Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Re-purposing Sweatshirts Idea April 10, 2013

Filed under: green living,sewing,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 6:14 am
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One of the challenges that we run into with our son is keeping him clean when eating or drinking. He is 5 years old, has Classic Autism, and is considered low functioning. He is unable to feed himself, but as we feed him, he constantly wipes his mouth across his shoulders. Doesn’t matter how fast we try to be with a napkin, he walks away from a meal with a messy shirt. When drinking from a cup, he often dribbles is drink down the front of himself. This is in large part due to him not holding his mouth correctly as he drinks. At his age, it is difficult to find a bib large enough to keep him clean. So, I did a bit of brainstorming.

What I came up with is a nearly no-sew bib using an old sweatshirt. The fabric is very absorbant and soft. By re-purposing the sweatshirt, it elimnates a lot of time and work put into sewing a large bib. Total amount of time it took for me to make this bob was about 20 minutes. The following are 2 different bib options, depending on your needs.

Bib Option #1 – Full Coverage

I took an old sweatshirt and cut it straight up the back. This allows it to be fast & easy to put on and remove.

Next, cut the sleeves to be about short sleeve length. This will provide coverage over the shoulders and upper arm where he tends to wipe his face.

Using 2 lengths of ribbon, hand-stitch a ribbon to each side of the neckline in back to make a tie for securing the bib on.

If you want a pocket for the bottom of the bib, turn up the bottom hem to make the pocket. With needle and thread, use a few stitches to tack the hem in place, leaving the entire shirt front open.

That’s it! The project is very fast and easy. You can use sweat shirts that have recently been out-grown or get a couple from a thrift store.

Bib Option #2 – More traditional style bib

For this bib, there is no sewing. Lay the sweatshirt onto a table and spread smooth to remove any folds. Carefully, draw alarge “U” shape going from one shoulder, down the front to just above the bottom hem ribbing and back up to the opposite shoulder. I would start the tracing at the seam where the sleeves attach to the shoulders.

Flip the shirt over and repeat the tracing but only going about 1/3 of the way down the shirt back.

Carefully cut on the traced lines, front and back. That’s it! A very easy pullover bib. If the sweatshirt neck is a little on the snug side when putting the bib on, use your scissors to make a straight cut down the back. To maintain the pullover style, only cut about 3-4 inches down from the neckline. This will give extra room when putting the bib on or taking it off. Or you can cut straight down the entire length of the back and add a ribbon at the neckline to hold the bib secure when used.

Save any excess sweatshirt fabric or the ribbing from the bottom hem. The fabric scraps make great baby wipes or cleaning rags. The ribbing can be used for making mittins.

To make mittins from sweatshirts, trace your child’s hand with thumb extended and fingers loosely together. Add 1/4 inch around the tracing for seam allowance. Cut a double layer of the sweatshirt fabric for each mittin. Sew around the mittins, leaving the bottom open. Measure the wrist of the child. Add a 1/2 inch to the measurement. Cut 2 lengths of ribbing using the wrist measurement. Fold one ribbing in half and sew short ends togehter to make a tube. Pin into place on a mittin and sew. Repeat with remaining ribbon on 2nd mittin. Voila! You have a new pair of mittins to help keep little hands warm.

Enjoy!

 

Choices in Off-Grid Cooking April 9, 2013

Filed under: cooking,family,homesteading,off grid,simplicity — ourprairiehome @ 3:46 am
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Each year, we set up what we refer to as our summer kitchen. A portion of the porch is converted into a sheltered cooking area. Having this allows us to cook without heating up the home. We spend a lot of time outdoors and this seems a natural extension of that.

This year, we have added to the usual outdoor grilling. We bought a propane griddle that is 4-burner and large enough to cook up enough food for an outdoor gathering. This works in great with our love of stir-fry in the summer when produce is fresh. I can also fry up flat breads and tortillas on the griddle to take the place of bread loaves.

One thing that I am wanting to try and do this year is get my solar oven made. Having an outdoor dog and cat, the foil lined box style of solar over would not be a good idea. I am going to have to actually build something that is critter-proof. I have seen some really neat plans for building solar food dehydrators and got to thinking. What would be so hard as to use that basic plan but make an oven out of it instead of a dehydrator. There is very little difference in the basic construction. If I could fine a way to make 1 solar unit that could do both, that would be ideal.

A rocket stove made from cinder blocks would be a nice option for the summer kitchen. We have a dirt area near the house that would be safe for that purpose. It would be an option for the times when we don’t want to use the propane burner that we have. I like the propane option, but want alternatives that will allow us to not depend on any refined fuels. Wood, we have in plenty on our homestead. Sunlight is another plentiful resource. Those are our summer mainstays.

I am looking forward to the outdoor cooking. It is always a fun time for us. With each passing year, we add another facet to the kitchen to make it even more convenient. Now if we could get rid of the wasps that like to partake in our porch’s shade….