Tag: creativity

Y is for Yikes!

In my search for an unusual word or two beginning with the letter Y, I discovered an incredible website:


In celebration of all things Y, I have opted to create a short vocabulary quiz – taking advantage of Mr. Stephen Chrisomalis‘ hard work and tremendous passion for words.

Please choose the correct definition of each word:


  1. A 16th century crock used in cooking
  2. The deck area immediately below the helm of a ship
  3. A straight bundle of straw used for thatching


  1. Noise
  2. Hunger
  3. Exhaustion


  1. A traveling jester/commedien
  2. A green woodpecker
  3. A tool used by blacksmiths


  1. To hiccup, belch or spit
  2. To curse, defame or libel
  3. To damage, mar or deface

To determine your score, please visit The Phrontistery and find each word in the provided list, or scroll down.



  1. A 16th century crock used in cooking
  2. The deck area immediately below the helm of a ship
  3. A straight bundle of straw used for thatching


  1. Noise
  2. Hunger
  3. Exhaustion


  1. A traveling jester/commedien
  2. A green woodpecker
  3. A tool used by blacksmiths


  1. To hiccup, belch or spit
  2. To curse, defame or libel
  3. To damage, mar or deface

So … how did you fare? Are you inspired to use one or more of these words as a vocabulary-bomb during casual conversation? Are you curious about Mr. Chrisomalis’ website and impatient to discover more words? Will you suggest your writers’ group visit his site when looking for unusual writing prompts?

Ahh – let the fun begin!


Q is for Quilting

Handed down from one generation to the next, quilting is sometimes considered to be an aging art or a forgotten DSC_0082laborious task.

In actuality, quilting is fresh and alive and bursting into the future. Time-saving mini-quilt kits are available, and today’s projects can be made in whole, or in part, on technologically advanced machines.


Modern designs, superior fabrics, and wide open opportunities for self expression have completely erased any lingering stereotypical images of hand sewing by candlelight.


Seek out quilt shows, like the annual Quiltfest in Rising Sun, Indiana, where these quilts were photographed earlier this month. Talk with creative and informative quilters, like members of the Sunshine Stitchers or Rivertown Quilters.

Visit your local fabric shop – not one of those mega-craft-warehouses. A real fabric shop where the employees actually make things, and can tell with one touch or a glance if that bolt of fabric is 100% cotton, or a blend.



Discover the incredible world of color, texture and adventure!



For more pictures of Quiltfest 2016, please visit;


Thank you.

P is for Poem in Your Pocket Day

It is almost here … the day to fill your pockets with poems!

Poem in Your Pocket April 21, 2016

Sharing poetry, or any other form of writing, is a great way for writers to connect with readers – to discover what speaks to them, what they just don’t ‘get’, and what they do not want to ‘get’.

As any poet, dramatist or journalist will attest, it is important to know that the work is reaching someone; is being heard.

As you run those errands, enjoy lunch with friends, or pour another cup of coffee at work, drop a poem off with the dry cleaning, leave a poem with the tip, and tuck a poem near the plastic stirrers.


O is for Overlooked



It happens to all of us – this overlooking, neglecting, ignoring. Life is too busy, time is too short.

But in the rush to accomplish and do and become, all too often we forget what made living so exciting and happy and fresh …




The overlooked might be funny …


Might be lovely …


Might be silly …


Might be cool …


Might be meaningful only to one person.

But still, very important.

M is for Making

Making, building, engineering … give a kid a couple of Lego building bricks and watch out … she or he might end up in a museum!


If this exhibition comes to a venue near you, please make an effort to see it. Just the amount of time spent on each piece is astounding.

Beautiful and perfectly engineered.

Art – with a click rather than a twist!


The artist uses what is generally considered to be a toy to express some profound feelings and observations.


None of the pieces translates to photography very well – this is one of those things you must see in person.


C is for Cookies

Chocolate chip, sugar, pinwheel, gingerbread … there are so many different cookies to choose from when perusing a cookbook, walking into a bakery, or strolling through the local grocery store.

But the best experience might be quietly taking the lid from the cookie jar and grabbing one –  or one handful of – freshly baked, homemade cookies.

One of over 3,000 cookie jars on display at Grannie’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor.


Today, there are as many varieties of cookie jars as there are cookies. From utilitarian canisters to ornate, quirky or perplexing containers, somewhere there is the perfect cookie jar for everyone – and it is probably sitting on a shelf or snugged onto a counter at Grannie’s Cookie Jars and Ice Cream Parlor in Metamora, Indiana.


Just the suggestion of cookies brings up happy memories: the warmth of the kitchen, the smell of baking cookies, that first melting taste … comfort food at its finest.



Still family owned, Grannie’s is an integral part of Metamora, a small canal town located in Southeastern Indiana. Open year round, this welcoming shop is the place for a refreshing cone, a hot cup of coffee, and friendly conversation.

