Hello!  Wow – look at that…another week has gone!  This season is just zooming by – I’m having to remind myself daily to sit down, relax and enjoy the stunning weather and all the gorgeous plants in bloom right now.

I have been harvesting from my salad container garden!

One summer treat that I always find the time for is watermelon and mint juice.  There are days when it is so hot I don’t feel like eating.  But I can always drink several chilled glasses of this summer only libation!

It is so easy and straightforward – here is the recipe:

Fill your blender with watermelon and a bunch of mint. Puree.  Drink!

The mint can be adjusted according to taste.  You can strain the juice before drinking it. I never bother to, but some may not like the chunkier drink.

This is the time of year when the proper labeling of your plants can make a strong difference in the care and maintenance of your garden.  One of the biggest strengths of Ladybug Landscaping is working with perennials.  We have become highly proficient at creating extremely long bloom times in the yards of our maintenance clients. 

It all begins with great design, of course, but it is also very important to keep in mind which perennials can be cut back after blooming to encourage rebloom.  We keep this information in our client files and make monthly schedules of whose house needs what pruning, and when.

But not all of our clients have us do their garden maintenance. In fact, a large portion of our business is garden coaching and supporting our clients in taking care of their garden.  Besides plant charts with information written on them, one of Ladybug’s signature touches are our large decorative plant tags with information written on the back.

We use different codes for each label- here the dark gray is for plants that can be cut back after blooming, the hearts are for edibles and the smaller tabs are for the container gardens.

I’m using these tags in my garden because my handwriting was pretty lousy on them and the pen I chose to write with on the back was bleeding.  Use a pencil!!!

I buy the wooden shapes at a craft store, paint them ( I recommend using milk paint for vegetable garden labels), load the backs with information (when to cut them back, diseases to look out for, bugs to keep an eye on, unique fertilizer needs, when to harvest etc.)  seal them with outdoor modpodge and place them at the foot of the plants.  I sometimes glue a popsicle stick to the label to make it easier to put in the ground.  These last for a long time – I’ve had some in my parent’s yard for a couple of seasons now.  This is also a really fun project for kids to help with!

My basil is filling in!

I love the whimsy and fun these plant labels bring to a garden.  Obviously hearts are not going to work for everyone, but they sure put a smile on my face every time I see them.  And they even cheer me up during the dreaded weeding!

How do you personalize your garden?  Do you have any little tricks and ideas that help you make your gardening easier?

Caroline Finnegan owns Ladybug Landscaping, a full service organic landscaping company. based in CT. She is a NOFA accredited landcare professional and when not designing gardens can be found rearranging her furniture or out at a flea market finding new goodies. She almost always has dirt under her nails.

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Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

hello lovebirds!  when i recently got inspired by megan’s recommend reading list over at crafting an mba, i decided to share with you some of my very own favorite crafty books! whether you’re just now thinking about opening an etsy shop, ready to start a blog, or looking to be the next amy butler, there’s something for everyone in the following craftilicious reads.  enjoy!

craft inc

title: Craft, Inc.

author: Meg Mateo Ilasco

Craft, Inc. helps teach and inspire you to turn your craft hobby into a successful business.  meg mateo ilasco guides you through developing products, naming your company, writing a business plan, applying for licenses and tons more.  with chapters on sales, marketing, trade shows and publicity, plus interviews from successful pros (jill bliss, jonathan adler..) it’s a must read for anyone who is ready to go big with their crafts.

start your own blogging business

title: Start Your Own Blogging Business

author: J.S. McDougall

this handy book is an easy read (i finished it in one afternoon) and full of helpful info.  if you’re thinking about starting a blog, Start Your Own Blogging Business guides you through setting it up, attracting visitors, engaging readers and offering advertisers.  a must read!

Crafty Superstar

title: Crafty Superstar

author: Grace Dobush

Crafty Superstar is the perfect book for someone just starting out with a small etsy shop.  it covers all your basics and helps you set up shop, get paid, package your goods and begin getting some press.  a great quick read for the newbie!

The Anti 9-to-5 Guide

title: The Anti 9 to 5 Guide

author: Michelle Goodman

whether you’re ready to get out of the cubicle or determined not to get there in the first place, The Anti 9 to 5 Guide by Michelle Goodman gives you the advice you need. applicable to a broad range of careers (not just craftsters), she’ll help you quit you job, save money and become your own boss.

The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally

title: The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line

author: Kari Chapin

in this book, Kari Chapin helps you determine the right price for your items, discusses opportunities such as indie craft fairs and sites like etsy, gives photography tips and even some publicity advice.  after reading, you’ll be able to makes sense of the global possibilities for marketing and selling crafts.

