katie daisy

today i am so very excited to share with you my all time favorite artist, katie daisy.  did i just say that?  yes. she’s my favorite- ever.  talk about being filled with joy, this watercolor illustration makes me a happier person just by looking at it, doesn’t it you?

the wheatfield by katie daisy

with feel good sayings, cheerful colors and meaningful quotes, katie’s work goes straight to the heart.  her obvious inspirations of gardening, taking care of the earth and living a simpler life speak straight to me.  from vegetables to yoga and hiking to stargazing, she has artwork to fit just about each of my passions and i’ve never found an artist whose work has more personal meaning to it than the wheatfield’s.  you can browse more of her illustrations, typography and pattern work on her website, where she’ll inspire you to live each day a little deeper.

katie daisy

i’ve been debating (literally) for months over which piece i want to share in my home.  what are your favorites?

katie daisy :: {etsy} {website} {flickr}

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Hello!  I hope this finds you all cool, comfortable and enjoying your summer.

Things here in Connecticut are HOT! Oh my goodness has it been a scorcher of a week…and there is no end in sight.  But the tomatoes, corn and daisies love this weather – we have had an early crop of sweet corn available at the farmer’s market and oh what a lovely pleasure that is!  Almost makes the heat worth it. Almost!

During this heatwave we have been making an extra effort to water the gardens deeply and keeping an eye on any plants in containers, which are being watered at least twice daily.  Our days begin super early – we are on sites at 6am to take advantage of slightly cooler temperatures – and we are drinking lots and lots of water and watermelon juice.

My appetite plummets in the heat but I’m loving Bonnie’s seasonal food posts. These are the foods my body actually wants to eat in this weather.  Blueberries are big in my kitchen right now and I’ve been eating a lot of Salvadoran Grilled Corn…oh so yummy!  I found the recipe on Gourmet.com and am craving it again just writing about it…..

Photograph by Gabriele Stabile via Gourmet.com

So this week we are going to talk about slugs and snails. I have to say, these guys don’t give me as much grief as the Japanese Beetles do. I’ve battled them for years, and have finally found a way to decrease their numbers in my gardens.  And it is pretty simple -  I  use clean gardening practices, handy gardening friends, hand picking and  Sluggo to deal with slugs & snails.

He Packed His Bags And Left Home For Good This Time by eggman studios on Etsy

What are clean gardening practices?

Basically this means that I understand the life cycle and habits of the slugs and snails and create a gardening environment that is hostile to them. Slugs and Snails feed after sundown and early in the morning, love shady and moist areas and have to climb up my plants to get to the tender and nibbly worthy leaves. They love deep applications of mulch and garden debris – wonderful places to hide, and I think I hear them squealing for joy every time I drive past someone with their sprinklers turned on past 4 pm….what a bunch of lovely damp areas for the crawly guys to explore that evening.

Snail Meeting pocket mirror by papersparrow on Etsy


Don’t water in the evenings – water early in the morning.  Except containers, which are watered twice a day if needed.  (I water my containers when I arrive home from work and first thing in the morning)    Keep your garden clean and clear of plant debris. Clean up after yourself every time you are out there - don’t leave plastic plant pots laying about in the garden after you have planted the plants they contained, clean up piles of leaves and dead plant material, don’t apply more than 3 inches of mulch (at most….2 inches is usually more than enough) remove dead plant material and generally keep a tidy and clean garden.

This may seem like obvious advice, but who hasn’t felt lazy after a day of planting and left bits and pieces to go out and finish tomorrow…or next week…or next month…or next year.  And many people water in the evenings thinking that is the right thing to do.  If you are doing this then STOP! Water early in the morning and water deeply.  This will help prevent lots of garden issues, including pests and diseases.

Who are my handy gardening friends?

Toad House by Mymothersgarden on Etsy

Frogs!  Toads!  Snakes! Birds! Ducks! Yes please – you are welcome in my garden at any time!!

These guys are my handy friends.  I keep my garden organic and animal friendly so nature can come on in and do lots of my dirty work for me. I create homes for toads by overturning my broken flowerpots, putting them in a cool, shady spot and making certain there is enough room for the toads to hang out in during the day. I lay shallow containers of water throughout shady parts of my gardens -my niece calls them fairy bowls, but I call them toad ponds. These encourage animals to come and make themselves at home…and perhaps stay for a lovely dinner of slugs!  I keep a clean birdbath and create areas of my garden where I allow plants to go to seed so the birds can eat them.  I welcome the snakes – knowing they may eat a frog here and there, but they will mostly be eating slugs.  Simply allowing an ecosystem to thrive out in my backyard reduces the need for much input from me.

