Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tax Return Planning

   Well we got our tax return in this Monday. After repaying a small loan my husband gave me $1000 to spend as I saw fit. So the question is, if you had $1000 what would you do with it?
   Right now one of the top things on my list is to get a Berkey water purifier. Having a source of water is most important. Really, what good would dehydrated food do you if you had no way to re-hydrate it? I have been eye-balling a BERKEY  LIGHT for a couple years now. In my opinion anything that can filter out red dye is definitely on the higher end. Now regularly I'd take the frugal route of making my own (see the HOMEMADE BERKEY FILTER link on my Pertinent Links page). In this case however I'm going to go ahead and buy it for the full price and get the "free" gift that is worth $70 on the site (a choice of a shower head, filtering water bottles or the PF2 filters). Since I'd been looking at it on Lehmans, I was glad to see an extra perk if I bought it through the company for the same price that Lehmans offers it for.
   Purchase #2 is going to be that pressure canner that I've been waiting for. With a couple dozen jars to start, I'm planning on putting a little extra money towards meat and butter to can up and store under the bed. Wish me luck!
   #3 is going to be about $150 worth of herbs from herbal advantage, including some capsules, emu oil and another tea ball.
   A possible for #4 is going to be some school cirriculum from Keepers of Faith, something that I can use to home school the children in the basics with quality materials.
   As for the rest, I'm hoping to set some aside for yard sales (hopefully some off season deals like a Kerosene heater) or some barrels for a rain collection system (our water rates went up another 4.4% yesterday).
   Whats on your "To Get" List? Let us know!

Friday, April 15, 2011

No Cook Play-Dough

   Im sure you could find pages and pages of recipes and site after site that has a whole smorgasbord of recipes, but this is the one that I use that we like the best. On these long day after rainy West Virginia days play-dough is a life saver for the bored-out-of-their-mind children and their not-keeping-sane mother. Indulge in the neon colors from the store or let the kids create their own colors from the color charts on the backs of the food coloring boxes. We like to add extras too like glitter and sparkles. Have fun and exparament!

No Cook Play-Dough

1c. flour (and any extras you wish to include like glitter or sparkles)
2T. cream of tartar
1/2c. salt
1T. oil.
1c. boiling water with added coloring

   Stir together dry ingredients and add hot water. Stir together till all is combined and no flour remains uncolored. Let cool. Store in ziplock baggies or air tight containers. Doesn't need to be refrigerated, and lasts for a long time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Singer 15-90 ZigZag Attachment Video

   Just thought I'd let you all know that I have a new video that demonstrates a Singer Adjustable ZigZag attachment (part 121706) on my newly converted 1948 Singer 15-90 treadle machine. In the video I'm working on some cloth wipes for the new baby -something I plan to share with you on how to make (easy peasy) here soon.

   I've looked for videos all over the net for this attachment and the most I found was a 10 second or so clip. I was highly interested in the mechanics of it before I bought it. So here is a little glimpse of it working on an over-edge zigzag to prevent the material from raveling.

   When I can, I'll put up video of the buttonholer in use as well. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pizza - Crust and Sauce

   One thing about not eating a lot of dairy is the weird looks I get when I order a pizza without cheese. I've grown accustomed to it, and I've been remembered by the folks we most ordered from ("make sure there isn't any cheese on hers!").
    So here are some recipes that we use whenever we want pizza and don't feel like spending the dough (tee hee). Both of these recipes most likely came off of RecipeZaar, but its been so long I can't quite remember. Here they are.

Pizza Crust:
2t. yeast
1c. + 2T. water
2T. oil
2T. sugar
1t. salt
3c. flour

Soften yeast in warm (not hot) water. Add sugar, oil, salt, and flour. Mix till dough comes away from the bowl. Knead on floured surface till smooth (8- 10 min). Let rest 20 -30 min, shape. Makes one large pizza crust. To bake add sauce and toppings and cook untill crust is a light golden brown, and cheese (if using any) in the middle is melted. 

Pizza Sauce (Papa Johns' copy cat) 
In a small pan combine 
1 10 3/4 oz. can of tomato puree ( I use tomato sauce in the closest size to match)
1/4 c. water
1 t. sugar 
1t. olive oil
1/4t. each of :
   lemon juice
1/8 t. each of:
   garlic powder

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low 15-20 minutes. Use on pizza crust with choice of toppings or as a dipping sauce for bread sticks.

I definitely think this is a good contender against all those chain store pizza shops. Hits the spot every time. Also you can make up double batches (or more) of the sauce and freeze it for later when you need a quick fix for dinner. You can also leave the oil out and dehydrate it into leathers for space saving and food storage purposes- just add the oil when its reconstituted. 

Hope your family enjoys this as much as we do!

ATTENTION : I see many of you are checking out this page-Why don't you stop by the home page and check out this weeks book give away. Details are there and anyone may enter!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Heirloom Seeds-OTG (Off The Grid) Reprint

   I got this in the email this morning and thought I would share it with you. This is so much the sentiments that I feel and experience. Even in my closer relationships I feel tentative about sharing my plans and general awareness because I'm nervous about the looks and responses I'll get from these people. This email relays those feelings exactly. This was sent to me for the purpose of promoting their Heirloom Seed Bank. They have a good product, but as with anything it pays to compare and shop around. None the less, here is the "article".

