Friday, September 30, 2011

Good Turn Mouse

For the first Girl Scout Brownie meeting of the year I was looking for a fun project. I found this little poem about the Good Turn Mouse:

This saucy creature is a mouse
Most mothers won't let one in the house
See, this one it has quite a tail,
Each Girl Scout made one without fail.
Take it home and help all week,
and for good turns you must seek
for every good turn that you do
tie a knot in the yarn...make quite a few.
Remember why each knot you tied
and how much to help you really tried
and then next week, please take your turn
to tell us all, so we can learn...
just what you did to help at home
a ready helper you have grown!

I looked at Google images for a felt mouse pattern to sew. I settled on an almost circle that is folded in half and stitched with embroidery floss.

I started with beads for eyes, added little ears, and finally stitched the body from nose to tail leaving the tail long for knotting.

For the girls, I decided to prep the project for them so they would be able to finish in the time allotted and the project would not feel too hard for them.

I cut out all the mouse bodies and ears. Then I sewed on the mouse eyes and added a threaded needed with coordinating thread. I made up directions with sketches and the steps.

The group of second grade girls enjoyed the project a lot and were very excited to do the hand sewing. They did need a fair amount of help and it was great to have a few extra adults around. Everyone finished their little mice and took them home to keep track of all their good turns for the next two weeks.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Unicycle Cookies

My husband is a mountain unicyclist. My 7 year old daughter rides a unicycle too. I had looked for unicycle related items in the past and knew there was a limited supply. Last Christmas I found someone who could custom make a unicycle ornament for us. Custom seems to be the key with unicycles.

A unicycle only race was coming up and I thought it would be fun to bring decorated unicycle cookies. I did a Google search for unicycle cookie cutter. No luck.

Then I did a search for custom cookie cutters and I found this little kit. How hard could it be to make a cookie cutter?

It turned out to be pretty easy. I started out on the big side and then scaled the design down.

Then off to the baking and decorating. I decided to make my mom's recipe for gingerbread cookies. They come out great and are very tasty. The recipe comes from Applehood and Motherpie. I also spent a few nap times learning about frosting cookies with royal frosting. I was intrigued. A blog I found called Annie's Eats had many great tips. I even used the recommended recipe for both the frosting and a batch of sugar cookies.

Having three children and one of them under 2, I had to give myself a few days for decorating. My mom was able to come over and give me a hand and we made a great team.

The first challenge was just making the royal frosting. Everywhere I looked the recommendation was to use a standing mixer. Some people even reported having burned out their hand mixers trying to make royal frosting. I looked into buying one, but they are very expensive and I needed it the very next day!

My mom and I decided we would try to use our hand mixers, but we would use two and switch them in and out when the motors felt warm. It worked!

I had bought some new supplies too: squeeze bottles, decorator bags, tips, and gel food coloring.

With my 18 month old on my back, we started with the royal icing on the gingerbread cookies. It took a long time, but we created unicycle cookies!

I still had the sugar cookies to decorate, but I was running out of time. I made up some buttercream frosting and tried a simplified outlining and very quickly they were done too!

I was excited to complete this project and share the unicycle cookies. Of course the other unicyclists seemed to get a kick out of them too.