Easy DIY Drawstring Loot Bags

My little man will be turning two in July (cue mind blowing up – where did the time go??). We’ll be throwing a party but since he doesn’t really have any little friends yet we’ll only be inviting our close friends and family.  Some of them have little ones, but it’ll be mostly adults.  I have a TON of ideas for awesome party themes for the little dude (thanks Pinterest!), but I didn’t want to “waste” a really good one at an age where he doesn’t fully know what’s going on.  So, I decided to go with a theme that will be fun for big and little kids alike: a moustache bash! Given that moustaches are super trendy right now, it’s been very easy to find all kinds of fun things to incorporate the theme.

I will admit, I’m going WAY over board with this party, but, hey, I’m on maternity leave and have a lot of time to think of ideas and I can get things done during nap time (most of the time) so I figure why not?!  One of the little projects I decided to take on for this party is making fabric loot bags.  I found this fabric on Hawthorne Threads and I just HAD to use it somehow. I thought making little fabric bags would make the bags part of the “loot” and reduce waste. Win win!

I saw this fabric and couldn't help but think "I moustache it!!"  Hihi

I saw this fabric and couldn’t help but think “I moustache it!!” Hihi

I ordered 2 yards which was more than enough (I might just make a little something else for the little lady with the leftovers :)).  I counted a total of 15 kids potentially coming to this party, though I suspect they won’t all make it with it being in the middle of summer vacation.  Erring on the side of caution, I’ll be making 15 anyway just in case.

To fill the loot bags I’ve got all kinds of fun little things, including homemade moustache shaped cookies and moustache patterned pencils.

Moustache things are EVERYWHERE!

Moustache things are EVERYWHERE!

Given that I have 15 to make, I decided to go with a really easy, quick and dirty drawstring bag.  The length of the fabric is just over 21 inches when folded in half width-wise, so I cut three 7 inch wide pieces by 9 inches long (long enough to fit the pencils with seam allowance).  You could modify the dimension depending on how you’ll be using the bag.

I cut the fabric, folded in half, in 7x9 inch pieces.

I cut the fabric, folded in half, in 7×9 inch pieces.

Because my fabric’s pattern had a right side up, I had to cut two pieces for each bag to make sure the pattern went in the right direction on both sides, but if you had something like a stripe or a chevron, you could likely cut the pieces in 7×18 (double the length) and just fold over the bottom (saves you that extra stitch).

To create the top of the bag where the drawstring will go, start by folding over about a half inch corner on each side at the top of your fabric pieces, folded in toward the bad side (see picture below).  Iron down and sew a straight stitch down the middle of the fold.

Sew a simple straight stitch - nothing fancy here, we're going for efficiency!

Sew a simple straight stitch – nothing fancy here, we’re going for efficiency!

Next, fold over the top edge of your fabric pieces about 1 inch (modify this depending on what you’ll be using for the drawstring).  Stitch the folded edge down about 1/8-1/4 of an inch from the edge.

The top fold will be for the drawstring.

The top fold will be for the drawstring.

Pin your two pieces of fabric together, good sides together. Sew down the side and bottom edges, with about a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Back stitch where you start and finish as this is where the bag will open – it’ll need the reinforcement.

Pin both pieces together and stitch the sides and bottom.

Pin both pieces together and stitch the sides and bottom.

Turn the bag inside out.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Quick and easy DIY loot bags!

Quick and easy DIY loot bags!

Finally, thread your drawstring through, using a safety pin to help guide the ribbon or string through. I had some extra binded ribbon lying around that just happened to match the fabric perfectly.  Tie the ends of the ribbon and use a flame to seal the ribbon (if you’re using ribbon) and you’re done! Once I’d gotten the hang of it, each bag took all of 5-10 minutes to make so I could make about 5-6 in an hour (i.e. the length of a nap).

