The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Pantries and Preparedness. How to make Kleenex/Hankies.

Over the weekend I wrote about the current situation we are facing in our preparedness.  You can catch up here if you missed that.  Goodness me since then things have got a whole heap more "interesting."
Thank you for all your amazing and helpful comments on that post. I am still replying as each one is valuable thank you!

I decided to try and turn my concerns into action in any way I can.  From talking to people and social media I can see a lot of people are worried about their parents and Grandparents,  job, shortages closures and cancellations  and a whole myriad of issues too long to mention.

There are things we can do and we are not helpless.  I am working on a series of posts that I hope will help ourselves and others.

I am going to start with something really easy that I have been doing for a long time.  I saw on social media ladies saying "oh no"  they cannot buy tissues/kleenex.     You can easily be prepared ahead with this.

Tissues are hard on your nose and when you are sick you go through so many.   Good old fashioned handkerchiefs are ok but often (especially ladies ones) are small and not very absorbent.
I find thick brushed cotton or old flannelette sheets and cut them up into squares.  I make them quite large for adults and smaller for children.
The more times that old sheet has been washed the better.  It will be so so soft.   I watch for them in op shops (thrift stores) but have actually bought brand new sheets on a big special just to do this.

I began making them by tearing up squares and made them disposable.  I still do this.  I wash and tumble dry then tear them up and fold them.  Then they are stacked and stored in snap lock bags in my medical pantry.   Over time I have made lots.
When Lucy was sick years ago I gave her a heap (and she looked at me strangely) but I said to try them.  The next thing she asked me to make more and she refused to throw them away...  they are so soft and nice which you just don't appreciate until you are ill!
After this I began hemming many to be washed and reused.  How you do this is up to you.
If someone is really sick I go with disposables.


You may have suitable old linen on hand.  Someone in your family might.   Otherwise try the thrift stores or sales.    Flannelette tends also to come in great kids prints for cute little ones.

I make them 12 to 14 inches square.  Maybe 8 to 9 for a child.   I give them in little bundles.  If someone is sick this is a nice gift.    But one thing for sure is the lack of Kleenex on the shelves is the least of our worries.  
This is a job like making chicken soup.  Make them before you need them!    If you have a sewing machine this could be a gift of help to anyone finding they cannot buy tissues currently. 
And after any shortage you will never buy tissues again anyway!  

Just now I can make a heap more as I found childrens flannelette sheets with little owls all over them.   And I have others with flowers and roses.    I also have some plain soft and thick flannel sheets that I am saving incase we need to make nappies (diapers) for the new baby.  And yes, I bought nappy pins.

I sat and listened to President Trumps message to the Nation today even though I am Australian!   One reason is this will let me know what might happen next here.   The announcement too by the WHO that this is a Pandemic is kind of what we already knew.  BUT there will be a new wave of shoppers now who just realised they have no supplies that they might need.  So it is quite likely shelves will be lower again...
Sonia and others posted in comments on the last post some of the items they have in shortage in their cities.  I found this helpful as cities were hit first then the country.  So by knowing what the items were I was able to stock up. Low and behold the trends were the same here and now those items are sold out or very low. 
If you would share what is out of stock in your area (and add where you are located) then this might give others the heads up. 


There are simple ways to make many things for ourselves.   And there are simple ways to say healthy and minimise our risk.  Still nothing beats proper hand washing.  Stand and teach the children and Grandchildren how to wash their hands properly.   This might sound silly but many children have never been taught properly and many adults do not wash their hands often enough.   

Since hand sanitisers and sanitising wipes are also sold out I will share how to make these in my next post.   We need not do without these just because they are sold out! 

Be watchful, seek wisdom and be prudent!   Do what you can.  I have hand sanitiser wipes made today and apple jelly simmering.  It is a good time to be industrious and busy at home! xxx






38 comments:

  1. Thank you Annabel. This is so helpful. I love your voice of calm reason. Colleen C.

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  2. Hi Annabel,i was shopping for a client today and noticed short supply of vinegar,rice,flour,no toilet paper as usual in Croydon vic.

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    1. Thanks so much Melissa, this is an interesting list. Thank you! xxx

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  3. Good post Annabelle. I wonder if we should be washing hankies, or throwing them away? I guess if I knew that a person had been tested and had the virus I would definitely throw them away.

