This Week’s Pet Project: Personalized Dog Toy Box

Even though my home needs a lot more work (for example, I have plywood instead of a counter on one side of my kitchen), I am trying not to focus on just the big projects. Therefore, this weekend, I took a trip to Michaels Craft Store to load up on picture frames (on sale, of course) and supplies for “little touches” around the home. My first project: personalizing my dog’s toy box.

I found this great wooden box during Fall Clearance at Michaels Craft Store and instantly knew it would make a great toy box to keep in my living room for my lab, Sandy. She’s fallen in love with it too — constantly emptying out her toy box all over the room!

I decided to liven it up a bit by adding Sandy’s name and a design underneath. As it was my first time using decor stencils and chalk paint, I definitely learned a few good tricks and a few things not to do along the way.


  • Letter stencils
  • Design stencil (I chose one with an arrow to include under Sandy’s name)
  • Chalk Paint
  • Paint Sponge
  • Wooden Box
  • Masking Tape
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors

The box, masking tape, tweezers, and scissors I had at home. All other supplies I purchased from Michaels Craft Store.

Step 1

First, choose a letter and accent design that you like. For this project, I used two different types of stencils. The first one required the letters be peel off and the second just required the design be placed over the the destination.

Step 2

As mentioned, my letters were of the “peel and stick” variety. Since I wanted to minimize the space between the letters, I trimmed the sides, as shown below.

Step 3

Arrange letters how you would like them to appear. I used masking tape as a guide of how to center the letters as well as to hold them down once I peeled the backs off, as the adhesive on the letters was weak. The advantage of this though is that I was able to lift and arrange the letters several times before committing to a spacing.

Step 4

Use the sponge to gently dab paint over each letter. Once done, let dry.

Step 5

Peel off the masking tape and stencils. Here is where I made a beginners mistake — I let the paint dry too long or pressed down too hard and some of the blue stencil stuck to the white paint when I lifted the stencils. But picking off the sticky blue lines with tweezers was a quick fix!

Step 6

I repeated the same steps for the second stencil — an arrow which I placed under Sandy’s name. Since this stencil did not have an adhesive, I used masking tape to keep it in place while I painted.

Step 7

After removing the tape and the stencil, I cleaned up the edges a bit with a fresh, damp sponge brush and voila!

Cooking at Sur La Table

My mom is an excellent cook. For as long as I can remember, she feels at ease in the kitchen and is always challenging herself to learn new techniques and try new recipes. While I have always admired her passion for homemade meals, I sadly am inexperienced in the kitchen (except when it comes to baking).

Therefore, every few months, I like to treat my mom to a cooking class. It is a great opportunity for both of us to learn together, despite our different levels of expertise. While we have explored a number of cooking schools over the past couple of years, a favorite has become Sur La Table.

On Saturday, we took a Homemade Ravioli Workshop. The chef leading the class provided a booklet with instructions, a live demonstration, and answered all of the questions our small group had along the way. In this particular class, we made a smoked salmon ravioli with a vodka cream sauce and a sausage ravioli with a tomato sauce.

The class was two hours long with a short break in the middle. At the end of class, we sat down and enjoyed the ravioli we made. I was surprised to find that pasta dough and ravioli were a lot easier to make than I expected. It was great motivation for me to try new recipes, which I am excited to do for Thanksgiving next week.

While a full price classes can be expensive (this class was $69 per person), Sur La Table often has specials like half price classes.

Here are some photos from the class:

Rolling out the pasta dough was a process! All hands were on deck for this portion of the class.

We made both round and square ravioli. While the square ravioli may not be as pretty, it wasted a lot less dough.

The final product! First, salmon ravioli and below it the sausage. The salmon was definitely my favorite. At first, I felt like the salmon and vodka sauce seemed like an odd combination, but it was absolutely delicious! I can’t want to make the recipe for my fiancĂ©!

Have you taken a class you love? Feel free to share in the comments.