Sunday, September 30, 2007

Patricia's Story

Friday and Saturday The Writer and I participated in ScrapPink, where scrapbookers got together at scrapbook stores all over the country to honor women they knew who have or have had cancer. The Writer cropped for her sister, Patricia.

Patricia? Isn't she the one who bought you from that toy store and swiped her aunt's engagement ring?

She just borrowed that ring. Anyway, in September, 1999, Patricia was diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer. This is an uncommon cancer that affects the back of the throat. Patricia had surgery immediately, followed by 56 radiation therapy treatments. It was a rough time for her. She lost a lot of weight because she couldn't eat. She drank Boost and Ensure for a whole year. Patricia is very strong, though. She kept working and playing with her grandson, Taylor. She never lost heart and she didn't stop doing the things she loved. And she got better! She beat that nasty old cancer!

Good for her!

The Writer created a tribute layout about Patricia for The Cropper's Corner Wall of Hope, which will be displayed in the store in September and October. The layout is small, 6 by 6 inches, and it's hard to see in the photograph (The Writer isn't a good photographer). The Writer used pretty pink swirly paper and rub-on transfers of butterflies and silk flowers. At the bottom, "7 Years" is spelled out in glittery rhinestones and there is a teeny-tiny rhinestone on Patricia's picture.

This post is dedicated to Patricia, and also to Kate and Jeanne and all the women out there who have had cancer and beaten it. Yay to you all!

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Big 2-5

It's kind of quiet around here with Winchester gone. But at least I have my blog back. This month The Writer celebrated 25 years since the publication of her first book! Here I am with the book that was published in 1982. It's called The Silvery Past. The Writer wanted to celebrate with her friends, so she brought cupcakes to the scrapbook store.

How come she didn't save a cupcake for me?

Winchester? Is that you? What happened to Yellow Bear?

She was no Ellsworth. What happened to Xenia?

She was no Winchester.

So that's The Writer's very first published book? It doesn't look like something that would be on the shelf next to Charlotte's Web.

Well, that was The Writer's dream. But she says that in publishing, you walk through whatever door opens. And this book was her door. That was over 100 books ago! The Writer and I are off to Scrap-Pink weekend at the scrapbook store.

Are you sure there isn't a cupcake crumb or anything left for me?

Welcome back, Winchester.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Winchester's New Friend

That Ellsworth isn't the only stuffed animal in the toy shop. Meet my new friend. Her name is Yellow Bear.

Hel-lo. My. Name. Is. Yel-low. Bear.

I just said that. Yellow Bear and I are best friends. We even have matching red ribbons. Yellow Bear isn't old and moth-eaten like Ellsworth. She has nice curly yellow mohair and shiny blue eyes. Isn't she pretty?

Yes. I. Am. Pret-ty.

You're not supposed to say that. Sheesh. I don't think Yellow Bear has much between the ears. At least Ellsworth can carry on a conversation.

Con. Ver. Sa. Shun.

Is there an echo in here?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ellsworth's New Friend

Winchester isn't the only cat out there. I found a new friend. Her name is Xenia. She was named after Princess Anastasia's cousin. Anastasia was a real person in Russia a long time ago.

Why wasn't I named Anastasia, after the princess? No, I got named after her cousin. Most people think I'm named after some place in Ohio.

So, Xenia, what do you want to do today? Have a tea party? Wear a funny hat?

Just try putting a hat on me, Short Stuff. Did I mention I should have been named after a queen? People think I'm grumpy but that's just because they don't give me the respect I deserve. Why aren't you courtseying?


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Winchester Goes Too Far

I finally got my blog back! Give Winchester a few bits and he wants to take over the whole journal! After all that hoop-la, he didn't even write a novel. That just goes to show that writing is harder than it looks.

I missed my Saturday Book, but today I'll talk about--wait a minute! Who changed my blog banner?

hee hee hee

Winchester! This time you have gone too far! You are no longer my friend! I'm going to find another friend.

Lotsa luck.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Muse Abandons Winchester

Winchester, get up! You're supposed to be working on your novel.

I can't. The Muse has deserted me.

