Monday, September 30, 2013

A Plethora of Bibs

The baby's room, which has been turned into my temporary sewing room, has exploded with bibs.  

Our little one is still sleeping in her crib in our bedroom, taking up the space where my sewing table used to be.  I keep saying that I will move her into her own room "next week".  Next week always seems to come and go, and as a result, my sewing table has been set up where her crib should be.  In all seriousness, I will move her within the next month- just as soon as I finish up a few more projects and complete her room.

The bib sewing arose out of necessity.  And cheapness on my part.  Nearing the six month point, the baby is drooling everywhere.  She is constantly soaked.  For some reason we have almost no hand me down bibs from our older daughter, and I was getting pretty tired of changing the baby's outfit five times a day.  While shopping a few weeks ago, I almost bought a huge pack of bibs.  Holding them in my hand, I thought, "I can make these.  For free."  I knew there was tons of cotton, flannel and nylon ripstop in my fabric stash.  I knew I had both velcro and metal snaps.  I also knew I had thread in pretty much every colour under the rainbow.  Free bibs it was.

The hard part was getting around to it.  I dug out a pattern I had from when our older daughter was a baby and cut out many, many bibs in both cotton and flannel.  Then the cut fabric sat on the coffee table for over a week.  Naptime is a precious time, and the bibs didn't make the cut for a while.

I decided not to use the ripstop as a semi-waterproof backing since the stuff I had in my stash was all in masculine colours.  These were to be girly bibs.  Instead, I used three layers to make each bib.  If I used cotton to make the bib, I made sure to include a layer of thicker flannel between the layers to make the bib more absorbent.  The flannel bibs are extra absorbent with three layers of flannel.  Good for those extra goobery days.

I was going to write a tutorial on making bibs.  Then I thought, there are so many out there and I didn't want to be too redundant.  Instead I decided to link to my favourite patterns and tutorial. 

  • A tutorial from Juicy Bits - it begins about halfway down the page

Once you get used to making these, you can add designs to the front with applique, ribbons, ric rac, etc.  For now, I just made a pile of plain bibs to save me from piles of baby laundry.  They were quick and easy and just the right price.

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Lovely Crafty Home

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Experimenting with Almond Milk

I love almond milk.  The love affair began when my youngest daughter was unable to tolerate dairy for a year or so while her body repaired itself after a diagnosis of Celiac Disease.  Of all of the non-dairy milks we tried, unsweetened vanilla almond milk was by far our favourite.  She can tolerate dairy now, but for the most part we haven't gone back.  We generally avoid dairy in our home - I just don't think it's all that great for us.  But almond milk...that's a different story.

Whenever it went on sale, I would stock up on my favourite brand.  I still have at least five cartons in the pantry.  Then I started hearing about this thing called carrageenan.  I've heard whisperings about it for years, and mostly didn't listen.  But now more and more people are questioning the safety of this food ingredient found in many non-dairy milks to help the texture become closer to that of cow's milk.  As a precaution, I do my best to avoid products with carrageenan as best I can.

In my corner of the country, none of the brands of almond milk in stores are without carrageenan.  I have still been drinking up my stash of almond milk cartons, but a little more slowly.  And I've been keeping this recipe in the back of my mind for a rainy day.  I decided to take the plunge yesterday after buying a huge bag of raw almonds at the bulk food store.

I have to say, it was so much easier than I had anticipated!  I did not have a nut milk bag, but I used a jelly bag that I had bought to make crabapple jelly last summer and it worked perfectly.  The hardest part of making my own almond milk was to remember to soak the almonds overnight.  I forgot three days in a row.  I remembered once while laying in bed and was just too lazy to get up, so it got pushed to the next day.  Again.  Once the almonds were soaked, the rest of the recipe literally took five minutes.  I used pure vanilla extract, and this was my result:

You can see all of the delicious flecks of cinnamon slowly settling to the bottom of the jar.  This stuff is good.  Really good.  But - I don't really know that I'll make it often.  Here's why:  I don't eat cereal often, and I don't drink my almond milk on it's own.  I consume most of my almond milk in coffee.  About 1/3 of a cup per mug of coffee.  When I tried to use my homemade version in my coffee, it separated.  It looked gross.  I could stir it back together, but within 20 seconds it was separating again.  Not fun.  Maybe that's what the carrageenan does?  Next time I'm on a cereal or smoothie kick I will make this, but not for everyday coffee consumption.

If you drink your almond milk by the glass, in cereal or a smoothie, I definitely recommend this recipe.  It is so simple and fast.  As for me, I'm still on the hunt for something to add to my coffee.