Sunday, January 27, 2013

Grocery Bag Dispenser

Grocery Bag Dispenser Tutorial
  • Cotton fabric, 18 W x 26 L
  • 1/4-in elastic, 6 in.
  • 2 eyelets (& eyelet setter)
  • 1 shoelace
  • Toggle

  1. Begin by cutting a piece of cotton fabric into a rectangle that’s 18 inches wide by 26 inches long. (If you’d like a slightly smaller one, you could use a fat quarter of fabric instead.)
  2. Lay the fabric face-down on your ironing board. Fold one short edge of the fabric up a 1/2 inch and press. Then fold up another 1/2 inch and press again, encasing the raw edge.
  3. This will be the bottom casing for our elastic. Sew 1/4 inch in from the bottom of the casing.
  4. Now flip the fabric around to the opposite short end. With your fabric face-down, fold the bottom edge up 1 inch and press. Then fold another inch and press again. This will be the top casing for the drawstring closure.
  5. Next we need to add two eyelets in the top casing for our drawstring to go through. The eyelets will be 2.5 inches apart, between the two fold creases at top. (They eyelets will be set IN the casing, but will only go through one layer of it.) Unfold the edge you just pressed. Find the middle of your fabric rectangle, then find the middle of the right side. Add your eyelets there. (You don’t have to be too precise, as long as they’re in that general area.)
  6. Fold the casing edge back in place. You can press again if needed. Sew the casing 1/4 inch from the inside edge.
  7. Now we can add elastic to the bottom casing (the end without the eyelets). Cut a piece of 1/4-inch wide elastic to 6 inches in length. Use a safety pin to feed it through the bottom casing. Stitch both ends to keep it in place.
  8. Next we’ll sew the long sides together. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and pin.
  9. Begin sewing at the bottom (the end with the elastic) and sew a 1/2 inch seam down the length of the fabric. STOP when you reach the bottom edge of the top casing. (You don’t want to sew it shut, or you won’t be able to add your drawstring!)
  10. Since we have a raw edge, we need to zig-zag it to prevent fraying. Again, stop when you reach the bottom edge of the top casing.
  11. Turn your bag right side out. Feed one end of a shoelace through an eyelet on your top casing. You’ll have the opening at your seam as well, just keep feeding the shoelace past it and out through the other eyelet.
  12. Now we need to sew that hole along the seam shut. Fold the fabric so that the hole is aligned with the long seam. Continue that seam by sewing the casing with a 1/2 inch seam, then zig-zagging over the raw edge. (You will be sewing over the shoelace, that’s okay because it has enough give on the other side.)
  13. Finally, thread each end of the shoelace through a toggle to create a drawstring. Tie the ends of the shoelace in a knot to create a loop for hanging.
  14. To use your bag dispenser, widen the top by loosening the toggle. Fill will plastic bags, and tighten the toggle again. Tug a sack through the elastic at bottom, and another will take its place. You can hang it on the back of the pantry door for easy access.
Thanks to: Maureen Wilson from Made by Marzipan

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

18 Steps to Becoming More Self Sufficient

 The more you can take care of yourself, the better off you’ll be physically, financially, emotionally and even spiritually. Here are 18 ways to become more self-sufficient while you still can:

1) Get a small solar system that can be used to run a laptop or recharge batteries
2) Drill a water well and install a hand pump or solar-powered DC pump
3) Set up a rainwater collection system or barrel
4) Stash some cash
5) Own and know how to use a water filter
6) Start a garden this spring and acquire more food production skills
7) Save garden seeds so you can plant the next generation of food
8) Acquire a wood-burning stove for heat and cooking
9) Possess a large quantity of stored food; enough for at least 90 days
10) Get to know your local farmers and ranchers
11) Store up valuable barter items that are relatively cheap today: Alcohol, coffee, matches, etc.
12) Safely store extra vehicle fuel (gasoline, diesel) at your home or ranch
Be sure to use fuel stabilizers to extend their life.
13) Learn emergency first aid skills and own first aid supplies
This could save a life or possibly save a trip to the emergency room.
14) Start growing your own medicine
Plant and grow aloe vera, oregano, garlic, cayenne pepper and other medicinal herbs that can replace a surprisingly large number of prescription drugs. Oregano, for example, is a potent antibiotic. Aloe vera treats cuts, scrapes and burns.
15) Own emergency hand-cranked radios so you can tune in to news and announcements

16) Boost your immune system with vitamin D and superfoods
17) Increase your level of physical fitness
18) Learn how to raise animals such as rabbits, chickens, goats or cows.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Born This Day In History 15th January

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Born: 15th January Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Died: April 4th, 1968 Memphis, Tennessee.
Known For :
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is best remembered as one of the most influential civil rights leaders in the United States during the 1960s. Some of his most remembered moments include participating in the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and his "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington. Dr. King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Back to Basics

For the past couple of years as I have blogged, I have written of things to make at home. Food of course but,also common articles found around the house.  I have done this to make life easier, to be "green" and protect Mother Earth, to end our use of unwanted chemicals in household products, to lower the cost of an item, oh, just lots of reasons. In that vein, here's another one of those back to basics postings. 

