Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I have slightly brain-damaged kids

Monday evenings, I normally bring Alex's coach and his son home from practice, because they are on the way, and they don,t have a ride back.  They pick him up, so I don't have to drive him there.  Yesterday, I went to pick them up after the practice, (Alex stayed at the stadium because we had a match afterwards), and while I was waiting for the practice to end, I went into the office to chat with the general director of the club and a few other people.  Gabriel and Nicolas were racing each other in the stadium.

As I was chatting, Nicolas suddenly came running in, yelling "Mom! Mom!" and right after that, I could hear the wail of Gabriel following.  Gabriel often wails for no reason, but this particular wail sounded much more serious than usual.  I turned around to see Gabriel walking in, his face covered in blood, dripping from his nose.  I thought he must have been hit by a ball or something.  Someone pointed out paper towels above the sink in the office, and I proceeded to wash his face.

Turns out that they were racing and Gabriel hit the wall with his face.  I joked about the brakes in his shoes having failed.  Little did I know...

The truth came out about an hour later.  It turns out Nicolas had the bright idea of running a race WITH THEIR EYES CLOSED.  Yes, you read right.  Nicolas apparently opened his eyes part way through, saw Gabriel running at the wall, yelled at him to open his eyes, but it was too late.

The whole thing was witnessed by 3 of Alex's teammates.  One of them described it to me as "He just kept on running, he never stopped, never slowed down and just banged into the wall nose first and bounced backwards on his butt.  There was silence for 2 seconds and I was just thinking 'Oh no!  What was he doing?!' "

The nosebleed did stop eventually, but needless to say, the child currently has a very tender olfactory system.

Spiced Cappucino

Make coffee with reduced maple water.  (For those of you who do not have maple trees in your yard, just add some maple syrup to your water.)

I remember thinking, back when I was in Paraguay, how cool it was to step outside and there was fresh grapefruit on a tree for your breakfast...  I guess having an apple tree and a few maple trees is pretty cool too though.

Add pumpkin spice and vanilla to the coffee.  (Make your own pumpkin spice: 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of the following: ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves)

Heat milk (you can add some maple syrup to this too) and mousse.  Add milk and mousse to your coffee (you want about 1/2 coffee and 1/2 milk)  Sprinkle top with cinnamon/sugar mix.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gift Bag Tutorial

I made a gift bag similar to this, for the gift of a friend of Nicolas who was having a birthday party.  Nicolas liked it so much that he wanted me to make one for him.  So I made this one from scraps I had from a different project.  The nice thing about these bags is that the recipient of the gift can use them as shopping bags or tote bags afterwards, or reuse them as a gift bag.

First, you need to determine the size of the bag you are making.  Remember to measure height, width and depth of the gift to make sure it fits, then add 1 inch all around each piece for hemming.  I didn't have a specific gift in mind, so I made a medium-sized bag.  For this bag I just took a standard piece of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper for the front and back of the bag.  I took a second piece of paper and cut it in half length-wise for the side pieces.  The remaining half I reduced the width to three inches, for the handles.  I cut a third sheet of paper width-wise, making sure that the height of it was the same as the width for the side pieces.  That piece makes the bottom of the bag.

If you are using a light fabric like cotton, you may want to use interfacing, to stiffen it up enough so that the bag stays standing up, like a gift bag should.  However, if you are using a thicker fabric like jean fabric or twill, interfacing is not necessary.  The lining inside should be a lighter fabric. I used cotton outside and in, so after cutting all the material, the next step is to iron on the interfacing.  (I prefer fusible interfacing, myself.) 

When all the interfacing is ironed on to the outside fabric, take one of the front/back pieces and pin it, right sides facing each other and sew 5/8 from the edge, from the top to about 5/8 of an inch from the bottom.  It is important to leave the 5/8 inch space in order to fix on the bottom with ease afterwards.  If your fabric has a pattern that goes only one way, like mine, remember to make sure that none of the pieces are upside down, before pinning.

Continue sewing sides to front and back until you have a box, like this.  Do not forget the 5/8 inch space at the bottom of each seam.

Now take the bottom piece and pin it to the front.  Leave a 5/8 inch space on either side.  This way, all the seams meet at the point where you stopped.

Repeat on the back and bottom pieces and then on the side and bottom pieces.
Repeat the whole thing, with the pieces for the inner part of the bag.  Clip the corners at the bottom and trim all the seams.

Take the two handle pieces (one of the outer fabric and one of the inner) and pin together down both sides, (rights sides facing each other).  Sew together, leaving ends open.  Trim the seams.

Turn right sides out, press and stitch about 2/8 inch from edge.

Turn inner bag right side out and place into outer bag.  (Outer bag remains inside out.)  Pin bags together at sides.

Take handles, fold in half length-wise at ends and baste.

Place handles between the inner and the outer bags, at the front and the back, with ends sticking out.  Be sure to carefully measure the spot, so as to put the ends of each handle the same distance from the sides.  Pin the handles to the front and back and pin up the rest of the inner bag to the outer bag.

Sew around the top of the bag, leaving one side open.  Trim the seam all around, except for the side that was left open.

Through the open side, pull all the fabric right side out.

Stuff the lining into the bag and stitch 2/8 inch from the edge, all the way around the top. (Make sure the edges on the open side are tucked inside.)

You could just leave it like this, and use it as a tote bag, but it doesn't look much like a gift bag, nor does it stand nice and straight like one.
On the outside of the bag, pin the side seams, making sure to gather the lining seams as well, and stitch down the side 3/8 inch from the edge, to about 3/8 inch from the bottom.

When the side seams are done, do the same thing with the bottom seams.  When you are done, the corners should look like this.

Now you have a lovely gift bag, ready to be filled with something for someone you love!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Global Warming...

... is so last year.

This time last year, I was making maple syrup with the kids...

March 8, 2010

This year, I am not...

March 9, 2011 - the house
March 9, 2011 - the pond

Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday

Whatever you call it...

This is what it looked like briefly at our house (before we all rushed off to respective soccer practices, games and courses) :

101 reasons to be happy - Reason number forty

Mardi Gras!!!  (and other crazy Catholic feasts)