Posts Tagged ‘diy’

DIY Cat Mask Halloween Costume – Fits All

DIY-Cat-Mask-Title Time to bust out your craft supplies because it’s HALLOWEEN! After much back and forth with J, she finally settled on a costume…a black cat. She was also very specific in her requirements for the costume: pink collar with crystals, black paws with white pads, white whiskers on a black mask and a white patch on her chest. While you may commend her for her specificity since she’s only 4 1/2, I can’t give her much credit. There is a picture collage of her first year of life hanging in her room. In it is her first Halloween costume. Guess what it is? Yup.

I decided to make the mask and a few other parts of her costume. I came up with this mask to avoid putting paint on her face. Of course, if your kid doesn’t like wearing masks, then you’ll need a new plan…or costume.

J also decided that I need to be a black cat too. BONUS: The pattern fit my face too, with a slight increase the size of the eye holes. Easy as long as you’re not scissor-phobic. A few extra snips and you should be able to see out of the mask.

Here is what you’ll need to make the mask:

  • Cat mask pattern (download and print the PDF)
  • Black felt (a felt square from the craft store is more than you need)
  • White pipe cleaners (minimum 4)
  • Black elastic
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins (optional, but really helpful)
  • Needle and thread (optional, but again, helpful)

DIY-Cat-Mask-Pattern-PinnedPrint out the cat mask pattern at 100%. I included a 1″ line in case you’re not sure if the pattern is the correct size when printed. The pattern is HALF of the mask. Cut it out of the paper and don’t forget to cut out the eye holes. Fold your felt piece in half and place the pattern on it, with the side where I wrote “fold” lined up over the fold.

The little circle on the pattern indicates where to attach your elastic. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Here’s where the pins come in very handy. Pin around the pattern so it won’t slip while you’re cutting it.

Cut around the outside of the mask. Then cut out the eye holes. This part is a little tricky, but you can handle it! If you mess up, you probably have enough black felt to try one more time.

DIY - Cut out black felt mask

After the felt is cut, hold it up to your child’s face (or your own) and make sure they can see and breath.

Time for the big guns, err, hot glue gun. Fold your pipe cleaners in half and place them on the mask approximately where you want them. I opted for symmetry but you may not be so type-A.

Glue the folded end of the pipe cleaner to the mask. Repeat for all of the whiskers. Once the glue is dry you need to adhere the whiskers to the outer edges of the mask, otherwise they will bop around, sag, and generally look bad. Glue them to the side of the mask or tack them with the needle and thread. Either way will work. I tacked J’s mask since it was the first one I made. I made mine afterwards and used glue because I was getting lazy.

Whiskers glued onto felt mask

This is my mask. Look closely on the left side and you’ll see that I glued the whiskers to the edge of the mask.

IMPORTANT!! Check the length of the whiskers. Cut them if need be. Then DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. Put a small bead of hot glue at the cut end of each whisker so that the wire isn’t so sharp and pokey. Once the glue has cooled slightly, use your finger to smoosh it into the wire. Whiskers are not weapons!

Close up of end of whisker with glue

Add glue to the cut end of each whisker to avoid injury!

Almost done! Grab your elastic and pin it to the mask. Use the circle on the pattern for a point of reference. Again, straight pins will come in handy but not absolutely necessary. Use a safety pin if you have one. Adjust the length of the elastic as needed to fit comfortably around your child’s head.

DIY Cat Mask

I sewed the elastic to the mask to make sure it wouldn’t come apart when we went to Brick-or-Treat at Legoland. If you’re in a hurry, you could use hot glue. By the way, I’m a hot mess when it comes to hot glue. I burned myself several times making the mask and cat gloves.

DIY Cat Mask Full Costume

Be still my heart! October 2011 vs October 2015.

Anyhoo, J absolutely loves her mask and the other pieces of her costume that I made and bought. In fact, she helped make her collar. She meticulously lined up all of the crystals and glued them individually. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Sheriff Callie Sugar Cookies and Birthday Madness

Disney Junior's Sheriff Callie decorated sugar cookie - Sparky Horse

Disney Junior’s Sheriff Callie inspired these cookies – Callie’s trusty horse Sparky.


