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.

Advent Box

This is something we started last year. Hubby and I noticed that all the small gifts we carefully chose and wrapped for the kid’s stocking were, not ignored really, more like overshadowed, by the bigger gifts on Christmas morning. Who could blame them really? A bookmark or some lip balm really can’t stand up to the latest video game or that sweater you really wanted. The Advent box was an attempt to remedy that.

We decided that we wanted to have a gift opened everyday in December but to give everyone a gift every day was going to be expensive. Luckily our family of five divides nicely into the days before Christmas (with one day where hubby and I both open one) so we decided we would get five gifts for each person and alternate opening them. I like this because 1. it lasts all month, 2. it lends a bit of anticipation to things and 3. it lets everyone have the spotlight (and not have it).

Here is the nitty gritty:

1. Gift prices range from $1-$5 with most being $2 and under,

2. In order to differentiate one person’s gifts from another we each have a different wrapping paper.

3. No food (candy and treats are for stockings)

These are just our family’s rules, you certainly can make your own or forgo them altogether! I think guidelines are helpful though so you don’t get one person receiving $10 gifts and others $1.

Now I had to come up with the Advent box itself.

Basically I started by wrapping an open box in wrapping paper. I chose a red paper with tiny white polka dots.

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This is last year’s box so it’s a little worse for wear but you get the idea. The unwrapped inside doesn’t matter as you will see soon.

Next you take some of that fake snow “fabric” that is typically used under trees…

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and place it into the box so it lines the inside.

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There will be some hanging over the sides and that’s OK.

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I have to fold my piece of snow fabric in half to make it fit right but you may not have too. It all depends on how big your box is.

I don’t attach the snow at all, but you certainly can if you like. If you want to do that I suggest waiting until after you put the gifts in because they will pull the fabric down a bit.

Next you wrap your gifts…

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and stick those puppies in the box!

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I like to use paper with all different colors, but you could easily use a color scheme if you like.

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and I love these little bows! I got them at Walmart for about $1 for a tube of five.

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We have a lot of fun with this! It really makes you think when you have a small budget. Sometimes the gifts lean toward white elephant while other times you really score (like with the black Friday $1.97 DVDs this year).

One of my son’s favorite gifts last year was a set of Angry Birds lip balm. Some other ideas are hand lotion, glade candles, holiday socks, lip gloss, small bottles of booze (for me and hubby), bookmarks, fancy hair elastics (we are a family of cheerleaders after all), dollar tree mugs, colored or holiday pencils and small tools.

Whatever you choose, every gift gets appreciated, and that’s the whole idea!

Beachy Christmas Ornament

Here I go again with the beachy versions of winter stuff.

I finally found some clear, fillable ornaments and was so excited (yeah I know) to try my hand at making one of the many (many, many) versions on Pinterest!

Problems appeared. I had no Holiday themed sprinkles for this one…

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or floor polish for this one…

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or fake snow with little trees for this one…

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What I did have was some left over beach sand and shells from my badly executed Summer Sand Globe. I also had a few smaller shells I had purchased while in Bar Harbor this summer.

Game on.

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All ready…

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l
ittle non-native shells

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l
arger native stuff

First you put some sand into the ornament…

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not too much or it gets really heavy!

Then you add some beachy stuff like shells, dried seaweed and such.

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and trimmed it out with some ribbon!

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(
please ignore the ramen in the background)

I like how this came out. It’s much nicer than the sand globe and will be the perfect gift for a certain land locked friend of mine 🙂

I do wish it was a little more colorful but without the addition of sea glass, which is very hard to find, there is no real way to add color and still be authentic.

Oh well, I will stick with realism!

My beachy Christmas ornament? Well…

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it’s authentic!!

Glitter Dino

OK…truth is I saw so many people make these Glitter Dinosaurs for the Pintester Movement that I kind of felt left out.

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Then the boy decided to clean his room and discovered a whole tub of plastic dinosaurs he didn’t want. It was fate, I snitched me one and got to glittering!

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First the dark parts…

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then the lighter bits…

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Then I gave her a beautiful Christmas manicure!

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Of course I forgot to screw the dinosaur before I started this makeover but I’m sure I can screw her later.

I feel like one of the cool kids now.

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Paperbag Gingerbread Man

I am on a mission. A Christmas craft mission.

The first craft I decided to try was the Gingerbread Ornament from Patternpage.com

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I assembled all my supplies and got to work!

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We have paper bags, pencils, sharpies, a cookie cutter (more on that in a bit)  and leftover spider’s web for stuffing. Also the glue gun that didn’t make the picture.

Of course nothing goes smoothly here. The pattern was too big for the little lunch sized bags I have so I had to trace a cookie cutter.

