Sunday, June 30, 2013

On the way to the bank, treasure!

     I have been yard sale-ing for years.  For a long time, it was my best way to provide some extra things for my home that I could not afford at retail prices.  Sometimes, it put money back into my pocket.  When I was able to purchase clothes with the price tag still on them, I could either buy my sons more of the things they needed or bank the money for the time they grew to the next size.  

     You never know what is going to be put out on a table in a driveway and you never know when you are going to find a treasure you weren't looking for.  I tried to keep a running list of shoes sizes and clothing sizes  for the kids in a little notebook in my purse.  As they grew up and grew into their own homes, those lists were replaced with lists of things they could use or I needed to maintain or improve our homes.    

     The first time I bought a power tool on the word of the homeowner without testing it by plugging it in was the last time I bought anything electric on the word of the homeowner.  Most people are honest, but I was taken advantage of by one who wasn't and that never happened again.  There is no shame in trying on a shoe (if you are wearing clean socks), and no shame in asking if you can plug in a power tool or other electric appliance.  There is also no shame in walking away from a deal that is too good to be true.  

     This weekend, I went out to the bank on Saturday and noticed a sign to a sale on the way.  Work First, Play Later!  I went to the bank, and picked up a padlock and some duct tape at Lowe's.  But, on the way home, I had a mental list of all the signs I had passed and I made it home eventually.  I managed to pick up two solid iron antique irons, two aluminum cupcake pans (mini cupcakes), a children's book on languages of Europe, a mint in the box edition of The Hobbit, three sets of ladies thermal underwear with tags still on, two sets without, a lovely crystal serving dish I will give stacked with cookies as a gift, a portable hunting blind and a cup of fresh lemonade from a Girl Scout and I didn't spend twenty dollars.  I spent $17.50.  

     I spent about one extra gallon of gas on this yard sale trip since I veered off my path home chasing the signs posted on the main road to the actual sale.  There were several yards I just drove past.  Sometimes, I am in the market for baby clothes or baby items, but rarely in pink!  So, I drive by and on to the next sign.  This weekend I did not use my web locator site because I did not have time to shop too many sales.  I had other things to do; a movie with family, an errand for a neighbor who couldn't get out of her house, lunch with mother, and even some 'me' time.  

      I am always in the market for an antique I can use at the camp side and the irons make great door stops.  They are prep items that hide in plain site.  I know someone who will appreciate a gift box edition of The Hobbit and the portable blind I bought as a pattern to make more.  The thermal underwear are my idea of pajamas in the winter.  All these Items appealed to my eye and then to my wallet.  

     Preparing for hard times is a habit for me now.  Once the bug for treasure hunting bites you, it will serve you well, too.  Check out some yard sale tip sites.  Be yourself and hunt like the deal is the deer and the money is the bullet!  You only need one well placed shot to bring down the big game!  

The Ghillie suit

I picked up a portable blind at a yard sale today for a dollar.  I hope the husband doesn't come home and get too upset.  She seemed sure it was just some useless stuff in her garage.  I came home and after examining it, I realized I have four sons and only one portable hunting blind.  OOPS!

I thought, oh, well, I shall make them each a ghillie suit and keep this for myself.  Then I looked up ghillie suit online.  I went to and although they seem like perfectly nice people and experts in their field, this is a blog for people prepping and living on limited funds. Their ponchos start at $79.  And did I mention I bought a portable blind for $!?  

     So, I went to Wiki what you wanna know to see what a ghillie suit is....

Ghillie suit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  
The name was derived from gille, the Scottish Gaelic for "servant" or a "lad".[2] In English, this term was especially used to refer to those assisting in deer huntingdeer stalking orfly fishing expeditions in the Scottish Highlands.The ghillie suit was developed by Scottish gamekeepers as a portable hunting blindLovat Scouts, a Scottish Highland regiment formed by the British Army during the Second Boer War, is the first known military unit to use ghillie suits.[3] In 1916, Lovat Scouts went on to become the British Army's first sniper unit.[4]

Safety considerations[edit]

A U.S. Army sniper wearing a ghillie suit
Although highly effective, ghillie suits are impractical for many situations where camouflage is useful. They tend to be very heavy and hot. Even in moderate climates, the temperature inside of the ghillie suit can reach over 50 °C (120 °F). The burlap is also flammable, unless treated with fire retardant, so the wearer may be at increased risk from ignition sources such as smoke grenades or white phosphorus.
     I appreciate Wikipedia pointing out how hot it can get under a suit and hunting is hard enough without dragging along a lot of hot weight.  So, I am back to the idea that a portable blind is lightweight, portable, well ventilated and easier to make one over and over if I need more than one! 

