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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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Doll Museum: History and Chronology Continued: Paper Dolls and ...

Doll Museum: History and Chronology Continued: Paper Dolls and ...: Before I start, let me note that this is the best site I've found for paper dolls and their history, plus it has lavish illustrations; T...

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Ch 6 of my Book on Pym- A Few Green Leaves

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Ch 6 of my Book on Pym- A Few Green Leaves: Ellen Tsagaris Page 1 10/10/12 The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym The Popular Press, 1998 ISBN: 0-87972-763-2 Chapt...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Original Tip No. 2 Wintering Plants

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. Luther Burbank I'm not, yet I have gernaniums and one poinsettia that have done very well this way. I bring in a pot or two every year, and put them in my kitchen sink; I have double sink and don't need both of them. The geraniums thrive this way. My mother had a begonia this way for so long, its teracotta plot rotted under it. She replanted it in the ground in the spring, and took it out again. She was dedicated, though she had me and her house and taught seven sections of Spanish and ran the foreign language dpeartment at our high school. She always looked good, too. Don't know how she did it. I have luck with volunteer plants, too, violas in particular. Pumpkins and gourds occasionally replant this way; I leave them on the ground in our flower bed, even after Halloween. I like to fead the rest to our local animals. By the way, we saved a nest of newborn bunnies this week. Their mother and two other rabbits were guarding them. We set up a homemade hutch of a childs chair flanked by two school band signs. In the center were two overturned metal containers, like a child's bucket only wider. Tis the season. Cuttings are another good way to winterize; umbrella plants and coral bells do very wedll this way. Enjoy the horticulture experiments. There are breat books and sites for these topics, and also your local nursery can help. Bring Plants in; The New York Times. http://www.nwitimes.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/bring-plants-in-for-winter-but-leave-bugs-outside/article_e75b6596-7784-52ad-899f-d0acf5cafb12.html Bringing Houseplants In for the Winter - 10 Tips for Preparing House Plants for Healthy Winter Living. http://sallystrove.hubpages.com/hub/Bringing-Houseplants-Indoors-for-the-Winter-10-Tips-for-Preparing-Indoor-Plants-for-Healthy-Winter-Living

The Slow Food Movement and Weta

On Ocean Mysteries today, a feature on the weta, a very large cricket that lives in New Zealnd and has inhabited the earth tens of millions of years. I must tell my friend Doc V, a wonderful companion, mother, and entymologist. The weta is about 9 inches long or so, one of the largest insects in the world. He was amazing, and another living fossil. These are the "antique" animals and plants that still live and breathe their stories. Would they could talk our language. Then there are those species that can exist for centuries at a time. If we could be Dr. Who and time travel with them, what would they tell us? What did they think when we humans burst on the scene? Could they settle the dispute over evolution? What were Neanderthals really like? When did war start? Where their dragons and vampires; are zombies possible? I always thought we were simply the authors of our own apocalypse. Along with these musings, I watched Rick Steves on Tuscany and the Slow Food Movement, which simply means it takes a long but expensively worthwhile time to make the food eaten in the region. Cheese begins with raising the right sheep and goats, milking them, heating the milk, curdling it by hand, skimming the curds and whey, pressing them all into molds and aging them naturally. Wine is made in a similar slow fashion, and food is cooked slowly in brick ovens and over open fires. He features the artichoke festival in this episode. One host was an octogenarian vintner who looked sixty. Hmmm? Stress and chemicals anyone? Their take on the truffle snuffing hogs were dogs, and all cattle was free range. Pork and prosciutto came from the native wild boar. Talk about eating local! Our skies are clearing here, the clouds and tornadic winds less menacing. We were all gathered Monday in the center of our building, as tornadoes and storms raged over our area. Once again, we were spared, and old wives' tale or not, I bless the river. We were all lucky this time; our power did not go out. Emma cat is still ailing, but more alert. I have hope this thyroid condition will be under conrol, but my fierce little Contessa Bathory is no super quiet and too compliant. She doesn't want to play with her cat toys and dolls, not even Marionette Toinette Mouse or Mme. Pomplemousse, the string puppet cat toys. They are her favorites. We have done our share of burying young friends and classmates, taken suddenly, or by violence, while still too young. One was only 25, and she was shot by a man she feared for a long time. He claimed it was an accident. She was a veteran, Navy, and was buried, at least with full honors. Seeing her lying in a coffin made life seem very random and futile. I thought of Boethius and his Consolation of Philisophy. I recommend it at times like this. On a happier note, The Creative Writing Primer by the MWWC, our local writers group, is now 2nd in its type on Amazon. Our Kindle giveaway was yesterday. When it is sold, proceeds go to MWWC. I was a guest blogger yesterday on the MWWC Blog. Will post a link later.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Midwest Writing Center: Happy birthday MWC Creative Writing Primer!

