Saturday, May 24, 2014

How to make homemade hummingbird nectar.

Hey All,

So this project popped up simply beacuse I saw a hummingbird in my backyard this morning. A quick Google search brought me to the conclusion of a ruby-throated hummingbird. I also learned that you could make your own nectar for a hummingbird feeder! The complete lowdown on all things ruby-throated hummingbird can be found here.
Female or young Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
You can make your own for much less and it will be better for the hummingbirds. Turns out that the food dye in the nectar is unnecessary and even harmful, so leave it out! A red feeder is more than enough color to draw them in. 
{ Thanks NC State University, I learned so much!}

Once I found out I could make my own nectar I set right to work, I bought a feeder ages ago but got turned off from filling it by how much the nectar was in stores. This was the perfect solution, AND with this new-found recipe I could make only as much as I needed to fill the feeder.

What you need:
  • Hummingbird Feeder
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Stove and pot
  • Measuring cup

The recipe is simple, 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. If your feeder held 4 cups of water you would mix in 1 cup sugar. I like to make only what will fit in my feeder so I filled my feeder up with water as seen below.

Then poured that water into a measuring cup to see how much sugar I would need. This particular feeder holds 2 cups of water so I need a 1/2 cup of sugar.

Place the pot filled with the water and sugar on the stove and heat until the sugar dissolves. I then place the hot sugar water back into the measuring cup and put it in the fridge to cool down. Once cool pour the nectar into the feeder and you are ready to go!

Some housekeeping notes with the feeder, you want to make sure the nectar doesn't go rancid so changing it out about every 5 days helps helps keep it fresh. It is also a good idea to wash out the feeder in between nectar fills to make sure everything stays safe for the hummingbirds!

Thanks all and hope you enjoy the hummingbirds!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Propagate Hydrangeas

Hello All!

Today I wanted to show you a trick for easily propagating hydrangeas. This is the time of year hydrangeas are getting trimmed back, so perfect timing to get cuttings to propagate!

First step is to get a cutting of a hydrangea. In our current place we don't have a hydrangea but our neighbor does and she lays the cuttings out in a branch pile so I scoop those up anytime I see them.

Now, the cuttings I used had been laying out for a couple days, so they look a little sad and wilty. The great thing about hydrangeas is they will bounce right back, they are very vocal about if they want water and once you give it to them, they perk right back.

If you are working off scraps from a fall trim up, you will want to section down those bigger branches into a couple smaller ones.
I always cut right above a leaf segment, then pull off any lower leaves, leaving just the top ones. 

So one of my typical cutting would be about this size.

Then my next trick I've learned, that seems bad, is cutting all the leaves in half or even smaller if they are really big leaves.

This may seem counterintuative to making the plant happy but it works since it decreases the water lost through the leaves. This is important at this point since they are just cuttings and have no root systems and can only take up so much water. Cutting the leaves will give the little cutting less to take care of and allow it to survive and put off roots.

This should give you an idea of what the typical cutting looks like when i'm done.

 You can even experiment if you want and cut the leaves on one and not on another and watch how droopy the full leaves will become! 
This may just be the scientist in me coming out, but experiments are fun!

And here are some I did yesterday that had sad wilty leaves, but with the leaves cut, have bounced back to nice firm leaves.

Just leave the critters in a glass of water by a sunny window and before you know it they will be shooting roots of the bottom, where you originally cut the stem.

 Once you have a nice strong set of roots you can go ahead and plant them in a flower pot. Here are some of the guys I rescued earlier this summer. They have been in the pots for a few months now and  they really took off once I put them in pots.

Here you can see one of the original cut leaves near the bottom, those cut ones usually fall off as the plant sets out new growth.

Since we just moved I don't have any pictures of these guys planted around our old house, but once the potted plants get a bit bigger and you have nice weather, you are ready to plant! The ones I just did, will stay inside all winter and will go out once the threat of frost is gone.
Well, hope this was helpful to you all!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DIY Stain-Aged Clothespin Holder {plants or pencils}

Hey All,

This is a nice low cost, quick craft you can make, probably with supplies already in your house. On top of being easy, you get a very versatile end result.

What you need:
  • Tuna can
  • 20 clothespins
  • Steel wool/vinegar stain

Now I first got the idea for this from Pamela Nguyen, found here. If you follow my crafts you may notice I  stain all wood with the steel wool/vinegar stain. I saw the new looking close pin holder and figured I could age that with my stain, and good news, it works!

I simply dipped the clothespin into my handy stock of steel wool/vinegar stain. {If you don't have a stock of this stain you should! Just put steel wool and vinegar in an old jar and throw under the sink}

Lay them out with some paper towel covered newspaper.
Freshly dipped clothespin
Clothespin after 5 minutes

If you get new clothespins they seem to be coated in a waterproofing of sorts and will wick away the stain. If you find blotches, similar to the ones above, run sand paper over them briefly and then re-dip.

Now you can use to your liking! I like to grow Hyacinth bulbs in water during the winter to have a splash of color and fragrance in those cold winter months. I also found they make a really cute pencil holder!