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    1. Earthmother I would be throwing away personally. In lesser illnesses it is an option to have a nappy bucket with bleach type system. But the advantage of plenty of supplies is just to get rid of them. In our case I would be burning them. Disposal is important. I think burning is best but not everyone probably has that option.xxx

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    2. I just watched a report on laundering: soapy water, hot if tolerated, and a hot dryer if tolerated. The bottom line though: soapy water will take care of it. Don't throw anything out!

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  4. Oh I miss those soft hankies! I remember we had a special pot for boiling hankies when I was little. I once asked my Gran if it was food and she chuckled and shook her head 😊. I have some lovely soft flannel sheeting I can cut up, thanks so much for the reminder. Blessings, Pam in Norway

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  5. If you boil them up with soap it kills all viruses. Will use my soap making pot to do that.

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  6. Thank you for a common sense post. That is what is needed now, as we have enough panic and hype from the news media (who are hoping for ratings).
    There is nothing that we can buy, that basically can't be made at home. We just need to be mindful.
    I live in U.S. and the capital city of Indiana - I have seen no shortages here yet. People are staying pretty level headed in that department.
    Thank you for a calm and common sense post.

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  7. Annabel,
    Your hankies sound divine, so soft.
    Like Pam in Norway I remember my Grandmother doing the same with hankies and even sheets when someone was sick.
    I would go the bucket route with bleach, but also I am blessed to have a washer that has a sanitizer cycle.

    I have plenty of tissues right now, but I am going to look for sheets that I can cut for hankies and others for wipes. Nothing lasts forever so knowing there aren't items to purchase in the store right now, we have no idea when and if they will be restocked.

    I haven't been to the store since we left town earlier in week, it will be interesting to see home things progressed.
    I do need to order vinegar from Sam's though. My Son is going tomorrow, so I can report on shortages then.

    Prayers for All!
    Rosanne

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  8. A wonderful idea Annabel! In Florida hand sanitizer and toilet paper are in very short supply

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  9. I'll be honest, I am starting to get a wee bit nervous about this virus. Our governor has shut down visitations to prisons, restricted nursing home visits and wants the church to temporarily close. So I shall do what I can here at home to fight against this virus and to keep my family healthy. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with others, I know that this momma/wife appreciates it.

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  10. Wonderful post! I have seen empty shelves of toilet paper, paper towels, wipes and sanitizers as well as canned tuna, soup and instant potatoes and was told by a store employee they may not be getting their shipments. Doing things keeps me calm though. P.S. I'm in Ohio.
    XOXO
    Vicky

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  11. Bottled water, toilet paper, tissues and hand sanitizer were in short supply here in parts of the uk. It’s better now stores have introduced rationing. Next it was pasta, rice, baked beans and tinned tomatoes. It seems to go in waves as folk realise what they would need. Thanks to you we are a little ahead of the game, also some prep for brexit. Thank you for the reminder about hand made hankies. If it’s the virus I too would throw away.

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  12. Here in South Carolina USA we did not find any shortages or empty shelves at our Aldi this week. I did not check hand sanitizer as we do not use it. People seem to be going about their lives as usual here with out any panic.

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  13. Your post reminded me that I have some flannel scraps that I could use for handkerchiefs. How do you finish the edges? When you hem flannel, it gets pretty thick. I think a serger would be good for this, but I don't have one. Thanks!

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    1. My thought is to use pinking sheers on the edges, and then use a zig-zag stitch. Hope that idea helps. I'll be stopping in at the thrift store today to check for flannel sheets.

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  14. Hi Annabel,

    I love this idea! My oldest son suffers terribly with allergies and sinus, so I think I will make a batch of flannel hankies for him to use straight away. It will be a bonus that we will have them to use going forwards.

    There hasn't been toilet paper to buy where I live for close to two weeks now. I still have a supply at home, but I am keeping my eye out to replace the supplies we have already used.

    At my last shop I noticed that plain flour was missing from the shelves, along with canned fruit & pulses, rice, pasta, sanitary products, panadol & disinfectant.

    Thank you for this post Annabel; its so encouraging to focus on what we can do during these times.

    Jodie x

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  15. Karen in Wisconsin12 March 2020 at 16:51

    Annabel, I have just about everything else, but I had cut back on my stock of tp and tissue as my husband asked me to cut back as we had “enough to last a lifetime” in our basement, lol. Well, I am going tomorrow to pick up an online order from a store and hopefully I will get them. My husband may not get his preferred brand of tp though!

    I do have some old flannel sheets from my boys’ smaller beds so I think I will make some up. I laughed when you said your daughter looked at you a bit strange when you handed the flannel tissues to her. Then came the motherly nod when of course she loved them and asked for more!

