Friday, December 9, 2011

Real Food Recipe: Holiday Eggnog

I always loved eggnog as a kid - it was one of my favorite holiday traditions. When I got older, though, it didn't taste as good. I eventually realized that it wasn't me that had changed, but the eggnog. 

The eggnog I had as a child was homemade by my mother from real eggs and milk. The eggnog I had later came in a carton from the store. I haven't read the ingredients on these cartons of 'eggnog', but I am certain that I wouldn't be happy with what I saw if I did! 

So, I have always made my own eggnog. Now that I am buying pastured eggs and raw milk from local farmers I feel especially good about drinking and serving this real food homemade eggnog!

If you would like to make some yourself, here is my recipe. Don't worry - it is really easy!

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of whole, raw milk
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 - 2 minutes to mix thoroughly. Pour into glasses or mugs and sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top.

Serves 2

Why Raw Milk?

Cheers! And Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?

I received this article today and thought it was worth sharing.

Is Skim Milk Making You Fat?
By Paul John Scott

You probably spend all of one second deciding what kind of milk to put in your coffee. What's to debate? If you want to keep the pounds off and avoid heart disease, choose skim. This is gospel, after all: It's recommended by the USDA and has so permeated our thinking that you can't even find reduced-fat (2%) milk at places like Subway—and forget about whole.

But is it true? Let's start with the question of what's fattening. Whole milk contains more calories and, obviously, more fat. A cup has 146 calories and almost 8 grams of fat, reduced-fat (2%) has 122 calories and almost 5 grams of fat, low-fat (1%) has 103 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, and nonfat (skim) has 83 calories and virtually no fat.

But when it comes to losing weight, restricting calories has a poor track record. Evidence gleaned from numerous scientific studies says that if you starve yourself for lunch, you typically compensate at dinner. And according to a 2007 report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, telling overweight and obese patients to cut calories led to only "transient" weight loss—it didn't stay off. The same goes for cutting saturated fat. In 2003, the Cochrane Collaboration, a respected source for unbiased reviews of research, compared low-fat diets with low-calorie diets and found that "fat-restricted diets are no better than calorie-restricted diets in achieving long-term weight loss." As Walt Willet of the Harvard School of Public Health wrote in theAmerican Journal of Medicine, "Diets high in fat do not appear to be the primary cause of the high prevalence of excess body fat in our society, and reductions in fat will not be a solution."

It's becoming widely accepted that fats actually curb your appetite, by triggering the release of the hormone cholecystokinin, which causes fullness. Fats also slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, reducing the amount that can be stored as fat. In other words, the more fat in your milk, the less fat around your waist. Not only will low-fat milk fail to trim your gut, it might even make you fatter than if you were to drink whole, according to one large study. In 2005, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and other institutions studied the weight and milk consumption of 12,829 kids ages 9 to 14 from across the country. "Contrary to our hypothesis," they reported, "skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not."

But surely low-fat milk is better for your heart? We are often told to watch our consumption of dairy because it raises our bad cholesterol, the kind known as LDL. But LDL comes in at least four varieties, and only the smallest and densest of them are linked with heart disease. Dairy fat, it turns out, affects only the large, fluffy kind of LDL—the benign kind.

And here's a final thought: How would you feel if you opened a carton and poured a chalky, bluish-white liquid into your coffee? That's the color many nonfat milks are before powdered milk is added to whiten them—a process that brings its own problems. Any way you look at it, there's been a lot of whitewashing of skim milk's image.

To turn skim milk white, "some companies fortify their product with powdered skim," says Bob Roberts, a dairy scientist at Penn State. Powdered skim (which is also added to organic low-fat milks) is produced by spraying the liquid under heat and high pressure, a process that oxidizes the cholesterol. In animal studies, oxidized cholesterol triggers a host of biological changes, leading to plaque formation in the arteries and heart disease, Spanish researchers reported in 1996. "OCs are mutagenic and carcinogenic," they wrote. In 1998, Australian researchers studied rabbits fed OC and found that the animals "had a 64% increase in total aortic cholesterol" despite having less cholesterol in their blood than rabbits fed natural sources of the substance. (A 2008 Chinese study with hamsters confirmed these findings.) Roberts says the amount of OC created by adding powdered skim is "not very much," but until the effects on humans are known, it's impossible to say what's a safe level.