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During the summer season, when the historic canal boat eases past the front door laden with tourists,  Grannie’s bustles with incredulous first-time visitors searching for the cookie jar of their childhood. They look and point, smile with the memory, then share stories of their grandmother’s kitchen with family and friends.

On sunshine bright weekends, couples and families fill the benches, patio chairs and picnic tables prettily located beneath the many shade trees along the banks of the canal. Walking through this friendly Midwest town, with a delicious ice cream cone of course, visitors remember to slow down, to stroll, to hold the hand of their sweetheart, their parent, their child. And enjoy.

Z is for Zest

AtoZ Z2015

And so the Blogging A to Z Challenge ends … with the final letter of the alphabet. We Readers and Bloggers ought to celebrate with a little something nice. Maybe an aromatic cup of tea and some pastries?

Here is an easy and quick recipe for Zesty Lemon Filled Choux Puffs.

Blogging 2015 Zest Lemon Heavy

I would happily make these delights all day long. They can look rather impressive, but the business of making the choux (pronounced shoe, as in tennis) is easy peasy. And just between us, although it might not be ‘correct’, I sometimes add just a touch of almond, vanilla, lemon, etc. to the choux. If possible, I use the highly concentrated oils rather than the more liquid flavorings, for fear of ruining the consistency.

Not a fan of lemon filling? Not an issue – these are nice with butter, chocolate mousse (another easy recipe, but for another post), or strawberry preserves beaten with whipped cream. They even work well with savories like tuna salad or veggies. Oh my!  I might have to meander into the kitchen …

Well, enough of that! Here we go with the actual recipe and some photos just for fun.

First, make your Choux:

1/2 cup generous Water (I use a touch more than the usual 1/2 cup, but not too much!)

4 Tablespoons Butter (use the very best butter you can find, preferably unsalted)

1/2 cup Flour

2 Eggs (room temperature is best, but if in a rush, at least try to warm them in a warm towel)

Blogging 2015 Zest Choux Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 375* 

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or if you are not wild about parchment like I am, have at the ready unlined and ungreased cookie sheets.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil. Remove from heat, then add the flour all at once. Placing the pan over moderate heat, stir like mad until the mixture comes away from the sides of the saucepan, making a ball. Remove the pan from the heat again, letting the dough cool for about five minutes. Then add the fresh eggs, one at a time, assertively stirring each one into the cooled dough until the mixture is smooth.

Using large spoons or iced tea spoons, drop equal sized dollops of dough about 2″ apart onto the cookie sheets – spoon choice will determine the size of each puff.

Blogging 2015 Zest Choux and Pan

Bake one sheet at a time for 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden. Blogging 2015 Zest Choux Baked

Cut open the upper third and … hey! Wait a second! Do try to stop eating them before they are all gone since you still have a lot of filling to use. Oh well, these are simple enough to make again … and again … and again!

The Lemon ZEST Filling

Blogging 2015 Zest Lemon One

I am going to share the simplest lemon filling I know with you, but as you are already aware, there are a zillion recipes for lemon curd, lemon butter, lemon everything. Play with this and make your own complicated or straightforward version. Just remember that the idea is to have a good time in the kitchen!

2  8-ounce packages of real cream cheese (the substitutes simply don’t work as nicely)

1  14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (yup, this is going to be very easy!)

1/2 cup sour cream (I use plain yogurt because we never have sour cream in the house)

1/4 cup lemon juice (I do try to squeeze fresh lemons, but it’s your recipe now, so that’s up to you)

The zest of at least one lemon (the more lemons, the zestier the outcome)

Dash of lemon oil, vanilla, coconut, etc. (not actually necessary, but an option if you’d like to experiment with flavors)

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Place all of the ingredients in a bowl or food processor – or blender, I suppose – and blend until smooth, creamy and wonderful. Spoon into the few remaining Choux Puffs. You will have more than enough filling, so it might be wise to make multiple batches of choux pastry, or use the leftovers as filling for a refrigerated cake.

If you are concerned about the degree of icky sweetness, only pour about 1/2 to 2/3 of the can of sweetened condensed milk into the bowl above, then blend and adjust for taste and consistency. You could use heavy cream, plain yogurt, and/or more cream cheese instead of the entire can.

And then it is time to serve these wonders with a dab of filling and a scattering of lemon zest on top – or drizzle them with melted chocolate, or lightly sift confectioner’s sugar on top.

Whatever you’d prefer!

Blogging 2015 Zest Lemon Heavy

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many Readers who made it through the entire alphabet with me, and the talented Bloggers who shared their wonderful posts during this Blogging A to Z Challenge.

I’ve connected with some remarkable writers, cooks, photographers and poets, and I’ve learned a great deal about blogging along the way.

I wish all of you happy discoveries, safe culinary adventures, good lighting and successful blogging – I am looking forward to enjoying more of your work in the weeks and months to come.