The Complete Farmgirl Gift Guide

Well, I hate to toot my own horn, but I have some pretty darn good gift ideas for y’all! Whether you want to make something homemade, give the gift of a career or health change, or want something you can click and order, look no further. I have some great ideas for you!

Buy One- Get One Free Certified Herbalist Course!

I have been teaching herbalism for a long time. It is important to know how to heal oneself and others, as well as animals. It is such an empowering feeling and it is necessary wisdom on a homestead. My Certified Herbalist Correspondence Course follow my newly edited textbook (available on Amazon along with recipe books and much more for your learning process!) with easy to follow instructions and study. We work together through the process. You fill out the answers to the questions at the end of each chapter and submit them to by email. Call, text, or email questions, ideas, etc. I give you additional homework as well. Take all the time you need. I know life gets crazy. Use the text book or recipe books to access any remedy for any ailment! Hang up your shiny certificate! And now, do it all with a friend! $250 includes TWO correspondence courses! (Text books not included; available on Amazon at AuthorKatieSanders.com) Call 303-617-3370 or email me at Katie@PumpkinHollowFarm.com to get started! Give someone the gift that could truly change their life!

I don’t put advertising on my page because I, myself, do not like reading blogs and articles where there are lots of advertisements. I make money as a writer by selling my books. I have some great books, Friends, something for everyone. They are newly edited and revised and at now lower prices!

Farmgirl School; Homesteading 101 was my first published book and I really enjoyed living it. It was the first two years of our life homesteading and farming and the book covers how to do many of the things that we- as born in the city folks- had to learn, often in humorous and difficult ways. What resulted was a tome of how-to do just about anything from canning, to gardening, or milking, to cheese making, to candle making, to homeschooling, making homemade gifts, how to make herbal remedies, how to….the list goes on and on and is filled with fun anecdotes. I hope it inspires you to become a homesteader! Get it here!

Cherokee Home is my first novel, but it is based on true happenings during the dust bowl, amongst Cherokees, and many of the experiences are ones that my mentors told me about or that I experienced myself. Think Little House on the Prairie meets Cherokee life circa 1930’s. It follows the life of family and is filled with memorable characters, history, loss, but mostly love. Order it here!

The Making of a Medicine Woman; the Memoirs of Bird Woman is my own memoir and story of how I began walking the medicine way. From childhood fears, to being an intuitive and sensitive teenager, to meeting the medicine people that would form me and teach me, and filled with my own awe inspiring experiences. I hope that others like me will recognize themselves within the pages and know that there is nothing wrong with them. We are all just greatly gifted. See it here!

My trio of herbal remedy teaching books and recipes are a great addition to any bookshelf. The Herbalist Will See You Now; Your Complete Training Guide to Becoming and Working as an Herbalist is my comprehensive text and work book. The Homesteader’s Pharmacy; The Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Herbal Pharmacy is my best seller by far! It contains dozens and dozens of my original recipes from my first apothecary including how-to instructions. And my newest book, The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism; Healing with Plant Medicines, Stones, Animal Spirits, and Ceremony is filled with all new recipes and how-to plus insight on how look deeper into issues and other ways to heal a person. Go to Author Katie Sanders to order all three!

From Mama’s Kitchen With Love is my compilation of family recipes and stories. It will surely be appreciated by home cooks and those that love family and great food. From my mother-in-law’s recipe for Apricot Kugel, to my own mother’s amazing Stuffed Peppers, and my own additions, like Oyster Mushroom and Goat Cheese over Homemade Pasta, there is something to delight diners on each page! Click here!

And finally, perhaps my favorite, is my children’s book, Featherheart Finds Medicine. In this delightfully illustrated book (watercolors by my daughter, Emily), a young girl and her grandmother set out to search for medicines and along the way meet willow, mullein, and others. The reader and the child learn local plants that are used for medicine. The book honors the relationship between a granddaughter (my granddaughter’s Indian name is Featherheart) and her grandmother. Engage a child!

Homemade Ideas!

Don’t have cash to purchase much this year? Me neither! So most of the gifts I am giving are homemade. I would love to show you what I am making but my children might read my blog! But here are some ideas all the same: Click on the links to find instructions.

  • Crochet some finger-less gloves, a handkerchief for the hair, or candle cozies. Don’t know how to crochet? Pop into a local yarn store; there are always ladies there willing to teach you.
  • Paint something for someone. Or print off a photograph and put it in a nice frame.
  • Write a letter! A hand written note about what a person means to you is more beautiful and relevant than anything on a Walmart shelf.
  • Do you can? Create a little food basket with pasta, a bread recipe, and spaghetti sauce, with a few hand-sewn napkins.
  • Sew a wall hanging. Just sew blocks of the same size, right sides together, into rows and sew a back on. Quilting is art, and art doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • Paint an unfinished box from a craft store and put loose photos or an old heirloom piece of jewelry in it.

