Remember eating an icy cold Popsicle® on a warm summer’s day when you were little? Your lips would freeze as you licked, slurped, and bit into it, the juice running down your chin. And then, when you were done, you proudly stuck out your tongue to show everyone how it had turned red, orange, or purple.
But for all the Popsicles® you’ve enjoyed in your lifetime, did you ever wonder who actually invented them? You may be surprised to hear it was an 11-year-old boy.
Inquisitive, bright, and enterprising, California native Frank Epperson was born with the heart and mind of an inventor. As a boy, he “pondered important questions,” such as:
Do goldfish sleep?
Do ants have ears?
Do woodpeckers get headaches from pecking all day?
His ability to direct positive energy towards developing his ideas proved advantageous early on. Since inventing required experimentation, he was constantly doodling, designing, tinkering, testing, analyzing and scrutinizing.
By the time he was ten, “he had already masterminded his first invention: a handcar with two handles,” which ran twice as fast as one-handled cars. How he loved whizzing around the neighborhood in it!
Frank also enjoyed experimenting with liquids, especially flavored soda waters. He “had his heart set on inventing the yummiest, most thirst-quenching, lip-smacking soda water drink ever!”
On a fine autumn day, what could be better than finding this lovely handwritten note in your mailbox?
You are cordially invited to a tea party in the back garden at dusk. ~ P
You probably know I’m always up for a tea party, and this one just happens to be doubly delightful. It’s being hosted by none other than the ever dapper Mr. Pumpkin, who really knows how to rock a waistcoat and top hat (I could never resist a top hat). Besides, taking tea at twilight is just too tempting. 🙂
Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party,a seasonally spooky story and counting book in one, was written and illustrated by Cincinnati-based author and illustrator Erin Barker, who first sketched a “pumpkin-head guy” having tea with a “skeleton person” for Inktober back in 2016.
They weren’t your average run-of-the-mill pumpkin and skeleton, though. They were dressed up as proper English gentlemen, and were saying things like, “I dare say,” and “Indeed.” Erin’s Instagram followers loved the sketch, and months later her editor suggested the characters should have their own book. So Erin developed a charming storyline inspired by her own love of hosting get-togethers with friends and good food.
Described as, “A Poetic Journey into the Creative Process for Readers, Writers, Artists & Dreamers,” this collection of twenty-four spare, unadorned “word-gems” is an insightful gift to all creatives, offering both invaluable advice and spiritual nourishment.
As I enter my seventh decade on this planet, I wonder what words of wisdom I might have written to the younger me. What treasured tidbits have I learned along the way? What could I leave in a letter to young artists and poets searching the world for advice, guidance, and inspiration.
The creative process is a mysterious one, muses can be fickle, and in endeavors where one’s reach almost always exceeds one’s grasp, the life of the artist can be daunting and lonely.
I have always believed that in a sense, you cannot actually “teach” someone how to write, just as you cannot teach someone how to think or how to feel. And while there are many helpful books about honing your craft with suggestions about form, structure, voice, etc., detailing the more technical aspects of writing, sometimes what a writer needs, or craves . . . are simple, enduring truths gleaned from years of experience.
As I read the short yet profound poems, I silently cheered in affirmation. Yes, trust your instincts, speak the truth in your heart, find your authentic voice, get out of your own way and let the work speak for itself. Only write if you must.
Dear Poet is like having a trusted friend nearby, reminding you of what is most important. Though the subtitle is, “Notes to a Young Writer,” these words are for everyone, no matter where you are on your creative journey. Aren’t all artists and writers eternally young (in a constant state of beginning)?
I’m pairing today’s poems with art created by Charles’s son Chip, who also lives and works in Homewood, Alabama. As you can see, artistic talent runs deep in this family (Charles’s wife Debra is also a poet).
Good things do come in small packages. Read these delectable nuggets slowly and ponder . . . 🙂
A silent rhyme upon the page is what the poet gives,
gentle words whispered in trust to see if memory lives.
A poem is a rising moon shining on the sea,
an afterglow of all you know, of all your dreams set free.
The answer to the artist comes quicker than a blink,
though the spark of inspiration is not what you might think.
The muse is full of magic, though her vision may be dim.
The artist does not choose the work. It is the work that chooses him.
Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. Have fun visiting all the blogs serving up delectable poetic goodness this week!
Of course we must also mention Pamela Foster’s wonderful website and blog, Downton Abbey Cooks — a fabulous archive of period recipes, musings, and food history that sustained us through all six seasons of the PBS TV series. Pamela’s eBooks are still available for download: there are two editions of Abbey Cooks Entertain, as well as a Relaxing Over Afternoon Teacookbook.
So, if you want to sip, eat, nibble, feast, dine, indulge, or entertain Downton style, there are many resources available to help you get your Crawley on.
That said, it’s still nice to have an “official” Downton Abbey cookbook to drool over, now that the movie is finally out. When it comes to dining like the Crawleys, and learning more about the dishes Mrs Patmore and Daisy are busy cooking downstairs, we can never have enough. It’s by far the most delicious way to wholly emerge ourselves in that once-upon-a-romantic-time-gone-by upstairs/downstairs world.
Pick a Pumpkin captures all the joy, anticipation, excitement, community spirit, and rustic beauty of the season as a family happily picks and carves pumpkins before going out to trick-or-treat.
There’s nothing like visiting the pumpkin patch on a crisp fall afternoon and finding just the right globular beauty:
Pick a pumpkin from the patch —
tall and lean or short and fat.
Vivid orange, ghostly white, or speckled green might be just right.
After enjoying spicy punch and toffee apples, mom and her two kids load their pumpkin stash in their truck and head home, where dad and the baby greet them. They clean and polish their pumpkins, gather the tools they need, and invite some friends over to help them carve.
We follow them through every step, from cutting the pumpkins open, to scooping out seeds and strings, to carving out eyes, noses and mouths. So many different shapes, facial expressions, and pumpkin personalities!
Then it’s time for outdoor decorations:
Cobwebs strung from post to post, Rings of gauzy dancing ghosts. Spiders. Tombstones. Dangling bats. Skeletons and witches’ hats.
Now that the scene is set, everyone dons their costumes before proudly carrying their pumpkins outside. Then it’s that magical moment when the pumpkins are lit — turning them into spooky jack-o’-lanterns!
Its red-hot eyes will gaze and flicker.
Its fiery grin will blaze and snicker, to guard your house while you have fun.
With the neighborhood aglow, mummies, ghosts, witches, skeletons and vampires take to the streets for a howling good time.
Patty’s rhythmic, exuberant text is a joy to read aloud and is packed with vivid sensory details that place the reader smack dab in the middle of all the action.
Lumpy chunks. Sticky strings, Clumpy seeds. Guts and things. With a spoon, scrape sides neatly. Clean the inside out completely.
And how I love Jarvis’s pencil, chalk, paint and digitally colored illustrations! Gorgeous composition and layering resplendent with fall colors and textures. You can just about hear those leaves crunching underfoot, feel the chilly autumn wind on your cheeks, hear the happy chatter of family and friends as they carve pumpkins together.
Just as he did with Pick a Pine Tree, where he included a white cat, this time there’s a winsome black cat for keen eyes to track from spread to spread. Not sure if the cat followed the family home from the pumpkin patch, or if he belonged to them in the first place, but he’s adorable as he balances on fences, plays with the blackbirds, peers out the front window, or sticks his little paw into a bowl of pumpkin “guts.”
I can easily see Pick a Pumpkin becoming a fall classic; it positively glows with fun and goodness!