The Amazing Spider-Man…2

It is that time again. In my daughter’s class, each Friday a different student is responsible for providing a special snack.  When her turn came around again, I asked her what kinds of snacks the other kids had brought. She said fruit roll ups or store bought sugar cookies, usually. She and I both knew that store bought cookies just would not do. I started thinking of what kind of theme I wanted for the cookies I was going to make. It is almost the end of the school year and it is getting hotter outside. My first thought was suns/flowers. As I was sketching out ideas, I had a “that’s it” moment… Spider-Man! The movie had just come to the theaters. The timing was perfect and I have made Spider-Man cookies before.

Spidey Masks SideviewI have a custom cookie cutter that I made for doing faces, but I felt that it was too big. Recently, when I was walking through the Easter section at a store, I found a set of small cutters. One of the cutters was an egg, but when I saw it I knew it would be perfect for making faces. That’s why I bought it, and it turned out to be just the right size for Spidey. I asked my daughter, as I held up each of the cutters, “Would you rather have one of these (big custom cutter) or two cookies of these (small “egg” cutter)?” I reminded her of the Yoshi eggs that I made recently with the same cutter, and the decision was made.  All I needed to do was brush up on the how-to from my favorite cookie blog.

Spidey EyesI wanted all the faces to have uniform eyes, so I printed clipart of Spider-Man’s mask. Mainly, because I didn’t feel like getting out the Kopykake machine. Food markers and cut-out Spidey eyes can’t be that hard. Well…it wasn’t hard, just tedious. I will say the next time I trace with food markers, I will either put tape on both sides of the paper, or I will create a stencil. By the time I was finished, the piece of paper was soaked and torn. 70 cookies = a lot of eyeballs.

Every time I color icing, I learn something new. This time it was a lesson in red. I didn’t want to use too much red coloring, so decided to add brown to darken it.  I did darken it, but it looked muted. I was so upset at the results that I figured I was going to have to make another batch of icing. I made more icing and decided to go ahead and make the cookie dough, too. About 45 minutes had gone by and it was time to get back to coloring the icing. I decided to salvage the muted brown-red by turning it into black. I opened up the container of red icing and low and behold, it had turned to a perfect shade of red. I was happy and mad at the same time.  I just spent all that time making another batch of icing. Arrgh… The thing to remember about coloring royal icing is that the final color develops over time. When I make black, I stop adding coloring when it is a dark gray. The next day it will be black. So, with all of this said, I’ve learned to always make the icing the night before.

Spidey Masks TopdownI wanted to make these cookies special for boys and girls, so I made Spider-Girl cookies,too. They were pink with glitter (disco dust) eyes. (I am fully aware that the real Spider-Girl from the comics is not pink and sparkly.  Honestly, she looks more like Venom-Girl, but I am not ready to get into a lengthy discussion about it right now.) With this in mind, I asked my daughter’s teacher to let me know the number of boys and girls was in the class.  There were 20 students total.  Giving each student two cookies, I only needed 40 cookies for my daughter’s class.  From the dough I had made, I was able to cut out 70 cookies, so I was able to make some for my son’s class, too. I don’t know of any teacher that is going to turn away homemade decorated sugar cookies. Do you?

Now, because I made so many, meant that there was going to be a lot of piping. Finding the right tip for the spiderweb lines became a small problem. I am glad that I had a few extras. I started with a Wilton #1, but the lines were too big. Then, I tried my PME 00 and PME 0 tips, but they kept on clogging. Finally, I used a PME 1 and it worked. Yippee!

Spidey_Gwen_CarI wrapped pairs of cookies in treat bags and boxed them up for the kids. The next day, I walked each of my children to their classroom. I informed their teacher that I made the cookies without almond extract, for those in the class with nut allergies. Also, I assured them that the glitter on the pink cookies was edible. When I picked the kids up from school, they said that everyone loved the cookies. The girls especially liked the glitter, as I knew they would. Because, all girls love glitter! Enjoy.

