Thursday, April 21, 2016

Inexpensive Baby Gift- Pocket Bib Pattern and Tutorial to Sew for an Infant or Toddler with a Bonus Pattern for a Matching Doll Bib! Easy to make!

Handmade gifts are a tradition in our family. My grandmother knitted, crocheted and sewed things for my mom, me and my kids, my mom sews and knits for me, my kids and now my grandkids. There’s something very special about using an item that was made with so much love, especially when it’s from your great-grandma or your grandma!
For each baby I usually make a couple of flannel receiving blankets. I always use plaid flannel shirting, it looks the same on both sides and is so very soft. (Our family isn’t really into baby fabrics. We all like fabrics that can be used well into childhood.) I crochet a simple edge onto one of them. I also sew burp cloths and bibs.

When my daughter became pregnant 4 years ago, I went into full grandma mode. I started sewing up a storm and found a bib pattern that I liked but it didn’t have a pocket and I wanted slightly more coverage with a wider neck strap to cover their shoulders a bit better. How babies can get food on their shoulders is beyond me but we all know it happens! I started making my own pattern and adjusting it each time I made it. Now 3 years later and 4 grand babies later,  I have come up this bib pattern that I love and even better, my daughter and daughter-in-law love!

This is a very easy pattern to make and feel free to adjust it to suit your baby or grand baby. This bib can be made without the pocket as well. There are some bibs that have different sizes. We’ve found that this size works from infant through ages 3-4. For an infant it gives total coverage which is good since they make the biggest messes. 

These make a wonderful inexpensive baby gift. At around $3.00 each, you can make a few and give a handmade gift that is unique and made with love. 

Print the bib pattern out. Make sure when printing not to click Fit to Page! You want it to print at 100% size to be correct. There will be 3 pages- A- Bib Top, B- bottom and C-pocket. The Doll bib pattern is on the last page. If you buy 3/4 of a yard of fabric you won’t need to print the C Pocket pattern page.
Cut the extra paper off of the bottom of the Top-A pattern piece and lining up the bottom line with the top line of piece B- Bottom. Tape the 2 parts together to make the full bib pattern.

Prewash and dry before cutting and sewing the bibs!
I like to use a cotton print for the front, a layer of white cotton
flannel for the lining and a layer of a colored or print flannel for the back. I like a flannel backing because it’s soft against their skin. You can easily use 2 cotton prints one on the front and one for the back. I add a layer of cotton flannel in-between my front and back fabrics. It adds some absorbency to the bib. You can skip that if you want but I highly recommend it! You can also use a waterproof layer in the middle if you want to. Do NOT use cotton gauze in the middle. Even after pre-washing the cotton gauze in hot water and drying in a hot dryer, it continues to shrink wash after wash and distorts and ruins the bib! 

Amount of Fabric
For 3 bibs with pockets buy: 
3/4 of a yard of front fabric 
1/2 yard of lining flannel 
1/2 yard of backing fabric

3/4 yard (27”) will make 3 bib fronts with pockets.
1/2 a yard will make 3 Bib fronts without pockets OR 3 Bib Liners OR 3 Bib Backs- You don’t cut pockets out of these just the Bibs.

If you want to use scraps here are the measurements of the full bib cut out.
The bib front with a pocket needs a piece of fabric 12” wide by 26 3/4” long
The bib front without a pocket, the bib back and the lining EACH need a piece of fabric 12” wide by 15 3/4 long.

Using coupons at Joann’s or looking for sales I usually can make 3 bibs for $3.00 each. Less if there’s a great sale! 

  • Thread to match fabric for inside sewing and topstitching.
  • Pins to pin the layers together before sewing. (If I am using flannel for the lining and the backing, I don't pin! The fabrics "stick together" enough to not need pins. 
  • A chopstick or knitting needle to use to smooth seams when turning bib right side out.
  • An Iron- to press bib flat before top stitching.

Cutting Your Fabric
Take your 3/4 yard of fabric and fold in half with selvage edges to your left. If your cut edges are not even, trim them now. I printed 2 copies of the pattern out so I could pin and cut once. 

