Are you a caregiver? Do you ever need to leave a message but wish you could speak the information instead of writing it down? If so, this project may be for you. The idea for the project struck me after seeing an ad for the Speakin' Up! 30 sec. Audio Recorder. Also, being from Louisiana and having had family impacted by Katrina, I thought of the issues that came up from poor communication and memory.
This nifty product, and ones like it, will allow you to record a message up to 30 seconds long. You can record a new message over the old one or disable the rerecord feature to make your message permanent. One of the problems that evacuees experienced going to the places like the Superdome was that they were not allowed to keep their medications. Sounds silly, but it just shows how you need to be prepared for emergencies. You can use this Emergency Recordable Bag (ERB) to make a list of the medications that your children, partner, or parents are taking, as well as contact information in case you get separated as happened with Katrina. This way, if your loved one is relocated to another shelter, medical personnel have the kind of information they need to treat urgent medical conditions. You could also write this information down, but redundancy is a good thing, especially in an emergency.
You could also use the ERB when you take small children out in large gatherings. Sometimes, they get separated from you. The ERB would contain your contact information in case of such an event or another emergency. If your child is of age, teach the child to play back the recording. The slide out battery compartment of The Speakin' Up recorder makes changing the battery a snap. The device was originally designed for scrapbookers to store audio memories.
This is a useful product because it provides a means of communicating messages to and about loved ones who may need help during an emergency.
old t-shirt (I chose red)
a long shoe string
Speakin' Up Recorder (or similar device)
Re-sealable waterproof plastic bag
My Etsy listing for the finished ERB is at: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=6328129
Step 1: Cut the Sleeve Off on an Old T-shirt
I used an old red t-shirt to make my ERB. Upcycling materials is important to me. I chose a red shirt to signify that this bag was important. I decided to use the sleeve for this project because it was just the right size to hold the audio device. Use a good pair of sewing scissors and cut off the sleeve at the seam.
Step 2: Sew the Sleeve Bottom
Now you have a sleeve that will become your bag. The top and the bottom are open. Of course, you only need to have the top of the bag open, so sew a seam across the bottom. To do so, place pins along the bottom edge to hold the fabric in place as you sew the seam. Make a straight stitch across the bottom of the sleeve. I choose to allow my seam to show. I choose black thread to contrast with the red shirt.
Some important tips to keep in mind if you are new to sewing:
Always backstitch at the beginning and end of your seam. Backstitching is simply going a few stitches forward and a few stitches backward. This will lock your stitching in place so that it will not unravel when you wash the ERB.
Always remove the pins as you approach them while sewing. Sewing over pins can break your sewing needle. - Not a good idea.
Hold the material at the top and bottom as you guide the sleeve forward. This will help you keep it straight.
Step 3: Add a Hem to the Top of the Bag
You will need to add a hem to the top of the bag. This will allow you to create a place for you to thread the shoestring through at the end. Fold over the top of the sleeve 1 inch. Pin this hem in place. The shoestring will serve as a drawstring so you can tighten up your bag.
Step 4: Sew Hem at Top of the Bag
Sew the hem across the top of the bag. I choose to sew the hem on the outside of the bag. This way I can immediately see how it will look when done. Of course, any time your stitches will show on the outside you need to take extra care to get them straight, unless you are going for a funky look. You will need to make sure and leave a 1" hole in this seam. That will allow you to place the drawstring in at the end. USing your scissors cut a hole in the one inch hole that you left. See photo.
Step 5: Get the Audio Recorder Ready
The Speakin' Up! 30 Second Voice Recorder is pretty easy to use. The front side holds the speaker and the play button. The back side has the microphone, and the record button. On the side is a slider that allows you to enable or disable recording.
The company is working to create a recorder with longer recording times. This one will do for short messages.
Oh, and if you want to spruce it up - you can paint and/or write on the front of the recorder. It has acid free paper on it so you can embellish with paints, inks, or stamps if desired.
Step 6: Speak Your Message
This part is really important. Make sure to practice what you will say before you start recording if possible. If you are going to list medications, make sure you have the pharmacy name and phone number in front of you before you begin. Make sure you leave your contact name and number at the end of the message. Always speak clearly. And if you have time repeat your contact information at the beginning and the end of the message.
Step 7: Add the Drawstring
To add the drawstring you need to first make sure your shoestring is long enough. We used an extra long shoestring from a boot. You need to make sure to have one that is long enough to go around the person's neck. Thread one end of the shoestring through the opening that you left on the top of the bag. Push the shoestring through this tube until it comes out on the other side.