Archive for January, 2008

How to paint a wooden box

After reading this post on Paper Kitty’s blog, I looked up Swap-bot, a swapping community where you can join or host different swaps. To give it a try, I signed up for one called “painted wooden box.” It was listed as an international swap and my particular partner ended up being from Malaysia. Malayasia! How cool is that?

Here are some pics during the painting process. By reading my swap partner’s profile I learned that red, orange and green were some of her favorite colors, so that is what I used on the outside. The inside I filled with red-themed items, a mixture of handmade and purchased goodies. I don’t want to ruin the surprise by showing everything, on the off-chance she somehow finds her way to this blog. This was really fun though. I can see how swapping can get addictive, and I haven’t even received anything yet!


This is the original unpainted box that I picked up on sale at Craft Warehouse. I covered the
glass on the lid with tape and then stained the box with a black walnut colored stain.

While the stain dried I printed and cut this lotus pattern on heavy cardstock.

I traced the stencil onto the box and then painted the image using acrylic paint.
To seal, the outside of the box was sprayed with a light coating of matte finish spray.

For a finishing touch, I cut a piece of stiff craft felt for the interior bottom, then filled the
box with goodies and a card, and prepared it for shipping.

Birthday Freebies

Earlier this month Marcy sent an email saying that you can sign up to get free Cold Stone Creamery ice cream on your birthday. I’m not embarrassed to say that I took advantage of that offer right away. And because my birthday is coming up at the end of this month, I did a little more sleuthing. Other worthwhile birthday offers include Baskin Robbins, Red Robin, and Noodles & Co. In the interest of not getting too much junk email, I only signed up for those, but there are longer lists if you look hard enough. Here’s to free food!

Crafty Cuteness – Felt Baby Shoes

I got my haircut today. I’ve been going to the same stylist for over a year (maybe two?) which is a record for me. She is only a couple weeks away from giving birth to her second child, a baby girl this time, and I decided a while back that I’d sew up something simple to take along with me.

Lately, I’ve noticed several cute online baby shoe tutorials. I thought it would be fun to give little mary janes a try. Instructions usually call for wool felt, because it is more durable. I decided to use craft felt because a) it’s softer, b) it comes in many more baby appropriate colors and c) I already had some on hand. Since I was sewing for a newborn, she’d grow out of them in a matter of weeks anyway.

To make the strap, I used papercrafting ribbon. It’s the kind with the adhesive strip on the back, and I hand-sewed it to the inside of each shoe. This way there is no need for velcro, elastic or snaps (none of which I’ve worked with yet) because it will stick delicately over the baby’s sock and attach to the other side of the shoe. I’d like to try other fastenings in the future, but this worked fine for a first pair. Cute, huh?

See my second pair and links to baby shoe tutorials and templates here, and baby boy booties here.

Weekend Retreat, Crescent Lake


A view of the cabin from the back, almost buried in the snow.

This past Friday Alex called about the four of us and the dogs spending the 3-day weekend away somewhere. We agreed it would be fun to go somewhere new, but not spend all day in the car. We settled on the Waldo/Crescent/Odell lake area east of Eugene, about a 3.5 hour drive southeast of Portland. A place where we’d find lots of snow for snowshoeing. Not surprisingly, most of the lodges and cabins in the area were already booked. Luckily Alex found a private home listed on craigslist that was still available. So that’s where we went.

The home was a charming A-frame cabin on a secluded 3.5 acre lot, not far from the national forest. Although poorly furnished (with not a shred of toilet paper to be found), it was comfortable and cheerily warmed with a sturdy wood stove. Actually, the place had loads of potential, and I couldn’t help wondering why the owners didn’t put any effort into making it a little better. A set of decent hooks for hanging wet coats or towels and a matching set of dining chairs could have made a big difference (but I’m just picky). When we arrived there wasn’t a track to be found, and in some spots the dogs would sink in up to their bodies. Part of the fun was just watching them bound in and out of the drifts.


Crescent Creek, right in the backyard.

A little snowshoeing adventure along the creek. We made those tracks ourselves.

Barkley taking a much needed break from all the excitement.

Overall, it was so nice to get away. And I’m again reminded how lucky we are to have such good friends. With Marcy and Alex’s baby boy on the way (see this pic), it likely won’t be so easy to just pick up and go, as we’ve done in the past. But it will be interesting, too, to see what kind of new adventures will come into play, and all that the future will bring.


A brief stop at Odell Lake, on our way back to Portland.

More pics from this weekend can be found here on my flickr page.

Vanishing Oatmeal M&M Cookies

Vanishing oatmeal cookies

My absolute favorite cookie recipe of all time is found beneath the lid on canisters of Quaker Oats, called Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. The only difference is I omit the 1 cup of raisins and instead use two cups of M&Ms. Scrumptious! I remember making these as a teenager with a friend from church. I still make them at least once or twice a year… a perfect comfort food.

Ingredients
1/2 pound (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins (or 1-2 cups M&Ms!)

Preparation
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Servings: ABOUT 4 DOZEN

Baking Spree

Marble pound cake

I made this marble pound cake from scratch out of our old Better Homes and Gardens “New Cookbook.” A little slice of cake with a cup of hot tea sounded so good to me right then. Sadly, the cake was unexceptional, as have some of the other recipes I’ve used out of this cookbook lately. It used to be a staple reference, but now I’m wondering if the flavors are just too out of date. Even the chocolate chip cookie recipe wasn’t very good. Also, it’s strange, but I don’t like nutmeg. I used a 1/2 teaspoon instead of the full in the pound cake, but even that was too much.

What we’re playing

The last time I had lunch with Christy, my boss when I used to work at adidas, she and her assistant taught me a new card game called Skip-bo. It was pretty fun and I had meant to pick up my own deck, but then forgot. I was recently reminded from reading a post on Still Life in Yarn which mentioned the game briefly. I finally picked up a box at Target. David and I have been playing multiple games back-to-back. It’s been really fun to interact with him this way. Kind of like quality time.