Do You Feel the Bern?

Do You Feel the Bern?

If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you’ve surely noticed that I’m a big supporter of Bernie Sanders for president. He’s building a huge grassroots following and staying away from big-money donors. His fans are finding creative ways to promote their presidential choice. I wanted to share with you this one, which shows you don’t need big bucks to help the candidate you believe in.

This is Kyle Pillsbury who is backpacking around to get the word out in small towns about Bernie Sanders' campaign.

This is Kyle Pillsbury who is backpacking around to get the word out in small towns about Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

“I will be spending my birthday this year (Sept 13) in smaller towns spreading Bernie’s campaign where so many have heard almost nothing about him. I’ll start traveling down back road highways, and won’t have much access to wi-fi or affordable food, hoping to pack up on some stuff I can travel with and cook, like rice and oats. Thanks so much everyone who contributed to my Go Fund Me request.
Here's his sign on his backpack promoting Bernie.

Here’s his sign on his backpack promoting Bernie.

I’m homeless for the time, and hitchhiking and working around. Since I don’t have a car or place for my sign, I support Bernie, and spread the word everywhere I go, people who give me rides, other travelers, people I meet in the towns and cities I pass through.
I’ve been politically active for a long time, but this is the first time a presidential candidate has gotten me this excited.”
Here is his Go Fund Me page.

Here’s my challenge to you: Think about ways that you can help spread the word about Bernie. Act on that and one-by-one we can build support for this candidate.

#‎EnoughIsEnough‬ ‪#‎FeelTheBern‬ ‪#‎Sanders2016‬


Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Politics


Seeing Winslow Homer’s Studio

Seeing Winslow Homer’s Studio

A visitor expressed an interest in going to see Winslow Homer’s studio in Maine. I love his paintings of the rugged coast, so I checked for information about the studio at Prout’s Neck, north of Kennebunkport. Unfortunately it isn’t easy to visit.

First off, it is open to tours 2 days a week and on those days, they only give 2 tours. The tours are limited to 10 people each and it costs $55. To take the tour, one must go to Portland Museum of Art. For us, that’s an additional half hour drive over the hour and 10 minutes it would take to get from New Hampshire to Prout’s Neck. Then the museum transports the tour members to the studio for a 2 hour tour and then back to the museum.

Sigh… Too expensive and too far for an easy day trip. We may take a drive one day and at least see the scenery along that stretch of coastal Maine.

There’s a web cam so you can see the view from Homer’s studio (keep in mind, that you won’t see anything after dark). You can also watch some videos on Youtube about Winslow Homer’s paintings, his life and his studio.

Celebrating the American Artist, Winslow Homer

The great American artist, Winslow Homer was born February 24, 1836. His work is highly valued today as some of the greatest American realism painting. I’ve collected some of his art, now available on posters, cards and framed prints for your enjoyment.

Be sure to watch the videos about the influences on his painting and also the ones that explain individual paintings. This will give you an even greater enjoyment of Winslow Homer’s contribution to American art.

Winslow Homer: Noreaster fine art Canvas Print
Winslow Homer: Noreaster fine art Canvas Print by Virginia5050

His paintings of people appeal in a different way than his seascapes.

Morning Glories - Postcard
Morning Glories – Postcard by dchaddad
Check out other Winslow homer Postcards at

Links for Learning More about Winslow Homer

Bill Gates bought a Winslow Homer painting for 36 million dollars.


Posted by on August 9, 2015 in Travel


Tags: ,

Trying a Facebook Ad

Trying a Facebook Ad

When my mother self-published her memoir at 85 and then a book about Dad’s life, I set up a Facebook fan page for her. Gradually friends, family and fans of her books discovered it and she had almost 100 LIKES on the page.

I’ve been wanting to spread the word further, so I decided to try a Facebook advertisement. They offered $5, $10, and up or set your own price. Uncertain what the return would be on this investment, I opted for a modest $3 a day for 2 1/2 days.

Here's the statistics for the Facebook ad that I ran.

Here’s the statistics for the Facebook ad that I ran.

