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Grams Image

Monday, February 27, 2012

1928 Singer Treadle Sewing Machine

I bought a Singer Treadle machine last summer and it has been sitting in the corner waiting for some attention for a while.  Well, it kept wispering to me that it was lonely.  So I decided to make a life long friend of it.  So this calls for naming her.  Now that seems like a silly thing but most of my most beloved items have seemed to pick up a name along the way.  I have been thinking that the person who had the most impression upon me when it comes to sewing was my Mom.  She sewed all of our clothes when I was growing up as well as her own and my sisters.  She also made a few things for my brother but she pretty much steered clear of making my Dad's clothes because he wore mostly suits or at least dress pants and dress shirts and she felt he should have bought clothes for his type of work.

So I think my machine should be named Miss Betty after Mom. 

Now, Miss Betty was a bit sad when I bought her from someone who advertised her on Craigslist. She was really dirty and she obiviously had not been run for years.  Her belt was off, her bobbin winder wheel was dried up and cracked so I sent off for a new one.  While waiting I have scrubbing and polishing to do and then I will have to oil her.  I found a free download for a Singer manual for her model.  So I printed all 28 pages out and read it through.  Then I took a journey on You Tube to see if anyone showed how to clean and oil her.  Sure enough there was a two part video on cleaning a machine very similar even though it was a hancrank model instead of a treadle machine.  Very informative and it got me started along with the manual to start cleaning.

The whole day yesterday I spent scrubbing polishing and waxing the outside of Miss Betty.  She is starting to look a lot better.  She will be a pretty lady when she is finished except for a being a little bit worn around to Japaned decor on her.  My mother was a cigarrette smoker and Miss Betty was covered in a thick coat of nicotine and tar and dust.  So it was obvious she came from a smokers home.  So now she is a non-smoker and should stay a lot cleaner.  A bit of a dust and polish once in awhile should keep her clean. 
Now let me explain why I even have Miss Betty.  I believe that in the future we will have problems with our financial system which may mean a collapse of our economy.  We may not be able to afford electricity or it won't even be available due to what the current administration is doing to our energy costs.  So we bought a few Harbor Freight Solar kits and we will be installing them this coming summer.  Our kits won't add up to enough power to do much so I am cutting back on our electric usage and finding substitutes.  We have wind up lanterns and I have more than a 30 gal. tub of candles which I have collected from thrift stores over the past few years.  I also have six kerosene lamps which I don't like to use and will only do so for short periods of time due to the smell.  We have a boxwood style wood heating stove which you can also cook on top of and I have a solar oven for summertime.  My hubby is going to make me a couple of rocket stoves to cook on as well.  So we will not need the solar power for much other than charging batteries and the use of a radio or tv if they still operate.  We do have a handcrank radio as well to have as a backup. 

I realize that having 5 grandaughters 3 of which are still young that they will be needing clothes as they outgrow what they have.  I will also need to be able to mend all of our clothes and linens as well as maybe taking in mending or sewing to barter for items or services we will need in the future.
My husband can do many things like making compost tumblers, solar dehydrators, and rocket stoves for trade so I want to be able to help the family with something to barter as well.

If Iran gets its way we will be hit by an EMP event that they will be behind sometime in the next year.  I pray that they won't be able to accomplish it but it is far too likely that they will be capable of it soon.  They have been shooting off missiles from ships which tells me they have the capability of sending a nuclear warhead above our country from off the coast somewhere in the Atlantic and or Pacific and even off of the Gulf of Mexico.  So I just want to prepare just in case. 

Miss Betty is just part of those preparations.  After she gets clean and oiled and repaired I will be practicing threading, adjusting tensions, and learning how to treadle her to sew.  Thank God I already know how to sew so at least I am ahead on that front.  Mama made sure my sister and I knew how to sew and I have made some clothes for myself and my granddaughters over the years but I must admit not that much in the past few years.  I have been involved in prepping and canning and learning new recipes to use with storage so I have neglected keeping up with sewing.  The one thing I have done is to collect patterns for making clothes for all my granddaughters and my daughters in laws and also a lot of the notions that will be needed.  The thrift stores have been a great help in that arena.

I hope that I will be able to learn how to use Miss Betty as good as I can my electric machine.  I also would like to teach my daughter in law and my granddaughter how to sew some of their own clothes on Miss Betty as well. 