    I also ordered some 70% rubbing alcohol to make hand sanitizer. I want to send some to my son in Seattle as the stores are out. I am looking at different recipes and look forward to your post.

    There are several big concerns that aren’t being addressed by our government right now, including why people can’t get tested even with a doctor’s order as there aren’t nearly enough tests? The other thing is the shortage of protective gear for our healthcare workers. They cannot do their jobs without it. Then there is the lack of ICU rooms and proper respiratory machines for the inevitable number of people with Coronavirus as it is also the height of flu season. None of these issues were discussed in the presidential address.

    My father-in-law is currently being transferred from a hospital and was supposed to go to a nursing home again, but one of the area nursing homes shut down so he is on a waiting list. The family is considering putting him in assisted living with more care from the family. I saw a picture of an elderly women talking to her husband who is quarantined in a nursing home through the window of his room as she stood outside. Quite heartbreaking. They quarantine the nursing home if anyone has Coronavirus and then no relatives can come visit or be with their loved ones. You also must hope that most of the staff doesn’t get it as the one nursing home in Seattle had only three workers show up in the entire nursing home to care for 90 patients, many of whom were suffering from Coronavirus. It’s such a big concern for our elderly loved ones.

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    1. Karen, there was a Congressional hearing that had a lot of information on what our government is doing to counteract this virus. Lots of details and questions answered and it sounded to me like the different departments are doing everything humanly possible to protect us. I found that recorded hearing on UTube so it is probably still available. I keep thinking of a quote from FDR: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"!

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  16. It seems that people, in our area, are stocking up on canned goods, toilet tissue, paper towels and alcohol. Since last week the five stores we checked have had no toilet tissue at all. Even the expensive health food store was sold out.
    We have been dedicated to having a very deep pantry for about fifteen years now. Of course, many family members have scoffed - until now. In my humble opinion, we are in for quite a ride over the next couple of years worldwide.
    Several people attest to having supplies for three years. I can't imagine the space that amount of goods would require, but if they have it they have been wise in using it for storage.
    May you all stay safe and well, dear Bluebirds. God bless and keep you.

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  17. Thank you for a wonderful post. I'm in rural Central Alabama and yesterday our stores were out of Clorox, any kind of sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer. We have hand soap but NO antibacterial soap. Cindy Jane

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    1. Dear Cindy, Thank you for reporting on your area. I am posting over the weekend recipes you may be able to make up to use instead of the wipes and hand sanitiser. At home if you use liquid or solid soap and do a good job then that is fine. regular hand washing is way better than any wipe. It is just hard to do when out and about. If you are out in your car you can also carry a jug of water, a towel or paper towel and soap and wash your hands old style and rise with your carried water. In my case I would water the road side with it or was down the curb. But this doesnt help in the shops or public transport! I hope my recipes will help though, with love Annabel.xxx

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  18. Cleaning supplies of all kinds are gone, no soap or hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels, aloe gel, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide are what I have seen missing from the stores. I'm a quilter, so I have a bit of fabric, so if I need to make toilet paper from fabric, I have that ability. I'll sew them up, put the used ones in Clorox water (thankfully I bought some a few weeks ago) and wash them so they can be reused. Not really any different than baby diapers. I'm in Reno, Nevada. After reading your suggestions, I did stock up hugely on canned foods, so even if this lasts longer than we hope, I'll be all right and so will my dad. Thank you for what you are doing to help us all out!

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    1. Dear Farm Quilter, Thank you for reporting on your area! And I am so glad you stocked up too.
      It is funny but many things we may have to do are things our Grandparents did routinely! We can do it! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. We are in Central Texas and live near a small town with one good-sized grocery store. I was shocked this week to see only 5-6 packages of toilet paper on the shelves. Normally there is one long aisle devoted to just t paper and paper towels. There were lots of people shopping there, more than usual and the parking lot was full. There were plenty of canned goods remaining but you could see there was a good dent made in the supplies.
      Several frozen veggie shelves were empty or almost empty. The store put out a notice yesterday that certain items would be limited so I'm thinking some people were buying up everything and leaving nothing for their neighbors :(. The media has blown this way out of proportion here in the states, ignoring the facts and scaring the wits out of people. I'm not saying we shouldn't take precautions and keep our usual stock of supplies built up. But there is no need to panic, as some would have you believe. This is my opinion, of course.

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    3. I totally agree, Pam.

