Category: DIY


Got a rip? Got a tear? Don’t throw it away! Chinook Klear K-Tape to the rescue! Seriously, this stuff has got to be a serious answer to saving money on all sorts of camping, clothing and other synthetic equipment that can be ripped up and torn.

Back story…dear heart over at Vacreepinoutdoors and I were getting ready to go into the woods one rainy day, he took out his water resistant camo pants (I still have yet to figure out why when you go into the woods outside of Turkey hunting season why it seems everything is CAMO, but that is another story) and lo and behold a NICE rip was on the right, er, posterior hip area (the technical term for buttocks). Typical DH fashion, it was a shrug and out the door we went. He’d just wear them and not worry about it. But me, the typical woman is thinking…okay buddy, just sit on something wet or in the snow and your rear end is wet and cold, both of which can be deadly (think hypothermia). I must admit it was rather attention getting following through the woods as I do (no feminist issues here!) but that is besides the point.

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Since he is not the type to replace things unless it is 75% off or comes from a thrift shop, I was left wondering how the heck to fix it. These water resistant pants are lined with some sort of mesh so turning them inside out and sewing them wasn’t going to work, not to mention the fabric is a rather thick cotton/nylon who knows what material. Sewing from the outside would allow moisture in still, not to mention be UGLY. The only thing left in my mind was a patch, but how to match the fabric? I know they make iron on patches and after a bit of discussion about this with DH he left it up to me, after all, it was less than 2 inches long and the right color patch wouldn’t really matter. So off to my one of my favorite places to shop…Amazon…just google iron on patch and boom! Well, this Chinook Klear K-Tape came up along with iron on patches (which were rather expensive and from past experience not exactly easy to use and not that hardy sometimes).

The following is taken directly from their ad on amazon:

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No need to match colors with this transparent, highly durable, UV stable, abrasion–resistant urethane tape. This tape is truly universal and can be used on all smooth synthetic fabrics, fleece fabric, plus vinyl. – 3″ x 18″

It is also washable!!!

And only $8 (free shipping with Prime)…the back of the package gives a ton of suggested uses from nylon type pants, tents, grill covers, down coats, bags…just about ANYTHING you can imagine.

Hands down, my new best friend! Forget the ‘sewing’, the ‘sewing glue’, hot iron patches….I mean how many times over the years have I (and you for that matter?) struggled to repair something nylon or nylon like only to have a mess on your hands, it looking ugly or just having it rip even more or throwing it away, thus having to replace it?

So I bought it, after all, $8 bucks nowadays is a meal at McDonalds which I can skip and the pants are rather pricey to replace.

IMPORTANT NOTE: what you are repairing has to be DRY!!!

First you will want to cut off a piece that is at least ¼ inch longer on both ends of rip/tear. Next, to avoid corners that will peal you will want to trim this section of tape into an oval or at the very least round the corners (especially if it is a long rip/tear). Lay what you want on a hard flat surface, peel the tape away from its backing, bring the two pieces together and FIRMLY put that tape over the rip/tear and smooth down hard to make the bond. Personally I found a glass bottle with a rounded edge and went over it with that to make it smooth and to give a harder ‘pressing’ than my fingers could.
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Bingo…repaired…it is a bit shiny and noticeable? as it is not REALLY clear tape but you know something? It WORKED. And I am thinking that after use/washing it will be even less noticable.

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I have scratched at the tape, pulled, tugged and its staying PUT…knowing what I know about glues I am not washing it yet, but Vacreepinoutdoors will be wearing them out this weekend when we go ‘test’ our cold weather survival gear. Its supposed to rain and be cold so we shall see if it stands up to hunting, camping, sitting, and all that, but my guess is it will.

My only wish is that I could have gotten to the backside to reinforce the rip with another piece of K-Tape. People use this to repair tents and if that was my purpose I would do both inside and outside of the tent. Hmmm, I can see lots of applications outside of the woods…kids jackets, rain jackets…they say it works on fleece too (but use it on the inside for appearances sake).

So don’t throw that tent, frog togs, jacket, cover or whatever away! Repair it! Save yourself a lot of money and get the K-Tape…try it…it will make you a believer. And btw, this would be great to have in your bug out bag or camping/hunting pack…just in case!

As a side note, Vacreepinoutdoors and I, Survivingshtfmom, are teaming up to bring you live and in person lessons and hands on training to prepare, survive and thrive through Eastern Woodlands Prepared Survival School in central Virginia.

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Once again, my friend over at VaCreepinOutdoors is at it again…comparing two different types of small ‘bug out’ type cooking methods.
Check it out:

Bugging out is NOT a preferred way of getting anywhere, but in an emergency…maybe your get home bag or for just in case, you can see the difference between the two.
Personally I have the small canister stove….just in case.

Btw…the small burner comes from amazon for only $7…sometimes DYI is NOT the best option!!!

remember to like and subscribe VaCreepinOutdoors…tons of great videos on survival and making the best in the worst case…

antsDing dong the ants are dead, the ants are dead, the ants are dead….okay, forgive my lapse into the Wizard of Oz, but an infestation of ants, even during good times isn’t funny. I get how important ants are in the grand scheme of things, in making the world go ‘round, but when I leave a pot of green beans on the stove and sit down, eat dinner and come back to clean up and the pot of green beans is being attacked en masse, well, Houston, we have a problem.

I keep a clean kitchen (okay, I have been known to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight upon occasion) simply because I KNOW from living in low rent apartments how the insect world operates. But these ants, these ants were crazy. No matter how clean I kept things, no matter how fast I got things put away and put up, they came…in droves!

Went the conventional route, you know, bait traps, sprays, and then after 2 years of dealing with these suckers I broke down and went nuclear, calling in the exterminator. What I did not know or understand until a year ago when my wash machine decided to flood my home with water is that these buggers had made a MASSIVE nest in the insulation under my floor and in the walls…yep, you should have seen the guys who came out from Service Master RUN when they started pulling up the flooring that was ruined to remove insulation and such. Yeah, it was THAT BAD. My wash machine room and half of my kitchen (the insulation under the floor) had been turned into ant heaven. So, long and short, I thought removing their ‘nest’ ie the insulation the ants would disappear. (And I never did replace the insulation, why give them more nesting material?). And it worked, for the winter and into the spring and then the invaders came back…this time not only at the stove and kitchen sink, but the ants were literally coming out of the second bathroom bathtub faucet…sigh…yep…seriously…so out came the exterminator AGAIN. And they went away for a while and then came back with a vengeance a few months ago. At this point I am surprised I have hair left on my head trying to keep things clean, killing as needed (they even found the garbage CAN this time). So, knowing that the nice expensive exterminator didn’t work (no wonder why my Pitbull Maggie wanted to eat him and she LIKES everyone) I suffered and did what I could until a few days ago… hehehehehe…now I have NO visible ants and even tested the theory this morning by leaving yummy jelly on the counter top for a few hours…nope, not one ant!

Wanna know the secret?

Homemade ant bait…

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See ants are funny, the ones you see, they get the food, take it home, feed it to other ants who then in turn make their ‘food’ and that feeds everyone, including the queen. Bingo! Everyone gets the yummy homicidal boric acid sugar food 🙂
Sorry if I seem a bit gleeful, but, me and these ants have gone round about for years now 🙂

So, what is the miracle for pennies?
Boric Acid (yep, that stuff you have heard that works for roaches)
Sugar
Water
Cotton Balls
Something to put the cotton balls in
Glass Jar

Here we go:
Put 1 cup HOT water into glass jar
Add 2 TBS Boric Acid
Shake WELL
Then add 1 cup of sugar to the boric acid/water mix and shake well again.
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Soak the cotton balls in this solution and put the cotton balls on a small piece of wax paper, old soda bottle caps or whatever.

