Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Upcycled Bottle Bird Feeder

I can't believe I didn't take a few pictures of this mini-project when it was in progress, but it happened so fast.  I was watching TV and Sarah brought an empty 2-liter bottle and said, "Hey, I'm going to make this into a squirrel feeder" and instead of saying NO I used the power of YES and we banged it out in about 5 minutes.


  • Empty 2 liter bottle (we have these because I drink too much soda)
  • Scissors
  • String or wire
  • Bird Seed

First we rinsed out the bottle and removed the label.  Keep the lid on.

Then I used the scissors to cut a big hole in the side of the bottle.  The hole is probably 3-4 inches in diameter.  You want the hole to be well enough above the bottom of the bottle so the bird seed will fit in there nicely.

Using the scissors (or a knife), put 2 holes in the bottle near-ish to the top.

Put the string through one hole then through the 2nd hole.  This left 2 ends that we'd be able to tie around a tree branch.  If you want it to be prettier, you could tie the knot on the inside of the bottle, but then you need a hook or something to attach it to a tree.

Here's a good shot of the finished product so that you can really see how it's all done, we had already added seed here.  Hopefully the top of the bottle will keep water out.

And here it is in it's final location.  This tree has a big squirrel nest above it, so hopefully this feeder will get some action!

DONE!  A fun, fast, easy, upcycled Earth Day kid friendly project!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Front Porch Potted Plants

Spring is here and my front porch is looking a little sad, so today when the kids & I were at Home Depot, I snagged a few bright yellow pots and some peppy pink geraniums for a kid-friendly project.

I don't have my receipt in front of me, but the pots were each around $6 and the plants were each around $4.  I had potting soil in the garage already.

I love that they're plastic - they won't break with a frost and won't shatter if one of the crazy neighbor kids hits it with a football.  I also LOVE the bright color.

Step one is to break out your handy-dandy drill to put some drainage holes in the bottom of these plastic pots.  Without good drainage your plants' roots will rot or the plants may drown.  I used a 5/16ths drill bit to bust through it.

Then we used a premixed potting soil to fill the pot, creating a hole for your plant.

Carefully remove the plant from the pot - holding the pot sideways, slide the roots out.  Loosen the roots a bit and place the plant into the hole.  I like for the top of the plant's dirt to be about level with the top of the pot.

Fill in dirt around the plant and give the whole thing a press down.

Water & you're ready to go!

What do you think?  From the street I think I need some bigger planters - actually building some is a future project - but those will probably be either stained wood or painted white.  I still think I like the pop of color that these pots add.

Definitely a kid-friendly project too - Sarah loves gardening/planting/watering.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting my Mod Podge on!

Wow - it's had been a while since I Mod Podged something and I was itching to give it a go again!

This time around I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest, which links to a fun project over on Tatertots & Jello.  Basically it's a wipe container (you know those Clorox/Lysol wipes - great for kitchen/bathroom quick clean-ups) that has fabric or paper applied to the outside.  And what do you know, I just used my last wipe the other day and the empty container was sitting out in the recycling bin!!

Since the top of the container was yellow I looked for something yellow to use as the cover.  I chose an old favorite shirt of mine.  It's fun, it's gorgeous, but I bought it before my oldest child was born so it really doesn't need to be in my regular rotation anymore.

Step one is clean-up - I removed the label from the outside of the container and used some Goo Gone to get rid of any remaining stickiness.

Next up, trimming my fabric.  I admit that cutting up this shirt did give me a few pangs of sadness (I really liked this shirt), but it's ok.  I liked the detailing along the hem so I decided to keep the hem and make it the bottom edge of the container.

Next is applying the fabric.  Using old fashioned glossy finish Mod Podge, I painted on a good thick layer and carefully applied the fabric on top and then paint Mod Podge over the fabric, being careful not to create bubbles, wrinkles or shifting the fabric around too much.

I only did about a 2" wide strip at a time and letting it dry before continuing.

I continued all the way around until I got to the seam.  For the seam I trimmed excess fabric, turned the edge under and glued it in place with Mod Podge, then let the whole thing dry.  I put it upside down on top of a soda bottle.

I did a full coat of Mod Podge over the whole thing, let it dry, then did another coat and let it dry.  So that's probably 3 coats over the whole thing.  I could do more because I enjoy painting the stuff on.

After I was happy with it, I trimmed some excess fabric at the top.

And that's it!

I'm not sure what I'll use it for.  The original project suggests using it as a plastic bag dispenser (and includes directions for how to roll up the bags), but I keep thinking up other uses.  Storage for markers, trash receptacle for the car, small toy storage, etc.

What would you do with it??

Friday, April 13, 2012

Awaiting the Tooth Fairy

About 2 weeks ago Sarah came to me and said her tooth hurt.  She's 5.5.  I told her to open up, and sure enough the bottom middle 2 teeth are wiggly, one more than the other.  I sighed once again at the thought that my first little tiny baby is growing up and getting big, but then I got all giddy at the thought that we now had a project to take on!  Tooth Fairy Pillow!!!

