Category Archives: Laurel

doll house


doll house front

Several years ago I built this durable doll house to barbie doll scale. The wood was largely bits and pieces I had laying about in my workshop.


The bathtub feet are wooden beads; the mirror is a picture frame with silver foil paper inside. I used baker’s clay to mold the bathtub and sinks, and there’s a nice detail shot in the baker’s clay article. .


The wall paper and matching curtains came out of wallpaper books I got from small decorating store. The curtains were hung on craft dowels.

Living Room
A woven placemat became the livingroom carpet; a framed greeting card became the artwork.

Front Door
Picture hanging hooks served as the coat hooks beside the front door, as well as the front door handles.

Kitchen Sink detail

Miscellaneous fasteners and L-hooks became taps and faucets.


Scraps from my own kitchen curtain were used for the main floor curtains.
opening the front door

I would have loved this when I was a kid.

the back of the doll house

I made it up as I went along, and it was great fun figuring it out and making it.

baker’s clay like Mom used to make


baker's clay fish ornamentI especially loved this clay my mom used to make for us. What I remember most was making miniature food… teeny tiny hamburgers and hot dogs for my barbie dolls. Because the finished product had been baked hard, it was firm enough to play with.

how to make it

This recipe produces white clay. If you want the clay coloured, you can add food coloring (or sugarless Kool-Aid) in the water when making the clay. (Our hamburger buns were yellow, the patties red.)

Mix together

  • 2 cups baking soda and
  • 1 cup cornstarch in a saucepan.
  • Add 1 1/4 cups cold water

and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 10 – 15 minutes. You know its done when it reaches the consistency of squishy mashed potatoes.
[note: if cooked too long, the creations you make may crack.]

Scrape the mixture out of the pan and onto a plate, then cover it with a damp cloth. Once it’s cool enough to handle, pat it until smooth.

baker's clay gingerbread cookie ornamentsculpt it
You can form this clay into shapes as you would with any other play dough.

cut it out
Or you can place it on a sheet of waxed paper, placing another on top, then roll it our with a rolling pin, to a thickness of about a centimeter (or 3/4 of an inch). Remove the waxed paper and then you can cut it into shapes with cookie cutters. Use a toothpick to poke a hole for hanging, making sure it’s not too close to the edge..

While working with it, the unused clay can be kept under the damp cloth. For longer storage, put the remaing dough in a tightly sealed bag or air-tight container in the refrigerator where it will last for at least a week.

Place your creations on a non-aluminum cookie sheet or tinfoil and bake in a preheated oven at the lowest setting for 30 minutes.  Turn oven off, leaving the cookie sheet inside for another hour or two.  Depending on the thickness of the clay, it may take another day or two before it is absolutely dry all the way through.

Although I usually bake this clay, for thicker sculptures it is best to leave them to air dry on a wire rack for a few days. I have also been told you can microwave your decorations on a paper towel, at 30 seconds per side, turning them until completely dry.

baker's clay star .... decorated with crayonn_8087

When your creations are dry, they can be painted with just about any craft paints (tempera, acrylic etc) or coloured with markers or crayons.

You can use a craft paint sealer, varathane  or even clear nail polish to varnish for a hard sheen and greater durability.  (Make sure you have adequate ventilation before using nail polish or any chemical with a strong odor.  This step is not suitable for small children.)   Glitter, feathers, pom poms etc. can be glued on, with or without varnishing.

what for
We used this most to make Christmas tree decorations, but it can be used to other kinds of wall hangings or small sculptures.

The largest piece I ever made with this was a bathtub for a doll house. I used an oval plastic take-out container as the mold, and coated it with enamel paint to get a nice porcelain bath tub look.

who for
This clay can be useful for anyone. It is great to use with small children because, although not very tasty, it is edible. (For very small children, make sure dried pieces are not small enough to be a choking hazard.)

baker's clay doll house bathtub and sink



Frisian Flag

Opa is still most comfortable gardening in his wooden shoes, or klompen. Wood or not, over time holes are worn right through the wood in the vicinity of the toes. When that happens, it means it’s time to get new klompen.