Also of interest: 

What is Real Food?

I Drink Raw Milk: Fresh, raw, local, and full of fat

Monday, July 11, 2011

What Exactly is REAL FOOD?

I am reading a book that might very well change my life! That is a strong statement, but I feel strongly that eating 'real food' will have an incredibly positive impact on my life.

In Real Food: What to Eat and Why Nina Planck does an excellent job of explaining complex scientific nutritional information so that a layman (me) can understand it.

I am a long-time fan of Michael Pollan. He presents the problem of eating industrial food (as opposed to real food) in a very readable way, but doesn't solve the problem, so to speak, as well as Ms. Planck does. Reading this book has prompted me to TAKE ACTION to change the foods I eat.

(This is where my husband and some of my friends roll their eyes and say, 'There she goes again...') time will tell if this is truly a life-long change or a short-lived fad. Time will tell. I am betting my health on it! (Okay, that was a bit dramatic! Sorry!)

So, what exactly IS real food?  
Real food is traditional foods that humans have been eating for millenia:
  • Unprocessed traditional oils and fats: butter, coconut oil, olive oil, chicken fat and lard. NEVER hydrogenated!
  • Meat (chickens, cows, sheep, etc) raised the old-fashioned way - on farm pastures. Eating grass, bugs, etc - what they were meant by nature to eat.
  • Eggs from pastured chickens, ducks, or geese.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables. Ideally locally grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
  • Wild fish and seafood
  • Minimally processed whole grains
  • Full fat dairy foods, ideally raw from grass-fed cows
  • Wild game (rabbit, deer, etc.)
  • Traditional cultured and fermented foods: yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread
  • Unrefined sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, evaporated cane juice (in moderation!)

NOT real food:
  • Processed foods of any kind - cereals, industrial breads, etc.
  • Imitation anything - soy "meat" products, margarine (fake butter), non-dairy creamer or 'dessert topping', processed cheese, etc.
  • Light or low-fat products. Sugar is often added and these are without exception highly processed foods.
  • Powdered eggs
  • Bleached white flour and sugar
This list is probably not complete - I am a only a student of this and still learning. I encourage you to read the book for yourself. You will never look at food the same way again!

Health, Mind & Body Books at

Michael Pollan

Friday, July 1, 2011

Introductory Offer - New Beaded Wrap Bracelets only $15!

My newest designs are these colorful wrap cuff bracelets. Made with memory wire, these bracelets are easy to put on because no clasp is necessary - they just wrap right around fitting any size wrist.

 Elegant enough to go with your dressier outfits, but still light-weight, easy to wear, and affordable enough for every day! Try one with a sun dress for a casual summer party!

I have put them on sale for $15 for one week only - don't miss out! (Regular price will be $18.)

Send me a message if you would like a color combination other than the ones I have listed - I am happy to do special orders!

Not in the market for a wrap bracelet right now? Good news - All my other bracelets are $3.00 off this week, too! Sale ends at 11:00 pm Thursday, July 7.

Find me at:
Etsy -
Facebook -
Twitter -
Pinterest -

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Artist Collaboration with Petrillo Pottery

I am excited to announce the collaboration of Holly&Sage and Petrillo Pottery! Rachel Petrillo is a sculptor and potter; she makes unique and beautiful porcelain creations including these adorable fruit and flower pendants. 

She has made some especially for me, and I am busy making some new Mommy necklaces with them. 

Now, not only are these necklaces lovingly handmade in the US, the beads are handmade in the US, too!

These are adjustable so that they can be worn long or short. Though Mommy necklaces can be worn by anyone, they are simple and sturdy pieces that can withstand pulling by the young hands of babies and toddlers, so they are ideal for caregivers of small children.

Note: Porcelain ceramic beads are fired and glazed to resist breakage, but they are breakable and should not be dropped.  
Mommy necklaces are sold as jewelry for adults, not toys, and should not be given to unsupervised children.

Stay tuned to Holly&Sage or follow me on Facebook for news of new necklaces to be listed soon!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Meet Blaze Riley Beck!

