Monday, September 30, 2013

Day to Day Survival

     I prep for disaster as a lifestyle choice.  I don't want to be that person on the news interview who reports, "He was such a quiet guy...who knew there were so many bodies in the back yard?!!"  or the on who honestly said'"I just didn't see it coming!"  He was talking about the tree on his house after a heavy storm.  Now, this guy had a southern accent.  So, he wasn't from another region of the country and should have been aware of the severe and sudden rainstorms in our area.  I mean, seriously, we are famous for them!  And, about the neighbor with the graveyard next door?  Well, that's just crazy!  

     My car is packed with the tools of my trade, all the light bulbs ever issued to my car, an emergency tool kit, the spare tire and jack and a bug out bag, or you could call it a get home bag.  Better than that, as a prepper, I can tell you where the stuff is and I can reach it even faster.  In my house, if you need something you just say, "Gram where is the....?"  and I can tell you.  If I bought it, I know where I put it.

What Tools do you carry in your Tool kit?
     This is not true for many other people.  Today, I walked into a regular client's home and she told me all heck broke loose.  There had been a flood over the weekend and she was sure the place was falling apart.  She asked if she had any fans or flashlights in her house because the "guy" needed a fan and a flashlight to work of the plumbing.  I told her there was a ceiling fan in every bedroom in her house and there were nine flashlights from amglites to 500,000 candle power flood lights in the closet under the stairs next to the seal-a-meal in the box.  (new in the box!)  (never opened, I've been dusting it for three years!)  Imagine!  She lives in her home, and has no idea where her stuff is.  Occasionally, she texts me to ask!  I don't mind if it is something I put away, but mostly, it is something she just forgot, but, she knows I know!
     For years, I have known and loved this woman and also known in a real SHTF situation, she will be almost useless.  She will put her kids in the car, she will become harried and frustrated while her husband tries to save things and grab things and think what they need, where they are going, how will they exist?  She will blow the horn and point as the roof comes off the house with him still inside and the kids in the back seat arguing over the volume of the DVD in the machine. 

     The terrible thing is this is a highly organized, powerful woman who can move mountains!   Her sister-in-law became ill, needed surgery and before she recovered from her reconstructive colon surgery, this lady raised over a million dollars for colon cancer research!  She worked that phone like a Jedi's lightsaber!  A million dollars for research and more!  All this while working from home, raising three active kids and keeping that high strung husband moving forward.   

     And, she doesn't know where the flashlights are!  I gave the plumber such a look when I handed him the maglite and told him to leave it on the counter so he didn't lose it like he lost his!  

     In an emergency or on the job everyday, you need to know where your stuff is.  You need to be able to put your hands on the important things.  You need to have an idea of what you will need, where you are going and be able to get it done!  During a rainstorm, is not the time to wonder if the roof will hold.  During a tornado is not the time to wonder where the safest place in the house is to be.  During an armed assault is not the time to wish for a better plan.  If the economy crashes, it will be too late to horde and panic shop.  

Cities with the most break-ins - Yahoo Homes
      Years ago, this family found the neighbors had been robbed.  They got on top of the safety issue.  They got an alarm, they put in solar powered motion lights outside, the lit up the dark corners of the property and they stopped flashing their wealth by leaving boxes for new things on the curb.  Unfortunately, they have removed trees with lights in them, tossed solar walkway lights when the batteries died, and forgotten to watch as they once did.  They actually walk out of the house with the doors unlocked and the alarm on stay.  It is as if, no one in the neighborhood has been robbed in awhile, so no one will!!??? ever??!!

     Sure, I have to shake down my car every couple of weeks to get the bragging rights for this story.  I go to a quiet place and pull out everything and toss trash, bent boxes, things I don't need.  I organize the contents of the car and the products I need for work.  I check the status of the get home bag and I vacuum the car just for fun!  But even on a messy day, I can grab a flashlight without asking the hired help!  

     Shake down your home, your vehicle, your life.  Get to know where your stuff is, and put it back neatly in that general area when done.  Don't be that bewildered  guy on the nightly news acting all surprised by a sudden change of routine and wondering where you are going to stay or what you are going to do next.  Get prepped!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weatherproofing Fabric

     Once upon a time, I was given a large boat cover.  It was heavy sailcloth and it was red.  I mean it was really red.  There was a section that was sun bleached so, it was red and the color was uneven.  I was going through a Native American era and I saw this fabric as a kid sized Tepee.  I had a book of native American crafts.  I got out my grandmother's good dressmaking shears and went to town!  While I was cutting I thought it would only be a play tent if I didn't make it waterproof.  

How-Tuesday: Backyard Teepee | The Etsy Blog
     I acquired a five gallon bucket of exterior latex paint from son number two and I painted both sides of the fabric.  After I assembled the teepee, I painted on some wild horses and my grandson took one of the sections to paint with his own creations.  Just for fun, I took it out to a Powwow to try it out before giving it to him and OMG folks! it worked!  I am happy to report I got a thumbs up from an authentic tepee maker.  Those photos however are lost on an old hard drive.  Mine had a floor liner as the boat cover was a BIG one.  The tepee lasted two seasons in his mom's backyard before it was rolled up and stored in the rafters.  

Floor Cloths: Historic patterns | Old House Web
     In the American colonial period, canvas sailcloth was sold in lengths both new and used to be used as floor coverings.  The canvas was painted in several thin coats on both sides, then designs were stenciled on for fashion.  These were the early carpets of the Americans.   Some of these floor cloths survive today in Natchez and colonial Williamsburg.  Imagine, canvas and paint.  They were walked on, feet wiped on and they survive.  Now, that's waterproofing!