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Next I cut out the gingerbread men and put hot glue around the edges of the two pieces of paper and stuck them together. Then I stuffed the gingerbread man with webbing and sealed up the edges. I didn’t get any pictures of that because, quite frankly, I was too busy burning my fingers and getting webbing stuck in the glue but here is a picture of it all done:

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It was not easy stuffing that sucker and I did not get the glue near enough to the edges so his arms and legs don’t have enough stuffing. If you look closely you can see that we had a little stuffing hemorrhage on the left side of his neck. Also he is very plain.

The example gingerbread man is nicely decorated with ribbon and buttons. I did not have any of that.

I did have some fake holly though…

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although it ended up looking like a Christmas themed clown bow tie. For some reason we decided he needed eyes but turns out they just make him look afraid. I tried to attach some wire to hang him with but, although it worked it does NOT  look good 😦

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So. I ended up with a frightened Christmas clown with flaccid arms and legs whose insides are leaking out and also burned fingers (mine not Holly boy’s).

Fa la la la fail.

At least I didn’t have to buy anything.

Pose-able Mummy

I got this idea from Family Chic

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an adorable little mummy you can pose!

For this you need:
Flexible wire
Muslin
Wire Clips

I wanted to make this an upcycle project so I asked hubby if he had any wire I could use.

He gave me this:

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Wire cutting pliers and some more of that copper wire we used in the ill fated wine bottle bird feeder.

Works for me!

I bent that sucker into  a vaguely human shaped shape.

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I wanted to make his arms longer but I had just enough to make it as is.

Now for the “wrapping”. I didn’t have any muslin but I did have some rolled gauze left over from when my dad had surgery.

But not much. So I had the idea to bulk up my mummy form before putting the gauze on by wrapping it in duck tape first.

I planned to use white tape but found out it had been used up by my husband when he installed the AC units this spring (what? Can’t you use the regular silver kind for that?).

All I had left was zebra tape.

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Good news is…mummy look FABULOUS!

Once you got all the gauze on (all 2 rolls) he looked more mummy-like.

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and he certainly is pose-able!

Although when I tried to sit him like the mummy in the picture, I ended up with this:

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so apparently my wire was not as flexible as it could have been. Also, his arms are too short.

All in all I was happy with him. He is super cute and is pose-able, if a little stiff. It was pretty easy too, and not expensive, even if I had to buy wire and gauze (or muslin).

I do suggest you invest in the right wire if you are going to make this, and make sure your mummy’s limbs are plenty long. Also, skipping the duct tape step (or not adding it) would be a good idea.

My take on tiny. moveable mummies?

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FABULOUS baby!

DIY Shrinky Dinks

I found the idea for these DIY Shrinky Dinks on Curbly.

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Basically, you draw on some #6 plastic with sharpies and then cook it in the oven for a bit and they shrink like shrinky dinks. Pretty cool! I loved those things when I was a kid.

This was pretty easy too since I had some #6 plastic just hanging around.

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The rectangular one looks cloudy because it got dirty and I scratched the living heck out of it trying to get the salad dressing off it. didn’t work either. I finally had to use windex.  The pin said clean plastic, I made it clean.

The next step is to cut off the sides so that you have a flat piece of plastic…

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The circular piece reminded me of candy corn so I separated the wedge shaped bits and colored them…

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What was left looked kind of like a snowflake to me so I colored it with a silver sharpie. At this point I started thinking snow so I drew a snowman shape on the flat piece, punched a hole in it for a hanger and placed them all on a foil lined cookie sheet. My hope was that I would get a Christmas ornament out of this but really, I just wanted to see if it would work.

The directions said to put foil directly on the rack to hold the pieces but I knew that would end badly for my clumsy self so I went with the cookie sheet for easier removal.

Here are all my pieces before…

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and after.

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It worked! Of course some worked better than others. I like how the snowman came out and some of the candy corn came out well too, but others were a bit curly.

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And that “snowflake”?

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It ended up looking more like a squashed bug.

According to the instructions you should be able to flatten out the curly ones if you act fast enough, but I guess I wasn’t fast enough.

Anyway…I did like how most of these turned out and I think that I will try them again soon. I’m calling it a win even though some of them were seriously messed up. I think i will try tracing some pictures instead of freehanding it since an artist I ‘aint.

My daughter says she would like to make some too so it looks like another trip to the salad bar is in order!

UPDATE!

I made another ornament this morning. At the request of my daughter I made a stained glass type ornament using an image from Daily Coloring Pages.

After tracing, coloring and cutting it out, into the oven it went…

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You can’t really tell from the photo but that’s about 3″ in diameter.

Here it is when it was done it looked like this:

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I really like how it came out but will start with a larger image next time. Also, I forgot to punch a hole to hang this “duh”.