We picked up our new baby today! I am naming him "Blaze Riley". Blaze because of the blaze on this nose (I guess that is what those in the business call that white streak - isn't it cool!?) and Riley because I know he will have the life of Riley!

He is very sweet - I just love his sweet little face! He is only 10 weeks old - he is going to be a big boy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

June 19 is Father's Day - Great Handmade & Vintage Items for Dad!

What will you get for Dad this Father's Day? The same old tired bottle of after shave or tie that he will never wear? 

Why don't you surprise him this year with something truly unique - it is easy when you explore the world of awesome handmade and vintage items available on Etsy!

Washer Necklace Leather w/Recycled 

Button 'Life Savers'

ReClaimed Wooden Soap Dish

This is an inventive way to recycle buttons! These 'washers' were in a bunch of buttons that I acquired - they are buttons with the middles drilled out to form a circular life saver shape. I have arranged them on a 2mm black leather cord and it makes an awesome necklace for a guy or a girl!
The colors are neutral - black, tan, and shades of brown, so it can be worn with anything. The necklace is a short choker length.       


Keep your handmade soaps from turning mushy by using one of these well draining soap dishes from PS Products.
Each soap dish is made out of reclaimed Cedar, finished with linseed oil and is cut to allow water to drain through the dish and away from your soap, so your soap will last longer.


Vintage Hazel Atlas Gay Nineties Shot

Glasses-Set of 6

I love this fantastic set of shot glasses/small tumblers for that mid century vintage collector! Made by Hazel Atlas(marked on the bottom) in the 1940s-50s, they show a fabulous bar scene with a lady and her pooch, a man and the bartender.    
From InMyIgloo


Hand Formed Copper Money Clip Favorite Guy

He's going to love the way this simple copper money clip helps him hold on to his bills or all those receipts that seem to accumulate in his pockets! More than that, he will love the fact that you were thinking of him! (And he will think of YOU every time he sees it!)


Pair of Antique Folding Pocket Knifes -

Signed Richards Sheffield England

Pair of antique folding pocket knifes. Each knife features two different sized blades. These unique items from Grey Squirrel Antiques are sure to bring back many old memories for Dad!


Skeleton Key Boro Glass Beaded Keychain For Him

This lampwork glass beaded skeleton key will make a great Father's Day or anniversary gift for the man in your life. The brass tag can be customized to say the love note of your choice. The bead is dark purple and measures 3/4 inch in diameter and 8 mm. It was handmade in the flame of my torch from borosilicate or boro glass directly on the shaft of a vintage steel skeleton key that measures 2 3/4 inches in length.               $38.00

Hollow Book Safe - Contract Bridge 

Complete with Two Decks of Cards Cut-Out

These vintage book safes from Conduit Press are sure to please a collector of any kind! They can be used as they're intended (as safes hidden on a book shelf to hide your treasures, or your vices) or as a jewelry box on your dresser, or perhaps a conversation piece on your coffee table. 

Safari Print- illustration reproduction drawing artwork wall decor

5" x 7" Signed Reproduction of original artwork printed on professional photo paper. Striking, intense colors, and exceptional sharpness. This artwork by YuliyaArt is unique in that the artist does not use pencil or sketch at all - artwork is alive, developing in the moment I am drawing it and sometimes final result is surprise even for me.

Mid-Century Vintage Leather Jewelry Box

This mall square leather men's jewelry or nick-knack box from Restashable would be a perfect Father's Day gift! Smooth warm medium brown cowhide leather with tan suede interior. There are slots on the inside of the box lid for holding tie bars or something. Lid is attached and closes with a snap.


There are way too many more excellent choices on Etsy for me to list them all here. Take a look for yourself and you will see what I mean!


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Are you a Liberal or a Conservative?

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be a very Liberal Democrat, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words
redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to "Be the Truth" and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends,  because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked , "How is your friend Audrey doing?"

She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's Office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA,  and Certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA." The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, "That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair! I've worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the Republican Party."

If anyone has a better explanation of the difference between Republican and Democrat I'm all ears.

If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat..
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Historic Gold Hill Strawberry Festival

Historic Gold Hill Strawberry Festival & Art & Crafts Walk

On Saturday, May 14 I will be at Gold Hill Village for the Annual Strawberry Festival!