Summer Slug Notecards by bumblejack on Etsy

Handpicking of slugs and snails:

Here is my preferred method of dealing with slugs.  And most garden folk will knowingly smile when I tell you this:  wood. Yes, good old fashioned pieces of old non treated wood throughout my garden.  I lay them down, the slugs love the damp shade they provide, I turn them over in the morning and drop the slugs into a container of water.  I give the slugs to the ducks in my life…they like them lots better than bread!  Goodbye slugs.

Beer traps are another method, and although I do not use them, some swear by them. Basically you fill a shallow dish with beer, set it out in the garden and let the slugs come on over and drink till they drown. Empty and refresh the traps every couple of days. Some people add extra yeast to the beer (it is the yeast the slugs are attracted to, not the alcohol!)  I’m not a beer drinker, and hate the smell of stale beer, so this method has never appealed to me.  But it might be your favorite thing ever, so here are some easy to understand instructions on building your own beer trap.

Snail Cross Stitch Pattern by andwabisabi on Etsy


This is an iron phosphate based product that is safer to use than conventional slug killers.  It works by poisoning the slugs. A little goes a long way, and it does need to be reapplied after a couple of heavy rains – you can watch the pellets dissolve over time.  I don’t use this much, but when I do it is usually around client containers with trailing plants. Petunias are a special love of slugs, and they can take an entire plant down in one night….gah!

There are many other “remedies” for slugs.  Coffee grounds around plants are said to work (the caffeine kills the slugs), a mixture of 1/3 ammonia to 2/3 water sprayed around plants is another method I’ve heard of.  You can try copper wire around the base of flower pots – make sure it is at least 2 inches wide, some folks swear by seaweed piled on in the garden – the salt kills the slugs and the seaweed is an excellent compost. I’ve not tried these methods yet, but if you have please let me know how it worked out for you!

On paper diatomaceous earth is supposed to work on slugs,  but I’ve seen them roll on over the stuff and be just fine!I don’t know, maybe they died later….

So there we go – slugs and snails no more.  Any questions? Any other advice?  I would love to hear from you!! Stay cool and hydrated and I’ll see y’all in the comments!

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Posted by in home decor

olive etsy shop

isn’t this a sweet shop? whimsy pastels, and dreamy patterns make it feel so warm and inviting.  i love all the beautiful color choices and the pretty places she’s chosen to take her photographs.  visit the olive store for pillows, brooches and home decor, then head over to her blog to find inspiration and crafty tutorials.

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Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

your about page (and profile page in your etsy shop) is usually the most visited page on your website. it’s your chance to tell your story, and give the very important first impression.  it allows you to let your readers, browsers and buyers know who you are and whether or not they can trust you.  it’s where many decisions will be made: do we have anything in common? will i purchase from you? continue reading? do you have anything of value for me?  though it’s often hard for us to write about ourselves, it’s your chance to shine and give your horn a little toot (it deserves it!).  so join me today in learning how to craft a better about page!

aicia bock

polaroid photograph – yellow and white

there’s an art to writing well and allowing people to feel comfortable in your world.  making readers of your about or profile page feel important, cared about, and well educated on you and/or your business is a great starting point on building a relationship with them.  often times the about or profile page is the first page i go to when i visit a new shop or blog.  sometimes they’re great and sometimes they need some work.  if you own a etsy shop, don’t think that people aren’t interested in or aren’t clicking on your profile.  etsy sellers and buyers (and blog authors!) are very interested in you, what you do and how you do it.  i’m always so sad when a sellers profile is left empty or only refers me to their website.  it feels cold and uncaring, and i would much rather prefer to feel warmth and love!

love pillow

yellow love pillow

so how do we write a great about page?  there are some certain answers people will be looking for.  who are you? what do you do? where do you do it? why do you do it? and how do you do it? crafty people are always interesting (weather you know it or not!) and we are all interested in learning about you and getting your fresh perspective on the world.  if you’re a seller, make sure to include:

- what do you sell

- what’s different or special about what you do?

- a little about your personal story

- anything unique to you or your products

- share on why or how you make your items

give your browsers info about your shop and your products, then give them some personal info as well.

keep calm

keep calm, recycled wood sign

if you’re a blog author, first off make sure you a) have an about page and b) it’s really easy to find.  make sure to include:

- what do you write about?

- who are you and where do you live?

- what do you do?

