Sunday, April 24, 2016






A friend and neighbor on the beautiful Great Barrier Island, New Zealand has just won this award for her new novel!  It is available now from Amazon

Editorial Reviews


“In A Drop In The Ocean, protagonist Anna Fergusson learns that love is about letting go. Jenni Ogden takes us on a sweeping journey, rich with unique characters and places, moving backward and forward in time, to reach this poignant and heartfelt lesson.”

—Ann Hood, New York Times best-selling author of The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and The Obituary Writer

“This is a quietly majestic book, taking on quests for identity, for connection, for love, for self - always with dignity and with an impressive breadth of understanding. Like the turtles whose lives and habits are tracked in these pages, the characters at the heart of A Drop In The Ocean move gently but with enormous consequence. Here is a book to lose oneself in - and then share, enthusiastically, right away.”

—Robin Black, bestselling author of Life Drawing and Crash Course: 52 Essays From Where Writing and Life Collide

“Reading A Drop in the Ocean was everything a reading experience should be, endearing and enduring, time spent with characters who seem to be people I already knew.”

—Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times #1 best-selling author of The Deep End Of The Ocean, Oprah’s first bookclub choice

“A novel about turtles, the fragility of life, and the complexity of love, A Drop in the Ocean/i> will transport you to remote islands with its lyrical natural imagery. This is a story to savor, discuss, and share.”

—Barbara Claypole White, best-selling author of The Perfect Son

“Evocative and thought-provoking, A Drop In The Ocean is a story about belonging―and the ripples that can flow from the family we choose to the family that chooses us.”

—Anita Heiss, finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards and best-selling author of Tiddas and Manhattan Dreaming

“Jenni Ogden is a natural storyteller who writes characters to care about.”

—Nicky Pellegrino, author of One Summer in Venice

A Drop in the Ocean is about connection―between humans and between humans and the natural world. Jenni Ogden’s descriptions of life on a small island on the Great Barrier Reef, with its nesting turtles and exotic birds, sparkle like a brilliant sun on azure water. A Drop in the Ocean is a deeply affecting story of a woman’s journey to open up to love, life, and, most importantly, herself.”

—Céline Keating, author of Layla and Play for Me

“A Drop in the Ocean is a brilliantly written novel that readers won't easily forget. Life, love, and loss are strong themes that will lure readers back to this beautifully woven journey of second chances. Readers will laugh and cry and want to hug Anna Fergusson as the scenes unfold. But that's not all. Readers will be taken into the vivid imagery of the island and the turtles. A powerful read that I highly recommend.”

—Danielle Urban, 5 Star Readers' Favorite review

“Readers will enjoy this novel of second chances, not only at love but at life, reminiscent of Terry McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back.”


About the Author

Jenni Ogden grew up in a country town in the South Island of New Zealand, in a home bursting with books and music. Armed with NZ and Australian university degrees in zoology and psychology, she took up a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and worked with H.M., the most famous amnesiac in history, before returning to an academic position at Auckland University, where she immersed herself in clinical psychology and neuropsychology, as well as traveling extensively and writing about her patients’ moving stories in two books, Fractured Minds: A Case-Study Approach to Clinical Neuropsychology and Trouble In Mind: Stories from a Neuropsychologist’s Casebook. Ogden and her husband now live off-grid on a spectacular island off the coast of NZ, with winters spent traveling and at their second home in tropical Far North Queensland. Visit her at

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Create an Heirloom...A Chinese Antique

While shopping in San Francisco just before Christmas
we saw a lovely antique Chinese cabinet and since every room could use a little "Chinoiserie" I decided to tackle this project

I took photos and
thought I might try to make my own
"Chinese Antique"
 Last week my husband reminded me of an old cabinet we had in the garage and said it might be something to make into our "heirloom"
I immediately began stripping the chipping paint off the 
old chest.

and ended up with this:

I painted the body with a very small brush and acrylic paints using raw umber, red, black and burnt umber mixed with water.  I taped off a section for the inset and painted it

When I pulled the tape off some of the paint came with it and
"voilà" my prefect method for distressing

After painting the insert I added some Chinese peonies
and black trim.  I also distressed the top of the chest
and the sides for authenticity and
I rubbed some bee's wax from this year's honey harvest onto the chest and then buffed it for a little glow.

