Lily in Autumn

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Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris
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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

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With Love From Tin Lizzie
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween; it is my favorite night of the year! We were low key this year, but we did get out our graveyards and pumpkins. A scarecrow or two graced our old, oak, orange chairs, and I found gourds painted in iridescent colors at our local flower shop. They are gorgeous in a clear glass cylinder.

We were at a great party, and most people had recyled or made their own costumes. There was a great Purple People Eater with a horn, and a plate with "baby doll" parts, and my friend dressed as Robin Hood in a great costume from our neighborhood good will. I came as The Black Dahlia, with a black dahlia head banband, and ghastly make up using my own cosmetics, baby powder, and a few $1.99 supplements from Walgreens close by. Most of our decorations and the food was homemade and local. We were pretty much a Green Halloween neighborhood.

My sweet husband helped to bake cookies, and our little guy helped with our local haunted back yard. We had a bonfire, and lots of candy, and the air was very crisp and cool. Our kitty, almost black, is asleep on his favorite orange rug. Decor is everything. My sweet friend played Great pumpkin and left me a black, glittery pumpkin, and a great green teapot with a bunch of her beautiful mums. Notice I didn't try to spell the word!

I played great pumpkin for a friend's birthday. Our neighborhood grocery store hand painted pumpkinjs. I bought several sprayed silver and other colors, and decorated. I left one on his doorstep as a Halloween birthday gift.

I was happy that much of our shopping and activities were locally based. We ate a great lunch at a local restaurant and visited local museums and stamp shows. Fall is under swing, and tomorrow is El Dia de Muertos. I made sugar skull for one of the culture classes in which se study El Dia de Muertos or Day of the dead using an easy recipe found on about.com. Do a Dia de Muertos search. I add some cake flower to the egg and sugar mixture to give it some form. I molded mine by hand and decorated them with tubes of frosting. They tasted good, but also kept as souvenirs for those who wanted them.

Have a wonderful evening. Till next time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Boadicia and Samhain

As we approach Samhain, and I teach the holiday again, I think of my other love, the doll museum, and the dolls of famous women in the collection. Here is a sister post from that blog. Happy fall.It's been a good haul for the museum again. We found our first Porcelain Marie Osmond doll, and a very nice Boyd's doll, and of course, a porcelain Adora Belle. Then, never seen before, a hard plastic, mechanical CPK and a mechancial Bratz girl joined the family. We alsol found an all brass dancer from India, arms outstretched, and a small figural bell, also from India, with a Bridegroom figure on top. Many procelain costume dolls and clowns, a few foreign dolls, some plush characters and another bear or two have also found their way to the hallowed halls of Dr. E's Doll Museum.

We will be setting up exhibits in a sister museum of nutcrackers and German dolls and characters, as well as a later display of Barbie, Lili, and friends.

In the spring, we will have a travelling show of dolls representing historical women. Today, my doll of Boudicca, from our friends at Uneek Designs comes to mind. Such a perfect miniature, and of one of my favorite all time historical women. She will be part of the show for sure. The graphic of her is one of my favorites, another strong warrior woman, mother, leader, soldier, full of courage, brave so that even her enemies write of her with admiration. Isn't thathat the way to go?

Autumn is a good time for historical women dolls. There are female ghosts, and Prisilla Aldens, and Pochohontas dolls of all types. There are Erzebeth Bathory's and Brides of the Monster, Elvira, witches, especially the famous
Titutbas and others from Salem. There is Evangeline, and the Cornhusk doll with her apple head and gourd sisters, the ephemeral and eclectic Jaqueline O'Lantern and her fmaily, the Dried Fruit sisters, the dolls of famous maker made by other famous women, my penpal Suzanne Gibson, the late Ann Parker, The Grand Dames, Ruth Handler, Madame Alexander, Miss Elsa, Dame Peggy Nisbet, and Miss Walker, Miss Chase, and Miss Ginny Graves. So many, including Sister Innocentia, and Madame Lenci, Fraulein Steiff, the elusive Marjorie Spangler and Christmas Christina. We love them all. We love the corncob dolls of Laura and Mary, Miss Hickory and Hitty, The Doll of Lilac Valley, Sethany and Nicey, and all of them.

Happy Fall, and Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Violets in October

Violets in October

I was walking to my in-laws the other day with my twelve-year-old son. Always look down and up, I say, or you miss a lot. In late October, there were violets growing and blooming along the sidewalk. They are usually gone shortly after May; in fact, I used to populate my early May baskets with all color and kind of violet, and tried many methods of preserving them. Seeing them this late in Autumn, all glorious purple in symphony with the red and gold leaves surrounding them on the ground made me uncommonly happy. One of my best friends in the world was named Violet Ellen, no coincidence, I think. Just the other day I took out a bunch of purple silk violets attached to a brooch to wear. Something told me they were autumnal yet, and Mother Nature proved me right.

One never knows where inspiration will come. My unlikely muse appeared this morning when I was watching one of my favorite shows, Sunday Morning. Keith Richards talked about his life, and his phenomenal immune system and strong constitution. Well, I supposed he would have to have one like that! He began to talk about his lemon tree and gardens, and it turns out that he was “always planting something.” I found that inspirational, and it made his music mean more to me. Such a simple act, so fundamental and basic as planting to promote life, keeps people going and ties them together no matter who they are or what they do in life. He, too, is an artist, and a craftsman, and a citizen of the world.

I dedicate this blog to my dear friend Francesca and her new husband Tracy. They are a beautiful couple, and I’m very happy for them. We, too, are now autumnal, but we continue to bloom as though we are in eternal spring.

My idea for the day is the Holiday cake. I’ll start with Halloween, and move on to Winter, Christmas, even Valentine’s day [the latter is not my favorite holiday, but I love the color and trappings, the Valentines themselves, and the story of the Saint who gave the holiday its name].

For a Halloween cake, which I’m sure you’ve seen in cooking mags, and in Better Homes and Gardens and Good Housekeeping, start with a cake mix, usually chocolate or devils food, or use your own home made cake. Then, use a dark fudge, chocolate, or smooth creamy frosting. My husband makes fantastic frosting from scratch, but for “art projects” like this, I like canned, Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines, or your store’s brand, which can save money. Look for sales.

