To Amuse and Delight

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Secret Garden Backpack

Since October I have been carting around a very big, very black bag. I love the bag. It’s a bulky mix of faux fur and leather with Edward Scissorhands type straps and buckles. Now that spring has come that bag seems to have gained 10 lbs. Along with shedding the heavy clothes it’s time to shed the heavy bag too.
With no plan other than to make something “light” and “springy” I poked around my local fabric shop. As soon as I laid eyes on this fabric with it's swirling vines and little birds my search was over. I bought 1/2 yard, took it home and proceeded to cut into it. With no pattern (and no patience to take my time and do it right) I cut out the general shape of my black bag. This technique rarely works out as well as it did this time. It was to be a shoulder bag, but after playing around with the straps I liked it better as a backpack. Once the bag was finished I thought it fitting to have an ornamental key as a closure. I found the perfect one on etsy. Once the whole thing was complete it reminded me of the book ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  In The Secret Garden a robin leads Mary (the main character) to a mysterious buried key and then to the door that fits the key. The door leads her to the overgrown “secret” garden which has been neglected for so many years. The restoration of the garden to it’s former glory leads the characters on a path to their own restoration and healing. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Bentos

My girls and I are lurkers of bento blogs and love to look at bento books. Bentos are very cute arranged Japanese lunch boxes. Not only are they tasty little works of art, but they are usually healthier than the lunch fare kids are typically presented with. The foods are to be balanced for taste as well as for the eye. I recently purchased the book Kawaii Bento Boxes and we decided to try our hands at making Spring themed Bentos. It was a fun way to ring in the season. We have made bentos for lunch from time to time, they are great portable snacks and when compared they make fast food quite undesirable. 

My Spring bento centered around the idea of new life. I shaped a nest from seasoned sushi rice. Inside are hard boiled quail eggs dyed yellow with curry. I have broccoli sprouts for the ground and a couple of tiny radish ‘mushrooms’ growing there as well. There is some fruit salad for color. Tempura asparagus grow up from the ground and a butterfly made from jicama and carrot flies over.

For my daughter’s bento she started with a bed of sushi rice. She made a butterfly with a rice ball body and egg wings decorated with cheese and carrot. She also made a flower made of carved carrot, cheese and a snap pea.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bad Friday, buns and a new shirt

Each year when my daughter sees Good Friday come up on the calendar she says grumpily “I don’t know why they call it Good, it should be called Bad Friday”. I say something like “Yes, you are right what happened to Jesus was bad, but in the long run it was good for us. That’s why he did it”.  She knows this but she remains sulky about it. Today is Good/Bad Friday so we have hot cross buns for tea and this evening we will join with friends and family to hear our Pastor read through the trial and unfair execution of Christ. Yes it is bad, a very solemn day. But we know the next part of this story don’t we? We eagerly look forward to Easter Sunday when we will rejoice.

This is our hot cross bun dough being deflated. My little one loves to punch down the dough. A year ago I made this shirt for her. Her reaction was, “Well... I don’t really like it.” I could tell by her tone that she was trying to be very delicate and not hurt my feelings. I asked what exactly was it that she didn’t like about it. “It’s not pretty enough” she said. That from a five year old means that it is brown. Not the favored pink, purple or yellow...brown. So, it hung in the closet for a year and now she actually likes it. I don’t know why, I’m just glad it still fits.

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
hot cross buns.

If you have no daughters,
give them to your sons,
one ha' penny,
two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns