Kathleen Sanderson

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since Feb 28, 2009
Green County, Kentucky
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Recent posts by Kathleen Sanderson

May Lotito wrote:Hi Kathleen, I made mine out of two pairs of 34×34Jeans, each had one pocket and knee area worn out badly. So they were even good for donation and I had no guilt experimenting. Yours are probably too good for an apron and may not have enough fabric.

Yes, the apron stays as I move around or bend over briefly. But I think some belts and buckle claps like Bethany's will prevent the back pieces from flaring out, if I have to bent over longer.

Also one tip for making such apron: test the length and position of the straps first before sewing them down permanently. Make them longer and pin to the body piece for a trial. Put the apron on and off a couple times, move around a bit to see if any thing need to be adjusted.



Thank you!  I was wondering if I had enough fabric.  I may still experiment with them.  The more I think about it, the more I think I would really like to have an apron made out of that fabric!

1 day ago
I was raised on a homestead in Alaska; my parents were both raised on farms, and Mom always grew or foraged most of our food.  Even my (ex) husband, though raised in a suburb of Omaha, always had a vegetable garden.  We were forestry students when we met in college.  So there was always that interest for both of us.  We always wanted our own place where we could grow most of our food.  No matter where we were, we always did grow as much as we could, even when he was in the Air Force and we lived on base for a while -- we gardened in containers there.  Actually, that was kind of a neat place -- Homestead AFB, southern tip of Florida, and our base housing had a big screened porch on the back that we filled with containers!

So our daughters were raised that way; one always loved all the 'farm' type activities and the other hated, and still hates, to get dirty.  But she still learned a lot.  Now, they don't do a lot of permie type stuff, because they are both working full-time.  But they do grow a few veggies, and cook from scratch.  Both of them have been planting berries and fruit trees around their yards. They do some sewing (middle daughter was sewing bags to sell at craft fairs for a while, but that's a hard way to make a living).  Oldest still does some foraging, and has led nature walks.  They like it when they come visit and can be around my goats and chickens -- oldest daughter took a picture of one of my Icelandic hens last year, painted a picture from it, and has stuff for sale with the picture on it -- mugs and t-shirts and so on.  They help me with stuff when they are here. Their dad lives in North Carolina near the coast and still does permie stuff on his little property there (complaining about the soil, which is mostly sand).  

Most of the extended family still does some gardening; the only one who has any livestock other than me is one of my sisters in Oregon, who recently got chickens. If they live where they can, they all have at least a few fruit trees and berries.  One of my nieces, young and recently married, is gardening and doing other permie stuff (I'm pretty proud of my two nieces -- they were taught a lot of useful skills as they were growing up, and either one of them can build a house, or fix one; repair a vehicle up to and including replacing the engine; sew any kind of garment -- the married one worked as a tailor for a while before she got married; cook from scratch and put up food for the winter; decorate cakes; grow a garden; raise poultry; train a dog; and many more skills).

It's a shame that so many people live so far from 'the land' that they would essentially be helpless without modern civilization.  

May Lotito wrote:I had some new fabrics ready but the repurposed aprons shown above were so inspiring so I made one out of my husband's old Jeans instead. It's my first denim jeans repurposing project actually.  Pretty funu but it can be challenging to sew in some places.

Here are some details in design:
 Reuse back york of jeans for a bit shaping across my busts
 Ribbon in back of straps to reduce bulk and friction.
 Straps attached with D rings in the front and at an angle in the back so the apron hangs better.

The whole thing feels comfortable, no shifting or pulling. Love it!



May, I love that!  Well done!  And I like that it apparently doesn't even need a waist tie!  Do you find that it stays in place while you are working?

I'm looking at your apron, trying to figure out where you got each piece from.  Could you tell us how you cut and resewed the old jeans to make that apron?  I've got a pair of Carhartt jeans here that my mother bought for me years ago (on sale, thankfully).  They were too small for me when she bought them, and I've gained weight since then, so they've never been worn, and I've pretty much accepted that I probably never will be able to wear them.  But they are so sturdy and well-made I've never quite been able to send them off to a thrift shop, either.  If I could turn those into an apron like yours, that would be perfect!
1 day ago

Lynn Wilson wrote:

Kathleen Sanderson wrote:

And a heavier fabric will give more protection.  I think it's important to not use synthetic fabrics that melt if exposed to a lot of heat -- those can cause severe burns.  It would be a good idea to make a few test strips of different fabrics and expose them to heat from a candle or a hot burner and see what happens -- if it melts, especially if it drips, better not use it anywhere it might be exposed to heat.  Wool is quite resistant to burning, but might be too warm for a summer apron.



Cotton twill, or cotton or linen canvas would work well. Used to be you could buy heavy cotton painters drop cloths and use as fabric, but most of 'em use a synthetic in the blend now. There is a fabric site that sells linen from Russia (fabric-store.com), if you get on their email list you get a daily special sale notice. The one today was for a heavy wt. rustic weave natural (lt. brown) linen for $6 and change a yd (~60 inch wide).



That is an excellent price for a wide linen!  I'll have to take a look.