For other ingredients, small gummi worms and bugs, any candy bugs or monsters, marshmallows, large, Lorna Doones, Pepperidge Farm Chessman, other squarish cookies like Vienna fingers, or even chocolate covered grahams or Fig Newtons, candy sprinkles in Halloween colors, food coloring, tubes of icing, cake decorations for Halloween, candy pumpkins, pretzels to make fences, etc. Finally, chocolate wafer cookies are needed in large quantities. You will crumble them, to make “dirt.” Think old-fashioned graveyard, ghosts, and tombstones. My miniaturist friends and muses like Margaret Grace and Deb Baker, and the late Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Thorne would excel at this type of culinary activity. Martha Stewart would have a few ideas, too.

Bake the cake in a large square or rectangular pan. Glass works, and so do large, somewhat deeper cooking sheets, the kind used to make the layers of Yule log. You’ve seen them on Julia Child and Jacques Pepin TV shows. Bake according to recipe or directions. I leave the cake in the pan. Let cool. Ice with the dark chocolate frosting.

The, let the frosting set a little bit, and the fun begins!

You can use a photo or drawing of an old graveyard, or maybe you have a picture of a graveyard cake. Arrange cookies like tombstones. You can write names on them with the icing tubes. Crumble the cookies and scatter over the frosting to make the dirt. Create small fences, and maybe even a tomb or sarcophagus with the square cookies. You can get creative and slice gumdrops for shingles or use candy corn or candy rocks here and there to make paths and ruins and stone benches. If you are artistic, you can make Marzipan figures and ghosts, especially for the tops of sarcophagi. Talk to your friends who make gingerbread houses and terrariums. Make ghosts by spearing or “impaling” [a nod to Vlad Tepes!] two large marshmallows together. Arrange candy pumpkins in a pumpkin patch, and scatter gummi worms and monsters. You could also use plastic and porcelain cake decorations, like the kind I buy made in France, originally made for New Years bread and cakes. Voila! Display. This is a great project for the Blue and Gold banquet the boy scouts have, because there is always a cake contest.

If you want a vampire cake, use red velvet cake as the base and go whiled. You could go very Goth with it if you like.

For Thanksgiving, there are tiny turkeys and pilgrims, or you can make them of candy or Marzipan. Use food coloring to tint cocoanut to make “hay” to scatter and use pretzels to build cabins or make fences. There are a lot of Native American art miniatures and little tables and pots and pans to create the first Thanksgiving dinner. These can also be made of nontoxic bread dough clay, recipes on the net, or of marzipan. Think Thanksgiving colors, if you can make little flowers, do it, also, large bubble gum balls with some frosting or slivered almonds attached as “feathers” make good turkeys.

For Christmas, you could use any cake for a base, as you really could for Halloween, since the frosting will cover it, but I think that a red velvet cake with white frosting would be great for Christmas or Valentine’s day, even 4th of July depending on how you decorate it. Follow same baking, cooling, frosting directions as above for Halloween cake.

For Christmas scenes, you can build graham cracker or tiny gingerbread houses, or use decorations like tiny bisque light up houses, great with an led candle inside, candy canes to build and make fences, [think Candy Cane lane], Dept. 56 or Lemax figures and miniatures to populate the top of the cake, mirrors or foil for little skating ponds, edible silver and gold dragee decorations, marshmallow and toothpick snow men with licorice gumdrops hats, all sorts of Christmas candy, doilies, or vintage cardboard houses. Get some old Wilton cake decorating books, and if you are a lucky collector, Dennison crepe paper idea books to peruse.

For Valentine’s day, you can decorate with pink icing, tiny cake decorations, you can make stand up heart people with cake decorations or gingerbread magic. Also, tiny cherubs and miniature marble columns made for wedding cakes, pink bridesmaid or Quincenera statutes, tiny Polly pockets in pink, etc, would make great toppers for a Valentine’s cake as well. There are still candy Kewpies made and sold this time of year, as well as the great classic conversation hearts, which would make great pebbles for pathways or shingles. Again, if you are good with marzipan, go for it.

For St. Patrick’s day, try a white cake colored with lime yellow or green food coloring. You could also tint icing green. Make a miniature Irish cottage out of graham crackers or gingerbread, and use the gold, green, and orange colors of St. Pat’s. You can find all kinds of miniatures There are tiny pots of cold, and these could be made as well with a chocolate dessert cup filled with gold jelly beans of dragees.

For Easter, use any yellow, white, or pink cake, or use food coloring. Tint frosting yellow or maybe lavender, and use the bisque light up houses and figures sold at Walgreen’s and dollar stores for Easter, or make your own as described above. Miniature Royal Doulton bunnies are great additions to this type of cake decoration, or make bunnies of marshmallows and candies. Plastic and candy eggs abound to inspire you, as do miniature chocolate rabbits. You could use Easter grass, or use cocoanut. There are tiny baskets in craft stores and wooden ornaments, and even miniature Easter trees you could use.

For the 4th of July, use the red velvet cake, and white frosting, and look for Dept. 56 4th figures, miniatures of Uncle Sam, red, white, and blue Jelly Bellies and berries, make houses as described above, use marshmallows and tiny American flags.

These cakes have become great family traditions, for us. You could adapt the decorating ideas to cupcakes, or smaller loaf cakes, and they are great hostess gifts or pot luck contributions. They are also good centerpieces. You can make them as complicated or simple as you like, and they are creative and can involve the whole family.

Other Holiday gift ideas for an handmade, thoughtful, but cost-effective holiday:

1. Cut pictures from old cards to use as collage for new ones. Punch a whole in them and use pretty colored yarn or ribbons to make a garland or individual ornaments. They are also great to cut out as paper dolls, or to decorate gift wrap.
2. For gift wrap, invest in some plain newsprint, which you can buy at Office Supply Stores like Staples or Office Max, and decorate with No. 1. Or, use newspaper, B and W or the colorful funny pages and comics. Plain brown paper decorated with dried flowers, bittersweet, holly, or evergreens is great. Even fake florists picks work, and all the big craft stores have huge varieties already on sale. Watch pets if you want to use the bittersweet and holly. The plain brown paper idea is also very Victorian. Aluminum foil or Mylar paper is great, old wallpaper samples, and craft paper of all types. Brown bags, either cut up, or used as decorated gift bags work, too. Colorful or plain cellophane tied with pretty ribbons, especially silk, which can be recycled, are pretty. I like to use lace as well. If you are giving a large piece of linen or a towel, use it as a gift wrap and tie it all up with twine, raffia, or ribbon. Save little toys and tiny ornaments to decorate packages. Costume jewelry and beads work well, as do holly leaves and tried twigs glued on to look like winter trees. I also like to make snowmen from cotton balls, a trick my mom showed me, and glue them on the package. There are oodles of ideas for hiding gifts, or wrapping tiny packages within huge boxes to throw off the scent, as it were. I also love gift baskets, and use all sorts of containers, especially pretty boxes or vintage tins. You can also decoupage or spray paint what you want.
3. Along the same lines, if there is a crafter in your family, go through your art/craft supplies, and create a craft box or basket for them. I include pages from magazines I like to cut up and use, Victorian scraps, glue sticks, safety scissors, buttons, material swatches, little jars of beads and clay, small watercolor sets, colored pens and pencils, mini notepads, little sewing kits, pins, and needles, pincushions, you name it. Most of these are things I have, or they are supplemented from the dollar store. Etsy is also a good source for finding kits of these materials reasonably.
4. Christmas ornaments with a lovely note or card are great office and hostess gifts. Great Hanukkah gifts are gold chocolate coins in boxes wrapped in blue Mylar paper. Go to Marilyn Waters’ The Toy Maker site, just Google it. She has dozens of free printouts and projects for holidays, including easy boxes and favors for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, you name it. There are other sites for creating paper toys, cards, and book marks for Day of the Dead, Purim, Ramadan, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Waters also has plans for Halloween houses and toy theaters, as well as games and paper dolls, all in color, all printable.
5. Select your favorite poems, write them, select images, and make a scrapbook for the holidays. There are many images in public domain and clip art you can use. Also, there are old magazine images and dozens of ideas from scrapbook stores or sites. You can include recipes, or compile a cookbook, use family photos, etc. You can also make calendars, albums or date books. Kids love to do it, and it is a great alternative to the “Christmas Letter.”
6. Go to the dollar store, flea market, or craft store, and look for sales like mad. For about ten dollars, you can build a theme stocking or basket for a child or teen. You can put together Nativities for older recipients, a neat purse with cosmetics or toiletries, a roasting pot with cooking utensils and mixes, a bucket with car-wash and car care paraphernalia, etc.
7. Vintage books, or dollar store books, stacked and tied with a pretty ribbon, also sold by the spool in craft stores and dollar stores, are wonderful for those of us who love to read. They make great office gifts and contributions to silent auctions. Check out Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Walden, they are having more book and card sales than ever.
8. Bake, and package attractively as described above. Most of my gifts will be baked goods this year, made from my Mom and Grandmother’s recipes. When I cook from their handwritten, hand compiled recipes, I feel like they are standing next to me, telling me what to do.
9. Knitters and cricketers, do I have to say more? Get moving! Yarn is on sale everywhere, the dollar store has great deals. You can do simple book marks for small gifts or stocking stuffers, edge hankies or doilies, you name it. So, “Stitch and Bitch!” You can combine knitting/crochet get-togethers with holiday parties, pot lucks, or tree trimming. Kids can get involved, too. They can always make yarn dolls or ornaments wrapping yarn around Styrofoam. Visit you local library book sales and stores for patterns, McCall’s Needlework and Crafts, and Martha Stewart Living magazines.
10. Kits, all kinds of them, simple and complicated abound this time of year. They can be made as is, used, or adapted. Michael s has great one’s for kids. Get them unplugged and teach them to use their hands.
11. Having said that, there are digital programs and ideas out there, many free, for making family books and albums you “publish.” You can also get these made at Walgreen’s and other photos centers.
12. One of the best gifts I got from an office friend was a box of Christmas cards. She knew I needed them, but did not have time to get any or make any. See what someone needs, even if it is small like this, and help out. Offer to decorate someone’s tree, or help with yard ornaments. If you have the time, give an hour to baby-sit, promise to cook a casserole or covered dish [and do it!], take someone out to dinner, help with spring planting, etc., or with Holiday clean up if your recipient is hosting a gathering. They will love you for it.
13. Have a gift for everyone! I mean it! Drawing names is great in big families, so is limiting gifts to children, but you can always print a book mark, enclose a favorite photo in a card, fill a bag with someone’s favorite candy, gum, or mints, buy a box of twelve ornaments at the dollar store, and hand one out to everyone in your family at dinner. I handed out collage jewelry and small ornaments as favors at my wedding. Everyone loved them. I also made candy bags one Christmas as favors, and included ornaments made and decoupaged from luggage tags. People still talk about them, and I will do something again this year.
14. Shop sales, shop all year, and put all in a plastic tub. Think small, and use the prepaid post office boxes. I go to all kinds of craft sales, rock shows, flea markets, and antique markets, and surf the net and old books for ideas. I watch Create on PBS, and always have my radar on.
15. duplicate the simple gifts in Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, and other vintage stories. Include a copy of the book, or a Bibliomania or Web URL so that your recipient can read the entire story.

Even in a recession, the holidays don’t have to suffer. It really is the thought, and a few well-chosen and printed essays on that subject, wouldn’t hurt to be included in someone’s stocking.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chili and Chills

I made chili tonight for supper tomorrow. I used the McCormick-type spice recipe, with store brand names to save a little money. It was my mom's recipe, and a real tradition in our house. We even made chili dogs and chili burgers with it. How I miss sitting in our pine-paneled dining room, built by my uncles when my grandparents owned the house, and those big bowls of chili she made, and the simple salad of lettuce and tomatoes with oil and vingegar dressing. There was always some quiet time before and after, and for years and years I read my latest library book before and after dinner, then did homework. If it were a blessed night, I wouldn't have any math, and would finish quickly and catch some of the movie of the week. I think of Emily in Our Town, flung to earth once more after death, and wishing to live again just one ordinary day, and I think of those late fall and early evenings at home with my mom and her chili, and I can understand.

It is colder and colder and truly Halloween weather that would do Ray Bradbury proud. I have been teaching The Halloween Tree regularly, and I love it more each time. There are all kinds of decorations around, and one great old Victorian house has about half a dozen life-sized monster animatronics, the kind one can order online. At night, they are circled by eerie purple lights. By day, it is still fantastic. I love to drive by it, just to look. One house has a life sized pine casket out front, and a skeleton dressed in tux. My pumpkins, gourds, and mock graveyards are out, too. My favorite decorations will always be the homemade cutouts and vintage paper witches and gouls that adorned our windows. My favorite lives in a scrapbook; it is a consruction paper Anne Boleyn, headless, carrying her paper head. I was in fourth grade when I made it.

I can almost feel my mother standing next to me, a pile of leaves under our feet, the scent of bonfires, which we really can't burn anymore, tinging the air. I remember more acorns than I see now, and of course, lots of squirrels, and carmel apples, and Halloween parties. I made carmel apples this weekend, and gave one to the little girl across the street who was trilled.

