Thursday, 20 December 2012

Three things on Thursday - being prepared

1)  With so many people getting ready to travel for whatever holidays they celebrate (even if it's just holidays from school and work), I thought I would use this chance to remind people traveling by car to make sure the car is stocked with a small emergency kit.  Jumper cables, water, blankets, a candle and matches, flares, etc.  You can get a pre-assembled kit or make your own fairly quickly.  Also, if you are traveling in the cold, please make sure you take along a warm coat, boots, hats, mitts, etc.  Even if you are wearing your pretty party clothes, with the lovely high heeled shoes, it might be a good idea to take along your warm things (even if you are not wearing them) in case you get stuck on the road.

2)  I highly recommend printing off this list of 50 last minute things you can do if you have a bit of notice of an upcoming emergency situation.  The kind of thing you can do if you have a day's notice of a storm coming.
I had meant to share this a few weeks ago when I first came across it, but I misplaced it and only found it again this morning.  Print it off and store it in a safe place (where you will remember it) so that if you aren't prepared now, you can take the steps recommended to put yourself in a better situation.

3)  Stay safe, make some memories, take some pictures, spend time with family and friends and have yourself a good time.  Whatever traditions you keep, for whatever holidays you celebrate, make the most of'll be thankful for it later.

Here is one of our favourites:

...And, as a bonus, I received a wonderful surprise the other day.  Someone very near and dear to me has finished packing her and her husband's evacuation bags!  Woohoo.  The best Christmas present I can think of.  Here's to hoping we never have to use them...any of us.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Handmade Holiday - Holiday cards

I think it is finally safe to share the holiday cards I made this could still have time to make a few if you are going to hand deliver them...
I started by drawing a very simple image onto some card stock.  There were more branches in the beginning, but I kept removing some because I was going to have to cut every single space.  Then I traced it onto a bigger piece and cut out all the openings leaving a frame around it.

 I cut large sheets of card stock into 4" x 8" smaller cards and traced the image onto each one.
 ...and then cut them out piece by piece.
 ...until the tree was all cut out.
 I dabbed on little spots of "tacky glue" because I had an old bottle of it and I thought white glue would make it too wrinkly, and hot glue would make it stick out to much...
...and then glued on a light blue background (can't capture the colour it seems, but it is robin's egg blue)...and don't worry, I went back and cut off that edge sticking out the bottom.
 I wrote my little message inside and signed before gluing anything onto the front, and had the rest of the family sign.  I like to put song lyrics in my holiday cards.  And next, the fun part...
 I drew a little chickadee onto a piece of paper.  Just in black ink.  Then, I scanned it in to the computer, shrunk it, and used a mailing label template to paste a whole bunch more onto a "word" document and printed it out in black and white.  Then I coloured in all their bellies and wings with pencil crayons.  Any bird would be cute, but nice chubby chickadees are my favourite.
 Then I cut them out with a tiny pair of scissors, one by one...
 ...72 of them.  Sometimes, I worry about my own self :)
Then, I hot glued them on to the front of the cards so they would puff out a bit from the branches.
I wanted to add some glitter snow falling among the branches, but due to unexpected events that took us out of town for most of a week, I ran out of time.  I think they look a little too plain, but my family will understand, I know.  Feel free to fuss them up a bit if you make some.

See, easy peasy, right?  
Warning...these take a good bit of time if you are making a whole bunch, but if any of you have one of those fancy Cricut machines, this would take no time at all I would think, and making just one for a very special person would be worth the effort, I think.

Oh, and by the way, you might have to make your own envelopes too, as a 4" x 4" envelope is very hard to come across.  Just sayin'.


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Three things on Thursday - getting prepared

If you are a regular reader, you will notice that posts have been sporadic at best lately.  I am finally ready to share in the hopes that I help someone else at the same time.

My father-in-law has been ill for some time with cancer.  A few weeks ago, he fell in his home and ended up having to go into the hospital.  He caught pneumonia, and because of his weakened state, he was unable to pull through it.  We had to say good-bye way too early.

Here is the thing:  He was prepared.  Since his illness began, he had time to "get his affairs in order" and it made me realize that if something happened to us (my husband and I), we do not have our affairs in order and it might leave the kids in a bit of a lurch.