Next place several of these where you see the ants coming and going so they will quickly find it and take it home to mama.
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Took less than 24hrs for me to make them disappear and the kids had fun watching the hordes get their ‘food’.
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beautyberry1Got up way too early this morning to go deer hunting after spending quite a bit of time getting ready to hunt the night before…and well, rain, drizzle, nothing was moving not even a squirrel and then my new neighbor got in on the act around 11 am with his AR-15…enough said, maybe I will head back out towards dusk just to see what’s up, but YAWNNN…

So…what to do? What to do? No fun being damp, standing around waiting for the mythical deer to appear at this point, even they have enough sense to stay put on this dreary day. Back home looking at the laundry and wondering what to eat and lo and behold, there is the bag of Beautyberries that have been collected over the past couple of weeks. My person, had originally collected a bit while I was taking my hunter safety course couple weekends ago and my mother and I collected another 2 lbs when I went out to collect the trail cam.

When it comes down to it, if its FREE its for me 🙂

These purple beauty berries have been hanging out just waiting on me to get around to making jam with them and so, with little else that I really want to do (funny how rainy days make you feel that way!) I set out to make American Purple Beautyberry Jelly. Not difficult at all really unless of course your syrup pot full of sugar boils over (lesson learned…always use a pot twice the size you think you will need when making any jam!).

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Purple Beautyberry Jelly
What you will need:

LOTS of Beautyberries!!
Sugar
Liquid Pectin (this is important, the dry pectin doesn’t produce a good finished product)
Pint Mason Jars
Towels
Pots, Water Bath Canner
Measuring cup
Wooden spoons
Strainer

To begin with, make sure you wash/sterilize your mason jars (I just use the dish water on a light wash, high heat/dry cycle, takes about 1 hr to complete). Also, at the same time get your Water Bath Canner full of water and get it boiling…this too will take about an hour. Then get your mason jar lids and rings into a separate pot and start them on a slow heat up process. You will need to do all of this at LEAST an hour before you start making your jelly…very important!

I borrowed and adapted this recipe from the Eat The Weeds website and it makes approximately 5 pints of Jelly. The website has a lot of good information on how to identify the correct Beautyberry and some other interesting information on this natural DEET plant (crushed up leaves rubbed on your skin is just as effective as DEET apparently for mosquitoes, ticks and fire ants).

American Beautyberry Jelly

1 ½ qts. of American Beautyberries (about 1 lb)
washed and free from stems, leaves and other debris.
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2 qts water in large pan/pot
Combine and bring to a roiling boil for 20 minutes.
Strain to make an infusion…after boiling and straining it will look like this…
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I just put the used berries into the compost pile.

Next, using 3 cups of the infusion (the purple looking liquid/juice), bring to a boil and add 1 envelope of liquid pectin, stir and then add 4 ½ cups of sugar stirring well to make sure all sugar is dissolved. At this time turn up the heat on your lids and rings to get them to a slow roiling boil.

Bring mixture to a second boil for 2 minutes only…this is where it gets fun…boiling sugar likes to really BOIL and I spent about ½ hour cleaning up a nice sugary mess on the stove and floor as I didn’t move fast enough to get it off the heat.

Best practice is as soon as it starts to boil remove from heat…that will give you 2 minutes of boiling without it boiling over. Allow this to cool until a thin foamy cover is formed (wonderful pinkish/purple foam that you will scrape off and best part, you can eat that right away).

While this is mixture is cooling set up your jars on a large towel, turn the heat up on your water bath to get it almost to a boil.

Next, after scraping off the foam (and eating it, after all the work you deserve the sugar!) pour your liquid jelly into your glass mason jars. I like to leave ¼ inch head space when making jams and jellys. (By the way, Ball now makes a WONDERFUL funnel that not only helps to the lip of the jar clean but has ‘head space’ markings…found it at Walmart).
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I personally fill 2 or 3 jars, being careful to wipe the lip of the jar with a hot rag before placing the hot lid and then hand tightening the ring down. The new funnel REALLY made a huge difference in how much ‘clean’ up I had to do on the jars, almost NONE.