Anyway, the chili was easy, 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef which was on sale, browned with a small onion, chopped. The envelope of seasoning and a 4.5 oz can tomato sauce. I added a 14 oz can diced tomatoes, and one 15 oz can chili beans, all store brands. I added about 4 oz water, and the liquid from the beans, and about 2/3 the liquid from the diced tomatoes. I stirred it all, and it is simmering as we speak.

These are long days, but short days, with the dark coming upon us quickly. Happy chilimaking to all, and may The Great Pumpkin be good to you!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shop and Save and an easy, inexpensive Seafood Bisque/Chowder/Soup

It's that time of year; here are some books and newspaper columns I enjoy for ideas to save:

The Scavenger's Manifesto; great book. You can google her site for ideas, and she is also in the NPR archives.

Mary Englebeit, her syndicated newspaper column and her magazine, books, and publications. The paper dolls alone are worth it.

Etsy.com; everything for crafters and vintage artists. Great clothes and jewelry.

Story of Stuff.com; very interesting, but I could do with out the political ragging, which was unfair and one-sided. Our soon-to-be president did quote them during one of the debates, but did not credit them.

The Everyday Cheapskate syndicated column.

Martha Stewart evertyhing, including simple YouTube searches under Christmas Decorations and Halloween Decorations. Also, all her magazines, old and new, shoes, Tweets, etc., give great ideas. I love the Craft Encyclopedia. Some ideas are pricey, but you get tons of ideas and there are recipes and patterns.

Raverly.com for knitting and crochet ideas and patterns.

And now, a quick soup recipe.

Seafood Chowder or bisque

1 can Healthy Request Maryland Crab

1 can Healthy Request Southwestern Chicken

About 1/4 cup jarred, canned, homemade spaghetti source, marinara works better

About 1/4 c rue; for bisque, a thick rue, for soupy chowder, a medium rue

Fresh or dried basil

1 c. fish stock, or canned broth or bouillon.


1 -2 TBSP butter
1/2TBSP cake flower

Nonfat milk or cream, or milk to consistency.

Whisk butter and flower together, take off heat to blend. Whisk in Milk. After other ingredients are combined but before the seafood is added, stir rue into soup.

Before this, combine cans of soup and sauce. You can add about 1/8 sherry or cooking white. Add stock. Cook and stir well, bring to boiling then simmer.

Add rue, and stir very well, bring to boil again and reduce. Add seafood; I used frozen seafood mix that I thawed, but you can use crab, lobster meat, fresh or frozen fish, and you can add more vegetables of your choice and/or potatoes.

I let it all simmer about five minutes till seafood cooked.

Great with sour cream, crackers, bread for dipping. The Southwestern Vegetable was a Happy Accident, but it made the soup delicious. Chiles or jalepenos could be added to give it more spice and hot flavor.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From school: Green Driving Tips

These are fun, simple, and practical ideas. Practice them, and you may all have some extra holiday money!

You are here: Home
DRIVING GREEN….and we don’t mean golf Reduce your carbon footprint and save your wallet with these seven simple green driving tips.

Clear the clutter: the greater the load, the higher the fuel consumption. Every 100-200 extra pounds lower a car's fuel economy by 1-2%, so clean out that trunk! Mind your maintenance. A well-tuned car is safer and more efficient, so check tire pressure, oil, and filters regularly. Properly inflating and aligning tires can improve gas mileage by 6-10%, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fuel economy decreases 1% for every 3 pounds below recommended pressure. Tires can lose 1 pound of pressure per month, so check the air pressure monthly (when the tires are cold before driving). Underinflated tires also detract from safe handling and the tires' durability. Accelerate and decelerate gently. Fast, aggressive, or "jack rabbit" driving is a big fuel waster, increases pollution, and is hard on the engine. One second of high-powered driving can emit as much carbon monoxide as a half hour of normal driving. Avoid engine revs of more than 3,000 rpm by shifting up as soon as possible and using overdrive if you have it. Driving in higher gears decreases rpm, decreases fuel use, and decreases engine wear. Lower your speed and abide by the speed limits. Even small decreases in speed can lead to 10% better fuel efficiency. For example, in Consumer Reports studies slowing from 75 to 65 mph resulted in a 5 mpg performance increase, and slowing from 75 to 55 mph saved 10 mpg. Use engine braking by anticipating the traffic in front of you, lifting your foot off the accelerator, and downshifting if possible. Most cars reach peak efficiency while cruising between 55 and 60 mph, so try to maintain a constant speed. Use electrical accessories only when necessary. For example, AC (air conditioning) results in 10-25% more fuel consumption. Use the AC only if you are driving faster than 40 mph because engine power at high speeds goes to reducing drag. When driving at lower speeds, it is more efficient to roll down your windows. Do not idle. Restarting the engine burst the same amount of fuel as idling for one minute. If you will be waiting for longer than one minute, turn off the engine to save gas and money. Think differently. Plan your trips and choose routes with fewer lights and less congestion. Warmed-up engines and catalysts are more efficient and generate much fewer emissions, so combine several errands into one trip to make a big difference. You may even be able to park in one central spot and walk between some of your errands rather than

Poetry of Place

Here is a poem that was published online. It seems to fit with Autumn:

Chippiannock Sanctuary

Alone in the hub of swarm
Heart shrouded in gossamer shadow,
Weary soul damned by sunlight
Harpy-hounded, soul devoured
By ivory bone.
No hiding place, no bandage for festering heart wounds
Lacerated with salt and gall
Sanity rent like rotted silk.

No hiding place but the corridors that lead to the dwellings
Of the Dead in this City of the Fallen.
Dulcet Death, seducer of
Desperate Hearts,
Of Captains of the River,
And Mother’s with Babes in arms,
Of Brave Colonels
And Builders of Cities,

Purveyor of Peace, soothing shade
Soother for centuries,
Offer me the doss of Slumber deep
In this stone forest guarded by faithful
Limestone hounds
Where silent cradles rock and winds breathe through
Broken boughs.
Tranquil my mind, embalm my hear
Embrace my soul, close my eyelids with your cool touch.
Let a little stone lamb be my companion,
And remember me with a little stone bench.

There lies my grandmother’s friend,
She cared for me like her own,
So that in part of our neighborhood,
I’m still Rose Mare’s Little Girl.

There sleeps my sweet friend,
Double hearts marking her rest, but still
Not as big as the heart that beat within her
During life.

