Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Traditions

What are some of the traditions observed in your family? Do you have a Christmas Tree with old fashioned ornaments? Or do you like a modern look? Do you have a real tree or an artificial one? We like to put our tree up (an artificial one) the day after Thanksgiving. This year we were in England for Thanksgiving, so it was put up after we got back on December 1st. The outside lighting went up about the same time, and that job caused EG some problems. He tested each string before they went up, but after they were turned on, sections didn't work. That problem was only partially solved. One string only has part of it working, but it has stayed up!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I had a surprise that day, because before we left for England EG made plans with his children to find a turkey so we could have our Thanksgiving meal there. When I walked in that evening, there it was, all nicely browned and very much enjoyed.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Devastating Hail Storm

On August 9, 2009 a huge hailstorm hit our area. In fact the storm's path was 150 miles long and 10 miles wide. The nearby town of Eldora, Iowa was in the direct path and it caused extreme damage there. Crops were lost. Many farmers won't have anything to harvest. These are some pictures we took of the damage to homes and businesses. The hail stones were golf ball size and larger with some winds clocked at 100 miles per hour.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quilt Expo

Last week we attended a Quilt Expo. What a lot of beautiful quilts there were. So many were landscapes, some of which you can see on these pictures. Many quilters have developed their own individual techniques for arranging the colors and patterns of the fabrics to accomplish the desired picture. Tiny pieces were put in place and then each one had to be stitched down, usually by hand. It truly was a feast for the eyes.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Introducing The Loopy Family

The Loopy Family has moved into milarks’ Etsy shop. This family is a group of cousins who recently found each other and decided to take up residency there.
Rupert is a dominant personality, stern and quiet.
Annabelle is petite and sweet with her pink attire.
Paulis is a little guy who lets his pet dog walk all over him.
Dottie likes her name because it matches her looks.
Homely Homer has a difficult time looking pleasant.
Clementine is a demur maiden, proper and coy.
They expect more cousins to join them in the near future. Their arrival has been delayed, but they will surely arrive in time for you to look them over before Christmas.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Losing a Brother

On July 15, 2009 I lost a brother. He had a heart attack while driving home from work. Although he had a heart attack a few years ago, I never quite believed that it would take his life at the young age of 66. In some ways I lost him many years before. When he moved across the country away from where we live, contact gradually became less and less. There is bitterness in part of the family and sadness is what some others are feeling. So the heart is heavy. Today I've been searching albums for pictures with the plan of sharing them with his children. That is what is left now, pictures and memories. And a heavy heart.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Country Tis of Thee

Sunday morning the Praise Team led our church worship with a group of patriotic songs.
A Song of Peace
God of Our Fathers
My Country 'Tis of Thee
Let There Be Peace on Earth
America , the Beautiful
God Bless America

All are special and beautiful, but I couldn't sing some parts because the tears kept getting in the way. Yes, it is "My country tis of thee" that I am concerned about. I feel some of the freedoms this great country was founded upon are being taken away from us.
My country,' tis of thee,
sweet land of liberty,
of thee I sing;
land where my fathers died,
land of the pilgrims' pride,
from every mountainside
let freedom ring!
But then I tell myself to remember Who is really in control.
Our fathers' God, to thee,
author of liberty,
to thee we sing;
long may our land be bright
with freedom's holy light;
protect us by thy might,
great God, our King.
And that is my prayer this July 4th.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hydrangea is Blooming

This hydrangea was a gift last year (2008) in May. It was in full bloom then. A year later it is in full bloom again after successfully getting through the winter. Such a beautiful pink with blossoms so heavy they had to be propped.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Red Petunias? Or Are They?

Last fall I saved seed from a lovely red petunia that we had purchased. Six to eight weeks ago we started some of that seed, and now the plants are having their first bloom. How interesting! As you can see, we got quite a variety of shades of red. These are the only ones in bloom today, and each one is a little different, in shape as well as color.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mystery of the Night

