A Short History of Ilona1 AKA Ilonagarden AKA Ilona Erwin

Starting out creating a free website, I then followed the yellow brick road to…HERE! (How I picked up the name Ilona1).
A little “about me”.

I am Ilona1: My “Other Brand Name”

Remember Geocities?

It started out simply enough back in 1998. With my son’s help I built a website on Geocities. I always went by my own real first name: Ilona, but when signing up for things one more letter or digit was needed … thus ilona1. I have so many “about me” blurbs everywhere that even I get a little sick of it, but love creating websites, and writing, so I guess another one won’t hurt.

Ilona1 On The Web

Sometimes it isn’t all about me, me, me – but online it can sometimes feel like that.

I’m not awesome, but I like awesome things.

And for my readers that means that I enjoy sharing the awesomeness of something beautiful or great or of value in my posts, and lenses. That is why I brand things with my online name of ilona1 or Ilona (my real name) – to let people know I really think something is worthwhile to consider. I try to write about what I know.

Here is my Google Profile

Ilonagarden, or “The Garden Site”

Although I started out writing on a wide number of topics, it ultimately boiled down to gardening as my main topic; gardening has been a passionate pastime during my entire lifetime. I dedicated a huge effort into creating gardens, reading about the skills, and doing self-study in design.

My garden site grew, and then branched into blogging, which -like a weed- soon took over. As some wise blog gurus point out, some topic niches online are less willing to reach out to other writers (which I think just shows they don’t really get what the internet does so well), and so I found myself a somewhat late adopter of the Squidoo community.

The Squidoo/Hubpage Phase

Yay, SQUIDOO! It was good to me, and I had only recently tried out the Hubpage community when the two combined. Hubpages has considerably changed, and I have limited the amount of work I put in there.

It was the place I learned the most about monetizing a site and earned enough to support all my other sites; the hosting, domain name costs, etc.

Hubpages presently earns an equivalent amount.

I never thought of myself as a writer, but I’ve been doing so much of it in the past few years that maybe, perhaps, I am a writer now. I think of myself more as a curious person… who likes to tell others about the neat stuff I find out.

I expect to accumulate all the widely flung blog links and websites I work on in a sort of directory of Ilona1, right here. Just for laughs. It may take some time to collate everything….



Find My Web Projects – I enjoy online writing

TrueGrit, blog and Web Alias

Ilona by any other name…. Truegrit?

Originally I started blogging as TrueGrit, the name of my blog on Upsaid, then eventually moved to Weblogs.us (sort of a long story of trying out different blog platforms). You get webby points if you remember “Upsaid”.

The long story short about many site hosted for free is that they disappear. It finally happened to TrueGrit, as well. That site had more than 1000 posts.

Now, on my own domain, TrueGrit blog may be found @ http://www.truegritblog.us/

I got my own domains and that is where the original Ilona’s Reflecting Pool ’empire’ moved, divided up into interests of Garden, Christmas, etc. Some still in development.

I’m a one (wo)man band, although I tried to interest my husband and friends in joining forces on the blogs.

I used to be part of community blogging, but it went defunct a few years ago. Remember ‘Intellectuelle’? That was internet eons ago.

Many Of My Online Sites/Places

  • Ilona1 | webwork
    This has become a place where I compile everything I am doing online. A central station. Presently under construction. WordPress
  • Ilona’s Garden
    My main occupation is working on this site. All about gardening. WordPress
  • Ilona’s Garden Journal
    The original garden blog, and one of the early ones online. For awhile I worked more on it than I did on my garden site. Blogger
  • Garden Librarian
    Just started this recently for garden book reviews,etc I have read huge amounts of garden books, but not so good about writing reviews of them, yet. On the list of projects to develop…
  • Loving Christmas
    I love Christmas, and I started writing about it soon after gardening… it is a continuation of the old pages from geocities time. The Advent Blog is here. Joomla with WordPress
  • Ilona’s Reflecting Pool
    This is where the original (starting in 1998) website of mine went after Geocities. It has changed focus, although many of the old pages can be found there.
  • My Old House Blog
    My fixit blog- my husband and I will resume posting once we are not so tired and overwhelmed with work! Blogger
  • Happy Thoughts
    My exercise in keeping optimistic, grateful, and writing about what works as mood helium for me. Blogger originally, but moved to join the ReflectingPool.
  • Web Help
    Just started this blog from its former life as a WebHelp page when everyone had guestbooks and there were newbies who didn’t know how to make bookmarks, etc. WordPress. It merged with ReflecintPool, as well.
  • On Pinterest
    I have some boards on Pinterest reflecting my interests.
  • igarden on Tumblr
    I haven’t updated this in awhile

Keeping Up

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with all the web projects I’ve started.

Helpful Stuff For Webmasters – Make Your Graphics,Learn HTML

Whether you are creating a blog, a lens, or a website, eventually you will need a ready reference for html and css.

I have worked with many WordPress themes, one of the best is “Studiopress”. Most of them are on Elegant Themes, including this one.

Find out more about my opinions about WordPress Themes.

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML
Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML

I Finally Made Some Things

… some Zazzle products to offer.

It was something I always wanted to do. So I joined Cafepress, Zazzle, and Etsy. Yet, there was always some reason I didn’t begin making graphics and learning the ins and outs of these sites. I learned to make plenty of graphics for my sites, and even some for giving away…. but the storefronts sat empty …

I had this huge problem with needing to perform with perfectionist standards. It kept me from trying so many things and that was such a waste of time. a waste of life, really. Well, no more. We can’t start any sooner, but why not start now?

I know that the only way to create better designs is to practice, and in the meantime I hope someone (maybe you) will like the outcome.

Zazzle is the site I active on.

  • CafePress Ilona’s Garden Shed
    I started making garden blogger designs, garden related pictures, etc.
  • Zazzle Ilona’s Garden
    I put many more pictures and designs on Zazzle- that is I have branched out :)

Advice for Creatives – I think Ira Glass nails it

Is This The Yellow Brick Road?

How I got here, making websites and writing

More stuff. My son left me high and dry after helping me set up my website. I couldn’t let it just sit there so I taught myself HTML. Then CSS, because that was the next big thing in coding your html pages. Then, switched over to blogging platforms which has always been challenging ( not the writing part, but the site structure and designing part).

I’ve tried out lots of blogging: Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type…and brief stints on assorted others- Xanga, LiveJournal, etc. I hate Myspace because it is ugly and you can’t make it otherwise. Yes, I have lots of opinions.

As the web changed websites needed to come up with their own graphics more than at the beginning- most of the free graphics sites closed. So I created my own graphics and learned how to use PSP and Photoshop. then I got a digital camera.

I’m no spring chicken and it has been quite a workout for my old brain. But fun. It must be fun because I keep doing more new things….

It would be nice to make money from all this work, eventually, but for now it is the journey and the learning. I hope I am giving something of value to those who take the time to read my work and interact with me. After signing into Zazzle and Cafepress years ago, I am finally pursuing that. Maybe that dream of continuing my early art interests is finally coming true.

Fireside Chats just aren’t the same without Your Feedback.