J celebrated her 4th birthday last week and along with it came the annual birthday bash. The past few years we had her party at our house which was fun as well as a ton of work. My child’s small birthday parties typically include 50 to 60 guests (adults and children).

So, in an effort to regain some my sanity, we outsourced her party to a local play gym. It was tons of fun for the kids and a lot less work for Curt and I. Of course, I still went overboard and made a photo collage, Sheriff Callie themed banner, centerpieces, and favors  which included a decorated sugar cookie that looked somewhat like Callie’s horse Sparky.

 
Sheriff-Callie-Party-Favor

I put the Sparky Cookie in a plastic cup shaped like a cowboy boot. I pinned a sheriff badge with each child’s name to the boot.

If you’ve read any of my other recipe posts, I always include a reminder to use organic ingredients wherever possible. I do this with my cookies, except for the meringue powder and food color. This is the dichotomy of my cookies – organic cookie with tons of artificial food dye. Well, I don’t eat these everyday (and you shouldn’t either) so I have a clear conscious using Red Dye #40 (although there is no red in these cookies). You get my point.

Here are steps I took to make this cookie.

1. I made a batch of Sweetapolita’s Sugar Cookies. I have to make the batch in two parts because the entire recipe makes my stand mixer jump and sound like a steam engine. Then I cut the halves in half to make it easier to roll the dough. One full recipe gives me 4 discs of dough. I used three of these discs and froze one for later. Here is her recipe and steps for making the cookie pops. This time I actually made pops because I thought it was cute to have a “stick horse” for a cowgirl party. I alter her method slightly, so please check out my DIY Sugar Cookies post for my changes.

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Baked

My stick horses – get it?! Until they were decorated they looked like dogs to me…I’m glad they ended up looked like horses.

2. While the cookies baked and cooled, I mixed up a batch of Bake at 350’s royal icing. I had lots of extra icing with her recipe, but I mixed most of it blue so I couldn’t save it. For these cookies, you will need a little white, a little brown, a lot of blue and a little black plus blue sanding sugar. I cheat and use premade black icing because it’s a lot easier. You need an obscene amount of black food color to make truly black icing. I baked the cookies and mixed the icing one evening after J went to bed and decorated the next two evenings.

3. Time to decorate! After you mix the blue, put some in a piping bag for the horse outline and thin the rest for flooding. I like to outline a few cookies at a time and then flood. I made roughly 24 cookies and left them overnight to dry.

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Partial-Outline

I outlined each cookie in two sections. It was easiest to decorate with the cookie upside down because of the stick.

 

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Outlined

All outlined and ready for flooding. You can see I biffed the outline on one of the tails (lower right). Just wipe off the icing and start over. The flood covers up the mistake!

 

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Flood-Fill

New to flooding? Fill the center of the cookie and then use a toothpick to spread the icing until it touches the outline.

 

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Flooded

I wish royal icing dried shiny. I’ve experimented with other icing, but overall I like royal icing best.

4. Once the cookies are dry it’s time for the details. I piped Sparky’s bridle with a #2 round tip but skipped his saddle. I also skipped making his hooves. It would have been easy to do, but required a darker blue color. I was lazy and didn’t want to pipe and flood such a tiny amount of color. After the bridle I made the white part of his eye with a #6 round tip. Use a slightly wet finger to push down on the white icing to flatten it out.

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Bridle-White-Eye

Zombie horses! I use lollipop sticks instead of cookie sticks. They are slightly smaller in diameter and easier to use.

5. After the bridle and eye detail, I added blue sanding sugar to the mane and tail. The bridle and eye on the first cookie you decorated should be dry enough that the sugar won’t stick to those areas. I used a mixture of equal parts meringue powder and water to mix the “glue” for the sanding sugar. Use a small paint brush and wet the mane and tail area. I use Bake at 350’s anal retentive technique for sanding — sprinkle sanding sugar onto the cookie while holding it over a coffee filter (clean, of course). Use the filter as a funnel to pour unused sugar back into your sprinkling container. Use a toothpick to remove any stray pieces of sugar.