      Mary in SD

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  19. I am in Western PA and am not having any issues with shortages. But Ohio has closed all schools and limited church services to online and other drastic measures that are becoming very scary. The eastern side of PA has 20 some cases of the virus. But luckily I live in the country and my local stores are still very well stocked with fresh items and paper goods. The tp was a bit empty but still a lot there. Hopefully this will only go through the end of the month and things can return to normal. Just kind of scary how people are reacting to all of this. I am definitely making your flannel kleenex. Since I am alone, I would definitely wash them and not throw them away. Hot water, soap, and bleach will kill anything. I love the fact I was taught by frugal women to take care and use up and don't waste. I have lived that way my entire married life. After losing my husband three years ago, I STILL do it that way and it has served me well including during this difficult situation we have all been forced into. Take care ladies and God bless.

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    1. Dear Lynda,
      You sound very sensible and I am pleased you would like to make the soft hankies. I am really sorry for the loss of your husband.
      There are lots of Ohio ladies here.. see the comments below. Vicky is also from Ohio. With love Annabel.xxx

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  20. I'm from Ohio. They have 3 known cases of this virus in our state at this time. They have closed schools until April. We are not allowed to be in a crowd of 100 anywhere. This is for preventative measures. Their concern is, if 30,000 people were to get sick at the same time, it would overwhelm the system. And they are right.
    Most people have stocked up if they can afford to. But they are talking this could go into May. Just have to wait and see how it goes from here.
    Take care, Annabel.

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    1. Dear Dots, I think the measures are wise and yes... a rush of patience will overwhelm the system and this is what we face here as on a good day the system is usually overwhelmed WITHOUT the corona virus.
      I have no idea how long it could go but being a Saturday today many stores now started to sell out of everything plus rations put in place by supermarkets. So as you say now we wait and see! With love Annabel.xxx

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  21. Rural Ohio here, the only outages we have is hand sanitizer right now. The lady at the dollar store thought I was crazy buying several bottles each time I came in, now you can't find it anywhere at all. Since they closed all of our schools for 3 weeks, I expect that stores will get a lot emptier as now parents have to feed their kids at home and may be becoming more aware of the situation.
    Sarah

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    1. Dear Sarah,
      I heard Ohio is now in a State of Emergency but then I heard the whole country now is. I hope things are still ok where you are. We do not have closed schools yet but I am expecting that might come soon. With love Annabel.xxx

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  22. After a horrendous week on many levels, it was such a joy to come here to your blog. I thanked God that I had found your blog. Your cooking looks beautiful. I haven't got ahead much (well a few stops to the grocery store....i could not believe them....so much is missing). I can't believe more has not been done, by the government, to stop the spread yet. Sending lots of love, love Bridge

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    1. Dear Bridge, The government has not impressed me. When the Health Minister said go to China town and eat Chinese food I literally had my mouth open. He is supposed to be reducing the spread of the virus not promoting it. At that time I thought we are on our own here.
      I am really sorry you had a bad week. I hope things are getting better. With love and hugs, Annabel.xxx

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  23. Went to Costco here on a very rainy Thursday morning; usually the quietest time to be there. The it was pouring down and I didn't really want to go out, but thought I'd give it a whirl. The line was out into the street, waiting to even drive in to the parking lot. I finally got into the lot, drove around and couldn't believe how full it was. Forget this!! So, I went to the local major grocery store and got everything on my list....we are pretty well stocked, thank the Lord and Annabel and Vicky and Cath, etc. for encouraging us to buy ahead when we can. I forgot to check the tp aisle before I got in line, so I can't say. The checkout stands all have signs on them now that there are limits to amounts people can buy so everyone has a chance to get what they need.
    I attend a world-wide Bible study fellowship every week and we have chosen not to meet til April 1st (as it stands). I get to teach the littles and can attest to their germ-carrying abilities. We have ladies up into their 80s attending also. So, I must admit I'm really glad for the break. Classes meeting in China have been suspended, but are still having on-line studies (same as here). One of the teaching leaders in Wuhan, China said that so many blessing have come even at this hard time. More time with family, appreciating the beauty around us, more focused prayers, etc. And that fear will not sit at her family's table. Love that~. (Sorry for the long post.)
    Mary in San Diego

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  24. Sydney NSW, Australia : no beans of any sort or spaghetti, bread is out, chicken and mince are out, rice, pasta, instant noodles, spam , toilet paper, pasta sauce, tissues, handwash, disinfectant, laundry soap, frozen beans, corn, veg of any sort !! All out.

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  25. Thank you for this information will be starting tomorrow have some flannel inthe cupboard

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I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

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