How to make your own mouse

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You will need;-
A 12 inch square of felt
Another scrap of felt for the shawl
A scrap of thick yarn for the tail [knot both ends]
Two small buttons for eyes [optional]
Sewing thread and needle
Scrap of fabric for the skirt

Cut out the shapes in felt from the template
Sew up the back [curved] seam
Insert the stuffing
Stitch the circle on the base inserting the yarn as a tail and check that the mouse stands upright

[Understuffed will produce a concave base which is much more likely to remain standing]

Sew on the buttons [or stitch eyes in place so that it would be safe for a baby]
Stitch the whiskers and ears [folded]
Hem, join and stitch a drawstring runner through the top of the strip
Gather the strip and attach to the middle of the mouse
Cut the scrap of felt into a triangle and snip the edge to make a fringe, stitch in place


A Tale of Foolishness:-
The why? Why bother to make your own mouse when you can buy a dozen from Petco at $3.99?

Well as you may recall, currently my son is still at the ‘part cat’ stage of development but loathes the smell of catnip. Anyway whilst we were at Longleat in England he fell in love with a very similar mouse, a mouse manufactured for the princely sum of many pounds sterling. I resisted the purchase and a great pall of gloom descended upon us. The only reason I managed to extract him from Longleat at all, was the faithful promise that I would indeed, given time, produce a mouse. It was so tempting to indulge him especially as he mewed so pitifully but apart from anything else, Longleat’s version was a doorstop and hence it was weighted down with a hefty rock inside, not ideal for international travelers with a weight limit!

In addition, we endure a daily craft during the summer holidays. In this instance we were able to introduce the concept that a sewing needle is not necessarily an instrument of torture but may indeed be the means of achieving the current motivational goal, a mouse. Fine motor skills limitations meant that he was an observer rather than a sewer, but he managed to remain within the same room and peek through his fingers at the scene. Clearly most crafts can be adapted to suit the individual needs of any particular child, but if we achieve joint attention then we’re on a winner, which indeed we did. He was quite happy to stuff the mouse so we did have a little hands on experience.

Of course, if I had been more sensible I would have saved myself a whole heap of bother by not going into the shop in the first place. This is one of the reasons why so many parents of autistic children become hermits, it’s just easier that way. However, we continue to venture forth as the easy option is not always available.

Lastly, I know that this kind of parental indulgence frequently evokes criticism, maybe you have been on the receiving end yourself? All I would say is that people who criticize, [usually ‘Anon’] generally do not have first hand experience, long term with autistic people. If you actually live with an autistic person who has no interest in anything, or maybe only one or two things, to the exclusion of all other things, then part of a parent’s job is to help expand those interests, gently and gradually. Our job is not to eliminate the one or two special interests, that would certainly be a mistake, unkind and probably cruel. No, instead we offer all and everything that we can think of to tempt them into other things. Given time and encouragement there may just be a tiny little spark and it is those little sparks that ignite us into action, no matter how trivial or obscure. I tell you truly, it’s worth every effort.

This design is available in an out of print book called “My Learn to Sew Book.” It is a bit dated but has easy to follow instructions.

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How to make a chef’s hat

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
Try This Tuesday

Now surely this is something that everyone needs in their life, regardless of whether you’re a gourmand or a cheez whiz kind of a cook. It’s really a question of look the part and step into the role.

All you need is some stiff card, seleotape, scissors, measuring tape and five minutes.

Measure the diameter of the head that you wish to adorn and mark that length plus an inch onto the card. Try and find a large piece of old card to re-use rather than recycle.

Cut through the card to a two inch border that will form the head band.

Clip and then tape the headband to overlap one inch.

Reach through the inside and tape the lengths together to form a dome.


Go on, indulge your child’s latest whim. Now that’s what I call “positive reinforcement.” When I think of how I had the nerve to ask the staff at Flames for one of their “disposable chef’s hats,” I can feel a blush! What can I say? Pushy Brits. Now that’s something I’d never have been brave enough to do a few years ago. There again the real bravery award goes to someone willing to put something on his head!


Don’t forget to check out other participants.

On a side note, if you are struggling to pay for therapy for your special needs child, if the insurance has dried up and tossed you to one side, if you ever think for one moment that the whole thing is completely hopeless, takes forever and wonder if you really are doing the right thing…….I’m here to tell you, or rather ask you, to remain hopeful.

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Mario and Luigi hats – the best ever

How to make the best Mario and Luigi hats, a do it yourself step by step guide.

Mario, the character from Mario Bros Nintendo DS and his brother Luigi, have their two greatest “fans” here in jolly old San Jose, as the “Italian” genes are in the “blood.” Here is the answer for fans worldwide.



