Monday, May 20, 2013

Knit Mouse Sachet ~ and Lemon Bars

This is one of those items where until you have one you don't realized how much you really needed one all along.  It's a sweet lavender filled mouse sachet to ~ ta-da ~ keep away moths! Or scent your lingerie drawer if you wish, or sit on a shelf  and look cute, or simply give as a whimsical gift to someone who needs a reason to smile. 

Since this little mouse pattern by Ysolda makes a tiny house mouse, I thought it would be fun to turn it into something sweetly scented to protect linens from moths and whatnot.  But I am a little concerned.  This mouse is so darn cute I wouldn't be at all surprised if it proliferates and I find my house overrun with little mice scurrying about!

I really enjoy knitting toys and what I enjoy the most is bringing out the character in a toy.  And so I am going to share a few tips on how I went about giving a personality to this mouse.  First, I decided to use beads for his eyes (instead of embroidered french knots as the pattern calls for) and to give depth to the eyes I blackened the area behind where I placed the beads using a black eye shadow applied with a q-tip.  Second, to soften and create a fuzzy interior to the ears I stranded the CC (contrasting color) with a stand of Rowan's kidsilk Haze.  Third, to help the ears hold a curved shape I used a small about of jewelry wire that I twisted into a triangle form that I placed inside the ear just before I sewed it close which allows me to bend and shape the ear.  Finally, I added whiskers using embroidery floss which is simply stitched on.  I find adding just using a few finishing touches helps give a knit toy its own unique character.

Pattern particulars:  Mousie from Whimsical Little Knits (designer: Ysolda); US 1 DPNs; yarn: MC: blue Sky Alpaca Royal / CC: Shibui Knits Staccato (velvet) and the ears are stranded with Rowan Kidsilk Haze (black); faceted beads for eyes; jewelry wire in ears; filled with lavender and fleece roving.  For other ideas on toys to knit see past toys I've knit including: an owl, monster, elephant, mouse, bear, bunny, and rabbit.   

Lemon Bars ~

Whenever possible I like to eat seasonally and that goes for desserts as well as fruits and vegetables.  Every Spring and Summer one of my favorite treats to make are lemon bars using meyer lemons.  I use a recipe I found online back in 1994 from the old Victoria Magazine and I've made it countless times over the years.  I like it because the crust is a short and light and the topping has a nice zing of lemon without a ton of topping.  However, I do think modern tastes have changed and the lemon bars of today have significantly more topping than this recipe calls for.  If you like a lot of topping I would suggest maybe increasing the topping by an additional half but, for myself, I like it just the way it is.  Regardless be sure to add all the zest because you want it to really have a pop of lemon flavor.

Lemon Bars Recipe:

1 3/4 C. All-purpose Flour
1/4 C. Confectioner's Sugar
14 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter (diced into small pieces)

3 Eggs
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 C. lemon Juice
1/3 C. All-purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

Confectioner's Sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Make Crust:  Combine 1 3/4 C. flour and 1/4 C. Confectioner's Sugar and then cut in the 14 Tablespoons butter using a pastry cutter or knifes until forms coarse crumbs.  Press dough into an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes until crust is firm but not brown.
3.  Make Filling: While crust is baking whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice.  Add 1/3 C. flour mixed with baking powder.  Whisk until well blended.  Pour over hot baked crust.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until firm when lightly touched in center.  Cool in pan set on rack.

Serve:  Garnish with sifted confectioner's sugar.  Cut into squares.

Until next time, be well and love well and if you have never knit a toy the long hot summer is the perfect opportunity to try your hand at knitting a small toy!


Anonymous said...

The first thing I intend to do tomorrow morning is go to Whole Foods and try to find some Meyer Lemons. Love the little mousie! Chloe

gMarie said...

What a darling little house mouse. Maybe if they multiply you won't get the 'regular' kind inside. I do hope Mr. Man doesn't decide it's a toy for him.

I love lemon bars! Those look fabulous. g

Bridget said...

And now I shall make both things ... ;-)

Hilary said...

I made one of those little mice for my mother in-law a few years ago and she loved it! (I actually made it for the cat, but she took it for herself, named him Eamon, and he's been on her windowsill ever since! :) ) It's such a cute pattern, and I LOVE your additions. The beads for eyes are adorable, and that was a great idea to make the insides of the ears a little fuzzy!

Oh, and lemon favorite. I drooled all over my keyboard!

Kristen said...

That little mouse made me smile!

Gail said...

The lemon squares are my favourite all time indulgence! You my girl have so much patience, the little mouse is adorable!

SissySees said...

That is REALLY, really cute, and I love the idea of making it useful for adults. I wonder if that frame of mind could motivate me to knit one? (I don't like seams, so I generally dislike knitting toys...)

Claudia Bugh said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the post ~ and thank you for the nice comments! I appreciate when someone takes the time to do so. Wishing everyone a fun Memorial Day weekend :)

Willow said...

While I am partial to knitting bunnies, I think that mice and rabbits could happily coexist in my little cottage, don't you? I like the beady eyes although I wouldn't give it to a baby to play with.

I've been quite remiss in getting around visit bloggy friends. I hope you had a lovely Memorial weekend.

Anonymous said...

I had to pin that mouse to my pinterest knitting board. So cute. Fun gift. And lemon bars. Love them! Thanks for sharing!