Did you know there are mysterious things that happen to you every night? While you are asleep, all kinds of activity is going on. Actually, it’s a wonder you get any rest at all! When you’re asleep, your muscles and cells repair themselves. In fact, some cells in your brain are 5 to 10 times more active when you’re asleep than when you’re awake! Your immune system strengthens itself to help you fight off sickness. Also your brain organizes the things you learned during the day.
Then there are the dreams! If sleep is a mystery, dreams are even more mysterious. Most dreams happen in a stage of sleep called REM (Rapid Eye Movement), when the brain is really active. You might have REM sleep five or six times a night, so that means five or six dreams a night, and that would be more than 1800 dreams a year. How many of those can you remember?
Animals need sleep, too, but some have strange sleep patterns. Some animals sleep almost all day. Some hardly ever sleep. The brown bat sleeps 20 hours a day, but the giraffe only sleeps two hours. The squirrel needs 15 hours of sleep, but the horse only needs three hours per day. Most birds can sleep with one eye open and they can sleep with only half of their brain at a time.
Scientists don’t know a lot about the mystery of sleep, but what they do know is really cool, isn’t it?
(Taken from the May 2009 Banner article The Big Night Mystery by Sandy Swartzentruber.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Workbasket Magazine

Have you ever heard of the little craft magazine called "Workbasket?"
The "Workbasket" magazine started publication in October 1935. It was a 16-page issue and printed on newsprint. The first issue titled, "Aunt Martha's Workbasket, Home and Needlecraft, For Pleasure and Profit" contained a little letter which stated: 'Aunt Martha is going to compile different projects together in each issue. Each issue will sell for 15 cents or a yearly subscription would be $1.00. '
It became so popular that three printings were necessary to meet the demand for the September 1936 issue. Dropping the "Aunt Martha's" from the name in Jan 1942, it went on being published until 1996 with several price increases until then when it had a complete change in format and the charge was $2.95 per issue.
I have quite a few copies of the magazine which I am willing to sell. The three I have listed in my Etsy shop are from 1982 and 1983. If there are craft people looking for something to make from long ago these magazines may be the answer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's That Time of the Year

We have lots of plants started and they are living in the greenhouse for now. Any day now we should be able to get them planted outside; however, with the frost two nights ago, perhaps we need to wait a little longer.

Picture on left shows pink allysum. Picture on right a flat of marigolds with four pots each with a tomato growing. The tomatoes will stay in the greenhouse all summer.

Picture on the left shows geraniums, tomatoes and impatiens. Picture on right are two kinds of basil--green is sweet basil and in the back is curly purple basil. On left are blue salvia. Other started plants not shown--petunias, lobelia, morning glories, four o'clocks, thyme, marjoram, parsley, and three kinds of peppers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

How Special!

I have made a new Etsy friend and she has done something very special. Kayla contacted me weeks ago about doing a feature on my Etsy shop. It sounded interesting, so I completed a questionnaire that she sent.
Actually Kayla is a very special person and she is a very sick person. Only 19 years of age, she has been living with Lyme Disease for 5 ½ years. If you go to her blog, you will read more about her, and this is where the feature of me is located.
I invite you to check it out –

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cyclist Elgar, the Musician

On the grounds of Hereford Cathedral in England (see pictures in previous blog) there stands a statue of Edward Elgar with his famous bicycle.
So who was Elgar?
Edward Elgar was arguably the leading English composer of his generation. He was born in the small village of Lower Broadheath outside Worcester, England in 1857, the son of William Elgar, a music dealer and his wife Anne (nee Greening). By the age of eight, he was taking piano and violin lessons, and would often listen to his father playing the organ at St. George's church, and soon he also took that up. His prime interest, however, was the violin, and his first written music was for that instrument.
Surrounded by sheet music, instruments, and music textbooks in his father's shop, the young Elgar became self-taught in music theory. On warm summer days, he would take manuscripts into the countryside to study them (he was a passionate and adventurous early cyclist from the age of 5). Thus there began for him a strong association between music and nature. As he was later to say, "There is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require."
Although he started cycling at an early age, Elgar's first bicycle was purchased a month after his 43rd birthday. He then became serious about cycling and was often accompanied on his cycling trips by friends. One friend remembers, "there cannot have been a lane within twenty miles of Malvern that we did not ultimately find ... as we rode, he would often become silent and I knew that some new melody or, more probably, some new piece of orchestral texture, had occurred to him'. Though none of Elgar's bicycles seem to have survived, some of his cycling maps have, complete with the routes he carefully filled in.
Elgar is probably best known for the five Pomp and Circumstance Marches, composed between 1901 and 1930. Shortly after he composed the first march, Elgar set the trio melody to words by A. C. Benson in his Coronation Ode to mark the coronation of King Edward VII.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Morris Dancers in the UK

