November 2016


Little does it matter what the calendar tells us, fact is that Fall has arrived by house during the last couple of days. Hard rain, strong winds and chilly air and trees and shrubs filled with colorful leaves that often flutter down to the ground for clean up is all I need to convince me Autumn Season has arrived.

My fondest childhood memories are the fall days when the entire family worked to clean up the leaves and enjoy a cup of mulled cider to warm up when the job was finished. The mums we received to wear with our cheerleading outfits and the excitement of attending school football games, the cheers, the music and the lively but good natured competition with the other schools

I was pleased that I was the one chosen by both my husband’s and my own family to cook and bake for the family each special holiday. (not to mention the many weekends in between) Thanksgiving is the day when we stop and take the time to give thanks and when I looked around the crowded table on that day I am most grateful for all the wonderful people, past and present, that shared my life over the years.

And now I am happy that my daughter accepted the responsibility of preparing and serving the family feast on Thanksgiving and gladly relinquish that honor to her. It will be great to be one of the guests!!!!

Earlier this year I closed my Internet Gift Shop because I was concerned that my health problems had increased to the point that I would be unable to properly service my customers. I was not spending a lot of time on the Internet either.  Lately, however, I have begun to feel better and I am determined to provide you with the opportunity to purchase the merchandise I kept packed neatly in boxes in my house since I closed my gift shop. The small mall where it  was located is now a rather fancy grocery store. Anyway,  I recreated my store website at and decided to launch the site in time for Thanksgiving to give everyone the time to browse through the items and hopefully find some things for themselves and presents for others.

Please take some time to browse through the pages on my website and return often because I will continue to add products frequently. I would love you to liberate my lovely products from their solitary confinement in the boxes in my home to use and enjoy them.

If you live in or close to our location in New Jersey and wish to pick up items you purchase to save the time and cost of shipping, contact me by email at to make arrangements.

Remember if you do not live in New Jersey you may not have to pay Sales Tax, contact us for an adjustment of your Invoice.

Any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to send me an email. I try to reply as quickly as possible.


Until next time =——Carolee




The Beginning of October


It is difficult for me to believe it has been about a year since the last time I wrote a newsletter. I’ve been quite ill but I am beginning to feel more like myself lately. I suspended my Internet store, boxed all my items and store them in a bedroom until I felt sure that I could provide decent customer service. I hope to restore my website and start offering inexpensive items for the holidays.

October arrived here in Northern New Jersey with a stark reminder that Fall as also arrived, with bleak, cold, rainy days. But that is okay with me because it is great weather for working on the Internet and organizing closets etc. The stores are filled with Fall flowers, pumpkins and of course Halloween costumes and loads of candy. I love this season, one holiday after the other, and one excuse after the other to get together with family and friends. I am looking forward to all fuss and work involved in preparing for the various holidays this year.

This is a very short note to all of you, but I plan to start writing more often and have a lot to write about in the month of October.

We will start with the Jewish New Year because Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown tonight.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is one of the holiest holidays in the Jewish faith and occasion for families and communities to come together begins at sunset on October 2, 2016 and ends nightfall on October 3, 2016.


 The central of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, which also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance, for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of man’s first sin and his repentance.

Additional Rosh Hashanah observances include: a) Eating a piece of apple dipped in honey, to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, and other special foods symbolic of the new year’s blessings. b) Blessing one another with the words,”“May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” c) Tashlich, a special prayer said near a body of water (an ocean, river, pond, etc.), in evocation of the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.”

More to come soon.

 Till next time—Carolee Z


September 2015 Jewish Holidays

SHOFARRosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah begins sunset on Sunday, September 13, 2015  Ends nightfall on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The festival of Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, and a Day of Judgment and coronation of God as king.
The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, which also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance, for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of man’s first sin and his repentance.
And as with every major Jewish holiday, after candle lighting and prayers the kiddush (a blessing recited over wine or grape juice to sanctify the Shabbat and Jewish holidays) is cited and make a blessing on the challah (a special Jewish braided bread eaten on Sabbath and Jewish holidays).

