Orange Bird Feeders

Today I am finishing up the bird feeders/decorations for our Christmas tree, which is now sitting outside in the snow.

I decided to try and make the Natural Bird Feeders from Lady of the Arts.

For this you need:

Peanut butter
oranges
bird food
we also used some oatmeal

Here’s my prep.

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It’s pretty simple.

First slice the oranges in half…

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then you gut them. We found the easiest way to do that was to segment it like a grapefruit and then scoop out the segments.

You end up with orange shells like these.

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Throw the orange guts into a bowl with the peanut butter, oatmeal and bird seed…

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stir that stuff up…

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and stuff the orange bowls!

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I didn’t bother to string these so I could hang them because we planned on just setting them right on the branches of the tree.

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We ended up doing the same thing with most of the cookies since they never did solidify enough to support their own weight while hanging.

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At least the cheerio ornaments hung properly!

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You ended up not being able to see most of the “decorations due to us having to lay them in there rather than hang them but here is the finished tree..

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Ta Da?

Hopefully the birds enjoy it.

Cheerio Bird Ornaments

I have my bird cookies stashed in the freezer and we decided to go with something easier this time around.

I chose Cheerio bird feeders from Happy Hooligans (and yes, everyone in this house is old enough to drive, your point?)

I told we opted for easy.

Basically you need pipe cleaners and cheerios.

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You just make a loop on one end so the cereal doesn’t slide off…

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a
nd start threading those little buggers on there!

Make sure to leave enough pipe cleaner un-threaded so that you can make a hook or loop to hang the ornament!

We had a great deal of fun making these.

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This was one of my favorites…

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So that’s it. Told you it was easy.

Tomorrow I am going to make another type of bird feeder and then we decorate the tree. Honestly I am hoping it will be warmer then, we had a high of 12F today (and don’t worry the birds already have food).

Bird Food Cookies

One of our family traditions is that when we take our tree down we put it in the yad and decorated it for the birds. In the past that has consisted mostly of suet and those peanut butter and bird seed covered pine cones with a few hanging fruit slices and maybe a popcorn and dried fruit garland.

This year we decided to branch out a little.

I have tried in the past to make bird food ornaments for the tree but they always fell apart. I hit Pinterest and found out what I was missing…gelatin.

I used the instructions A Day in First Grade for Bird Feeeder Ornaments.

pictures for my blog.116

This calls for:

-a packet of gelatin
-bird seed
-cookie cutters
-boiling water
– waxed paper on a cookie sheet

I ran into trouble right away because I only had lime jello…and no waxed paper.

Since it was freezing and snowing out, I went with it.

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I boiled my water and added 1/4C to the packet of Jello, then poured in the 3/4 C of bird seed. It looked soupy to me so I added 1/4 C more.

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I
t still looked a little soupy but I thought “what the hell” and continued.

At this point you are supposed to put your cookie cutters on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet and fill them in with the gelatin coated bird seed. When I did this a strange thing happened.

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T
here was a little seepage…

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O
K…a lot of seepage.

At this point I put it in the fridge and hoped for the best.

After about 1/2 an hour I pulled them out and checked to see if they were setting at all.

When I picked them them up, this is what I saw.

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And one of the cutters came off, leaving the formed ornament behind.

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Which I was then able to pick up with a spatula…

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and stick a pipe cleaner in it to hang it up.

However, when I tried to do the same with one of the other ornaments we had a little collateral damage…

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We can rebuild him, we have the technology!

In the end I just stuck them as is on a clean piece of tin foil and put them on the porch.

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Since it’s currently -2 F and dropping I’m betting that they were frozen before I finished this post, but I’m too cold to go check.

Wet Felting in Bags

Every year on Christmas Eve we pick a country, cook some food from it (their traditional Christmas food if we can find it) and do a craft from there as we watch a Christmas movie.

This year we chose Latvia. Things got downgraded a bit due to illness and weather but we still had a good time with it! We cooked Bacon Buns, small pies, beans, gingerbread (we did cookies ‘cuz that is what I had) and we were going to have sausage and cabbage but that didn’t work out. The food was good…

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and so was the movie. We watched Arthur Christmas and if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you need to. Seriously.

The craft we chose was felting. Wet felting to be exact.

I read that the tradition started when soldiers packed their shoes with sheep’s wool which then felted from the heat and sweat of their feet.

Ew. But also kind of cool.

We decided to try doing it in a ziplock bag as described in this tutorial by Kleas. The title of the post is actually “Felting with Kids” so I felt we had a good chance of being successful here.

Basically you make your pattern…

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Then you carefully place them in a ziplock with hot, soapy water, make sure all the wool is soaked then squeeze out the extra water..

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then seal up the bag and rub/pound/poke the heck out of it.

