How to make a clothes pin bag

Quick & Easy Old Fashioned Clothes Pin Bag

If there’s any “luxury” in hanging clothes out to dry on the line, it’s got to be having something to make your clothes pins easily accessible as you work.  Bags for your clothes pins used to be pretty common and my grandmother had one that I always thought was easily one of the best creations ever.  (my mother and I clipped the clothes pins to the bottom of our shirt in a little line so you can see why I coveted the bag idea)  As an adult, I’ve made a couple of these bags for my own pins Read More

Learn to sew

Sewing 101 – Handy Sewing Tricks

Both my Mother and two Grandmothers were extraordinary seamstresses.  They sewed new clothes with or without patterns, reconstructed all varieties of used clothing to fit like it was tailor made and mended holes and seams on favorite stuffed toys and hand-me-down clothes.  Sadly, all three of them are gone now and with them went a wealth of knowledge.  It happens for not just this, but in so many other areas of life.  I was lucky enough to be Read More

9 Forgotten Hacks That Grandma Used

One of the things I’ve learned from starting this site is that there are way more people out there than I expected that still appreciate and practice the old way of living.  It’s been wonderful finding like minds and seeing the comradery among readers with similar interests.   Collectively, we’ve got all kinds of old timey life hacks that were handed down through our families.  Below is a list of 9 from my family that I think are worthy of sharing, some are probably common and some maybe are not.  There’s no way to know until they’re shared with others.  What are some of your old family hacks?  We’d love to know! Read More

how to make wood ash lye soap

Make Your Own Wood Ash Lye Soap

Almost two years have gone by since I originally set out to document our process of making soap from wood ash lye.  I’m not always sure where the time goes and I often don’t have anything tangible to show for it.  We burn wood as our only heating source in the living area of our house, so turning the buckets-full of ashes into something useful just makes sense.  Previously I shared how we make wood ash lye water for soap making and stripping fur from animal hides and finally I have our soap making process picture documented. Read More

“Get-Home” Bags – How To Pack For Survival In a Widespread Emergency

what to put in a get home bag or bug out bag

Times seem to become more uncertain everyday and we’re always trying to make sure we’re as prepared as we can be.  One of the ways we try to be prepared is by carrying a get home bag.  A “Get Home” bag differs from a “Bug Out” bag, but both are equally important depending on your living situation.  In a widespread emergency, will your primary focus be to get home to your family and your shelter, or will you be gathering family and supplies to seek shelter at an alternate location?  The bag you pack will depend on the answer to that question.  In the following article, my husband draws on his experience with the USMC to provide a clear plan to choosing and packing a “Get Home” bag and also some basic tactical skills that are easy to understand and follow in an emergency. Read More

Goodbye Microwave. Funny, I don’t really miss you…

* Update* The empty space left by the microwave is now a handy hanging rack for our cast iron pans.  My husband used old barn wood that we salvaged to give the box a rustic feel that blends well with our house.  Now, on to the original article:  A couple of weeks ago our 14 year old, over the stovetop microwave kicked the bucket. As if on cue.  At first we chuckled about the timing because we had just spent some time listening to Dr. Derrick DeSilva give a presentation about his take on microwaves.  We were Read More

3 “Yuck” Things You Might Not Think About Re-purposing!

To use the words of my 5 year old, these are “Yuck” so you’ll notice there aren’t any pictures included in this post. 🙂

1.  Hair

February is the time to place new birdhouses so feathered friends will find them in time for spring and time for cleaning out old nests from existing boxes.  It’s also the perfect time to start thinking about what we have that they could use to line their nests with.  I know at our house, it’s not uncommon to find an old bird’s nest lined with Read More

Firestarter Disks

how to make a portable firestarter

These portable fire starters are an easy way to make use of things that would otherwise be discarded.  They are simple to make and can be used in an emergency or as a campfire quickstart that can be tossed in your hiking pack. The two ingredients in them, rendered deer fat and hardwood coals, are by-products of our everyday activities that have found a new life as something useful.  We use Read More

Jar Candles From Deer Fat

Deer Fat Candle

Deer Fat Candle

A couple of days ago, I posted about rendering animal fat and used deer fat as my example.  There are many, many uses for rendered fat, and although I know the birds are hungry for some suet and we need more soap, I decided to take the easy way out and highlight deer fat jar candles today.  So, without much instruction needed, here is how Read More

Rendering Animal Fat

how to render animal fat

When I was growing up, my parents and grandparents didn’t let anything go to waste.  I remember my mother and paternal grandmother in the kitchen rendering fat, using it to make suet blocks for the birds and serving up the “cracklins” with supper.  It makes for great memories, but unfortunately, they’re very vague.  Like most things in childhood, I was only mildly interested in what they were doing and committed absolutely none of it to memory.  So, a couple of years ago, when we we were butchering a particularly fat deer, I had the realization that Read More