“It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This”

When the WiiU came out with The Legend of Zelda Hyrule Warriors game, I decided I was going to make my son the awesome scarf that Link wore. I bought some fabric, but I never got beyond that point. Yes, kids love to play dress up, but this scarf would be too awesome to not wear it outside. The only problem is that the weather here is not cold enough to warrant wearing a scarf. So saith I. The idea was put on the back burner. My best friend got me on the idea of making tote bags for my kids…yeah, my kids…/cough cough. I made some My Little Pony bags to match a skirt that I had made my daughter. Then my son had to have a Minecraft bag. Which I made reversible with hidden pockets. As I am writing this blog, I realize where my kids get their need to always “one up” each other. My husband’s side. Yeah, right… I think not.

My Little Pony TotebagsAnyway, I was sitting around thinking of what my next project would be. What would be better than MLP and Minecraft? Link and the Triforce… duh. Let me tell you what, my brain was going crazy with ideas. How could I pull this off? The most awesome bag ever?

Minecraft Reversible Tote(A little side story) I got this wild idea about a year ago to make my own couch covers. They are expensive and every couch is made differently, so I researched online and found that lots of people were making them from canvas drop cloths. I got lucky. Home Depot was selling a promotional 2 pack of drop cloths for the price of one. I also topped that by using a Harbor Freight competitor coupon. Score. I washed and dried them, to prevent any additional shrinking. I started cutting and pinning the first couch cover. Now, the good part. My husband came home from work, looked at my work, and said “No”. (politely, of course) Scratch that whole idea. The cut up fabric got folded up and tossed into a bag. End of side story.

Ding, Ding, Ding… light bulb! A painted canvas tote bag, FTW!

First, I had to figure out what size bag I wanted to make. I wanted it to be bigger than the MLP bags, but smaller than the Minecraft bag. Second, I had already found the clipart I wanted to use, from when I thought I wanted to make a scarf. I imported the clipart into my Silhouette Cameo program, sized it to fit the bag, and then cut it out on freezer paper. Let me just say that peeling freezer paper off of that sticky mat tried my patience. Finally, after measuring the placement of the graphic, I ironed the stenciled freezer paper onto the fabric.

Triforce Freezer PaperSo, a few notes about freezer paper I have learned. I cut the freezer paper both shiny side up and shiny side down with my Silhouette. I preferred the shiny side up, but I really did not see a dramatic difference. I wish there was a setting for freezer paper, but if you don’t use your own custom setting, the closest one would be Washi Paper. When I ironed the freezer paper, I set my iron around 4 and no steam. (I would set the iron to be the same as the material being used.) At first, I thought it was going to be hard to iron down the rolled up mess, but if you start from one side and work your way to the other, it will work just fine. I don’t recommend starting from the middle. It’s kind of like pushing air out of a sandwich bag. You start from the bottom and work your way to the zipper top. When you get the paper ironed down, you can go back and press down any questionable spots. Once that paper is ironed down, it’s down.

Triforce Painted CanvasPainting the fabric was fun. I had to use two different brands of paint, due to color choices. The red and orange were Martha Stewart satin acrylic. The yellow was Craft Smart acrylic paint. I also used Martha Stewart’s Fabric Medium. (All paints were purchased at Michael’s with a coupon). The Martha Stewart paints were thick, but with the fabric medium they thinned out. The Craft Smart paint was already thin, so I only needed a few drops of the fabric medium. If you are using different colors and they are close to each other, here is a trick that I used. I took a post-it and placed it over the spot where the yellow triforce symbol was going to be painted. That way I wouldn’t accidentally get red paint on the yellow triforce spot. Before you start to paint, make sure that you put a piece of cardboard underneath the fabric, for the paint does seep through. First, I started with the red paint and did all the red areas. Second, I painted the orange. Lastly, I did the yellow. When painting each color, I painted the area and then went back and did a light second coat and made sure that I didn’t miss any spots. Now, I just needed to clean up the mess and wait 24 hours for the paint to dry. The next day, I peeled off the freezer. I used a straight pin to help pick up any stuck pieces. There were a few spots that bled a little more then I had liked, but I think it turned out great for my first try. I now have to heat set the paint. I grabbed an old bed sheet that I have been cutting up for scrap fabric, placed it underneath and on top of the painted fabric, and heat set the paint with my iron. Using the setting for the fabric and no steam,  I moved the iron back and forth for about 3 minutes and then flipped the fabric over and ironed it again for another 3 minutes. I am glad that I had the sheet over/under the fabric for the yellow paint barely lifted off. When I say lifted off, I don’t mean that the paint came off. When I looked at the sheet, I could see a very faint impression from the yellow paint.