I will have a selection of my jewelry available for sale, and will be accompanied by my mother, artist Barbara 'Jake' Carter of Watercolors by Jake!

Come on out and see us - we would love to meet you!
(And there will be locally grown strawberries for sale- YUM!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Office/Studio: A Work in Progress

My Office/Studio: A Work in Progress

I have been working on creating a space where I can do all my work. My husband moved his home office out to his shop behind our house, so I was left with a whole room for myself! I needed it, really - I had things scattered all over the house. When I had an order to send out I had to go back and forth between 3 rooms to put it all together. That is just crazy!

Now I have most everything in one room, but it still needs work. I am very obessive compulsive about organization (though you would never know it to see my house!) and it takes me forever to get things just the way I want them. In the meantime, this is what I have so far.


This (above) is my desk where I work on the computer, print invoices, etc. Below is my jewelry area where I make jewelry and keep all of my supplies.

There are some changes that I want to make. I would like to cover those cords up; I need to hag the cork board (when I decide where to put it...). I want to replace Steve's poster with something that speaks to ME and move those plants off of my work table. My storage containers are a hodge-podge, I know. I would welcome any suggestions for making this a more beautiful and functional space!

By the way, that is dog food in the container in the lower right corner. I don't actually have the room all to myself - I share it with our dog, Molly!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting Rid of That Bloated and Sluggish Feeling with a Cleansing Diet

I have been feeling old, sluggish and fat for the past few months. I have reached an age where I can't eat whatever I want any more (sadly) and still stay in good shape. I don't mind the weight gain so much as the constant bloated feeling! It makes me feel lethargic and slow and OLD! I hate that.

So, I am doing a colon cleanse this week. A friend suggested the Fat Flush diet and did some reading about it, but it seemed too strict for me. I was going to do the 7-Days Sugar Free again, but I was dreading it - I did it in December '09 and and had good results, but I remember eating a lot of yucky cabbage soups and things and to do it properly you really need to have a juicer, which I don't. I just don't feel I have the willpower to do that right now. I came across another one that sounded easier, so I am doing that one.

It is Dr. Group's 7-Day Oxygen Colon Cleanse. Basically it involves grouping foods (no meat with milk, etc.) and having no caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, sugar, etc. It is going pretty well no far - this is the third day. I have already gotten rid of my bloat-y feeling, but I have a lot less energy than I am used to. And I am not a high energy person to begin with! I have decided that some people just have more energy than others, and I am not one of them. (sigh) 

I am expecting to feel more energetic in a couple of days, though. I know it is just my body getting rid of toxins.

I am nibbling on raw nuts and seeds right now and dreaming of Cheez-Its! Haha!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Listing at Holly&Sage Teal & Khaki Mother-of-Pearl Necklace

I sell more button bracelets and Mommy Necklaces than anything in my shop, but I love making other jewelry.

This is my newest piece just listed in my shop yesterday. I made a necklace like this for myself a while back, and I have enjoyed it so much I decided to make one available to my customers. It is made with mother-of-pearl beads in a variety of shapes in pretty, neutral spring colors.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Wedding Favors on a Budget

When you're planning your wedding, one of the things you'll want to remember to budget for are the wedding favors. These are the souvenirs that your guests will take home from your wedding as a thank you for participating in your special day. So, this is not an area where you want to scrimp. You hope that your guests will enjoy your gift to them, and see it as a token of your appreciation. However, you don't want to blow your budget on buying wedding favors either. Here are some ideas for great wedding favors on a budget and homemade wedding favors.

Bulk gifts. Items like candy and potpourri can make lovely wedding favors. You can buy them pre-packaged from bridal shops, but it is smarter to buy them in bulk and package them yourself. Instead of shopping at an expensive wedding store, visit a grocery or hobby shop for discount pricing. To create your own gift wrapped packages, wrap bundles of the bulk item in tulle and tie with a ribbon.

Make homemade treats. For a personal touch, make homemade treats to give to your guests. Special cookies are always welcome. If you make homemade candy, that can also be a nice gift. When you wrap them up, add a handwritten note thanking your guests for sharing your day with you. It will be an extra special touch that will make your favour all the more meaningful.

Candles and votives. Candles and votives can be beautiful reminders of your wedding day. Look for candles in the same colors as your wedding decorations. Almost everyone enjoys candles so it is a practical gift as well. These are also very affordable when purchased at discount or bulk stores.

