making frugal & simple beautiful

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soft and wonderful essential oil play dough

soft and wonderful essential oil play dough

{We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}   Growing up, my mom always had homemade play dough for me. I […]

affordable mother’s day gift guide, 2 ways

affordable mother’s day gift guide, 2 ways

  {We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}   I have made a list of some of my favorite Mother’s […]

5 of my favorite gardening books (and a couple i’m dying to read)

5 of my favorite gardening books (and a couple i’m dying to read)

{We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}

 

The second best way to learn about gardening, aside from knowledgeable friends and family members, is by reading! Closely followed by personal trial and error… But you have to start somewhere!

Every year about mid January, I get the gardening bug again and I pull out all my favorite books from the shelves and check some out from the library and usually order myself one or two new ones.

I’ve compiled a list of the books that I find myself referring back to on a pretty regular basis, ones that have helped me cultivate my own gardening style and I even threw in a couple at the end that I haven’t read yet but I really, really want to!

 

 

Tasha Tudor’s Garden ~ This one is pure inspiration. If you are familiar with Tasha Tudor, then you can imagine my fascination with her. If you haven’t heard of her, hurry up and read her books! The watercolor artist and author was much documented in the nineties by books and media. At that time, she was in her eighties, living in New England in a 19th century style life she had created for herself. Her beautiful cottage gardens are enough to make any aspiring gardener drool.

 

The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, 2nd Edition: Discover Ed’s High-Yield W-O-R-D System for All North American Gardening Regions: Wide Rows, Organic Methods, Raised Beds, Deep Soil ~ My sweet husband bought this book on a whim for me one Christmas, and I’m so glad he did. It is a great basic gardening information tool that I have referred to many times. Favorite topics include nutrition and soil health, pests, mulching, and a section about each common plant, their preferences, and their habits.

 

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century, Revised & Updated~ I love the idea of slowly moving away from convention and becoming a little more self sufficient. This book has everything you can think of in the topic. Not only growing a garden, but what to do with your harvest, traditional techniques of food preparation, energy and waste, water, foraging and on and on. So many gorgeous pictures in this one.

 

Welcome to the Farm: How-to Wisdom from The Elliott Homestead ~ I must admit I’m probably the most excited about this baby. I just got it last month. Shaye Elliot is one of my favorite online presences, and her book does not disappoint. Filled with her stunning photography and farm and garden know how, this book covers it all! Growing your own food, preserving it, chicken keeping, animal husbandry and butchering, bee keeping… It’s glorious.

 

Weedless Gardening ~ This little gem is full of wonderful wisdom about your soil. How to garden “from the top down” in a less disruptive way, nurturing your soil and it’s many inhabitants. He teaches adding layers of organic material to the top of the bed every year to act as mulch and to break down, enriching, protecting, retaining moisture and deterring weeds.

 

 

Now for a couple I want to read.

Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden: Grow, Harvest, and Arrange Stunning Seasonal Blooms ~ I love this lady and her amazing flower gardening skills and business, so it’s no surprise that I have to get my hands on her new book. Erin Benzakein grows some of the most incredible flowers I have ever seen. Dahlias are her signature, along with narcissus, tulips, zinnias, ranunculus, and lots more. All the heart eyes.

 

Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy-Harvest Fruit Trees ~ I am very interested in cultivating fruit trees on our small property, and this looks like just what I need to read. The author claims that there are techniques to prune your trees to stay small but reap bountiful harvests.

 

Do you have a favorite gardening book? I want to know so I can read it too!

 

 

 

the feel of a home

the feel of a home

  {We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.}   How my home feels is so important to me. Beauty in your life […]

get rid of them ants!

get rid of them ants!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin     I’m a pretty easy going  person. Until I see either of these two things in my house… A spider, or ants! Then, as the joke goes, I turn into Al Capone. ” I want him dead! I want […]

what’s in my spring cold frame

what’s in my spring cold frame

 

Last summer my sweet husband built me a cold frame! He made it nice and deep, long enough to house lots of plants, and made an ingenious sliding plastic panel top to cover it. I just told him that I would absolutely have to do a blog post about how to build a cold frame, or actually, he would have to share how to build a cold frame!

