Life at Cobble Hill Farm

Voluntary Simplicity, Step 4: Being Kind To Others and The Planet

 voluntary simplicity 4 

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.  

Be the living expression of God's kindness:  kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile". 

– Mother Teresa 

What if, instead of measuring success by the amount of money we make and/or by the number of things we own, we measured it by how we treat others, ourselves and the planet?

The process of simplification helps to develop even more appreciation of others, the relationships we've formed and the natural beauty of our surroundings.  It frees up time to take a breathe, actually see the world, and focus on those things that are really important.  Once the cycle of needing more money and more things is broken, we realize those things don't equal happiness.  The things that truly bring happiness don't cost a thing monetarily, but they do take time to appreciate and nurture.

As you aren't so rushed in your day to day life you'll have time to stop and appreciate your surroundings.  A natural by-product of this is you start to become more aware of how your life directly affects the planet. 

 More and more studies show that supportive friendships with positive and energetic people is essential to good health.  You have to determine for yourself how big your circle of friends should be.  Does a sense of community bring you happiness or would you rather be surrounded by a small group of friends?  Whichever you choose, when you unburden some of the stress from your daily life, you will have more time for nurturing these genuine friendships. 

Our lives tend to be so busy, that much of the time it's as though we're on automatic pilot.  How many times have you found yourself at the end of the week not realizing where the days went?  Make a conscious decision to savor the small moments - take the time to make eye contact, really listen to others and smile from the heart.  Although each of us is only responsible for ourselves, we can certainly influence people and the choices they make by both our actions and words.

This applies not only to friends and family members, but complete strangers as well.  Have you ever had someone treat you unkindly and found yourself in a foul mood as a result?  That shows you the powerful influence our actions have on each other.  Let's say you go to the store and the salesperson is rude to you.  When you start to feel yourself tensing up in response choose instead to stop, take a breathe and consciously react with kindness.  Rather than judging that person, remember you don't know what has happened to him or her to leave them in this state.  Don't take it personally - it's not about you, they don't even know you. 

 Take some time to truly feel grateful.  Grateful for what you have, grateful for your surroundings, grateful for who you are and grateful for the path you're on. 

Light Shades of Green, Month 1: Water Bottles

light green 1

Let's talk about water bottles.  Water, in general, seems to be quite a confusing subject.  Should I buy bottled water?  Is it safer than tap water?  What about filtered water?  This is something you'll have to determine based on the quality of your tap water.  Keep in mind, however, that bottled water is less strictly regulated than tap.  I, personally,  have rusty well water that with a small filtration system (such as Brita)  tastes and tests just fine.

Disposable water bottles are extremely bad for your health as well as for the planet.  Let's take the planet first.  Making, bottling, packaging and shipping of disposable water bottles means the usage of nonrenewable fossil fuels and adds to the pollution and greenhouse gases never mind the fact that most aren't recyclable and end up in the landfill.  Definitely not green.

As far as the harm to your health goes, studies have shown for quite some time the ill effects plastics can have.  We know that reusing plastics not meant for that purpose can mean exposure to the chemical BPA (Bisphenol A), known to interfere with hormonal development. 

Bottles made for one-time use only are thin and most likely made of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate).  They have the possibility of building up germs and the plastic begins to break down with each re-use.  Additionally, you never want to leave plastic bottles in the sun or high heat.  The chemicals will leach into the water much quicker, which in turn, you ingest.  Unfortunately, most often these are the disposable bottles that are actually recyclable so people think it's a good choice.

Then there are plastic bottles made from Polycarbonate, such as nalgene bottles.  There is the possibility these too can leach BPA into what you store in them.  More recently are bottles made of HDPE (High-Density Polyethelene), such as opaque nalgene bottles.  They are currently listed as cautiously safe.  If you choose to use any type of plastic bottles use them with care.  Clean by hand, don't put them in the dishwasher, and when they become scratched replace them with a water bottle made from stainless steel or glass.

The safest bottles to date are those made of stainless steel or glass.  There are no ill side effects to drinking liquids from these materials.   If you are considering purchasing bottles that are stainless steel, make sure they aren't lined as the lining has the potential of being dangerous.

Making this small change will have a positive impact on both your health and the planet.   The largest impact we can make collectively is for all of us to make small choices everyday.  We can all strive to achieve light shades of green. 