Before I started sewing the pieces together, I decided I should probably Scotch Guard what will be the bottom of the bag. I laid down some newspaper, put the main fabric right side up, and then placed two pieces of newspaper over the painted parts leaving about a 3 inch strip. I sprayed the fabric and quickly removed the newspaper, because I didn’t want the ink from the newspaper to bleed onto the fabric. I put the fabric in front of a mini fan for about 5 minutes and it dried super quick.

Link Tote GreenOne of the things I love about tote bags like this one is you can make it reversible. As long as you pick out the right lining fabric, it can be done. If you are going to make it reversible and add a pocket, make sure that you measure where the pocket goes correctly. If you add gussets to the bottom, as I have, you want to make sure that you don’t sew the pocket on too low. Also, you don’t want to put the pocket too high, because items could fall  out of the pocket and worse…out of the bag.

 

 

Link Tote BlueTime to sew… I made the straps and sewed on the pocket to the lining. Then, I pieced everything together and sewed it all up. One thing I will mention about working with canvas drop cloth is the edges unravel if you are not careful. I would suggest sewing a small zig zag stitch along the edge or surge, if you have one. The most important part about making your sewing projects look professional is to make sure you utilize your iron. If you look at sewing blogs, the most repeated thing I read is about pressing your seams and ironing. It is an important step, so do it. Just saying.

Legend of Zelda TotebagsNow, which one do I use? Both, because they are equally awesome and it’s dangerous to go alone! Enjoy.

p.s. After doing a bit of research, the best tutorial I found is by Amy at Diary of a Quilter. Her website is great. She makes it simple and easy to understand. You can adjust the measurements and steps to fit your needs, if you know your way around a sewing machine.

*The Legend of Zelda, Triforce symbol, N64, and WiiU are all trademarked by Nintendo. My Little Pony is trademarked by Hasbro. Minecraft is trademarked by Mojang & Microsoft.

 

 

Assemble The Minions!

So, my sister calls me and reminds me that I said I would make cookies for her son’s birthday. I love that she reminds me. This year, she said the theme was Minions. “The little yellow guys from Despicable Me?” I asked. She said that I could make purple ones, too. Not having seen the second movie, I was a little confused. Purple ones?  Needless to say, I did a lot of research the minute I got off the phone.

Minion CookiesNow, the design. Yes, having feet and arms would have been super cute, but also time consuming. I thought about all the cookie cutters I own and then it hit me… Larry. (Of course, I just had to Google his name “Veggie Tales cucumber”.) I had made these cookies previously for my sister. All I had to do was stretch out the ends of the cookie cutter a little. When I pressed out the cookies, all I had to do was cut them across the middle.

I can’t stress the importance of making royal icing ahead of time. I did mine a couple of days before. The reason is that the colors need time to develop. Also, if you know that you are going to be doing cookies with eyeballs, making icing early will give you time to make icing eyeball transfers. Luckily, I already had color eyeball transfers I had made previously from icing leftovers on another project.

Icing the cookies was fun. The purple minion’s hair and I never seemed to agree. I just chalk it up to everyone having a bad hair day.  I wanted the eyes to match the minions, so I used brown and purple eyeballs. The trim on the goggles I dusted with silver luster dust because I wanted it to stand out. I don’t know if the kids noticed, but I did. Enjoy.

p.s. Maybe, one day I will get around to watching the second movie. It’s pretty sad, considering that we own it.

 

Team Avatar

Avatar Cookies PlateOr should I say, “Team Boomer-Aang”? I had been wanting to make Avatar or Korra cookies for about a year. I just couldn’t decide on how I wanted to make them. Finally, I decided to make them using a stencil and my airbrush machine. I love my Silhouette Cameo. It cut out the stencils within a minute. Thus making this project super easy.

Avatar Emblem CookiesI made the stencils about 2.5″ in size, so the cookies had to be about 3″. I used a biscuit cutter for the round cookies and freehand cut the squares. I decided to airbrush on the four Element symbols (water, earth, fire, and air).

Avatar Oopsie CookieI wanted to show you the “oopsie” cookie. This is what happens when you accidentally move the stencil in mid-spray. Also, if you spray too much and the mist starts to bead up, it will form a droplet and bleed under your stencil. I found a trick to this. If I felt that I sprayed too much and a droplet would form when I lifted the stencil, I would lightly pat the spot with a dry paper towel. A Q-tip would probably work as well.