Bubbles. For a fun twist and lots of laughs, give each guest a small bottle of bubbles as a thank you. Tie a note with the date of your wedding around the neck of the bottle. These will provide entertainment during the reception too, as most guests won't wait until they get home to blow their bubbles.

Make Music. Another idea is to burn a CD of music to commemorate your special day and give a copy to each guest. Be sure to follow copyright laws. Whenever they play your CD, your guests will think of you.
Flowers and Plants. If you're having a spring or summer wedding, consider giving out packets of seeds as a wedding favor. These will be a long-lasting fragrant reminder of your nuptials. Alternatively, you can give out tiny potted plants for a spring garden. These are very inexpensive, and if you buy in bulk, you may be able to get further discounts.

Scented soaps. These are another item you might want to consider giving out as a favor. They have an attractive scent, and often come in pretty shapes and wrappings. They are another practical gift that is pretty to look at as well.

Check Frugal Living Now for more homemade wedding favors and lots more ways to save on all aspects of your wedding!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beautiful and Chic Wedding Invitations on a Budget

When you're planning a wedding on a budget you still want everything to be beautiful and chic. Wedding invitations can be pricey, which cuts into the cash you've set aside for other items on your bridal shopping list.

Fortunately, with a little creativity, it is possible to send chic wedding invitations to your friends and family, without spending a lot of money on them. Here are some cheap, but still very attractive, wedding invitation ideas you can use.

Make your own homemade wedding invitations. Card-making is a very popular hobby and you can buy everything you need at a local craft shop or online. You can buy beautiful card stock and embellishments like ribbonsand bows. Your invitations will do justice do your big day, while still keeping expenses low.You can handwrite your special message inside with a calligraphy pen, or silver or gold ink, or ask a friend with lovely handwriting to do that for you.

Free printable invitations. Some websites are even offering free printable wedding invitations.They aren't that pretty on their own, but if you have a professional printer print them for you on quality paper, and add a pretty embellishment, these can be very chic as well.

Make your own printable invitations. If you have some design talent, or have a friend who does,and access to a design program, you can create your own printable invitations. All you will have is the printing cost when you take them to a professional printers and have them printed on quality card stock. And you will have a card that reflects your personality, and shares your special message. You can even purchase a kit to help you make your own printable wedding invitations.

Use a different printing technique. If you decide to purchase your wedding invitations from a stationery or wedding store instead of making your own, there are still some easy ways to cut down the cost without losing any of the appeal. Engraved wedding invitations are very beautiful but expensive. Instead of having yours engraved, have your invitations printed using a process called thermography. This will give your invitations the same raised look as engraving, but for less money.

The RSVP cards. It's not only the wedding invitation you'll be paying for, but the card used to RSVP to your wedding as well. One way to cut back on the expense of the RSVP cards is to use pretty postcards instead.

Shop online. Instead of just shopping in your local stationery shops, remember to shop online as well. You may find some great discounts on quality and chic wedding invitations. If you shop online, make sure you read all the store's policies, so you aren't caught off guard by something unexpected.

Shop at discount places. Don't restrict yourself to shopping at the expensive stationery stores. You might be able to find a great deal on your wedding invitations at a store like Kinko's or Staples.

Your wedding invitations don't have to be expensive to be beautiful and chic. By following these suggestions, you will be able to send out the lovely invitations you dreamed of, while keeping your budget in tact.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Help Us Name Our New Baby!

Our new kitten - what should we name her?
Lucky us, we are getting a new kitten next week! 

She is a beautiful Ragdoll kitten from Soulmates Ragdolls. They have been calling her Mona, but hubby says we have to change it because our 5-month old puppy's name is Molly, and he thinks the two names are too similar. 

So,I am trying to come up with the perfect name for her and I want your help. Please leave a comment with your name idea. On Saturday I will compile the names I like the best and have a "run off" contest for the best kitty name.

Molly, our Rottweiler puppy

What is Organic Gardening and How to Get Started

Organic Gardening is essentially gardening the way nature would. Too often non-organic gardeners attempt to force a garden to comply with their wishes, contaminate the soil, vegetables and water table with pesticides and fertilizers, and spend a hefty amount for expensive soil treatments and exotic or hybrid plants. All of these might result in a pretty garden and big produce, but at a dangerous price.