Midwest Writing Center: Happy birthday MWC Creative Writing Primer!:   June 15 is the first anniversary of the release of the MWC Creative Writing Primer , the first ebook MWC Press (2012) released by...

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Kids' Health Mart from The Strong National Museum of Play

Come celebrate the grand reopening of the newly renovated Wegmans Super Kids Market exhibit on Saturday, June 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Help yourself to a generous serving of health-related crafts and family activities throughout the day. Pose for pictures with Bruiser, the Wegmans canine mascot; say hello to some friendly strolling veggies; enjoy health-themed family activities; and enter a raffle to win a gift basket of organic and nutritional health products courtesy of Wegmans. Opening day celebration activities are included with general museum admission fees. Wegmans Super Kids Market is generously sponsored by Wegmans Food Markets

Sunday, June 23, 2013

First of the Original Living Green Tips: Mulch and Uses for the Yard

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. This is a video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzktwZ3F9agere from YouTube on making mulch for free. Note, not to get too close to the roots, it causes rot. The video tells you how to apply mulch corrctly for various plants. Local papers and catalogs are full of ideas for mulch. Logees. com is a great place to buy plants, but also to get tips. I have posted histories of plants and flowers before on this blog. Tip: Big box stores are currently discounting their summer plants. Many will even be free. Supplies and tolls will also go on sale, as will yard ornaments. Now is the time to look. I had more luck keeping weeds down in my flower beds with miniature rocks covering the ground, but mulch has been a big help, too. Both are attractive. Remember coffee grounds are useful, even if you have to dig them out of your Keurig. Tip; to make Keuring coffees last longer, use a bigger cup! 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. i. Beautiful sculptures of people, and fairy doll furniture are made of twigs, acorn caps, tiny burrs and straw flowers. Corn Dollies, discused in a previous post, are this type of doll. Cornhusk dolls, baskets, and crafts are made of the husks cornsilk, and sometimes cobs, usually thrown out. If you don't want to make crafts with these things, mulch them. j. Sea shells, sea weed, Spanish moss, and dried flowers abound in natural food and craft stores. I love making cards by ironing flowers between sheet of wax paper. I also make wrapping paper with them, book covers, pictures, scrapbook paper. You can also use them to keep a garden journal from year to year. If are moving, you can take it with you, and with some seeds and cuttings, try to recreate your beloved green space. Here is a link by Samantha Greene for drying flowers. "How to Dry Flowers," http://www.proflowers.com/guide/how-to-dry-flowers. Google "how to dry flowers" to find many more links. Here are some more links for ideas for mulch and flower crafts: Green Natural Crafts on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/planetpals/green-nature-crafts/ Nature Crafts for Kids; http://crafts.kaboose.com/nature-crafts.html This has great ides for recycling, bug crafts, clay, etc. I love the pet rocks idea. Michaels crafts also has great newsletters and patterns for these ideas, and Dover has free sample pages from its books that it will email to you as a newsletter. One member of our local Popular Astronomy Club did a presentation on crafts that teach asronomy to chidren, using ideas similar to these and simple toys. Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts is another good place to look.

