Stocking Stuffers or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 2

How many of you are like us?  We hate shopping.  Period.  We do almost all our shopping online, mostly at Amazon.  Seriously.  The only other stores we enter are farm stores, hardware stores for home maintenance, grocery stores (there’s only two to choose from), and sporting goods stores (for camping and outdoor stuff).  We’re just not shopping types.  So when the holidays roll around, we either give gift cards, cash, or order something online and have it delivered.  Mostly it depends on the desires of the gift recipient.  All that’s left is the stocking stuffers, and they are super easy too!

A previous article, Disaster Recovery or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 1 about gift giving was important because everyone needs to be prepared, even those who don’t believe in “prepping”.  That book offers up a way to get them thinking, and maybe get their brains working in that direction.

Another way to help the unprepared prepare in a kind way would be to give them stocking stuffers or small gifts that will be perceived as thoughtful, kind or silly, rather than pushy.  Who doesn’t want someone to care about them at the most important level?

The important thing about all these gifts is that they will get your reluctant preppers to think about things in a different way. Many of the items they will use up right away. Even so, likely they will buy more of them and will have them on hand. When a world changing event does happen, they now have a different way of thinking and will grab those items on their way out the door.

Here is a list of stocking stuffers and small gifts we will be including this year for family and friends.

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Is your cup half empty or half full?

  Is your cup half empty or half full?

Prepper Encouragement

We have all met people who go through life complaining or whining or feeling sorry for themselves.  These cup half empty folk never see the blessings in their life. If we listen too long, this kind of person or persons can depress  or poison us with their sour attitudes. On the flip side, I’m sure you’ve met the half full individuals as well. These are those who look for the bright side and thank God even in the darkest of days.  They lift us up with their positive attitude and give us hope.

I bring this up because as we prepare for hard times ahead, many only see the difficulties and obstacles ahead. Some of these are budgeting in order to afford the necessary items when our finances are already stretched to the max.  Storing more food, collecting the seeds, learning skills like canning and preserving or sewing…you name it they worry about it. They have questions like: Will we be ready when the day comes and things crash? Will we be able to protect our families from those who didn’t prepare and want to take what we have? Will we have enough to get us through the dark days?

I want to take this opportunity to remind you God is with us. He will never leave or forsake us. We can trust Him to care for us. When you are overwhelmed with worry or general concerns…do what you can do and leave the rest to God. Worry is not trusting that God can or will take care of things. It is looking to self, seeing our inadequacies and not turning to the one who can help. Don’t get me wrong, we still need to do our part. Just don’t worry about it. Slow and steady preparation is the key.

I want to challenge you to be a half, three quarters, or full cup individual. Don’t look at the challenges ahead with dread. This is a time to share our faith in God and His great love. We can share our concerns with those who will listen, band together with like-minded people and plan together for the future. We should encourage one another and share information. We need to vote for more candidates who are in agreement with our views. Last, but not least, we  pray God will give us the discernment with whom to align ourselves with and resources to prepare in a wise manner.  It’s my hope this short note will give you nuggets of wisdom.

Recycle and Reuse Series: Cloth

Recycle and reuse fabric.When we were kids, my mother used to recycle fabric by taking apart hers, or other people’s, old clothes and make new clothes for us.  One pair of men’s denim overalls would make a couple of pairs of pants and some shorts for the both of us.

Her dresses could make dresses and shirts for us.  She was quite skilled with a sewing machine and a pair of scissors.  She didn’t need a pattern.  She could see what she wanted to make.

Today, people buy more clothes than they can reasonably wear, then toss it out because they get tired of it before it wears out.  Too bad for them.  As a prepper, its your gain.

Those clothes end up in a variety of charity and other resale shops.  Take advantage of it!  Next time you shop in the local Goodwill, don’t go planning to buy a certain item for a certain person.  Although, that is useful too!

If you are a quilter, check out shirts, dresses and skirts for any suitable fabric for quilting.  Look in all departments.  Even children’s clothes can make a good number of quilt blocks.

Denim will come in handy for all sorts of things from making hammocks to bags of all sorts for a variety of purposes.

Lastly, save the scraps of fabric after sewing a project.  The pieces can be used as patches for other garments or items.  Quilters already know they can be used to make quilts.

By this time you should have quite a few quilt tops made.  Have you priced quilt batting yet?  The good stuff is unreasonably high dollar.  The cheap stuff is, well, cheap.

An alternative is to do like our grandmothers and great grandmothers did for generations past.  Use an old worn out blanket or quilt as batting for the new quilt.  Sometimes they would put new quilt tops on for the third time.  The quilt blocks were made of scraps of fabric left over from clothing past.

Another use for old cloth is to shred it into fine or very small fibers to be included in  your mix for hand made paper.

Lastly, fabric you don’t want to reuse but is still “good” goes into the rag bag.  Use it to clean messes and do dishes.  They go to the shop or garage to clean up paint and oil, then to the trash they go.

The secret to reusing fabric is knowing what is worth the effort and what is not.  If the fabric tears too easily, it’s probably not any good.  If it is thread bare, toss it out!


