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Issue #1       October, 2020


Greetings & Salutations!


Welcome to the first issue of The Simpsonian Muse. I am your scribe, Martha Seif Simpson, Author and Children's Librarian. As the header says, this monthly newsletter will feature:

·       News – Mine as well as other interesting tidbits

·       Views – A few photos from my world travels

·       Stuff you Can Use – A mish-mash of activities, crafts,

        story-stretcher ideas, or whatever I am excited about sharing


Thanks for joining me on this adventure. I hope you will find something to inform and entertain you.



My picture book, Esther's Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim, won two medals from the Midwest Book Awards sponsored by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association – a silver medal in the Picture Book category, and the gold medal for Children's Fiction.

Here's the link:

But wait, there's more!


Esther's Gragger was one of three Picture Book Finalists for the Connecticut Book Award sponsored by the CT Center for the Book.

Prior to Covid, my husband (John) and I did quite a but of traveling. So in this section, I'd like to showcase some of the places we've been.


In September 2018, we took a bus tour through parts of tour of Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland. We saw a lot of castles from the outside, and a few from inside. Here's one of my favorites.

Today we visit a section of Germany known as Bavaria. This is the tourist village where our bus parked on our way to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II in the 1800s. Ludwig had a passion for castles, and built several of them.
We walked along a small bridge facing the back of the castle to take photos.
This is a postcard of the front of the castle, which was closed off for renovations when we visited. We only got to tour a small area, but it was very lavish inside. (No photos were allowed, but the King had a thing for swans.) Even so, we had to climb up 800 stairs!
Did you know that Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Cinderella's Castle in Disneyland? True fact!
Here's another postcard. Lightning during a snow storm! Perfect for Halloween, right?
More castles to come next month!



Like many people, I was sad to learn about the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her life and career were an inspiration, especially for women and girls.

To honor her memory, I wanted to make a lace collar like the ones she wore over her robe. Problem is, I can't crochet and I don't have a sewing machine. So instead of starting from scratch, I found a lace doily in my china cabinet and, with a few simple adjustments, re-purposed it into an RBG collar.


You can do it, too! Here's what I did.

Step 1 – The doily I found was about 16 inches in diameter.
Step 2 – I marked the center area to cut out. Looking at the pattern, the leaves of the inside petals look like diamond shapes. I decided to cut the diamonds into 2 triangles, which would make the radius of the collar about 5.5 inches.
So the lace wouldn't unravel when I cut out the center, I basted the edge of the circle, as you can see from the raised area.
Step 3 – When I cut out the inner circle, the stitching loosened up enough to easily fit around my neck. In fact, I discovered I could sew the open edges back together since the collar could slip over my head and there was no need to sew a hook and eye.
Step 4 – I found some scrap material to use as trim and sewed it over the rough-cut edges at the opening.
Step 5 – Since I could slip the collar over my head, I sewed the open edges together to make a circle, then added the trim edging around the inside circle.
Viola - A beautiful lace collar!
If you can't find a round doily, you can use an old lace tablecloth or even curtains.
Take a good look at the pattern and follow the design to create your own RBG collar.
Wear it proudly!

I hope you enjoyed this month's Simpsonian Muse. If you know someone who would be interested in reading it, please forward this issue and tell them to subscribe.


Until next month, remember to amuse your muse!


~ Martha