Finished and gifted! I'm so thrilled with how this turned out...and how it was received by my friend.
I like the inside almost as much as the outside, too. Inside the lid I Modge-Podged a piece of "sky" scrapbooking paper, and around the sides of the bottom I used some paper that looked like sand. Then I made a padded insert for the bottom with some blue fabric that looked like water, and added some more of the twisted cording just because. Oh, and all the papers and the wood surfaces were covered with a coat of clear shellac, too.
My friend loved it. I'm so glad...he is a very special guy, and I'm thrilled I could use my talents to make something that spoke to him.