Hooded Towel

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(******You can right click on the pictures and open them in a new tab to see them on a bigger scale.  I know they are small on this post.*******)

You asked for it, and now you’re going to get it.  Okay, so you didn’t actually ask for it, but you’re getting it anyway.  A sewing tutorial for a hooded towel, complete with examples of bad photography.

These towels are great!  I’ve been making them recently as baby shower gifts, and they have always been well-received.  I finally made one yesterday for Connor, and today, I made one for Zachary, even though he isn’t due to grace us with his presence until September.  Anyway, these are fantastic because they can be used on bigger kids, they actually absorb water instead of just adhering to the child, they are soft and fluffy, and you can get them in any color you want, assuming the store has that color in stock.  Not to mention, they are relatively cheap and easy.  Trust me, if I can afford it and am able to make it, that’s saying something.  We are by no means rich, and I am certainly no seamstress.  I have, however, gotten to a point where I felt like I could actually tell someone how to make these.  (I’ve made about 9 of them now, so surely I have learned something.  (And that’s A LOT of babies in one year’s time, and I’ve still got two more towels to make before this fall!  I think I know some fertile people, but I digress.))  So, without further hopping down rabbit trails, here’s the tutorial.

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What you will need:

  • One regular sized bath towel
  • One regular sized hand towel
  • Spool of thread to match
  • Scissors
  • Pins

What to do:

To make a basic towel, without any embellishments, you don’t really need anything other than the two towels and some thread.  Cut off all the tags and make sure you pull out all those plastic label attacher-thingies.  Lay aside the bath towel.  You’re going to make the hood first from the hand towel.

Cut off all four edges.

Cut off all four edges.

You’re going to want to cut off all the hemmed edges from the towel to cut down on the bulk of fabric you will later be sewing through.  If the sides of your towel are selvages, then you don’t have to cut them off unless you want to.  Your towel will need to be at least 24 inches long after you trim the edges.  It’s fine if it’s larger than that.  I think this one was about 27 inches long.  If you want to trim it down to 24 inches, go for it.

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Zig-zag or surge the long sides of the towel.

Zig-zag or surge the long sides of the towel.  This will keep the fabric from unraveling.  Thus, allowing the towel to last longer.

Fold the towel in half, short sides together.

Fold the towel in half, short sides together.

Once you’ve finished the sides, fold the towel in half.  In school, for some odd reason they called this fold “hamburger style.”  It always sounded weird to me, but if it works for you, then alrighty.

Hem the sides using a straight stitch.

Hem the sides using a straight stitch.

Okay, now close up the two sides of the towel using a straight stitch.  Sew as close to the edge as you can.  You do not want a lot of bulk that you will have to sew through in a minute.  Sewing up the sides will basically create a giant pocket.

Turn your towel inside-out.

Turn your towel inside-out.

Now that you’re done with the first part of making the hood, turn it inside-out.  From here, you’re going to want to tuck the side on your right into the side on your left.  (Right corner into left corner.)  I did not take a picture, but when lying flat, the towel will no longer be shaped like a square but rather a long, skinny rectangle.  (Hot dog style, anybody?)

Open up the rectangle, and you will get your hood.

Open up the rectangle, and you will get your hood.

Once you open up the hood, turn up the raw, bottom edge and pin it.  I like to pin it on either end and on either side of the bulky middle seam.  Use however many pins that you need.

A closer view of the bottom edge.

A closer view of the bottom edge.

Be sure that both the top and bottom pieces of fabric are folded over.

Sew a straight stitch down the bottom edge.

Sew a straight stitch down the bottom edge.

Alright, here comes the fun.  Sew a straight stitch across the bottom edge.  It will be bulky, especially in the middle where the seam is.  In fact, when I sew through the middle seam, I raise my presser foot, and slowly guide the fabric through.  If you go too fast, your needle will bend or break.  Slow and steady wins this race for sure.

Attach the hood to the middle top of the bath towel.

Attach the hood to the middle top of the bath towel.

Now, pin the hood to the outside of the bath towel.  Line it up in the middle of the towel.  I have discovered that most towels have a crease right down the middle of them from being folded on the shelf for so long, and I use that as a guide.  Also, cover all the ugly hood hem by the towel.  I just eyeball it and make sure the hood isn’t on the towel at an angle and pin it on both ends and on either side of the middle seam.

When I sew on the hood, I sew above the hood’s hemline.  It is less bulky above the line.  You just have to use your fingers and be thoughtful to be sure that you’re actually sewing the hood onto the towel.  If you run off the edge of the towel, carefully go back and try again.

Tack down the hood hem.

Tack down the hood hem.

Now, the thing that has driven me craziest with these towels is this little flap of a hem on the hood.  Since I attach the hood above the hemline, the whole hem can be flipped up and show off its ugliness.  I finally figured a way to at least make that not as easy to do that also won’t give my hands severe pain.  (You can hand sew the hem down, but because of carpal tunnel, I can’t do that.)  Anyway, simply make a short, straight stitch down both ends of the hood hem, and on either side of that middle seam (the same places where you did your pinning).  This will tack it down and keep it from flapping in the wind and being unsightly.