Fold the selvage edges in 1/3 of the width. You will now have a double layer fold (will make 2 bibs) on the left and the original single fold on the right. (one bib) 

Place your pattern on a fold.

Fold the bottom of the fabric up until the fold is at the bottom of the pattern. Make sure the top of the pattern isn’t pushed off the edge.

Fold the fabric down so that the raw edge is even or extends slightly beyond the bottom of the pattern.
Pull pattern out of pocket and place on top, lining up on fold. Pin in place and cut with scissors or rotary cutter.
Cut out one back piece and one liner piece using the pattern placed on a fold and without the extra pocket material.

Layering The Fabric
Unfold the cut out pieces. Fold the bib pocket into place.
Place the backing fabric face down against the bib
front- Right sides should be together. Lay the liner layer on top of the backing.      

Pin in place. Cut the neck piece along the fold line.

Place pins or marks where the bottom opening will be.

Begin sewing from the left mark all the way around the bib to the right mark.
Make sure you leave a large enough opening at the bottom to turn the bib inside out

I sew with a 1/2 in seam allowance until I get the the neck and then I use a 1/4” to a 3/8” allowance around the neck. I also do a little reverse and go again right where the top of the pocket is to reinforce that area.

Once you've sewn around the entire bib- Trim off the corners of the neck tab, cut V’s on the outside curves and cut clips into the inside curves. This will make the curves nice and smooth when you turn the bib!

Trim the seams . I trim to a 1/4” all the way around- EXCEPT at the opening. Leave all the fabric so you have enough to  sew the bottom shut when you top stitch.

I use a chopstick or a knitting needle to push the corners out with, as I turn it right side out. Once I get it fully turned, I take the chopstick and from the inside push gently out against the seam all the way around the entire bib to
get it fully extended and turned. This also helps smooth the inside seams.
Turn in the extra fabric at the bottom and pin into place.

With an iron, press the entire bib and then topstitch around. This topstitching closes up the turning hole at the bottom of the bib.  

I also do a quick reverse and continue sewing at the top of the pocket, on each side, to reinforce this area one extra time.

Separate Pocket Pattern
If you want to use a different fabric to make the pocket or you want to cut the bib and pocket from a smaller piece of fabric use the pattern piece- C-Pocket.
Take the piece of pocket fabric and fold it into quarters placing the pattern against the 2 folds.

You may also choose to print 2 of the pocket pieces and tape them together in which case you would fold the fabric in half and then place the top edge of the pattern against the fold.

Once you’ve top stitched around, I add my fastener. If you choose to use velcro then sew the squares of velcro to each side of the neck pieces.
If using snaps then sew or using plastic KAM snaps applied with a KAM faster pliers.
I got my snaps and pliers on Ebay for $15.

WARNING- Bibs can be a choking hazard!
NEVER leave a baby or child unattended wearing a bib- especially a snap on one!!!!
Never let a child sleep or play wearing a bib!

Other Notes
You may choose to round off the corners on the neck tabs. That’s up to you. I personally enjoy the squared ends to see how imprecise I am when I sew! No 2 are ever alike! HA!!
I actually make both rounded ends and squared off ends depending on my mood. 

For the Doll Bib 
I only do a front and a back with a pocket- No lining. Just follow the same instructions as a full size bib using a 1/4" seam allowance all around and velcro so it's easier for little hands to put the bib on or off of their favorite stuffed animal or baby doll! 


There are 2 of each bib in this photo below. That why it looks like there is solid fabric under the turned down corner! 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Perfect, Chewy Maple Cookies with Maple Glaze

My husband has been working in Canada for the last couple of weeks and has been bringing me home all sorts of maple treats. I've been in such a maple mood that I decided to try my hand at some maple cookies.

If you like crispy cookies, these are not for you! These are chewy, moist cookies that make your mouth sing!  They have just the perfect hint of maple from real maple syrup. I'm not talking about pancake syrup, that has the same amount of real maple sugar in it that an oak tree has. I'm talking about the real kind that comes from boiling the spring maple sap down into it's golden deliciousness. 