   A recent condescending article out of the New York Times made me understand why there is a "them" and "us" mentality in this world. I'm sure you know the reaction when any type of preparedness topic comes up in polite conversation. I've seen it, and I'm sure you have too.

    It's the little smirk, the raised eyebrow, the quiet chuckle that lets you know in no uncertain terms that you're a lunatic because you choose to be prepared for the hard times coming. We're not talking hard-core survivalists here--we're speaking in terms of "preppers," people who can read the signs of the times and know it's about to get tough, and you better figure out a way to feed your family when it does.
It's like being prepared and not living life on the edge is idiotic for some reason. It's like using your common sense and seeing the way things are, refusing to put on the blinders, is comical to these people and cause for derision and snide insults.
I'm beginning to realize how Noah must have felt!
The Times article starts off with a condescending smirk. The subject is heirloom seeds, and the opening lines start with a suggestion that the reader consider buying a 1936 Oldsmobile coupe. No matter that modern safety features and technology haven't been incorporated into the 1936 car. If you're in the market for a car, why not start with a 75-year-old model? And then the writer comes in with his clever rejoinder and says that's exactly what heirloom seed purchasers are doing.
    We're dinosaurs. We're stupid. We're ignoramuses that just don't understand, refusing to advance into the modern era of genetically modified seed that has been chemically treated and manipulated. After all, according to one seed seller, "modern seeds, which are generally hybrid crosses, produce a 'more vigorous plant, with better resistance to diseases.'"
    We're called "right-thinking" gardeners, spouting an orthodoxy the Times author calls "heirloomism." And the chief executive officer of the Burpee Seed Company states that our desire for heirlooms comes from an "anti-science credo" that has hardened into a "Luddite fundamentalism."
    And this is where the author of the piece really doesn't get it. He goes on about taste, about the size of the plant and supporting structure, about the time it takes for vegetables to grow and harvesting. He never gets into the main reason that we want heirloom seeds.
    You see, I'm willing to allow a little more time for my tomato plants to mature if it means I can get the seed from them to grow another crop next year. I'm willing to forego all the wonders of modern science and genetic manipulation (and the resulting crop failure like has happened for those poor farmers in India) for those heirloom seeds that have hardiness etched into their genetic makeup, those varieties that have withstood the test of time and continue to grow and reproduce without needing a life support system to sustain them.
I'm willing to do all that for the sake of not having to depend on a smirking, condescending agri-giant to supply me with my seed stock. I'm willing to do that for the sake of being able to feed my family without having to depend on government subsidies or a faltering economy to do so.
And I'm sure that's the main reason you continue learning, striving, and doing as well.
We used to know what that word meant, but many people don't anymore. Those of us who do are ridiculed for our grit and determination. The neighbors look at you askance as you plant another fruit tree, till another garden plot, or try your hand at canning and food storage. Self-sufficiency has become the joke of the modern world that would rather trust its future to dubious associations and connections than experience true freedom.
And freedom is what it's all about.
  Freedom from worry...
    Freedom from stress...
      Freedom from empty stomachs and your children going to bed hungry...
   My Sentiments exactly.

   I hope I don't step on anyone's toes by reprinting this. I've given credit, and hope if I'm in the wrong for reprinting, that someone will make me aware of it. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

"Patternless" Patterns Links

   So sorry for only getting one post in this last week. We are starting to get things rolling with gathering things for our home birth and having more running around to do. I have also been playing with my newly transformed Singer treadle. I'll have to get a picture up for you soon- Its quite a monster of a thing as we took the iron base and slipped it up underneath the cabinet that the machine was originally in. It *just* fit. It certainly won't be winning any aesthetic awards, but it is functional, practical and my son can't jerk it off the table and onto the floor by tripping over the cords (I've lost three machines that way). 

   So as I promised, I have several links for patterns that you might find interesting and useful.

Here is a neat LINK for making different kinds of underwear. Patterns are free and may be printed out. Basic sewing knowledge is required. It says on the front page that it is underwear for men, but obviously this is a language translation mistake, as most of the patterns are for women. This is a lovely set of instructions from an Asian lady.

She even includes a pattern for a simple BRASSIERE for those who are able to wear smaller sizes (not much support needed), and a CAMISOLE.

Another link hub for FREE CLOTHES PATTERNS  includes these items of interest:

I'm a sucker for historical clothing. My husband would flip if started wearing these full time (though some day I'd like to make a set for me and my girls to have fun with). Here is a neat set of instructions for a CIVIL WAR ERA SKIRT  and project instructions for DRAWERS made from pillow cases. I do wear petticoats all the time, as I can't abide the feel of synthetic slips. Another neat set of simple instructions for a PETTICOAT made from a dust ruffle for $1.00. 

I may go ahead and keep adding patterns to this page and to the tab at the top of the page as I come upon them. Obviously I'll probably pass on things that I myself could in good conciensousness wear (with the exception of the mens underwear and ties!), but there are many more links on some of the hub pages that might interest those with differing style opinions.

Hope you enjoy- and happy sewing!