Figuring that her memoir of growing up in the 1930s appealed most to older women with a Kansas background, I opted for those demographics for showing the ad. So Facebook showed the ad to 426 women from the evening of July 1st to to midnight on July 3rd. Of that number, 30 opted to LIKE the page and become fans.

Will any of these new fans be intrigued enough to take the next step and buy my mother’s books? I’ll let you know about that next month. In the meantime, I spent a mere $6.72 on the ad campaign. That’s about the price of a fast food meal.

Here are further statistics on the Facebook advertisement results.

Here are further statistics on the Facebook advertisement results.

The new followers on the Gail Lee Martin fan page are age 55 and up. Total fans are 60% in that age range, with only 8% male. Most are from the Wichita area and other Kansas locations like Olathe and El Dorado.

I may try another ad in a few weeks with more diverse demographics. Perhaps I should include men and a wider age range or wider geographic range.

For now, I need to post topics on the fan page to keep the members interested and engaged.


Posted by on July 4, 2015 in Promotions


Tags: , ,

Hate or Love My Facebook Posts?

Hate or Love My Facebook Posts?

I use Facebook to network with fellow writers, to keep up with family news, and to follow topics that interest me like genealogy and the Civil War. Increasingly, I’ve used Facebook to keep up with political factions and to express my political views. In case you aren’t a friend of mine on Facebook, I’m a feminist and a progressive liberal.

I know that not all my friends and family share my views of the world or even if they do, they might not want to see it day after day. Facebook has a solution for that. You can adjust the settings so the person is still your friend, but so their posts do not show up on your news feed. If you hate my politics and still like me, then I recommend that you do that.

Today I approved a new friend, even though I didn’t recognize the person. They were posting in a group from my hometown on a post where I’d put a photo of my brother. Assuming they were a friend of his or possibly an old high school acquaintance of mine, I said OK to the friend request.

Shortly after that, they posted this on my timeline:

“Words mean things people…STOP hating with them. Sticks and stones…that’s a lie from the pit of hell. Thank u JESUS Christ for dieing for MY sins. 💕❤👣✌❤💖”

What? You asked to be my friend and within minutes you are telling me you don’t like my words and preaching at me? That’s pretty pushy. Maybe they befriend lots of people just so they can spread their message across Facebook.

I guess that’s what the unfriend button is for.

And one more point here, I’ll take you a lot more seriously if you are reasonably literate. “Thank u JESUS Christ for dieing for MY sins.” Please, don’t use those texting abbreviations, write in all-capitals, and misspell simple words like “dying.”


Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Internet


Tags: , ,

My Top Seller on Zazzle

My Top Seller on Zazzle

I’ve placed many of my photos on Zazzle products over the last three years. The results are mixed. Actually I have better luck promoting other folks’ designs than I do selling my own.

Lately I’ve been surprised by repeat sales of a wrapping paper I designed. It consists of a pattern of American flags running in stripes across the gift wrap.

Here's my popular gift wrap and some of the competition.

Here’s my popular gift wrap and some of the competition.

When I searched the site for my keywords, “patriotic gift wrap,” mine came up first in the site’s most popular list. Hurrah!

Here’s a better view of it:

I took the photo a few years ago in a Walmart where I noticed a cluster of small flags for sale. It’s a great design for wrapping gifts for someone in the military or for a special occasion gift on the 4th of July, Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day.

1 Comment

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Zazzle


Tags: ,

Themes for Gardens

Themes for Gardens

Lots of Ideas for Creating Themed Gardens

You want your yard to entice your family and friends to spend time outdoors. Different lifestyles and personal preferences need factored in when choosing a theme for your outdoor space.

Would you like a place to just relax after a long day at work or do you want to putter among the flowers? Either way is a great stress reliever, but one may appeal to you more than the other. Browse the themes below for garden ideas and see what inspires you. I’ll be adding more over the next few weeks, so check back often for new ideas.

