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

Follow by Email

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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Monday, September 27, 2010

Reusable Usables

For all who love to go green and to recyle, here is a site for you; http://www.reusableusables.org/blog/view/166/new_arrivals/?b=1&blog=101&blogid=166&err=-2. It belongs to Reusable Usables, and it is the brainchild of a school mate of mine! She has done wonders with materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Everything is donated, and superclean. There are art materials, art works, classes, inspiration for all, and a childrens art studio. The whole place is set up in a wonderful old 1860s house overlooking a great river.

Visit the site, check out the slide show. Those of us who love art from found objects must go. All materials are free; there is merely a donation/deposit policy, much like you would pay to join a library.

Happy art and happy recycling.

Also, check out Dr. E's Doll Museum, wwwwdollmuseum.blogspot

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tortilla Vegetable Soup

It was one of those nights; I thought I would get home in time to make deviled eggs, but was delayed by a thunderstorm. At least it wasn't 85 degrees on the first day of Fall, but it was dark, and windy, and rainy. I thunderbolt that struck and took the shape of a fork reminded me that I was cooking tonight. So, I improvised. I took a can of Select Harvest chicken tortilla soup, bought on sale for $1.00, and added a can of Campbell's chicken noodle, still one of my favorites, bought on sale for $.50. Of course, any brands will do, not to steal from Mr. Food's thunder. I added half a can of water, and one container, about 4 cups, of my homemade tomato sauce, described in earlier blogs. Readers may remember I used my own tomatoes in this. I threw in a pinch of herbs de Provence, and some frozen vegetable blend, broccoli and pea pods, mainly. I let it boil, then simmer, then boil again, all together, about one half hour. It was very good. You could have added some salt, but I try to take it easy. It is canned, soup, after all, and has its share of sodium.

I graded smoked gouda to sprinkle on top.

Then, I sort of poached a piece of eye of round in an aujus gravy mix, with more herbs de Provence, and a little sale. Appetizer/salad was more sliced, homegrown tomatoes, some crumbled feta cheese, and wild caught, California canned sardines packed in olive oil and lemon. There were tiny slices of lemon packed with them, and they were very good.

I was even out of cat food; Mr. Opie had some wild caught salmon, packed in an envelope. But, everyone ate, and dinner was easy to pick up, and fairly healthy. Usually, I skip the meat, but we had to cook this steak, or freeze it.

It was a blustery day, in some ways. My friend next door gave me some xenias big as pompoms, and I mixed them with my marigolds and a few striped impatiens to take to school. She also had some painted daisies, and it was lovely.

Welcome to all who follow me on Twitter; I love to follow and read/tweet in return. Happy First Day of Fall. I am gearing up for my beloved Halloween, and for Thanksgiving. Blessed be, and may this be a good autumn for all of us.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Recycle and Renew

We have been sharing the last of our summer vegetables at work. I used some gifted tomatoes last night in a new twist on vegetarian lasagna. I used the recipe on the Barilla no boil noodles, but did not add meat. Instead, I picked fresh basil, sliced homegrown tomatoes, and red pepper. I laid them in between the layers of cheese mixture and sauce, and baked as directed, about 45 mins. I also blended Mexican shredded cheese, Greek Mdzithra from a local coop, parmesan from a family cheese factory in Wisconsin, and ricotta. It was excellent, and the vegetables really added flavor. I'd like to try it with egg plant, or mushrooms, portabellas, cooked carrots, fresh green beans. I was very "how Martha are you?" last night. Besides the lasagna, I made brownies, albeit from a mix, but it was the economical dollar mix I picked up as a special at Walgreens. Very good, and lots of brownies. I also baked croissants, and pigs-in-blankets for my boys from what we had on hand in the fridge.

My cat just tried to blog, and marked my netbook with his teeth; I guess he is now a literati. Have been recycling books and other small objects among my kids at school, and also to some schools in AZ. We've also built our holiday baskets from crafts and gently used objects, and couple of handmade cookbooks and book guides.

With the holidays on hand, perhaps handmade is best. Times are still tough for many, and lots of craft patterns and magazines with ideas abound,not just retial, but also at library sales, often for ten cents or less, or even free. I have a friend who loves all kinds of magazines, as do I. Her favorite gift is a collection I've gathered and sent book rate, no less. She loves the antique newsletters and newspapers that go out free at various shows.

Now is a great time to think about what you do well; do you draw,sew, needlepoint? Is there a crafter on your list? I love to put kits together for my friends who craft and collect, often from extras left from my own projects. I decorate a box, or make a pretty basket, add some candy, or a packet of flavored cocoa, or tea, and a pretty bow. I miss my friend Park, who made gorgeous gift bows to top our baskets with. She was quite an artist. But, anyone can tie a fancy knot, and string beads, or baubles on it.

Another friend loves vintage Christmas glass balls, "kugels," and I find them for her at many thrift stores and yard sales. The holidays are about remembrance and giving, not ostenatation and bankruptcy. My holidays were about decorating, and baking my mom's recipes, and making cards and handmade gifts. I pass on the idea to you.

Also, in this season of Roshashanna and Yom Kippur, Happy New Year to my friends, Ida, Howard, and Lori. More tips next time, but look up Hints from Heloise when you can. I loved that column. And as a foil, read some Erma Bombeck. It certainly won't hurt!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dolls from Found Objects

Lest I forget, I'd like to acknowledge my friend and colleague at Uneek Designs, who uses clothes pins and wood to create amazing figures of literary and historical figures. Find her on ETSY. I also honor those who made dolls and other items from soap, and beeswax. I remember using candle making kits, and bunson burners, to create all kinds of little creatures. I even used soap flakes compressed together once to make a baby doll, and beer bottles were my favorites for making Victorian dolls with elaborate hankie skirts.

