Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs


One thing that I love about Easter time is egg dying, for two reasons. First, I just love trying out all of the different decorating techniques. And second, I look for any excuse to make deviled eggs!

In my many years of egg decorating, I have tried pretty much every technique known to man from shrinkable plastic wrappers to acrylic paint and pretty much every type of process that our friends at Paas have come up with! When deciding on how to decorate my eggs this year, I came across a few techniques (and one tip regarding deviled eggs) that interested me.

I first discovered a technique that you can wrap eggs in patterned silk fabric to provide beautifully intricate eggs, as shown in the below photo.


If you’d like to try this technique out yourself, there are some great directions over on Our Best Bites.

While I would love to have such lovely eggs in my home this year, I am pretty sure fabric dye is not food safe, meaning no deviled eggs from these beauties! Simply unacceptable.

That got me to thinking, I have a ton of beets from our organic produce bin and they seem to dye everything, I bet they’ll work to die eggs! Turns out, I was right. In fact, there is a rainbow of possibilities when it comes to natural egg dyes.  You simply boil some water and add vinegar and enough vegetable matter or spice to provide good color. Bon Appetit has some great recipes for different colors, but I only had beets and some curry powder on hand so I went with pink and yellow eggs.


Before boiling the eggs, be sure to turn them on their sides for a day before boiling them. Why is that, you ask? Well, you want your deviled eggs to be perfectly centered, don’t you!

I used about 3 cups of water, and 1/4 cup of vinegar in both. For the pink dye I used 1 medium sized beet, cut into 1/2″ cubes and boiled for about 30 min. For the yellow dye, I did not have turmeric, but was able to obtain the same effect using about 3 Tablespoons of yellow curry powder in 3 cups of water and a few Tablespoons of vinegar for about 15 minutes.

Once the dyes had cooled I was able to submerge the eggs and wait, like you would using any of the Paas brand dyes (though they do take a bit longer…30+ minutes). To add a little interest, I used my silhouette to cut some contact paper into different shapes. In order to keep the stickers in place, I tightly wrapped the eggs in some well washed nylons and knotted each end before submerging them in the die.


The eggs turned out beautifully, though not as vibrant as I’d hoped. I think that takes more patience than I had, but still a ton of fun.

Happy Easter, and happy decorating!


Chocolate Chip Cookies on the Campfire!


Finally, summer has arrived!  It has been a long time coming for those of us in the Pacific Northwest, but the sunny days are here again!  For me, summer is all about the outdoors.  We get so few warm months up here, that we have to take full advantage when they finally get here.  For me, that includes lots of camping and backpacking.  Really, I feel that it is not a proper camping trip if you are not cooking on that nice big fire that took you half of the evening to build and tend.

As a kid, our family always cooked on the fire.  Mainly the standard hot dogs and marshmallows, but we later progressed to baked potatoes, and some really yummy foil packs full of chicken and vegetables.  A couple of years ago, I even learned how to cook biscuits on a stick and it sparked something in me…I had to learn how to bake on the fire.

I absolutely love chocolate chip cookies.  I would eat them every day if I could, which is why we never have them in our house!  But naturally, cookies were my first choice for trying out my baking skills over the open fire.  I received a dutch oven as a Christmas gift last year (thanks, Mom!), so I was well on my way to cooking the worlds best campfire cookie!

The dutch oven’s first voyage was across the San Juan Channel on a 5 day kayak trip.  The trip was somewhere between car camping and backpacking.  We were limited to the space available in the kayak, but not too limited by weight, so my heavy little dutch oven came along!


Before the trip, I did a ton of reading up on how to use the dutch oven.  Unfortunately, most of the directions that I found online recommended using charcoal briquettes, and that just wouldn’t do.  First of all, we wouldn’t have charcoal with us on this trip, and second, using charcoal kindof kills the spirit of what I was trying to do.  I want to bake on the fire that I built out in the rugged wilderness!  So I just went for it, utilizing the grate on the fire ring to hold the dutch oven up away from the coals a bit.  I followed some of the recommendations that I had read online and placed some parchment paper in the bottom of the dutch oven, topping the lid of the oven with a couple of charcoal logs that I was able to grab out of the fire.


I learned two things durring this experiment.  First, burnt parchment paper makes everything taste horrible.  And second, placing the dutch oven directly over the hottest part of the fire is not advisable.  The contents of the oven burned almost all the way through within about three minutes.