Stuff and nonsense! The Writer never depends on the Muse. She says if she waited for inspiration to strike, we would starve. She is a working writer.

That's all right for The Writer, but I'm a genius. Geniuses are different.

Geniuses don't lie around reading comic books and feeling sorry for themselves.

I'm never going to write again. I hope the world realizes they are missing a great talent. When the New York Times Best Seller people want the best book ever, they better not come crying to me!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Winchester Becomes Cool Hip Writer Dude

Winchester! How come you're goofing off at the coffee shop? Why aren't you working on your novel? And why are you wearing a baseball cap backward?

I am working on my novel. Cool hip writer dudes write in coffee shops, you know. They don't wear bowties or write on typewriters. That's so 1980. They wear baseball caps and work on laptops with the chatter of other cool, hip people around them.

Your laptop screen is blank. I bet you have writer's block!

I do not! I just need more coffee. Wait-person! I'll have another raspberry chocolate frappuccino light blended creme with double whipped cream, white chocolate chips, and raspberry drizzle, please.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Winchester's Brilliant First Chapter

Look! I wrote the first chapter of The Great Catsby! Isn't it brilliant?

Your chapter is one word long! "The" is not a chapter! You made me miss my Saturday Book entry for this?

Well, it's a brilliant beginning of a chapter, then.

No, it's not! I could hear you typing for the last five hours. What were you doing? It doesn't take five hours to type "Chapter One, The."

Actually it only took two minutes to type that. The rest of the time I was trying to get my Cat Yummy out of the typewriter. I think it's stuck between the "e" and "f" keys. Can you reach it?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Winchester Becomes The Writer

Here I am, everybody. I'm now The Writer. As you can see, I have started my book, The Great Catsby. I'm so serious about this, I'm not even using a computer. This is a real typewriter from back in the old days, before The Writer was born, even.

What is with the bowtie, collar and tortoiseshell glasses?

I'm a writer! Writers wear special stuff. I couldn't find a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches. But the bowtie makes me look natty, don't you think? And I love my new frames.

All you've written is the title page of you book. You are not a writer yet.

Yes, I am! I wrote the most important thing: "By Winchester."

Okay, hotshot. What next?

Next comes my nap. This writing business is very tiring, you know.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wincester Does His Research

Most hot-shot writers just start writing. So that's what I'm going to do today. Sit down at my typewriter and let the words fly.

That's not how The Writer begins. She always does research first.

The Writer is such a bore! She makes things harder!

No, she doesn't. Even if she's writing fiction, she feels her book needs--how does she put it?--"a ring of authenticity." So she researches the background or the setting or the characters job.

Okay, I'll do my crummy old research. I need some index cards. And file box to keep them in. No, wait! A little basket has more style.

The Writer says writers shouldn't get too hung up on tools. The important thing is to do the work.

Yeah, right. Index cards are so 1975. I need a PDA to write my notes in. No! A cellphone with the Internet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Winchester Writes a Book

You know, The Writer gets all kind of attention because she writes books. I don't know what all the fuss is about. So I'm going to write a book and show everybody how easy it is.

Oh, brother.

First, you need to come up with a good catchy title. I know! The Cat in the Hat.

It's been done, Winchester.

Phooey. How about Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?

Have you ever heard of Tennessee Williams? He wrote a play with that title.

Hmmm. What about Gone With the Cat? The Cat Also Rises? The Grapes of Cat? I know! The best title of all . . . The Great Catsby!

Stay tuned for Winchester's cat-num opus.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ellsworth's Second Adventure

My second big adventure happened while Patricia--remember her from my first adventure?--was at school. By then Candice, who is now The Writer, had found my in her sister's toy chest. We became instant best friends and I went everywhere with Candice. Back in those days, Candice's mother didn't drive so we took a Trailways bus to town. Candice and I loved riding the bus! We'd sit next to the window and she'd hold me up so I could see out.

In town, we'd go to the bank and Peebles Department store and Woolworth's. Then we'd catch the bus back home. One day Candice did the unthinkable. She left me on the bus! I sat alone and forgotten as the bus drove back to the depot in Washington, D.C., 25 miles from my house!