I made these gnomes yesterday. I just designed the pattern as I went. Children do not care if they are perfect, just that they are soft! They turned out adorable and were not expensive at all to make.

Have fun! Give coupons for coffee in bed or housecleaning or childcare. Give a sincere hug or a phone call.

Click here for even more ideas! Happy Holidays!

How to Crochet Fingerless Gloves (easy pattern!)

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It is Emily’s birthday Thursday and I wanted to crochet her something along with a regular gift.  I couldn’t decide what.  Since we girls all crochet, we have a bunch of scarves, hats, and gifts from others.  I thought about leg warmers or boot cuffs then I looked down at my own hands.  My good friend, Lisa, knitted me some fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm while I type in the early morning chill.  They are great.  I love them!  So, I thought I would make Mims some too.

Thicker yarn comes together quickly but produces a more bulky (but possibly warmer) glove, and thinner yarn takes forever (my patience is staggering) so I used a medium thick yarn in a lovely coral color.  I a crochet hook that looked like the right hole size for the job, not too big, not too small.  As you may notice, I wing a lot of stuff.  And really, you can’t mess it up.  You can always pull it out.  But have fun choosing the color and feel of your yarn and find a hook that holds that yarn easily and feels good in your hand.  This is unconventional information.  If the gals at knitting club heard me say this I would certainly get a tisk, tisk.

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Chain 14.  Turn.  Double crochet in the third hole and continue across.  (should have 12)

Turn.  Chain 3.  Triple crochet in all the holes across.  (making sure you have 12)

Continue for 7 rows. (total of 9)  Or test it by placing your hand on the square and seeing if when folded that it covers both sides of your hand, not including the thumb.

Slip crochet hook into top hole, grab yarn with hook, and pull through.  Continue down the row 5 holes.

Chain 3.  Triple crochet in next seven holes to end.  Turn.

Chain 3. Triple crochet two more rows.  (Total of 3)  Knot.

Fold piece together and sew up with yarn, folding the thumb to meet the longer side.

Triple crochet in each of the holes along bottom of glove to create a cuff.

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I gave them to Emily early.  It only took me one knitting group meeting to make them and she was there so I just handed her to them because I cannot keep secrets, particularly gifts.  She drives my big truck that doesn’t open without rolling down the window.  She drives every day to take Bret to school and then to work.  I figured these would be a cute way to keep her hands warm while still being able to finagle the carseat and radio!

 

Vintage Handkerchiefs (a crochet project)

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I love many things from bygone eras, especially vintage wear.  I particularly like the look of handkerchiefs worn about the hair.  I do not wear common head bands as they give me a headache.  I do like my hair out of my face though when I am working around my farm.

I used to make the girls dresses and would sew a matching triangular handkerchief to wear on their heads.  They were adorable.

I also used to collect vintage handkerchiefs and wear them around.  Gorgeous prints, lavender flowers, one that was orange trimmed.  One day when I met Doug’s grandma for lunch some very long time ago, she took one look at my hair covered with the lovely lavender handkerchief and asked horrified, “Why are you wearing that schmatte?’

I was a little taken aback, a lot younger, and truly cared what people thought.  To her, it signified peasant wear, a poor woman, and after World War II and growing up poorer than some, she wanted nothing to do with anything that didn’t hint at affluence.  She was a sweet woman, God rest her soul, but she didn’t have a filter.  I took the handkerchief off and for years did not wear one.

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After seeing Sound of Music once again, I dug through my drawers to find the missing handkerchiefs.  I only found one and it is a bit tattered.  We go to a knitting club at the coffee shop every Monday and I had an idea.  How cute would it be to crochet one?  Not an original idea, I am sure, but original to me!

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First I bought the ribbon yarn that is used in so many scarf patterns.  I carefully crocheted the tops and then the bottoms of the ribbon creating almost a hat, a gorgeous lavender hat, that is actually a handkerchief.  Then I made one with regular yarn.  It, too, turned out cute and will look quite nice holding my hair out of my face during farmer’s markets this year.

Here’s the rough pattern for the regular yarn: (You can use the same pattern for the ribbon yarn just don’t pull all the way through.  One row is crochet the top of the ribbon, second row is the bottom of the ribbon, etc.)

Chain as many as you need for the string to go from ear to ear.  28 is a good place to start.

Then turn it, slip stitch into the first hole then chain three in the second hole.

Triple stitch into each hole up to the second to last hole and turn.

Repeat, gradually decreasing stitches until the end is a peak.