Share and Share alike

This was a story on today's Sunday Morning, where they are also covering the history of The Good Housekeeping Seal of approval. I used to love the magazine for Christmas. They had the most amazing stories and decorations. I still have the recipe for Christmas cookies made to look like the Baroque angels of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The sharing story addressed the sharing economy, and featured Silicon Valley. Sharing was going on when I was there 20 some years ago. People share their resources--home, car, clothes, pets, even money, on a rentable basis. I would note that living in SJ and SF was and is very expensive. When I was paying $250.00 and $305.00 per month for an apartment in Carbondale, IL, friends going to Stanford were paying $1000.00 per month for a small, often studio apartment, in Palo Alto. Many professional people making good salaries rented a room by the week, or month, in a private home to live. People were also sharing salaries in Bay Area public courthouses. There is one group featured on SM that allows wealthy people to share their income, and loan out unneeded money to those who need it for bills. Interest is very low. One journalist says he saved $17,000 last year living the shared life. There are websites and blogs allowing people to do this share and swap. Maeve Binchy's Tara Road is based on international house sharing, and as early as 54 years ago, my Mom rented her wedding dress, and brought home scraps. There are shared or rented graves in Europe, and here, you can buy half a marker; one half of the tombstone has one name, the back half has another. Is this socialism? Sort of; except we rent and actually pay money. I have to wonder what happened to "Life, Liberty and Property" as mentioned and addressed in The Constitution, its federal cases, statutes, and treaties, and the 14th Amendment, more specifically. We are encouraging a keep nothing, throw away society. This differs and is a contradiction from sharing and recycling. Also, what happened to giving? For several years, many charities like DAV and The Salvation Army have been wanting contributions. We give money to charities in disasters, now, not so much clothes and food. Sharing is important; I was used to sharing toys and clothes when I was little. My parents borrowed a swing set and merry go round for me from our neighbor across the street, which helped them a lot. But, I think with ownership comes responsibility, and what about privacy? Safety? How many criminals out there prey on those who open their homes and resources in good faith? We have free online exchanges where people exchange goods they no longer what, which is a great idea, a sort of swap meet online. But, along with Craig's List and similar exchanges, let's remember to be careful out there. Emma is better; her thyroid medicine was causing the problem; she was severely dehydrated. She is off of it, and is drinking form the faucet regularly. She is eating with the help of a syringe, six liters of broth at a time. I urge anyone who loves a cat to question any diagnosis involving giving thyroid medication. I will be going back to the 49 original tips for living green, and explain each one with ideas and illustrations in future blog posts.

Friday, June 21, 2013

FDA Food for Thought- Arsenic?! Really?!