On my second try, I felt around the fire for a location that seemed about equal to sticking your hand in a pre-heated oven.  It’s hot, and you can hold your hand there for a little while, but you don’t want to linger.  I ditched the parchment paper and oiled the oven really well.  I also pre-heated the lid of the oven over the hottest part of the fire.


While baking, I rotated the oven every few minutes and re-heated the lid a couple of times.  In about 15 minutes, to my surprise and delight, I had the perfect campfire cookie!  It was delicious, and a great end to a long day on the water.


Mark Your Calendars! Elation Greetings Will Soon Be Providing Wedding Invitation Services!


Recently, I have been considering entering the world of wedding invitations. When some friends of mine decided to tie the knot, I was excited to offer to help them out with their invites!  We are still in the design phases, but I have really been enjoying playing around with some different design ideas.  I have already created several custom cut pocket fold templates, and I am working on a few different designs.  I plan to have a few different options in my etsy shop by mid-February, so check in again soon!

How to Make a Chalkboard Tray


Just before Thanksgiving I came across the blog “My So Called Green Life” and their up-cycled picture frame serving tray.  I was bummed that I hadn’t discovered it in time for the Thanksgiving festivities, but I finally have had time to make one of my own!

I started the project with a framed picture from Goodwill.  I made sure to pick one with a substantial frame so that I could add some handles.  I purchased the hardware for the handles at the home depot for just a few dollars.  I also got some bronze paint to match the handles.

Once I disassembled the frame, I covered the glass with an awesome product…chalkboard contact paper!  It is just like the contact paper that grandma used to use to line her cabinets, only better!  The decorative side of the adhesive paper is a material that you can write on with chalk!  I decided to use this instead of chalkboard paint on this project.

I then pained the frame, added the handles, and put it all back together.  I think it turned out great!  I also plan to put magnets on the back so that I can use it as a chalkboard for my refrigerator!  I learned the hard way, however that the magnets that you get at the craft store are not strong enough!

Fun Finds: Scout Creative Calendar of the Month Club


Do you have your desk calendar for 2012 yet?  I usually get one in my stocking every year, but this year I am happy to say that I did not.  I say this not because I do not want a calendar, I actually love having a physical calendar to look at.  I am happy that I have space on my desk to make Scout Creative’s Calendar of the Month!  I discovered Scout Creative’s Calendar of the Month Club last November and I was pretty disappointed that I had missed the whole year of awesome 3D paper calendars!  I’m really looking forward to starting 2012 with a super creative desk calendar by my side!

To get your own, you can like Scout Creative on Facebook, or sign up to get each month’s new calendar emailed to you.  This month, the calendar is a Yakuza Ramen Noodle shop complete with a tattooed terror!  You can even purchase the template for three more gangsters  in Scout Creative’s Etsy shop for only $1.49!


In addition to this awesome monthly surprise, they have revamped last years 3D calendar for 2012.  You can get the PDF to create a whole year of calendars all at once in their Etsy shop!  They are all so cute, that I honestly can’t choose a favorite!  All I know is that I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Christmas Recipe: Eggnog Cupcakes


Christmas is the time of year for friends and family, but almost as importantly for baking, eggnog, and rum!  In an effort to make the most delicious holiday dessert known to man, I decided to seek out a recipe for eggnog cupcakes.  I had the criteria that this ultimate recipe had to contain both rum  and eggnog in both the cake and frosting.  I found the perfect recipe on Annie’s Eats Blog.  You can find a link to the original recipe here.  I mainly only modified the recipe for use as mini cupcakes.  I also used Sailor Jerry spiced rum, a family favorite around this time of year!

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup spiced rum
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2½  sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 2½ tablespoons eggnog
  • 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  • cinnamon for dusting


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the mini muffin tins with mini muffin cups.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  In a large bowl, combine the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, cider vinegar, vanilla, and sugar.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the large bowl with the wet ingredients.  Mix well.

2.  Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way full.  I used a cookie scoop to do this and it worked very well.  Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  When you are able to handle the cupcakes, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk the butter on medium-high speed until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg and whisk until well incorporated and smooth.  Add the eggnog and rum.  Whisk until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

4.  Frost the cupcakes using your desired frosting method and dust with cinnamon.  I used the Wilton dessert decorator plus since I have had trouble in the past with pastry bags.  I have to say, it was awesome!