Organic Gardening, on the other hand, is a basic method of gardening that was used for thousands of years prior to the invention of chemical treatments. It protects people and animals from the dangers of chemicals leeched into drinking water and sprayed on vegetables, it reuses kitchen and yard waste, and it maintains the natural diversity of native wildlife.

The keys to organic gardening include staying away from chemical pesticides and fertilizer, using organic compost, and gardening with plants suited to your local environment.

The basics steps to start organic gardening are:

Create Natural Compost. Building a compost heap is a basic step that you can take at any time. It basically turns your kitchen and yard waste into a pile of nutrient rich soil which you can separate out and spread around your garden plants.

You will need to start with some loose dirt, a bunch of worms, grass clipping, fall leaves, and kitchen waste. Simply pile all of these together and using a shovel or other turning device, mix the items up on a regular basis. Do not add meat or animal fat to the pile. Speed up the process by making sure large leaves and vegetables are chopped into smaller pieces first.

Use Natural Pest Control. There are natural ways to avoid the damage caused by garden pests. The solutions will vary based upon the problems you are encountering. Some natural solutions include the introduction of insects that prey upon insect pests, complete removal of roots of plant pests, and using fencing or certain edging plants to repel animal pests.

Since the problems and solutions vary greatly by location, soil type, amount of sun or shade, and types of plants, you will need to research your specific situation for the right type of pest control. A great place to start is or your state agricultural outreach agency.

Buy Natural Fertilizer. The compost you are creating is one of the best fertilizers you can use on your plants. If you haven’t had time to develop any compost yet, you can purchase quality organic fertilizers. Many of these are specific to the type of plants you are growing. There is also the natural fertilizer that has been used for hundreds of years — manure. It is not a pleasant smelling fertilizer, and can increase the presence of mosquitos and flies, but it will help certainly help your garden grow if used appropriately.

Plant Native Plants. Plants that grow wild in your area are considered native plants. These have been a part of your local eco-system longer than people, they have not been brought from another region, and they will grow happily with little or no assistance.

These often are the wildflowers you see growing in unplowed fields or along the sides of country roads. They will reproduce themselves every year, either from seed or from root. Native plants are also suited to the local wildlife, and often are the food or shelter of choice for native birds and butterflies.
Time and effort are just about all that is needed to begin gardening organically. Making the switch will save you money and increase the health and environmental factors of your garden.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Highlight Your Tan with a Sexy Ankle Bracelet!

Summer is just around the corner and young women everywhere are heading to the tanning bed or the beach to get a summer tan. Show off that gorgeous tan and your new bikini with a flirty ankle bracelet!

I have listed three new anklets in my shop this week and will be adding more in the next few weeks. Stop by and take a look!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cheap and Cheerful Wedding Venues to Explore

When planning a wedding, one of the first things you need to think about is where you want to get married. As you check around, you may be surprised to see the high cost of the most popular wedding venues - especially during peak wedding months! With prices like these, you might be wondering if you'll be able to have the wedding you have been dreaming of without blowing your budget. 

Try taking a more creative approach and explore these cheap wedding venues; you will find that there are several cheerful and cheap wedding venues to choose from and one of them is sure to suit your dream wedding!

Need more frugal wedding ideas?

You might also like:
Setting a Realistic Wedding Budget

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Setting a Realistic Wedding Budget

You have dreamed about your wedding day since you were a child. You might have envisioned fairy tale dresses, plush limousines, hundreds of your closest friends and family members, and dancing until dawn. After all, this is your special day and you want to give your new life the best start you can.

Now that it's approaching, reality is setting in. You know you deserve all of your dreams, but perhaps you're not sure just how you'll pay for them. You could max out your credit cards, but starting your married life deeply in debt doesn't sound so romantic. You need to set a budget.

Setting a realistic wedding budget doesn't mean you need to forget the fairy tale. It simply means you need to prioritize and plan how you will spend your money. That way you will be able to afford the things that are most important to you. And you will be able to start your married life without unnecessary, burdensome debt.