Cute and practical little home-made loot bags! I think the kids will like them :)

Cute and practical little home-made loot bags! I think the kids will like them 🙂

Now I can’t wait to fill them with fun moustache-y stuff!! Stay tuned for the party post! Lots more DIYs to come 🙂

 

 

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My new toy and some sweet treats!

My wonderful husband got me an amazing surprise gift for Mother’s Day this year: a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer! I’ve been saying that I want one for a while now, specifically the Ice Blue one – and he got just that.  Bonus points for him for listening! I’m excited to try out new recipes for all my loved ones – I’m trying to limit sweets but I will always have a taste of what I make.  Because you know, every good chef tastes what they make 😉

My new toy looks great on the kitchen counter!

My new toy!

So far I’ve only made two recipes but both were a huge hit so I wanted to share them.

CHIPOTLE CHOCOLATE FLOURLESS TORTE

I got this recipe from one of my favourite food blogs: Simply Recipes. This torte almost has the texture of a brownie.  It’s rich and decadent but the little touch of heat that it leaves behind is just enough to cut through the richness and leave you wanting more.  I made for a mexican themed birthday dinner for my mom and was the perfect end to our ribs, corn, slaw and sweet potato fries.

Here is the recipe as posted on Simply Recipes:

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 7 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9 ½ inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Grease the sides and the parchment with butter or non-stick cooking spray (I love Pam for Baking cooking spray, myself).

2 Melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3 Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl, and then slowly, a bit at a time, whisk in the melted chocolate. Add the salt and spices and taste, adjusting the spices if needed.

4 Pour into the springform pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

*A note from me on cooking time – the recipe calls for only 22-25 minutes of baking but I ended up having to leave it in nearly 15 minutes more than that. The toothpick kept coming out with mix on it.  I have a gas oven so I’m not sure if that played into things.

Chipotle Chocolate Flourless Torte - a little heat, a little sweet, very yum!

Chipotle Chocolate Flourless Torte – a little heat, a little sweet, very yum!

 

“PINK LEMONADE” MINI CUPCAKES

I made these lemon mini cupcakes with light lemon buttercream frosting for my daughter’s Baptism reception.  I call them pink lemonade but really the only thing that makes them “pink” is food colouring in the frosting 😛  Next time, I think I’d like to try making a raspberry frosting.

The cake batter recipe is from Laura in the Kitchen and the buttercream frosting is based on the vanilla buttercream recipe from  Canadian Living and modified to add lemon flavour.

Lemon Cupcake Recipe

*Note: this recipe is for 12 regular sized cupcakes, which makes approximately 36 mini cupcakes.

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups of All Purpose Flour
1 tsp of Baking Powder
¼ tsp of Salt
1 cup of Granulated Sugar
½ cup of Unsalted Butter at room temperature
2 Eggs
¼ cup of Whole Milk
¼ cup of Sour Cream
2 tsp of Freshly Grated Lemon Zest
1 Tbsp of Fresh Lemon Juice
½ tsp of Vanilla Extract

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, line a 12 piece cupcake tin with liners and set aside.
2) In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
3) In a large bowl, using a hand help whisk or you can do this in a big standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs and incorporate well.
4) Add the sour cream, milk, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until its all well incorporated.
5) Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix them in to combine but make sure you don’t over mix.
6) Using a large ice cream scoop, divide your batter evenly in lined muffin tin. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting Recipe

*Portion size3-2/3 cups (900 mL)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
  • 5 cups (1.25 L) sifted icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (adjust to taste)
  • Red food colouring (1-3 drops)

Method

In large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 2 additions of sugar. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest. Add food colouring one drop at a time until desired shade is attained. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours; let come to room temperature, about 1 hour. Beat slightly before using.)

My mother in law also got me a piping bag for Easter so I’ve been practicing my piping skills.  Still need a bit of work but I’m getting better!
Mini "pink lemonade" cupcakes are a refreshing treat!

Mini “pink lemonade” cupcakes are a refreshing treat!

The cupcake display - they didn't last long!

The cupcake display – they didn’t last long!