     For those of you who know you will need tarps, in rainy climates, this method of water or weather proofing fabric may work for you.  A very thin coat of paint on both sides of the fabric turns it into an added layer of protection from storms.  A thick coat may seem like a good idea, but thick paint will crack in storage.  It can be stored by rolling it up and keeping it in the rafters.  Almost any cotton fabric can be stretched and painted to make a tarp to use when weather strikes!  

     If you find yourself living under a tin roof, or other sheet metal, You will eventually experience rust as it ages.  Paint it!..A coat of Kilz will cover the roof and it expands as it dries to make a better coat when it is dry than wet.  My number one son applied roof coating professionally.  Step number one, clean the roof.  Nothing sticks to a slick coat of algae or loose bits of rust.  Second, patch the worn spots with butyl tape.  Screw down or nail down any loose or lifted fasteners.  Caulk the seams, then coat with KILZ.  The butyl tape is just a fabric backed adhesive.  Fabric!  (like a tepee?)Hmmm!  I had a soft patch on my roof larger than the width of the tape, so number one took a piece of muslin I gave him.  He applied it to a clean caulked surface and coated it with the Kilz.  It is still there three years later.  
Oil & Water Based Primers | KILZ
     There are other methods for waterproofing fabric.  This (above)is a spray- on waterproofer.  It runs about $21 per 16 fl.oz.  The other is over $100 per gallon.  

Another method is this recipe found on Wikihow:
Waterproof FabricMix 1 cup (237 ml) of soybean oil with 4 ounces (118 ml) of turpentine inside a durable plastic spray bottle. Stir the mixture with a wooden paint stirrer.

Click here for four methods of waterproofing fabric.

There are also waterproof fabrics available for outdoor use.
Sunrise Outdoor Camouflage - Waterproof FabricSunrise Outdoor Solid - Waterproof Fabric
reg. 14.99 per yard

Rubber Sheeting ensures ultra-dry surfaces with maximum comfort. Crafted from 100 percent cotton, this sheet has been bonded with rubber to create a nonslip liquid-proof backing. Ideal for bed-wetting…

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Prep Items Made with the Straight Stitch & Scraps

     Since I posted a tutorial on the simple straight stitch, I thought I might follow it up with some items you can make using just this one stitch.  A pouch is a portable storage device.  So is an extra pocket where you need one.  Quilts and warm coverings are storable goods used for warmth and barter.  Breathing life into old items is another way to survive another day.  Remember first day of Social Studies?  Man needs food, clothing, shelter.  Well, THIS woMAN also wants warm sturdy clothing and coverings as well as portable storage 
     There may be no source for raw materials and I cannot see myself weaving cotton into cloth.  I like to take a pair of jeans and cut them down into their elements for future use.  Jeans may wear or tear at the pressure points like the knees.  When a hole happens and the jeans have been mended beyond being mended again, they still leave several useful areas to work with.  The patch pockets on the back are good to save. 
      Cut around the pockets at least one half inch to one inch all around.  One pocket can be applied to a purse, pouch or backpack to make more storage compartments for gear.  A single pocket is also a thick sturdy patch for a pair of worn jeans. Those smooth back no pocket jeans will wear thin after a while and a pocket back there adds storage and a sturdy patch.  A pocket from a pair of jeans makes a good pattern for making pockets and patches from other fabric.  Two pockets facing each other make a pouch.
  Apparently, two pockets and some of the legs also make a nice pair of slippers.  I am adding this site so you can see the use in something others would have thrown away.  Preppers trash nothing if it has good use left in it.  In a day when there is no extra, no more coming for a while, if ever, knowing how to make something out of nothing is a good skill.  Keep looking at those jeans. -
If your jeans wear out at the knee, cut them off at the knee.  Add a triangle from a second pair of jeans at the front and back and you have a new skirt that will wear forever.  

     You can also cut off the jeans at the hips and add fabric to make a skirt.  

Rag Quilts - How to make a Denim Rag Quilt
Prairie Harmony: Recycled Jean Quilt
The jeans themselves offer many pieces of fabric for making patches for patchwork clothing or patchwork quilting.  All these photos can show you is a guide to possibilities.  If you live in cold country, denim patchwork is for you!  It is warm and insulating as many lighter fabrics are not and the weight of the seams are great for trapping and keeping the body's heat. 
Recycled cargo backpack Realtree hunting by KarensKreations22

     Of course these techniques can be made on a sewing machine if you have mastered the straight stitch on the machine, you are golden.  These ideas also translate to other fabrics.  If you are an avid hunter, and have Real tree or other woodland cammo, these ideas also translate into useful stylish garments.  

You can keep patches or strips of real tree camo for making a ghillie suit or a hunting blind. 
     Keeping it truly simple, a triangle of fabric and a shoe lace is a head cover

     I like to start with the 'easy s' first.  I like people to feel they have accomplished something truly cool when they see their final product.  I cannot assume everyone is stocking up on fabric for TEOTWAWKI.  Just me, so far.  You may have to think about saving what you have to make more from it later.  So, if you have no fabric stock, look at your clothes closely.  
     I give clothes to charity if they are still good and useable, free from stains and tears.  If they are flawed, I cut them into scraps fro use later.  I have half a quilt in a shoebox waiting for two more pairs of jeans to die!