We had varying degrees of success. Daughters did not hold together as well as mine did, but even mine lost on of it’s holly berries. The red, in particular, didn’t seem to want to stick.

Here’s what they looked like as they were drying.

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Everything looked fluffier after drying but her’s never really held together. I suspect that we were a little to impatient and didn’t pummel it long enough. I actually tried to re-do mine but that second berry still didn’t want to stay attached. We may not have used enough soap as well but neither soap quantity or length of wool abuse was specified so we may never know.

I do have a couple of tips for you if you want to try this. Make sure you use enough wool roving when you make the background. If you don’t it will end up ropey like the back of daughter’s did.

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My back looked better…

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but not perfect and that darn berry never did attach to the front!

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(
sorry about the horrible picture but it was freezing in the room with good lighting).

I’m hoping that with a little hot glue it might look OK in a frame.

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or maybe not.

Shortbread Bites

I have been doing my Christmas baking this week and was looking for another cookie to fill in the spaces in some tins I was putting together.

These little lovelies looked perfect!

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Santa’s Shortbread Bites from Baked Perfection

Aren’t they adorable? I even had all the ingredients!

I think my first mistake was not using a food processor. I wasn’t sure if a “knife blade” was the same as the regular blade so I decided to do it by hand. I measured and mixed flour and sugar. I cubed up the butter and started combining. After a ridiculous amount of time it finally formed a ball. A crumbly ball, but a ball none the less!

My next mistake was not taking the hint when it was nearly impossible to “flatten the dough” at all, never mind into a 8″ x 5″ rectangle. I persevered and managed to cut a sheet full of 1/2″-ish cubes and stuck them in the oven. They were inherently unstable though, and just bumping the cookie sheet on the way into the oven made them crumble a bit.

At this point I was feeling a bit frustrated so I decided to wrap up the rest of the dough and put it in the fridge to see if that helped it hold together better.

20 minutes late I removed the cookies from the oven…

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Um…not quite.

They tasted good though so I thought “maybe the rest of the dough in the fridge set up!” and I went and got it and unwrapped it.

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Nope.

At this point I gave up.

Shortbread Bites?

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Waste of butter 😦

Coffee Sugar Scrub

Daughter and I were looking for something to make her teachers for Christmas.

Said something has to be:

1. Easy, as Daughter has to be able to do most of it herself.
2. Cheap, because poor
and
3. gluten free and milk free so Daughter can work with it and not get exposed to anything she shouldn’t.

After perusing Pinterest I decided to try a sugar scrub. I liked this recipe from Happy Mothering:

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I also like this one from Hairspray & Highheels:

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I ended up sort of combining the two and putting my own twist on it.

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I
 used:
3/4 C coffee grounds
1/4 C used coffed grounds
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C olive oil
1 TBSP ground ginger
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Now, I didn’t really have any used grounds since we have a Kuerig machine so I broke open a couple of those suckers!

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Here is all the dry stuff in a bowl:

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Then I added the oil….

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At this point I figured out that I should have mixed up the dry stuff before adding the oil but too late now!

Once it was all mixed up…

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I transferred it to a jar I had been saving.

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You can’t really tell in the photo but there is still a label attached to the other sides of the jar. This was basically a trial run so that scrub will be transferred to a better container (along with the rest still left in the bowl) once I buy some small mason jelly jars. Since as far as I can figure this recipe should fill 3-4 of those jars Daughter will need to make 2 more batches to cover all her teachers and therapists gift-wise. It’s easy enough for her to do on her own and cheap enough too, since we have plenty of ground coffee and spices!

Coffee Sugar Scrub=Teacher gifts success!!

Edited to add….we made some more scrub and found cute containers for teacher gifts 🙂 I ended up printing some labels for the tops too.

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Tree in a Jar

I really wanted to do another Mason jar craft. After looking over Pinterest I decided on this one:

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from Seeing Ink Spots.

However when I went to assemble my supplies I realized I was out of the big mason jars. I did have little jelly jars though. No problem, I’ll just make a little tree!

Here we go!

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Since everything was going to be in miniature I decided to skip the spool base and attach the tree directly to the cover. I was going to use epsom salt for “snow” but apparently the bag I had of it is gone. Plan B was to make some spider web snow cover. I also dug out the silver glitter hairspray which I planned to spray the “snow” with.

First I cut some trunks from the silver pipe cleaners and branches from the green ones.

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Then I attached the branches to the trunk…

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and attached it to the cover.

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Then I covered the inside of the cover with webbing snow…

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and sprayed it all with glitter, including the inside of the jar.

I had to trim the tree. Trim as in cut the branches not decorate them. The snow is all bunched up from the cover being screwed on.

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This is it with the cover on.

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Yah…not so cute.

I like the idea of this, and I’m sure it would have come out better full sized. I may actually try again when I have a bigger jar and more pipe cleaners but for now? Definitely a fail.