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur begins sunset on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 and
ends nightfall on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year, the day on which we are closest to God and to the quintessence of our own souls. It is the Day of Atonement-“For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God” (Leviticus 16:30).
For nearly twenty-six hours, from several minutes before sunset to after nightfall, we “afflict our souls”: we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, do not wear leather footwear, and abstain from marital relations.
Before Yom Kippur we perform the Kaparot atonement service; we request and receive honey cake, in acknowledgement that we are all recipients in God’s world, and in prayerful hope for a sweet and abundant year; eat a festive meal and give extra charity. In the late afternoon we eat the pre-fast meal, following which we bless our children, light a memorial candle as well as the holiday candles, and go to the synagogue for the Kol Nidrei service. In the course of Yom Kippur we hold five prayer services
The day is the most solemn of the year, yet an undertone of joy suffuses it: a joy that revels in the spirituality of the day and expresses the confidence that God will accept our repentance, forgive our sins, and seal our verdict for a year of life, health and happiness.


Sukkot begins sunset on Sunday, September 27, 2015
Ends nightfall on Sunday, October 4, 2015
The Hebrew word sukkōt is the plural of sukkah, “booth” or “tabernacle”, which is a walled structure covered with plant material such as overgrowth or palm leaves. A sukkah is the name of the temporary dwelling in which farmers would live during harvesting, a fact connecting to the agricultural significance of the holiday stress
Sukkot is an eight-day holiday, with the first day celebrated as a full festival with special prayer services and holiday meals. The seventh day of Sukkot is called Hoshana Rabbah (“Great Hoshana”, referring to the tradition that worshipers in the synagogue walk around the perimeter of the sanctuary during morning services) and has a special observance of its own. Outside Israel, the first and last two days are celebrated as full festivals. The intermediate days are known as Chol HaMoed (“festival weekdays”). According to Halakha, some types of work are forbidden during Chol HaMoed. In Israel many businesses are closed during this time.[4]
Throughout the week of Sukkot, meals are eaten in the sukkah and the males sleep there, although the requirement is waived in case of rain. Every day, a blessing is recited.
Building a sukkah [edit]
The sukkah walls can be constructed of any material (wood, canvas, aluminum siding, sheets). The walls can be free-standing or include the sides of a building or porch. The roof must be of organic material, known as s’chach, such as leafy tree overgrowth, schach (palm leaves, bamboo sticks or pine tree branches) mats or palm fronds. It is customary to decorate the interior of the sukkah with hanging decorations.

September 2015

AcornsSeptember always feels like the beginning of the year to me. It is the when school begins for most areas and the time of year when businesses start new projects or promoting new ideas. For many, however, it is the time of the year to lament the end of summer and fun at the beach and in the mountains. But September’s cooler air is great for hiking and camping as well as the many other good things offered by the beginning of fall.

September is the ninth month of the year but its name was derived from the Latin Septem, (seven) because it was the seventh month of the Roman calendar. It marks the beginning of the ecclesiastical year in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the vernal or spring equinox in the southern hemisphere occur on dates varying from 21 September to 24 September

Flowers 005September’s birthstone is the sapphire; flowers are the forget-me-not, morning glory and aster. The zodiac signs for the month are Virgo and Libra.

This is the time of year when the theater and concert seasons begin, museums have special exhibits and of course there are many festivals and fairs, let’s not forget it is the football and soccer seasons as well.

Although spring is usually considered the traditional season for weddings, September can be the perfect time to get married. The cooler temperatures provide more choices for gown styles, longer sleeves, fabrics such as heavy satins and velvet. And don’t forget the choice of shawls from soft pashima to delicate lace to keep the wedding party warm and add a little flavor to their dresses. Floral arrangements of rich blues and purples to dark yellow and burnt oranges can decorate the rooms. On nice days it is still warm enough for garden ceremonies, but perhaps by the end of the month one can wed before the fireplace. In addition to weddings, September is a wonderful month for any type of event from corporate seminars to personal parties.

Labor Day is held on the First Monday of September and honors the American Labor movement and the workers contribution to the prosperity of the country.

Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year Begins sunset of Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ends nightfall of Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Yom Kippur begins sunset on  Tuesday, September 22, 2015 and

ends nightfall on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sukkot Festival  is September 27 thru October 4-7 day Festival

To learn more about the Jewish holidays click here

Miss America Pageant will be held on September 14, 2014 this year

Do you know that The Miss America Pageant began in Atlantic City, New Jersey as a bathing beauty contest? For many years since its origin the pageant has been held in other towns in the United States. But, Atlantic City, NJ is considered the birthplace of this pageant, which is held either in September or October for one week every year.

This is also the month in which we start making the many preparations for the soon to arrive many special holidays from Halloween through the way we welcome in the New Year. We will be searching for many ideas to share with you as to how to make the coming holidays special.