Across the hill sleeps another one dear,
Cut off the like cement trees on this or that
Ancient Grave.
He is with his grandfather, and our
Flowers mark our visits, growing more
And more Sorrow in our hearts.

Sweet Death, handmaid of
Listener of your citizen’s tales,
Pilgrimage of those who would love your markers and
Your Stories,
Let your friendly worms enmesh me
To my Mother, Earth, and
Bind me to my father, Hades.
Dust the cool night with my Essence and let
A gentle pall
Silence my tortured soul.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Putting Plants to Bed and Light Housework

If you love Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Little House Books as I do, then you have probably read Little House in he Ozarks, her collection of articles, tips, poems, other writings, done while she was a farm wife for various Grange publications and other magazines. What stuck in my mind most about this collection is that Laura talked about house cleaning a little at a time, or one corner at a time. Then, she recommended resting. About 20 minutes a day, she writes, it would help your energy levels if you could like down. I try to follow her advice, but time crunches and servitude to other peoples' schedules defeats me.

I had a couple days off,a nd I followed her advice again today. I have been cleaning out kitchen cupboards and cabinets, restributing and rearranging as I need to. I have taken several bags to Goodwill, and yes, am taking a deduction. This helps our family in the long run; we can save a little more for Christmas, vet bills, and other things that come up. I also love the idea that someone else can use them at a bargain. It is far less wasteful than just tossing everything. I have taken out some things to reuse, and made room for my mother's collection of pots and pans. As I go, I move around and change things around, mop, sweep, vacume each area. Remember, I have a lot of things, and fewer and fewer days off, so it is crucial that I get some housecleaning in.

I also spot pick up all week, and try to stay on top of dishes. My husband helps with Laundry. I also save magazines to give to my students as prizes, and go through novels to share with them, or to exhcange at the local paperback trader.

Spring cleaning comes late for me, and in stages, but my asthma, work schedule, and exhaustion monitor don't allow me to do a purge of the whole house! I thought and thought about it, but have decided I will decorate for Xmas this year after all, and will put up more than one tree. I will have a strategy to use new ornaments first, and to make what I can, especially from natural materials, from the cornhusks I've saved, from bead and collage projects. I will string battery operated lights where possible, and will bake for gifts. This is more meaningful, and makes people happy, as do small gifts of remembrance.

I have resolved not to use credit cards, and to save a little cash here and there whenever I can. I find it easy to save coins; we have a family collection anyway, and I ask myself more and more whether I really need some purchases.

I used many natural elements for Halloween this year, but the naughty squirrels, who make eye contact with me, have eaten one through, and scooped out the seeds. They don't like the blue pumpkins, however. I also replanted some of my flowers; the perennials will soon go inside, and I have dumped the seeds of the annual pots into flower beds. I get volunteer flowers this way in Spring.

Also, I try to recycle water from dishes, etc., for flowers, and monitor the dehumidifier. I am trying hard to recycle and reuse what I have, and will create, not buy, a costume for the Halloween Party to which we are going this year.

A friend of mine calls her old clothes that she chooses to keep her "archives," and I've adopted the term happily. I like to read the fashion magazines, maybe buy one, and use the photos to put together outfits from what I have. We also use them for research in ficiton writing, and for paper doll and collage projects.

Be crafty as you can, and use your leaves to mulch. Use the dried stalks and pods from plants in autumn arrangements and displays, and revisit those cool bottles and soft drink cans, like Arizona Tea and Jones; they make wonderful theme vases.

Now is the time for fall festivals and craft shows. Visit all youc an, and start your own where possible. Make this a heart felt, homemade holiday. Put some thought in gifts, wrappings, and trappings. Mother Earth will thank you!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In Memory of my Cousin Panos, and of Summer

Here is a poem my late cousin wrote; he lived in Greece and was a literature professor and poet. I miss him very much. Enjoy the poem.

Thoughts of Summer
By Panos N. Panayoutounis

Autumn in its yellow uniform
Made of better cellules
Lurks into the fresh foliage of trees.
Birds with yellow beaks and doleful croaks
Are playing on my hands,
Upon these branches of expectation.
And though in our thick cotton jumpers,
We’re strolling about,
Though we keep every bird dead in the pocket,
Though we pour the sun out by the armful
Upon yellow leaves,
We’re still longing for the summer;
For what is in it like a magnet
Attracts us yet in the depth of autumn.
In other worlds blood and snow expect us.

Contest deadline

Deadline for tips is within the next five days, so, by October 11th, 5pm cst.

The Birds and Cannoloni and a Contest

I'm on that six degrees of separation kick again; Tony Curtis died this week, and he was once married to Janet Leigh, which made me think of Hitchcock, which made me think of the dozens of birds forming clouds and pecking my yard away, which made me think of the Tipi Hendren doll I missed out on, which made me think of "The Birds!" Who needs sanity!

I welcome tips for removing these birds or driving them away humanely. I can't put all the blame on them, my cat is afraid of birds, so he is no good. They merely mock at him and chirp in his ears. He tries to cover them with this paws. Also, the squirrels and rabbits have real attitudes in my neighborhood. They are recycling and reclaiming for themselves.

We broke up bushes of mums this week, and my office is now festooned with bronze and yellow. I also harvested the last of hte petunias and marigolds, and am gettng ready to winter inside my begonias and my geranium. The orchid is holding its own, but no petals.

I love to bake, and now that I'm not teaching or taking classes four nights a week, I'm getting into cooking mode. I have a quick canneloni or manicotti recipe that also works with stuffed shells. I boil the pasta aldente before stuffing:

Manicotti Stuffing:

About 1 c Greek feta, any kind. I crumble it myself. One egg. Beat with Feta. Season with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, fresh basil, oregano, etc. Mix well. Stuff the shells. Bake about 40 minutes at 375 degrees, but time and temp. can vary, so check. Cover with marinara sauce, but any cream or alfredo will work. In a pinch, use the canned sauces, or follow my ideas for making your own tomato sauce. I mix in parmesan, and top with other cheeses, parsley, more oregano and basil, shredded mozzarella and Italian blend or Mdzithra [a hard, dry salty ricotta type that grates well and has great flavor]. When the cheese melts, and the stuffing is golden, it's done.

I've taken in the basil and dried it. We picked the last of the tomatoes and set up a Halloween graveyard using the old vines and dried out foliage. The tomatoes are ripening on the fence, and some will become vegetarian stuffed dishes using bredcrumbs, egg, other vegetables and tiny boiled shrimp.

I'm also collecting pumpkins of all types and goards, and will soon debut my well-loved scarecrows. I love this season!

A Contest: For those with green holiday tips or recycling ideas for the Holidays coming up, here's a fun opportunity. To the first five tipsters who post an idea, family friendly, user friendly, within Google use guidelines in my comments, I will send a copy of our club's legal studies cookbooks, dress for success guide on a shoestring, or book buying guide. There are lots of online sites in these, and good ideas.

Just a thought. At some point, I'll need an address, even an email address might work. I can probably sned these as electronic files.

Next project: carmel apples and Christmas baking for gifts! Soon to come, Harvest and Native American dolls, and of course, Apple Doll ideas!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Radish and Green Halloween

If you haven't picked up a free radish at the market, or library, or care, do it! It is full of ideas for living green, and the recipes are wonderful. I use the berry vinaigrette dressing recipe often. The latest issue features green Halloween tips. Here are a couple:

1. There is a recipe for making a safe, chemical free face paint. Since common household ingredients are in it, including cornstarch, food coloring, and diaper rash cream, it's pretty economical, too.

2. Homemade masks and costumes; the author encourages using Good will or hand me downs, making simple costumes [remember the Peanuts gang and what they could do with s simple sheet? ] Martha Stewart always has great ideas for making costumes, too. Cheap, white paper plates painted silver make terrific armor. Don't underestate LHJ, old McCalls, or Good Housekeeping, either. Old prom dresses make great princess outfits; old hats are terrific, too. Loud jewelry and loud sicks add to the fun. Kids can wear crocs when trick or treating as well.

3. For those who eschew candy, no pun intended, there are bags of play doh, stickers, sugar free gum, little toys and other novelites. Whatever happened to Trick or Treat for Unicef? Or, buy old fashioned hard candy, wrapped, at places like Sams or Farm and Fleet in large bags; you can use the rest for Christmas and all kinds of crafts and gifts to be discussed later.

4. For at home parties, look up old caramel and candy recipes, carve pumpkins, with supervision, of course, use dried out plants and twigs for "dead" flower arrangements. If anyone paints, make your own yard decorations from scraps. There are templates, and there is inspiration everywhere.

5. I like to grow my own gourds and pumpkins, though things are slow this year. I do have one potted pumpkin plant blooming; these may be for Thanksgiving!

6. Make the kids color placemats and cut decorations and paper chains from scraps and construction paper. We had quite a gallery on my picture window. Save and re-use what decorations you can, and create instant heirlooms for the next year.

7. Finally, take pictures, with whatever camera you have. The Halloween photos I have from my childhood are my best memories, and they are records of the beautiful costumes my mom used to sew.

8. We also were good at making our own haunted houses, using things around the house. Again, there are a lot of magazines and websites to help. Many are free or cost pennies at local libraries.

Happy Haunting, and thanks to those who follow us!

The Original Tips

Greening for Everyday People with Middle-Class Incomes: These are the original tips with notes; sort of rough, but you will get the clue. This is a re-blog of some information.

1. Yard waste and leaves are good mulch; there are various methods to create mulch with them. If you live by ravines as I do, you can rake them to the edge of the ravine to mulch the flowers and plants there and to help build protection against erosion. There are also many craft ideas for yard clippings and leaves including but not limited to:
a. hot gluing twigs to make trees for doll houses nad miniature scenes
b. natural wreathes
c. ornaments from leaf prints, with a stamp made from leaves or from pencil rubbings made from the leave itself, ornaments from seed pods, or dolls and small items including baskets made from woven leaves and grasses, decorated with seeds and small rocks
d. mud pie recipes and mud pies
e. mud clays
f. Luther Burbank experiments for kids who may want to pot a few wild plants, even weeds, and create a garden to observe what they do when they grow.
g. Starbucks gives away bags of coffee grounds for use by gardeners. Take them! They are really great
h. Natural pest control: I buy dried blood at Wal-Mart or local garden centers; it keeps away squirrels who love to dig and also provides good fertilizer.

2. Some annuals, like begonias, poinsettias, some violas, can be brought inside, or have cuttings taken, or coaxed into going dormant to come up again the next year.
3. Plants with fruit and edible berries can be made into recipes. Same with vegetable and herb plants. You can plant an entire victory garden, or make a container garden. Garbage cans for planting tomatoes are popular. Gourds and pumpkins do well in sunny soil and come up more than one year. There is a lot of satisfaction in using gourds, pinecones and holly from your own yard to decorate. Pinecones or gourds in a nice basket make a very nice gift for someone, and pumpkins are great in recipes, especially pumpkin soup on a cold autumn day.
4. Recycle plastic grocery bags; you can return them to the store, or you can use them to pack things, transport things; doubled they make good transport for books and are easy to handle. There are even companies that refine and spin these and other plastic items into materials for book bags, even clothing and shoes.
5. Never underestimate the power of donating and itemizing to charity. You save on your taxes and help ensure your items are not wasted and go to good use. The Salvation Army, in particular, will pick up things, but also uses parts and even broken items to provide work and repair things for other people.
6. Eat home; pay attention to leftovers and casseroles. Recipes are cheap over the Internet, and are in all kinds of magazines, including The Radish, which is given away. Look for heirloom recipes your parents had, even grandparents and great grandparents, and practice and be creative. The American Women’s Cook Book, The magazines like Everyday Food, PBS cooking shows, Mr. Food, Martha Stewart, and Julia Child are great sources to look. The Discovery Shop and thrift stores are wonderful places to look for vintage and antique cook books, so are yard sales and antique stores, library book sales, book stores and book store chains, catalogs. Many of these are on sale before they are even out of print, including Edward R. Hamilton Books and Amazon and Alibris.
7. Invest in a good library on how to books and books on going green; don’t over look free government publications and consumer reports. Many books and magazines on these subjects can also be found at library sales, and library cafes, where they cost as little as a dime. You can also recycle your old magazines by bringing back the ones you have read and do not need any more,
8. As a family hobby, review pioneer crafts including soap making and butter making. Try making jam or jelly and using canning jars. If you are lucky and have your mother’s or grandmothers’ glass fridge containers nad storage boxes, check to see if they are lead free and use them.
9. If you have wedding china, are getting married and getting china, just like china, use it. Most may need to be washed by hand, but check time honored manufacturers like Palzgraf and Noritake, Johnson Brothers Stoke on Trent. They are often dishwasher save. Take them out even on non special occasions. You cans save money by rethinking dishes on supermarket stamp premiums; there are beautiful patterns including traditional Haviland and blue willow which will go on sale for one to two dollars per pieced at the end of the promotion. Look at thrift stores and estate sales; check to see newer peaces to see if they are only decorative use or dishwasher/microwave save.
10. Rethink your wardrobe. If you have time and are organized, try consignment shopping both as a place to dispose of close, but also to find them. Invest in a copy of W or vogue, or look at the new catalogs, free promotions sent to your home, or just tour the local mall. What’s in style? What’s in your closet? What do you already have? What do you like? Rotate your clothes, think what the dress code is at work; good jewelry, fine and costume, is always in style. Consider having a necklace for everyday of the week that you can wear to coordinate an outfit. Invest in good socks, splurge on a good scarf. If you knit or weave, you can create your own very nice accessories. If you crochet, the possibilities are endless and you also have gifts on hand for Christmas, Hanukah, birthdays and other occasions. If you sew, collect sewing implements, vintage and new, and take advantage of coupons and sales. Yard sales and church sales are good places to look for materials and sewing supplies. Yarn is a good investment, and there are great stores that cater to needle arts. If you read the hobby mysteries, like the Monica Ferris mysteries about the fictional store Crewel World, you will be treated to tips and patterns in every novel. Newspapers often sill include free patterns, as do online newsletters and Internet sites. Etsy.com is a wonderful place to look for craft and sewing supplies of all types.

Also, if you sew, consider remaking old garments; use the material for quilts, or make new clothes out of old ones. Old jeans make good denim skirts or handbags, jackets can become vests, dresses can be turned into mix and match tops and skirts, all can become dolls and stuffed animals, or quilts. Some can be made into strips that can be rolled into balls and woven into rugs. My mother made miniature ones by using odd socks and hose that belonged to me in junior high. She cut them into strips, and crocheted them into doll rugs. Very cute. Some old cloth and rags can become homemade paper. [Add ideas later]

Hand me downs tried and true; consider them an honor and heirloom, especially for old class vintage items like wedding apparel, shoes from the likes of Ferragamo or Gucci, good persons, antique reticules or hats.

If it isn’t’ a sentimental item or family heirloom, you can consign it or you can put it on Etsy, EBay, etc.

11. Clothing drives; if you have the time you can organize one for coats, mittens, etc. Keep a few items for them when you clean out closets. There are also places you can send clothing for needy children, along with knitted items, quilts, toys and blankets. Many church groups create quilts of various types to send to shelters and charities; your old clothing, materials, and artistic skills are really appreciated there.

11. Energy efficient cars, furnaces and appliances. Read the labels.
12. Turn the lights out; invest in energy efficient bulbs where possible, look for products that do not harm animals, do not contain unwarranted pesticides and chemicals.
13. Look for recipes on DIY sites and in books for cleaning materials and soaps that are natural, like vinegar. Do not use flammable materials, however.
14. Check furnaces, water heaters, and fire places regularly. If you have wood burning stoves or fireplaces, educate yourself on what woods you can burn so that the rest of the neighborhood is not polluted with smoke from your chimney.
15. Explore recycling possibilities and leaf disposal policies in your community. Read the newsletters in your utility bills for ideas. If there is a community forum or township meeting on Green issues, attend and get ideas, and contribute a few f your own if you can.
16. Make your own compost; but, educate yourself. A compost heap is not a garbage dump. Be careful not to attract animals and vermin that might infest the neighborhood.
17. Read others on the environment: Loren Eisley, Annie Dillard, MFK Fisher, Sand County Almanac, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Old Grange and Farm wives magazines, William Wordsworth and all the Romantic Poets, The Bronte Sisters, especially Emily, on the beauty of the Moors and the landscape. Even vintage Gothic novels like the Castle of Otranto emphasize the importance of environment and landscape, as well as classic architecture on society.
18. Visit historical landmarks and national parks. State parks are also valuable places to learn. If you live near the ocean, lakes, or rivers, learn the riparian lore of your community. If you really love to read and want a challenge, read Hugo Grotius, The Law of the Sea.
19. Teach children to collect fossils, shells, rocks, minerals, and petrified wood. Take them to shows to show them how these natural resources helped shape life and the earth, and explain the role fossil fuels still play in the environment.
20. Join the Scouts, boy or girl. Encourage children to get badges in various areas, including those involving nature and conservation.
21. Teach about archaeology trough magazines like Archaeology, Civilization, National Geographic, and Smithsonian. Encourage kids to collect a library of these materials, and help them to organize it. They will be constantly reading and gain a respect for earth.
22. Teach children to respect animals and wildlife. If they have a favorite stuffed animal, like an elephant, have them study elephants and thei9r evolution, their role in literature and culture, where they live. The more familiar we are with something like this, and the more we come to love it, the less likely we are to abuse it or ignore it. Do the same with human culture. Encourage children to learn bout people from around the world by having them read folk tales, literature, listening to music, participating in ethnic crafts, collecting ethnic artifacts. Folk Dolls and foreign dolls are a good way to introduce all children to different cultures. Those with their own collections should learn about them and then go on the road, offering to display and lecture on them.
23. Volunteer when you can at community cleanups, book fairs, botanical centers, museums of all types, libraries, Earth Day celebrations. Teach children not to waste, but to share and to trade where possible. See the onsite community areas for barter.
24. When re-gifting and homemade gifts are good. Teach the spirit of gift giving and holidays; commercialism has been an issue since the first Christmas. Read Christmas and holiday stories and lore to see how such greed and commercialism are combated through the last two millennia. Also, you can see how people celebrated in historical times of economic adversity like War, Depression, and famine. You might be surprised at how happy and meaningful some of these celebrations can be.
25. Weddings; tips for economical weddings. I Had a Civil ceremony and church wedding for under $2500. Tell how.
26. Coupons and sales
27. Collecting is always a great way to recycle and make use of things. Collect for art materials, store inventory, personal enrichment or investment, for children, for fun. People who collect tins, baskets, and boxes use them for storage as well. People who collect vintage pens and pencils use them and sharpen them whenever they can. People who collect buttons often use them on their clothes.

Old shoes sometimes make good flower parts, and old bowling balls make interesting garden ornaments. Victory Garden and other shows have made good use of incorporating them into garden landscape. Same for old signs, old wheelbarrows and garden implements, wooden doors and fences, statutes, old tires, old claw foot tubs, milk cans, and tractor seats. They have found new life in garden landscapes. DIY scarecrows or other scarecrows as collectibles serve dual purposes as well. For one night special occasions, luminaries from paper bags are still a great effect, especially if you use LED “fake” votives which are save and effective.