So, for three things on Thursday, here is what I plan to work on as soon as possible:
    -we finally made our will a few years ago, but the executor does not have a key to our house, so no way to access it...need to fix that.
    -our lawyer said to have a chart of all banking accounts and financial information attached to it - we did that, but all of our information has changed since that time so it needs to be updated
    -we want to get a fireproof / watertight box so that all of the important information will be safe and sound

and here is an extra for this week: I really need to make copies of our licences, SIN cards, health cards, etc.  One copy to keep in the fireproof box once we get it, and one copy for the evacuation bag.

Not the most pleasant post, but if we get prepared, hopefully we will save someone a huge headache.

What about you?  Did you do anything this week to prepare for emergencies?  Any tips for us?  Please feel free to share in the comments.  Thanks.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Free pattern - little knit toy bombs

When the boys were little, they had little stuffed felt blocks that they used to have indoor snowball fights with. Over the years they got pretty nasty looking and eventually got thrown out.  They miss them, and I thought I would make them some little cartoon bombs - a la video game- so thry could do it again.  They are rather quick to make...maybe a little over an hour start to finish.
I used some leftover worsted weight yarn from the stash, and size 4.5mm needles.  The gauge isn't really important so you can adjust your needle size up or down depending on what yarn you are using.  Directions will follow for a small, medium, and large toy bomb.

You are going to work back and forth on two needles for a few rows before joining in the round. 
Cast on 4 stitches onto one dpn.  
Row 1: Increase into each stitch by knitting into the back and then into the front of each stitch (kfb). 8 stitches.
Row 2, 4, 6: purl
Row 3: kfb into each stitch.  16 stitches.
Row 5: (kfb into one stitch, k1) repeat to end of row. 24 stitches.
Row 7: (kfb, k2) repeat to end of row.  32 stitches. Join in the round here for the small bomb with 12, 12, and 8 stitches on the three needles.
Row 8: knit in the round for small bomb.  purl for medium and large

Medium and large only: 
Row 9: (kfb, k3) repeat to end of row. 40 stitches.  Join in the round here for medium bomb with 15, 15, and 10 stitches on the three needles.
Row 10: knit in the round for medium, purl for large.

Large only: 
Row 11: (kfb, k4) repeat to end of row.  48 stitches.  Join in the round here for large bomb with 18, 18, and 12 stitches on the three needles.

Knit in the round as follows:
small: 5 rounds, medium: 11 rounds, large: 17 rounds

Large only:
(k2tog, k4) repeat until end of round.  40 stitches. Knit one round.

Large and medium:
(k2tog, k3) repeat until end of round.  32 stitches. Knit one round.

All sizes:
(k2tog, k2) repeat until end of round.  24 stitches.
Knit one round.
(k2tog, k1) repeat until end of round.  16 stitches.
Knit one round.
(k2tog) repeat until end of round.  8 stitches.
Knit one round.
(k2tog) repeat until end of round, putting all 4 stitches onto one needle.
Break yarn and switch to your "wick" colour.
knit in I-cord until your wick is the desired length.  Cast off.

Stuff your bomb through the opening at the bottom at stitch closed.  Weave in all loose ends.
Make a handful.  Enjoy!

By the way:  I am on the last of the "Little House" books in the box set. I don't know what I am going to read when I am done this one.

Linking up with:  Keep Calm, Craft On over at Frontier Dreams
                          yarn along over at small things

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Three things on Thursday - getting a prepared a bit at a time

I missed posting "three things on Thursday" last week but here is a little something I have been working on to continue getting prepared for emergencies a little bit at a time.
 I saw these on a website I found the other day and thought they would be a great thing to have in case of an extended power outage during the coming winter.  I have to say, I felt a little silly going to buy wood shavings when we composted some all summer long, but the bag ended up costing about 3 or 4 dollars, and I have made three of these so far.  There is enough left over to make several more, once I pick up a bit more wax.  They are supposed to be able to keep a small room from freezing, and if you put a grill over it, you could even warm up some food.  I haven't had a chance to test them yet, but I intend to before I make more.
I found a hurricane lantern at the Goodwill, for a whopping deal of $5.00.  It didn't have any wicks though, and I thought I was going to have to McGyver one, but after searching around town, I found some in the camping section of Canadian Tire - just a note to any of my Canadian readers who may be looking for some.  A six pack was $6.00 and I don't think I ever ever have changed the wick in my original hurricane lantern, so I am expecting them to last a while if they are only used in emergencies.

Lastly, I finally decided that I should indeed add hand sanitizer  to our evacuation bags, so I picked up the three small bottles of it.