What did you do?

I was afraid I'd be stuck in the Lost and Found box. But the driver knew me. He propped me on the dashboard and the next day on his route, he stopped at our driveway, even though Candice and her mother weren't waiting to catch the bus. He got off and put me in the mailbox! And that's where Candice found me! We had a happy reunion with pie dough roll-ups! What did you think of this story, Winchester?


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Winchester's Favorite Book

What can I say? I just love that little boy bunny in the blue striped pajamas.

Goodnight, Winchester.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ellsworth's Book Saturday

Every Saturday I go to the library to pick out a new book. This week I checked out one of my favorites, The Velveteen Rabbit. A lot of people think this book is old-fashioned. Well, they don't know beans! It's a wonderful story about a stuffed animal that becomes real.

Some people think the story is weak because the rabbit becomes real twice. First, he becomes real to the little boy who loves him, the best kind of real there is. But then the little boy gets sick and his germy toys and books are thrown away. The velveteen rabbit feels that being real isn't what it's cracked up to be. Why be real if you end up in the dump? But that's what love is all about. It's a risk you take. If you don't love, you will never be loved. Then the nursery magic angel appears--this is where people lose interest in the book, I think--and turns the velveteen rabbit into a Real Rabbit. The rabbit says, "Wasn't I Real before?" and the fairy says, "You were Real to the Boy because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one."

And so the rabbit becomes a real rabbit. I love the ending and won't tell what happens. I also love the pictures by William Nicholson. These are the original 1922 illustrations. Some people think the colors are weird, but I like the yellows and soft blues and browns. I've seen the illustrations of this story by Michael Hague and other artists. They don't have the right "toy-ness" that William Nicholson's have. Not everything has to be neon-bright.

Would you like to be a Real Elephant?

I'll have to think about that. For now, it's enough to be Real to Sophie and The Writer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ellsworth Gets Real About Blogging

This week I've worked hard to figure out new stuff on my blog. I added my photo to my profile. And I changed some of the labels. Now I need to tackle sidebars. How do I add links to my blog?

Are you going to add a link to Fancy Feast cat food?

I want to have a personalized header, too. Something more journal-ish and more elephant-ish.
What page was that stuff on? And what's a site feed?

Maybe a special place to go eat? I'll eat anywhere, especially Fancy Feast.

I'm feeling faint. I need an oatmeal cookie. All these books are so confusing!

I think my glasses are the wrong prescription.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ellsworth Goes Scrapbooking, Part II

This weekend The Writer finished the projects she had started at the Friday night crop. Unlike most scrapbookers, she would rather alter something instead of making layouts for albums. When The Writer uses photographs, they are usually vintage family photos.

Or pictures of her favorite very photogenic live model!

That's because you're such a great big ham. In the picture, you can see the Halloween House. That was a birdhouse. The Witch's Spells book is a papier mache book box. Inside is a neat little album about why The Writer loves Halloween. The wooden bookends are covered with paper. In one picture frame is an illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith, one of The Writer's favorite illustrators. The other frame is for photographs.

I had so much fun at The Cropper's Corner that I want to make my own album. It will be called "All About Me by Ellsworth Elephant." I'm off to pick out papers and stickers now!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ellsworth Goes Scrapbooking

The Writer has a secret. She would have everyone believe that she toils at her computer every day including Christmas and her birthday (usually true). But on Friday afternoon--look out! She grabs her papers and tools and crop bag and goes cropping.

Cropping? Isn't that what horses do when they eat grass?

It's also a nickname for going scrapbooking. Scrapbookers like to get together in a store that sells nothing but scrapbook supplies. Sort of like an old-time quilting bee. They work and laugh and talk. The Writer says scrapbooking gives her time to think away from her computer. She took me last Friday and we worked on some Halloween projects. Here I am in the The Cropper's Corner, our favorite scrapbook store.

The Writer is also a designer for The Croppers Corner. That means she creates projects for display. She also teaches classes. I had a good time. In my next post, I'll show you what we made.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dear Ellsworth

I received another letter asking for my advice on a touchy subject:

Dear Ellsworth,
I love my owner but she likes to make me wear the most undignified things, like tiaras and hats and even a lei. I don't want to hurt her feelings. How can I let her know I don't like looking ridiculous?