 Specifications and Features:    Hunter's Specialties collapsible super light portable ground blind   Measures 12' long x 27  high unfolded   Folds up to 14  long   Holds together with an elastic strap when folded   Spun bonded polyester   3-D effect die cuts   Realtree APG HD camo
Just to be sure this was a reasonable project for the early fall, I went shopping for portable hunting blinds online.  This is as close as I could find to the one I bought.  Mine is eight feet by 30"high.  It seems to be quite smaller than mine at 12" by 27".  But for a price of $22 brand new, this might be something someone would want to buy.  I however am thinking BIG!  or at least BIGGER!
Specifications and Features:
Hunter's Specialties collapsible super light portable ground blind
Measures 12' long x 27" high unfolded
Folds up to 14" long
Holds together with an elastic strap when folded
Spun-bonded polyester
3-D effect die cuts
Realtree APG HD camo

     I have several tents.  One was going to be recycled this year anyway, so the struts that are in fine shape and fold down to about 12" will make a great frame for the portable blind I can make with some camouflage blind fabric.  I have some cool ideas that are actually experiments waiting to happen....Like:  I have a heat gun.  It is a smallish sort of craft gun that I used for melting glitter and gift basket plastic wrap.  It will heat shrink other stuff, but....I'm not crazy!  or am I?  I was thinking I could purchase a reasonably inexpensive camouflage print tarp and using the heat gun, I could melt little holes in the tarp.  Melted holes will allow air to pass through, give me or my son's something to tie vines through or to poke a branch with leaves on it through to remove the rectangular line of the blind.  And...because the hole is shouldn't rip.  Crazy?  I think NOT! 
     I also have some camouflage netting pieces I can work with and some rip stop nylon fabric in my fabric stash.  The rip stop is also a fabric that can be melted to allow for adding sticks and grasses and air.  Air is good.  
     I will be posting pictures of this effort next month as I am very busy for the next few weeks.  If I don't set my hair on fire (it happens)  this could be a good thing.  Until then, Look at these pictures of manufactured blinds.
But I can see you and if you are moving around,
deer can see you.  More sticks!!
This is an example of the mirror blind.  It looks great.  But, it is a mirror and when the sun breaks through or your dopey friend takes a picture, a flash could end your fun trip into the woods.   It only weighs eight pounds.  Not bad.  
Don't know this guy, but he would fit right in!  Clever
sue of buckets, Repurposed material, style! 
This came from my phone camera.  As God
is my witness, it jumped over the fence onto a
game preserve.  Florida Fish and Wildlife
are trying to establish a safe natural place for SAND CRANES,
but the deer like it too!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Under Bed Storage Box and Helping Others
     I have been looking around for a project that will teach the grandchildren to use the dead space in their rooms for smart storage.  The little ones are using that space now to hide out when they play the "You have to find me before you can bathe me" game!   

     I think this project is a simple, inexpensive yet impressive project any ten year old with adult supervision could accomplish.  When I go to Lowe's to purchase the wood, I will arrive with a list of wood and the lengths I need.  

     I will pull straight pieces from the stacks of their supplies then take it all to the cutting area and have the major cuts done in store.  After the first three cuts, they can charge .25 per cut, if they feel like filling out a piece of paper for the cashier.  The trick at the store is to make sure all the ends that have the price stapled to them are all facing the same way before you get to checkout.  

     The covering doors are optional and the door pulls are just finger holes.  I happen to have a collection of casters I have obtained from yard sales over the last two years.   I have plenty of screws and power tools, so, I figure I can make up to three of these without any expense beyond the price of the wood and my time.
     With all the pieces measured out and pre-cut, my eleven year old grandson and I could get this project done in an afternoon.  There is no need top push on time.  One a day will not interfere with his summer activities.  Yup! this is a done deal.  

     I have also found these bed lifters done in wood that might be something I want to do myself later this year.  They look more sturdy than the plastic ones I am using now.  These are priced at $62.  But I am sure I can come up with a pattern and make them from scraps.

