How to Make a Primitive Snowman Shelf-Sitter

I have a love for all things primitive and my love for snowmen seems to overwhelm me at this time of year.  I don’t live in a part of the country that sees a lot of snowfall.  We are lucky to get an inch every few years at this elevation.  Somehow, in my warped mind I have romanticized snow and blizzards and such.  Trust me… I know that those of you who endure sub-zero temperatures and “snow days” are thinking I’m crazy right about now.  But I have found a way to combine the love of primitive and snowmen in one easy way.

Since I don’t have snow, I’ll use what  I have.  I have a primitive Raggedy Ann doll I picked up somewhere. Ish’t she cute?

She became part of the inspiration of how I would make the snowmen.
First,  I free-handed a basic rectangle with head that would become my snowman.  This was done after lots of fuming and frustration  trial and error.
I finally got the dimensions I wanted that would allow for a 1/4″ to 1/2″ seam allowance when I sewed him together. 7″ body width, 8″ tall from base to shoulders, 13″ from base to top of head, and 4 1/2″ width of the head.
I placed my pattern on a double thickness of a cotton duvet cover I had that was at the end of its current life.  It had a nice flowered design woven in and I tea-dyed it to give it an aged look.  That way I would have the front and back all cut at the same time. Then I cut snowmen till I had a blister.  Just kidding, sort of.
Next, I stitched sayings and designs on the body of the snowmen.  Then, I picked out some nice orangey embroidery floss, some buttons, and some black thread.
Voila!  My snowman now had character and personality!  What a face!
I sewed the front (stitched on) piece to the back (plain) piece, right sides together, starting at the bottom.  I sewed the “rice bag” right into the base so I wouldn’t have to worry about it.  I sewed all the way around leaving an opening from the “shoulders” up so he could be stuffed with some poly fill.
(sorry I lost the pic somehow)
I used a wooden skewer to poke out the corners and make sure he had plenty of stuffing.  I then hand stitched his head closed and added the final touches; a hat and scarf I created from some felted wool scraps.
I’m so very pleased with the way all my snow friends turned out!  What do you think?  If you make one of your own, let me know.  I would love to see how they come out.

Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth


Why I’m Getting Ready to Plant Garlic

As those who follow this blog know, the theme of my ramblings is homesteading and working towards living a more sustainable life without having to depend on corporate America and questionable foods. Well, each Tuesday is the day our grand-daughter spends the afternoon with us. And this Tuesday we decided to get the flower bed where the roses grow ready for planting garlic. 

Some may wonder why in the world we would be getting ready to plant garlic at the end of October when the last of the garden harvest is being brought into the storehouses before the cold winter months. But this is the perfect time to plant garlic and planting it near the rose bushes is beneficial for both plants. The roses benefit from the garlic’s natural fungicides; it keeps away aphids, coddling moths, snails and other icky things no one wants anywhere in their gardens. The garlic gets a good start in the soil before winter really hits and then is ready to harvest in the beginning of the summer months.

Why plant garlic? Aside from the many dishes we eat that contain garlic as an ingredient, it has other benefits besides adding flavor. According to Reader’s Digest, you can use garlic to:

  • Grow beautiful hair
  • Clear acne

  • Prevent and treat colds

  • Soothe psoriasis

  • Control your weight

  • Remove a splinter

  • Treat athlete’s foot

  • Keep away mosquitoes

  • Conquer cold sores

  • As a natural glue

  • De-ice your sidewalk

  • Protect plants

  • Catch more fish 

Of course, I haven’t tried all these different uses for garlic. I just know it’s good for you. Besides, why not grow my own organic garlic and not worry about running low and having to spend time and money going to the store to buy some? 


We haven’t planted the garlic yet. We just dug the weeds out of the rose beds and got the soil all nice and clump free. We will be working some compost into the dirt in a few days and then setting our garlic cloves into the soil to prepare for a bountiful harvest come summertime. Make sure you check back in with Bean Berries to check the progress of our garlic planting and to read about more adventures as we homestead in a residential neighborhood!


This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

This is the view from my back yard as I look north/northeast. It’s a horizon that I have looked out for most of my life since I moved to Rio Dell when I was just seven years old. I never get tired of looking at it; it means many things to me. The day began … Continue reading

Wildcrafting Wednesday; One Day Late

I’m linking up to this great group of posts I found. There is no way I can explain it better than those who host this blog hop, so here is their description.

While traditional wildcrafting refers to gathering herbs and plants in the wild to use for food and medicine, Wildcrafting Wednesday is a weekly blog hop for sharing self-sufficiency and homesteading tips, tried and true home-remedies, and your favorite herbal uses.

It’s a place to gather information on ways to incorporate old fashioned wisdom in our day-to-day life.

It is anything and everything herbal – from crafts to cleaning to tinctures to cooking.

It is remedies and natural cures made at home from natural ingredients.