- what’s the easiest way to get in touch with you?

this is your chance to turn the first time visitor into a loyal reader.  tell your story, be engaging and be friendly- did you say hello?

leaf magnets

triplet leaves magnets

if you’re still having trouble coming up with what to say, try interviewing yourself, then turn your answers into your about page.  it also helps to write as though you’re writing to your best friend, most loyal blog reader or most frequent buyer.  write as though you’re writing to a friend, instead of the entire world and you’ll come across as friendly and approachable.  last but not least, don’t forget to proof read!

ready for class participation?

if you would like us to review your profile or about page leave us a link and we’ll give you some feedback. if you would like to see mine, you can check out my about page here and one of my profile pages here.  it’s not so easy to write about myself either, so feedback and criticism are always welcome!

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vertical gardens

July 6, 2010

Posted by in gardening

my jaw dropped when i ran across these vertical gardens over on flora grubb, what a beautiful take on wall art!

vertical garden

vertical garden

vertical garden

vertical garden

vertical garden

i immediately started thinking about how i could implement this idea somehow.  any thoughts? my favorites are the ones made with different succulents, though this last one made with airplants is funky stunning as well!

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hello dear ones!  i made these muffins last week and wowzer were they delicious!  they filled the house with such a yummy aroma while they baked, i could hardly wait to eat one.  i took half of them to our local farmers at the market (they’re so very dear to me, hehe) and the boy’s (plus my husband) all approved!  the recipe comes from the back of bob’s red mill ground flaxseed, thought i changed around a few ingredients that i shared with you below.  these are especially wonderful if you’re trying to eat seasonally, as these ingredients are available year round!

flaxseed muffin recipe


1 1/2 cup unbleached white flour

3/4 cup flaxseed meal

3/4 cup oat bran

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup crushed walnuts

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

flaxseed muffin recipe


combine first ten ingredients (all dry parts) in a mixing bowl.  add the milk, beaten eggs and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is evenly moist.  pour mixture into lightly greased muffin cups 3/4 full.  bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes.  (yields 15 medium muffins).

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happy 4th of july!

July 5, 2010

Posted by in bonnie forkner

hi lovelies! just wanted to pop in to say hello!  did you have a happy 4th of july?  we had a picnic up on the roof and watched the fireworks from there.  the weather was perfect, the food was wonderful and our tiny town even had a pretty impressive fireworks show!  i always give my girls our leftover watermelon rind (it’s their most favorite treat).  this is odessa, caught in the act (below).

chickens eating watermelon

i also wanted to draw your attention to a new section of the blog, our eat local page! here you’ll find the seasonal veggie guides, all of our seasonal recipes and a resource page on why we should eat local in the first place.  you’ll be able to reference it anytime via the pull down menu in the header up top.   below is the latest summer veggie guide:

see you tomorrow! xo, bonnie

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Posted by in simple living

maybe we should just call this food friday? today’s post accomplishes many goals:  first, it deals with beautiful red and blue berries perfect for 4th of july. 2nd, it’s in line with out eat local and in season initiative. 3rd, it’s the first post in a new series i’m kicking off called simple living!

freezing seasonal berries

berries are one of my biggest indulgences, there’s just not much that makes me happier than a fresh berry bursting in my mouth! as we’ve been talking about the importance (and fun!) of eating local and in season foods, today i want to touch on the importance of preserving some of those foods for enjoyment all year.  berries of all kinds are in season right now, and by preserving them, we can enjoy them for the rest of the year!  eating berries in winter not only come with less taste, but always leaves me feeling terribly guilty.  flown in from thousands of miles away, eating berries during winter comes with a huge environmental cost, plus it just doesn’t feel right.  so today we’ll talk about how to take advantage of your in season berries by freezing them, and how you can still be snacking on them come january- guilt free.

freezing seasonal berries

first things first, wash your berries!  i find it easiest to just plug up one side of my sink and rinse them till the water runs clear.

freezing seasonal berries

next, lay them out on a towel to dry.  you can blot them to help, or just let the water drain, but in the end you want them relatively dry before the next step.

freezing seasonal berries

next, lay your berries flat on a baking sheet in a single layer.  by spreading them out in single layer, you’ll prevent them from freezing in (hard to break) big berry clumps.

freezing seasonal berries

you can lay them flat on the pan, or on wax paper, and can even build them up by placing wax paper in between layers of berries.

freezing seasonal berries

place the pans of layered berries in your freezer.  you’ll want to leave them overnight (or for about 8 hours) before you take them out to bag them.

freezing seasonal berries

next step is removing them from the freezer and bagging them up for long term storage!  since you froze them in a single layer, they’ll remain loose in the bags for easy use.  they’ll last a long time so you’ll still be snacking on local berries even when february rolls around.

freezing seasonal berries

frozen berries have tons of uses, they’re great for snacking, pies, dessert toppings and especially smoothies (recipe coming soon!). they won’t be in season long, so don’t miss them at your farmer’s market!

{photos: bonnie forkner}

simple living

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