Overall, I would have to say that they turned out well. Now, to decide which element I should weld. Fire? Water? Of course, metal bending is pretty awesome! Enjoy.

Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra can be seen on Nickelodeon.

20% Cooler Than Your Average Skirt

Pony Fabric BoltI had been eyeballing this particular fabric by Springs Creative at JoAnn’s and Hancock’s online. Having your best friend on the look out for you helps too. The question was which place will have it available in-store first? JoAnn’s received it first. I wish it had been Hancock’s, because I love my local store. But, I kept them in mind when I used their 50% coupon at JoAnn’s. I love saving money!

I knew the first item I wanted to make with the fabric was a skirt for my daughter. I washed and ironed it and put it with my other fabrics. With the kids being home for summer break, I had to find a day to make the skirt. When we were at Target getting some last minute school supplies, we ran across an awesome Rainbow Dash shirt. My only wish is that it came in my size. Now that she had a shirt, I had to make a skirt to match.

My Little Pony SkirtBefore I started the skirt, I had to find out what color my daughter wanted for the pockets and which direction she wanted the fabric design. We both agreed to go with pink pockets to match “Pinkamena Diane Pie”. Since we were talking about Pinkie Pie, she decided that the bouncy Pinkie Pie would look better upside down, rather than Twilight Sparkle. With that decided, I inserted the pink pockets within the french seams. I made the skirt with an elastic waistband and inserted my tag inside the back, so she will know which direction to wear the skirt. I really love using a double needle on skirt hems. I thought it would be cool to use pink and purple, instead of just having both purple. I asked my daughter if she wanted the lines to be pink/purple or purple/pink, she went with the latter.

My daughter loves the skirt. I love that it only took 1/2 yard of material and was super easy. There are tons of wonderful tutorials on the internet, this is my favorite for making her skirts. Now, I am thinking about making a matching clutch. Enjoy.

Mario, Luigi, & A Few Items You Can Grab Along The Way.

My son decided that he wanted to have a Mario themed birthday this year. I had already done Mario cookies, so I was feeling pretty confident about making them again… and the cupcakes. The wheels in my head were turning and I started sketching out the cookies I wanted to do. I asked my son, “Of the one’s off this paper, which cookies do you want me to make?” Not a smart move.  He choose almost all of them. But, they were so cute that I kind of wanted to try them all anyway. Maybe that is why I wound up making too many cookies. I wanted to have enough of each character. If I only made one batch of dough, there would have only been about 6 of each character. I didn’t want to be the cause of some upset kid (or adult…lol) because someone ate all the stars and they didn’t get to have one. Anyway, I learned my lesson…152 iced cookies later.

Bowser Castle CupcakesSo, let’s talk cupcakes. I wanted the cupcakes to look super cool. I looked at a few ideas online, but most of them had characters on top of the cupcake. Which would have been pretty cool, but costly. Instead, another “that’s perfect” moment happened. I decided to do the end flagpole scene when you clear a course on a Super Mario game. It took me a couple of days to cut out, draw, and tape the cupcake wrappers. The flags I printed out and cut. Now, I know the flags are supposed to be triangle shaped, but because of size issues and the way they printed, I had to cut them as a rectangle. I still think they turned out awesome. Originally, the top of the flagpole was going to be a Lemonhead, but because of my son’s love for marshmallows, a new idea was born. We topped cakepop sticks with mini marshmallows and colored the sides with a yellow food marker. Genius, I tell you.

Mario Kart 8 CookiesOk, back to the 152 cookies. I had so many cookies that I had to be strategic on divvying up the icing into different colors. I made sure that I iced the had-to-do cookies first. That left the yoshi eggs and emblem cookies last.  I put disco dust on the stars to make them sparkle. The mushrooms were easy. The blue mini mushrooms turned out to be my favorite. The fire flower and boomerang flower (Mario Kart 8) took a little more work. I went through my cookie cutters and found some possiblities (like the letter “K” or “V”), but they just didn’t look right. So, I had to make my own cutters. I decided to pipe out the leaves and make transfers. I wanted them to have depth. I made a few extra transfers, just incase they broke or didn’t match up right. The question mark boxes – don’t ask me why I freehanded them when I had my KopyKake machine setup and ready to go. Probably because I didn’t want to stop and print out the question mark. Since I had the KopyKake setup, I used it to make the Mario and Luigi emblem cookies. (Plus, my son thought the machine was cool and wanted to turn it on and off for me.) I was at the end of icing the had-to-do cookies and decided to make different color yoshi eggs, since I had a little bit left of every color.