What is a Tooth Fairy Pillow?  Well, it's a little pillow (size & shape vary depending on your taste) with a pocket on the front.  Kid puts tooth in the pocket.  Fairy takes tooth & deposits $$$ in the dark of night.  It allows for the Fairy to do her work without disturbing a sleeping child.  My mom made one for me when I was a kid and I thought it would be nice to make one for Sarah.

We went to the fabric store to pick something out, and after perusing stuff with sequins & lifelike horses plastered all over, I convinced her of a print of wands would be perfect.  It is a Tooth FAIRY pillow, right?  She's probably got a wand.  So we picked up a yard of that plus a yard of coordinating pink fabric.  And we picked up some fluff to fill it.

As always step one is to wash & dry & iron the fabric.  I'll admit I don't always do this but my stuff usually turns out a bit better if I do.

I had a plan in my head of what it would look like, so I cut out 2 rectangles of the print.  Roughly 8.5" x 11".  Yep I used a piece of paper as a template.  I cut a bit larger for seam allowances.

I cut out 4 strips of pink, about 4" wide.  Two were trimmed to 24" and two were trimmed to 33".  These are for the ruffle.

I also cut out a little 4" square of the print and a 4x5" rectangle of the pink.  This is for the pocket.

Starting with the ruffle, I sewed the strips together to form a long loop.  I did it like this 24" to a 33" to a 24" to a 33" and then close the loop.  Being careful not to twist the fabric into a moebius loop.  That just wouldn't work.  I set the ruffle aside.

Moving over to the pocket I sewed the short side of the little pink rectangle to the right side of the printed little square.  I set this aside.

I trucked up to the ironing board and did a little pressing.  On the ruffle: I folded the loop/strip in half creating a skinny loop with the end-to-end seams on the inside.  On the pocket: I flipped the pink fabric up over the print, putting the "right" side out and creating a bit of a cuff on the pocket and pressed it down.  Then I pressed in the edges & bottom of the pocket to make it tidy since I'd be top-stitching it to the front of the pillow.

Back down to work.  I pinned the pocket to the front of the pillow and sewed it in place.

The next step is tricky.  I pinned down that huge loop onto the backside of the pillow.  Right side up, unfinished edge of the ruffle out.  I made sure that it didn't twist and that the loop seams were in the corners.  It was kinda tricky to get the ruffle to be evenly spaced, but eventually I got it "good enough".

I flipped it over to see how the ruffle looked - then I flipped it back over to make some adjustments before continuing.
Note:  if you are actually an accomplished or knowledgeable seamstress, you may know of a better/easier/correct way to do this, but I just kinda figured it out

Then I pinned the front of the pillow on top of there, right side down.

I then stitched this whole mess leaving an opening on one side.

Turning the nearly finished pillow right-side-out, I was relieved to see that it looked pretty much how I imagined it.

I added my fluff and hand-stitched the opening closed.

This is the first pillow I've ever made and it turned out ok.  I think next time around I'll probably do a pillow & pillow case to make it look prettier (so no ugly hand-stitched seams are visible).  The whole project took about 1-1.5 hours including the hand sewing.

And now we're all ready for the Tooth Fairy!

DIY Show Off

I Heart Nap Time

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Breaking the Silence

It's been quite a while since I posted anything and you might be wondering what the heck has been going on?  Well things can get busy, and unfortunately not with bloggy stuff, just life.  Last week was spring break ending in my mom's birthday and then Easter.  In case you are just missing me, I'll give a rundown of all the action.

We went to the zoo on Tuesday.

It was a beautiful day!

We did have lunch with my parents one day and then Good Friday was my mom's birthday.   Just a small family get-together with fried fish and a delicious cake from a local bakery - family favorite.  Saturday was spent prepping for Easter and then Sunday was Easter itself.

The Easter Bunny came here and brought a few baskets for the kids with bubbles, sunglasses, flip flops, a new dress and bouncy balls.  And candy.  Out the front door was a trail of eggs that led to this surprise from the EB:

Through the rest of the morning the kids thoroughly destroyed the living room with "grass".

Then we headed over to my parent's house for Easter Linner!  Yum!  More baskets/candy/toys PLUS an outdoor egg hunt (with wooden eggs that my mom painted & decoupaged).

Then Chris got sick :(  Poor dude spent the next 2 days with a fever and acting pathetic.

So here we are smack in the middle of spring.  I've brainstormed a ton of projects/crafts/etc to bring to life in the coming weeks.  The tricky part is finding the time to get them done.  I'm excited though.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Parenting PSA: Nutella Fold-over Sandwiches

The Nutella fold-over sandwich is a brilliant and wonderful snack for kids & toddlers (without nut allergies, of course). We use 100% whole wheat bread so it's healthy. It's got protein in the Nutella, so it's filling. And it's chocolatey so the kids both LOVE it. It should, however, be a closely supervised activity with the younger kids, and probably be confined to high-chair time.

Live and learn.


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