Till next time ………


Collecting Special Flatware For Your Table

Dirilyte Empress Place Setting-2Carolee Specialties has an 11 place settings plus 7 serving pieces of Dirilyte Flatware to make your dinner party special.

What is Dirilyte you ask? Here is a description and history of these unique pieces:—-

Dirilyte is a golden hued flatware that is not gold plated. It gets its golden hue from a solid through bronze. The metal alloy used to manufacture these items is much harder than silver and has the same color and tone of gold, yet is much more durable. The flatware is not dishwasher safe, but in 1961, the company began using a bonded protectant on its flatware, holloware and table accessories. The protectant has a distinct sparkle and negates the need for polishing.

Dirilyte Serve pcs EmpressThe company was originally named Dirigold and was founded in Sweden in 1919 by Oscar von Malmborg and Carl Molin. The metal alloy which the flatware was made of was invented in 1914 by Molin and, although it contained no gold, it did contain a number of other metals. The company later moved to America and was forced to change the name to something other than Dirigold, as they claimed that name was misleading to the public, since it actually had no gold content. They renamed it Dirilyte. The product was manufactured in Kokomo, Indiana and ceased operations in the 1980s.

Popular during the 1940’s and 1950’s and very expensive. A 5 piece place setting would have cost $700. Dirilyte has graced the finest tables in the world, from European royalty to the White House


1950s Holmes & Edwards Flatware –

Holmes and Edwads-Romsnvr-2A collection of Holmes & Edwards Flatware (Romance Pattern) from around 1952-1959 will take you back to the days you ate at Grandma’s house.

About Holmes & Edwards, a manufacturer of fine silver started in the industry back in the 1882, in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The people who started Holmes & Edwards were George C. Edwards and Israel Holmes. During the early years the company manufactured mostly silver plate.

Holmes and Edwards Serving pcs--2The company has many different patterns to choose from, some of which were created many years ago. Perhaps company’s most treasured pattern is the Jamestown, which was created in 1916.

Holmes & Edwards advertising messages were unique and catchy. It was “More than a plate” and “Protected where wear happens”. The reason why this was their advertising message is because during the plating process they would add an extra layer of silver to areas that would normally have the most wear. This provided areas that were prone to the most wear added protection.

Many companies may not have believed this process was beneficial, but the company’s pieces are still in great condition because of the process they used. In fact, if you see any of the pieces today, even pieces that are more than 50 years old, still look great because of the process of adding silver to them.

Although many of the older products from the company’s earliest years are still in great condition, they are hard to find. If a person does find very old pieces, the chances are they would be very expensive.

As one can tell, the company was a great company, and although purchased by The International Silver Company in 1898, the Holmes & Edwards patterns are still of high quality. People can rest assured that any product bearing the Holmes & Edwards name is an amazing product of the highest quality. So, if you are looking for silverware, or silver plated items, be sure to check out items made by Holmes & Edwards.

By the way, if you are just starting out you don’t have to buy the entire set. Many people purchase one piece or one place setting at a time.

The Art/Antique Mall

MCaroleeSpecialtiesy store was in a small Art/Antique Mall, annexed to a larger strip mall. During the years when my daughter was still in school we often visited the small stores in the Mall. So, years later when the opportunity arose for me to acquire my own small store in that Mall, I was thrilled.

Among the many reasons that little Mall was special was the way the other store owners helped each other. When they learned that my friend backed out of our partnership leaving me to work full time in the mortgage industry and find a way to manage the store by myself, the rolled u their sleeves, put my store together in my absence and during the entire time the store operated one of them managed it in my absence.

In a corner of the mall was a table with booths where people tended to gravitate to have a cup of coffee, gossip, share problems and most of all help each other find and market a variety of products. That was where the Interior Decorators went when they were seeking a particular type of item to complete a project, the pickers showed up with a treasure or two they found that week.

Silver 2014 050I sold items created by crafters and artisans I met both in person and on the Internet, I had never considered added collectibles. At first the other store owners asked me to create an Internet presence for each of them, I built websites and posted some of their items on various auctions and classified ad sites. They then encouraged me to hook up with the Picker, Al. who brought items in weekly that he found in his travels while working as a house painter. Every single item Al brought in to sell was accompanied by documentation. He left little to the imagination, even researching at the library and bringing copies of the pages describing the item. He gave me a story to tell the buyers as I sold each item, and for the most part, the story had better be factual because most collectors also do their research. We developed a great partnership that complemented the education I was receiving from the others in the little group that gathered at the table in the Mall.