How about you --- did you take any baby steps this week?  Please share your tips, comments, and helpful finds to help us all out.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Magic acorns, as my son calls them...

Here is a super easy, super quick craft for any lovely (little?) lady in your life.  My son calls them magic acorns...I call them super cute!
 Find caps that fit nicely on some round beads...this may be the trickiest part...although kids seem to love this step.
 Cut a short piece of beading wire - about 6" - and lightly fold it in half.  Then twist and twist until you get a nice loop.
Find the smallest drill bit you can, and drill two holes through the acorn cap.
Insert your wire loop through the holes.
 I twisted it once with my fingers and then held on to the top loop while twisting with little pliers.
Hot glue in your bead.  You're done...easy peasy.

If I had thought about it before I had wrapped up the package to send in the mail, I would have put them into magic walnuts too, but I only thought of it this morning.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Christmas KAL with Natural Suburbia

Have you joined the knit-along with Linda at Natural Suburbia?  There is a Ravelry group to share pictures and chat and everything.  This is my first knit a-long's kind of fun.  So here is my first project to share.  It is the meerkat, from Linda's etsy shop over here, but in miniature.  I used really thin yarn from my stash and tiny little needles (2.5mm I think).  This is the way N likes them, tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

What are we reading this week?  The boys are reading the lyrics to some Christmas carols to choose songs for school.  N's class is going to go sing at the hospital again, and S's class will be performing for the school.  The kids were all asked to pick some songs they really like and then, I believe, they will be voting on them.

Linking up with:  Keep Calm Craft on over at Frontier Dreams
                          Yarn Along over at small things

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

I am still here

Having some computer issues.  The laptop at home is fried and the computer at work doesn't want to let me do a gosh darn thing.  It keeps telling me my Picasa is full but then sends me on to Google+ and greys out the screen so I can't get past it.  Trying to resolve these things and hopefully I will be back soon.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Three things on Thursday - Adding to the food stash

If you have been following my blog lately, Thursdays have been all about preparing for emergencies (combined with Three things on Thursdays).

Last week's goal:  I did in fact by two jugs of vegetable oil (they were on sale -and the expiration date was 3 years...crazy!).  I also managed to clear away some of the non-food items from the pantry and put some of the dry goods into plastic totes.  They aren't air tight, but they should at least be insect and rodent proof.  For my third item, I picked up two cans of pineapple juice and one jar of buckwheat honey after reading   this post by Mackenzie at While the Water Boils last week...things to stock up on for cold and flu season...I didn't know about these two and added them to my stash.

I also added a tin cup -found at the Goodwill for next to nothing - to each evacuation bag (feeling very little house on the prairie...remember the one where they each get a tin cup of their very own for Christmas and are so excited they no longer have to share) as well as a bandana to each bag.  And I have partly packed a suitcase on wheels with spare camp bedding.  I say partly because it still needs sheets, but I don't have many extra of those...

This week's goal:
1) I noticed that I am running low on a few canned foods - corn, pineapple, and pears specifically, so if any
of those are on sale I will pick up a few.
2) I must get a photocopy of our important documents to include in the evacuation bags
3) I noticed our car emergency blankets were in the garage yesterday...don't know why, and my hands were full so I couldn't put them where they belong at the time.  Must remember to do that today.  Oh, and put the emergency candle back in there for the winter.  Won't hurt to check the whole kit while I am at it.

If any of you are doing this along with might want to go back and check the comments on some of the older posts.  Some very good suggestions have been made there.

So...what are you getting ready this week?  Are you focusing on one thing, or adding to what you already have?  Are you starting out or completely stocked?  I'm curious how people go about preparing.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Emergency planning - the evacuation bag

When I first set up our evacuation bag, the boys were quite little.  Too little to carry their own bags.  So I set up an area in the basement with things I could carry in a tote, and then some empty bags in case there was time to pack some more items.

Recently, I was reading this post/article and it really made me think.  The boys are definitely able to help carry some items in the case of an evacuation (a very very real possibility in the area we live in - it's known as Chemical Valley, and with the number of incidents lately, I am fully expecting an evacuation in my lifetime).