029And there you have it:  a basic hooded towel.  It’s cute; it’s practical; it’s easy.

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I followed a tutorial found here when I learned how to make these towels:  http://onesimplebliss.blogspot.com/2011/04/diy-hooded-towels.html.   This tutorial also has instructions for adding a ribbon to the hood.

As you can see in the pictures, I added an applique initial to the towel that I made.  It was fairly simple to do.  Use a pattern to cut out the letter from fabric and interfacing.  If you stack the fabric and interfacing together before cutting, you will be sure to have a perfect fit and will only have to cut once.  Lie the interfacing onto the center of the outside of the bath towel, and then place the fabric on top of it, lining them up together.  Using a low iron, iron it together, pressing gently with the tip of the iron on the edges of the letter (or shape).  Carefully, carry the whole thing over to the sewing machine, and with a zig-zag stitch, outline the edge of the shape.  I got mine on there a little crooked, but with an 18 month old pulling on the towel, it’s a wonder the letter made it on there at all.

I would also recommend adding the applique before you attach the hood to the towel, just to make it easier to turn the towel as needed to outline the shape.

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Buttermilk Pie

buttermilk pie

If you’ve never made a pie before, here’s a good starter pie for you.  Basic and simple, it is what folks around here might call a “hard times” pie.  There’s nothing fancy about it, but it is oh so tasty.  I found this recipe at http://www.chindeep.com/2012/04/05/buttermilk-pie/.  I used my step-mom’s recipe for the pie crust.  Give it a shot; you won’t regret it.

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Crust

*Makes 3 crusts.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • Approx. 10 tbsp. water (I used 7 or 8 this time around.)
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.
  2. Cut in shortening until it forms a coarse meal.
  3. Add vinegar and about 3 tablespoons of water.  Use a fork to mix into dry mix.
  4. Add the rest of water one tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.  Do NOT over-mix.  The dough will become hard and make for a tough crust.
  5. *If the dough does not seem firm enough, you can add one egg to the mix.
  6. Divide dough and roll out.
  7. Once it is rolled out nice and flat, carefully roll it around the rolling pin and place into the pie plate.  Gently, press it into the plate, and trim the edge with about a 1/4-1/2 inch overhang.
  8. Crimp the edge of crust, and prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork.
  9. Weigh down the crust with dry beans or a pie weight.
  10. Place pie plate on a cookie sheet (especially if using a disposable pie plate).  And place in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Make pie filling while baking and cooling crust.

Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Mix together flour, sugar, and salt.
  2. Whisk in melted butter.
  3. Whisk in eggs.
  4. Add buttermilk, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  5. Pour into cooled pie crust.
  6. Cook at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of pie comes out clean.  The pie will still be wiggly, but it will set up as it cools.
  7. Cool on wire rack.
  8. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
  9. For fun, add some chopped fruit as a topping.  Enjoy!

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pie crust

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Potato Logs

potato logs

Some people call them “potato logs,” some people call them “potato wedges,” and some people call them “jo-jo’s.”  But regardless of what name you refer to them as, I’m sure you call them “Good stuff.”  I have wondered how to make these for years – probably since I worked at a gas station in high school.  We sold them there, and since I was often the one “cooking,” I often wondered how the pre-cooked, frozen foods came to be in the first place, something I still do to this day, in fact.  Anyway, we hosted an Easter get together at our house a couple of weeks ago for some of my family.  We provided the fried chicken and biscuits, leaving the sides and stuff to everyone else.  However, knowing My Honey’s eating habits as I do, I thought I would cook some potato logs for his sake, but I couldn’t find any at the store.  Enter Google.  One quick search, and I came up with this KFC copycat recipe.  (http://deep-fried.food.com/recipe/kfc-potato-wedges-58942)  They are a little time intensive, but by no means hard.  (I mean, we’re talking about deep frying potatoes here.)  Well, I guess that’s all I know other than the recipe, and here it is.

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Ingredients:

  • shortening or oil (for frying)
  • 5 baking potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons salt (This can be cut down to about 1 1/2 tablespoons or even 1 tablespoon, if you like things low sodium.)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 dash garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat shortening to 375°F.
  1. Cut the potatoes into 16 to 18 equal size wedges.
  1. Mix the egg and milk till well blended in a big bowl.
  1. Mix the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  1. Put some potatoes in the milk and egg then into the flour mixture till well coated.
  1. Fry in fryer for 3 minutes, remove from the oil and allow them to sit for one minute and then cook them again for 5 minutes or until cooked.
  1. It may take up to 6 minutes.

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Oh, Lord, Where Are You?

