Easter

Easter
Lily in Autumn

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris
This is a story of Jack the Ripper with at Twist!

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name
This is the first of a trilogy retelling the true story of the infamous countess as a youn adult novel. History is not always what it seems.

Wild Horse Runs Free

Wild Horse Runs Free
A Historical Novel by Ellen Tsagaris

With Love From Tin Lizzie

With Love From Tin Lizzie
Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls and Automatons

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The Legend of Tugfest

The Legend of Tugfest
Dr. E is the Editor and A Contributor; proceeds to aid the Buffalo Bill Museum

Emma

Emma

Like My Spider

Like My Spider
It's Halloween!

Moth

Moth
Our Friend

Little Girl with Doll

Little Girl with Doll
16th C. Doll

A Jury of her Peeps

A Jury of her Peeps
"Peep Show" shadow box

Crowded Conditions

Crowded Conditions

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Opie Cat's Ancestors

Opie Cat's Ancestors
Current Cat still Sleeps on Victorian Doll Bed with Dolls!

First Thanksgiving Dinner

First Thanksgiving Dinner
Included goose and swan on the menu!

Autumn Still Life

Autumn Still Life
public domain

Boadicea

Boadicea
The Original Bodacious Woman

Angel Monument

Angel Monument

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Kiowa Doll

Kiowa Doll

Sketch of children playing

Sketch of children playing
Courtesy, British Museum

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Small Dolls, Clay and Cloth

Small Dolls, Clay and Cloth

A Goddess

A Goddess

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spider Webs

For the last two weeks, at least, a spider has been spinning her web between my front door and the door post. When I open the door each morning, I have to break the web with a wooden stick I keep handy just to get out. I also rescue from certain death small moths and the occasional shiny, amber colored beetle haplessly caught in the snares. It is very gossamer, and I was sure I had the repeat web because of all the rain and dampness. Yet, the last two days were clear, sunny and dry. It is just tenacity, and a feeling for home that keeps the spider coming back. Would she could read this; maybe she would choose the back door that isn't opened as often.

Recommended Read: Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Facebook, Everyday Food, and Bologneses

Today was finally the glorious, breezy, low humidity,low heat summer day we have all been craving. I used bits and pieces of twigs that looked like little trees and placed them among my flower pots. There are little chipmunks running hither and thither, but not hurting anything.

Miracle Gro dirt and good watering is making my modest garden thrive. The petunias glow in the early morning, and the basil has hot up overnight. I used it to cook a thai dish I saw on Everyday Food this weekend. I also used it my own spaghetti sauce and other dishes. Our tomatoes are majestic this year, and loaded with blossoms. I look forward to them and to our pumpkins.

Tonight, I made the EF recipe for bolognese sauce. Sauteed carrots, onions, spices, oregano, in olive oil, chicken broth, 1/4c milk, ground turkey, cabernet sauvignon, and dried vegetable flakes. I improvised a little, but it was wonderful. To the tomato paste I added a can of diced tomatoes with onions. It was excellent over angel hair pasta. I also made their round turkey meatloaf with cremini mushrooms and fontina cheese.

One night, I used my fish stock from the baked salmon, added a rue, frozen seafood mix, cabernet sauvignon, and about 1/4 jar Barilla vegerarian marinara. It was a great seafood bisque made from stock and leftovers!

My tip: An oldie but goodie; if you have plastic rings from coke cans, cut them up; this way, if they end up in a landfill, a bird looking for food won't strangle. Live well and Live green.

Till next time.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dr. E's is now on Facebook

Wish us luck; welcome to new followers on Twitter!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Tips and Cooking ideas

I love to put recipes together in the summer. There is a lot of variety everywhere, and it's fun to get out to farmers markets and out of town food coops and organic food stores. Sometimes one ingredient gives me a great idea. Tonight, I used some salmon filets I bought for $1 each frozen. I looked up a recipe online, which was free, relatively. I found a couple I liked, and printed them. I love cookbooks and collecting recipes, too. What I don't use right away, I put in albums, my "scrapbook" cookbooks, in recipe boxes, in our school cookbook. My students' club at school collects all kinds of recipes and craft ideas for cookbooks we give away as promotions or sell in silent auction theme baskets. My love affair with recipes goes hand in hand with my love of paper dolls, scrapbooks, and ephemera. I used to cut pictures of fancy food out of holiday catalogs featuring cheese logs and tortes. I glued them to round paper plates made from white paper I recycled as doll food. My mom cut food and fruits from the grocery ads to use as flash cards in Spanish class. These were economical, useful, and thrifty. They saved money and paper and were fun to make. Soon, I graduated to looking for recipes to use for my home ec recipe box, decoupaged with the same photos I liked to use for doll food. I also got ideas to make miniature doll house food and dishes from playdough from these magazines and catalogs. My mom saved me recipes from Pari Match and the Spanish Telva, which are just great, and help you practice foreign language skills. I kept these, too, and my favorite cook book is the big, unwieldy scrapbook of recipes from my mom, grandma, aunts, friends, and my own Spanish teacher.

