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



Like My Spider

Like My Spider
It's Halloween!


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


The Original Bodacious Woman

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Angel Monument

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Kiowa Doll

Kiowa Doll

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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, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year! Easy Holiday Recipes

I hope you have a happy and peaceful 2018!  With family and friends dropping in and so much to do, cooking can be a challenge.  Here are a few easy recipes I tried out, many featuring a pound of fresh spinach I picked up.  All images are public domain.

Image result for happy new year public domain

New Year's Eve Brunch; When you sleep late, this works!

Eggs Benedict Florentine with sliced bananas, apples and yogurt, spanakopita, and coffee.  Add beverage of your choice including fresh juice.

Eggs Benedict

Fresh eggs, I use large
tomato bouillon
3-4 leaves fresh spinach
1-2 slices Buddig corned beef, or other thin meat, including Canadian bacon, ham, sausage patties or bacon
Hollandaise sauce, organic packet, other mix, or home made
One slice multigrain toast of English muffin
One large bar European chocolate, broken into pieces

Poach three eggs in rapidly boiling water flavored with bouillon.  Remove when done and drain.  Egg should be firm, white, and quivering.

On the piece of toast, assemble meat, leaves of spinach and eggs.  Top with one generous tablespoon of Hollandaise sauce.

On a large plate, arrange sliced apples, bananas, yogurt, eggs Benedict, spanakopita, and chocolate

Serve on holiday china or paper plates :)  Provide beverage of choice; I like Hot coffee.

Image result for happy new year public domain


Just to review, I found a recipe on Recipes.com, but then, my mother's spirit took over and I rolled with the way we made it at home.

1 lb. package filo dough
about ounces fresh spinach; use your judgment
2-3 eggs
chopped onions or chives
about 4 ounces cottage cheese
6 ounces feta cheese crumbles
salt and pepper to taste
about 2 thirds of a pound butter

In a 9 or thirteen inch square metal or glass pan, spray the bottom with olive oil Pam cooking spray or other brand.  Lay one layer of filo dough, brush with butter that has been melted.  Alternate about six filo leaves brushed with butter.

In  a small pan, sauté in one tablespoon olive oil, onions and spinach  When onions clarify, remove, drain, and cool.  Put in a bowl with cottage cheese, eggs, and feta crumbles, oregano, salt, and pepper, and mix well. 

Spoon over filo, cover with more filo leaves, about two, and brush each with butter.  Add another layer of the spinach-cheese mixture, add more filo layers, about four, brush each layer with melted butter.

Cut in diagonals or squares before baking.

Bake for 35 or 40 mins at 350 degrees.  Watch closely, and remove when top layer turns golden brown.

For Tiropita [cheese pastries]  Omit sautéing spinach with onions.  Double the cheese mixture, and sprinkle in finely chopped onions.  Repeat procedure with filo and melted better.  Bake at same temperature for the same amount of time.
Image result for happy new year public domain

Salmon a la Mom, Mediterranean Style

3-4 hard boiled eggs

one half small, thin sliced tomato

about 1 cup spinach leaves

2-3 portions Salmon, fresh

6-8 boiled shrimp

salt and pepper to taste

dried chives, oregano, basil or Herbs de Provence

chopped green onions

tomato bouillon

one to two pats butter

about one cup water

Spray the bottom of a glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Add salmon;  fill with water about half way.  Stir in tomato bouillon.  Cover and scatter spinach leaves, sliced tomatoes and onions. Mushrooms are good, too.  Add shrimp, tails off.  Capers are good in this as well.  Add salt pepper, other spices like oregano or basil, some dill or Herbs de Provence is great.

Bake uncovered at 35 degrees till salmon turns light pink.  Watch to see it has enough water.

After you plate it, garnish with sliced hardboiled eggs.  It is good with a side of very fresh linguine, just sprinkled with shredded parmesan chees.  Pair with a nice, chilled white wine.


Image result for happy new year public domain

One Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs Florentine

1 package spaghetti

1 small bottle Italian Vodka sauce, or other tomato based sauce.  You can make your own, too.

About 12 meatballs, I used Sicilian brand, with red pepper, which turned out to be very hot and spicy.  Any brand works, or if you have time, make your own.

About 2 cups spinach

Salt, pepper, oregano, chopped garlic, if you like, basil, dried chives, to taste.

Boil spaghetti per directions and drain.    Return to pot.  Add  vodka sauce to pot.  Add spinach and a little water, and stir very well.  Heat on low.  Add meatballs.  Stir till hot enough to serve.

Serve in bowls with fresh salad as a side.  Sprinkle spaghetti with freshly grated cheese.

Image result for 12 days of christmas public domain

Easy Pizza!