  • How to Create a Persian Garden |
    The first pleasure gardens in Egypt and Persia were based on water and their long narrow canals ran in grid patterns, stemming from the idea of the four-square paradise garden.
  • How to Create a Japanese Garden |
    Water, plants, and stone are all needed to create a Japanese garden. Simplicity and harmony are the other two essentials.
  • How to Create an Old West Theme Garden |
    Create an Old West Theme garden for arid or poor soil areas. Old West gardens are wonderful for drought-prone regions with water limitations. With the right decorations and landscaping the garden…
  • Bali Garden
    This makes a lovely tropical garden. Check out this beautiful web page with tips for creating your own.
  • Create a Cottage GardenWho can resist the old-fashioned look of a cottage garden. You can have one in your own backyard with the tips provided here.

Choose a Historic Period Theme for the Garden

  • How to Create a Colonial Garden |
    American colonists were practical people. In a new land they made a fresh life. Their gardens fed the family and brought beauty into the home. Gardens held fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers….
Colonial garden in New Hampshire - Strawberry Banke.

Colonial garden in New Hampshire – Strawberry Banke. (photo by Virginia Allain)

Literary Garden Themes

  • How to Plant a Faulkner Garden |
    William Faulkner (1897-1962) was an American writer. His success came from his novels set in his native state of Mississippi.
  • How to Plant an Emily Dickinson Garden 
    Emily Dickinson was an American poet (1830-1886) born in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was a prolific private poet and wrote over 1700 poems though most were not published until after her death.
  • New England garden with a picket fence like Emily Dickinson would have had. (photo by Virginia Allain)

  • How to Plant a Steinbeck Garden |
    John Steinbeck (1902-1968) was born in Salinas, California. The award-winning American writer is famous for books such as “Tortilla Flat,” “Of Mice and Men” and “Grapes of Wrath.” His works were…
  • How to Plant a Shakespeare Garden |
    A Shakespeare garden features herbs, flowers, shrubs and trees found in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.
  • How to Plant a Robert Frost Garden |
    Robert Frost (1874-1963) was an American poet. His famous poems include “Mending Wall,” “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Bring the lyrical world of Robert Frost to your yard.

Read More about Theme Gardens

Design a Theme GardenThe English Country House GardenZen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno

Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Gardening



Writing for the A to Z Blog Challenge

Writing for the A to Z Blog Challenge
  • Last year was quite productive, so I signed up again for the A to Z Blog Challenge. Over 1500 bloggers participate in this challenge to write a new post daily following the alphabet. If you’re a blogger and haven’t tried a challenge, it’s a marvelous way to build a habit of writing.

It started April 1st, so my first effort was A Is for Aviatrix. It’s posted on my Discovering Mom blog where I write about my mother. I started that blog after her death as a tribute to her and to store my memories

On the 2nd day, I wrote B Is for Big Rocks. The blog gives me a place to share photos from the family album so my sisters and cousins can add them to their albums.

Day 3, the post was C Is for Company’s Coming. It’s an essay that Mom wrote that hadn’t been published before.

D is for Depression Era Cooking features another of Mom’s essays that I tracked down on the Wayback Machine. I’ve had fairly good success finding some of her articles previously published on eHow. Hopefully it finds a safe place online with the blog.

For Easter Sunday, I pulled out some of my 1950s memories and some of Mom’s 1930s stories to share in E is for Easter Memories.

A concern of mine matched up with an old article of Mom’s in F is for Fear of Falling. You don’t have to be old, as any age can benefit from her recommendations.

Did you know that there is such a thing as a ghost cat? Read about the one that lived with my parents in G Is for Ghost Cat – Little Cat and TC.

I worried about keeping up with the daily posts. My sister came to the rescue with this recipe and memory H is for Hash and Other Economies.

Here’s the 9th post for the challenge, I is for In-the-News. Check it out to see what Mom did that was newsworthy.

There’s more to come, so if you’d like to follow along, you can subscribe to the blog, Discovering Mom, or join her Facebook Fan Club where links are posted.

Here’s the rest of the alphabet:

1 Comment

Posted by on April 9, 2015 in gail lee martin, Writing


Tags: ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43 other followers