Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Cookies

Have I mentioned that I love Halloween? Cuz I do! The costumes are all done (except my husband's...), and we're carving pumpkins tonight! We took the boys to this huge Halloween party at a local shopping center on Saturday, and had lots of fun.

We also made some Halloween cookies!  Jack loved it! He always likes to "help" Mommy cook. Mostly he wanted to steal the cookies and chocolate chips... But he was incredibly cute telling me that the Jack-o-lantern cookies were for Jack, and the mummy cookies were for Mommy.

Here's what you'll need if you want to make these cute and easy Halloween treats:

Wilton candy melts in orange, green, and white (or white chocolate chips and food coloring)
Mini chocolate chips
Regular chocolate chips
Red hots/cinnamon imperials
Plastic sandwich bags
Wax paper

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, or just lay it out on your counter so it's ready for the cookies.

To make the Jack-o-lanterns:
1. Melt the orange candy melts in a bowl.  A whole package is about enough for a whole package of Oreos. I usually do about 30 seconds in the microwave, stir, and then a little more to finish melting.

2. Dip Oreos into the orange candy, coating as evenly as possible. Let some of the candy drip off, then lay it on the wax paper. If there's a spot where you were holding the cookie that didn't really get covered, just drip a little off a spoon.

3. Use mini chocolate chips to make a Jack-o-lantern face. Make sure the orange coating doesn't set too much before you do this, or the chips won't stick. I'd recommend either assigning one person to dip and one to do faces, or just dip a few at a time.

4. Melt a few green candies in a ziploc bag. Just leave the bag open, microwave it for 20-30 seconds, then knead the melted candies. If they're not melted enough, put them back in the microwave for a few more seconds.

5. Knead the melted candy down to one corner of the bag, and cut the tip off the corner. Be sure to cut just a small opening!

6. Pipe the melted green onto the top of the jack-o-lanterns to make a stem, leaf, and curly vine. Or any combination of those.

Jack-o-lanterns complete! Just let them sit for a little while so the candy sets.

To make the mummies:
1. Lay out Oreos on the wax paper. Place regular size chocolate chips in the center of the Oreos for the eyes.

2. Melt the white candy in a ziploc bag (see #4 above). Knead the melted candy down to one corner. Cut the tip of the bag. This one you should cut a little bigger than the green, but not too big!

3. Pipe white candy over Oreos, partially covering chocolate chip eyes. Be sure to pipe in several directions so it looks like overlapping bandages.

4. Let them set for a little while, and then break off the pieces of white candy that got drizzled past the edges of the cookie. (See how messy they look in the picture above compared to the one below?)

Mummy cookies are done! If you don't like that some of the Oreo shows through, you could dip them in white first, then add the eyes and pipe on the bandages.

To make the monsters:
1. Melt green candy in a bowl. (See #1 on making the jack-o-lanterns)

2. Dip Oreos into the melted green candy. (See #2 on the jack-o-lanterns)

3. Place mini chocolate chips along the top edge of the cookie to make spiky hair. Place two red hots/cinnamon imperials in the middle for the eyes. Use mini chocolate chips or one regular chocolate chip (I put them pointy-side-down) for the mouth.

Monster cookies finished! Just let them sit until the candy is set up.

Now all you need is a glass of milk!  I thought of doing a few other Halloween-themed Oreos, but didn't get the chance. What other monsters and such would you make with Oreos (or other cookies)?

Update: I recently decided to start a separate blog for recipes and food/cooking tips and ideas. You can see more ideas like this over at Modern Mommy's Kitchen!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

easy baby or toddler cloak

I am so excited for Halloween! I've always loved it, but it's even more fun now with kids. Especially now that Jack is getting old enough to start getting excited about and understanding holidays. And what's better than dressing up a little kid in an awesome costume? Dressing up TWO kids in awesome costumes!

So let's just say I've been more than a little excited for our family's Halloween costumes this year ever since I came up with the brilliant idea a few months ago. And since I came up with the idea a few months ago, I should be long done with all the costumes, right? Of course not! But I am making pretty good progress.