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Sanding-Sugar

Down the homestretch, just need to add pupils. (Bad horse racing pun totally intended.)

6. After the mane and tail have been sparkled, add the black pupil to the eye. I used my #2 tip again to make a tiny dot on the white icing. I flattened it with a slightly wet finger.

Cookie-Sheriff-Callie-Finished

Time to bag and tag!

7. Let dry a few hours or overnight again before bagging. Since the cookies have a nice layer of icing on top of them, they won’t dry out, even with being uncovered for two consecutive evenings.


 

Rainbow Spaghetti & Art Class Sugar Cookies Inspired by Jackson Pollock

Art Class - Sugar Cookies and Rainbow SpaghettiJ has been taking an art class at a friend’s house since the end of October. Sadly, we only have one class remaining. She gets to paint and glue plastic jewels (which she LOVES) and I get to see friends. The class is an hour and half and includes a snack/lunch break for the kids.

At the start of classes, we signed up to take turns as “snack mom”. Each week of art has a theme and it turns out that snacks were also themed accordingly. I signed up for Jackson Pollock week and crossed my fingers that I could come up with something creative for a meal — after all, this is (kids) art class!

Painters Palette Sugar Cookie

The painter’s palettes look a little like brown pac-mans.

I knew I would make decorated sugar cookies for dessert. After some internet searching, I decided to make an artist’s palette and splatter design à la Mr. Pollock. Deciding what to serve for lunch proved to be a little more challenging as I wanted one stand-out item on the plate. I found a rainbow pasta recipe which looked easy, portable and kid-friendly.

I made the cookies first since I let them dry over night and needed two nights to work on them. Actually, it was three nights total. The first night I baked and cooled the cookies. The second and the third were spent decorating. Here is the sugar cookie recipe. I made 4″ round cookies for the painter’s palette and 2″ squares for the splatter design. Surprisingly, I don’t have a painter’s palette shaped cookie cutter in my arsenal of 100+ cutters.

I made chocolate royal icing for the palettes since they had to be brown. I added a bit of brown food color to make them a deeper brown. I didn’t want my palette to look like balsa wood.

Jackson Pollock inspired Splatter Design Sugar Cookie

I put one painter’s palette cookie and two of these little “paintings” in each bag that I gave to the kids.

For the white royal icing, I used some that I had frozen from Halloween. Yes, it really does freeze well!! I had it stored in two zip top bags and let it thaw on the kitchen counter. It may have taken 30 minutes to soften, which was really quick.

After piping and flooding the round and square cookies I let them dry overnight. The next night was the fun part! I took the remaining white icing and divided it into five bowls. I made red, yellow, green, blue and purple for the “paint”. It was flood consistency as I wanted it thin enough to splatter across the white cookies.

By now you are probably wondering where all the photos are of the cookie decorating process. Well, I was too tired to stop and take photos. And at night the light is very bad for picture taking.  So sorry!

I used a toothpick to drip the colors onto the painter’s palettes. For the splatter, I lined up all of my cookies next to each other in a giant square. Then I dipped a spoon into the icing and let it drip onto the cookies. It was a lot of fun to do and super quick.

Art Class - Painting in the style of Jackson Pollock

J is using a toy elephant to apply green paint on her canvas.

During J’s art class, the kids each made a splatter paint picture…or at least as close as three and four-year olds can come to replicating Pollock’s style.

Oops, almost forgot to talk about the spaghetti. So here’s the dichotomy of my rainbow spaghetti. I used organic spaghetti noodles and then soaked them in artificial food dye. Am I the only one that finds this humorous?! I do have natural food coloring that I will use if I ever make them again.

Rainbow Spaghetti noodles

I cannot think of anything less appetizing than blue noodles. However, the kids loved it!

