knitting for kids

January 31, 2010

The thing about knitting for kids is, I always hesitate because I know they will grow out of the thing in a couple of years.  As much as my daughter really does appreciate the things I make her, and she even has a little sister to carrythe torch, it still smarts to put all that into something that will be too small in the near future.

So I was very happy with these little wrist warmers I came up with.

The 5 year old wanted me to knit her a pair of mittens, since the ones I made for her 2 years ago are now too small. I thought it would be a good idea to try a pair of ribbed wrist warmers. I knit them just a tad too big for her but the ribbing makes them fit perfectly. And now she can wear them for years before she grows out of them. WIN, WIN.

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I made a little nap blanket for the 5-year old to bring to preschool with her.  I found some great lavender chenille that I planned to back with a printed flannel.

When I started sewing I always used to skip pre-washing.  I didn’t really think it made that much of a difference.  But it really does.  Especially when you are working with 2 fabrics that behave very differently.  I had the fabric store cut both of these fabrics to be the same size.  I washed and dried them before stitching them together because I knew that one would shrink more than the other.  I really didn’t realize how much more, but take a look for yourself.  (Sorry for the terrible photography.  My camera doesn’t like night time)

The picture above is the crazy amount of lint that the piece of chenille released in the dryer.  It was rather beastly.

So after all that, it was quite easy to stitch the 2 pieces together to make a very nice, cozy nap blanket for school.  Check it out…

Rainbow cake

January 16, 2010

The older daughter had her birthday this month, she turned 5!  She had been telling me for MONTHS that she wanted a cake with roses made of frosting.  So I had been watching the youtube cake ladies show me how to make roses, and getting up my courage to attempt one myself, when I was SAVED at the last minute!  I started showing her cakes on the internet, to get her reaction, and she saw some cakes with rainbows on them that really got her excited.  So we looked at more cakes and she decided she wanted hers to look like this one over at the Spicy Skillet.  Looked do-able!  And the little flowers would serve as a reasonable substitute for roses!  Hooray!

On our journey through the land of rainbow cakes we also spotted this one at Whatever.  Looked very good!  Kind of intimidating…. all that baking, all those bowls…. all the food coloring.  Oy.  Looked very fun but I was concerned about handing a 5 year old a slice of cake 7 inches tall.

THEN… My husband told me about this video from the New York Times.  A very inspiring glimpse into some old school baking.  These ladies and their pancake-thin layers of cake just about blew my mind.

So.   Here is the cake I came up with.  Overall, it was a big hit.  She told me “mommy, I want you to make me the exact same cake next year!”  So I guess she liked it!

I started out by just making a regular cake batter.  I used the white cake recipe I found on epicurious.

Then separate the batter into 5 bowls.

Add food coloring.  I used gel food coloring from Wilton to get really vibrant color.

Spread the cake batter really thin, about the thickness of a pancake.  I sprayed the pans with non-stick spray and lined them with parchment, and then sprayed that too.  This is critical to making such thin layers that will release from the pan without tearing.

Each layer only needs to bake about 10 minutes.  I only had 3 pans so I had to bake them in 2 batches.

Apply a crumb coat, let it cool, then go back in with more icing.  I used a buttercream.

I used the leftover batter to make a batch of cupcakes for school.  I used one spoonful of each color batter per cup.  It made a nice layered effect, too.