28. If your VCR still works, don’t toss it. Make use of videos.
29. The radio is still a great option, so are cassette players for those of us who still have them, so are records and turntables. Vinyl records can be valuable collectibles, but they are still affordable in various types of conditions. Or, if you play an instrument, get it out and dust it off. Pay attention to the composers, to how things are composed, see what different types of genres and music the composer has written, for what instrument. These are vocations in themselves, and interest nearly everyone. Take a survey and ask friends family, students, etc., what types of music they like, and you will find we are all amateur experts in certain types of music. Sharing that knowledge is one of they joys of everyday living.
30. Unplug it if you don’t use it.
31. Crafts; consider collage and decoupage; assemblage, sue materials you already have. Making toys and paper dolls from old clothes, socks, yarns, magazines, and papers is a time-honored tradition. Same for Christmas ornaments. Repair toys that break; we need are a regular doll hospital around here, not just for collectors toys, but for everyday toys for kids. Also, check the manufacturer, toys are under warranty, too, and Mattel and other companies have been known to repair their own toys and send them back.
32. use dishwater for plants and coffee grounds as fertilizer
33. explore local farmers markets and look for local products and grocery stores
34. lo, for local bakeries
35. Cook ahead and freeze. Become familiar with what keeps for how long. Invest in a good freezer or a good refrigerator
36. Clutter can be good
37. Let it go when you have to
38. take inventory
39. Explore home remedies after consulting with your doctors. Same with alternative remedies.
40. Question if you are given too many prescriptions; look up your medicines, read the fine print, ask about alternatives and get to know the pharmacists. Get the PDR and Grays Anatomy, the book, not the TV show. Look up HIPPA on line and read it, review hospital policies and patients bill of rights; be assertive and proactive and take someone with you. Insist on enough time to discuss concerns and take a list. Be professional, not emotional. Don’t threaten malpractice, but think it if you have a gut feeling something is terribly wrong. Ask, ask, ask, and check physicals credentials. Educate yourself and get second and even third and fourth opinions. They aren’t magicians, just mechanics of the human body. Look up some of the medical malpractice and negligence cases on court TV and other sites; try to see what they all have in common.
41. Get the Internet; the dummy books are great tutorials, and most computers come with great directions.
42. Think about what goes in the landfill. Cut up the plastic rings that hold pop cans together. If you have time, save your pop cans not just to recycle, but to give to people who need them and want e deposit money, but don’t keep them outside. I’ve had them stolen. Also, wash them in soap and hot water and organized them before you recycle.
43. Save loose change in a giant bank. Make it a family project, especially pennies. It is a good way to save money. Eventually, the bank will take it and organize and deposit it for you. If you don’t’ need it yourself for bus fare, etc., then donate it.
44. Brew your own coffee, but don’t deny yourself either. Brown bag it, especially if there are brown bag lunch events, but eat well, try to get out, even in the parking lot on a good day, and listen to the radio, or eat at a park, take a walk, ride your bike at lunch, skate. Eat out as a social event, or spend a few minutes having soup at a bookstore cafe or library cafe and browse the books. You don’t have to buy and can write down titles for future reference
45. Grow some chicory to put into your brewed coffee.
46. Take classes, finds something that interests you. There are free classes on the Internet, including free BBC language classed, but look to local colleges and community centers and groups like CommUniversity.org and Elderhostel. Never stop learning, and never stop growing, and you will never be bored. Libraries and craft/hobby groups are also great places to take seminars and publications like The River City Reader offer opportunities. Also check local park boards, and music stores for taking lessons on musical instruments.
47. Use scrap paper over as notes, create notepads, and use old announcements as wrapping paper, use newspaper, brown paper, and old fabric as wrapping paper. Also, use the backs of old announcements for community events as stationary. I once saw original manuscripts by Byron, Wordsworth, Keats, and others at an exhibit in the Chicago Historical Society. All these great writers wrote on scrap paper and along margins, in-between lines, up and down the page, etc. They knew how to conserve. Lets’ not forget Kathy of Wuthering Heights who kept her journal in the margins of her old bible.
48. Or, reduce junk mail. Check with your post office and various websites.
49. Get a library card and use it.
50. Have a doodle journal
51. Make your own binders of materials and topics that interest you. Three ring binders are great thrift shop finds and also go on sale at office supply stores and giant discount stores.
52. Avoid fast food, but if you like it, be aware of calories and nutrition. They provide this information themselves and on their websites, and there are books that count calories in fast food. Know the nutritious choices or take home your entrée and combine with healthy food like fruit and celery sticks.
53. Be patient and be spiritual, whatever that means to you.
54. Go to art fairs and craft fairs to become inspired.

Books and sources:

My book on Pym

Pym books

My book guide

My dress for success guide

Software guide

National Geographic
Consumer Reports

Collecting Dolls under $50.00

Wendy Lavitt

Harold bloom on romantic literature and poetry


Wuthering heights

Walden by Thoreau

Jacque Pepin on fast food

Books by Pam and Polly Judd, Lane Herron, Loretta Holtz, Catherine Christopher, Mary Hillier, Denise Van Patten, Evelyn Chisholm,

Make magazine

Mary Englebreit’s publications

House of White Birches doll and craft magazines

Quilt Magazines

McCall’s needlework and Crafts

Vintage craft patterns

Anthropology and Archaeology texts

Indian relics

Gems and Minerals

All doll books

Martha Stewart on Sirius

Everyday Food on PBS and radio

Martha Stewart TV shows and local TV home segments

Reruns of Gary Collins and the Home Show where you can find them.

Mrs. Beeton

White House Cook book


DIT TV and site





Yahoo auctions

Monica Ferris

Diane Mott Davidson

Dino’s articles

Books on Earth Day

Craft magazines and books

Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of crafts

Flea Market Find and Country Collectibles

Art magazines

Joseph Cornell

Judy Chicago,

Doring Kindersley books; great visual guides and informative websites.

Recycled crafts

Art from Found materials, especially dolls

Scrapbooks and collage, especially from vintage and found objects


Scavengers Manifesto

Everyday Cheapskate

Butterick and pattern companies

Singer Sewing machine manuals

Coats and Clark Patterns and publications

Godey’s and Petersen’s magazines

Harpers Magazine, old editions

Puzzles and crosswords online, can make your own and put them in a binder for a gift; don’t’ have to buy them

The Book Thing .com

In Flagrante Collecto

Mary Randolph Carter American Junk books and her site; awesome.

Hints from Heloise

Erma Bombeck

Judith Wax; Starting in the Middle

Fastfoold Calorie Counbters

Dennison party books