Category Archives: books

Simple Handcrafted Body Care e-Booklet

I’m so happy to share with you my new (and first!) e-booklet called Simple Handcrafted Body Care! This was such fun to make, from recipe creation to packaging to photography to book design. I enjoyed it all. And I hope you will enjoy it as well.

So what’s in it? Well, there are five easy to make and basic body care recipes in here. There are no fancy, unheard of ingredients nor is there a long laundry list of things you need to buy. In fact most you can find in your local health food store and I don’t think there is any recipe that call for more than five ingredients. Each recipe comes with tips on how you can customize the item to your lifestyle, needs and budget. This booklet is for the beginner and for the experienced. I also created this with gift giving in mind, so there are packaging ideas along with labels that you can print out.
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Included recipes are:

  • Honey Kissed Lip Balm – I know I’ve already posted a ‘chapstick‘ recipe, but this one trumps that, I feel. With only three basic ingredients, this feels so luxurious. I put it on every single day and not only does it keep my lips smooth and moist, but it smells and tastes just like honey!
  • Body Butter – This was a fun one to figure out too. I took the basic Beeswax Lotion recipe, which you are familiar with and with one extra ingredient turned it into a sumptuous body butter. Making it into a butter and using safflower oil instead of olive oil, it becomes lighter and less greasy. Now I use it as a daily face cream and when my hair get frizzy I can even use it to tame fly-aways. I also discovered on Halloween, when I went a little overboard with the eye makeup, that you can use it as cold cream! It took every last smudge of sparkly eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara off my eyes.
  • Spicy Aftershave – A few years ago I tried making an aftershave for Scott that called for rum as a base. Not only did he walk around smelling like a drunk pirate, but he said it was sticky. This does not call for rum nor will it make the man in your life have a sticky face. Instead it will make his face feel refreshed after shaving and he’ll smell darn nice too. I’ve included two different aroma combinations with inspiration for creating your own.
  • Bath Salts – Have you tried bath salts before? Boy do they make the bath a whole different experience. This recipe makes the water just a bit effervescent and you step out of your bath with softer skin and smelling oh so faintly of a flower garden. Lovely!
  • Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub – A handful of years ago I bought a microdermabrasion facial kit that cost $50! It made my face feel soft, but it smelled of chemicals and for a little tube, it seemed pretty expensive to me! This facial scrub is every bit as good, but it smells of honey and lavender and my face really seems to glow after I use it. This recipe makes enough to use about a dozen times. I bet you have the ingredients to make this in your kitchen right now!

You know we have three kids and we have to be out of the door, breakfast eaten, lunches packed, early in the morning. To have these things on hand in the bathroom makes those circus-like mornings a bit calmer for me. And I hope they will for you too!

Unlike my previous recipes I am asking for a nominal fee for this booklet. But I also worked to make this an easy to use and beautiful pdf booklet that you can download immediately. With labels included, you can get your holiday gift giving made easily and economically!

Click the button below to get your copy!

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A preview of what’s to come on Monday…

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A preview of what’s to come on Monday…

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Knitting and Reading

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For a chance of pace today I thought I’d join Ginny’s Yarn Along. I doubt I’ll be participating every Wednesday as for the past three months and for the future three months, I’m certain this picture wouldn’t change. There is such little time to read & knit these days.

This is my first fair isle project, dala horse mittens and I am loving it! It is a challenge to work with two colors and in the beginning even resulted in a fair isle related arm injury. Who knew knitting could be so very dangerous?

My natural yarn dying friend, Jen, lent me The Road Home months and months ago and I’m sure she thinks she’ll never get it back, but she will! I am really enjoying this novel, set up mainly in Nebraska. It chronicles the lives of three family members through two generations and is so well crafted. I already bought another Jim Harrison book to read when I’m done, Dalva.

The Seasons on Henry’s Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm is a must read if you are gardening minded. It too is beautifully written and is the perfect combination of farming/gardening instruction, literary pose and stories of people’s lives. It is written by a woman who lives and works on her brother’s organic farm in the mid-west. The book is divided into months as chapters so I’m trying my best to read a chapter a month, but it’s so hard not to read ahead! You should really give this one a read!

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Urban Homesteading : : A book giveaway

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(update: This giveaway is over, thanks to all who entered!)
We had a lot to celebrate yesterday. First, our baby girl turned one! What a fast and full year this has been and what a joy she is to have. (when she was born) And second, our original Sonoma Garden officially changed hands to a new gardener, and if you can believe it, a blog reader! We wish them the very best.

