Friday, October 9, 2015

Flashback Friday: Embellishing Burp Cloths

Here's this week's Flashback Friday where I dig up an old post. If you haven't seen it before, then it's new to you! In honor of the newest addition to my family, I'm highlighting a simple, baby-related sewing project. 

Skill Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: Pressing and Straight Stitch Sewing
Embellished Burp Cloth

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors (or rotary cutter and mat)
  • Plain burp cloths/cloth diapers (Gerber and Dundee both make plain white cloths with three panels)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Decorative fabric 

Have you ever walked through a store, saw something that you really liked, and thought, "I could totally make that"? I had that thought when I received an adorably embellished burp cloth as a baby shower gift. So, this week, I will show you how to embellish a burp cloth using a plain, three-fold cloth diaper and some decorative fabric. This is a straight-forward, simple sewing project that requires minimal supplies, yet the finished product has that extra pizazz sure to impress.

Embellishing an existing product is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of sewing. You don't have to start from scratch, and the most difficult steps are behind you. Rather, you can focus on your creative side and turn a blasé item into something unique with your own style. So, let's get started!

1. Measure the center panel of your burp cloth, and cut your fabric 1" longer and 1" wider than the size of the center panel. In this example, I used Dundee burp cloths, so the center panel measures 21" by 4", so I cut my decorative fabric 22" by 5". 

Cut decorative fabric 1" wider and 1" longer
than the center panel of burp cloth
2. Lay the fabric wrong-side up on the ironing board and press over each edge 1/2 inch.  Press the fabric on all four sides. 
Press over 1/2" on all four sides
3. Pin the fabric on the center panel of the burp cloth. Place pins approximately every 3 - 4 inches to secure the fabric. 

Place pins ever 3 - 4" to secure fabric

4. Sew a straight stitch around all the edges of the fabric to secure the fabric on the burp cloth. When you reach each corner, place the needle in the down position before you pivot the fabric to begin sewing on the next edge to ensure a continuous seam. Try to sew as close to the edge of the fabric as possible as this will give the finished burp cloth a more professional look. I used a 1/8" seam allowance (see picture below). Sew around all four sides until you reach the beginning. Remember to use a back-stitch at the beginning and end of your stitching to create a knot.

Use a 1/8" seam allowance

Easy as that!

Finished Burp Cloth

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Freezer Meal: Burritos

Skills Level: Beginner
Skills Attained: Freezer Meal

  • Tortilla Shells (10")
  • Meat (1 pound): chicken, ground beef, or ground chicken (et al.)
  • Taco Seasoning (1 packet)
  • Burrito Filling Ingredients: shredded cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, minced jalapeños, salsa, and guacamole (et al.)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Freezer Bags
  • Crockpot or Pot (to cook meat)
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Large Spoon

As I prepared for my third baby's arrival, I "nested" in a different way than in times past by stocking my freezer full of meals. I made some lasagna, chicken pot pies, and egg sandwiches, to name a few. One staple I try to keep in the freezer all the time is a hearty supply of burritos. They are a great lunch option and reheat in the microwave quickly. I don't have a specific recipe, but I'll share with you the basic method. 

Cook the meat. Use ground beef, ground turkey, chicken breast, and/or shredded pork or beef. If you prefer a more hands-off cooking method, use a crock pot. Simply put a pound of meat into the crock pot with a packet of taco seasoning mix and a few tablespoons of water. Depending on the meat, cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours. Break up or shred the meat when it's completely cooked through.

Mix together the burrito "filling" ingredients with the meat in a large bowl. This is where you can get creative and add the type and quantity of mix-ins you like. I truly eyeball the amounts.  Here are a few things I like to use: shredded cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, minced jalapeños, salsa, and guacamole. I leave out any kind of lettuce as I don't think the freeze-thaw process will treat the lettuce very well (but I haven't tried). Mix everything thoroughly together.  Unfortunately, this step doesn't produce the most appetizing result, but I like it because the ingredients are spread uniformly throughout the burrito.  No one wants to eat all their guacamole in one bite.  Also, it makes it much less labor intensive to assemble. 

Assemble the burritos in the tortilla shells; fold up the shells; and wrap with aluminum foil. Ten inch shells work the best, but you can use whatever size tortilla you'd like. Fold the tortillas by bringing up the bottom end over the filling, turn the sides in, and then roll the shell towards the top. Wrap the burrito with aluminum foil. If you need a demonstration, head to Chipotle.

Store burritos in a freezer bag in the freezer for 4-6 months. To reheat, unwrap the burrito from the aluminum foil, wrap the burrito in a damp paper towel, and heat it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.

This is a quick, simple meal you can grab on the run.