Having filled all jars and capping them, carefully place all jars into the canning bath basket (if you have one, if not, be sure you have placed something on the bottom of the large pot to keep the glass jar bottoms from touching the metal). Get back to a roiling boil, place lid on top and boil for 5 minutes. Take the water canner/pot off the heat and then take off the lid. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before carefully removing the mason jars. As you remove the mason jars, place on a doubled over towel in an out of the way place, being sure they are not touching and then cover with another towel to allow them to slowly cool for the next 24 hrs. You will hear pinging and such as they seal themselves, this is normal.

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After 24 hrs come back and make sure they have sealed. You do this simply by pushing down on the lid and as long as you have no give, you now have a shelf stable jelly ready to eat whenever ever you want!

Good luck, happy hunting and good, sweet eating!


Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: A small, deciduous shrubs 1 to 2 m in height, leaves opposite, elliptical to ovate, large, with saw-toothed edges. Flowers cluster around stem, funnel-shaped with four clefs. Fruit magenta 2 to 4 seeds, White fruited ones are an escaped cultivar and edibility is unknown.
TIME OF YEAR: Spring and fall in Florida, late summer to fall in northern climes
ENVIRONMENT: Dry,open woods, moist woods, thickets and hammocks, adapted to climates with hot, humid summers and moderate winters
METHOD OF PREPARATION: A few berries can be eaten raw, depending upon your agreeing with the flavor, otherwise makes a great jelly. The berries can be used to make a tea with antioxidants.
HERB BLURB
Native American Indians used the roots and leaves to make a tea to treat fever, dysentery, malaria and rheumatism
The above is also taken from Eattheweeds.com

floors

When cleaning your home the ‘natural’ way it can become confusing as to what to use, when to use it and how…in this article I will give really simple ways to clean various types of floors from tile, natural stone, laminate, wood/bamboo and vinyl. Each type of floor has its own quirks and as always, if in doubt about something, try in a small spot first before doing the whole floor.

First up the basics that you will need:

Liquid Castile Soap (how to make)
Hot/Warm Water
Mop (your choice of type)
Optional: Spray bottle if you use the micro cloth type ‘mop’
Essential Oils (tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus)
Recipes for Natural Spray Cleaner (floors, counters, etc.)

OF NOTE: if you use citrus essential oils it is essential that you do NOT use them on any type of vinyl flooring as citrus oils will eventually break down the petroleum based flooring. Also, please note that I do NOT include orange essential oil, this seems to really break down any type of petroleum based flooring very quickly.

OF NOTE: do not use Castile soap on waxed wood flooring unless you intend on ‘waxing’ them again in the future. Safe to use on ‘sealed’ floors.

To start, ALWAYS sweep/dust mop your floor well to eliminate as much dust, dirt, etc. on the floor to make cleaning it easier.

On all TYPES of flooring (except for waxed wood floors) simply put 1/8 of a cup per gallon of water of the liquid castile soap (made from my recipe which is very concentrated). If desired, add 40 drops of tea tree, lavender, lemon or eucalyptus essential oil. Stir this well in your kitchen sink or bucket. Damp mop only especially with wood, laminate or bamboo flooring. A wet floor of any type can be a hazard so use wring that mop out well…but with wood, laminate and bamboo too much water left to ‘dry’ will eventually cause problems. If you really want to be extra careful use an old towel to dry the floor.
This will work on tile, marble and natural stone floors…just remember to follow manufactures instructions on properly SEALING your natural stone floors as needed to keep them looking new!

If you have a micro mop/swifter type mop use as you would normally use but instead of using the commercial brand sprays see this Liquid Castile Spray recipe for direction on making your cleaner. You will use a damp pad or towel (I have been know to use those cheapie wash rags you can get from Walmart for use with my ‘swifter’. Be sure to change out as needed. I typically change ‘pads’ out after using one for about a 50 square foot area just to keep from spreading dirt around .