Voluntary Simplicity, Step 3: Supporting Local Farmers, Crafters, etc.

Vol Simplicity 3 

Part of our process of simplifying our life is to make an effort toward purchasing items locally and/or handmade when possible.  I suppose it's not truly part of a simplification process but rather geared toward sustainability.  We, however, chose to include this in our process as one of our goals.

Why buy local?  There are a number of reasons, but the most important to us is that making this decision benefits both the environment and the local economy.

Regarding the environmental impact, local items travel less distance to get to the consumer which cuts out much of the transportation and, in turn, reduces the use of valuable resources {namely gas} and pollution that come with it.  As far as the impact on the local economy, when you purchase something directly from the artist or farmer they typically benefit from a larger percentage of the profit as there is not a third party person/organization to pay.  Also, you are putting money back into your community.  An added bonus is you are supporting their dream or passion by supporting them with your purchase.

The purchase of locally grown fruits and vegetables typically means fresher items.  The purchase of locally raised meats means the items are traceable.  You can also visit the farm to see how the animals are raised, what they are fed, and choose to support those businesses you respect or agree with.

The purchase of handmade, regardless of locale, is to support an artist or designer who is making a living doing what they love to do.  Someone who has used their talents to create something you enjoy.  It's also possible to create a relationship with the artist or designer of the product and purchase one-of-a-kind items for yourself or for gift giving.  If you find an artist who uses recycled products, even better!

Although the reality is it's not always possible, whether financially or otherwise, to purchase locally made, grown and/or handmade, any effort to do so will make a difference.  It's the little things we do collectively that make big changes.

Voluntary Simplicity Step 2: Making Your Money Work For You

Making Your Money Work For You 

What does this mean? In a nutshell, it means taking what you have monetarily and getting the most out of it. Almost everyone reading this post either currently works or is retired from working. Those same people have or are working for a financial goal. Typically the goal is to pay the mortgage, household expenses, some entertainment, a vehicle, gas for the vehicle, savings for retirement, etc. Additional financial goals may include paying off debt, putting yourself or a child through college, and/or becoming financially independent.

When you are working for a monetary goal, you want the money you’ve worked so hard to earn working toward that same goal. Spending money mindlessly does not help to achieve that goal. If you don’t know what you’re spending your money on your money is not able to successfully do its job. You need a plan for your money. The biggest motivation for me personally, is to get more control over our life. If you can get a hold of your financial life you can better determine where you’re going and how you’ll get there.

Have you ever thought of taking a job because the salary is hard to resist, regardless of whether or not it will make you happy? Have you ever been in miserable in a job but can’t financially afford to leave? Do you get upset that it takes two paychecks to make ends meet? It’s time to re-evaluate your earnings and spending. This isn’t about deprivation but rather spending wisely and making every dollar count. Spend with purpose.

How many times do you get to the end of the week and wonder where all of your money was spent? One dollar here for coffee, five dollars there for a magazine, five dollars for a fast food lunch, three “quick” trips to the grocery store where you purchase what you need and then some and so on. It’s very easy to mindlessly spend money particularly with the convenience of debit cards.

Another very difficult question to ask yourself is, how much money have I earned in my working years and what have I got to show for it? Has my money worked effectively for me? Of course you can still spend frivolously but assign a number to what that will look like. If you make a budget too rigid chances are you won’t stick to it. Don’t let another week go by where you aren’t sure where all your money was spent.

So what should your money do? In step one of Voluntary Simplicity I wrote about starting with tracking your spending so you can determine where your money is being spent. I also suggested using the envelope method for budgeting your money. You want to establish a budget that works for you with these things in mind:

  • You need basic necessities (i.e., mortgage/rent, water, heat, gas, food, etc.).
  • You need a budget for enjoyment (i.e., clothing, entertainment, coffee, etc.).
  • You should create an emergency fund that liquid and available if immediately needed.
  • Excess can go into an interest-bearing savings account.