Sadly when the economy fell apart so did everything else in my life. The mortgage company closed and so did the Mall. The Mall owner had no choice but to change everything, most the small store in the main Mall closed and as did the entire Art/Antique Mall.

I carefully packed my inventory in boxes and stored them in my home. Sadly the entire group disbursed and I began to feel it was senseless for me to continue to operate.

CrystalBtl-DSC01105Two special situations (The Wounded Warrior Project. net and the Earthquakes since May in the small country of Nepal) have caused me to return to promoting handmade items and collectibles, starting with the inventory from the store and adding a few here and there that I pick up as I communicate with artisans and small businesses.

I am slowly posting items on a new Internet Store I recently created as well as the many sites available to small businesses and crafters. It is my hope to turn at least a small profit that I can share with my two pet projects. Just as important is that I provide a place for talented people to display their items and projects, as was my original goal when I started this type of work in the early 1990s.s

Thinking of Buying a Pashmina Shawl? This may help you.

Scarf1The name Pashmina comes from Pashmineh, made from Persian pashm (“wool”). Pashima (Cashmere) wool comes from the soft under fur of Changthangi, or Pashmina goats, which are a special breed of goat indigenous to high Himalayan altitudes.

Pashminas come in all mixes and sizes ranging from small scarves to blanket sized wraps. Pashminas are often mixed with other materials that reinforce the delicate wool fibres, such as silk or bamboo. To be considered good quality, Pashmina shawls need to contain at least 70% Cashmere wool. But in the market, you’ll often see cheaper Pashminas that contain only 50% wool.

Here are a few tips for those seeking the perfect Pashima:

All Cashmere wool is hand spun, primarily in the regions of Kashmir and Nepal where such wool has been made for thousands of years. Every spring Changthangi goats shed their soft winter coats, and weavers work to painstakingly collect the wool shed from the goats. Each Pashmina requires the under fur of at least two goats. These goats will live at altitudes of 12,000 to 17,000 feet. It’s important to note that better quality fibre comes from goats that live in the higher altitudes, because their fur is much softer and dense and insulates better than the slightly coarser under fur found in goats from lower altitudes.

High quality Pashminas are always hand spun with weavers using different combinations of Cashmere with other fibres to produce Pashminas of graduated value. Each shawl is individually hand woven and hand dyed. Many Pashmina weavers choose to use patterned artistry to adorn their scarves, stoles and shawls, with everything from floral filigree to animal patterns, and even modern fashion trends like Burberry.

You may be asking yourself at this point “Why choose a more expensive shawl when you can buy one that’s cheaper, just simply with less wool?” Even though silk may seem like a hot commodity, there’s a reason Pashminas have been mentioned in history since the 3rd century B.C. If a Changthangi goat’s thin layer of insulating wool is fine enough to keep it warm at -20 Fahrenheit, how nice and comfy do think it’ll feel when turned into a beautifully hand-woven scarf just for you? Even though silk is often expensive, it’s a whole lot easier to commercially produce than the wool from a Changthangi goat.  So when you’re shopping around for that perfect Pashmina just for you, and find yourself indignant at the significantly higher price of a pure Cashmere blended one, just think of a common little silk worm in comparison to the extremely difficult to procure downy under fur of a high altitude Himalayan mountain

Pashminas have incredible insulation, making them practical and warm for all seasons. Their insulated properties also work well against summer moisture and humidity. It’s lightweight, with a large (2.9 by 6.7 feet) 100% Cashmere shawl weighing only 5.6 ounces!

DSC02066You also have a fantastic array of choices, with a plethora of patterns (floral, animal prints, Burberry, traditional) and compositions (100% Cashmere, Silk Blended and Bamboo Blended). There’s an almost 100% guarantee you’ll fall in love with a Pashmina as soon as you feel it’s soft and warm qualities. There is no other shawl that can fashionably complement anything from casual sweaters to formal gowns.


The Month of June

jANINA-DSC01010-1June is the month that brings the first step of change in many ways. Filled with events ranging from weddings to showers, from Preschool to University Graduations, these events truly represent major steps in life.

The month derived its name from the Goddess of Marriage, Juno, or luniores, the young people, appropriate names for the events many experience during this very busy month.