4 days ago

Mk Neal wrote:I agree with Trace regarding basements. Your basement is essentially a man-made cave, and in Kentucky it should not freeze below a heated house, with the caveat that freezing air from the outside (e.g. near leaky window or door) might cause very localized risk of pipes freezing IF they are not being used regularly.  Insulate windows/doors and any bare pipes near the outer walls.



The passage about a basement was from within a quote in my post, I think -- we don't have a basement.  Wish we did!

1 week ago
Tereza, I like that apron -- will have to play around with that for myself.  I also like a wide bib front -- I tend to drip or splash things on my shirts and ruin them, so that's the area that needs the most coverage.  My lower half isn't nearly so much at risk, so a short apron is fine, but the bib part is important.  I might try just 'pinners,' which don't have straps at all -- the bib is held in place with a couple of pins.  Back in the 1700's those would have been large straight pins, and still could be, but I'll probably use safety pins.  Though straight pins might be faster to take off and put on.

A pinner apron would have a waist tie; I'll use velcro to fasten the waist, because I don't like the knot at my back if I sit down in the apron.  Several inches of velcro would still allow some leeway for adjusting the length of the waist 'tie.'

And a heavier fabric will give more protection.  I think it's important to not use synthetic fabrics that melt if exposed to a lot of heat -- those can cause severe burns.  It would be a good idea to make a few test strips of different fabrics and expose them to heat from a candle or a hot burner and see what happens -- if it melts, especially if it drips, better not use it anywhere it might be exposed to heat.  Wool is quite resistant to burning, but might be too warm for a summer apron.

1 week ago
I've seen pictures of my grandmother and great-grandmother wearing sweaters with an apron over them.  These were taken before they had any kind of 'modern' heating other than a wood stove, but wood stoves do a better job of heating a small house than a fireplace. Either my mother or one of my daughters has a collection of aprons worn by different family members in the earlier parts of the 1900''s (Mom had them, but she was going to pass them on to my middle daughter -- not sure if she's already done that).  

I suspect that the housecoats in the OP were more for people who were at least somewhat well-off and not doing a lot of manual labor, as the length would make them inconvenient to work in. But they are a good idea for those of us who don't have central heating and have chilly houses (it's 49 degrees in my office right now -- we are bundled up and sitting in front of space heaters, so are quite comfortable).  We normally don't use bathrobes around the house, saving them for times when we have company or are traveling and want some additional modesty.  We are both wearing t-shirts, a sweater over that, and a sweatshirt over that, plus a knit cap to keep our heads warm.  I have the hood on my sweatshirt up, too, but my daughter doesn't like to have her hood up.  She also, weirdly, has a couple of loose t-shirts on over the top of everything else.  This has nothing to do with keeping warm, although it does help -- she does the same thing in the summer when it's hot if I don't watch her closely (she is severely mentally handicapped).  At this time of year, I won't make her take them off! For just sitting at the computer, the length of the housecoat would be nice, as it would protect most of your legs.

1 week ago

John Weiland wrote:

Kathleen Sanderson wrote:  .....This house is a square divided into four equal-sized rooms (with the stairs taking a chunk out of the down-stairs bedroom), and the existing chimney is right in the center, which is a pretty good location for a stove, for distributing heat.  But we could probably make another location work well enough.  



One thing we may also be a bit lucky with is winter sun.  Our floor plan also is a 'box'..... 900 square feet (30 X 30) farm house with basement and second floor, built before indoor plumbing, electrical, and ducted heating.  We too have a central chimney that was deemed okay for the exhaust from the furnace, but would not meet code for the woodstove.  Sadly, the south side of the house is where they opted to put the staircase...running upstairs along that south wall.  (Yet this was by design since a south-facing door went strait to the outhouse....which was perched right on the riverbank! :-? )  Because of this staircase, it negated the possibility of retrofitting that south wall with a nice bank of south facing windows.  Nevertheless, since the stairs end on the main floor right where the old parlor was and since the previous owners removed the walls that divided the space on that floor, we installed a large french door that opens out onto a deck.  With the angle of the sun pretty low, on a clear day that room heats up nicely....and since the thermostat is in that room, it keeps the furnace turned off on clear days. In the heat of summer, the angle of the sun rarely puts much direct sunlight into that room.  So if there is any chance that your location enjoys decent winter sun, it may be worth installing some south-facing windows or increasing the number and area of window space that would help with daytime warming.  Personally, I feel it almost criminal up here that some nod to passive solar is not written into building *requirements*.... but that's just me. :-)



I would love to do something with passive solar.  Haven't quite figured out how to arrange it yet.  The back of the house faces south; both front and back of the house had narrow porches which have been enclosed, and the back porch has been turned into a utility room/pantry.  It has a glass storm door and two windows, all facing south, but doesn't seem to add much heat to the house.  I think it's mostly because the back yard is well shaded with several old black locust trees -- even though they don't have any leaves at this time of year, they still block quite a bit of sun from the house -- and we don't seem to get a lot of sun in the winter, anyway.  I'm reminded of Oregon Coast winters.  But we are very thankful for the shade in the summer, so I'm reluctant to cut the black locust trees out.  I have thought about adding an attached greenhouse off the back porch, but am not sure it would get enough sun to do much good.  