Some examples of ways to spend less and save more include:

  • Make lunches at home to bring to work during the week.
  • Use coupons for grocery shopping and check the weekly sales flyers. **Be careful, however, to only use coupons for items you need and/or would typically buy. If you purchase something only because you’ve got a great coupon, that doesn’t mean it’s saving you money.**
  • Before running errands think of all the places you need to go to save gas and time.
  • Weekly or monthly grocery shopping. This helps your money work for you in 2 ways – 1. you are planning your shopping, therefore looking at flyers, bringing coupons and determining what your needs are and 2. the more times you stop at the grocery store, the more chances you’re purchasing mindlessly as well as wasting the gas and time to go.
  • Break the habit of no impulse purchases and think about each purchase (Do I need this? Do I want this? Do I love this?) prior to making it.
  • Eat at home and prepare food from scratch.
  • Start a garden and preserve your harvest for meals throughout the year.
  • Think of your purchases in a new way – how many hours of work does it take to purchase this? For example. If I want to buy a new pair of shoes that cost $65.00 and I make $15.00 an hour I have to work over four hours to pay for those shoes. Are they worth it? Another example is going out to dinner. If I make $15.00/hour and my husband and I go out to dinner and with tip it costs us $60.00, not only do I have to work four hours to pay for that dinner, but that’s also half of our weekly grocery budget spent on one meal. It makes a difference when you look at the big picture.

Savings, wherever you can find them, means you can put more money to work toward your short-term and long-term goals.  What are some of the ways you make your money work for you?

To read more about our farm, you can find us at Life At Cobble Hill Farm.


Chicken Coop 101

Photo of coop

You can make a chicken coop from just about anything.  I've seen rabbit hutches, tool sheds, and portions of barns converted into chicken coops.  If you're lucky enough to start from scratch, or your able to remodel an existing structure, there's a few things we've learned you might want to take into consideration.

Little red shed that was the coop 

The photo above of the little red shed was the existing chicken coop and tiny outdoor run when we purchased our farm house.  We knew we wanted to build a new, larger coop and run, and had hoped to do so prior to bringing chickens home.  It didn't happen as planned and I am now very thankful.  We learned a lot while using this small coop that wouldn't have have crossed our minds if we hadn't.  The girls and handsome Mr. Clyde lived there for about 3 months before the new coop was built.

As a start, regarding the size of your coop, the general number seems to be 3 feet to every chicken. (Our coop is 8 foot by 10 foot and around 8 foot tall.) Remember to also keep in mind you want a roost area, feeding area and egg laying area.  Think through the feeding area, because if it's too close to the roost area you'll end up with feeders full of manure. 

You also want to make sure the coop is safe from predators.  Even if your chickens free-range during the day, they need a safe haven to sleep in.  Make sure nothing can get underneath the coop or through the door or windows.  We use two types of locks on all our doors (hoping if they can get one open they can't get the other) and every window has a barrel-lock on the inside.  We also added a tough wire to all the windows so they can remain open during the hot summer.

The coop with parts labeled 

Here's a few more things we've learned. 

Lesson One:  You want to make sure you can get in the coop to clean it.  Whether you want a portable house or a large coop as we have, make sure there is access to the indoor and outdoor areas.  You can see from the photo above we chose a shed-style coop that my husband designed and built.  We had to build an outdoor run because of loose dogs in the neighborhood.  We started with a small solar panel for a light, but ended up running electricity to it as well (see lesson 10).

Coop with a door for the chicken tractor 

The photo above shows the outdoor run.  It features a "people" door as well as a chicken tractor door.  The idea of the smaller door is you can pull the chicken tractor up to it and load them in.  What I would change about this are 2 things:  The people door isn't quite tall enough, so you have to duck (after hitting your head once you remember to do so), and the chicken tractor door opens out not in.

We built sloped roofs for the snow we get in the Northeast.  We also chose metal roofing to go with the rest of the outbuildings on the property. 

Views of the doors and latches for the chicken coop 

Lesson Two:  If you have an outdoor run, you want the chickens door to open out from the run.  In the first coop, we had to wade through the mob of chickens, all yelling to be let out, to open the door because it opened in.  I love this.  We put a latch on the door in addition to a clip to keep smart racoons and other critters out at night. 

Lesson Three:  If you have an outdoor run offer lots of roosting space.  They absolutely love it.

Ramp for chicken coop 

Jay made the handy little ramp, including the wood strips so they could get traction on their way down.

Litter pan with sand and ash for the chickens to take a dust bath in 

All chickens love a spot to dust bath and a large litter pan filled with play sand and some wood ash is like a day at the spa!

Let's go inside.