This is basically a knitted oversized Tam O’Shanter. You do not need to be a good knitter as when the hat is felted [boiled alive to shrink] small mistakes are unnoticeable.

Measure the circumference of the child’s head just above the eyebrows and ears or wherever you want the hat to ‘sit.’ Find a saucepan or bowl* with the same circumference for later to act as a ‘form’ to support the drying hat.

Use pure wool as man made materials do not shrink. [ I have an unshrinkable prototype hat big enough for an average sized East Indian elephant if anyone’s interested?] Take care to match the colour well, although the colour may not show true on the photographs.

Cast on 90 stitches on large size 10 USA circular needles. Knit 5 continuous rounds [take care at the point where you join the circle to avoid kinks and twists]
Row 6, purl [this forms a seam that will fold to make the headband]

Row 7 , knit
Knit 4 more rounds.

Take a second smaller circular needle. Pick up the original 90 cast on stitches from the lower [cast on] edge
Align both needles and knit one stitch from the front needle and one stitch from the back needle together, continue to the end of the round. This forms the headband.
Continue on the larger needle.
Increase row = Knit one, knit one and make one knitwise into the second stitch. Continue for the next round = 135 stitches. Continue to knit 26 rounds on these 135 stitches.

Begin shaping brim / crown.

Knit 9, knit two together, repeat to end.
Knit three rounds without decreasing
Knit 8, knit two together, repeat to end.
Knit three rounds.
Knit 7, knit two together, repeat to end
Knit one round
Knit 6, knit two together, repeat to end
Knit one round
[if it’s getting to tight for you to work on a circular needle transfer to four size 10 pins]
Knit 5, knit two together, repeat to end
Knit one round
Knit 4, knit two together, repeat to end
Knit one round
Knit 3, knit two together, repeat to end
Knit one round
Knit 2, knit two together, repeat to end
Knit one round
Break yarn with a long tail
Find a crochet hook and slip through remaining stitches, pull tight.
With a darning needle thread the tail through to the inside.
Weave through the material loosely

Pick up 35 stitches from the folded / pleated edge. Use the circular needle but you will be knitting back and forth not round and round. Knit the next seven rows [garter stitch]
8th row decrease one at each end.
Knit 5 rows.
13th row decrease one stitch at each end
knit 1 row
*15th row cast off five stitches knit to end, turn.
16th row cast of five stitches knit to end , turn.*
* repeat twice
Cast off remaining stitches and sew in the tail of yarn.

Now the fun begins = felting.

Set your washing machine to the hottest setting with a little soap and the greatest agitation. Plunge the hat into the hot water and poke it a bit. Yank it out at one minute intervals to check shrinkage / felting. It’s hit and miss but you can do it! When it looks felted remove from the machine and plunge into cold water bowl in the sink. Rinse out any remaining soap. Squeeze out excess water.

Attack your hat with vigour to stretch and pull it into the correct shape and size. Stuff with a old towel to maintain shape and ram it on your bowl.* Place the bowl with the hat on a folded bath towel in a warm spot to dry over the next 24 hours.

Whilst it dries make the badge. This is where your magic marker comes in. As white wool does not shrink and felt reliably, you will need to buy a small square of regular felt from your local retailer. Cut out a circle of stiff plastic from your re-cycling supplies with a disc of white felt to match. Take a fine sharpie pen, red or green and carefully copy the logo onto the white felt disc. Bear in mind that if this step is not accurate you might as well throw the hat away and give up completely. Glue the felt to the plastic disc. When dry attach a small snib of Velcro to the back, the hook part so that it will snag on the hat. Place the disc in the centre and voila! Custom fit and made to measure.

You may also adapt the design for non-Mario fans.

Just in case you are wondering who in their right mind would go to such trouble, I can tell you with complete confidence that it was worth every stitch, as well as the three prior failures.

My one worry was that they would be itchy. My daughter, the one with half a yard of protective hair curtain, assured me that it is indeed itchy. I dithered over linings but, and oh what a but it is, my tactile defensive wunder kind has had that thing rammed on his head for 24 hours straight.

Now I shall patent my pattern to Patons. Overnight we shall become millionaires of fortune and all will be well, as a significant percentage of the world’s population sport Mario and Luigi hats, men and women marked for life with the irrepressible

insignia of ‘special,’ as they itch their way through life.

There again, I already feel like a millionaire with none of the bothersome business of reality.


Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.

Just call me snap happyred BSM Button

Here are some additional useful links:-

How to sew one from “felt”

Variations on a “Theme.”

Other inventive “families.”

Another sewn version with “panels.”

Buy one from “Etsy” with “Mario Mushrooms.”

A more traditional “baseball cap” version.

Some stitchery “wizardry.”

A “stunning” “paper” version.

“Yoshi” food for those who prefer to cook rather than sew or knit.

Cheers dears

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