What I especially like about the sliding, lightweight top is that it can be easily removed and left completely off in the warmer months, but on a day like we are having here today, where heavy rains and storms are expected, I can quickly slide the panels back in and protect my tender crops from damage.

 

 

If you’re not familiar with what a cold frame is, it’s something like a tiny greenhouse that keeps your colder weather or late season crops covered through the winter and lets you enjoy a longer harvest season.

At the end of the summer, I planted some kohlrabi, Swiss chard, chives, and celery in my cold frame. Everything survived the winter just fine here in zone 7a. I did not harvest much, unfortunately. I think my poor soil has the most to do with my plants scant performance. I have since added about 3 inches of beautiful, black compost, so I have high hopes now.

 

 

 

For my spring cold frame, I have removed the sliding top, and have planted quite a few new things! I left some of the Swiss chard to see if the warm weather might prompt new growth of tastier leaves. We shall see. I also direct sowed Winter’s Density romaine lettuce seeds,  and Corvair F1 spinach. Then I also planted seedlings that I raised in my house under a grow light. You can read about how I do that here, it’s fun and easy! I planted bunching onions, Azur Star Kohlrabi, and Fordhook chard.

 

 

These are all cool weather tolerant plants that should do well in this early spring through early summer weather.

I love  having this little spot to grow things right outside my door. My main veggie garden is set a bit away from the house, so I love being able to step out the door and see beautiful growing things.

I will do a post soon, with the help of my husband, on how he built this cold frame, and what materials he used.

Do any of you have cold frame? If so, what do you plant in there this time of year?

 

6 ways I save $ on groceries

6 ways I save $ on groceries

    We are going through some life changes in our household! They are all good ones, but will require us to tighten our belts for a few years to see my husband change careers and go back to school. This has got me back […]

opening my young living essential oils starter kit

opening my young living essential oils starter kit

    It was finally here! My Young Living Starter Kit had finally arrived. Many months of debating and research and hemming and hawing had finally culminated to this beautiful moment. Okay… Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But it was almost that good.   […]

no junk easter basket ideas

no junk easter basket ideas

 

 

I just love planning and stuffing an Easter basket for our daughter. It just tickles me! Every year I try to think of cute things to give her that isn’t all candy, and that isn’t all plastic junk that will break in 5 minutes.

I usually add one nice quality chocolate item, a Lindt bunny, or like this year, their cute chocolate carrots.

Last year I sewed her this bunny myself, she really loves that thing!

 

 

 

Here is a list of all the cute, non-junk Easter basket ideas I could come up with:

  • handmade item like this bunny or this sweet little baby doll
  • bubbles ~ I got some no spill ones similar to this at Target. Cheaper though. Or you could make some!
  • sidewalk chalk
  • jump rope
  • books ~ I like I am a Bunny for little ones and Linnea in Monet’s Garden for a bit older
  • play dough ~ homemade in cute little mason jars, or store bought
  • diy play dough surprise eggs ~ you could put cute little animals like this in the eggs! They have Toobs at Michael’s and of course you can always use at least a 40% off coupon there.
  • small excavation kit ~ Here’s a nice one, I found one in the Target Spot for $3
  • craft kit or project ~ Also check the Target Spot for this type of thing.
  • kite
  • Shutterfly photo book ~ If you can catch it, they have a coupon code about 2-3 times a year for a free photo book, all you pay is about $8 shipping. Kids absolutely love looking at themselves and family and friends in a real book.
  • watercolor palette
  • sketchbook and pencils ~ maybe with one of these easy little pencil wraps
  • flower and veggie seeds to plant themselves
  • summer sun hat
  • gardening gloves and tools
  • lip balm
  • apron for kitchen helping and projects
  • puzzle
  • music ~ i love this album, and this one.
  • special socks
  • stickers
  • ball
  • water bottle
  • mad matter ~ this stuff is super fun, like kinetic sand. Easy cleanup. Michael’s carries this.

If you have any ideas I didn’t think of, let us know in the comments! Have fun filling a basket for your little somebunny!

Happy spring!

seed starting 101

seed starting 101

      Right about now, is the perfect time for starting seeds inside. I am full on into the project myself and thought it might be helpful for someone if I shared how I do it. I am in no way an expert, I […]