The interior of the coop showing nesting boxes solar lamp and outside door 

You can see in the photo above, the small solar light.  Jay designed and built the nesting boxes with a small perch in the front. (those are golf balls inside, it really does encourage the egg laying in the box!)

Lesson Four:  You should have one nesting box for every four to five chickens.  Also, the nesting boxes don't have to be large, although Jay wanted the girls to have plenty of room so he built ours a little bigger than necessary.  Generally, 12x12x12 is plenty of space.  We put straw in ours and the girls enjoy rearranging it while waiting to lay their egg. 

Our nesting boxes are purposely positioned below the window, because you want a dark, quiet area for them.  We also added a slant roof to the top hoping to deter the girls from roosting on it.  Although it hasn't stopped them completely it does make it more difficult.

You can also see, in the photos above and below, we used all available space.  We put the nesting boxes up high enough to have storage space underneath for small cans of their feed.  Also, the door to the outdoor run is tucked underneath.

We use the deep litter method, however, I still rake the manure in the mornings after a night's roost.  I purchased the rake from our local hardware store and had Jay put 2 nails in the wall to hold it.  It works perfectly for letting the litter fall thru but holds the manure to throw in the compost bin.

Storage underneath nesting boxes in coop 

Roosts and ventilation window inside the coop 

We built lots of roosting space as well as 2 roosting shelves.  We found from the first coop the girls love the shelves and fight over them every night.  Jay wanted them to be happy, so he put 2 in the new coop.  Make sure you use something such as a 2x4 for the roost so they are comfortable wrapping their feet around it.

Lesson Five:  We put four windows in our coop for plenty of ventilation.  We have 2 small windows on the North and South sides of the coop that are up high enough it won't be breezy on them as they roost.  One is kept open all the time for constant ventilation to prevent the ammonia build-up.  We open both when we want a breeze or cross ventilation.  All the windows were found windows that Jay made work.  He attached hinges to them so they could open/close, and he put cleats by each and a string on each so we can open them as little or as much as we want to.  The photos below show this in more detail.

Also to note, if you're going to have windows open you probably want to put wire on them to keep other birds and critters out.  We used a pretty rugged square wire on ours.  We also used barrel-locks on all the windows so they can close tight in the winter.

Window of coop with parts labeled 

 Scenes from the Cobble Hill Coop 

Lesson Six:  If you live in an area with freezing temp.'s through a good portion of the winter, you may want to look into purchasing a heater for the water (in the photo above to the left).  After a few mornings of trying to get the water unthawed you'll be thankful.

Lesson Seven:  Chickens are messy and they love to scratch.  Because of this, if you don't want their feed all over the place put their feeders up.  Jay built wooden platforms for them, but we've also used strings attached to the ceiling as in the photo above.  Just make sure it's easy to remove for filling and cleaning.  Also, try to have more than one feeder.  The girls tend to gang up on one or two chickens and prevent them from feeding.  With an additional feeder, everyone can eat.

Many people have asked me about the cold temp.'s in our area and how to keep the coop warm.  The simple truth is, if you have a small coop and enough chickens to fill it, their body heat alone will keep them warm.  They deal with the cold better than the heat. 

Our coop is large and tall for the amount of birds we have, so although it stays warmer inside than outside, it still seems chilly.  We did 2 things:  we insulated the coop (walls, ceiling, door and floor) and we purchased 2 flat panel heaters and a thermostatic outlet.  (The insulation helps in the summer as well so the coop can stay a little cooler, especially with the box fans going.)

The heaters we've been happy with were purchased from Melanie at (we purchased our original heaters from a different online heater company and they were awful).  She also sells the thermostatic outlet, which allows the heaters to be turned on all the time, but only actually come on when the temperature drops below a certain degree and turns off again once it reaches the higher temperature it's set to.  Yes, it definitely raises our electric bill, but we only turn them on during the coldest parts of the winter.

If you're going to use heaters, flat panel is the way to go because they're safe and fairly cool to the touch.  With the amount of dust found in the coop you want to make sure a heater won't get clogged up with it.

Scenes from the chicken coop 

Lesson Eight:  Do you have an area to keep chickens who need to be separated from the rest?  We realized we didn't want sick chickens in the same coop, and haven't yet built a small hutch-style coop for that purpose.  That's to come.  Currently, they get quarrantined in the craft room in a dog crate.