Is it a surprise that I made a couple changes from the original recipe? Here is my version:

Rainbow Spaghetti
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: American, Kid
Serves: Varies
Ingredients
  • 1lb Spaghetti or linguine noodles
  • Food color (four or five colors)
  • Water
Directions
  1. Boil noodles according to package directions
  2. While noodles are cooking, mix food color with ½ cup of water in a color-safe bowl. (One that won't soak up the dye -- not a wooden bowl.)
  3. The amount of food color needed will vary depending on the intensity of color desired and if it's gel or liquid food color. I used ⅛ of a teaspoon of gel per bowl.
  4. Drain and rinse with cool water (that step was painful for me...I never rinse my pasta!)
  5. Divide pasta evenly among bowls and make sure the water covers most of the noodles.
  6. Let sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even color distribution.
  7. Gently rinse noodles to remove excess food color.
  8. If serving immediately, mix noodles together and toss with butter or olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. If saving for later, stir in a few drops of olive oil to each color of noodle to ensure they don't stick together. Keep colors separate until you're ready to serve so the color doesn't run. Store in bowls or baggies in the refrigerator.
  10. Note: One pound of noodles was about a half pound too much for 10 preschoolers.

 

 

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing & Spider Cookie Details

Once you’ve made your sugar cookies, it’s time to decorate! As I mentioned in my sugar cookie recipe post, you can make the cookies ahead of time and store them in an air-tight container for a week or so or freeze them. I’ve also frozen the dough and thawed overnight in the refrigerator.

If you’re not familiar with royal icing, it’s pretty neat! It dries hard so you can stack decorated cookies or package individually and not worry about the decoration getting smooshed. In terms of flavor, of course, a butter-based frosting would be tastier, but then I don’t think it would be considered icing…that’s why it’s called frosting. Anyway, I think the cookie and icing together tastes pretty good. Alone, the flavor of the icing just tastes like sugar.

Halloween_Spider_Cookie_2013

Last year, Bridget from Bake at 350 said my spider cookie was “adorable”. SQUEEE!!!!!

I learned everything I ever wanted to know about royal icing from Bake at 350. Bridget’s tutorial is here. I love her cookie designs and last year I even sent her a picture of the spider cookies I made (inspired by her design). She wrote me back and said my cookies were adorable. I’m officially **star struck**. :D

The recipe for royal icing is pretty simple. Again, I use organic ingredients whenever possible so in this case the powdered sugar and corn syrup that I use are organic. I won’t go into the instructions for making the icing because Bridget does such a great job. Here’s her royal icing tutorial link again.

The icing also freezes well, so if you have leftovers, don’t pitch it. It keeps for a couple months and is great to have on hand when your preschooler demands “fancy cookies.”

Halloween Spider Cookies 2014This year’s spider cookies were decorated in two evenings. The first night I covered each cookie with white royal icing and then orange flat dots. I let them dry overnight.

The second night is when I added the web and spider. I used a number 2 round tip on a tube of store-bought black icing for the web and legs. Yes, I could make my own black icing but it takes a disgusting amount of food coloring and in this case ignorance is bliss. I don’t want to think about what goes into making it black so I just unscrew the cap and I’m none the wiser.

While a number 1 round tip would make a more delicate web, I must admit that my hand cramps up way too much when using this tip. I made spider man cookies earlier this year with the small tip and thank god I only made a dozen or so. My hand felt like it had been squashed under a steam roller when I was done decorating.

To make the spider’s body I use a number 6 round tip and squeeze a blob of icing onto the cookie. Dip your finger in water (it should be damp, not drippy) and gently pat the black blob until it looks like a circle. You can do the same with the spider’s legs if the end of the icing pokes up.

Finally, I take two white sprinkles and with (clean) tweezers, I carefully place them into the spider’s body. Creepy and cute at the same time!










Halloween Tricks and Treats – Jake and the Neverland Pirates Costumes

Halloween Jake Neverland Pirates CostumesIt’s Izzy, the Pirate Princess and Jake…sort of…well at least my attempt at the three characters from Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates cartoon.

So, of course, J decided to be the Pirate Princess for Halloween and there are no ready-made costumes of this character from the show. I finally sucked it up and figured out how to use the sewing machine that I borrowed from Curt’s aunt almost a year ago. That was after I hand stitched  her vest and realized it would be Christmas time before I would finish the rest of her ensemble plus my husband’s vest.