 June is the month with the longest daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest days in the Southern Hemisphere. Birthstones are the pearl, moonstone and AlexandritelFlowers are the rose and honeysuckle. Zodiac signs are Gemini and Cancer. Strangely, no other month begins on the same day of the year as June

To date, this has not been an easy month for most areas of our country, events ranging from floods to a water crisis on the west coast. Our priorities change when we experience these types of events but we are also a strong, determined group of people in this country and we will be okay in the end.

As for me, I believe I am finally turning the corner and getting back to my old routine of working to help artisans and small businesses. I hope that those of you that read my Newsletter will find the products I offer interesting, and something that is just what you were looking for as a gift or something special yourself.

Store-2Over the years, especially when I operated my small gift shop, I purchased a variety of items from the artisans in Nepal. I kept the unsold items neatly packed in boxes at my home hoping I could return to selling items once my health problems passed. The events last month brought the small country of Nepal a great deal of hardship, so I unpacked the items; handmade note cards, beaded and silver jewelry, handbags and Pashmina and silk shawls, to name a few, and will be posting them on my store at, as well as the social media sites, (Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter), in the hope that you will not only purchase something but also refer me to others.

There are other products those sites and everything I sell is acquired from small businesses, in the United States, Nepal and sometimes other areas of the world. My goal is to help small businesses and, of course myself, but I would also like make enough income to share the profits with those in need in Nepal and my very pet project, The Wounded Warrior Project. I hope that you will help me in these endeavors. Just donate money on your own if you do not find products you want to purchase from me.

Till next time, Carolee


About Memorial Day

thF1NSCSVJI have wonderful childhood memories of Memorial Day celebrations at my grandparents’ home. Never one to allow us to sleep late, on Memorial Day Grandma awakened us particularly early. She wanted to make sure we were all sitting on the front porch by the time the very first person came past our house.  She loved living on the main street of town because she never had to leave home to enjoy the celebrations.

Although the entire family was and remains very patriotic, it was Grandma that put the celebrations together. She prepared the food and organized the work to ensure everything was done correctly and on time, and did a better job than then any corporate executive.

Although Grandma did not complete Fifth Grade, she was a talented pianist and avid reader. Although trained in classical music, her love for John Philips Sousa enabled her to learn just about every single patriotic song written in this country which she played often. She also made a point to learn details of the history of this country and actually taught me more than I learned in school.

After the parades, store sales, the large picnics and family gatherings, the family would gather around the dining room table and talk about their own experiences and the many events in this country. Now that is the best way to educate your children. Sit them down, make them be quiet and listen to the elders of the family as they reminisce and debate past and current events. And believe me; our children need such an experience. I am abhorred by the misinformation published on the Web and worst of all what people who are believed to be accredited write for popular publications that are void of facts.

On this day, one day after the celebrations and four days before the actual date, I decided to write a little about the history of Memorial Day.

About Memorial Day

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day.  People all over the country started honoring the more than 600,000 fallen soldiers that had fallen on both sides during the War Between the States in a variety of different ways. In l868 Major General John A. Logan, the 3rd Commander-in-Chief of the settled on May 30 as the official day of remembrance to decorate the graves of those who lost their lives in defense of their country during the war.

The North and the South had different days of remembrance for their fallen soldiers and this generated a tension between both sides even after the Civil War was over. Between this and the passing of many Civil War veterans, Memorial Day became a less and less observed holiday. However, World War I and World War II reignited the national support for the holiday. It finally became an official holiday in 1968 and it’s been going strong ever since.

In 1966, Congress passed a unanimous resolution recognizing Waterloo, New York, as the birthplace of the holiday where an 1866 ceremony honored local Civil War vets.

During the Vietnam War, a White House Special Projects Aide, Carmella LaSpada, organized a USO tour to Southeast Asia with her friend, the journalist and humorist, Art Buchwald. Visiting a military hospital, she met a battle-injured medic who had seen 35 men in his unit die before he himself was mortally wounded. The young man asked that she promise to do something so that his comrades and their grieving families would be remembered. She agreed, accepting from him a black scarf, a symbol of his unit, to seal her promise.

No Greater Love (NGL) is an American humanitarian, non-profit organization founded in 1971 by Carmella LaSpada and is dedicated to providing programs such as wreath-layings, remembrance tributes, and memorial dedications, for those who have lost a loved one in the service to the country or by an act of terrorism. To date, NGL has dedicated 11 memorials located in Arlington National Cemetery and sponsors numerous other programs. The name is derived from the verse John 15:13 from the Bible.