If you like more maple flavor you can add in some maple extract! You can decide how much maple you'd like!

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup real maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp maple extract (optional) This is for more maple flavor- if you prefer.
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 3 TBS melted butter
  • 1/3 cup real maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, maple syrup and (optional- maple extract) until fluffy.
  5. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder and with mixer off, add to the creamed ingredients. Turn mixer on low and mix until just combined.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the greased or lined cookie sheets.
  7. Bake in the 375° oven for 10-12 minutes until cookies are lightly golden browned. the tops will be cracked.
  8. Remove from pans to cool.

  1. Mix 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 3 TBS melted butter and 1/3 cup real maple syrup together until well blended. If the glaze is too thick you can add a couple of drops more of maple syrup or water to thin out.

  1. When cookies are completely cooled, drizzle glaze over the tops. I use the whisk or fork that I mix the glaze with. I dip into the glaze and then go back and forth over the cookies.

These freeze really well if you don't eat them all first!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Peanut Butter Blossom or Kiss Cookies

These cookies are chewy and peanut buttery and delicious. You can use a Hershey's chocolate kiss in the middle or a Brach's Chocolate Stars. I like the stars because they come in milk or DARK chocolate and as far as I'm concerned, the darker the better when it comes to chocolate plus they look so pretty. We love these not only at  Christmas but any time of the year.
• 48 Hersheys' Kisses or Brach's Chocolate Stars
• 1/2 cup butter
• 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Granulated sugar to roll dough balls into before baking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
  2. Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. 
  3. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. 
  4. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. 
  5. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Do NOT put the chocolate on the cookie yet.
  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  8. Remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie, the cookie will crack around edges. 
  9. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 
  10. Cool completely. 
Makes About 4 dozen cookies

Sunday, February 7, 2016

DIY- Life Hack- Quickly and Easily Clean your Garage Floor with Snow

DIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman Blog

I don't know about you but my garage floor gets so dirty during the winter. The dried dirt and crud from the roads just covers it. 

During the summer, I use the hose to rinse it all out but, during the winter, I don't want a skating rink in my garage. I've used this method to clean my garage floors during the winter for years and thought I would share it with you. 

How do I do it- I use snow!!!! Think of a snowcone. A snowcone just sucks up that syrup and that's what snow does to all the dirt and dirty water on the garage floor.  Plus snow crystals are slightly abrasive so it scrubs off that dried on dirt as you sweep it all out the door.

Here's the before!  Obviously my garage floor needs to be repainted this spring but you can see how the dried on dirt is all over where the car parks. 

DIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman Blog

Here's how to do it:

First:  Sprinkle fresh clean snow all over the floor with a shovel making sure to cover any dirty spots.  Second: Let it sit for 5-10 mins.
DIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman Blog
Third: Using a wide broom, sweep the snow out of the garage. Usually the dried dirt comes right up with the snow, but occasionally you might have to move the snow back and forth over a stubborn spot to get it up.
DIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman BlogDIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman Blog
The snow just sucks up the dirt and any water on the floor. It's like magic!!!

All the dirt is gone! Boy, do I ever need to paint this floor!

DIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman BlogDIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman Blog

Here you can see how the snow absorbed the dirt and muck?!!  Sweep all the dirty snow into a pile and  shovel it off to the side so it doesn't get tracked back into the garage.  You now have a clean garage floor in minutes!

DIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman BlogDIY- The Fastest and Easiest Way to Clean a Dirty, Winter Garage Floor from Factwoman Blog 

I hope you find this method as useful as I do!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Brandy Snaps with Cinnamon Eggnog Cream or Brandy Cream

I love brandy snaps.  They are light lacy crisp tubes that you can fill, leave unfilled and dip one end into melted chocolate or leave plain. They take a bit of practice but after one or two you'll find them very easy to make!