Alternatively I found this on Mamatron for laminate, tile and vinyl flooring:
(DO NOT USE ON WOOD, BAMBOO or STONE FLOORS)
How to Make Your Own Homemade (DIY) ‘Pergo’ Laminate Flooring Cleaner
To a measuring cup or jar, add the following:
• 1 part Water
• 1 part White Vinegar
• 1 part 70% Isopropyl (Rubbing) Alcohol
• Few drops of liquid dish detergent
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a fine mist spray bottle.
How to Use Homemade (DIY) ‘Pergo’ Laminate Flooring Cleaner
1. Sweep or vacuum your floors first
2. Spray the cleaner in a fine mist, low over the surface area to be cleaned
3. Allow to set for a few minutes, then use a microfiber mop or towel to wipe it up.
You’ll notice right away that this mixture cleans effectively and with ease, dries quickly, and it is so simple to use. NO BUCKET REQUIRED!
When you have finished mopping, just toss the microfiber mop head or towel into the laundry until next time. Do not use fabric softners with your microfiber mop heads…stops them from absorbing water!
I also found this on TipNut for harwood floors and have used on my own natural stone floors. REMEMBER when using vinegar on natural flooring to always follow up with damp mop clear water just in case. I have edited amounts based upon previous experience with vinegar on natural flooring. BE SURE TO DRY THE FLOOR (WOOD).
Here are several different recipes for mixing up your own cleaners for hardwood flooring, just a few simple ingredients are all that’s needed. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, you just need enough liquid to dampen the mop (or cloth) and scrub away.

If you’re happy to damp mop with straight water, try adding about 10 drops of essential oil per gallon of water for extra cleaning muscle. Some suggestions: lavender, tea tree oil, pine or eucalyptus oil will add antiseptic qualities.
You’ll also find tips on this page for removing scuff marks, how to test for wax (and remove it), a few DIY polish recipes and a scratch repair method that may surprise you.

Getting Started: Sweep or vacuum surface to remove as much dirt and dust as possible.
Directions:
• When using one of the recipes below, damp mop only. Saturating the floor with liquid may cause spotting or warping of the surface. You can either lightly spray one section at a time or lightly spray the mop head.
• Scrub in the direction of the grain of the wood to grab and remove as much of the dirt as possible.
• Wipe dry with a soft cloth after washing.
Mix 1 gallon warm water with your choice of the ingredients below…

Solution #1
• 1/8 cup vinegar
• 1 TBS Castile liquid soap

Solution #2
• 1/2 cup white household vinegar (*Is it safe to use? See notes below)

Solution #3
• 1/4 cup borax
• 1/2 teaspoon liquid Castile soap

Solution #4
• 1/2 cup vinegar
• 10 drops essential oil of choice

Solution #5
• 1/8 cup liquid Castile soap
• 1/4 cup vinegar

Solution #6
• 1 TBS liquid Castile soap
• 1/8 cup vinegar
• 1/4 cup brewed black tea

Tea Mixture:
Steep 1 bag of tea in 2 cups of boiling water and leave until it comes to room temperature. Remove tea bag and soak cloth in liquid, wring out then wipe floor clean. Dry with a soft cloth. The tannic acid in the tea will help bring wood to a shine.

For Oil-Finish: Damp mop with straight water after first cleaning with the recipe below.
• 1 TBS rubbing alcohol
• 2/3 cup hot water

*Is vinegar safe to use? Isn’t it too acidic for hardwood?
If you poured a bottle of vinegar directly on the floor and allowed it to sit, it would most likely damage the surface. However, in the mixtures above it is well diluted and only used as a damp mop (meaning excess liquid is squeezed out). Vinegar is an excellent household cleaner and brings a lot of muscle to the job. If you’re concerned about the effects it may have on the finish over the long-term, consider doing a clear water rinse after wiping floor with a mixture that has vinegar as an ingredient (then wipe dry as usual).