Think about how YOU will mend clothes or make clothes or linens  or what ever else you made need made out of fabric.  You too may decide to look for a non electric sewing machine for yourself. 
Thanks for letting me share my adventures with you. 

Remember; Every journey begins with the first step!   God helps those who help themselves!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Favorite Links

I have added a few new links on the side bar.  Pioneer Living is a great site and the Preppers Podcast has all kids of great guests and discussions on survival topics.  I ask for you to check them out and learn from some experts in the various fields.  The Milandred's are long time homesteaders and are very good at sharing their experiences with those that are interested in being self sufficient.  Check them out!

Somewhere in Time

We live in a time of wonders, we also live in a time of horrors.   I was born in a time of innocence and awe.  My birthday is on July 21st and on the eve of my 18th birthday I sat in my parents living room watching news coverage of the Moon landing and remembering when I was 10 and Alan Shepherd being the first American in Space.  Our country seemed so great, so together and in harmony on the day we first landed on the moon.  But I also remember being about 8 and my father looking at plans to build a fallout shelter because of the incident at the Bay of Pigs.  The nuclear standoff was terrifying and it made a deep impression on me.  My school never told us to drop and cover.  We understood that if there was a nuclear exchange that we would be incinerated.  Dad decided after studying the plans for that shelter and talking to Mom that it would be better to die quickly rather than to suffer slowly because of the fallout.  Dad was a civil engineer and he knew what it would take to become safe from the radioactive fallout and there was no way that we could build a shelter big enough to hold the 5 of us and the food and water necessary for several years.

In those days the fallout was very highly radioactive and long lived.  It would have taken years to be safe above ground again if we had gone to war.  My family was probably what was considered middle class or lower middle class but we never really felt too much of a problem with money but Mom and Dad had no savings and lived paycheck to paycheck.  We had a mortgage on our house which my Dad had built with only the help of my uncle once in awhile.  I grew up in that home until I was about 17 and my parents moved across town.  I remember not having a TV as a kid and we didn't even have a phone until I was about 4 and then it was a party line.  We owned one old car.  We had the basics but not much else.

We had homemade Christmas gifts because my parents never had enough to buy gifts.   My Mom made all of our clothes and we got one pair of shoes a year just before school started.  We, my brother, sister, and I went barefoot most of the time in the summer and might have had a pair of flip flops.  By summertime our shoes were quite worn out but we still wore them to church nicely cleaned and polished until we got our new shoes at the end of August for the new school year which was going to start. I remember putting on my shoes and walking around the house to break them in and feeling rich because they were brand new.  I loved the clothes Mom made and wore them with pride.  We never felt poor because we had much more than many people and we had the pride of a good and honest family that was well known and respected in our town of 20,000.  I don't remember a time that my parents went in to town that they weren't pulled aside and spoken to as Mr. or Mrs. and with respect.  Those were the days when you never locked a door to your house or car.  There weren't home invasions or murders.  There was very little theft and usually only by some kid who swiped a bike left by the roadside while you went into the woods to pick blackberries or you went to swing on a tire swing over the gully.  I loved my hometown and never wanted to leave it.  But things happen and you choose being with the person you love and you follow him from duty station to duty station because he was in the military. 

I have spent most of my life being a reader.  As a kid I read science fiction because of what was taking place with our Space Program, especially since we lived only one and a half hour drive from the space center in Florida.  But when I was 15 I had to have my tonsils out.  My Aunt gave me the book Swiss Family Robinson to read while I recuperated and to keep me quiet and I fell in love with the old days and survival and gave up my dream of being a colonist on the moon or Mars.  So I dreamed of living on a desert island or moving to where things were more simple and you were taking care of yourself and your family.  I read all of classics that I could find about that kind of adventure like Mysterious Island, Robinson Crusoe, Earth Abides, Darkness and Dawn trilogy, Mutiny on the Bounty, Men Against the Sea, and Pitcairn Island.  I then found Little House on the Prairie series, and then started searching out books written about the Colonial days and the migration westward and the Oregon Trail.  I read about all of the people who helped found our country such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.  As an adult I got interested in Family History when I found out that my great great grandmother went to Utah in a wagon train with the Mormons in 1856.  My great grandmother was born on that journey 5 days after her father died from cholera.  That must have been pretty tough for her mother.  That ignited my interest and the same Aunt who gave me Swiss Family Robinson introduced me to Genealogy.  I was so interested that she gave me copies of all of her paperwork.  Back then it was much harder to get information.  That was prior to home computers.  So you did the old snail mail requests for information and visited libraries to get your facts.  Well, I found out a lot more about being a "Pioneer" studying my family history.  Two sides of my family came over in 1636 and of course my great great grandmother came over in 1856 from England to join the Mormons in Utah. 

