Monday, May 10, 2010

Birthday crafting

My SO's 30th birthday was a few weeks ago, so there was lots of birthday crafting and cooking going on around here! He's tricky to buy for, and I usually just end up pestering him until he gives me a good gift idea and then get him exactly what he asks for. This year it was a mini video camera. You can check out his blog, where he's already got up some bumpy shots of us on the bikes. He's quite happy with the present (although I kind of regret it since it means I'll probably end up in a lot of videos!), but I wanted to do at least some things for him that involved more skill than just handing over my credit card.

First, I tried my hand at making one of his favorite cakes, an apple marzipan cake that his mom used to make for him on his birthday. When he was living in Germany, his mom would actually mail this cake to him -- that's how efficient the German post is, you can get a spoilable item to the other side of the country in 24 hours, no special services required. Meanwhile, I'm a mere five hours away from my parents, and I'm still waiting on a package that my mother mailed weeks ago. Sigh!

Here's how the cake turned out:

He says this isn't what it looks like when his mom makes it, so it's possible that something went amiss in all of the weight to volume conversions that I had to do on the recipe. Appearances aside, this was a pretty tasty cake! Very sweet, though... one slice later and I was taking a sugar-induced afternoon nap.

The other present that I made for him was actually something that I'd promised as a Christmas present, but was obviously veeeerrrry behind in finishing. I got him a wooden serving tray, and told him I would paint him a design of his choosing on it. He likes eating on the couch with a tray and is always complaining about the trays that we have -- too small, too flimsy, nothing just right! Here's a picture of the tray a month or so ago, halfway through painting:

The image is from The Trip to Panama, a German kid's book from a series that features a tiger and a bear (this edition is in English, though). It's really cute, and I had a fun time painting this. Here's what it looked like in the end, after a bit more painting and many coats of stinky spray varnish:
I love how the bear is sitting on a pillow on the couch. I always accuse my SO of just sitting down without looking to see what's actually on the couch first, so it seems pretty appropriate. At some point I may try to figure out some way of making the surface of the tray more heat proof, but for now it works well.

The only downside to all this crafting is that now I've exhausted my supply of SO gift/craft ideas. I think he needs to get another bike soon so I can help him outfit that!

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