Am trying to reseed my annuals; I've had luck with them coming up again as volunteer plants. One of the simple pleasures I have is to pick flowers, even colorful flowering "weeds' from my garden, and them to arrange them in a faux glass vase on my desk at work. I mix fern, and holly, marigolds, hydrangea, daisies, whatever is in season. They make lovely bouquets, and give me something nice to look at, away from the computer screen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Orchids and Trauma

I have a few issues with my Orchid, but I am grateful to have a moment to blog. The petals have fallen, and the base and soil seemed dry. I was watering carefully once a week, and am careful to keep the soil, and planting compound damp, but it somehow dried up. This is not good. I'm hold they come back, but I don't know. Any tips? Anyone out there with ideas?

We gathered a huge stash of chip bags and wrappers for Terracycle. They are making waste paper baskets out of the larger chip bags, and purses from smaller items. Very clever. My entire class is helping me at school with this project. This would be a good family recyling adventure.

I also made a train for a centerpiece for an upcoming community event, the Fahrnum dinner, celebrating trains. I used a glass sauce jar, fast food coffee cup lids, pill boxes, plastic shot glasses, etc. I got a few compliments on it when I delivered it to the decorating committee.

Art from found objects is a great way to conserve and recycle. Nothing goes to waste; it is inexpensive, clever, and stays out of the landfill. I enjoy making dolls this way, and have created them from folded magazines and folded newspapers, the kind the paperboys and girls through. We also used shredded newspaper for papier mache and for shredding to pack breakables.

At one of our Earth Day celebrations, we recently had a fashion show with clothing made of old plastic bottles, legal briefs [yes, the paper kind made into cloth], old garbage bags, tin cans, you name it. There are also great walking shoes made from old tires. You never know what we can use; it only takes a little imagination.

I plan on re-blogging many of my greening tips, now that Ecospree is following us on Twitter. Welcome and Thank You!! Now is a good time to begin eyeing one's favorite fall trees. The leaves are beginning to turn, and the cool nights are helping. I like to pinpoint the best colors, and then drive, or better, walk and bike around to enjoy them. I've picked up leaves my whole life, and pressed them between books. I have heavy, leather bound books on animals, and encyclopedias, which give me double pleasure. I love to browse them, and also to carefully unfold the absorbent towels between their pages to look at the still lovely, fragile specimens there. They remind me of school, when in kindergarten we maid leave imprints with gold and silver paints. I remember using evergreen branches for this, and being entranced. My collage days really began with the flowers and leaves I pressed, and still like to press, between pages of wax paper. I think this year I will make these again as Christmas gifts. I use a cool iron, and avoid goldenrod. They are beautiful, but deadly to me and anyone else with allergies. I am paraphrasing, but am reminded of "fern leaves from Fanny's portfolio," poems by Felicia Hemans and others, that Walt Whitman liked to parody in Leaves of Grass with "O Captain, my Captain!" Yet, the poems he made fun of were lovely, and even his parody was good. It was my mother's favorite, and I plan to read it in her memory October 8th at the reading in honor of my college literary magazine.

Well, such is life. More later, and there will be more recipes, and greening tips. Also, I'm doing terrariums again, and using found materials and twigs as shrubbery and structures. This is an economical way to create a little magic. Our first grade friend across the street, a little girl named Eva, is just crazy about helping me with these.

I love fall, and the blend of leaves and candy apples in the air. I don't even mind the smell of burning leaves, but these are not ecofriendly at all, not to us with asthma.

Another gift I will make his holiday season is a series of wreathes made from dried roses. My good friend and neighbor brought me an entire box. I enjoy decorating with natural objects, especially pumpkins and gourds. Many can serve as food later, and I often leave some out for our wild animals, which include a fox, a ground hog, many squirrels with real attitude, possum, chipmonks [all called Alvin, of course], and even a coyote,though I keep my distance from him. We also have families of racoons, not my favorites, but I respect them, and they respect me.

I wish a cool, crisp fall, if only in theory, to all who both rejoice, and mourn the return of Persephone to Hades.

Monday, September 13, 2010

On the Fringe of Fall

It's in the air, no doubt about it. There are leaves turning, and the last of our tomatoes ripening ruby red. Butterflies are a flurry; they seem to be frantic, and are not afraid to flyin one's face. But, I don't mind. After all, they are monarchs. Saved a very small yellow butterfly, with orange markings and black spots. I'm reminded of the black spider with a yellow spot we spied building her web on our school's fence. We were seven, and my friend Sharon and I named her Charlotte, and watched her everyday. I used to keep pet caterpillars and grasshoppers then, but only for a day. I made lovley glass houses for them, lined in leaves, with a twig to rest on, and little pillboxes of water for them to drink, if drink they did. I also kept holes in the lids, so they could breathe. Then, after a few hours, I let them go, carefully, where no one would squash them or bother them.

I get more and more squeamish and reluctant to step on insects, or to kill them. Pests they may be, I know, but they are miraculous little animals all the same. And, they are beautiful, and their lives are short enough without me blundering on them. Maybe we should all read/reread Charlotte's Web and watch A Bug's Life!