The first items to be finished were the hooded cloaks for the boys. After looking at (and even purchasing) several patterns, and deciding I didn't like any of them, I made my own, which ended up being way better and easier and anyway. So here I present to you:

(These aren't their full costumes... Also, what's harder than taking a picture of one kid? Taking a picture of TWO kids!)
The Super Simple Baby/Toddler Cloak

What you need:
- Felt* (approx 1 yard of 72" felt)
- 1/2" ribbon (about a yard to be safe)
- thread
- fabric marker
- typical sewing supplies (scissors, tape measure, pins, etc.)

*You could use other fabric, but I like felt for a few reasons - 1. It's cheap 2. It's warm (and sometimes it's pretty cold on Halloween!) 3. You don't have to finish the edges. And I'm lazy.

1. Determine how long you need the cloak to be. Measure from the top of the child's shoulder to the desired length of the cloak. (When in doubt, go a little long - you can always cut some off the bottom later.) Now add 3" for a baby, 6" for a toddler. (This allows you to cut out around the neck and maintain the desired length.) For my baby, I wanted the cloak to be 15" long, so my magic number was 18". For my toddler, it was 36" - perfect for 72" felt! (In fact, if your magic number is any bigger than 36, you'll need more than a yard of fabric.)

2. You're going to cut out a half circle from your felt. Lay out the felt on a flat surface, and mark the center point with a fabric marker. Now use a tape measure and measure straight out along the edge of the fabric the number of inches you calculated in step 1. Repeat on the other side of the center mark. Now measure and mark straight out at 90 degree angle. Think of your tape measure as a protractor, and continue moving and marking so you have a dashed line marking out a half circle.

3. Using the same center point, you will now mark the neck line. For a baby cloak, measure out about 3". For a toddler cloak, measure out about 6". Measure and mark just as you did in step 2. (You can adjust this as needed, just remember this was the number you added to your length measurement in step 1.)

4. Cut along the outer dashed line, then cut along the inner line. You now have the main piece of your cloak!

5. Cut out two pieces for the hood. You can use my pattern below, or adapt it to your own size and liking. (I adapted it from one of the patterns I bought. That pattern made an absolutely enormous hood! So I used the basic shape/dimensions and scaled it down a bit.)

(To adjust size, just add on or cut back the center back seam. For example, just measure out 1" all the way around the center back seam to make it bigger.)

6. With right sides together, stitch the two hood pieces together along the outer curved edge, forming a seam up the middle of the hood. You can either clip the extra fabric from the seam allowance at the front of the hood, or fold it back and tack/stitch it in place.

7. Time to attach the hood to the cloak! With right sides together, line up the center seam of the hood with the mid point of the neckline. Pin it.

8. Now continue pinning each side of the hood, creating pleats as you go to make the hood line up nicely with the curve of the neckline. I did two pleats in the baby cloak, three in the toddler cloak. The hood should not come all the way to the front of the cloak. It should end 1-2" back from the front edge.

(You can also see the pleats in the previous picture for step 6)

9. Stitch the hood to the cloak.

10. Cut two lengths of ribbon, each at least 12" long. (Better to be too long and trim them later!) Pin them to the inside edge of the front of the cloak, just below where the hood meets the cloak. Stitch along the ribbon to secure it to the cloak.

11. Try it on your little one, see if you need to cut any length off the bottom, and you're done! (If you want a more finished look, you can stitch around the front edges of the hood and cloak, and the hem.)

The finished product, looking slightly creepy without a little person in it!

Baby cloak! And of course he's making his awesome gnome face. I was just glad to get a picture in which he wasn't trying to eat the cloak.

Toddler cloak! In typical toddler fashion, he was throwing a tantrum about wearing the cloak and taking pictures. He kept crying "Jack come out!" (meaning out of the cloak...) This was the best I could get.

Friday, October 12, 2012

the 12 apostles

I just finished up a fun custom order for finger puppets of Jesus with all 12 apostles.  I have a set in my shop with Jesus and a few of the apostles, so I started with those and then designed and made a whole bunch more!
(This is the set already in my shop)

It was fun,  though slightly challenging to come up with 12 different puppets wearing Biblical-looking clothes in neutral colors.  There are only so many neutral colors of felt, and so many combinations, before you start feeling like they're all going to look the same!  But I had three basic clothing designs, and between those, and the different colors for clothes, hair, beards, etc. I think I managed to come up with 12 unique apostle puppets.

Now I'm just trying to finish up my Thanksgiving puppet set, and our Halloween costumes!