Begin setting your budget by setting your priorities. You have a vision of what you want your wedding to look like. But it's time to take a more realistic approach. Decide which of the items you want to include are must haves, which are optional, and which would just be nice to have, but you could do without if you needed to.

Determine how much you can spend. How much money do you have saved for your wedding? How much will you be able to save before the big day? It's important to be honest about how much you really can afford. That will help you avoid a lot of problems and conflicts as you plan your wedding, and ensure that you don't create additional stress by running out of money too soon.

Decide how much you will spend on each area. Now that you know your priorities, and you know how much you have to spend, you can decide how much money you will spend on each area of your wedding. One way to organize this is to create a notebook sheet for each expense, such as dress, flowers, invitations, and write down your budget for that area.

Budget for the unexpected. As carefully as you plan, you may still have some unexpected expenses. If you overspend in one area, remember you'll have to make up for it by spending less on something else.

Be creative. There are many ways you can cut down on the high cost of a beautiful wedding. Perhaps you can make homemade wedding invitations so you can spend more money on your wedding dress. Do you have a friend who loves to cook for a crowd? Maybe she would like to help prepare the wedding feast. You can even rent your wedding dress, if you need to cut down in that area and spend more on others.

Setting a realistic wedding budget doesn't mean you can't have the wedding you always dreamed of. It is only a means of making it affordable so you can enjoy your day, without worrying about how much it cost.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Get the Holly&Sage News!

My first newsletter is going out tomorrow! If you still haven't signed up for it, it's not too late!   

Why do you want it?  

Once a month (no more - I don't want to wear out my welcome!) you will get:
  • news of what is going on at my Etsy shops, Holly&Sage and Restashable
  • insights into my creative process and my studio
  • tutorials for recycling old stuff into awesome handmade things (like button bracelets and felted wool coasters) 
  • news of shop sales and promotional coupon codes for discounts or free shipping on orders

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Buttons Galore!

I have acquired a lot of great new buttons and am now in the process of listing many new button bracelets at Holly&Sage

These bracelets are a unique finishing touch for casual outfits - light-weight, and fun to wear! They are even washable!

In celebration of Spring, I have made bracelets in pretty spring colors: sweet pastels and natural earth and flower tones.

Want to make a button bracelet yourself?

If you are feeling creative and have some unused buttons laying around in a drawer somewhere (who doesnt!) learn how to make your very own button bracelet here! (If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

DIY Handmade Envelopes From Recycled Paper

When my Etsy shop started generating sales, I wanted to find a unique and clever way to package my items.

I  also wanted to include an invoice, business card, and a jewelry care  sheet. I thought that a sweet little envelope would be just the ticket  for enclosing these things.

I considered (for about a  minute) looking for some on Etsy  to buy, and then I stopped myself,  thinking: "Wait a minute! I can  make envelopes! Why would I buy them  from someone else!!??"

So I did.

At first I used some scrapbook paper that I had laying around (I don't scrapbook - that is one more expensive and time-consuming hobby I don't need to start!!)

Then I started noticing beautiful pictures in  catalogs and magazines that would make pretty envelopes, so I started using those, too.

That led me to the realization that pages from old children's books and road atlases would make wonderful envelopes, too, so I made some of those!

This concept of using something that would otherwise be thrown away or sit in an attic box getting dusty is a common theme in my life. I have always prided myself on my quirky creativeness. I have more ideas of things to repurpose lots of things at Frugal Living Now.

You can make these, too - it is not very hard if you know how.

All you need is:

  • paper - something pretty with a nice 'heft' to it (not too thin); at least 8 x 11 inches 
  • scissors
  • permanent glue stick
  • marker or pen
  • an envelope to use as a pattern

    • open your pattern envelope at the seams carefully
    • lay it on a piece of paper and trace around it with the pen or marker
    • cut out your envelope
    • fold it up and glue it
    • let it dry thoroughly before using 

     That's it! You have transformed what was once waste into a cute envelope! 

    Here are some ideas for using it:
    • Send a note to a friend that hasn't heard from you in a while
    • Use your computer to make a birthday card for a family member and send it in your handmade envelope
    • Put a sweet little note in your kid's lunchbox to brighten his/her day
    • Write a love note to your sweetheart and leave it in his briefcase/car/underwear drawer

    Have fun!!