Tonight, I baked the fish in a broth of 7 oz. dried Italian dressing mix, water, and lemon juice. I added onions and chopped, fresh cilantro that I kept as a bouquet in a glass in the fridge. I sliced up what was left of the organic lemon I bought on Tuesday, and which I used for three meals total. I baked the salmon in it for thirty minutes. It was really good,and mild but flavorful.

For tomorrow night, I took a fifty cent sopa de fideo [Mexican angel hair soup mix] and prepared it with four cups of water as directed. Before I added water and the mix, I sauted chopped onion and chopped fresh cilantro in two tablesppons real butter and a teaspoon of olive oil. I added the soup mix and water, and let it boil rapidly. Then I added marrow bones and let them cook, and then reduced everything to a simmer. I finally added some pre-cooked organic rotelli pasta. The onion I bought for less than fifty cents gave me ingredients for three dishes, and the soup and bones with the onion and other things I had on hand cost around $3.00 for fourservings.

Dessert was fun, too. I made Gothic berry parfaits with fresh blackberries that were on sale at our local Target super market. I layered organic blueberry, sweetened plain Greek organic yogurt, and berries in alternating layers. I topped the parfaits with whipped topping. The garnish was a sprinkle of sugar, topped with pomegranite flavored dried cranberry. I used our red plastic skull goblets, Halloween favorites that I just had to take out. The meal was fun and easy.

I find that I can use what is in the fridge or pantry and add a few basic ingredients as needed. To save time, I've made sandwich loaf with fresh tuna and egg salad from the local deli, and used whipped cream cheese to frost my bread. My family loves it. I saved the broth from the fish, which also had mushrooms; I'm going to try to make a seafood bisque or cioppino of sorts with it. The good things is you can make these dishes as expensive or inexpensive as you like by visiting local stores and seeing what is on sale. Also, note that most frozen seafood has not been affected by the Gulf disaster, and also canned or jarred fish works well.

I have also been cleaning at work, and donating books to our school library, recycling paper, recycling paper clips, notebooks, even postit notes. I'm famous for these, and keep them in three ring spiral notebooks according to topic, labelled and dated if I take them out of books. They are instant flash cards.

Outside, I am battling raccoons and other critters who come at night, dig in pots, unpot my plants, remove the miniatures from my terrarium scenes, and scatter my potting soil. The dried blood is apparently like a seasoning for them. The nerve. My pumpkins, in three locations, are coming up,and one is a wild plant. I get great satisfaction out of making pumpkin soup from them, just as I will make pasta sauce with our tomatoes when they are ready.

Finally, my last green tip tonight is to encourage everyone to find time to read, to visit the library or a library sale, to sew, knit, craft, paint, walk, write music or do whatever it is that is free for you, but that comprises free time and quiet time. The storms have passed for now, the humidity is down, and it is peaceful. I wish you all joy and above all, peace, till next time.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Flowers and Tips

I love flowers; I could wax absolutely silly over orchids, and hollyhocks and pansies. I have been fussing with my pots, especially since the racoon wars of the past week. I planted by basil in the pot with my midnight bells; they critters don't seem to like the basil. Of course, if planted in the ground,it infuses its flavors with tomatoes planted near it.

My tip is that a large, stainless steel tablespoon makes an excellent mini shovel or trowel for planting. I also find combing plants of various types in big pots isnot only economical, but also makes them heartier.

Our volunteer pumpkins, cinderella variety, are coming again, as our the newly planted varieties and the older patch has reseeded itself. My tip for reseeding isto empty pots into the ground in the fall; violas and pansies tend to reseed themselves.

Our piano teacher, who loves plants, too, passed on another good idea. She rinses all types of plastic containers well, and also cuts milk cartons in too to start seeedlings. This way, you can recycle, and save a little money. I also like to take boxes of wildflower seeds,even the dollar variety Walgreens sells, and scatter them in our ravine and all over the yard. I get all kinds of blue bells, and small pink hyacinth type blooms.

