03 November 2011

Autism Awareness Puzzle Pieces

by Veronica

Earlier this year, my family learned that my (now) 3-year-old nephew, Joseph, is Autistic. Of course, it's not the news you want  to hear about a child you love, but it was a relief to finally have answers about what he does/doesn't do and be able to start helping him.

We are fortunate to have an Autism Center within driving distance so Joseph can receive the special care and attention that he needs. Early intervention is key when dealing with Autism, so it is imperative he attend this wonderful 'school' at his young age.

Of course, great treatment comes at a great cost. Here in Michigan, insurance companies are not obligated to cover Autism treatment, so the parents of these special kids must foot the bill themselves (to a tune of $4000 per month!!! You read that right - four THOUSAND!). To help cover the cost of this treatment, my sister (Joseph's mom) helped to organize a fundraiser held at the Autism Center last month.

My Mom and Grandma made these fantastic pins for the fundraiser which were then offered to the event's attendees for a small donation. They're really quite simple to make and VERY inexpensive - just the right features for a fundraiser!

Here's what you'll need:

  • Puzzle You can usually find these pretty cheap at a thrift store or even in the clearance section of your local big box store. It doesn't matter what design the puzzle has on it, but keep the size of the  pieces in mind when choosing your puzzle.
  • Spray Paint Mom opted for the traditional primary colors. You can use whatever colors you want!
  • E6000 Adhesive Any super strong adhesive will do. I highly recommend E6000!
  • Pin Backs These can be found at your local craft store.
  • Accessories (as seen on the 'one-piece' pin) Mom used a rhinestone and puzzle piece ribbon to give the 'one-piece' pin some added flair.
The steps to making these pins are EASY PEASY!
  1. Spray paint the puzzle pieces. Let dry.
  2. Glue the puzzle pieces together (if making multiple-piece pin). Let dry.
  3. Glue on any accessories. Let dry.
  4. Glue on pin back. Let dry.
My sister asked me to bake and decorate a cake to serve as a centerpiece for the 'Strolling Dessert' portion of the event. I really enjoy baking, but tend to stick to smaller canvasses (cupcakes, small treats, etc.). I called around to local bake supply shops (I didn't have time to order anything online) for an 'awareness ribbon' cake pan and no one had them in stock. Instead, I opted to make a tiered cake.

I tried printing puzzle piece shapes from my computer (thinking that I could use them as templates), but I just wasn't happy with how that process was going. 

After a little while, I decided to just try free-handing the puzzle pieces. It worked! What a relief! I used a couple different star tips along with my frosting bags to create the pieces on the bottom layer. For the top layer, I used the same tips, but instead of piping the stars, I 'smudged' the frosting onto the cake. Why? 2 reasons:
  1. I ran out of my homemade frosting and had to switch to a pre-made frosting I had in my freezer and it wasn't piping the stars very well.
  2. I was running out of time.
I was so happy when the cake was finished! And everyone at the benefit seemed to really like the cake. Of course, no one actually cut into the cake. It stayed at the front of the fundraiser - untouched - the whole evening. Oh well! I'm really glad I was able to pitch in to help such a great cause!

1 comment :

  1. I'm sorry to hear about your nephew, but also happy to hear that a diagnosis was made. I have a good friend with an autistic child & I know how hard it was for them to figure out exactly what was wrong. Even with my youngest who has ADHD (I know nothing like autism), it took us so long to find out what was going on. That is such a shame that the ins is not going to cover him, being in the medical field, I have grown to really hate insurance companies! The pins are really cute as well as your cake. I wish your family all the best in getting treatment for Joseph.
    Puppy Hugs,


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