We did realize, when Mama Claire hatched 2 eggs and again when we adopted the new chicks, we needed an area for chicks where the big girls couldn't pick at them until they could defend themselves.  Enter my handyman again to construct a temporary coop within the coop. 

The photo above to the left is the box method we started with.  With five chicks, they outgrew it quickly.  We wanted to keep them with the other chickens so there would be no need for introductions later when they were released to the rest of the coop.  So my very handy husband constructed a removable coop within the coop.  He boxed in one corner of the coop and made the walls portable so we can take them down and put them up when needed.  Brilliant!!  It has worked out great.

Lesson Nine:  You can also see from the photos above, we started out with a shelving area in part of the coop to keep litter, straw and extra feed.  We realized how bad an idea this was when we had a mite infestation this past summer and had to toss it all out.  I would suggest only storing tightly sealed items (such as the small trash cans of food) just in case of a lice, mite, or any other infestation.

Lesson Ten:  Electricity, to us, has been one of the most important things.  We didn't really think much about it initially, and I'm sure Jay was wishing the decision was to not power it, but in the end we are both so thankful we did.  He had to dig a trench and run the wire (he is trained to do this - hire an electrician if you are not), while the girls and Clyde supervised, but it has allowed us to run the electric heater for the water, the flat panel heaters, and a box fan (we put in the windows) in the summer.  The girls get up on the roosts, spread out their wings, and take in that wonderful breeze.  Their happiness is thanks enough.

Lesson Eleven:  Where there are chickens there will be a lot of dust.  This is inevitable.  I've seen wonderful coop designs with chandeliers, curtains, painted walls, etc.  Remember, chickens poop where they want and create dust constantly.

Lesson Twelve:  If there is a 1 1/2" or larger ledge, a chicken will find it and roost on it.  When you build your coop look around and think about this.  We have a small windowsill all the way up at the top of the coop where our ventilation window is.  They found it and there was no keeping them off of it.  We are unable to get up there to clean off the manure, so we had to create obstacles to keep them off.

Lesson Thirteen:  If there's a wire or something sticking out, a chicken will get hurt on it.  Also, if there's something to peck at (exposed insulation, etc), they will.  Again, take a look around your coop and think of it from a chicken's perspective.

Additional information is with regard to the flooring of the coop, which really depends on your preference.  Our first little coop had a dirt floor.  My concern was that something would be able to dig underneath the coop and get at them.  We now have a wood insulated floor.  Cement is a good choice as well.

My hope is that you come away with an idea or two, or perhaps you can share an idea with us.  If so, please leave a comment, we'd love to hear from you.  

Voluntary Simplicity, Step 1: Living Within Our Means

Piles of money topped with a 20-dollar bill 

A lot of people think of frugality when they think of voluntary simplicity. Although frugality can be an important step, it doesn’t mean living poor or in poverty. It also doesn’t mean living with extreme deprivation. Frugality can be developed with both money and time. The goal is to have more of both and to be able to spend them where you want.

It’s easy to go thru life thinking “if only I made more money then I could ...” What would you do? Can you find a way to do that now? The reality is, when most of us receive an increase in wages we also increase our spending. You have to figure out how to live within your means right now. The next challenge is to see if you can live below your means slightly. This means you’ll have much more time to spend as you choose as well as extra money to sock away.

It’s a common thought that when you start a process such as this the first thing you feel it’s necessary to do is purge. I’m not in agreement. I think in time you may do this as a natural part of the simplification process, but the last thing anyone wants to do is be told they have to part with things. Instead, start working on changing your thought process. For example:

  • Limit unnecessary purchases. Think about a purchase before you make it. Do you need it? Do you want it? If you need it, is there anything you already own that could be used instead? If you want it, do you love it? Will you still treasure it 5 years later? Are you shopping out of boredom or out of habit?
  • Find less expensive ways to get the same things, i.e. buying in bulk, making from scratch, etc.
  • Be deliberate about how you spend your time. Don’t participate in a full day of events of things that are meaningless to you or you’re doing because you feel you have to. Start doing things you want to do, that bring you joy and make you happy.
  • Spend time (and money) learning skills that will help you to become more self-reliant. Next time something breaks or a pipe is leaking, you could fix it yourself.
  • How do you grocery shop and how do you eat? Are you eating certain foods because you think you should? Could you eat things you enjoy in moderation? Could you grow many of the vegetables and fruit you shop for? Spend where it makes sense and save where it makes sense for you.
  • Find a balance between work and personal time. This is important for emotional and physical well-being.

