Circular Baby Bibs

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Project: Circular Baby Bibs

My youngest nephew is approaching 9 months and is a drooling machine. Unfortunately, this means he goes through a crazy number of bibs per day and inevitably, requires a costume change to replace his drool-soaked onesie.

Babies are adorable, but gross.

My sister asked me to make some circular bibs with the idea that when one portion of the bib gets wet, you can rotate the bib to have a fresh dry patch available for immediate drool absorption. It sounded great in theory….but we really had no idea how well it would work. Design-wise, it seemed pretty straightforward so we decided to give them a try.

There are so many bib making tutorials online but none for these circular bibs we had in mind. My sister gave me my nephew’s measurements and the desired length of the bib so that I could make a custom cutting template. The original neck hole ended up being way to big for my hefty, but skinny necked nephew so I had to make some adjustments on my original template.
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To construct these, I cut out three pieces for each bib: a flannel piece for the back, a nylon piece for the middle, and either a flannel or cotton twill piece for the front. I ironed on a total of two 1″x1″ pellon interfacing squares on the flannel/cotton pieces where the snap was going to be inserted. With right sides of the two exterior pieces facing together, and the nylon on top, I sewed all around leaving a 2 inch hole to reverse the pieces, and topstitched the edges. Then I used a dritz snap fastener to attach the snaps.

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Fabric wise, there are so many different types of fabric to choose from. Since this was a prototype, I opted to use flannel and cotton twill because they were relatively inexpensive as compared to other recommended fabric types, such as fleece, terry, chenille, microsuede, bamboo, PUL, etc. I wanted to add a waterproofing element, but was appalled that PUL fabric at Joann’s was $14.00/yd. Instead, I purchased some sport nylon fabric (with a 50% coupon) to use as a middle lining, to help prevent drool seepage onto clothes. This ended up being a totally affordable replacement option for waterproofing the bib.

Final thoughts on the bib, my sister was happy with the size, but I think I’d make it a little smaller. The flannel is definitely more absorbent but the selection of “fun” flannel prints is much more limited. I’d consider using a more luxurious fabric, like chenille, if these bibs are being worn in the winter, otherwise I think the flannel/quilting cottons are a better option for warmer weather. I think the jury is still out on whether these bibs are better than the standard shape for bibs. If you’re going for practicality, these are great because the kid can wear this bib for longer, but they are definitely not as “stylish” as a standard bib.

Book Review: Off to Be the Wizard

Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer

Another book down. Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer is the first of a trilogy and if there is any part of you that is a computer/technology nerd, you’ll find this book to be an amusing read. On audiobook, it clocked in at a little over 10 hours.

The book is about a young man by the name of Martin Banks, who discovers that his life and the reality he lives in are really just bits of code found in a computer file he stumbles upon. Feeling empowered by this knowledge, he gets himself into all sorts of trouble and lands himself in Medieval England, in the company similarly fated individuals.

The plot is really quite simple and straightforward. There was nothing that was truly surprising or jaw dropping but it doesn’t mean it was any less entertaining. The beginning of the book felt a little clunky, but it quickly smooths out into interesting and fun dialogue as more characters are introduced (and which the narrator Luke Daniels captures wonderfully). The biggest challenge is letting go of any urge to understand HOW things are happening and to merely accept that it is. It’s like in Independence Day (one of my favorite movies ever), when Jeff Goldblum’s character uploads a virus to the alien mainframe…using his Mac.  How the heck he managed to get his Macbook to be compatible to alien technology, when I have trouble syncing my iPod to iTunes is beyond me. Look past those minor issues and you’ve got yourself a fun story.

If you’re looking for sophisticated writing, this isn’t the book. If you’re looking for a thoughtful introspection into the meaning of life or the ethicality of altering the past, again, not the book. Pick this up if you want a light read and bad jokes about appropriate use of using one’s wizarding staff (evidence that this book was written by a man).