You really have to find some Golden syrup to make this recipe. Karo just doesn't work as well. I get mine at Cost Plus but Amazon has it as well.

This recipe makes 24 cookies.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 350ยบ 
  • Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment and then grease the handle of a wooden spoon well and set aside. 
  • Into a small bowl stir together the flour and the dried, ground ginger
  • Add the butter, sugar and golden syrup to a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Don't stir too much or allow the mixture to boil or the sugar can crystalize.  This will take about 10-15 minutes
  • Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the flour and the lemon juice. 
  • Using a tablespoon, scoop 1 TBS  onto the cookie sheet.  Place 3-4 scoops 4" apart onto a cookie sheet. 
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are golden brown, spread out and bubbling. 
  • Remove from oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes. The cookie needs to be just firm enough to remove, but pliable enough to shape. I use a thin knife or very thin spatula to carefully peel up an edge. If the edge doesn't stretch out it's time to shape!   
  • Roll the cookie around the greased spoon handle and set on a cooling rack. 
  • You have to move fast to get them all done before they harden up too much. 
Let the cookies cool completely before dipping one end into melted chocolate or filling with the Brandy cream or the Eggnog cream. 

Brandy Cream
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 TBS Brandy
1/3 cup sugar
Combine cream, brandy and sugar and whip until stiff peaks. 

Cinnamon Eggnog Cream
1 1/2 cups of whipping cream
2 TBS Brandy
3 TBS Eggnog
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
Combine all the ingredients and whip to stiff peaks. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Homemade Plain or Peppermint Marshmallows and Cocoa Mix for Teacher Gifts or Neighbors

Here is an easy gift to make for teachers, neighbors or friends. Marshmallows and cocoa mix. If you've never made marshmallows, I hate to be the one to tell you that they are super simple and very impressive. I love making peppermint marshmallows to put in cocoa but you can make plain if you prefer. You can also try rolling them in toasted coconut or even chopped nuts to eat them like candy.

Homemade Marshmallows:

* 3 packages unflavored gelatin
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Sprinkle powdered sugar into 2 8"x8" pans or one 9"x13" until bottom is completely coated.
Pour the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with your whisk attachment and allow this mixture to sit while you make the syrup.

In a large saucepan, preferably one that has a spout, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Place the lid on the pan for 1 minute to wash down the sides of the pan. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you live at higher altitudes, reduce the final temp by 2 degrees for every 1000 feet in altitude. I live at 6000 feet so I only cook my mixture to 228 degrees. Remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer onto low speed, while mixer is going, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. The gelatin will be all chunky when you turn on the mixer. Once all of the syrup is poured in turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Pour the marshmallow batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or whatever topping you are using.

For the peppermint, I removed half the marshmallows for the plain pan and then stirred in 2 drops of red food coloring and 1/2 tsp of peppermint flavoring into the remaining half. After placing this into the second pan I sprinkled crushed peppermints over the top.

Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.

Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. I dip a knife into very hot water before each cut then roll each strip in powdered sugar before cutting into squares. Roll the sides of each square carefully in confectioners' sugar.

Once they have dried for a few hours and aren't sticky, they  can be bagged up for gifts or stored in a  sealed container or sealed baggies.

Creamy Cocoa Mix
This makes 20 cups of mix or about 60 servings. I make a big batch at the beginning or the winter and we use it all season. 

  • 13 cups dry milk powder
  • 6 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer (1- 15oz jar of powdered creamer) 
Sift together all these ingredients into a large bowl.
For extra chocolaty goodness I  add-
  • 2- 12 oz package of mini chocolate chips 
Stir to combine the scoop into jars for gifts or store sealed in a container for storage.

Variations- You can use flavored creamer if you want flavored cocoa or try adding some cayenne pepper to the mix for a bit of spicy heat.

To use this cocoa mix; Scoop 1/3 cup of mixture into mug and add boiling water. Stir and enjoy.

Alton Brown has a Recipe for Cocoa mix that I haven't tried just because I love the creaminess of my recipe but for those who don't want to use powdered creamer here is his recipe.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container.