Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Happy Holidays!

The holiday season is upon us and I want to thank everyone for stopping by my blog throughout the year. It's hard to believe that 2015 is almost here, and I have a feeling that there will be a lot of change for my family.  Looking ahead to the New Year, I am collecting future blog posts and want to ask readers for input on specific topics you would like me to blog about.   Just leave a suggestion in the comment section or send me an email! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Contributing to a Sustainable Local Market

Beginning mid-October this year I started volunteering and selling items at the Wild Ramp, a local food and artisan store selling products grown and made within 250 miles of the store in Huntington, WV.  The Wild Ramp is like an indoor farmer's market where farmers personally drop off their produce and talk with customers; and where handmade artisan products are sold by local community members.  There are only three paid staff members at the Wild Ramp so the store relies heavily on volunteers to keep things going on a weekly basis.  I have been told for several years that Jon and I should sell our handmade toys and wood items that we make.  I always assumed that people wouldn't buy our stuff because of the price we have to charge to make it worth our time.  Well, come to find out, people are willing to pay and it seems that I can't keep up with the demand!  I included a few pictures of items I am currently selling.  Producers pay a $15.00 fee per month to reserve shelf space and receive 90% of the profits.

With the holiday season, I put together a few centerpieces made with holly, pine cones, dried berries, and pine boughs from our woods. 

I have been making holiday wreaths for five years now and they are super easy to make so I made a few to sell.  Like the centerpieces, I gathered supplies in the woods and even tucked a few turkey feathers in the greenery from a friend who raises turkeys.  This was my first year making bows with the help from youtube.

I made a mushroom rattle as a baby gift for a friend four years ago and they were so cute that I made more of them and expanded the rattle design to apple trees and ladybugs.  In less than a month, all of the mushrooms sold!  

On the top shelf in this picture are a bunch of my wooden toys that are really popular at the Wild Ramp.  To see the toys better, click the picture to enlarge.  In one month, I sold all but two of the cars on that shelf and even had a special order for two of the dump trucks.  Like the rattles, I continue to make more and restock the shelf on a weekly basis because they sell out quickly!

Most producers include specific information about their items and where they are located so customers feel more informed about the product.  For instance, meat and dairy products have labels for grass-fed only, grain-finished, free-range, non-GMO feed, etc.  For my toys I tell customers that I use re-purposed wood and seal it with a child-safe linseed and beeswax finish.

These log stools are really cute and modeled after the traditional milking stool.  The logs are gathered from our property.

We are also selling bag drying racks with the message, "Don't throw away your Ziploc bags!  Wash and hang them to dry on this rack."

Overall, volunteering and selling my wares at the Wild Ramp has been a productive use of my time while Paul is in full-day Kindergarten.  Whether it's seeing a customer get excited about my wooden toys or talking about different chicken breeds to the farmer who sells eggs, I have so much fun just being at the Wild Ramp.  It's a place where you feel part of the community and are surrounded by like-minded people. 

Homemade Wrapping Paper

Three years ago I wrote about Resourceful Gift Wrapping.  Since then we have taken it a step further by making our own wrapping paper.  We use plain paper that has been included in packages we receive in the mail and Paul's fingerpaint. If your children are grown and you don't know what to do with all that random, half-dried paint, this is a good project for it!

Having Paul paint on paper is a great way to pass the time during the long summer days.  We held the paper down using blocks of wood.  This picture was taken August 2013.

Paul had fun drawing pictures, writing letters, and just scribbling.  In the end, it doesn't really matter what the designs look like because the paper will be cut to fit the packages.  The key is to have a lot of colors and irregular lines. 

If you don't have a child to help with painting, you can do it too.  And don't say you aren't creative and artistic...dots, lines, and swirls look pretty awesome too!

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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