Homemade Exfoliating Sugar Scrub

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Everyone likes smooth skin right? (Well, everyone except for my husband who gave me a confused look when told him what I was making. He just doesn’t understand.)

I saw several “recipes” for homemade sugar scrubs on Pinterest and given how easy it looked, I had to try. I also noticed that 95% of the sugar scrubs were photographed in a mason jar. I should have bought stock in mason jar manufacturers years ago.

First, a note.  People have a myriad of reasons for why they exfoliate and/or make their own scrubs. I’m not one who swears by organic anything (I need more science and appropriate regulation of terminology) nor do I believe in the detoxifying qualities of these ingredients (I prefer to rely on my kidneys and frequent bowel movements). Personally, I just like the masochistic act of scrubbing my skin raw for the temporary enjoyment of baby’s butt smoothness. Additionally, I’ve purchased a few bottles of essential oils (for additional projects to be posted later) and this was a fun way to expand my experimentation with them. Whatever your reasons are, they are your own, and you should own them.

There are tons of iterations for exfoliating scrubs. The basic idea is an oil base (i.e. coconut, olive, avocado, baby…the Johnson & Johnson kind. Please don’t squeeze a baby and hope he/she excretes oil), an abrasive ingredient (white sugar, brown sugar, salt, oatmeal, coffee), and optional additives (i.e. honey, essential oils, fruit). My recent trip to Hawaii has made me more coconut-inclined so I started with that to build off of.

Here’s what I used:

  • 5 oz of coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 20 drops of Orange Sweet 100% Essential oil
  • 10 drops of Ginger Root 100% Essential oil

Verdict:

It WAS very easy to make myself and it did fulfill my masochistic need to rid my body of my perceived layers of dead skin cells (and a few healthy ones too most likely). The oil base of the scrub left my skin a little too oily for my taste so I had to follow up with body wash. However, I did feel incredibly moisturized for the next day or so. The scent of the coconut oil persisted despite the body wash follow up and largely overshadowed the orange and ginger, which I could still detect if I unapologetically sniffed myself by burying my nose in my skin.

To make this experiment more fun for myself, I decided to calculate the cost of making my scrub. First, a few parameters. I used Wikipedia’s definition of a drop as 0.05mL and looked up the cost of sugar at my local Target. The other prices listed are my actual costs. I also estimated that I ended up with about 8oz of scrub.

Here’s me being a good student and showing my work:

Ingredient Total Cost Amount Used Fractional Cost
Nature’s Way Coconut Oil $12 for 16 oz 5 oz $3.75
Piping Rock Orange Sweet 100% Essential Oil $4.79 for 2 oz (59mL) 20 drops $0.08
Piping Rock Ginger Root 100% Essential Oil $4.89 for 0.5 oz (15mL) 10 drops $0.16
C&H Sugar $2.89 for 4lb bag 3/4 cup or .33 lbs $0.24
TOTAL COST $4.23

On Amazon, you can purchase an 18 oz tub of Tree Hut Sugar Scrub for $6.49. My concoction comes out to $0.52 per ounce and the Amazon product is $0.36 per ounce. Of course, this number is hugely variable depending on what product you buy, but at a very basic level, this shows you can buy a scrub for cheaper.

I’d be doing my master’s degree a huge disfavor if I didn’t acknowledge the great many variables that are unaccounted for, such as cost of shipping (if any), whether these products are already staples in your pantry vs whether you have to buy them specifically for this purpose, cost of products, quality of products, labor, and qualitative factors like product enjoyability, odor preferences, and crafting enjoyment.

Lessons learned:

  1. Amazon (and Amazon Prime) is still amazing.
  2. Making your own scrub is easy, especially if you already own these products.
  3. Making your own scrub allows you to customize the scents, although it will take some experimentation to get a balanced scent profile.
  4. Making your own scrub may not necessarily be cost saving.
  5. I enjoy being a nerd. Okay, this wasn’t newly learned. I’ve always known this.

End scene.