Noodles Aren’t Just for Swimming.

Headboard FinishedWhen my son was little, (well, littler) we decided to buy him a bunk bed. I don’t know why. I am still trying to remember the reason. Anyway, his bunk bed has a metal frame. Because of this, his bed is surrounded in pillows so that we won’t wind up at the emergency room with a cracked skull.

Headboard UnderneathNow that he is getting bigger, he is running out of room in the bed and the pillows have to go. I knew that I wanted to make a headboard and footboard of some kind. During the Christmas sales, I purchased some fleece fabric the color of his room. It only took me 5 months to finally get around to making something. I knew that I needed it to be super padded, like the padding that you put around a football goal post or basketball goal. That was the thought process, anyway. I decided that a swimming noodle would be perfect. I measured the bed, fabric, extra fabric to fold over on the edge. After I did the math, I cut the noodle length. Then I cut it lengthwise, to the center, all the way across to accommodate for the metal bar.  I was torn between sewing on snaps or hooks & eyes to the fabric to hold it together. I went with hooks & eyes. When I was finished sewing them all on, I put the fabric on the footboard to see how it looks (before I started sewing the headboard). It looked good, but then my brain said, “You idiot. You could have saved all that time and just used big safety pins.” So, I listened to myself and did just that on the headboard. Oh well, you sew and you learn. By the way, the kids are having fun dueling with the leftover noodle pieces. Enjoy.

Hopefully, Foxes Do Not Snore.

Unfortunately, there is such a thing called allergies. My husband has had them all his life. Because of them, he will rub his eyes while he is asleep. He’s been sleeping with a t-shirt over his eyes, but I have decided that this will no longer do.  Since I am on my sewing kick. I got the idea to make him a sleep mask.

Fox MaskI dug through the “old shirts that can be potential dust rags” box and I found an orange cotton shirt that had a sharpie stain on it. I could have done a simple sleep mask, but that just wouldn’t be me. While I was searching for sleep mask tutorials and ideas, I saw a cute fox mask. Bingo. He wanted a narrow sleep mask. So, I found a pattern on Google, copied it into a program on my computer, stretched it, and then printed it out. I used that as a template and added ears. I found a white undershirt and used it for the face. After I sewed all the facial features, I put all the layers together, inserted elastic, and sewed it all together. Also, I added a strip of fabric to go around the back of the head for comfort. Overall, I think I did pretty good, since I made it all from scratch. I keep on saying, all you need is a little imagination. I am going to imagine that this fox does not snore and everyone will sleep well. Enjoy.

Sew Sorry, But…Can You Please Remove Your Shoes?

Sorry for the bad pun and for not posting any cookie pictures lately. Until the Mario cookies, this month, I hadn’t made any since Christmas. I have been having fun sewing. I bought myself another sewing machine, after my old one was about to drive me to throw it out the window.

House Shoes FeetHere is a little background on this project:
I needed to steam clean the carpets in the house.  We took all the furniture out of the living room and moved it into other rooms. It is amazing how noticeable dirty carpet is when you have moved everything out. After I steam cleaned the carpets, I decided that if I am going to make the carpet last, I will have to enforce a “no shoes inside” policy. It’s going very well so far. The kids are my carpet police. They are doing a great job, too.

Shoe CoverSo…if you are going to have this kind of rule in your house, then you have to have shoe covers (for when you have your shoes laced up and you forgot your keys on the counter) or house slippers (so you don’t have to wear socks or hurt yourself when you step on a Lego) . I made both. I did a TON of Google image searching. Finally, I found a couple of websites that I really liked. The shoe covers were pretty easy to make. For the ones in the picture, I used some material that I have had for about 20 years. A few suggestions, if you are going to make them. 1) When measuring, make sure you are using the bulkiest shoe you have. I used my husband’s Timberland boots, that way they would fit his shoes and mine. If you have kids, make them for the biggest shoe, the other kid(s) will make it work and eventually grow into them. 2) If you are using material that is difficult to feed elastic through, leave two holes when sewing the seam. Feed the elastic halfway, pull it through, and then finish feeding it back to the starting point. Then sew up both holes. 3) For the bottom to be flat, as you can see in the picture. I sewed a 2″ perpendicular line on both corners in the inside. Like the bottom of a purse or shopping bag. 4) If you plan on using something other than an old vinyl tablecloth, think about the weather in your area. If it rains a lot, you don’t want to use material that water will soak straight through. Then, what’s the point of making the covers?

