Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Little Girls Shirred Apron

I was shopping at Joann's recently.  While I am ever shopping there, I always look at the remnants section.  I am particularly fond of checking it out when remnants are 50% off the already marked down price.  You can find good deals in there sometimes.  I found a few goodies - a piece of white fur, some polar fleece, and a bit of shirred Frozen fabric.

My little Princess was estatic!  I mulled over what I could do with it for a long time.  I even browsed Pinterest and came up short.  It is a bit short for her and it wouldn't wrap all the way around her either, so I was a bit stumped.  This morning as I was holding it up to her to toy around with more ideas, I said, "This is the perfect size for an apron!"  In our house, one can never own too many aprons.  We love them.  She was thrilled!  So, off to the sewing area I went and this is what I did.

If you want to do this idea, I suggest you measure your child from under armpit to under armpit.  This piece of fabric is 15" at the shirred part.  It fits an 8 year old nicely.

If you have never worked with pre-shirred fabric before, the top and bottom are already finished off for you.  It is what makes this project a breeze.  

First, finish off the side of the fabric.  I own a serger, so I just serged the side edges up.

After that, I turned each side under 1/4" twice to hide all serging threads. 

Then, I measured for the ribbon.   I had Princess hold it up to herself and I measured approximately from where I put the neck ribbons adding enough extra for tying.   I then measured for the back ties.  You will be sewing these to the top of the shirring on each side.  Be sure to add extra for tying.  Mine measured 20" for each neck ribbon (you need 2) and 21" for each side ribbon (again, you need 2). 

I just happened to have a bit of leftover Frozen ribbon from curtains I had made.  You need 7/8" ribbon to get a good width for tying.

Now put the apron body up to your Princess.  Mark where inner edge of shoulders are.  This is where you will sew your neck ties.  Straight stitch them in place going over several times for security.

Next, pin your side ties at the top of each side of your apron body about an inch from the top.  Sew a straight stitch over them going back and forth several times again for security.

Last but not least, cut the ends of your ribbon at an angle.  This will keep them from fraying.  

Now you can stop there.  It is complete.  But I thought a little bling was in order.  I had some tiny snowflake buttons that I hand sewed to the shirring to make the apron look a bit more fun and "Frozeny".  

And now, at least for me, it was complete.  Princess was so happy with the end results!  And, so was I.   I was also estatic on how long this project took, only about an half hour.  I was so thrilled with it that I am now ready to go back to Joanns and see if I can find some fabric for my big girls.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Healthy Homemade Chicken Broth, in the Crockpot

I have been making chicken broth for some time now.  I like making my own.  I know what ingredients are going into it.  I know there is no MSG in it,  and I can control the sodium content.  I tried for a long time to do it, and it always was less than savory.  Or just too fatty.  In other words, just plain gross.  I read someplace though that you need to cook it slowly and at low temps to keep the fat from coagulating.  But, my problem with trying it that way was it made my kitchen hot from all the simmering.  Great in winter, not so great in summer.  So, I decided to try my crockpot.  It can keep it at a low temp, simmer, and not heat up my kitchen.  I decided to give it a go.  And, I will never go back!  I love making it this way.  And it is so easy to do.


1 fully cooked chicken - I usually do this within 24 hours of eating a roast chicken dinner
2 stalks of celery
2 whole carrotts, do not peel
1 whole shallot
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 c. of apple cider vinegar
12 peppercorns
3 tbsp. sea salt

Place chicken in crockpot.  If you are only down to just the bones, you can do this recipe.  Add the various ingredients.  Add water till it covers the chicken.

On the day I made mine, I had some carrots and celery I had frozen myself in my freezer so I used those.  At other times, I would dump in the veggies whole.

Cover and turn on the crockpot to low or 8/10 hours if you have one of those types like I do.  Let simmer for 8 to 10 hours.   Remove lid and allow to get to room temperature.  This takes mine about an hour.  I then place it in the fridge overnight to cool it completely.  

In the morning, I take out my large silver bowl and large silver colander and put one inside the other. 

And, I separate out the chicken.  I separate every little piece of meat off those bones!  I place it in bags to use later for chicken noodle soup or quesadillas.

I then drain the rest of the contents of the crockpot through my colander and I am left with the broth.  I usually just throw the contents away.  If they weren't full of bit of chicken I would just feed it to my chickens, but I don't want them trained in cannibalism.  

I then pour 2 cups of broth into each of my freezer containers.  My freezer containers are nothing fancy.  Over the years, I have save our lunch meats containers and repurposed them into freezer containers. 

Then, you can just freeze normally.  Pull out whatever you need whenever you need it.  This times yeild was 12 cups of broth and 4 cups of chicken which I separated into 2 bags for soup.  That is my typical broth yeild each time.  The meat varies due to the size of the chicken or my kids appetites!  

I love making broth this way.  It is savory, and I love knowing I am feeding my family a broth that is very good for them and filled with good pronouncable ingredients.  Bon appetit!