So, a new plan was in order.  I found what I think looks to be a pretty good list for an evacuation bag over here.  I am using this as my starting point.  Obviously, the boys won't be able to carry everything on this list, and quite honestly either will I, so I am starting with the basics and I can add to it later.  After all, a bag with a few items is better than no bag at all, right?
 Dividing up the items for each of 4 bags..
In my "internet research" I have found guidelines saying that a child should carry no more than 10% of his/her body weight in a backpack.  I have also found guidelines saying that they can carry up to 25%.  N weighs about 65 pounds.  6.5 pounds of weight is really not that much, considering his school backpack outweighs that by quite a bit.  16.5 pounds, though is way too much.  I am aiming for around 10 pounds for his.
 So far, each of the 4 bags has the following items:
-2 bottles of water.  They say enough water for 72 hours, but come on now, how much will that weigh.  We also have jugs of water with handles that we can grab on the way out the door if we need them.
-2 fruit cups, one pepperoni stick, 3 small boxes of raisins, one sesame snack, and some mints.  I plan on adding more food but I have been having a hard time finding things that are shelf stable for a year - and realistically, I won't swap out the food more than once a year.
-utensil - one each fork, knife, spoon.  These came from our camping gear.  They are in here as per N's request, in case we can stop to buy food - but have nothing to eat it with.
-one rain poncho, one 2-pack of hand warmers, on chap stick.
-one roll of toilet paper, a few small garbage bags, some moist towelettes, a waterproof container with bandaids of various sizes, and one of those elastic wrap things for when you twist your wrist/ankle (actually, that last one is just in the boys bags - the adults have a roll of gauze).
-one mini deodorant, one toothbrush wrapped in aluminum foil (my bag has also a tube of toothpaste, a bar of soap, a mini bottle of dish soap, and a hand sanitizer that may or may not stay in the bag - I have issues with hand sanitizer but this one was already in the house "gifted" to us by a friend), and two wash cloths.
-a variety of mini glow sticks and a candle in a jar with some matches - as per N's instructions.  This is a family project after all, and the idea of an evacuation bag kind of freaked him out.  Adding his input really helped.  My husband's bag also has a hand crank flash light that is also supposed to charge a cell phone battery.
-two or three pairs of socks.

I still need to add to each bag:
- a couple pairs of underwear, and a few t-shirts.
-some more food - some type of cracker like product, some dried fruit, maybe some nuts.  I am struggling with this part as I am unlikely to rotate it out very often.
-our pertinent information - photocopies of health cards, licences and such...I had some and was about to put them in when I realized they were all expired and I need to do them again.
-a small blanket of some kind.
-the boys want a plastic drinking cup added.

TIP: If you have a child that has been toilet trained for less than one year, I have read that you should include some training pants in here as well, as the stress of the situation is likely to make them regress.
TIP: Although I usually try to avoid shopping at the Dollar Store because it's all over-shipped, over-packaged, and I over-spend,  I went there for this project.  Several of the things on my list were bought in a package and divided up (bandaids, glowsticks, matches, etc)

I also plan on making up a plastic tote with overflow items like a proper first aid kit, flashlight with batteries, cat food, etc.

This is a portion of my pantry/food storage - lots of non-food items have ended up there and need to move.

For three things on Thursdays, I am continuing to fill in the holes in my stored food supply.  If you have not yet started to collect, I found a list over here that breaks down a 3 month adult supply of food into 52 weeks of preparing.  Obviously, it can be tailored as you wish, but I love reading other people's lists as a starting point.

Last week's goal update:
-I did in fact follow my plan and purchased an 8kg bag of rice.
-I have been struggling to find plastic containers for food storage, but recently read an article on Pinterest where they were storing food in 2L plastic bottles.  Now, I will be looking out for those - we don't buy them, but some of my friends do, so I will see if they will collect them for me.  I did manage to empty two plastic totes that I will be putting the dry pasta and bags of grains in.  All right for now, while I continue looking.
-I had planned on buying a couple of jars of cocoa powder. I bought one and found it rather pricey, so I also added a jar of cocoa mix and two boxes of the herbal tea N loves because they were all on sale half price.

This week's goal:
-I need to buy a bulk size container of cooking oil of some type because I have just finished mine off - I pour it into smaller bottles to use it.
-I need to tidy up my food storage area - it is in fact our pantry area (in the basement) but non-food items have found their way there and I need to move them all out to make room for this plan.
-an extra bundle of toilet paper if there is any on sale this week, or garbage bags, or batteries...this will be my flexible item.

I know a few of my readers are working on this too.  If you have a tip, idea or suggestion, kindly leave a comment.  What is in your evacuation bag?  If you were left without power after Hurricane Sandy, what is something you found helpful or wish you had already stocked up on?