Tornado that hit AR April 27, 2014.  This photo is from Searcy, AR, though, I am not certain who took it.

Tornado that hit AR April 27, 2014. This photo is from Searcy, AR and was taken by T.J. Stewart.

 

I do not know if you have heard in other parts of the country, but last night (April 27, 2014), central Arkansas was hit by a massive storm that produced this tornado that for around 45 minutes.  It was upwards to a mile wide in some places, and 1/2 a mile wide in some of its narrowest places.  It has been categorized as an EF-4 tornado.  (The ratings for tornados only go through EF-5.)  This was one of the most dangerous tornados in recent AR weather history.  At this point, the death toll is up to 14, including two children and one teenager, and there are still dozens missing.  Many small communities were hit, along with two small towns:  Mayflower and Vilonia.  All day long, local news stations have been having live coverage of search, rescue, and recovery efforts.  Though, I do not personally know anyone who was affected (Though, I do know of a family who lost three loved ones.), and I do not live near any of the places hit by this horrendous storm, I felt compelled to write a small poem about yesterday’s events.  In Arkansas, you learn that it could always be you next time.  There are no guarantees when dealing with tornados, and just because your area isn’t normally in the line of the storms, doesn’t mean it can’t be.  And when you see the images that have been playing across my TV screen and Facebook page all day, you can’t help but feel these people’s pain and loss to a degree.

*One week later, a baby that was born prematurely due to the mother’s injuries from the tornado, passed away shortly after birth, bringing the new total of tornado-related deaths up to 16.  Also, another person who had died was discovered a day or so after I wrote this post.

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“Oh, Lord, Where Are You?”

When the storms rage,

You are there.

When the wind roars,

You are there.

When the tornado destroys,

You are there.

When the night crawls on,

You are there.

When the sun rises,

You are there.

When the search commences,

You are there.

When the grief hits,

You are there.

When the healing begins,

You are there.

When life continues,

You are there.

You.  Are.  There.

Psalm 18:1-2 (NIV):  I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

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God bless all those who have been through last night’s storms and are dealing with the loss of loved ones and property in Arkansas and in other states.  And please bless those who are dealing with the same storm system today and will do so tomorrow in other parts of the country.

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Half-Way There

20-weeks-pregnant

As of today, I am officially half-way through this pregnancy.  This picture is a depiction of what a baby at 20 weeks gestation looks like.  Just precious!

Nicholas and I are excited to get to see our baby later this year.  I already feel the little guy kicking me everyday.  At our last ultrasound, about a week and a half ago, he looked good.  Nothing was wrong.  He was just as cute as can be (especially, considering ultrasound pictures).  God’s creation is so amazing, and I feel beyond blessed to be a part of the process, even for a second time.

We have also decided on a name for our little guy:  Zachary (Zac) Arlin.  Zachary is a Hebrew name that means, “God has remembered.”  Nic picked it out, and I think he did a wonderful job.  Arlin is my papa’s name, which is why I chose it.  It is Irish and means “pledge” or “oath.”  Altogether, it is a good, strong name for our boy.  I’m sure he will bear it well.

We hope and pray that things continue to go as smoothly as they have so far, and that at the right time, we will get to meet our little Zac.

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Tip Of the Day

tip of the day I know I’m still pretty new to this parenting thing, and I’m certainly not planning on starting to add parenting advice to this blog on a regular basis.  In fact, this may be the one and only time.  Who knows?  But I do feel the need (especially after dealing with Mr. Cranky-Pants today) to pass along this little bit of parenting a advice.  It is by far the most useful thing I’ve run across for this baby time of parenting, so if you’ve got a little one, will soon have a little one, or will eventually have a little one, just tuck this away somewhere and use it when necessary.  Okay, here it goes:

Sleep begets sleep!

Simple as that.  If your child gets regular sleep, they will sleep adequately for you both.  That means regular, predictable naps and a regular, predictable bed time.  The more sleep they miss, the less they will get.  In other words, they will take longer to get to sleep, wake up more often during the night, and wake up earlier.

Sleep begets sleep!

And that’s all I have.  I hope you have a nice day. 

🙂

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Apple Cinnamon Loaf

apple cinn loaf 2

I believe I first saw this recipe on Facebook.  The link led me to this webpage:  http://radicallyrural.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/apple-cinnamon-loaf/.  This is a nice little quick bread.  Apple, cinnamon, brown sugar…mmm…  This loaf is put together in layers, which always makes things a bit more tedious, but none of it was hard.  When it’s finished, you’ve got a tasty treat to eat with a glass of milk.  A nice cozy food.  Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  4. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract.
  5. Combine flour and baking powder together in another bowl; stir into creamed butter mixture.
  6. Mix milk into batter until smooth.
  7. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  8. Next add half the apples and half the brown sugar cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter.
  9. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer.
  10. Top with remaining apples and add more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter.
  11. Swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a finger or spoon.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.

apple cinn loaf 1

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