I package small, about 6 inch, ready made pizza crusts, made in Italy.  Similar to Boboli. In a large cookie sheet or round pan sprayed with Pam, lay out crusts.  Brush with  any kind of pizza sauce, and cover with cheese.  I used slices of Havarti.  Add toppings, I used sliced green olives on one, fresh spinach leaves on another, thin sliced roast beef and olives on another.  Cover topics with more sliced Havarti.  I also used sliced American cheese on the roast beef one.  Dollop with more sauce and sprinkle with oregano.  Bake at about 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes till pizzas are crisp.  Enjoy!

I also made Baklava, and bough Christmas cookies, and made some.  I assembled small, colorful plates using Holiday paper plates and containers and covered them with foil, tied with a Christmas ribbon and topped with a Xmas card as gifts.  If time is not your friend over the holidays, try these ideas.

Merry 7th Day of Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Image result for christmas public domain

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Winter Solstice

It is again the Solstice; Blessed Be

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Public Domain Image

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

When Things Go Wrong .....

I don't know what it is about today. I honestly haven't had time to look up even to see if it is a full moon.  People pass me speeding on the wrong side on residential streets; they do it to my friends, too.  Weird construction is everywhere.  I'm getting odd phone calls from places never heard of, and it's Christmas.

This year's is sad and harried; losing Dad and two dear friends was too much.  I am now an orphan officially, and nothing will ever make that better.  My wishes for all my readers are a peaceful Christmas and a blessed Solstice tomorrow.  I recommend Rosamund Pilcher's Winter Solstice for those who need solace, and I suggest surround yourself with people you love if you are sad or grieving.

Product DetailsFound on Amazon.com

Oddly enough, spending time in my childhood home has helped me.  I have done some decorating with our old things, because in them, live the memories of all of my family.  Small trees work as well as big ones, and old Nativity sets, even "dinged", can't be replaced for nostalgia.   A few cuttings of holly and evergreen set a nice tone.  Arranging things the way the house was is a good way to honor our past holidays, too.

Another thing that helps is making family recipes, baking those special cookies, or making the salad everyone loves.  When I do this, I can hear my mother and grandmother telling me what to do. If  you don't cook, perhaps try going to a favorite family restaurant, or just read the recipes and save them in a scrapbook.  I will do a scrapbook for my Dad, as for my mom.  They will be preserved with other family photos in the archives of my upcoming museum of dolls, toy, and memorabilia.

There is no closure, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  I say do what helps you get through the day.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

From Dad

What I saw from Dad, and a message from God.

Monday, October 23, 2017


Autumn comes in the time of
When Winter's Snows
Quite, quite near!
      Ellen Tsagaris, Age 10

            Autumn has finally come; it is cold, and crisp, and the nights dark and early.  Finally, the leaves have changed, the apples taste crisper.  Coffee not only warms; it insulates

The colors are glowing, vibrant as the leaves die their slow, beautiful death.  My hand clutches, feeling the paint brush that isn't there, but once was.  I painted and photographed autumn frantically when I was young.   Here are some public domain and clip art images for your to enjoy; be sure to breathe deeply when the air is cool, and the sun is bright.

Remember collecting leaves - pressing them in books.  I have leaves that are older than I am, or at least, as old.  They live in my big, leather bound book of animals, itself a collectible.  Maybe it was gathering leaves and ironing them between sheets of wax paper that lead me to collecting dolls-- who knows!!

"Nothing Gold can Stay!"

Fall Vignettes

Fall Romance
Harvest Scene

Here comes Halloween! Some Fun Images

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Solar Eclipse and Maria Mitchell

The Solar Eclipse and Maria Mitchell

By Ellen Tsagaris

Popular Astronomy Club
Appeared in The Moline Dispatch

Image result for solar eclipse 2017 public domain
2017 Eclipse Public Domain


On March 20, 2015, the next solar eclipse will be visible.  NASA’s Solar Eclipse Page provides tables of past and future solar eclipses, along with graphics and other pertinent information. 


A solar eclipse takes place, of course, when the moon passes between the sun and the earth.  Once this occurs, the moon partially or totally hides the sun.  Then, the moon casts a shadow on the earth.


For a solar eclipse to occur there must be a new moon because the eclipse can only take place during the phase of the new moon, which makes it possible for the moon to cast its shadow on the earth.


Such an event has been billions of years in the making, truly awesome when one considers that since its formation almost 4.5 billion years ago, the moon has been steadily pulling away from the earth. According to Space.com, the moon has been moving away from the earth by about 1.6 inches each year.  Furthermore, the writers at Space.com point out that “right now the moon is at the perfect distance to appear in our sky exactly the same size as the sun, and therefore block it out. “


The Bible mentions a solar eclipse in Amos 8: 9, “I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the Earth in the clear day.”  Other references from Ancient China and Nineveh have also been documented. 


Most solar eclipses are very short, with some of the longest recorded at 7 minutes 31 seconds. During this time, the corona, the outer atmosphere of the sun, is visible.


The March eclipse will not be visible in the Quad City area, unfortunately. A total solar eclipse will be visible in Svalbard, Norway and the Faroe Islands, while a partial solar eclipse will be visible in Europe, northern and eastern Asia and northern and western Africa

Image result for maria mitchell public domain
Maria Mitchell, Public Domain


The last solar eclipse was only a partial eclipse and occurred on October 23, 2014.