Herbal Tea

The return of cold weather usually brings with it the season for colds/flu/sniffles.  My youngest son has had a sore throat for a few days, so I bought him some herbal cough drops.  Yesterday, when I was double checking what herbs were in them, I realized I have about half the herbs listed already on hand from this summer, so we made a tea to try out.
I don't know if it is the herbs, or just the fact that we were having a nice hot drink, but our sore throats disappeared like magic, and have stayed away for hours at a time...we made some more this morning and he brought some to school in a thermos.  I have already had mine, and more sore throat disappeared again.

Here is what we used:  peppermint, lemon balm, lemon thyme, red raspberry leaves, echinacea leaves, and this morning I added borage flowers because they "gladden the heart" (according to a book I once read, and I just love that phrase).
Last night I left the leaves whole, this morning I crushed them up (pictured above).  It is super tasty, and we feel great.  I might make up a batch and put it in tea bags so the boys can have one whenever they need it. 

Do you have a blend you love?  Do you use it for medicinal purposes or just for a nice warm drink on a cold fall or winter day?

Linking up with: Fall Harvest Link up at The Backyard Farming Connection
                         Wicked Good Wednesday at The Wilderness Wife
                         barn hop over at Homestead Revival
                         backyard farming connection
                         Winter on the Homeacre - Hop at the self sufficient homeacre
                         The Backyard Farming Connection's permanent link up
                         Wildcraft Wednesday at the Self Sufficient HomeAcre
                         Making your own Herbal at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Monday, 5 November 2012


 garden fresh root veggies
roasting pumpkins from the market
 finding treasures at the flea market (these actually fit my spinning wheel)
 my boys
dyeing wool with carrot tops again (tin again, but without the cream of tartar - still yellow)
 getting ready for a sale in two weeks

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Three things on Thursday - Planning for Emergencies - Part two.

Last Thursday was the first post in what I intend to be a weekly series on planning for emergencies - the (three) weekly baby steps I am taking to get myself and my family prepared to make it through a power outage, an evacuation, a Chemical spill, etc.  Kind of timely in the face of the storm that has been all over these past few days.

We were lucky this week!  We lost power off and on Monday evening, then lost it all through Monday night until about 8:30 Tuesday morning.  Just long enough for the boys to have their school cancelled as the school was without power as well.  Power was restored to our street early and life returned to normal for most people.  Although several branches and a few half trees fell on our street we have no damage.

I learned a few things - where my plans are lacking...
Heat - Although we have several walls in our house - only our second story has doors.  Even if we had some sort of heat source in the case of a power outage (which we don't at this point), it would be pretty hard to heat an area of our house.  Something we need to figure out.  Also, we would be able to heat food with our gas cooktop - but only if our gas line was not shut down as well...something else to look into.

I had actually spent a few hours on Sunday making up some candles in glass jars in case of a power outage (PS - I don't watch the new, so at this point I was completely oblivious to the fact that there was a huge storm heading our way - I knew about the hurricane, but not that the winds were expected to reach us here).

I like candles in jars because of the kids - I like that they are self contained - and also, they have lids so when we are not using them, the wax doesn't get all dusty.  I had been saving glass jars for a few weeks and had some wax ready to be melted down.  I had big problems getting the wicks to stick to the bottoms of the jars, even with the metal pieces sold for that purpose, so it took me a couple of tries before I figured it out.
So far, I have 6 candles that I plan to keep stashed away for power outages only, although when I get to the vehicle emergency kit, I might snag one for each vehicle.

I also tried to make some taper candles in this antique candle mold I have, but all I ended up making was a huge mess.  I had to melt the wax to get it back out because the candles were just simply stuck.  I have to figure it out before I make some beeswax candles in it - although in the meantime, we might just dip some beeswax candles instead.
Note:  all the information I could find on the internet agrees - the way to get wax out of clothing is with paper towels or paper bags over the wax and then iron it with a clothes iron - I will be doing that this weekend :)  I did say I made a mess.

N enjoyed the wax melting, but ran out of patience with our many failed attempts at filling the jars.  I think he might enjoy the dipped candles a bit more - so he can see the progress.

I had planned to look into the evacuation packs but I couldn't find the backpacks.  The boys say that I brought all of our old backpacks to the Goodwill.  I don't remember doing it.  So my "non-food" goal for this week is to find some bags to use for the evacuation packs.