I was also thinking it would be fun for young kids to put together flower scrapbooks,photos of their gardens, sketches they draw, Internet pictures of their favorite exotic plants, and some dried examples all make for an excellent botanists journal, but also serve as inspiration for future art projects. Enjoy the solstice; more and more,sunlight is important to me as I age. Follow us on Twitter, and welcome to new followers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Double Welcome

Welcome to Uneek Designs, who creates in the true spirit of greening by using natural materials and original ideas. I, too, love all frogs, and toads. It is a legacy from my mother that we have all things frog. My terrariums are recovering from attach of the rogue racoons. They even lifted out a miniature ceramic tree house and set it firmly on the ground upright. Then, they dug under all the tiny things, the baskets, and benches, and little figures, the plants, and twigs made from branches, the adirondack chair that was an anniversary present from my sweet husband. So, I sounded retreat, and gathered the little things, and put in flowers instead, some lovely "midnight bells," which they proceeded to dig up the next morning. All this on a semi-covered deck attached to our house.

I did plant Swedish maples in the ravine, and am gathering coffee grounds to fertilize the other plants. And, our local ag extension office was correct; the critters did not go near by basil plant; they don't like the smell. I tried scattering dried blood, but I think the Racoon's think it's seasoning or something. Even the cat in residence does not sway our local wildlife. We are near a busy street,but have eagles,and a fox, a coyote, all kinds of rabbits, and squirrels. I feel as though I'm in the middle of Dr. Doolittle some days after weird wildlife enounters. I love animals, but they get their own terrariums.

Then again, nature is at its best, and the cat tails sway majestically, and there are purple bulbs on the chives planted in my ditch, and my pumpkins are thriving, some coming up wild. Our river is mangificent at this point, and it has inspired me to poetry that I entered in local contest. We'll see what happens. Happy Midsummer and Solstice from my pink netbook!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Anne Rice

Now following author Anne Rice on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Countdown to Birthdays and Paper Dolls

Catch my other blog for paper doll chats. Love The Paper Soldier and Marilee's Paper Doll Page, and The Toymaker. Also love Margaret Grace and Monica Ferris for their patterns and miniature craft tips. These are great recycling ideas. Paper dolls are a great way to conserve paper, and also to recycle tiny scraps and old wrapping paper. They make great holiday ornaments and also are great scrapbook embellishments.

Those really crafty and patient can make their own paper. This is a great green project for schools, and is very popular at a school in Carbondale. I used to love the Christmas Craft fairs there. Art from found objects, Assemblage, and Collage, are green by their very nature. They teach you to use what to have, and to conserve.

Happy Greening, and follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gulf Updates

Today, on our 4th wedding anniversary [traditional gift plants and flowers!], the Gulf horrors continue. I am sorry for the people hurt, involved, for the animals, for the earth, as are millions around the world. Would that we could avoid making this tragedy a political issue, and that we could understand why these industries are labelled inherently dangerous activities in the first place. I also can't help but think of all the people whose jobs will be lost or severely effected by this terrible accident. To all, God speed.

Here, our gardens try to grow and thrive, and I've disocvered that our pumpkins are growing,on our hilltop this time, and very well. I love to see the vines spilling over and down the hill, and our strawberries, planted a year ago, have really taken off. A good tip; make your own scarecrow, and review the history of scarecrow with your kids. You could have a whole festival, creating fantastic examples with themes. Also, these figures are a wonderful way to use old newspapers [stuffing], and to recycle old rags and clothes.

I dried and harvested some mint last week for cooking and pot pouri, and love to crumble the leaves. I've found that adding some to pot pouri that I've saved, along with a drop of my favorite perfume or essential oils, works great. I had acquaintances at craft fairs who made wonderful things like this with soap flakes, and dried flowers and petals. I've always loved drying bouquets and pressing flowers; I recommended it for any child in love with nature and crafts.

I began spring cleaning in earnest last week, and discovered new uses for containers I could recycle for the gift baskets we put together at school. I've always loved using pretty remnants of wrapping paper as collage, to cover boxes to hide little bits of useful clutter, even for writing paper.

For those who have earned a lazy afternoon in the cool shade swaying in a porch swing or a hammock, I recommend writings by James Herriot, Annie Dillard, Henry David Thoreau, or John Muir. Also, for those who truly love Mother Earth, read her myths and origins. Edith Hamilton's books on mythology are an inspiration, and I am never tired of them.

As we approach the Summer Solstice, and of course, Midsummer, it may be time to reread Shakespeare's marvelous play, or to take nature walks, down a path, or along a river. The flowers seem to glow this time of year, and the bees are out in all their glory.

For those who paint, or just want to learn how, this is a great time to get out your watercolors and paper pads.

A seed scattered here and there could do wonders for a humble landscape, and simple rock garden, arranged simply but tastefully, can give a child hours and hours of pleasure. With that in mind, I recommend again two of my favorite books that woo nature amid their pages. These are The Secret Garden, and Wuthering Heights.

Till next time; would love to hear comments.