Removing Scuff Marks
• Keep a spray bottle with a mixture of 50/50 vinegar, water and about 15 drops of essential oil of your choosing.
• Sprinkle scuffs with baking soda then spray solution, let fizz for a few seconds.
• Scrub marks until they are removed then dry with a soft towel.

Wax Testing & Removal
• Wet your fingers with water then flick into a corner of the floor where there’s not much traffic. If there’s wax on the surface, the floor will turn white under the water beads (may take a half hour or so to turn white).

To Remove Wax:
• Scrub the surface with mineral spirits using a household sponge with a nylon scrubby side. Wipe dry with a soft cloth as wax is dissolved. Repeat process a second time if needed.
DIY Polish

Wash surface as usual and dry thoroughly. Using one of the mixes below, apply polish to surface then wipe dry with a soft cotton towel.

Recipe #1
• Mix equal parts olive oil and white household vinegar.

Recipe #2
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or olive oil)
• 2 TBS cider vinegar
• 3 TBS vodka

Recipe #3
• 1 TBS olive oil mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice. Apply to a clean, dry mop and treat floors after cleaning.
Quick Tip: You can also spray commercial furniture polish onto the mop head and then wipe over surface.

Scratch Repair
• Rub a crayon that is the same color as the flooring into the scratch, filling the space as full of the wax as you can.
• To seal in place, heat with a hair dryer to soften the wax, allow to cool for a few seconds then buff with a soft cloth.

Lots of different ways to get the job done and many can be used to clean walls, cabinets and other items in your house…have fun!

castile spray

Castile Soap Multipurpose Spray:
Floors and Everything Else!

What you will need:
Spray bottle
Essential Oil of tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, etc. (optional)
Liquid Castile Soap (how to make)

This has been adapted from:

This castile soap spray is great because you can easily clean multiple surfaces with it from fabric to fixtures! Also, because it’s so easily biodegradable, it’s great for not only cleaning indoors, but outdoors, too! You can easily rinse away the soap without worrying about harming plants or waterways. It’s also very safe and gentle on the skin, so no worries about harmful chemicals.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
• 1 cup distilled water
• 1/2 tbsp. unscented castile soap
• 5-10 drops of essential oil (1/3 ml. approximately)

Preparation:

This recipe makes 8 ounces, so multiply the ingredient amounts as needed to fit the size of your spray bottle. If you don’t wish to customize the spray with your own essential oils, simply omit the essential oils.
1. Choose one or a combination of essential oils. (See more information below.)
2. Using a measuring cup and funnel, pour the water into a spray bottle and then add the castile soap.
3. Add the essential oils directly to your spray bottle. Note: A range is given because the size of drops depends on the essential oil dispenser cap.
4. Shake the bottle to incorporate the essential oils and soap.
5. Label with a permanent marker.
6. Store the bottle out of direct sunlight or heat, which can change the chemical constituents in the essential oils.
7. To use, spray any areas that need to be cleaned and wipe with a damp cloth. For tougher cleaning jobs, like grout, use a toothbrush or scrub brush.

IMPORTANT!!! Remember to come back after you spray and use a DAMP Rag to wipe with otherwise you wind up with soap build up . I do NOT recommend using the below on real wood or bamboo flooring as many of the ingredients are drying to wood fibers. If you choose to use this on real wood flooring remember to come back with a damp mop and then dry.

Alternatively:
1. 1 cup water
2. 1 cup vinegar
3. 1 cup isopropyl alcohol
4. ¼ Tbsp. Liquid Castile Soap
5. 5 drops lavender essential oil
6. 5 drops orange essential oil
7. 3 drops tea tree essential oil
8. Fine-mist spray bottle – 24oz

Instructions
1. Add all ingredients to spray bottle and shake to combine.
2. Sweep/vacuum the floor.
3. Spray cleaner on the floor (or other surface).
4. Wipe up with a microfiber cloth or damp rag