Now for the three things:
My goal for this past week was to buy soy sauce, popcorn seeds and honey.  I bought one of each (it's bits at a time).  I found out our favourite popcorn seeds are "unavailable at this time" which is why I only bought one.

This week, I will be looking for one item in bulk (probably a big bag of rice), some sort of container for storing dry goods (a lot of good a large bag of flour will do me if the bugs get into it) and cocoa (I just learned that it has an extremely long shelf life - years and years, so that will be a good one to have.  Cocoa with sugar and canned milk - I think that will work).

I know a few of you are thinking along these lines now as well - what are your plans for this week?  PS - I know the prepper sites all say that you should keep your preparations secret but I say we help each other along instead.  Please leave a comment with the steps you are taking - make it anonymous if you wish.

Linking up with: Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Handmade Holidays - a simple pouch

This year, I will be putting three little gadgets into a stocking, and needed a way to package them up. Something the gadgets could be kept in all the time, something handy, so I decided to make these little drawstring pouches, with a tab on the side (for a caribeener)  to clip onto a belt.

Originally, I wasn't going to share this little tutorial, thinking it was just too basic.  Then I thought that maybe some of my readers don't have experience sewing and a tutorial for an easy peasy and basically free project might be just the ticket to get someone started, so here we go.  
You could use any fabric you want for this, but if you are a beginner, and don't want to start a fabric stash right away, consider this:  I cut the legs off of a pair of outgrown toddler pants that were too worn out to donate to the thrift store.  The back side of the leg was still in great condition (after all, how often do you wear out the back of the pant leg?) and just the size I needed for one pouch.
I used a rotary cutter, a straight edge, and a cutting matt.  These are great investment if you plan on doing more and more of your own sewing, but a pencil and ruler with a pair of scissors will do the job as well.
I cut a rectangle from the fabric: 5" x 11" for mine but you can aIf you don't have a serger, you can zig zag stitch the edges, or leave them plain if you are not terribly concerned about your fabric fraying (jersey knit, wool, fleece, faux suede etc).
This will give you nice neat tidy edges on the inside.  If you are a beginner, you may scoff at the idea of putting in an extra step before you even start sewing, but the longer your pieces last, the more inclined you will be to actually stick with it.
 I also cut a piece for a tab.  You can omit this entirely, or use a piece of ribbon for your tab instead if you choose.  That's the beauty of using what you have on hand, right?  If you are not going to serge the ends, sew along the long side and one short side of the tab (my piece was about 2 1/2" x 4", and then folded in half).  Then turn it inside out.  If you are are going to serge the ends, you can just sew along the long side, turn it inside out, and then serge the ends afterwards.
 To turn it inside out, you need to fold the open end over the rest of your "tube" and pull bit by bit until the inside works its way out.
 Sometimes near the end it helps to stick something in there to poke your corners out.  A crochet hook, a dull pencil, a bamboo skewer, whatever fits.

Ok, now to assemble the bag.  Fold your rectangle in half, right sides together, lining up the edges neatly.  You can pin it in place  if you want.  Sew along one side of the bag only, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  Because I expect these bags to get very heavy use, I decided to put in a double seam - along the red lines in the picture above.
 Fold down the top edge of your bag to determine how much space you are going to need for your drawstring.  I used a shoelace, so 1/2" opening is ample in my case.
Sometimes it is helpful to mark your spacing with a pen.  In this case, it will also help you with the positioning for your tab, if you are putting one in.
Slide your tab in between the two right sides of the fabric, facing into the bag.  Once you are done and turn the bag right side out, the tab will be on the outside.
 Now, sew up the second side of the bag, leaving an opening where you marked your space for the drawstring.  You can't see the tab here, but it is just to the right of the opening.
When you roll over your top edge, the opening should be just inside your hem.  Sew around the top, being sure to sew below your opening, but above your tab.  
 Turn your bag right side out.  To put the drawstring through, I always find it much easier to insert if I attach a safety pin to the lace/ribbon/elastic.
Insert the drawstring through the opening, and guess what - you are done!  That wasn't so overwhelming now was it?
Pat yourself on the back.  

How is your handmade holiday making coming along?  Anything you would like to share?

                         needle and Thread at in the Heart of my Home
                         Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder
                         Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
                         Make it Monday at Brassy Apple
                         The Backyard Farming Connection's permanent link-up