Recycle and Reuse Series: Glass

All glass can be recycled and reused.Glass containers are a good recycle resource for preppers because glass can be used over and over again.   That empty spaghetti sauce jar?  Store your dry beans in it.  Plastic bags get nasty over time, your beans will stay fresh longer in the glass jar.  Storage of food and beverage items is only the beginning.  Glass bottles can be converted to drinking glasses.  The discarded top of the bottle can be used for other purposes or melted down.    Those wine bottles?  Use them as candle holders or cut them at the neck and convert them into pencil holders and flower vases and pots.  In the sewing room, they can contain those pesky pin and needles as well as button and other notions that tend to fall to the bottom of the sewing basket.  Outside uses include laying them on their sides like bricks using cement to make a decorative wall.  In the garage they become perfect storage for nails, nuts and bolts and other hard to keep track of items.

Some things to remember when storing glass for recycling or reusing are:  sort according to previous use:  glass used for food storage will have thicker walls, smooth interiors and be free of bubbles inside the glass.  Glass with thin walls breaks easily.  Broken glass any where other than where it needs to be is dangerous.  When you are considering what to do with glass objects, if it has bubbles in the walls, do not use in the oven or fill with hot food.  The bubbles are unpredictable will burst and break the container.

As with any job, the right tools make all the difference.  Glass cutters will help you make desired cuts and sandpaper will smooth sharp edges.  Safety is important too.  When working with and sanding glass always wear eye protection and breathing masks.  The last thing you want is glass in your eyes and lungs.  Your imagination and common sense can tell you what glass does to eyes and lungs.  If you decide to use a heat source to remelt the glass, there is a whole new set of concerns and skills you will need.  See to it that you get them from the best sources and teachers available.  The last thing anyone needs is injuries that can happen to people who are not prepared to work with molten glass.

Free Prepping Series, Part 2: Organization

Proper prepping means thinking about organization and what it means to a prepper.  Becoming organized is something you can do for no cost.  Everyone can organize their preps, especially a beginning prepper.  As a beginning prepper, your organization task is much easier than someone who has just been stuffing their things in a room or garage for the last 15 years.  If you have read  “Getting Started: A Primer Series for New Preppers” and have done those things, then you know you have stuff to organize.

If your food preps are not sorted, labeled and dated, you will not be able to use your supply in the order in which it ages out.  It is important to use the oldest foods first to prevent waste or illness.  Store food supplies in dry, cool, dark areas.  I can’t say how many times preppers go to a lot of work to prepare and save food items then store it in inappropriate places or in rooms with sunlight.  Many of those prepping efforts are wasted.

People don’t think about clothing and sewing supplies as perishable.Prepping Fabric

They are.  Fabric will rot over time if exposed to air.  It gets moldy and moths and dust mites get in it.  Thread decays and weakens.  Test thread by wrapping around a finger on each hand and pull it with a snap.  The easier it breaks the more rotted it is.  Elastic also gives out over time.  It is possible to save the products in much the same manners as food items by vacuum sealing plastic bags.

The same goes for almost everything else you will be setting aside as preps.  Pay attention to how you store them.  Nothing lasts forever.

Organizing and planning how and where you will store your items will save you years of trouble and heartache.

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 2

Today, you get to learn more about yourself and those who live with you.  Following is a list of skills your household will need if an event  requires you to survive on your own without outside resources.

  • cooking (from scratch, not convenience foods)
  • sewing
  • mechanics
  • first aid
  • security

This is a partial list of skills needed.  The list will changed based on your situation.  For instance, if you live in a rural setting and have to maintain your water supply system, you will need plumbing skills.  We’ll get more in to situational skills in later issues.  For now, add the assessment of skills inventory to your notebook.

Now we will examine the skills listed above in more depth.  Most people would look at that list and think “no big deal” when it comes to cooking and sewing.  Those people would be mistaken.  My wife is an accomplished cook and seamstress.

My wife can feed a family of five for less than $5.00 and we walk away feeling full and satisfied.  On top of that, she makes delightful dishes to eat.  During the most difficult financial situations, she has been able to put meals on the table when others thought there wasn’t any food in the house.  She is talented at using what we have on hand to come up with a meal for how ever many people happen to be sitting down to dinner.  She knows how to use spices and seasonings to make even the most lowly dishes taste heavenly.

This is all important because in our modern society with financial cutbacks in education, many schools have shut down home economics classes.  Our students are only going to learn these skills in homes where their parents have time to teach them.  While many families do attempt to teach their children how to cook this or that dish, few families actually teach their children how to effectively and efficiently manage a kitchen.  And that is the skill you need in an emergency or survival situation.  You need someone who can manage the most precious resources of food and water.

The only way to get that skill is to learn all you can about cooking and kitchen management.  If you are the person designated to manage the kitchen, read everything you can get your hands on.   Cookbooks are great, but you need food textbooks.  Check around for high school home economics texts from 1940 to 1955.

Now about the sewing, during the years our children were being raised, she sewed all their clothes until they entered junior high school.  The only clothing we purchased for them were shoes, undergarments and jeans.  Actually, she sewed her own clothes since she was in high school.  Her ability to sew saved our family thousands of dollars.  On top of that, the kids enjoyed going with her to choose fabrics and patterns.   Our daughter liked that no one else could ever have the clothes she had.  The boys took pride in that they had custom made clothes.  Even in high school, she made clothes they loved and that other kids asked her to make for them.  I’ve watched my wife sew.  It’s amazing.  She can take a piece of fabric and “see” what it will be and look like when she is finished.  If there is a design she wants. but doesn’t want to pay designer prices, she simply sews it.  She says anyone can sew.  She doesn’t lie.  Anyone can buy fabric and a pattern, then follow the instructions to create clothing.

Tomorrow we will discuss mechanics, first aid and security.  Tune in!