Monday, June 30, 2008

A Simple Apron


Aprons are so simple to make that you don't need a pattern.  You can make them from nearly any absorbent fabric.  I remember as a child, my Grandmother had an apron that I loved to wear when helping her in the kitchen.  It was a very simple design.  The apron was made from a pretty colored bath towel that had been cut in half.  The tie was a 2" wide strip of fabric that matched or complimented the towel.  I loved this apron as it was very absorbent and held up very well.


To make this simple apron, pre-wash a large bath towel.  Fold the towel in half (short ends together) to find the center. Press to mark the center line.  You can serge or zigzag stitch along each side of this line to finish the edges and prevent unraveling. 


For the ties, I fold a piece of fabric with the selvage edges together.   Cut 2 strips that are 5" x the width of the fabric.  Take one strip and cut it in half.  Sew one short piece to each end of the long piece to make one continuous piece of 5" wide fabric.  This will prevent you from having a seam in the tie in the middle of your apron front. 


Fold the long edge under 1/2" and press.  Repeat on the other long edge.  Fold under and press the short ends also to give a finished edge.  Fold the strip in half, matching long edges and press.  This will give you a long 2" wide strip.  Fold the strip in half to find it's center.  Fold your towel to find the center of the top edge.  Pin the apron tie to your towel, matching the center points.  Pin the tie into place.  Top-stitch along the open edges of the tie starting at one short edge and sewing across the apron to the other short edge encasing the towel as you go. 


Voila! Your apron is finished and ready to enjoy. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Frugal Tuesday

Each Tuesday, I will be posting ideas for frugal living. I hope that these posts will inspire and benefit others.

The Humble Loaf of Bread

Bread is a staple item in every home. Unfortunately, it can at times be one of the most wasted food items in our kitchens. How often have you tossed out a stale loaf of bread? Here are a few ideas on how to get a 2nd life out of dried bread.

Croutons: these little gems are great both on salads or used with soup in place of crackers. To make croutons, cut the bread slices into cubes. Dry the croutons on a baking sheet in a 250* oven for about 30 minutes or until fully dried. Once they have cooled, place in a container in your pantry. Unseasoned, these croutons are also great to have on hand for making stuffing.

Baby's Teething Toast: I have made these for our daughter and other teething babies. I make them similar to the croutons. Slice the bread into sticks similar in size to biscotti. Dry the bread sticks in the oven, turning the sticks a 1/4 turn every 15 minutes to help the toasts dry evenly. These toasts will dry hard and be nearly crumb-free when baby is teething on them. I make these from my homemade breads, including banana & zucchini breads that do not have nuts or raisins in them.

Bread Crumbs: Let the bread dry out on the counter. Break the dried bread into pieces and run through the food processor or blender to make crumbs. Toast the crumbs in the oven to thoroughlyl dry them. Once dried & cooled, place into a container. For seasoned bread crumbs, add abit of Italian seasoning or other seasoning mixture to the bread crumbs. The bread crumbs are great of adding to casseroles, meatloaf, and other dishes.

Since I bake bread twice each week, I often will bake an extra loaf for the expressed purpose of making croutons or bread crumbs. If I am planning to make seasoned bread crumbs, I will add the seasonings to the dry ingredients as I make the bread dough. The bread smells wonderful as it bakes.

There are many recipes and meals where the croutons or bread crumbs can be added. Making your own is easy and very inexpensive. Give it a try using your favorite bread or bread recipe. You may be surprised at the ease and the better flavor that the homemade has.