Monday, March 21, 2011

Sewing- Electrical Alternative

Singer 15-90 Electric With Knee Kicker Pedal
   My husband surprised me last year with a 1948 Singer 15-90 in the original cabinet. The lady that had it took very good care of it and used it regularly. It even has the original seat with it. Ever since having my own spinning wheel Ive loved the treadling action, and it has once again struck with this Singer. 

Singer ZigZag Attachment
   In the interest of converting it I have located a treadle base at a local pawn shop for 35 bucks (can we say hugely ecstatic grin?!). Also for the last couple of days Ive been perusing the best buys on the internet for a zigzag attachments and buttonhole attachments. Ive secured a buttonholer which should be here sometime mid-week, and am waiting for results of a bid for a zigzag attachment on Ebay sometime Tuesday. Depending on how much money I have left I might get a spoked wheel although I got a tip from MalePatternBoldness that it really isn't critical to have a spoked wheel, as the drive belt leather will fit in the groove used by the motor belt. I've also been thinking about using a rubber belt instead of leather as I'm told they don't stretch or slip like the leather ones do. 

Singer Vintage Buttonhole Attachment
   Among the many other great things Ive found for the 15-90's and other vintage and antique sewing machines my heart throbs for the "Black Penguin" walking foot put out by Singer. However for the price range it might have to wait for an extended period of time. Seriously considering a newer version that meets April 1930's standards at a much more affordable price. For a great selection of attachments and parts check out April 1930's.
Rubber Drive Belt

I can't say that these preparations are more or even less important than say food storage, but having a larger family makes it among the necessities. In the event of trade relations going south (already happening) and the availability of cheap imported clothing (on the backs of child and forced labor) going with it, I doubt I would be able to find any modest clothing for my children (especially my girls). Obtaining a variety of patterns is also on my list and I plan a post here very soon about links to useful patterns such as no-pattern patterns, undergarments and such- something that will be very useful when Walmart is no longer importing these items.
Spoked Hand Wheel
  As my friend Staci suggested it's just as important to learn thriving skills as well as survival skills. Survival skills will get you by in the event of emergencies and disasters, but there comes a time when you need to look beyond the immediate and start living again. This is one of my "normalizing" steps- keeping up with seasons and the needs of growing children.
Be looking for the next post on patterns. Hope you have a great day!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Plantago major
   Plantain is a gem of a "weed" that is so commonly available that everyone should be aware of it. The power of this little gardeners nuisance is strong enough to treat snake bites, bee stings, spider bites and even severe blood poisoning. Our experience with this herb has been mainly with stings and bites, but also with a case of blood poisoning in my youngest daughter when she had just turned 2. 

   Children can be taught easily to identify this plant and shown how to use it in the case of bug bites and stings. When no mortar and pestle are available, mashing between two clean rocks works, as well as chewing some in the mouth and applying it to the bite work equally as well.

   Mainly used as a poultice, but also as tincture, or tea, plantain is otherwise know as ribwort.

Here is the excerpt from Dr. Christophers School of Natural Healing:

  Both the roots and leaves have moderately diffuse and stimulating alterative effects for the circulatory system. They also assist the glandular system, healing the lymph and epidermal areas in scrofulous and skin diseases. Plantain is an excellent remedy for kidney and bladder troubles. It is an effective remedy for poisonous bites and stings, since the poison of fresh stings is extracted rapidly, often within an hour's time.
  It is the best herb for blood poisoning: reducing the swelling and completely healing a limb where poisoning has made amputation imminent. Finally, it is very useful for easing pain and healing problems in the lower intestinal tract. This valuable "weed" is often found in soils close to most habitations, in parks, sports fields, etc.

Plantago lanceolata
    When our daughter started complaining of her owie when I'd bump her toes putting her socks on or just padding around the house I chalked it up to exaggerating. She did have the remains of a split underneath her toe where the skin had stretch so far as to pop open. Those can be pretty sore and irritating, I know! But everything looked OK, a little pink where the new skin had healed over, but otherwise fine. 

   About 3 to 4 days after she started complaining I looked (yet again) to see if I had missed anything, perhaps a splinter or something, and saw the tell tale streak of red running from the previously injured toe up the top of her foot. Sure enough the whole toe was swollen, as the wound had healed from the skin down instead of from the inside out, and blood poisoning had started making itself known. Three hours after applying a simple Plantain poultice (mashed up leaves) the red streak was almost completely gone. I renewed it for overnight and all redness was gone by morning. It was still swollen pretty well and I percieved that there was a good deal of infection still left. So we used some of the Black Ointment to draw it out. By afternoon the goo had all but completely drained from around the toe and healthy flesh and skin was visible. We went ahead and did another plantain poultice for extra measure and then used a comfrey ointment as the wound healed up the second time. 

   Can you imagine the cost we avoided by taking care of this at home? I'd wager several hundred dollars. Not to mention the damage to her liver and glands with all the antibiotics we would have been prescribed. Add to that the follow-up visits, the cost in time from my husbands work schedule and the resulting loss of pay.  All completely avoided because of this God-given herb that so many try to eradicating from their lawns with all sorts of chemicals!

   Plantain has two familiar forms- Plantago major, or broad leaved plantain with its familiar seed spikes (picture #1) and Plantago lanceolata which has a small flower spike with little ray like petals (picture #2). Both are equal in medicinal potency. Although easily identifiable, make sure there are prominent veins or ribs on the back of the plants leaves (which also makes it easy to identify in the dark!)

   In any case make yourself aware of this useful herb and remember to rinse and dry some for winter use as well.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Home Made Cream Soups Recipe

Found this recipe at Day to Day Adventures and asked to include it here. A real meal and space saver for the prepared homemaker. Found it also at (formerly with several variations. I believe I will try looking for the Herb-Ox brand of bouillon cubes to use in mine as they are MSG free.