     The issue of storage has come to the top of my list again this week.  I spent a day giving care and support to an adult brain damaged daughter of a client who needed a day out.  We had a nice day coloring and playing in her room.  There were a lot of art supplies in there in boxes.  As we opened them 'like it was Christmas' we found a home for everything.  There were several art kits that had been purchased twice and other anomalies like crayons.  yikes!  We had to go the craft store! 

     It was a fun day, but, as I spent more time in the home, I saw how little storage space is available in a modest two bedroom two bathroom apartment.  The closets were a seventies design, very narrow with no built in shelving for shoes or bags.  The floor plan was as open as it could be.  With all the furniture against the walls around the 'great' room, there was no place for any extra storage of emergency supplies without stacking it in the middle!  
Not the exact plan, but found
it online and it is approximate.

     After my special friend was settled in bed, I just spent time looking around at the total lack of built in storage.  Next time I go to clean for her, we are going to have that talk about bed lifters and creating zones in the furniture arrangement.  These zones will allow for the addition of storage pieces.  
These pieces and others like them can create a 'wall' or room divider 
Pieces like these are just simple boxes that
with a bit of paint can make a room cheerful and
can store a year supply of food.  So simple
an eleven year old and his grandma can make it! 
     I know she is open to this conversation from her complaints about moving in to this new place a couple weeks ago. I also know she always had hurricane food and supplies in the old house and she is all about being ready for anything that could cause her daughter fear or panic.  

     Now that she and her daughter are settled in a smaller more affordable place, she is almost debt free.  I will offer all the help I can to get them better organized and ready to store her special needs supplies in this new home.  


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gifts to Warm your Prepper

     In the summer time, I personally dislike working with fleece or heavy yarn projects.  Even with the air conditioner on full blast, my lap gets hot and, well, hate it!  For fleece projects, I work on the sewing table that is also a guest bed.  For yarn and crochet projects, I wait until the fall and the colder it gets, the faster I crochet.  I will post more on fleece projects later.

     I am on your side if you live in the hot summer country without a fresh breeze anywhere, but the minute it cools off, here are some craft projects for the prepper that any prepper would appreciate, as it comes from the heart and hand.

Winterize a loved ones' bedroom or bath room by making a quilted window covering.  Curtains that keep out the cold can be made in two parts.  This summer you can measure off windows or doorways and make what I call curtain covers.  Basically, they are a duvet with tabs that allow the curtains to be hung from a sturdy pole.  The second part can be done anytime.  You fill the curtain cover with a thermal blanket, or an old tattered quilt, or quilt batting, or the recycled sweaters used to fill a futon mattress.  Then you "tie" the curtain cover by using a curved needle and sturdy thread or yarn.  

If you have a nice quilt you are finished using and it matches your loved ones' decor, you can cut it, bind the edges, make window coverings and a couple of pillows or pillow shams.  

quiklt batting by the roll
The tabs the curtains hang from can be as simple as shoelaces folded in half and stitched to the top or as nice as yards of twill ribbon stitched across the front of a solid color curtain cover then looped at the top and stitched to the back to secure.  
Sew the Mittens Together

I do not knit.  I do know how to cut and sew.  You can join me in making a pair of knitted mittens by recycling a sweater.  Crochet a cord to keep them together or make a cord from the round spool loom (featured in basic weaving post).  These mittens were made from the sleeves of an old sweater.  You make a pattern by tracing the hand then draw a line about 1/2" all the way around the tracing.  Cut out the pattern and stitch along the tracing line.  Turn right side out and you're done.  

From the recycled sweater craft file, you can make leg warmers from the sleeves.
Make a vest from a sweater who's arms are blown out.
Steal away a favorite sweater that has seen it's better day, repair the elbows with patches of felt or leather and re give it to them!  
Use patches of sweater to make patch pockets on a sweatshirt.  
For all above projects, bind the edges by folding blanket binding over the raw edges and stitch closed with a simple running stitch.
Go online and find a recycle sweater craft site like this one. 

Don't forget your basic Loom crafts!

Make a warm winter scarf by sewing together a row of nine blocks made from  yarn on your potholder loom!  Use all earth tones to make a "Cammo" scarf or use up odds and ends of colorful yarn to look like the favorite Dr. Who scarf!  You will need way more than Nine! 

Also from your loom, you can make baby blankets, lap blankets or a whole bed cover, it just depends on how many squares you weave while watching TV !

Have fun, keep busy, give from the heart and hand.