Posted by my friend Nancy Ortowski on FB: .. Banned Ingredients that Are Still Legal in the U.S. . . . .By SHAPE magazine | Healthy Living – Wed, Jan 16, 2013 8:21 AM EST.. . . Email Share7005 Tweet Print .... . by Cristina Goyanes Skip these ingredients!You think the FDA has your back? Sure, they recently proposed two new regulations to up food safety measures, specifically how food processors and farmers can work better to keep their fresh products free of dangerous bacteria (remember that killer cantaloupe outbreak from 2011?). But while it may seem like the government is out to protect us from bad-even fatal-food-borne illnesses, which cause some 3,000 deaths a year, they don't completely have our best interest-or health-in mind. "For numerous suspicious and disturbing reasons, the U.S. has allowed foods that are banned in many other developed countries into our food supply," says nutritionist Mira Calton who, together with her husband Jayson Calton, Ph.D., wrote the new book Rich Food, Poor Food due out this February. During a six-year expedition that took them to 100 countries on seven continents, the Caltons studied more than 150 ingredients and put together a comprehensive list of the top 13 problematic products that are forbidden by governments, outside the U.S., due to their detrimental effects on human health. "If you see any of the following ingredients listed on the nutrition label, don't buy the product," Calton warns. "Leaving these banned bad boys on the shelves will speak volumes to grocery stores and food manufactures about what informed consumers simply won't tolerate." RELATED: 7 Foods a Nutritionist Would Never Eat Ingredients: Coloring agents (blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6) Found In: Cake, candy, macaronic and cheese, medicines, sport drinks, soda, pet food, and cheese Why the U.S. Allows It: We eat with our eyes. "Recent studies have shown that when food manufacturers left foods in their natural, often beige-like color instead of coloring them with these chemical agents, individuals thought they tasted bland and ate less, even when the recipe wasn't altered," Calton says. This may explain why the use of artificial dyes-the most popular being red 40, yellow 5, and yellow 6-have increased five-fold since 1955. Health Hazards: Back in the day, food coloring came from natural sources, such as saffron and turmeric. "Today most artificial colors are made from coal tar, which is also used to seal-coat products to preserve and protect the shine of industrial floors," Carlton says. "It also appears in head lice shampoos to kill off the small bugs." Ingredient: Olestra (aka Olean) Found In: Fat-free potato chips Why the U.S. Allows It: Procter & Gamble Co. took a quarter century and spent a half a billion dollars to create "light" chips that are supposedly better for you, Calton says. They may need another half a billion bucks to figure out how to deal with the embarrassing bathroom side effects (including oily anal leakage) that comes with consuming these products. Health Hazards: "This fat substitute appears to cause a dramatic depletion of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids, robbing us of the vital micro-nutrients," Calton says, adding that many countries, including the U.K. and Canada, have banned it. Ingredient: Brominated vegetable oil (aka BVO) Found In: Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas Why the U.S. Allows It: BVO acts as an emulsifier, preventing the flavoring from separating and floating to the surface of beverages, Calton says. Health Hazards: "Because it competes with iodine for receptor sites in the body, elevated levels of the stuff may lead to thyroid issues, such as hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and cancer," Calton says. That's not all. BVO's main ingredient, bromine, is a poisonous chemical that is considered both corrosive and toxic. It's been linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss, which explains why it's been nixed in more than 100 countries. Ingredient: Potassium bromate (aka brominated flour) Found In: Rolls, wraps, flatbread, bread crumbs, and bagel chips Why the U.S. Allows It: This flour-bulking agent helps strengthen dough, reducing the amount of time needed for baking, which results in lowered costs, Calton explains. Health Hazards: Made with the same toxic chemical found in BVO (bromine), this additive has been associated with kidney and nervous system disorders as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. "While the FDA has not banned the use of bromated flour, they do urge bakers to voluntarily leave it out," Calton says. Ingredient: Azodicarbonamide Found In: Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods Why the U.S. Allows It: While most countries wait a week for flour to naturally whiten, the American food processors prefer to use this chemical to bleach the flour ASAP. Health Hazards: It's not enough to just ban this product in Singapore. You can get up to 15 years in prison and be penalized nearly half a million dollars in fines for using this chemical that's been linked to asthma and is primarily used in foamed plastics, like yoga mats and sneaker soles. Ingredients: BHA and BHT Found In: Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer Why the U.S. Allows It: "Made from petroleum [yummy!], these waxy solids act as preservatives to prevent food from becoming rancid and developing objectionable odors," Calton says. A better solution may be natural rosemary and sage. In a 2006 study, some organic herbs and spices proved to be efficient at preventing oxidative decay in meat, which ultimately could improve the shelf-life of these products. Health Hazards: California is the only state that recognizes the U.S. National Institute of Health's report that BHA may be a human carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent. Ingredients: Synthetic hormones (rBGH and rBST) Found In: Milk and dairy products Why the U.S. Allows It: Gotta keep moo-ving things along. Dairy farmers inject cows with genetically-engineered cow growth hormones to boost milk production by about 10 percent, according to Calton. Health Hazards: "Cows treated with these synthetic hormones often become lame, infertile, and suffer from inflamed and infected udders," Calton says. Humans, who consume these cows byproducts, are in no better shape, she adds: "The milk is supercharged with IGF-1 (insulin growth factor -1), which has been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers." RELATED: 3 "Healthy" Foods that Aren't so Healthy Ingredient: Arsenic Found In: Poultry Why the U.S. Allows It: Big brother FDA permits arsenic in chicken feed to promote growth, improve efficiency in feeding the birds, and boost pigmentation. "The arsenic affects the blood vessels in chickens and turkeys, causing them to appear pinker and, therefore, fresher," Calton says. Health Hazards: The European Union has outlawed the use of arsenic since 1999, Calton says, and the Environmental Protection Agency classifies inorganic arsenic as a "human carcinogen." Take matters into your own hands by sticking to organic birds only. More on SHAPE: 9 Ways to Get Fit on the Couch 16 Savory Oatmeal Recipes The 10 Best Weight-Loss Apps of 2013 ... . Email Share7005 Tweet Print ...