With all this celebrating, I wanted to share something with you too. A few weeks ago I ran across this book, Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living, being sold at a local coffee shop, of all places. I bought it right then and there and was so inspired looking through it. I’ve noticed in recent trips to the book store that there are many books out there on homesteading, both for urban and rural areas. What sets this book apart, and what made me buy it, is that it seems very personal and almost homespun. There are many stories and pictures of people and their own urban gardens. It is so nice to see pictures of people and their actual yards. Plus they feature many drawings of how they’ve laid everything out in their yards, where they put the raised beds and the chicken coop etc. which I find very helpful.
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What I also liked is that it features projects that are a little different from what you normally see, like making cob buildings, lacto-fermented sodas, keeping quail, making your own bee veil, growing medicinal herbs, making a compost toilet and lots more unique ideas.
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I think it could be easily said that with this recent move we are safely out of an urban area and smack dab into a rural setting, yet this book got us out and experimenting. The boys and I gathered all the materials needed to make cob: clay mud, straw and sand.  In the shade of a walnut tree we got to work making this little sun and a few bricks one summer day. It was very fun! And I also experimented around with making a peach ginger fermented soda. The pictures of the gardens made me get outside and plant some more seedlings.
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So I decided you need this book too. No matter where you live, either in a rural or urban setting, no matter if you live here in Sonoma or halfway across the world, you’d benefit from this book. Just leave me a comment and next Wednesday, September 21st (our anniversary, see lots of celebrating going around) I’ll draw a winner at random. Sound good?

Much luck to you!

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Book Giveaway

The Winner of Wild Fermentation is Megan & the winner of Root Cellaring is Brittney! Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you both shortly.
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I thought since I’m going to kick off 30 Days to a Better Garden next week, it would be fun to start off with a giveaway. I have two books that I hope you’ll be in desperate need of after we spend this summer improving our gardens. Both are about food preservation, Wild Fermentation & Root Cellaring. After experimenting with kimchi this past winter, both Erin and, well, Amazon recommended that I try Wild Fermentation. It’s a fun book and makes me feel a little bit like a mad scientist in the kitchen. The book explains in detail what fermentation is and give plenty of great recipes to try out. And Root Cellaring is probably the most comprehensive book out there on the subject. Not only does it cover how to build a root cellar, but also how to find sneaky spots in your house or apartment that you could turn into root cellars. Plus it lists pretty much every single vegetable imaginable and explains all the different ways on how you can cellar it to last longer.
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All you have to do to win is to leave me a comment and let me know what garden tips you’d like to learn more about over the month of June and I’ll pick a random number next Friday, June 5th. Good luck! Oh, and come back next week to take part in 30 Days to a Better Garden!

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Free Subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine

This offer isn’t valid anymore, but if you are still interested, you can click to subscribe to Organic Gardening.

I just wanted to drop in quickly to let you know about this great freebie:

Organic Gardening magazine is one of our favorite gardening magazines. Along with good gardening advice there are always plenty of drool worthy garden pictures.

If you don’t already have a subscription go get a FREE one courtesy of Stonyfield Farms. All you have to do is join the Stoneyfield Farm community here and then go here to sign up for your free subscription!

(via Money Saving Mom)

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Winter Harvest & Early Spring Planting

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It’s that time of year between winter and spring, here in Sonoma. We have been getting ‘in like a lion’ rain/hail storms (thankfully) and yet the cherry plum trees are in bloom and daffodils are beginning to make there appearance throughout town.
Kale
Last Saturday was a sunny day, a rare day for us lately, so we decided to harvest most of the cabbage, the bolting kale and a few of the brussel sprouts which have been growing all winter. Because we’ve had more than our fair share of kale lately, I decided to break out the ol’ FoodSavervacuum and use it to vacuum seal blanched portions of kale to freeze for a later date. Have you used a FoodSaver before? We received one when we got married 6.5 years ago and we really like it. It keeps things fresher for much longer in the freezer. We originally used it for vaccum sealing the salmon that Scott used to catch. But we also use it for freezing large Costco sizes of meat and now for veggies too. A worthy investment if you freeze a lot of food.
Potato Growing
Into the garden went the potatoes: Red Gold, Russet Norkotah, Rose Finn Apples (Potato Garden is where we get our seed potatoes). Old German shallots and Red Wethersfield onions (for green onions), our newly aquired spinach, daikon, and carrot seeds, and lastly peas.

We took out our favorite How to Grow More Vegetables book for some spring planting inspiration this past weekend because they lay it all out for you of exactly how many seeds you should be planting of what vegetables for this time of year for a family of four, isn’t that convenient? Anyway, they listed a rather reasonable amount of seeds for each item, but when it came to peas? It suggests you plant 1800 pea seeds! One thousand and eight hundred! We looked at our measly one packet of seeds and laughed. So I suppose we’ll be about 1775 seeds short of what we should be planting this year. Since I’m not a fan of cooked peas anyway, I’m not too worried. How many pea seeds do you usually plant?

Oh, I also wanted to point out that I added a bookstore link up above, do you see it? I’ve added only books that either we own or that we have read and have liked, I’d never suggest something to you that we haven’t tried ourselves.

I hope your last week of winter is going smoothly! Oh and go here to find out when your last frost date is.

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