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DIY Halloween October 31, 2012

Filed under: Celebrations,Crafts,Halloween — MKCoehoorn @ 8:27 pm
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Yes I am that mom.  I do the fancy birthday cakes for my kids, not to show up every other mom out there, but because I’m too cheap to buy one from the store.

I also make my kids Halloween costumes.  Yes, I do use patterns when necessary, but sometimes the kids have requests that don’t have easy to follow patterns, and then I get really creative.  These are the challenges I like.

This year presented two challenges.

Challenge #1: Rapunzel’s braid

So the pattern I used for the dress also came with instructions for the hair.  But those instructions were written for a kid with a normal sized head.  My daughter, well, at 9 months she measured 50% by length, 60% by mass, and 98% by head size.  At 7 years old she is more proportionate than she was as an infant, but her head is still larger than average, which meant the pattern’s instructions were not going to work.  So I read them over, got the gist of what they were going for, and threw them out the proverbial window.  Then I did my own thing and here is the result.

rapunzels braid

Rapunzel’s braid

I used a skein of Lion Brand Yarn Pound of Love in the Honey Bee colorway.  I then cut 90 strands of yarn that were about 3 yards each.    I measured by holding one end of the yarn in my hand and stretching to my far shoulder, then repeating 2 more times.  After all the yarn is cut, hold all the strands together and loosely tie a knot at one end.  Then carefully remove all the tangles and loosely knot the other end.  Cut two lengths of yarn about 5 or 6 inches long: these are used to make the bun loop at the top of the braid.  Double up the long strands and tie one of the shorter lengths in the middle, then tie the other to make the loop.

braid top

Bun loop

Next take a 9 foot spool of ribbon and unroll it.  Thread one end through the yarn tied at the base of the bun loop.  Pull the ribbon through until the ends are even.  Carefully untie the knots at the ends of the yarn.  Count out the strands so that you have 3 groups of 60 strands of yarn.  Include the ribbon in two of the groups.  Braid the yarn until there are only about 5 inches left.  Cut one final length of yarn, again 5 – 6 inches long, to wrap around the end of the braid and tie it off.

braid end

End of the braid is tied off with more yarn

Trim the ends of the yarn so that they are all even.  Through out the braid, weave in silk flowers.  To attach the braid, I pulled my daughter’s hair into a high ponytail and secured it with an elastic band.  Then I loosely twisted her hair into a bun and secured it with 4 or 5 hairpins.  Then I slipped the bun loop (there’s a reason I called it that) over her bun and secured it with another 4 or 5 hairpins.  And voila, one Rapunzel ready for trick or treating.

attached braid

Bun loop around the bun and pinned in place

Next post:  How I made Lightning McQueen.


Grandma’s Butter Cookies October 22, 2012

Filed under: Desserts,Recipes — MKCoehoorn @ 2:40 am
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Warning: massive amounts of cookie dough ahead.  Do not proceed unless you have your sweet tooth ready.

I put the egg carton next to it for size reference. The dough sits as high as the top of the egg carton and is nearly as long in diameter.

Seriously, this recipe makes an incredibly large amount of cookie dough.  The card I inherited from my grandmother said that it makes about 170 cookies, but does not mention what size these cookies are.  I do know that it is big enough that when  I make the dough, I usually divide it up into about 7 lumps, and freeze it until I actually need to bake cookies for something.  The cookies by themselves are quite yummy and are great for frosting, but the best use I have found is for my Turtle Shells.  I haven’t tried it, but I suspect that this cookie dough would also make for a pretty good fortune cookie.

But on to the recipe:

10 eggs

1 lb butter, softened

4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

enough flour to make a dough (about 9 – 10 cups)

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and butter.  Add in the sugar and mix well.  Sift in the baking soda, cinnamon, and cream of tartar.  Then add the flour one cup at a time.  After about 6 or 7 cups, you may need to give the mixer a rest and turn the dough out onto a very well floured surface to knead in the remaining flour.

Once you are satisfied with the texture of your dough, divide into 6 or 7 equal parts and coat with flour.  Then wrap with plastic wrap or wax paper, place in zipper freezer bags and freeze until ready to use.

When you are ready to bake, allow the dough to thaw to room temperature before you begin working with it.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out dough and cut with cookie cutters or form a log about 1 – 2 inches in diameter, then cut into 1/4 inch slices.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden (and smell delicious).