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!