But what of the old ones?

make a planter

This works best with two wooden shoes, because they can be hung from the string that ties them together.

If you want them to last, start with a plastic bag ~ milk bags* work quite nicely. It works best to start with a seedling that will fit into the bag with a little extra soil, and then the bag can be inserted into the wooden shoe. I expect you could do this without the bag, but then the klomp will break down much faster.
Flag og Groningen
It is important to pull the tip of the bag through the opening worn through the toe. Once a corner of the plastic bag is outside the shoe, it can be punctured for drainage. When you water the plants (best done daily, and carefully) the excess water drips out the wooden shoe toe.  (As you might imagine, this type of planter is best employed out of doors.)

Naturally, they can be decorated any way you like. I chose to paint mine with flags from the Nederland provinces of Friesland and Groningen.
wooden shoe hanging planters

Milk bags* are the most common way milk is sold in Ontario. Originally, there were three 1 quart clear plastic bags of milk packaged together in a larger opaque bag. When Canada went metric in the 1970’s, they started selling 4 litre bags of milk, but they kept three interior clear plastic bags inside, now each holding 1 1/3 litres of milk.

In case you’re wondering how we get the milk out of the bag and into our cereal without making a horrendous mess, you’ll be pleased to know the milk bags fit inside handy milk pitchers. Once the sealed bag of milk is settled inside the pitcher, you cut off the top corner of the bag and pour from there. It works a treat. 🙂

As you can imagine, these bags are durable and if washed out immediately, can safely be reused as a freezer bag for storing food… or as a planter bag for your klompen.

deviled eggs

devilled eggs

I was around eleven years old the first time I ever tasted deviled eggs; they’ve been a favorite ever since.

how to make

hard boiled egg whites, cut length wise with yolks removed
Steam eggs (over boiling water in a vegetable steamer)
for ten minutes until they are hard boiled.
Remove from heat.
Cool: pour out the hot water and cover the eggs in cold water and repeat when the heat from the eggs warms the water. This cools them down quickly, and prevents the gray ring around the yolks from over cooking.[1].

stirred wit a fork Cut eggs in half lengthwise (a butter knife should do),
drop the yolks into a bowl
and set the whites on a plate or in a container

Stir the hard boiled egg yolks
until they are all crumbled

per whole egg yolk

Add one rounded teaspoon of mayonnaiseegg yolks with mayonaise and  black pepper added
and a dash of black ground pepper
(or two if using more than a dozen eggs)

Optional: I used to add salt to taste, sprinkling on roughly the amount of salt I would have added to my dinner but since I began reducing salt in my diet,
I simply left it out to no apparent detriment.  egg yolks, mayo and pepper mixed together
I’ve since entirely eliminated salt from my deviled eggs and had no complaints. You are welcome to add some if you like. If you want to add spices (perhaps garlic powder) or anything else (maybe finely chopped onions or peppers) this would be the time to do so.
Some prefer the whipped mayonnaise substitutes, but I find the resulting deviled eggs are too sweet.

Stir the yolk mixture until creamy consistency.
egg yolks and whites reunited
Scoop yolk mixture back into the egg whites.
The final step is to lightly sprinkle on the paprika; this is what makes these eggs “deviled.”  The red spice isn’t just an aesthetic garnish, it adds something extra to the flavor.

what to do with leftovers

Even in a sealed container, deviled eggs are no longer at their best the next morning, so on the odd occasion when there are left overs,  stir them together into egg salad.

devilled eggs

[1] Anyone who has ever hard boiled eggs has probably encountered the a green/grey film around the egg yolks. This isn’t harmful, just aesthetically displeasing. This is caused by a chemical reaction:

The egg yolk contains iron and the white (albumen) contains sulfur. During boiling the sulfur atoms are liberated and react with hydrogen ions in the white to form hydrogen sulfide (a gas). As gas forms, it diffuses in all directions and some reaches the surface of the yolk, where it encounters iron and reacts to form dark particles of ferrous sulfide.