One of the excursions we made on our last visit to England was going to Stratford Upon Avon, well known, of course, as Shakespeare’s town. We came across some street dancers with some unusual attire. These strangely clad men, waving handkerchiefs and sticks, with bells jingling from their clothing are called the Morris Dancers. Popular all over England, we learn that the origins of this tradition are lost in time, but the ritual goes back well over 500 years.
The black faced dancers we saw were colorfully dressed with fabric strips and handkerchiefs sewn all over their clothing and gave their performance with the accompaniment of accordion music to the tune of "Oh Susannah." They've been merrily dancing with their blackened faces for 200 years but recently, because of political correctness, they might be forced to abandon darkening their faces. We’re not sure if the feathers in the hats has any particular meaning!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Another Episode with Two Guys

Here we are with the two guys who model the soap holders for milarks' Etsy shop.
This time they each have some soap!
They say that soap holders are as cool as sunglasses and ipods.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two Guys -- One Soap

Time to model the soap holders milarks is selling on Etsy.
"I’ll take green and you can have the red one!"
"Mom, we each need a bar of soap."
"You’ll have to look in the upstairs bathroom."
"There’s only one there."
"Try looking in the downstairs bathroom."
And that’s how it happened. Only one bar of soap was found, and the red soap holder got it!!
The pictures tell the rest of the story.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More Recipes

Two recipes have been added. Another Carrot Soup recipe which is very tasty and just right for a cold winter (going into spring) day! And what better to go with it than an easy to make bread. Be sure to try this Focaccia Bread which is so light and yummy.
The invitation is open to anyone to submit a recipe for this blog. Something special for you might be something we would like, too. Previous recipes are near the bottom of right hand column.

Monday, February 16, 2009

All A-Twitter

Everyone is talking about Twitter! Even news broadcasters tell listeners they can "learn more by going to Twitter." So what is it?
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates. It asks the question, "What are you doing?" Then you answer by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called "tweets" to your friends, or "followers."
The short format of the tweet defines the service provided by Twitter, giving relief from the fatigue of long email and IM use. It allows quick communication with people that you wouldn't normally exchange email or IM with, opening up your circle of contacts.
Your tweets are displayed on your profile page, on the home page of each of your followers, and in the Twitter public timeline.
Twitter is quite new to me, but I am learning
. If you have used it, would you please leave a comment and tell how it is useful to you?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Free Fonts

Do you have all the fonts that you would like in your word processing program? I have a lot in mine, but so many are useless for what I want to use. I have often searched for new fonts that might be available to download for free. Well, I have found such a place that has so many that when I start checking out some of them, I find I have not even scratched the surface. Listed alphabetically it seems the amount under each letter is just endless. There is also a search feature in which you may even try to locate a particular font.
This site encourages letting others know what they have to offer. "If you want to help maintain this website, link to it from your website or Forum." So since I don't have a website, I decided to put it on my blog. If you find this useful for you, will you please leave a comment telling what you think?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Place of Interest in England

The current Hereford Cathedral, located at Hereford in England, dates from 1079. The cathedral is dedicated to two patron saints, namely Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Ethelbert the King. The latter was beheaded by Offa, King of Mercia in the year 792. Offa had consented to give his daughter to Ethelbert in marriage: why he changed his mind and deprived him of his head historians do not know. The execution, or murder, is said to have taken place at Sutton, four miles (6 km) from Hereford, with Ethelbert's body brought to the site of the modern cathedral by 'a pious monk.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Nostalgia is part of leaving the old year and entering the new.
We look back on the special family times–Thanksgiving and Christmas, a graduation in St. Louis, Mother’s Day with a daughter’s family, our England trip and spending time with the family there.
Most of the year 2008 was filled with what I call an adventure in the unusual. In January a close family member told me about a place called Etsy, which is a place to buy and sell all things handmade. By the end of the month I became a member. I opened my shop called "milarks’ Creative Connections" with a few of my handmade articles and began creating in earnest after that. Sewing, quilting, knitting and crocheting took on new meaning because it was something I could share. Digging out some Vintage items served a double purpose–emptying shelves and drawers as well as finding someone with a new appreciation for those things. How rewarding has been all the friendships that have developed through being part of Etsy.
Then the Larky Lady’s blog was created. What fun to tell about our various endeavors with plants and growing things. What fun to share pictures of our England trips. What fun to include the awesome pictures EG took of the pelicans and their extended stay on a nearby lake. What fun to include submitted recipes by friends and family. Yes, all that has been fun. Not so, telling about the tragedy of a tornado or a flood, or two little girls with serious illnesses.
So the year was filled with memories to cherish. Rumblings about what’s in store for 2009 make us uncomfortable. We may choose to look at the bleak picture of our future, or we may trust our faith. The choice is ours, isn’t it?
Warmest of wishes to all my blog readers.