It is self-sufficient living, homesteading, and back-to-basics tips to save food, money, and resources.

If it involves herbs or traditional methods of homemaking and home healing then we want to read about it!

In other words, Wildcrafting Wednesday is a “one stop shop” for the past weeks best tips and simple steps to become more healthy and more self-reliant! Please join us! 🙂

I’ve already learned about making my own whole wheat pasta, found several recipes and discovered oodles of blogs that will help me connect with people who are growing their own food, living a more sustainable life and loving every minute of it.

Make sure you check out all the other posts included in Wildcrafting Wednesday!

You Gotta Have Soil





This is what the compost area looked like the first day we got the keys. (It’s that grassy patch in the background)

When we first started getting ready to move into our new home, I knew there would be a garden. I also knew I had to start with a compost pile because the dirt was in such poor condition. Compact, hard soil with bare patches in some areas and mole hills in others, it was a mess.  Most of our time and money was going towards getting the house cleaned and painted so we could move in. But starting a compost pile is easy and cheap!

As I was scouring Freecycle and Craigslist for the myriad items we would now need (we were moving for a small, two-bedroom townhouse into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house) I spotted an offer for free goat manure. Bingo! The beginning of my compost and the soil gardeners every where want. I made arrangements to pick up two feed sacks full and dumped it into a little mound next to the driveway.

So exciting, but also not nearly enough to really make the food-producing garden I had in mind. Oh sure, I threw coffee grounds and banana peels out there, but I was not getting too excited. Besides, I was working at my job all day and painting and cleaning the house for a few hours after work each evening.  Add to that the process of packing up everything in the old house and getting utilities transferred. I just let the manure and kitchen scraps do what they do when left out in the open air. They rot slowly.

Through all of this, my sweetie kept calling it a mulch pile or my poo poo pile. Sheesh! I kept telling him, “You just wait til you are eating home-grown veggies that taste better than anything you can buy in the store.” What really kicked things into gear though, was when I acquired several rolls of chicken and mesh fencing and some T-posts through Craigslist.  With the help of my bestie, Starla, we loaded that stuff up and brought it home. After a week or so of my nagging, hubby helped me pound a few posts into the ground and attach wire in a semi-circle around the miniature pile that was growing every day.

Now it was on! I started throwing shredded newspaper, toilet paper tubes, orange peels, wilted lettuce, grass clippings, you name it in that pile. We were experiencing some unusually hot weather even though this was the middle of the summer, so every few evenings I would give the pile a good soaking with the water house. If we went to the beach, I bought home a plastic garbage full of seaweed and a bucket full of shells. If the refrigerator needed to be cleaned out, anything that wasn’t meat or dairy-related (think cheese, milk, yogurt) went into the compost pile.

Since beginning the compost heap at the beginning of July, it has grown almost exponentially. The amazing thing about composting though is that one day it can seem like it is about to reach the top of the fence and a couple of days later it has shrunk. That’s because all the good stuff is happening below the surface. Worms, micro-organisms and insects are eating the waste and turning it into nutrient-rich soil.

compost3 compost2

The composting area has also grown in other ways as well. A couple of weeks ago it got enlarged and shifted. Turning the mixture is an important step in getting the most out of your compost pile. Now one half is mostly composted material and the other half is the beginning of a new pile. In fact, we were able to add some compost to the flower bed where three rose bushes are growing. They already look better just three days after their little treat.

Stay tuned to Bean Berries for more about composting and our adventure in homesteading!

This post was shared on Wildcrafting Wednesday!!

A New Old Adventure

So here I am, back to the world of blogging. Since I first began a blog several years ago at another location, I have branched out into the world of online journalism. But that isn’t what this blog is about. This blog will be a forum for me to record the adventure my husband and I have undertaken in beginning a homestead in the middle of a residential neighborhood. No, we don’t own the home and we don’t have acres to make our dreams come true, but with GOD’s guidance we want to become more self-sufficient and less dependent on money, worldly possessions and food from questionable sources.

So begins this new adventure. And it’s a new OLD adventure because we (okay me willingly and Ken reluctantly) are looking to the ways our grandparents and great-grandparents lived a more simple and less world-dependent way of life. I don’t like that I go to the grocery store and most of my food options are less than healthy and downright dangerous at times. I am unhappy that Americans are becoming more and more technologically dependent and have less community interactions with those they live among. I am tired of having barely enough money to get by because it seems there are way to many requirements for just existing these days. Okay, enough of the soap box.

The purpose of this blog will be to give directions, inspiration and examples of our successes and failures as we go from living in a home that was used as a grow house with a yard and garage left to go to waste to a home filled with love, kindness and forgiveness. We want to use every inch of the soil either as a place to grow food (both animal and plants) or as a spot where one can curl up with a good book or play a game of tag (if you are still young enough to run fast!)

Join us on our new old adventure. Share your experiences, ask questions and plan to become a neighbor who is welcome to drop by anytime.