October 2020 #1
October 11, 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.
~ NEWS ~
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: Midwest Book Awards
But wait, there's more!
Esther's Gragger is one of three Picture Book Finalists for the Connecticut Book Award sponsored by the CT Center for the Book. Two other members of the Shoreline SCBWI group are also nominated, Leslie Bulion and Susan Hood for Young Readers Nonfiction.
The silver and gold seal winners will be announced during a live online event, and everyone is invited. Wish us luck!
Check here for registration info: Registration
and the complete list of nominees: 2020 Connecticut Book Award Finalists
Did you know that October is National Pizza Month?
According to the Every Day's a Holiday Calendar, other noteworthy October dates include:
October 6 - Garlic Lovers Day
October 8 – World Octopus Day
October 17 – Wear Something Gaudy Day
October 18 – Chocolate Cupcake Day
October 22 – CAPS LOCK DAY
October 26 – Worldwide Howl at the Moon Day
October 29 – National Cat Day
October 30 – National Candy Corn Day
Here are some books I love:
We Are Water Protectors
Written by Carole Lindstrom
Illustrated by Michaela Goade
Inspired by the 2016 Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Poetic text and lavish pictures describe how a young indigenous girl takes a stand to protect the land from the black snake that threatens to poison the water and destroy the Earth.
Middle Grade Novels
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe
by Carlos Hernandez
Miami middle school student Sal Vidón can rip holes in the space-time continuum.
Budding journalist Gabi Real discovers his secret and they team up to find solutions to school and family problems. But their universe-hopping may have deadly consequences. Full of humor, magic, and Cuban-American food and folklore, (and a toilet with Artificial Intelligence in the sequel) these multi-layered books are a must-read.
~ VIEWS ~
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!
~ STUFF YOU CAN USE ~
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!