Celebrated astronomer Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) made the study of solar eclipses her specialty.  Mitchell was born to Quaker parents who believed in educating equally their sons and daughters.  She learned to love astronomy through helping her father, and one evening, she helped him calculate their home’s position by observing a solar eclipse. Mitchell became famous after she discovered a comet in 1847.  The King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery of the comet.  In 1856, Mitchell became a professor of astronomy at Vassar College.


Maria Mitchell was an admired and beloved teacher who inspired her students and believed woman could achieve the same accomplishments that men did, if they could only be given a chance.  She believed creativity and science worked well together, and one quote attributed to her reads: “We especially need imagination in science. It is not all mathematics, nor all logic, but it is somewhat beauty and poetry.”




Happy Halloween!!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reynard the Fox

I saw the neighborhood fox, a beautiful little person, indeed.  It had little black footies, [ok, it was too cute!] The lovely tail, alert expression, soft red coat.  It trotted across the street  between house, happily stalking who knows what!  The other fox in the area was pale and small in comparison, and its ears were not as perky or pointed.  The same is true of the Carbondale fox who stopped traffic at a 4-way stop by Kroger; everyone stood still until it crossed safely. 

The way it scampered in the brisk, cool fall air that finally came to us was inspiring.  Long may our little fox trot, and long may he live among us.

Our other neighbors include a chipmunk who lives in a doll buggy I use in outdoor displays, several bunnies we helped raise by saving their nests, the very naughty raccoons, an occasional pheasant and wild turkey, our birds, including a woodpecker, the 12th avenue Bald Eagles, a few hawks.  Once or twice,  I've seen a coyote. We get holiday cards from some of our neighbors, especially the squirrels that scamper in front of the picture window, just to upset my strictly indoor cats!!

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Public Domain


Subject: Student Writing/Publishing Opportunity: The Dangling Modifier Newsletter is Accepting Submissions!
From: Karen-Elizabeth Moroski <kxm5044@psu.edu>
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:24:54 -0400
X-Message-Number: 3

Hi, friends!

The Fall 2017 Issue of Penn State/NCTPW's Peer Tutoring Newsletter -- The
Dangling Modifier -- is now accepting submissions. Please encourage your
tutors to submit!

This year's theme was inspired by the upcoming MAWCA 2018 Conference themes
of identity, narrative and honoring intersectionality/voice in writing
center work.

*What is The Dangling Modifier?*
Why, I'm glad you asked! The DM is a peer tutoring newsletter by peer
tutors, for peer tutors. It's a fantastic opportunity for your
students/tutors (grad and undergrad alike) to get published and to be part
of a rich history of tutors writing about tutoring.

*How does it work?*
Explained more in full on The DM's website, peer tutor authors will submit
works via email. Selected writers will be contacted by our editorial staff
(comprised of PSU tutors) and our editorial staff will collaborate (through
Skype, Google Docs, email, etc.) with the writer to refine the final piece.
Then, we publish it to the web!

*If you're interested: *
In the Spring, we offer the possibility for The DM to be hosted by a guest
university. It's great experience for the tutors who work on the newsletter
-- if you're interested, let me know: kxm5044@psu.edu.

*And now... the CFP! (Also attached as a word document)*

*Issue Title: Keepers of Collaboration: Upholding Civil Discourse in
Writing Centers*

*What does collaboration mean to you? To your Writing Center? How do you
define “discourse” in a tutorial? There are times where tutees and
professors both might push against our approach to working with writers
rather than solely working on papers: How does collaboration engage
conversation and growth in ways that line-editing cannot?*

*Sometimes, that conversation and growth can be tough to navigate: as
writing tutors, we sometimes encounter hostile papers, hostile students –
maybe even moments our own beliefs, experiences or backgrounds are called
into question. But a spirit of radical openness runs through the current of
writing center work, and there are ways in which foundational parts of
tutoring pedagogy enable us to be good listeners, good community members
and good humans when we engage in challenging tutorials. The
Dangling Modifier wants to know about times when you’ve felt challenged to
grow during a tutorial, as well as times you needed to use your writing
tutoring skills to navigate a controversial difficult moment in the Writing

*Writing tutoring, civil discourse and collaboration all share the core
tenets of respect, listening, and engaging. What does it mean to be a
Keeper of Collaboration? How can writing tutors use these skills to
preserve and promote community in a tempestuous world?*

*We are also open to creative submissions of artwork, poetry, photography,
book reviews, etc. related to our Fall 2017 theme. If selected, these
submissions will not be listed as newsletter articles but will appear on
our website in our Entertainment Category. Writers can submit to both the
Entertainment and Article sections!*

*Submissions are due no later than November 15, 2017.Email submissions to
danglingmodifier.psu.edu@gmail.com <danglingmodifier.psu.edu@gmail.com>*

*Click here for submission guidelines.