I made the Pirate Princess costume without a pattern. I made her vest, hat and skirt. I didn’t make J’s shirt or mine (we match!). I had a good friend make them. She has an adorable Etsy shop and custom made them for me.

For the Pirate Princess hat, I used these instructions. The directions say to use construction paper but I used felt. I hand stitched everything and it took me a few hours.

Pirate Princess Tricorn Hat Inside

Click for a larger image.

Pirate Princess Tricorn Hat Outside

Click for a larger image.

I made the vest without a pattern, but it was pretty simple. I measured J’s chest and then cut out two rectangles. I hemmed the edges (by hand) and attached the gold ribbon on the front. My intention was to cut the pieces so I could attach velcro on the back to secure it. Well, when I held the vest up to her after the two pieces were attached, it was clear that there wasn’t enough fabric in the back to overlap for the velcro. Oops! Luckily the pieces just fit together at the edges so I used hook and eye closures to make it work. After ensuring that it fit correctly, I sewed the rick rack around the purple vest.

Pirate Princess Vest

I made the skirt without a pattern too, although if I really tried, I probably could have found one. But, I didn’t. I measured the waistband of J’s pants and cut a “U” shape out of purple fabric. The top of the “U” was pretty wide, I angled the sides so they weren’t straight up and down. I hemmed the top of the skirt and then realized I had to make a ruffle around the skirt. I found an easy way to do this with the sewing machine (remember, I just figured out how to use the thing…the first few times I forgot to lower the foot and that was a disaster). I sewed the ruffle around the U shape and with some trial and error was able to add velcro and another hook closure to keep it on her.

Pirate Princess SkirtPirate Princess Skirt

Jake and the Neverland Pirates Pirate PrincessI also made a black belt out of felt with a velcro closure at the back. The gold buckle is faked out with yellow felt.

Luck would have it that I bought J a pair of purple boots last winter. With black leggings under the skirt and my custom made pink shirt her costume is complete!

Whew, and now all we need is my husband’s and my costume. Eek!

Curt’s Jake vest was a bit of a challenge to make. Do I even need to mention that they don’t make adult size Jake costumes? I did find one…it was a mascot and came complete with a giant head. That wouldn’t do! A lot of Google searching finally led me to a Jake vest pattern – size 4 toddler. Ack! Thank god felt was on sale at JoAnn’s for $3.00 a yard because I went through a lot of trial and error to get the proportions correct. I cut up a new t-shirt (yes, new t-shirt purchased cheaply at Target) and also bought blue sweat pants. I wasn’t counting on 80-ish degree weather on the day we had our Halloween  party so when it was time to put on the costume, Curt came out wearing shorts. At least he was Jake from the waist up! A long strip of red felt for the headband completed his outfit.

My costume was last on the list. Izzy’s costume was the easiest to make which was good because I was running out of time and energy to spend on making costumes. Initially J said I should be Izzy the pirate princess, but, uh no thanks…don’t need to sew another vest and skirt!

Izzy Pixie Dust PouchI made the pixie dust necklace from felt and brown leather cord (also used on Jake’s t-shirt). I cut a small circle out of cardboard and a larger circle out of the felt. I glued the cardboard to the center of the felt. When it was dry, I gathered the felt around the cardboard to make a pouch. I wrapped the leather cord around it several times and then tied the ends to make a necklace. It didn’t lay flat so I sewed the cord to the top of the pouch to fix it.

I attempted to hem the pink fabric that I tied around my head for the scarf, but as you can see from the picture below, that was a total fail. What pirate hems their scarf anyway?!Bad stitches

I already own blue leggings so the last piece of the puzzle was boots and the earrings. I went into my closet to get my brown boots and then I remembered, I don’t own any! So to stay true to my costume (and give myself an excuse to by new shoes), I hopped online and ordered these beautiful babies…


I also ordered clip on hoops since I don’t wear earrings.

And there you have the whole ensemble – err, all three of them!

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