To Amuse and Delight

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bag Refashion: cute fabric is the cure

I've been using this lunch bag for over a year. It comes with me every time I leave the house. It totes water, tea, books, snacks and whatever else the day calls for. It usually comes back with more than we left with: sticks, rocks, flowers, leaves...bugs. For some unexplainable reason whichever bottle I use inevitably leaks tea all over the bottom of the bag. It has been washed and dried so many times but the tea stains remain. 
After the latest washing I noticed not only is it still stained, but it's looking quite ragged and faded from the multiple drying sessions. Lately I found myself Looking at and examining lunch bags when shopping. I feel guilty, I have a perfectly good bag...sure maybe it's ugly but it is completely functional. I secretly wished the dryer had torn it up a bit to justify a purchase. "I'll dye it!", I thought.  One of my tried and true ways to quench my urge for the new is to dye.

I wanted red, I dyed it red. It didn't come out red. It came out a pink that actually looks much better in this photo than it did in real life. I didn't like it, Mama Doll didn't like it. I was so close to buying a new bag. The doll gave me the answer!

She was sitting on my work table next to the bag and it hit me. "I have a bit left of that matryoshka fabric, hmm let's see if there is enough". I made a slip cover of sorts. I had just enough fabric with nesting dolls (and adorable animals) for the front.

There was enough of the small print to cover the rest.
It's so cute!

The new fabric is quite soft, it would not hold up to the wear and tear that the bottom will take. So I left the bottom as is, a nice tough black canvas. Mama Doll agrees, this fabric was the right choice.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day thought...

Ten years ago I took my brand new baby and my little girl apple picking. The day is so clear in my memory. Where has the time gone?  The magic of childhood is so fleeting, especially in today's culture. Enjoy every moment with your children and BE PRESENT today! 

"The days are long, but the years are short"--Gretchen Rubin

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Chai- part 1

I always thought I would post about my chai in the fall. During the cooler weather I always have a pot of chai going, and if you visit me you will have some too. But yesterday,  I woke up to a wet, chilly, 41 degree morning. I needed my chai. Like most foods or herbal concoctions that I make I don't  have a recipe written in stone. 

The spices I use are: cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, black pepper and bay leaf. This is the start of my favorite basic chai. 
The amount of spices shown here are for 6-8 cups of water.

Bring it to a boil and continue cooking for 30-60 minutes. If I'm not drinking it right away I'll leave it to steep and reheat later to finish

It turns a nice red amber color. The longer is cooks, the deeper it gets. Now, it's time to add the tea and the ginger. I use black or red (rooibos) tea, depending on my mood or the time of day (caffeine). I have also made it with green tea, for a cold chai drink (but I will leave that subject for another day). 
You will lose a cup or two of the water through the cooking process, so adjust your tea amount accordingly. I put the tea in to steep with a couple of tbs of fresh ginger. I use ginger paste. I take an entire ginger root (unpeeled) and Vitamix it.
When the tea is done steeping, strain everything out and add sweetener, vanilla or milk if you like. It already has a degree of sweetness from the cinnamon, but I like the extra flavor of coconut sugar. 

Yesterday, as I said, was such a dreary day. It took more than just my chai to take the chill out and brighten things up. I used my happiest cup and made a strawberry crumble with oats, coconut sugar, ww flour and butter. Yum!

My daughters didn't know what I was cooking up for tea time. The small one started jumping around and laughing when I showed them the strawberry crumble. "What's so funny?", I asked. 
Apparently, while I was busy making strawberry crumble, she was busy making a felt strawberry. 
Our life is chock full of these little moments of synchronicity.

Synchronicity: The experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, where they are unlikely to be causally related. The subject sees it as a meaningful coincidence.