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April 21, 2014
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The region boasts many talented floral designers and florists who work creatively and diligently to make your wedding flowers stand out. However, there is another option for those of you who take a hands-on approach and/or have a strict budget. You can grow, pick and arrange your own wedding flowers, or choose some combination of the above.

Local artisans hold holiday market

HONESDALE, PA — As live music and the aroma of freshly baked holiday cookies and assorted confections and pastries fill the air, 30 local artists, artisans and food entrepreneurs will welcome holiday shoppers to the second annual Artisans’ Market at The Cooperage on Sunday, December 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Displays of cards, jewelry, paintings, pottery, soaps, vases, lamps, picture frames, flowers and other gift items offer shoppers with the opportunity to purchase presents for their loved ones while supporting local artisans. This event is free and offers a warm holiday welcome to friends of all ages at 1030 Main St.  Read more

Handmade for the holidays

UPPER DELAWARE RIVER VALLEY — The Catskills and Upper Delaware River Valley have long been a Mecca for artistic expression. Painters, sculptors, photographers and writers have flocked to the region for decades, drawing inspiration from the clean air, stunning vistas and peaceful countryside that inspires. Visitors and tourists continue to explore the area and often seek unique gifts for themselves and loved ones as they scour the galleries, shops and studios of the artists who have settled here to practice their craft.  Read more

‘Here we come a-wassailing’

So what is wassailing really all about? For a bit of background (according to Readers Digest), “The Christmas spirit often made the rich a little more generous than usual, and bands of beggars and orphans used to dance their way through the snowy streets of England, offering to sing good cheer and to tell good fortune, if the householder would give them a drink from his wassail bowl or a penny or a pork pie or let them stand for a few minutes beside the warmth of his hearth.  Read more

A holiday performance: 'The Nutcracker;’ Traveling to the Land of Sweets

Spanish hot chocolate, Arabian coffee, Chinese tea, candy cane, marzipan, dewdrop, flowers and sugar plum; these are not the contents of a bakery; this is the lineup of goodies in the Land of Sweets in the second act of “The Nutcracker.”  Read more

The joy of sleeping in

Listed under the Special Skills section of my resume are ballet, cooking and sleeping in. Just kidding. But really, if sleeping in were an Olympic sport, I would get a gold medal. If you wanted to give me a present, you should give me a day where I can sleep in. As The Postal Service (the band, not the mail delivery system) said, “Don’t wake me; I plan on sleeping in.”  Read more

Alpaca: The new-age Golden Fleece

The Catskills and Upper Delaware River Valley are known for many things: hiking, river rafting, apple picking and the beauty and serenity that a visit to our region provides. Each season has something different to offer to visitors and residents alike, but since the 1970s, a warm and fuzzy attraction has caught on—alpacas. The gentle creatures have been domesticated for thousands of years and the Moche people of northern Peru often used alpaca images in their art. Too small to be used as pack animals, they have been bred exclusively for their fiber and meat, but it’s their fleece that has made the alpaca highly prized throughout the world. Today, alpaca can be found all across the United States, including right here at home, where their incredibly soft hair is made into scarves, hats, gloves and socks, along with stylish high-end garments that are sought after by folks from all walks of life.  Read more

Ten steps to a safe heating fire

Madonna Badger wasn’t awakened by her three daughters’ squeals of delight on Christmas morning 2011. Instead she awoke to smoke in a dark and silent house. Quickly the house was engulfed in flames, and all efforts to save her family failed. Ashes from the fire that had warmed her Connecticut house on Christmas Eve had been carelessly disposed of, and in the night, the embers caught fire. In addition, no smoke alarm sounded a warning. The resulting inferno robbed Badger of her children, her parents and her home.  Read more

Top tips for saving energy

Most, if not all, homeowners would fix a window broken by a wayward softball. What many people don’t know, though, is that there are often small air breaches in many different places of the home that, if combined, could easily be the size of a softball or bigger. As a result, much energy, and many dollars, can be lost.  Read more

House plants; Prepare them for the journey back inside

After a summer vacation on your porch or deck, it’s time to prepare your house plants for the trip back to their winter home. For their survival and your enjoyment, they need to be prepared for the lower levels of light, temperature and humidity of the house. It’s really just a reversal of the process of hardening off plants or seedlings in the spring. When night temperatures cool to the 50s, the fall ritual can begin. These tips should help with the process:  Read more

The warmth of a cup of tea; Giving a tea party

Imagine yourself on a leisurely drive through the winding countryside of South Wales. You pass luscious green rolling hills speckled with woolly sheep and patches of lush woodland. This journey ends down in a deep valley, complete with a river running through it, at a stately home built somewhere around 1810. You make your way up to the beautiful home past the stables and horses, and find yourself sitting in the conservatory in the center of the large house. The conservatory is filled with beautiful plants, where the sunlight pours in through the many windows to warm your soul. This memory was one of many shared by Christine San Jose, who has “84 years’ experience in high tea.”  Read more

Kelly McMasters; Reader, writer, independent bookstore owner

Kelly McMasters owns a small, independent book store, Moody Road Studio, located in Maude Alley in the 1000 block of Main Street in Honesdale, PA. She writes about the experience in a monthly column for The Paris Review. She is the author of “Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town,” the personal story of growing up in her hometown on Long Island, NY where there were three nuclear reactors and all three leaked. A documentary based on the book was shown earlier this month at the Black Bear Film Festival in Milford, PA.  Read more

Honoring traditions, fabricating new; Meet the divas of quilting

Some do it for the fellowship and conversation. Some do it for the satisfaction of having something to show for all their hard work. Some do it for the art. But they all have the same goal: to make a quilt.  Read more

The biker’s way; Motorcycling is a frame of mind

To readers of a certain generation—we who were born under the Truman or Eisenhower administrations—mere utterance of the word motorcycle could invoke no other image but that of a young Marlon Brando: shades, comb, black leather jacket (“The Wild One,” 1953). Teen boys gazed admiringly. Young girls giggled nervously. Shopkeepers cringed and police officers scowled whenever a biker rolled into town…  Read more

View from the Top

On a perfect clear day in the very beginning of fall (the trees teasing with hints of reds, yellows and oranges), I gathered a group of friends to do something that we locals have probably done once before, if not multiple times—hike Jensen’s Ledges.  Read more

Hidden treasures in the mountains

Say the words “The Poconos” or “The Catskills” and your listeners will probably conjure up wonderful images of lush forests, sparkling lakes, exhilarating speedboat rides, fly fishing in mountain streams, challenging golf games or tubing and kayaking on the Delaware. Shopping would probably not be top on the list—but really, there is a certain kind of shopping, a treasure hunt of sorts, that can be one of the top things to do here. Hidden on the main streets in our towns are wonderful antique shops that will challenge anyone’s desire to find a special unique piece to bring home from their vacation.  Read more

Fall fun down on the farm; Lost in a corn maze

As the cooler temperatures start to hit and the leaves start to change, we all know that fall is in the air. For some of us, this time of year may signify hay rides, pumpkins and hot apple cider. For some, it may mean it is time to find the closest corn maze for an annual corn maze adventure. If there is one certain way to adventure this fall, the corn maze would be it.  Read more

Geocaching: the hunt for cache

Two hundred yards up the hill from my home in Bethany, PA, hidden in the heart of the borough park, is a small canister that few people have found or even noticed during the six years of its existence. It would be easy to overlook, considering one has to solve a puzzle of coordinates in order to obtain the exact location of this treasure—or “cache.” Concealed inside the canister are a small rubber dinosaur, a signature log and a congratulatory letter with the mysterious signature “The Fox and the Hound.”  Read more

Translating the Fables of La Fontaine: A Creative Linguistic Challenge

Everyone has an urge to be creative. It’s important, though, to recognize one’s proper medium. I’ve picked up paintbrushes, cameras and sketchpads. I’ve satisfied my brief obsession with quilting with the completion of one potholder. And I finally had to admit that my medium is words.  Read more

The Potency of Words

When I was involved in a cult they interrupted me constantly. “Enough with the story already. Just tell us in ten words what happened.”

I should’ve known better. In my life, nothing’s ever straightforward. One story is a skein from another, equally vital and germane. From there, I weave an intricate design, a pattern of words to provide a scenario, background and rationale to what occurred, what may occur and the importance of whatever I have to convey. To reduce a situation to ten words makes as much sense as Albert Camus’ character in “L’Etranger” who stated, “Au cause du soleil.”  Read more

The Language of the Seasons

Summer came and she danced to the music
of live bands at county fairs,
and the Delaware River spoke to her of romance
and childhood dreams,
her youth melting like ice cream
on a hot August day.

Autumn came and its leaves spoke to her of all she had lost,
things she had to let go of,
they spoke of her past loves and friendships,
so many lost in the wind,
a few who returned with new beauty and color.

Winter came and recited its poetry to her in its white language,
and spoke to her of the cleansing and purifying of time,
the loneliness of having lived a long life,  Read more