The frosting did turn out a little too buttery for my taste, but others loved it…It may just be due to the fact that I actually saw how much butter went into it!

Holiday Gift Guide: Find the Perfect Gift for Him


Boys.  They are so hard to shop for!  If they want it, they already have it…so where does that leave us ladies at Christmas time?  Staring blankly at lists of useless gadgets in the hopes that we will find a piece of junk that he will find interesting for at least one day before it gets tossed. Well, we all have one weekend left to figure it out!  If you live in the Portland area, there are several fun craft shows going on this weekend where you might be able to find something unique.  They include the Handmade NW Formal Artisan’s Fair, Crafty Underdog, and the 3rd Annual Heart of Craft Show.  There may also be time to have items shipped.  Just be sure to let the seller know that you need it by Christmas!

Well, I think I have my husband’s gifts set this year, but most of the time it is a giant struggle to find the right thing!  While I am by no means then expert on the subject, I have compiled the following list of items that I have (or would) buy for my man.  Hopefully this helps!  Happy hunting!

Stocking Stuffers

What about some beer soap?  It is a funny, yet useful gift that is sure to put a smile on his face! There are several shops on etsy that sell it.  The picture on the right is from Anderson Soap Company.

Beer Soap By Anderson Soap Company

Flasks seem to be really big right now.  As you’ve seen in previous posts, I have a fun chalkboard flaskin my etsy shop.  You could write him a little message on the flask and wrap it up!  If chalkboard is not what you are looking for, try searching for your perfect flask on etsy…they have thousands of unique choices!

Chalkboard Flask By Elation Greetings

A wallet is a great choice.  Just don’t go to the department stores to get it.  There are many, many great hand made wallets out there that can suit any taste.  Myfavorite have to be the duct tape wallets by jDuct.  Note that they also sell some awesome flasks!

Duct Tape Wallet by JDuct

Finally, in the category of smaller items, why not consider a wooden guitar pick if your guy plays.  They look awesome and supposedly improve your grip.  You can find the one below at NuevoWoodcrafts.

Wooden Guitar Pick by NuevoWoodcrafts


If your guy is one who likes to imbibe, some mulling spices would be a great, inexpensive gift.  I have found cans at the grocery store for around $5.  YOu can also look up a recipe and make some yourself.  The best par is that they work great with both apple cider, and surprisingly, wine!

Whisky stones make a great gift for the guy who loves his scotch!  They keep your drink cold, without watering it down.  They also supposedly do not absorb refrigerator odors.  We found this not to be the case, so think carefully about where you store them!  ThinkGeek has them for only $20.  I have also seen them at high end kitchen stores.

Whiskey Stones at ThinkGeek

Home Brewing has become a really, really popular hobby here in Portland.  If you thin your man would be interested in starting it up, you can get a starter kit from your local brew store that includes the basic equipment that he would need.  There are also ingredient kits that can help get him started on his way to brewdom!

If he is already a brew master, making him some kick ass labels might be a fun gift!  You can design them yourself and print them on sticky paper, or have someone else do the design for you.  Girl In Gear Studio has these great ones ready to go!

Beer Labels by GirlInGearStudio

More Gadgets

My husband is both into hiking and photography.  lugging a big heavy tripod on a hike is not really very fun, but he has a Gorilla Pod, which works great!  Now we don’t have to spend half an hour looking for the perfect rock to rest the camera on for our “here we are” photo!  You can find these babies at REI.

gorillapod at REI

I have seen both expensive and inexpensive versions of Tech gloves around recently.  They allow you to use your smart phone without removing your gloves!  How handy!  You can now find these fancy gloves at REI, Target, and my personal favorite, SockDreams!

Tech Gloves At Sock Dreams

This last one sounds so silly, but trust me, he will LOVE it.  It’s a green laser.  This is not just any laser.  It is super bright and can travel up to 5 miles.  Not only is it fun to play with, but it is very useful if you are into astronomy at all.  I have purchased them for my dad, husband, and groomsmen at our wedding from z-bolt.  They even come in a fancy box that you can personalize!

Laser Pointer From Z-Bolt

Get Him Out of The House

If all else fails, get him something that gets him out of the house!  With all of the groupons floating around recently you could easily get him some golf lessons or a paintball session with his friends.  Better yet, get all of your friends to get the same thing for their guys…then the boys can all have a day out together!