Troubled in Tacoma

Dear Troubled,
I know it's hard wearing outfits that don't really suit us, but it's all part of the give-and-take of friendship--wait a minute! Lei? Is that you, Winchester?


Sunday, September 9, 2007

Time Spies Happy Dance!

The Writer got good news! She will write four new Time Spies books, making the total now fourteen. Winchester and I are so happy that we'll be in four more books, we had a little celebration!

Cupcakes are fine, but they'd taste better if they had kibbles on top instead of those pink things.

I think you look dee-vine in that lei and tiara!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Winchester's Favorite Recipe

When I was a kitten, my mama's owner used to make the most scrumptious dish--

Was this in that haunted house you supposedly grew up in?

--just for mama and us kittens. Mama's owner used fried chicken, baked chicken, roasted chicken, that really good kind of chicken . . .

You mean turkey?

Yeah, turkey . . . anyway, you'll LOVE this dish!
"Chicken Wonderful Fabulous Marvelous Give-Me-More-Can't Get-Enough Delight"

1 whole fried chicken
1 whole baked chicken

1 whole roasted chicken

1 pan chicken and dumplings (without the peas and carrots)

1 20-pound roasted turkey

Mix together and enjoy! You'll be licking your chops for more!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ellsworth's Favorite Recipe

I love oatmeal cookies but without raisins! The Writer and I wonder why people always put raisins in oatmeal cookies--they look like tadpoles and who wants to eat tadpoles?

When The Writer was a little girl, she loved for her mother to make a certain treat. I did, too! Whenever The Writer's mother baked a pie, she would make cinnamon sugar roll-ups with the pie crust scraps. The Writer's mother used an old rolling pin with one handle and she could bake the yummiest goodies!

You can see the old rolling pin in the photo and also the toy rolling pin The Writer had as a child. The children's cookbook is from 1934.

If The Writer ever made a pie from scratch, she could make pie dough roll-ups, too. But that's not likely to happen. If you want to make some, here's the recipe:

"Cinnamon Sugar Pie Dough Roll-Ups"

Re-roll scraps from pie crust
Dab with butter
Sprinkle with cinammon and sugar
Roll up and bake at 350
Watch so they don't burn!

Better yet, forget the pie and make nothing but pie-dough roll-ups! Invite me to come over!

Blecch, pie crust! That's not much of a recipe. Where's the chicken? My favorite recipe is coming next.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Announcing . . . The Winners!

Drumroll, please!

(Winchester drums his front paws.)

I am pleased to announce the two winners in the Back to School Giveaway. The first is Kathleen Garcia, a third grade teacher at Red Hill Elementary in North Garden, Virginia. Kathleen is an outstanding teacher! She will receive a copy of Time Spies #1, Secret in the Tower, which is set in her area. Plus the altered clipboard made by The Writer and Time Spies stuff.

The second winner is Linda Graninger, who teaches second grade at Wilderness Elementary in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Linda gets high marks from her students! She will receive a copy of Time Spies #5, Signals in the Sky, whic is set in the Fredericksburg area. And the other goodies, too.

Congratulations to you both! To quote The Writer's motto: Take Time to Read.

And feed the cat.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Back to School Giveaway!

Now that most teachers in our state will return to school on Tuesday, September 4, I have decided to hold a drawing. I will be giving away a special prize to two outstanding elementary school teachers. Each teacher will receive a copy of one of the Time Spies books, bookmark, maze, and activity sheet!

They will also get an altered clipboard handmade by The Writer, whose altered projects, mini-albums, and art pieces are quite popular. I may get into that sort of thing myself one day.
You can see the clipboards are very cute!

Since people haven't been flocking to my journal to post comments (they should--this is the best blog out there!), I will draw the winning names myself from Virginia schools listed on the Internet.

I'll have my paw on the computer mouse while Ellsworth is cruising the Net--I've had more experience with mice, you know.

Good luck, Virginia elementary school teachers!