2 c. dry milk powder
3/4 c. cornstarch 
1/4 c. reduced sodium chx or beef bouillon granules
1/2 t. dried  thyme
1/2 t. dried basil
1/4 t. black or white pepper

Mix dry ingredients and store in an air tight container.
To prepare as a substitute to 1 can store-bought use 

1/3 c. of dry mix and 
1 1/4 c. water in a bowl or saucepan. Warm in the microwave (stirring every 30 seconds for 2 minutes) or heat on the stove.

1 recipe equals 9 cans of store-bought cream of soups.
Kim recommends using chicken broth for cream of chicken soup instead of the water. Other additions may include cooked celery and broth for the water substitute, chopped mushrooms and the water from the can as partial substitute for the water, chopped broccoli etc.

Thanks so much Kim! :-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Honey-Apple Pancakes (no milk, no eggs)

   I got this great recipe from the Wholesome Sugarfree Cooking cookbook. Excellent with or without syrup, I really liked this recipe as it uses no milk or eggs, but substitutes apple juice and  a bit of water and oil for the liquids. I was sort of skeptical that it would turn out well as it didn't have those ingredients, which I thought were critical to a good pancake recipe. My only changes to the recipe were a bit more honey- about a tablespoon more - because it came out of the jar faster than I could stop it and I used dried apple with  1/4c. more apple juice. I also used a bit more of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg because I don't usually buy apple pie spice. 
Here it is as written in the cookbook from an apparently talented Ms. Laura Yoder of Free Union, VA.

1 1/4c. flour 
1/4 t. salt 
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 t. apple pie spice
1/8 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 T. water
1 1/2 T. oil
1t. baking powder
3/4 c apple juice
1 T. oil
1 apple finely chopped

   In medium bowl stir together flour, salt and 2 t.baking powder apple pie spice, soda and cinnamon. Mix water  1 1/2 T. oil and 1 t. baking powder together. In a small bowl, add the other wet ingredients and chopped apple; add all at once to flour, stirring until blended, but still slightly lumpy. Let batter rest 2-3 minutes. Fry in hot oil.

   I didn't really get the division of the oil, and I just combined all wet ingredients together and added them to the dry ingredients (including my dried apple) and stirred together. Having 3 tablespoons of honey was awesome, as I could smell the honey as they cooked -drooool. I would suggest trying a test pancake or two to get used to the way they cook, as they didn't bubble on top for me like regular pancakes do- only a bit around the edges where the batter was thinner. I made about 24, 1/2 dollar size pancakes for my kids and I   (about a tablespoon of batter each). Pretty neat and tasty recipe for my food storage. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bacon, Eggs, and Buttered Toast -Shelf Stable Breakfast

  Found an awesome article about canning bacon at BACKWOODS HOME  that I am definitely going to try at home! Another great way to take advantage of meat sales before the price of pork skyrockets in about a year. We are also planning on taking advantage of a friends piglet raising this year and are buying a hog to put up in various ways (great thinking on my husbands part!)
   And what goes better with bacon than fried eggs? Although powdered eggs are a life saver when it comes to food shortages, nothing beats a good fried egg. And although I can't find the source where I read it, at this time, Im pretty sure the powdered eggs are made with some type of aluminum to keep it free flowing. So here is a link to a page that shows you how the old timers used to store surplus eggs without refrigeration for up to a possible 2 YEARS. See all the information, test results and how-to's at NON-REFRIGERATED EGG STORAGE.
   Of course eggs and bacon wouldn't be complete without toast and butter. I'm sure you have the ingredients for the bread, so here is a great tutorial on how to can your own butter (ghee) from a sweet lady who was nice enough to share her methods.


Hope this adds some new dimensions to your pantry and your creativity- ENJOY!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home Made Laundry Soap- Small Batch Conversion

   I've been leery of trying this 'recipe' as I don't really have room to store a 5 gallon bucket of liquid soap, especially with snoopy children, and a boy that loves to experiment. Not to mention the whole clean up issue if it were to get dumped. I figured I could try the powdered version but was disappointed that the load size of liquid soap was so drastic as compared to the powdered, and I started thinking. Thanks to the beautiful mathematically oriented brain of my best friend Staci, we (she) figured out what proportion it would be to make a quart at a time of the liquid soap. 

   To reiterate the recipe that can be easily found all over the net:

(Powdered Version)
1/2c. Borax
1c. Washing Soda
1 bar Fells Naptha grated fine

   Sparing you the mechanics of the math (because I honestly don't remember how she did it :-p), the proportion comes out to 4t. powdered mix to one quart of the hottest water you can get out of your faucet. Stir til dissolved and let set 8 hours or overnight. Viola! You have a mini batch of home made laundry soap that (at 1/4c.-1/2c. per load depending on load size) is quick to make, convenient (the night before your regular laundry day), space saving and most importantly can be kept out of reach of curious little boys and their bugs, and tipsy toddlers!
   And being hormonally forgetful as I am right now Ive actually made a weaker version of 2t. per quart and not really have a whole lot of difference on how well it works. In my 1/2 gallon pickle jar I usually put 5-10t. and have it come out wonderful. Really couldn't handle the snotty look at first when I forgot to stir it before pouring a bit into my quart jar and it just about made me loose it. Am going to try adding some essential oils to it here soon, and am excited about being able to change the scent of the mixture whenever I want, as I wouldn't be stuck with 5 gallons of a smell I or my family couldn't tolerate.
   So I hope this helps with those of you that have space issues, or children issues and have been looking for a solution. 
   Happy washing!