This project was quite easy and didn't take much time at all!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Aotea (Great Barrier Island) New Zealand


This is Maori for New Zealand or (Land of the Long White Cloud)


This is Maori for Great Barrier Island  (or Island of the White Cloud) which is off the coast of Auckland

Awana Bay

A most beautiful bay on Great Barrier Island.  We are fortunate to have a 
summer home here. Here is a view from across the bay. Our home is just to the right of the rock peak in this photo about 1/3 of the way down, just left of a group of other homes.  We cannot see another home from here!

Our thoughts are with all of the people who suffered in the recent 
earthquake in Christchurch, South Island and wish them strength as they rebuild their lives.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Maori Basket Weaving

Handmade Flax Laundry Basket

…while in Rome…!!!!  While on our annual vacation to New Zealand (my husband is a Kiwi, after all!) we saw a nice basket and decided to try our hand at basket weaving.  We viewed some Maori (indingenious people of NZ) techniques at the New Zealand National Library website and away we went!  Michael couldn’t wait and made a small basket mostly by himself for our kumara (New Zealand potatoes) and garlic and such.  It turned out pretty well, so yesterday we harvested some native flax from the driveway to make a laundry basket.

This is a native flax plant in our driveway

Material used:
20 flax leaves
Scissors for splitting the leaves

We started by making a base of 20 leaves that crisscrossed

Then we made four corners

Corners as seen from the top

Corner as seen from outside

All that’s left to do is weave the sides,

 finish the top and make braided handles!

This basket will dry to a nice tan color.  We learned a lot and can’t wait to try some other patterns and sizes.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day

...from our little hideaway in New Zealand
(where it's full on summer!)

View of Awana beach  (Great Barrier Island,  New Zealand) from our deck.


Monday, January 17, 2011

The Art of Gwynne Reid

It's an absolutely beautiful morning here in California. It's one of those days where it could be spring, it could be fall but it's the dead of winter.  I will enjoy it while it lasts!


My husband's family is very artistic.  Today I will introduce you to his 
daughter, Gwynne.  She is a very talented artist and her
artwork adorns our home.

We recently framed two of Gwynne's newest pieces that go well in our "French" style living
room.  I love Paris but don't normally care for Eiffel Tower pictures, statues or paintings but this is an exception.  It's just so whimsical I fell in love with it.

Gwynne brought this painting over while we were having a party.  A bidding war ensued and I won!  I also love the French style whimsy of this painting.

Gwynne was quite young when she painted this.  It's perfect in our dining room.

What a fun "chess board."  We also have an abstract black and white checker board of hers.

This sunflower is my drawing.  I did it about 15 years ago when I sketched non-stop for about 6 months.  I really would like to find time to draw again and perhaps learn to paint, too.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Pleated Pouch Presents

I found a great tutorial on pleated pouches at Skip to my Lou and decided to make a few small gifts.

I found the tutorial very good and learned about some of the pitfalls in making these.
I found that a 6" zipper worked better than the suggested 7".  It's also very important to line
up the front part of the pouch with the backside while installing the zipper.
This isn't very apparent at first but after my seam ripper got a workout I learned!
Ladybug Clutch
A cute ladybug button adorns this pouch.  My mother loved hers!

Elegant Clutch Tutorial
An elegant black and white one for my dear friend, Ady (made one of these for myself, too!)
Zippered Pouch.  Cat fabric.
My friend, neighbor, cat lover and cat sitter, Ollie got this one topped in beige.

Pleated Pouch Tutorial Post
My friend Phyllis (also a cat lover) go this one in pink.
They are useful for so many things that clutter up a purse.  A lipstick, jewelry, gum, pen, receipts.

two pink pleated pouches
 Two 'pretty in pink' ones for my daughter's darling nieces, Rain and Ayla.

Pleated Pouch with horse fabric and Pony Button Embellishment
   My niece, Ali loves horses.  Hope she likes the little pony button!

Elegant Burlap Bag in Black
Black Burlap Bag Tutorial.  Burlap Purse, learn how to make
And for my daughter's new mother-in-law a burlap bag.

I  MUST make one of these for ME!  I'm getting better at the burlap bag and have
found that iron on interfacing is a must for the body.  I've also learned how to feed interfacing into the straps after I've made and turned them making this bag much sturdier and easier to make.

I just made another burlap bag...white with yellow print lining.  It's shaped just like the black bag above.  Tutorial coming!


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