Another possibility, remote at the moment for several reasons, would be to build another dwelling on the property, where it would get more winter sun.  This falls in the category of "I would really LIKE to do this, but it's not feasible right now."  If I had (lots of) money to spend, I would probably build an earth-bermed house between this house and the larger of our barns, as there's a good location for digging such a house into the slope where it would face south-east.  Even without money to spend (much), I could do a tiny house, probably with cob walls and floor, inside our other barn.  With the equipment doors open, if I set the new dwelling back a few feet into the barn, it would give us a covered and partly enclosed outdoor living area, which would be very useful during much of the year in this climate.  I am considering this, but will have to experiment and see if it's something I can tackle with any real hope of finishing it, because I have a bad back and working with cob entails a lot of bending and stooping, not to mention lifting and shoveling.  And there are other things that need to be done more urgently.  If I did it, though, it would be mostly off-grid, with some solar-power.
1 week ago

John Weiland wrote:

Kathleen Sanderson wrote:  I don't have a wood stove hooked up yet -- the stove is sitting in the barn until I find someone to check the old chimney and make sure it's safe.  I will be glad to get that working again, but we do have a propane heater in case of power outages.

........ So having a back-up heating system is not just a good idea, it is essential for survival.  And, of course, if you lose heat at those temperatures, your pipes are going to freeze, and your toilet will freeze and probably crack (it's a good idea to keep some anti-freeze to pour into it just in case), not to mention whatever food you have stored.  



Kathleen S.,    It might be good to check the building codes in your area about the chimney.  I think our codes specified that the original chimney, up which at one time ran the exhaust for the only wood cook/heating stove for the house in the early decades of the past century, would not by itself qualify for use with our woodstove when it was installed.  We would need to install a chimney liner for it to be used.  Instead, we opted to go out the main floor wall with the chimney pipe, then up through the lip of the roof with class-A chimney pipe to reach the height required by code for the pitch of our roof.  So the point being that if you have an acceptable or even more desired place for your stove installation, you may not have to bother looking into using the older chimney.

I don't know what the price of electricity is in your area, but we additionally are considering an 'in-duct' electric heater, -- one that fits into the duct-work from the furnace that could provide heat if the main furnace was out.  Our concern here with the furnace in the basement and the woodstove on the main floor is that no amount of warmth on the main floor would keep the basement pipes from freezing if the furnace was out.  But an electric 'duct heater' might provide just enough heat to the basement to keep the pipes from freezing.  Maybe........



I am fairly sure that the old chimney needs to be lined with pipe before it would be safe to use.  It hasn't been used for at least thirty years....I hadn't thought about putting the stove in a different location; will have to think about that.  This house is a square divided into four equal-sized rooms (with the stairs taking a chunk out of the down-stairs bedroom), and the existing chimney is right in the center, which is a pretty good location for a stove, for distributing heat.  But we could probably make another location work well enough.  

The house never had a furnace or any ducting.  The people I bought it from had been using one of the unvented propane wall heaters; I've put in a newer one in a different location, but prefer to reserve it for emergencies.  The house would be easier to heat if all the work on it was finished -- it's been partially gutted (to make re-wiring it easier).  There was no insulation at all in the walls, and only a small amount has been installed so far.  That's something I'm slowly working on.  Next winter should be a little more comfortable, although it's actually not uncomfortable now.  I think it's a matter of what you are used to, and being dressed for it.
1 week ago

John Weiland wrote:

John F Dean wrote: I found out my friends, who claimed to have no problem heating their homes, kept their houses at 55 to 60 degrees.  Most of my time was spent in winter, recovering from winter, or getting ready for winter.  I remember having snow in  mid June.



Yep,.....just outside of Fargo-Moorhead, this is still our norm -- we do not set the thermostat above 60 F and it normally is about 55 F.  We run a woodstove on the main floor to supplement the forced-air oil-burner furnace in the basement.  My wife grew up in central Pennsylvania and seems as home in these temperatures as I am having grown up in Minnesota.  Currently we consider ourselves "scarily blessed" to have had temps since Christmas hovering between zero at night and 40 F by day...unseasonably warm!



At this moment, in the second-warmest room in the house, it's 53 degrees F.  (My daughter's bedroom is a little warmer.)  We dress in layers, wear caps in the house, and have space heaters focused on our usual sitting spots.  I don't have a wood stove hooked up yet -- the stove is sitting in the barn until I find someone to check the old chimney and make sure it's safe.  I will be glad to get that working again, but we do have a propane heater in case of power outages.

That's something that I think is extremely important in cold climates -- having some kind of back-up heat that will still work if the power goes out.  Power outages may be rare, but they do happen, and if it's forty below (F), and you have no heat in your house, you will quickly be in trouble.  Especially if there is a blizzard or some other reason you can't leave for a warmer shelter.  So having a back-up heating system is not just a good idea, it is essential for survival.  And, of course, if you lose heat at those temperatures, your pipes are going to freeze, and your toilet will freeze and probably crack (it's a good idea to keep some anti-freeze to pour into it just in case), not to mention whatever food you have stored.  
1 week ago