier balloon. Her father was an eager American investor who had his sights set on the discovery of the first manned flight. Just think of it! A vessel that would lift a human being up to the skies among the birds and the clouds.

One year ago, Mr. Dyer moved his wife and daughter, Susan, to France to grow his investment business. Mr. Dyer followed his good friend and colleague, Mr. Hellmann, who wanted to invest in a new type of spread for meats and cheeses. Their plan was to bring it back to the America’s and grow it into a huge empire. In the meantime, Mr. Dyer got word of two bothers, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier who successfully defied gravity by floating a globe shaped balloon into the air. Mr. Dyer, never one to miss an investment opportunity, sent a letter to the brothers offering his services and to help coordinate a public demonstration to be held near their home in Versailles. The brothers agreed and now the Aerostat Reveillon was being held in the Dyer barn until the unveiling two days from now.

Susan was always curious as a child, getting herself into trouble poking around corners and trying to listen in on private adult conversations. Even now, as a young adult, her curiosity hasn’t waned. She simply can’t wait so long as another day to see at least a piece of the new vessel. She vowed to try again the next day. In the meantime, she will have to keep her mind preoccupied with other matters. For instance, what will she wear to the pre-celebration ball tomorrow night!? She hurried her pace to get home before the servants woke. She must get at least a little sleep as the day ahead promised to be full of preparation for the weeks’ celebrations.





The OWOH giveaway is a handbound hardcover original copy of the short story, "Susan's Flight". You can enter to win my giveaway by leaving a comment on this post only. Any comment qualifies as an entry, but this year I would like you to share your favorite romance novel. Is it Pride and Prejudiced, The Notebook, etc.?....If you don't have a favorite romance novel then share what your favorite book is.

Check back next week for Chapter II and for more information on the paper mache Hot Air Balloon and the paper figure made just for this story.

Thanks for reading!