House Shoes SWThe house slippers were very tedious because I added more steps to her pattern. A lot of cutting, pinning and sewing, but I was glad I made adjustments. A few tips…1) I suggest making the patterns out of thick paper (A paper bag or cereal box). I made two patterns, one for the vinyl and the other for the fabric and batting, (which I made only a 1/4″ bigger. She suggests sewing 1/2″ and then cutting off excess, but I hate to waste material and time.) 2) I cut out 3 pieces of fabric (she only has 2). I cut out the main print, one bottom piece (which does show a little, so make sure it matches main fabric print), and a generic middle piece (won’t be seen, unless your main fabric is white/see through). So, when you layer the pieces to sew (starting at top to bottom)…the main fabric with right side facing down… then right side of the bottom matching piece facing up… batting… and then generic piece. The reason I added a generic piece is because my machine does not grip batting very well. When you turn the material after sewing, the generic piece will end up on the inside, facing the wrong side of main fabric. (see picture) House Shoes Batting 3) Never pin vinyl! The holes will never disappear. I used snap hair clips.

I wear mine all the time and so does my daughter. My son, not so much. I may have to alter the “fabric between the toe” design for him and just have a thick strap across the foot. Maybe, if I am feeling adventurous on the next pair…LOL

Steering Wheel CoverP.S. I used some of the leftover Star Wars material and made a steering wheel cover. I never realized how much a cover helps with the hot sun. I am really going to love it this summer! Enjoy.

It’s a me…Mario.

For everything in life, it seems like a two weeks notice is the standard heads-up. As soon as you are given the notice, you should act right away. Don’t wait until the “date”. So, you are probably wondering what all that means. I am going to fill you in on the details.

Mario PlateA good friend of mine asked me to make Mario (of Nintendo’s Super Mario fame) cookies for her son’s birthday party. She texted me a good month in advance. I told her that I would research it and let her know. I had never done Mario cookies, so I wanted to make sure that I would be able make some. So, a couple of weeks goes by and she calls me to see how everything is going. I told her that I wouldn’t be able to make Mario himself, but had no problem with stars, mushrooms, etc. She said that would be fine, but…the party date was moved up and in less than a week. Of course, I replied that I would still do them.

Mario GroupI thought of all the icing colors that I would need yellow, red, green, white, and black. I made Stars, Mushrooms, question mark blocks, and Yoshi eggs. The cookie cutters were pretty easy to come by and I only had to custom work for the mushrooms. I used a star cutter for the Invincibility Star.  For the Mushroom, I popped out a circle and cut off an angle.  The “?” Block is just a square, and Yoshi’s Egg was made using an Easter egg cutter I had.  I cut and baked all the cookies the night before. I woke up early and started icing. I started with the mushrooms and Yoshi eggs, since the first color was going to have to dry, before the second was added. Then, I iced the stars and question mark blocks. I made so many cookies that I ran out of yellow icing. It was ok, my kids used the extras to do cookie art. I added the second colors, question marks, and then the eyes.

I was torn on one thing:  The stars. To sparkle or not to sparkle? That was the first question. The answer…sparkle, of course. The second question was disco dust or gold luster dust? I decided that luster dust would be easier and less messy. Even though disco dust would have looked awesome. Maybe next time. I’m sure one of these years my son will want Mario cookies.

Even in a time crunch, everything turned out fine. The party was a hit and so were the cookies. Enjoy.