As Executive Director of the Commission on Remembrance, Ms. LaSpada and Congress created a national moment of silence at 3pm; local time, across the country in 1997. It’s a time when the country stops baseball games and parades, and during that time the National Grocers Association and Food Marketing Institute asks shoppers to pause for a moment of silence in stores around the U.S.

If you are one of those who did not realize how important it is to honor those who gave the most to the country and their families who also gave as much, perhaps on the actually date, May 30, you can pause for a moment at 3 p.m. and say a silent prayer or thank you in gratitude for the freedoms and opportunities you have in this great country their sacrifice provided you.

Till next time —–

The History of Nepal

The history of Nepal has been influenced by its position in the Himalayas and its two neighbors, modern day India and China. This beautiful and diverse country has fascinated travelers and explorers for centuries.

Due to the arrival of disparate settler groups from outside through the ages, Nepal is now a multiethnic, multicultural, multi-religious, and multilingual country. The national and most spoken language of Nepal is Nepali.

Nepal experienced a struggle for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008, the country was in civil strike. A peace treaty was signed in 2008 and elections were held in the same year. In a historical vote for the election of the constituent assembly, Nepalese parliament voted to oust the monarchy. In June 2008, Nepal was formally renamed the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal when it became a federal republic.

43085221_oNepal is primarily a Hindu country, with more than 80% of the population adhering to that faith. However, Buddhism (at about 11%) also exerts a lot of influence. The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, was born at Lumbini, in southern Nepal. In fact, many Nepalese people combine Hindu and Buddhist practices; many temples and shrines are shared between the two faiths, and some deities are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists.

Smaller minority religions include Islam, with about 4%; the syncretic religion called Kirat Mundhum, which is a blend of animism, Buddhism, and Saivite Hinduism, at about 3.5%; and Christianity (0.5%).

Nepal is associated with the Himalayan Range including the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest. Standing at 8,848 meters (29,028 feet) Everest is called Saragmatha or Chomolungma in Nepali and Tibetan.

Southern Nepal, however, is a tropical; monsoonal lowland, called the Tarai Plain. The lowest point is Kanchan Kalan, at just 70 meters (679 feet).

Most people live in the temperate hilly midlands of climate zones than those places. The southern Tarai Plain is tropical/subtropical, with hot summers and warm winters. Temperatures reach 40°C in April and May. Monsoon rains drench the region from June to September, with 75-150 cm (30-60 inches) of rain.

The central hill-lands, including the Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys, have a temperate climate, and are also influenced by the monsoons. In the north, the high Himalayas are extremely cold and increasingly dry as the altitude rises.

Despite its tourism and energy-production potential, Nepal remains one of the world’s poorest countries. The majority of commercial activity takes place at small, family-owned shops or in the stalls of sidewalk vendors. With the exception of locally grown fruits and vegetables, many products are imported from India and, to a lesser extent, China and the West. Jute, sugar, cigarettes, beer, matches, shoes, chemicals, cement, and bricks are produced locally. Carpet and garment manufacturing has increased significantly, providing foreign exchange.

Since the late 1950s, tourism has increased rapidly; trekking, mountaineering, white-water rafting, and canoeing have drawn tourists from the West and other parts of Asia. The tourism industry has sparked the commercial production of crafts and souvenirs and created a number of service positions, such as trekking guides and porters. Tourism also has fueled the black market, where drugs are sold and foreign currency is exchanged.

Nepal is heavily dependent on trade from India and China. The large majority of imported goods pass through India. Transportation of goods is limited by the terrain. Although roads connect many major commercial centers, in much of the country goods are transported by porters and pack animals. The few roads are difficult to maintain and subject to landslides and flooding. Railroads in the southern flatlands connect many Terai cities to commercial centers in India but do not extend into the hills.

Visit my website, Carolee to see some of the crafts from Kathmandu, Nepal.

multiethnic, multicultural, multi-religious, and multilingual country. The national and most spoken language of Nepal is Nepali.

Nepal experienced a struggle for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008, the country was in civil strike. A peace treaty was signed in 2008 and elections were held in the same year. In a historical vote for the election of the constituent assembly, Nepalese parliament voted to oust the monarchy. In June 2008, Nepal was formally renamed the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal when it became a federal republic.