Question Mark Cheese CubeOne last edible decoration…question mark blocks of cheese. It was a very tedious process. I happen to own a question mark imprint stamp. So, I stamped all four sides and top with a question mark and stuck a toothpick in them. (If you decide to do something like this, I recommend wearing food handler gloves. It made it easier to handle and I got to tell everyone, “Don’t worry, I wore gloves.”) Now, would I do it again? Probably not. Even though it looked cool, not everyone noticed and it took forever to do.

At the party, there definitely wasn’t enough room to put out all the cookies. So, I kept 75% of them in my Snapware containers, but had baggies for everyone to take as many as they wanted home. The cookie and cupcake designs were a hit. My son loved the party, as he should, since he made out like a bandit. When the party was over, I looked at all the cookies leftover. What is a girl to do? I took some to my neighbors and I made my husband take bags of cookies to his co-workers. Happy people everywhere. Enjoy.

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.

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.

TMNT…Turtles in a Halfshell…Turtle Power!

I asked my daughter what she wanted for her birthday theme. She quickly answered, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. I asked the usual, “Are you sure?” Really, why do I even bother asking that anymore? Anyway, I did some TMNT party Google searching. I found some cute ideas and used a few. As far as cookies go, I found lots of masked turtle faces. But what do I decide to do? Pizza. I mean turtles like pizza, right? Well, these turtles do anyway.

wm_turtle_pizzaPrior to making my daughter’s TMNT cookies, I made cookies for my sister and had left over red icing. I added a little maroon and voila…pepperoni slices. I made transfers and saved them for my pizza creations. The pizza boxes took longer to make than the cookies themselves. Go figure.

wm_turtles_masksMy daughter was turning 8 and I HAD to incorporate the number 8, at least somewhere. So, I got this crazy-eight idea. I took my number 8 cookie cutter, left the middle circles intact, and made the turtle masks. “8’s” made with a little imagination. (If you look closely, their eye color matches each ninja turtle correctly.)

My daughter loved all the decorations, as she should, since she helped with some of them. Also, she loved all the gifts she received. Especially, the other Lego TMNT set she didn’t already own. Overall, I would have to say the party was a success. Enjoy.

 

 

Donald Duck Birthday Party!

Donald Duck CookiesMy sister asked her son what kind of birthday party he wanted. To my sister’s surprise, he said he wanted Donald Duck. She tried to mention other themes, but he had his heart set on Donald. You really can’t change the mind of a 2 year old. So, with that being said, I had to get creative with the cookie design. I knew that he was turning 3 and I decided to make number 3 shaped cookies. The hard part was trying to figure how to turn that into Donald Duck. Let me just say that I can not draw. So, translating what is in my head to paper is not the easiest thing for me to do… nor are my drawings the easiest things for my family to figure out. You should have seen the look on my sister’s face when I showed her my idea. She had the “Omg, why did I ask her to make cookies?” look. But, that didn’t stop me.

Donald 3'sLet’s talk about the cookies. I can not stress the importance of prep work. I started a day earlier with making the icing, because I knew that I needed the colors to darken overnight and get rid of some air bubbles. I knew that I was going to make icing transfers for the bow-tie, duck bill and the hat. Icing transfers usually take 24 hours to dry, so that is why I knew I had to get a head start. Now, the transfers are piped out and dry and the cookies are made and cooled, it is time to make Donald come to life.

The party went well. The birthday boy had a great time. Everyone enjoyed the cookies. The grown-ups liked them a little more than the kids, I think.  Later on, my husband told me that I did a great job. He said that he was amazed that I could turn a number 3 into a duck.  I think he is used to just nodding his head and saying yes when I start drawing. Enjoy.

 

A Batman Brawl?

Batman Fight WordsBatman Fight Words CloseupI was very excited to make these cookies. I love super heroes and so does the “Sweet 16” girl I made these for.

I was able to use three new things on these cookies. First, I don’t own a spiderweb shape cookie cutter. So, I had to make my own. Second, I decided to do a halftone comic effect on these cookies. Therefore, I was able to use my airbrush machine. It was super easy and super fun. Third, I was able to use my KopyKake projector for the first time. There was no way I could write those words over 50 times and make them look uniform. It was just not going to happen.

I was told her party was a hit and so were the cookies. The whole point of making cookies is making people smile. (Unless they got into a fight with Batman.) Enjoy.