First Day of Summer and More

Blessed be this first day of Summer and the Solstice. We continue on as best we can. I have much to post, and will begin by introducing a new book, Edible by Tracy Ryuder and Carole Topalian, on eating local all over the country via a lovely,illustrated directory of farmers markets. More about this later. Our cat, our beloved Emma, is not well. She is on thyroid meds, and has had several teeth pulled, conditions she came with when we adopted her. She went from a fierce little tiger, to a little bag of meek, limp marbles. She only wants to sleep in the bathtub, and did want to drink from the tap there obsessively. She is better at that, but now does not have much appetite, and seems depressed. She used to sleep on a her blanket, a baby blanket with another fleece afghan, but she is half the cat she was. Vet says she is fine, but I think her system was shocked. She is around 11 years old. Any ideas? I am more worried that she is not into food, which was not a problem. She ate well and normally, before, and I buy her organic, holistic food, or make it for her. Some publications that fit the season, here are some favorites: Extraordinary Health, volume 17. Drew Barrymore on the cover. Features include RAW probiotics, which one is right for you? and "Eight "new You" healthy recipes. Heatlhy Living, vol. 17, noo. 3: Alanis Morisette on cover. Features: Coffee Bean skinny Pill, Silver Soothese ASthma Syumptoms, What Drug companies won't tell youa bout joint pain, Natural Hari care that performs! The above two can be found at local natural food stores. Design Toscano Catalog special midsummer issue features garden decor, with lots of fairies and animals, as we approach Midsummer and thoughts of A Midsummer Night's Dream! I am not a spokesperson for any of these, but I enjoy reading them, even if I never buy anything. As a writer, I get inspiration everywhere. From the University of Wisconsin Press, several pertinent Land management journals and other journals and books, many delivered as ebooks: Ecological Restoration, Steven N. Handel Ed. Land Economics, Daniel romley, Ed. Landscape Journal, Lance M. Neckar, ed. Native Plants Journal, Ed. R. Kasten Dumroese, USDA Forest Service Also, on NPR yesteday morning was a story called "The Secret Live of Plants," about how hard it is for plants to survive and thrive, and which are good food sources, and what humans can learn about survival by studying them. Try NPR or, All Things Considered to find it. Still working on typing, and my hands and arms hurt more than ever. My books seem to be doing well, and I have some signings and programs coming up. Thanks to all my readers and followers for this and my other blogs. You are my online family, and I love you all!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

New Uses for Water from the Dehumidifier

A very good friend told me he uses the water from his dehumidifier on his fountain. That way, he doesn't use water frivolously. It is that time of year, and I will be looking for a new dehumidifier to protect The Museum. Does anyone have any good suggestions? Thanks. My Book With Love from Tin Lizzie is in print, and available from me, soon to be on Alibris, I hope! Wild Horse Runs Free and The Bathory Chronicles are on Amazon for Kindle! Take good care; thanks for reading my blog.