One of the best places to start is to track your spending. Track everything. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate system, but if you spend $5.00 on a magazine and $3.00 on a coffee this needs to be written down along with your bills, groceries, etc. This will help you understand what discretionary money you have.

I’m a big fan of the envelope system at least initially. Each payday you put money into envelopes labeled for “groceries,” “gas,” etc. Keep money in your checking account only for those items you are writing a check for or have automatically deducted. The remaining money either goes in an envelope titled “savings” or in a separate savings account. If you’ve never tracked your spending before you will probably be shocked how much you spend on little things here or there.

I found that our spending happened on Friday nights. We got in the habit of going out to dinner and running “errands” on Friday nights. The amount of money we could spend in one evening was amazing. Dinner ($50), bookstore ($35), Home Improvement stores ($30 – $130), Target ($45), etc. So although we weren’t spending much throughout the week we were spending most of our extra income in one evening. Debit cards make it very easy to mindlessly spend and not even realize the amount.

I switched to the envelope method to get it under control and show him how much we were spending because he didn’t realize it either. Then, I opened an account as a dedicated “debit” account and I continue to keep a very low balance in it for discretionary spending and gas for the vehicles. I deposit the same amount every week into the account.

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. Pay cash. Don't use credit cards, they aren't worth it. Pay cash for everything you can, and if you take out a car loan or a mortgage, make sure you are budgeted to make extra payments. Just because you can get a loan for a certain amount doesn't mean it's the right decision to make. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have lost their homes during the hard economic times who wish they had spent below their means.

I’m not sure where I read this, but I liked it and wrote it down: You want to have more time, stop trading it for dollars. You want to have more space, stop trading it for clutter. You want to have more dollars, stop trading them for things that don’t matter. As I’ve written in previous articles, you have to determine for yourself what your frugality looks like. Determine your own priorities and set your own goals.

When you do decide to start purging or de-cluttering, take it one room at a time. Decide with each item if you need it, want it, or are hanging onto it for other reasons. Don’t hang onto things that you may “someday” need. If you’re having trouble parting with those items including clothing, box them up (seal the box) and put them in the garage. Label each box with the date 6 months from the day you box them. If, on the six month date you haven’t gone into any of the boxes to look for items, take the boxes to a local charity. Don’t open them back up, just take them. You don’t need them.

Voluntary simplicity is about deliberately choosing the way you want to live, not just living day to day. It’s being excited about every day and savoring each moment.

Making A Vintage Recipe Card Clipboard

Recipe clipboard

I love vintage things.  We inherited two recipe boxes of recipes from my husbands mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  All in their own handwriting.  I wanted a way to display some of the them, so I thought what better way then to re-purpose a clipboard?

Some of the recipe names really show their age, like the one called "A Cheap Cake."  I can just imagine what life was like at the time.

Starting with a plastic clipboard.

I started with a plastic clipboard.  You could use any type you have.

I took a piece of 12x12" patterned scrapbook paper and cut it to the size of the clipboard.  I rounded the corners with a corner rounder punch and put liquid glue on the clipboard.

Clipboard with patterned scrapbook paper on it.

Lay the scrapbook paper on the clipboard and gently rub your hand over it to work out any air bubbles before the glue sets.

Once you've worked toward the top you'll need to cut around the metal clip with a craft knife.

Use craft paint to paint any areas not covered and/or the edges.

Add copies of photos of the people who wrote the recipes.

Use copies of vintage photos of the family members who have written the recipes.

I enlarged mine to 4x6 and cut them to fit across the board.

I used a dark brown piece of 12x12 cardstock to cut into strips to use above, below and between the photos to serve as a frame.

I cut scrap pieces of ribbon in brown tones to tie onto the clip portion of the board.

I copied some of the recipe cards, printed them into uniform 4x6" sizes, punched a  hole in the corner, stapled a scrap piece of ribbon to the right edge and used a ring (from an office supply store) to hold them together.

I tied the ring to the clip with one of the ribbon pieces.

All set to put in my kitchen.