What do kids today know of their families history?  Not much unless we share it with them.  My father's father came from England when he was 22 in 1884 to be a miner in Montana.  So my family depending on which part you want to talk about were pretty much all pioneers of some sort.  So maybe you could say that being a pioneer is in my blood. 

Now consider what today's world is like.   I feel we may be going back to the lifestyle of the pioneer days in the not too distant future.  Our world today is full of religious wars and political strife and severe economic problems.  We are being told that we don't know what is good for us and they are taking  away our constitutional rights, and now we are faced with a National Debt that is going to put us in Bankruptcy as a nation and I can see this country going through a worse depression than in the 20's and 30's.  That is if Iran doesn't send a nuclear missile up over our country to cause an EMP.  They have already tested missiles for doing just that and now they are loading up ships with these missiles.  I won't be surprised to have an EMP event sometime in the next couple of months.  This will mean that we will be back to 1800's again as far as the way we live and I heard someone say that they estimate millions will die in the aftermath.  Our country is spoiled and most people living here today don't even know how to garden.  Large quantities of people live in huge cities such as New York or Chicago.  They won't have water because the pumps won't work to pump the water up to the multi-story apartment buildings. They won't have electricity or electronics or city sewerage.  Everyone who is stuck in the cities will be up the creek without a paddle.  If I lived in a major city I would be moving right now before anything could happen.  I would rather be homeless in the woods than have a nice apartment in New York.  It gives me the creeps to think about those people who will be trapped after an EMP event.  I pray that we can stop any missiles that may be shot at us.

I have been doing research into what life was like before electricity and electronics.  I found a plethora of video series on YouTube.   I will talk about them briefly and give you links to these.  I will give you links to the part one of each series and then you can continue on through the rest of the videos which will be in side bars.  I would suggest you watch all of them and maybe take notes on helpful things that you see on them.  These videos show how people survived with very basic essentials and worked together and worked hard to survive.  They were still vulnerable to diseases and injuries without good medical care and many people died from these but most of these won't dwell on that aspect of the time periods.

The oldest time periods I found were the 1620's and this series is called "Tales of the Green Valley". The link to this is;                   

This series shows a farm on the Welch Border and 5 people live a year farming this farm and living the life that people of the time would have lived.

"The Edwardian Farm" took place in the 1700's in England and again it is a look at 3 people living on the farm only using the implements and foods and recipes of the time for a full year. There is a whole series.  This link is for the first show of the series. You will find the other parts in the side bars.  Here is the link:

Next is "The Victorian Farm" - A series produced for BBC2 that has 3 people living the life and work of the Victorian Era.  Portraying 1880's in Shropshire, England

"The Victorian Pharmacy"   A look at people running a pharmacy and showing how they operated during the Victorian Era.  A series of how they treated common ailments in the Victorian times. A few good hints on herbal medications.

"Victorian Kitchen" is a look at how a Victorian Kitchen was run on an estate.  They show how foods were cooked and what they grew and ate from their Kitchen Garden.

"1900 House"  - Takes a modern family and has them living in the 1900 House only using or having anything that would be appropriate for that era.

"1940's House"  This series shows what it was like for families who lived in the London area just before and during WWll.

There is a series of Videos about  - "The Wartime Kitchen and Garden".   Wonderful ideas on how to stretch the foods and be sparing with the fuel also how important the gardens were to the people during WWII.

There are 2 other series which were made in the U.S. which I will also give links for.  They don't have the same flavor as the British videos which were produced by BBC and were wildly popular in Britain.

"Colonial House" was a series done about the new colonists in America and how they fared.  But it shows mostly how Americans are too spoiled to live that way even for a short time. I was not impressed by this show.

"Frontier Life" was a series about 3 families trying to live like the pioneers going westward to homestead.  It was interesting but not my favorite series.

I hope you will check some of these out and put yourself in their place in your mind and see if you have what it takes to live in a post collapse society where you have to survive with no help.  It will make you think and should show you what you might need to prepare for and the skills you need to learn.

God Bless -  God really does help those that help themselves and then depends on Him for what you can't do for yourself.  Start your journey by taking the first step......