There are many reasons why you might like to try making your
own homemade shampoo. First, you may be appalled at the
unpronounceable ingredients in your current hair products. The
FDA doesn't regulate companies making personal care products,
so who knows what you are putting on your hair?
Secondly, commercial hair products strip your hair of natural
oils and mess up the chemical makeup of your hair, causing you
to turn to more products to fix the problem. Going the
natural, homemade way will bring your hair back into balance
the way nature intended.
Natural shampoo is also better for the environment. The harsh
chemicals in most store-bought products go directly down your
drain and into the water supply. Anyone care for a little
shampoo in your freshly made lemonade?
Don't forget about your home. Shampoo residues can wreak havoc
on your pipes, not to mention the buildup that requires a
professional plumber once or twice a year.
The most compelling reason to try homemade shampoo is cost.
Making your own products takes just a fraction of the cost of
constantly buying shampoo, especially with the climbing costs
of everything these days.
Okay, I've convinced you to try it. Here are two basic recipes
to try. They are safe for all hair types, but you may have to
adjust the amounts slightly for better individual results.
Basic Shampoo
1/2 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
Mix in a clean container with a lid. Shake before each use.
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
For a lighter rinse, try:
1 TBSP vinegar
1 cup water
Now, if you've ever tried homemade shampoo before, you may
have been turned off by the smell. Here's where the fun
begins! You can add essential oils in any scent, depending on
your mood. Try peppermint to wake you up, soothing chamomile,
relaxing lavender, or coconut and vanilla for an exotic mix to
transport your senses.
The baking soda shampoo alone can dry hair out, so the vinegar
rinse is to restore the hair to its natural pH level. There is
usually a two-week transitional period while your hair and
scalp adjust to the new routine. If it is unusually oily, do a
lemon or lime rinse instead of the vinegar three times a week.
Just squeeze a half lemon on your hair, massage it in, and
rinse thoroughly. If your hair dries out, add 1/4 teaspoon of
light oil to the shampoo.
Castile Shampoo
You need:
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup liquid Castile soap (like Dr. Bronner's, which you can
find cheaply on Amazon; you can also get awesome, organic
Castile soap from health food stores)
1/2 teaspoon oil (like jojoba, olive oil, or grape seed)
Mix all the ingredients into a plastic or glass bottle and
you're good to go!
As with any shampoo, don't wash your hair every day. As your
hair responds to the natural shampoo, it will become shinier,
more healthy, and manageable. As eating healthier makes our
bodies feel good, using homemade shampoo makes hair healthier
and prettier. So if you want beautiful hair without spending a
fortune, why not try homemade shampoo today?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spring Fashion?

Wondering how hard this would really be to fashion out of garden produce? It looks like it is made from cabbage leaves, green beans, brussels sprouts, spinach and finally kale around the hem. Oops forgot the green onion spaghetti straps. And, the vegetarian in your life would be so excited over this!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This is Why I Love Birds

This little parakeet is talking to this very patient cat as the he/she preens the cat. Listen for the words.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Moon on the Move and Other Star News

The third week of January offers a simple yet fascinating project as you watch the Moon move across the sky.

On the 14th, the Moon will appear as a thin crescent in the southwest in the constellation Aquarius.

The jackpot comes on the 21st. On this night, the Moon (by now 78% illuminated) is part of a spectacular display as it passes very near the planet Jupiter.

And, in other star news;
 An astronomical troublemaker will pass just a few million miles from Earth early tomorrow. Planetary scientists will keep a close eye on it to see if there’s any chance at all of it causing real trouble in a couple of decades.
The asteroid was discovered in 2004. Early measurements of its orbit indicated there was a small chance it could hit Earth in 2029. So its discoverers named it Apophis for a pair of mythological troublemakers — an Egyptian god of darkness and destruction, and the main bad guy in the early seasons of the TV series “Stargate: SG1.” Since then, the asteroid has spawned a legion of doom-and-gloom web sites.
Apophis’s orbit crosses Earth’s orbit, so Apophis periodically passes close to our planet. Tomorrow, for example, it’ll be less than nine million miles away. And it’s big enough that if it were to hit us, it would cause widespread devastation.
Soon after its discovery, though, better tracking of its orbit ruled out any chance of an impact in 2029. But it left a tiny chance of an impact seven years later — less than one in a hundred thousand.
The longer astronomers look at Apophis, the more accurately they can predict its exact location in the future. So each time the asteroid is in good view, it’s being tracked by both optical and radio telescopes. Those continuing observations are expected to rule out any chance of an impact in the next few decades — holding an astronomical troublemaker at bay.
Hope this never comes to pass....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Year of Beginnings

Here's to a new year. A year of hope. A year of beginnings. A year to end all years. Or, not. 
But, as I sat here thinking over the last nine months of my life and how the cancer diagnosis destroyed
my safety and security... I know I want something. What that is, I am unsure of. 

Cancer brought new words into my life. Words I hope no one ever has to hear spoken about 
themselves. It brought strange and sometimes difficult emotions to roost in my head. It brought never ending worrying. Pain. Misery. But, I digress. It also brought good things to me. 

My two sisters and I became closer. Via the magic of Skype. You see they live thousands of miles away. 
But, they were here with me every step of the way with my fight against cancer. Keeping tabs on me. Calling when they hadn't heard from me for a couple of days. Loving me and holding me up to the goodness of the universe. They were and are magnificent people.

My hubby, Mark, was here every day. Helping me in the ways only he could do. He was my rock and my stability. My go-to-guy for just about everything. 

And, the surprise of surprises.... I made a new friend. One who has become very dear to me. She was a work mate when this all started. Now that it is over and done with  (and yes it is done!!!!!!!!!), she is one of my dearest friends. She took over most all of the driving to and from the big city for my radiation treatments. For two long months we rode back and forth and back and forth on a daily basis. Never once did she accept money for the gas she was using. She was calm, gentle and always there for me. What a wonderful gift of friendship I got with this deal. 

I don't know why I am being so introspective today. Maybe it's the quietness of this morning.... Maybe because it's finally hit home I am not sick anymore. But, whatever it is doing this.... I am glad to be alive. Living my life once again.


Little old me...

My photo
An american yankee up past the 49th parellel.


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