 Thanks all, hope you enjoy! 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Make a paint dipped basket without dipping!

Hey All!

So I may have been living under a rock lately, but I just came across the paint dipped basket phenomena.  I love the splash of color that can be added to a basket but don't really feel like going through the mess of dipping.

What you need:
  • Basket
  • Painter's tape
  • Paint of your choosing
  • Paint brush
First things first.
Find a basket, I found mine at a thrift store for .69 cents.

 Cats optional :)

Instead of dipping, I took painters tape and lined off a small area.

I picked turquoise craft paint and just brushed it on the basket under the tape.

Take the tape off and voila! A paint dipped looking basket without the hassle of dipping.

Super easy and relaxing in a way......
Anywho, hope you enjoy! 

linked up at: My Repurposed Life

Monday, September 16, 2013

DIY Shabby Chic Cottage Table Makeover

Hey All!

Lately I have found myself obsessed with flipping out of date furniture. The project I'm going to show you today started as an end table someone gave us a while ago.
 The top was heavily discolored but it made a good enough plant table for a while. When we moved into our townhouse it worked better as an entry way table to catch mail and such things, but the top was UGLY. Cue makeover!

What you need:
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Fine grit sand paper
  • Foam brushes
  • Wood glue
  • Vinegar and steel wool
  • Cedar boards (3/4x3) or anything you have handy
  • Saw to cut above mentioned boards
  • Polyurethane-Semi Gloss
  • Polycrylic-Satin
  • White paint

I started out by sanding the sucker down and slapping on two coats of white paint. I didn't put a coat of primer underneath; I wanted some of the color from the stain underneath to bleed into the paint and cut down on that bright whiteness of the paint. Probably a good idea to use primer, we shall see how it holds up!

I was a little excited while doing this so I didn't get any picture of the sanded table or what it looked like painted before the wood went on.

Here is the table after I cut the 3/4x3 cedar boards to fit onto the table and laid the boards in place.

I then took wood glue and simply put a line of glue on the bottom and then placed the boards on the table. I used clamps where I could for good measure. I also put dish clothes under the clamps to make sure there weren't any marks left behind.

After all the boards were glued on, I took my sander with medium coarse 100 grit to the edges to smooth them out, then used a fine 220 grit for a final smooth finish.

Then I got my vinegar and steel wool stain ready, again. I seriously love using this stuff as a stain, easy to use and cheap, plus it gives a really neat weathered look. This is the only kind of stain I use, you can see more of how it looks here, when I used it on some crates to make a rustic looking bookshelf.

Sorry for the iffy quality of these picture, but here is the vinegar/steel wool solutions being brushed on and reacting immediately.

Here is a look at the wood before staining and 5 minutes after the solution was applied.

Here it is after it dried.

The picture below is after one coat of a semi gloss polyurethane, the color did seem to deepen with each addition coat, so you may want to keep that in mind. I also applied a single coat of polycrylic to the painted portion for some protection.

 I  applied 3 coats  total of Minwax polyurethane semi gloss using a foam brush.

I was then left with a nice cottage looking table, that looks pretty spiffy if I do say so myself :)

Good luck with your own project and if you have any questions sound them off below!

Linked up at: My Repurposed Life

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Candle Wick Trimming-Quick Tip!

Hey All!

Today I have a Quick Tip! for trimming those newly purchased candle wicks. Every time I buy candles from a store they always try to sell me the $10 candle wick trimmer. Trimming the wick allows the candle to burn slower and extend the life of the candle, so I almost always get one but talk myself out of it. I've tried using scissors and never get the best results, then I had one of those duh moments.
Nail Clippers! 
Why have I never thought to use these before?? They give the nice flat cut and I already have one!
I'll also use the clippers to keep wick trimmed throughout the candles life to help extend burn time. 

Well, I might be slow to this nail clipper realization but maybe it can help y'all.

P.S. Thanks Debbie for the wonderful new candle :)

Toodles all!

Monday, July 29, 2013

DIY Five Minute Earrings!

Hey all!

Since moving, I'm all about simple, easy crafts and I have another quick gem to share today. I have no experience in jewelry making, but a post by Young and Crafty about earrings, found here, made me think I could give it a try.

Good news! It really is easy to make a pair of earrings, even without any particular jewelry making skill.

What you need:
  • "Fish hook" ear-wires-86 pieces(42 pairs) for $3.99
  • Slim nose pliers for jewelry making- this one from Amazon is about $10-nice to work with, but not necessary
  • Pendant for earrings-the bird ones I used were $2.99 from AC Moore

I took my slim/needle nose pliers and placed them in the loop of the "fish hook" ear-wire and opened the loop just enough for my pendant to fit on.

Then, I used the pliers and closed the loop.

 That's it! You have simple, quick earrings that you can personalize any way you want!

This is the beginning of a wonderful new addiction for me.
Have fun with your own creations! I'd love to see any designs you all come up with. : )

Thanks for tuning in!