You can be as creative as you wish with this project.

Use a piece of yarn or ribbon and weave through the top.  This ties under your hair.

This came together in about 30 minutes!  Enough time to catch up with the girls, have a cup of coffee, and still get home to make supper.

I’d love to see pictures of your creations.  Katie@Gardenfairyherbal.com

Let’s bring vintage back….I actually don’t mind looking like a peasant!

Alpaca Love

It was a beautiful scene outside the French doors yesterday morning.  I had just filled the bird feeders the eve before and the commotion at dawn was enough to bring the cats to the window.  Out by the lilac bushes, not twenty feet away, stood the most magnificent deer.  Graceful in her movements, her towering frame was gentle and regal.  Mourning doves hopped by.  I love how they’d rather hop than fly!  Hundreds of sparrows and finches filled the quince bush singing their praises and no doubt sharing the latest gossip as they reconvened, chatting and hooting with laughter.  What a wonderful little mini-farm!

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I hope to have these same views on our next homestead along with a few others.  Those of alpacas!  We are vegetarian homesteaders.  Having a lot of cows or pigs would just be silly, as they would become spoiled pets who ate more than any teenager!  And Doug draws the line at having cows in the living room.  We do hope to get a few goats for milk, more chickens for eggs and entertainment, and alpacas.  Fiber animals earn their keep by donating to us their haircut every year.  They feel better, less hot, and we have lots of wonderful fiber to spin into glorious yarn.

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Now mind you, I don’t know how to spin yet…or how to dye yarn, or really how to knit….or how to take care of alpacas!  But this year we are learning.  I did do a spinning lesson, one, and was quite horrid at it.  It is a smooth repetition, one that requires your foot and hand to move simultaneously while spinning the fleece into a beautiful length of yarn.  I am taking lessons this year and getting a spinning wheel.  I hope the cats don’t like it too much.  It is hard to do fiber arts with cats!

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Many of the herbs that we use for medicine would also be great to make natural dyes out of.  I am anxious to try.  Black Walnut would be a lush brown, Goldenrod for yellow…would beet juice turn the yarn pink?  Oh, I do hope so.  So much to find out!  What fun in the process!

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We go to every Alpaca fair that comes through.  This is an active community of alpaca farmers.  We visit with everyone so that when we are ready to get our boys, we will have established a relationship with people who can help us get a few.  They teach us a lot in the meantime and we are trying to be as prepared as possible.  It would seem silly to have alpacas in town in our backyard so we will have to wait until we get our homestead.  (“No officer, that is a dog.  An odd type of Afghan hound…”)

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Doug even came up with a fabulous, sure to be a hit product (now don’t steal the idea!), PacyWoo.  That’s right, alpaca and sheep fleece spun together to make a wonderful, warm, and sturdy yarn that is soft and unique.  We sit around day dreaming quite a lot in case you didn’t notice.

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We went to visit our friends at Falkor Ranch who have seventy five alpacas.  It was a bitter cold morning but we trudged out to their farm for our visit.  We want to see as many farms as we can before we get our own.  Two beautiful white dogs came to greet us, tails wagging.  Their parents were surprised as the dogs are often aloof.  They must have sensed our childlike wonder and mistook us for seven year olds.  We snuggled with them before heading over to the alpacas.

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Alpacas are sweet, gentle animals.  Buck teeth, soft fleece, and the unmistakable appearance of those marionette puppets they sell at fairs.  They hum.  A gentle hmmm, hmmm, as if they are thinking and are nervous.  We were surrounded by an overload of cuteness and our hearts warmed our extremities.  As Doug was scrunching Noah’s thick fleece, Diane said nonchalantly, “When you get your own animals you will have to be careful not to mat their coat!”  We both jumped back looking as if we just got caught stealing.  She showed us how to properly look at their coat and taught us a bit about fleece grades and textures.  We went home with a Marans chocolate egg and a pair of alpaca socks.  What a treat!

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We learned a few things while visiting her farm.  We saw a great design of a greenhouse, her dome filled with delicious vegetables even this time of year.  We learned that in order to be a self sufficient farm we have to grow our own feed for our animals.  One cannot do this in Colorado.  We learned that roosters can fertilize any breed of egg.  We learned about Marans.  We learned that goats are eternally naughty.  I mentioned to Diane casually as we were leaving, “Is that goat supposed to be eating that tree?”  She shot off fast chasing the culprits away from the sleeping fruit trees.  We learned that Akbash dogs are a strong possibility as a farm dog for us.  We learned that alpacas are some of the cutest creatures God made up and we are excited to share our journey with them.  Snuggling live puppets while making fantastic yarn.  Someday…..