The Savvy Crafters Guide To Success

title: The Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success

author: Sandra McCall

The Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success is written by a professional crafts person, for the wanna-be professional crafts person.  with chapters on everything from organizing your work space to finding outlets, tip on photographing your work, keeping records, and submitting your work to publishers, you’ll be well on your way to building your career.  Sandra McCall guides crafters through the world of crafting with pertinent information on how to build and maintain a craft business, how to teach the best arts and craft classes, how to write regularly for craft/home publications, and how to get your designs sold.

do you  have any favorite must-reads?

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Posted by in handmade

monument valley photo

i’ve always loved bonnie jones’s work (how could i not, with a name like that?) and was so thrilled to hear that she has opened another etsy shop!  in addition to her small print shop, you can now see her landscape photography in her new shop, craving open spaces.

bonnie jones photography

bonnie just returned from a florida-to-washington cross country road trip, and has added loads of beautiful landscape shots from her adventure.  there’s nothing like seeing the country through bonnie’s lense!

elsewhere :: {shop 1}{shop 2}{blog}{site}{flickr}

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after being inspired by this cold and spring photo (below), i decided to run with the theme for today.  i’m feeling all sunshiney and warm, are you?

blue vase with orange flower

cold and spring

aqua and orange inspiration photos

unnamed, tomaten, dress, a bit of sun

jumping into aqua


aqua and orange chairs lined up

so good, all lined up like that

orange and aqua inspiration photos

to enjoy life, we must touch much of it lightly., tulsa sky, devotion

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Posted by in handmade

good morning!  i took a mini hiatus from the computer yesterday to celebrate the hub’s birthday!  we successfully pulled off a surprise birthday party for him, and had so much fun relaxing with family. he’s still a kid at heart, so we playfully had a ‘camo’ themed party, my mom even made him an organic, made-from-scratch camo cake! YUM.

rain drop necklace and cloud earrings

mademoiselle iveth morales is the creator, blogger, and stay-at-home-mom behind this new shop, the angry weather. so happens, she makes my cloudy days all the more sunnier with her beautiful handmade jewelry!  with cloudy earrings and rain drop necklaces, she’s making me look forward to some angry weather.

elsewhere :: {shop} {blog} {facebook}

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in order for our back porch makeover to be affordable, i had to get a little crafty (not to mention thrifty)!  here’s how i made all those yellow vases (super easy peasy).

diy flower vases

i paid less than $2 for these three vases- all plastic and all thrifted!  with a little high gloss spray paint…

japanese washi tape

{peach japanese masking tape and red and white washi masking tape}

and a little japanese washi tape…

diy vases with paint and tape

you can have brand new, beautiful vases!  the three of these were finished within about 15 minutes.

i’m not sure which stars aligned that allowed me to find this yellow lace at a thrift store one day, but i bought a realm of about 200 yards for $2.  woot woot!

diy vases

i still need to find a little plant to go in this one, but she’s waiting patiently here until i do.

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Posted by in Uncategorized

good morning monday!  how was your weekend?  mine was a great one full of sunshine and house cleaning (how fun!).  today is the mister’s birthday, so i’ve got a bit of planning and wrapping presents to do today- he’s turning 25!

do you remember the baby robin’s eggs i had in my garden?  well, they hatched and i’ve been able to take pictures of them as they’ve grown and i’m a little sad to say that they’ve flown the coop!  i guess i should have known that was coming.  i couldn’t believe my eyes of how much they had grown every day! here’s a summary of their progression:

robin's eggs to birds

aren’t they darling? all four hatched and survived, due to the mother’s highly protective care (and i mean highly!).

bird nest

these little birdies (not sure what kind?) were in a bird house i have, and i love this ‘surprised’ pic i got of them!  i peeked in on them one day when they were little and found a nest of fire ants all over them , so with a little diatomaceous earth (food grade, very safe) i dusted around the nest and like to think that i saved their little lives!  they’ve flown the coop as well, so it’s all empty nest syndrome here!

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happy friday lovelies!  i spent most of last weekend making over our last-on-the-to-do-list back porch, and i’m to share with you the before and after’s!  with some serious thriftiness and diy projects, i was able to do the entire makeover for under $300.  there are lots of little projects that i’ll be sharing with you over the next few weeks, but here is the big picture of our back porch makeover:

backporch before


backporch after


backporch before


backporch after


diy flower pot

side table

this table, fan, tic tac toe game and vase were all thrifted, for under $20!

hanging lanterns and candles

thrifty centerpiece

fabric scraps picture frame

diy flower vase

back porch makeover after

so, this is pretty much where you’ll find me this weekend! do you have any plans for the weekend?

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