Baseball Bracelet

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Major League Baseball is over for yet another season (go Tigers!).  But who says it has to end for everyone else? We have a baseball fan in our family.  Actually, fan is an understatement.  This person is wholly engrossed in obsessed with baseball.  So this is a wee giftie for that person.

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I got the idea from My Ruby Girl and modified it a bit so it would be a bit bigger.

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First you need yourself a baseball, one made out of genuine leather.  This one is from an Ottawa Little League.  Not sure how we ended up with it, but nonetheless …

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Then you take a sturdy craft knife or box cutter and you cut around the seams, leaving a centimetre or two of space. You don’t want to cut too closely because you might cut the threads binding the whole thing together.

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Then you can peel off those little centre bits away from the seam.

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And then you can peel off the seam, all in one piece.

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You can easily pull off all that sticky string.

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Now you want to find the spot where the seam ends and the stitches are loose. Pull a few of those stitches out so you have space to cut the leather. You don’t want to cut the string.

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Now you want to trim off that excess leather, cutting closer to the seam. Not too close, of course, but close enough that it looks nice and tidy. It’s up to you. Then you’re going to fold your long strip in half and cut it again.

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Now you have two bracelets. If you want, you can stop right here, tack on some string or hardware at the ends for fastening and be done with it.

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But we’re going to take it a little further.

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What if we take both strips and sew them together? Makes the bracelet a bit bigger, right? I have some lovely hemp string here in a nice shade of Toronto Blue Jays blue, for their biggest fan.

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I popped open my Altoids tin containing my special needles.

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And got to work with one of the curved ones. It was a little bit of a challenge to force the string through the small holes, and because of the curve, not all the holes lined up properly but that didn’t really concern me.

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When I had finished, I used the existing holes to sew on some vintage plastic buttons.

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I made sure to tie the knots carefully underneath, and I rubbed a little beeswax over the knots to keep them in place.

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Put a little wax on the buttons, too.

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Then I doubled up the thread to make two loops around which to hook the buttons and fasten the bracelet.

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I used beeswax here too, to strengthen the hemp string.

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And then the loops naturally twisted around themselves.

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The finished product.

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I put a little almond oil into the leather, too, to soften it. It’s a nice little cuff.

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Chicken in Toronto

In the last week of August I went to Toronto for the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit, which was incredibly exciting for me, to be able to rub elbows with all the people I hope to know personally once I’ve finished my doctorate.

I was also able to meet the Pie in town on two nights and catch some Blue Jays games.  This is Jose Bautista.  He’s not much to look at but he got a home run on one night.

I stayed with my best friend Chel and her lovely new husband Invis right downtown.  Talk about making the most out of a small space!  Here is their tiny kitchen, with Invis filling up most of it.  Chel had the clever idea of using one of her favourite coat hangers (because she couldn’t find another place for it) to hang up her pots and pans. I think it’s genius.

One night  they were kind enough to allow me to cook them dinner, and we decided, since it was hot and humid in the Big Smoke, to keep things on the simple side.  We settled on a chicken rosé sauce on pasta followed by vanilla ice cream with strawberry and red currant fruit sauce.

We decided to feature basil in the recipe because Chel has been keeping a lush little plant going for some time.Chop up a few boneless skinless chicken breasts, as well as a small onion, some mushrooms, and a red pepper or two.  And don’t forget lots and lots of fresh basil.

Chuck the onion in a pot with some olive oil and sauté until translucent.Season your chicken breasts and plop them in as well.  Stir it around until the chicken is cooked through.Add in your basil and let that aroma fill the space as it heats up.Then drop in your vegetables and let them cook for a wee spell.Now you can pour in a jar of your favourite pasta or other tomato sauce.Add in some whipping cream as well, about 250mL.  Let the whole thing simmer.If you find it’s too watery you can add in a can of tomato paste to thicken it up.Serve over your pasta of choice and you’ve got a lovely meal.Now while that is simmering you can whip up your dessert fruit sauce.  We found some lovely fresh red currants in the grocery store so I added them, some cut up strawberries, a bit of sugar, and some juice to the pot and set it to boil.Once you have simmered it for a while, remove it from the heat and let it cool while you eat your dinner.  Pour it over ice cream and you’re all set.