Friday, April 5, 2013

Recycled Bird Nesting Material Pouches!

Although we still have snow in our yard and the lake is still frozen over, it's spring in MN and I thought it would be a good time for a spring-y project using some recycled materials with the boys!  We put out tons of bird feeders in the spring and summer, and the boys love watching them eating through the windows.  So, this year I decided to make some little pouches filled with nesting materials for the birds.  I saw the idea on Pinterest or somewhere...

Anyway, I have been saving a couple mesh produce bags all winter for this! We collected soft things around the yard and house.  Here's what we used:
Milkweed pods, dryer lint, and cotton yarn
I gave each of the boys a few 2'-3' pieces of yarn and had them cut them up into short pieces.  Great thing to keep their little hands busy with!
Each kid got a bag to fill.  I tied one end shut and turned it inside out to make a bag.
Bag ready to tie shut!
Hung and ready to line a nice, soft nest! Now to wait and see if we find any colorful nests this summer!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shampoo Bottle Airplanes

I saw this image on Pinterest and just love it!

Little airplanes made from shampoo bottles! Looks like they've just cut a slit on the sides to slip the wings in, and used bottle caps for jet engines.  I'm guessing the stripes are colored tape.  I can't read the original blog as it's not in English, but totally check it out.  They have a cool idea for what looks like little plaster ladybugs and other fun kid projects!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

DIY Boy Valentines from Thrift Store Find!

 I just finished making valentines for my 5 year old boy and thought I'd share a photo!  I can't take any credit for the idea, as I found it here via Pinterest.  I thought it was a fun idea for a boy, being that Valentine's day can be oh-so-very girly! ;-)  I picked up a great bag of army guys at Goodwill for $1.99.  Sammy was excited that there were more than enough, so he could have a pile of them to play with too.  I printed out hearts on pink paper (would have done red but I was out), put a metal eyelet in the hole punch, and tied them to each army guy.  A fun way to give something other than candy while giving a thrift store find a new life!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Robert Bradford gives new meaning to "TOY Poodle!"

Artist Robert Bradford from the UK creates pets and other cool sculptures out of small toys and other plastic items.  I love how colorful his sculptures are!  Almost makes me want to raid the free bins at garage sales just to give this stuff a new life.  Be sure to check out his website, where you can see a lot more photos of his work!

(via Stylecouch's Blog)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Homemade Christmas 2012

I always end up doing at least a few homemade Christmas gifts each year and 2012 was no exception. I didn't make as much as I have some other years, but enjoyed the few that I did make! Here are a few pictures from this year...

I had so much fun making all this miniature food for my niece's dollhouse out of Sculpey clay! The tiny metal picture frame I found at a thrift store and added a photo of her new American Girl Doll, Molly.

I made homemade vanilla extract and mint extract this year.  I'll do a separate post on how I did it soon! Super easy and a really fun gift to give and great to use yourself!
I found some cute smaller baskets at thrift stores to give the little bottles of extract.  The tags are made out of recycled greeting cards.
Of course, I did give a lot of my canned items this year, including salsa, relish, tomato soup, pasta sauce and applesauce.  I picked up baskets at the thrift stores, and even found unopened bags of the paper grass to put in each one at thrift stores too.  I printed my own round labels for everything.

My son's preschool teachers got a little basket of goodies....homemade chai tea mix, mint extract, vanilla extract, some of Sammy's artwork turned into a magnet from Shutterfly, my Junk Mail Gems magnets in the letters of their last names, and a junk mail necklace. The large rectangular thing is a magnet I had made out of a note Sammy wrote thanking his teacher for helping him with writing his "Y's."  :-)
This was an idea found on Pinterest.  I had the boys make hand prints by dipping their hands in white acrylic paint and then grabbing ahold of a blue glass ornament.  Then I used paint pens to add the faces, hats, buttons, etc to turn their fingers into snowmen.  We gave these to grandparents.  A really fun twist on the old hand print ornament! I bought the ornaments for 75% off after Christmas last year and hung on to them until this winter.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mason Jar Roundup!

I know, I know!  It's been WAAAAY too long since I've posted something!  And I haven't made an e-newsletter in F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  I apologize, faithful followers!  Life has certainly gotten crazy but I wanted you to know I am still alive.  And I'll try my best to keep posting fun stuff for you in 2013!
My homemade salsa!

Last summer/fall I took up home canning, as a response to our new overflowing little garden.  (You can read about my first attempt on my IDMommy blog, complete with a great salsa recipe and free download) We only had two tomato plants and one grape tomato plant.  But, boy were they fruitful!!  I made a ton of salsa, pasta sauce, and tomato soup.  I am now really enjoying all of these goodies this winter and loved giving some as gifts too. 

So, with my stash of salsa dwindling and my pile of empty jars growing, it got me thinking about ways to use mason jars.  Of course, I'll be using them this fall to fill up with more delicious homemade salsa....but in the meantime, here are a few fun ways you can use mason jars!

SEWING KIT! What a fun little project.  I can totally see my great grandma's sewing stuff displayed in jars like this.  I was lucky enough to inherit her old machine and supplies! From the talented Traci...check out her blog!

SPRING PLANTERS! What a sweet centerpiece for Easter brunch! Totally putting these on my to-do list! Check it out over at The CSI Project!

SOAP DISPENSER! I need to do this.  My kids keep breaking our soap dispensers! From Liz Marie

SNOW GLOBES! How sweet! This would make such a fun homemade Christmas gift. Wonderful tutorial by The Lemonista!

CROCHET! What a cool idea to crochet a cover for a mason jar and use it to hold your hooks.  Love it! Fabulous idea from "Love the Blue Bird."

LUMINARIES! I already posted this idea on my doily post but thought it was fitting to use again!    

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

DIY Marble Mosaic Table Top

This summer I found a long, skinny table for $5 at a garage sale that I thought might come in handy on our deck to hold random stuff or even to use as an outdoor buffet for parties.  I thought I'd make it a little more fun and do a mosaic on the top with some of those flattened glass marbles you can get at craft stores. 

I got all of these marbles at thrift stores, so they were even cheaper.  They frequently turn up in thrift stores as people donate the left-over pieces from a project they've done, so I have collected quite a range of colors.  I used Eco Glue to attach them....the same glue that I use when making my Junk Mail Gems magnets.  But, any glue labeled for mosaic or other glass projects should work fine.

The table covered in marbles
 Once they dry well you can grout over the top.  I used this brown grout just because we had it left-over from a tile project in our previous house.  Just pour some in a bucket and add enough water to get it to a thick frosting-like consistency. I'm using a tile float to apply it here.  You want to make sure you get it deep into all the crevices between the marbles, and a good coating on the edges.  I find that using my bare hands works best to get the edges covered the way I want.
applying the grout

Grout is on...letting it dry a tad

Sorry, not sure why this is upside down.  But after you let it dry for a few minutes, gently wipe it with a damp sponge.

Just keep gently wiping it periodically every 10-15 minutes or so as the grout dries, removing more and more of the haze from the glass.  Once the grout is dry and hard, wipe it down again with the sponge and then buff off any remaining grout haze off the glass with a dry towel.

 Here it is all done!  It's also a good idea to brush over the whole thing with a grout sealer.  I put it off a little too long and my grout cracked a and learn!

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