Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recycling your Christmas Tree

Every year when we recycle our Christmas tree I always wish there was something more I could do than just toss it to the curb!  So this year, with the help of my hubby dC, we cut it up and put most of it to a new use!

First thing we did was strip the top branches of the tree off to see what it looked like.  Well, I instantly thought bird feeder since there are so many small branches that could be used as perches!  So I made some bird seed paste out of Crisco, peanut butter, corn meal, and bird seed. 

 I tied some twine around the top of the branch after it was all trimmed and cleaned up and Fender helped me slap the paste on every little perch.

Then we hung it from our shed!

Not before Fender tried a little...
Now we'll have a little piece of the Holidays around all year!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Feathery Friend

I've coveted Martha's feather tree since I saw it in her holiday issue in 2008.  Every time I walk by the feather aisle in the craft store, I think of it.  This Christmas I got a gift card to Michael's from my secret Santa and I couldn't resist.  It's most fun to get weird frivolous things (like 10 pounds of clay and feathers) than glue sticks and glitter when you are spending a gift!

Mine turned out a bit more soft and less uniform than hers (I'm sure her feathers cost more than $2.50 a bag too!)  But I love how it turned out and my favorite part is the improvised tip that I made.  If you venture into making a feather tree here's a quick little top that is super simple and costs pennies to make!

Take a super small Styrofoam ball (mine come in a mixed set of balls at the dollar store) and pierce it with a toothpick.  Cover the entire ball with glue...

...then sprinkle it with glitter...
...and stick the pick into the center of the top of your cone (I saved money here by making one out of card stock).

Then add your feather tree to wherever you need a little more snow in your life!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rice Tree

Yesterday we had our first snow.  Only a few inches but we get really excited around here when it snows because it tends not to stick around (pun intended!)  So to celebrate the color white (my fave!), winter, and the fact that my Christmas decorations are finally safely put away, I created a snowy white Rice Tree tree for my mantel.  If you'd like to make one too, here's what you'll need to do:

What you'll need:

Styrofoam tree
Styrofoam circle
cheap rice (I used Minute Rice)
hot glue gun
white glue
dried moss
small pinecones

1.  Begin by covering your surface and prepare yourself for rice being EVERYWHERE!

2.  Cover the Styrofoam tree in white glue and then sprinkle rice all over (it sticks best if you do it in thirds and let it completely dry in between)  You could use hot glue, but with white glue Fender could help me!

3.  Once the entire tree is dried, add a second layer of rice over the entire thing.  This just makes it look more bumpy and natural like a snow covered tree.
Here's our finished tree (hard to see white on white) and my little peeker.

4.  Then venture outside for a straight twig that you'd like to use for a trunk and pierce the twig into the base of the tree and into the base of the Styrofoam.

5.  Because the tree is so top heavy, you'll need to hot glue the twig in place with a BIG glob.  It hardens like plastic and makes the tree sturdy against the base.

 6.  Then cover the tree in white glue again and sprinkle with glitter.  You could use any color at this point. 

7.  Once everything is dried and in place, cover the Styrofoam base with dried moss.  Add small pinecones to the moss if you'd like! 

Place it on your mantel or anywhere that needs a little winterizing!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Winter Bird Feeder

I remember doing this project with my mom as a kid, so I thought it would be fun to make some with my kids this Winter! 

We took peanut butter and spread it all over some pine cones that I bought at the dollar store (it's hard to find great pine cones around here!).  Then we sprinkled them with birdseed, tied them up with twine and hung them on our front porch.  None of us has had the patience to sit and witness any birds feeding off of them, but they were still fun to make!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

I was in the mood to make something out of nothing and I saw these instructions and was so excited to make it!  I love being thrifty, but this is downright cheap!  We usually buy a half-gallon refill for all of our soap dispensers that costs $4 - so $8 a gallon!  I just made 2 gallons of soap for $2 - only $1 a gallon!  Yay for math!
Warning - If you are jonesing to do this project, I beg you to find a 2 gallon container before you even begin.  Otherwise you'll be sitting with a pot of soap on your stove until you find one!  I used my hubby's cider brew jug and a small bottle I got at IKEA, filled all of the dispensers in my house and have a Tupperware of the stuff in my pantry!

As you can see in the instructions, all you have to do is grate soap, melt it with water, let it sit, and reheat it with more water.  I loved using dC's immersion blender to mix the chunks!  dC said he'll never use it again, but it's only getting cleaner mixing soap right?

I let my little helper pour the water and do some stirring before the stove was too hot!

Nice apron eh?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Wintertime in Washington is mostly drizzly, and cold.  When I saw this on pinterest, I knew that it would be a fun project to do with Fender and mC to brighten the day from grey to rainbow.  They had a blast.  All you have to do is hot glue crayons (I used three boxes of 24) across a poster board ($1 at the dollar store) and then heat them up until they melt and run down the page!

We started with a hair dryer and realized the nozzle was too wide - the melted wax was splattering.  So I quickly switched to my embossing gun which has a more direct spot of heat.

It was a bit too "hot" of a project for Fender so he mostly handed me the crayons so that I could glue them on!  The best part is dC's idea to hang it upside down on Fender's wall.  Love that!

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