Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DIY Tin Can Bird Feeder #2

To celebrate the last week of National Bird Feeding Month, L and I made these adorable TIN CAN BIRD FEEDERS! They are really easy to make, look beautiful and cost nothing...just go digging through your recyclables! Not only will the birds love this winter treat, this bird feeder would make a fantastic gift for your children to make for a friend, parent or grandparent! 

Materials needed:
-tin can w/ lid
-wooden paint stirrer
-acrylic paints
-hot glue gun
-glossy sealant (optional)
-church key can and bottle opener (optional)
-bird seed

First, make sure your can is clean and remove the label.

Using your hands, carefully bend the lid of the can in half. Using pliers, squeeze it flat.

Using the hot glue gun, glue the paint stirrer inside the can. You can break the stirrer if it's too long. This will be the birds' perch.

Next, glue the bent lid back into the can as pictured. Try not to make a huge mess with the hot glue gun, but if the glue shows it is no big will paint over it next. 

Paint the can any way you like. 

After the paint dries, you can use the can opener to make holes in the can from where you'll hang it on a string. On one of our cans I placed two holes on the top...this bird feeder will hang from an old clothes line end. 

On our second can I made holes in the back of the bird feeder...this one we will tie onto a fence. I was careful to put the holes in the can after we painted it, because I wanted to avoid any sharp edges while L was handling the bird feeder.

If you'd like your bird feeder to have a shiny, glossy finish, spray the can with a glossy sealant. It only takes 15-30 min to dry and will help protect the paint as well!

Thread string through the holes of the bird feeder and fill with bird seed!

Now, find the perfect spot to hang your TIN CAN BIRD FEEDER! We placed one of ours right outside our kitchen window...the girls will love watching their little wildlife friends snack throughout the day! (The first bird we catch on camera I'll be sure to update to the blog and share on our FaceBook page!) Enjoy!

In case you missed it, here's the first DIY TIN CAN BIRD FEEDER we made! Another fun nature craft!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

DIY Toy Vacuum (that Really Cleans!!!)

I love showing my kids that with a little creativity and a basketful of recycling materials you can make just about anything! One morning L woke up asking me to make her a vacuum...strange request, but I accepted the challenge. My thoughts immediately went to that toy vacuum from yesteryear with the popping balls inside. Kids love those things because of the noise they make, so I knew ours had to be similar. The only thing to improve upon that vacuum would be to make one that cleans as well! So here you have it -- a toy vacuum that essentially costs you nothing (assuming you have all the materials) and it actually cleans the floors while your kid plays! 

Materials needeed:
-Swiffer sweeper w/ dry swiffer pad
-empty milk carton
-plastic container (like one berries come in)
-plastic beads
-duct tape
-paper towel tube (optional)
-hot glue gun

First, using scissors or a knife, cut a little window on the front of the milk carton. Cut a piece of clear plastic off of the plastic container to cover the window.

Using a hot glue gun, carefully glue the clear plastic in place over the "window."

Cover the entire milk carton in duct tape. Make sure you cover up the glued edges of the plastic window as well...this should eliminate any sharp or pointy edges.

Next, have your little one help you drop beads into the carton. A few handfuls will do. Screw the lid back on the carton.

If your Swiffer sweeper's handle has removable links (which I think they all do), remove the two middle ones to make it a more suitable height for your child.

Now the next step you can do in two ways: you can tape the milk carton directly onto the Swiffer may be more secure, but it may also leave some duct tape residue on the Swiffer. (That would be the more permanent option.) Or, you can glue and tape a paper towel tube onto the back of the milk carton and slide it onto the Swiffer's handle. We went with the later...I thought it may jiggle more and make a louder, bead-popping sound too!

Now to clean floors...just replace the Swiffer pad as you would normally do and let your child go to work! (I mean play!) I really thought ours would last a couple weeks, but we're going on 4 months now and every week L asks if she can help "vacuum" the floors. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow Candles

Ever since I was a kid I've always wanted to try making candles in the snow and today was the day!!! Such a cool experiment! I just love how they turned out! The sides of the SNOW CANDLES have this beautiful texture created by the crystals of snow. Just like snowflakes, each snow candle is unique! 

This is definitely a craft that should be done with adult supervision, though it is a fun one for kids of all ages. 

Materials needed:
-paraffin wax
-candle wicks
-med/large pot for water
-tin can or candle pouring pot

First, decide what color you want your candles to be. Pick out 5 or 6 crayons all similar in color. L chose purples for our candles. Using a knife, cut a slit down the side of the crayon papers and peel the paper off. 

Fill your pot with water about an inch high. Next place your pouring pot or tin can in the water creating a double boiler. (If using a tin can, make sure it is clean and the paper has been removed.) Place 3 blocks of paraffin wax and your crayons into the pouring pot or can. Bring the water to a boil, then turn the heat down to med-low so it's at a simmer. ***Never melt wax directly on the stove top without the double boiler! The high heat may cause a fire!***

Watch as the crayons and wax melt completely. Turn the stovetop off as you go outside to prepare your candle molds.

Outside you'll need about a foot of snow. If the snow isn't deep enough, you can use your hands to pile it up and lightly pack it down. Using a stick or a spoon handle, dig a little hole in the snow. We made ours about 4 inches deep and 1 to 2 inches wide. 

Back inside, turn the stove back on for a couple minutes to heat up the wax again. Gather your candle wicks. When you're ready, carefully remove the pouring pot or tin can (using an oven mitt) and quickly go outside to pour the wax into your molds. After a couple minutes, insert the wicks into your candles and hold in place until the wax hardens a bit...about 4-5 minutes. 

Leave your candles in the snow for an hour to harden completely. As the wax hardens, the candles take on their funky shape and texture. So cool!

Once they have hardened, carefully dig the candles out of the snow with your hands. Inside, use a knife to shave off some of the bottom of the candles if needed, so they will sit flat. Using scissors, trim the wicks to 1/2 inch high.

Arrange on a dish or in a large bowl, add some decorative "fairy stones" if you like and enjoy!!! Beautiful!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

DIY Chocolate Orange Sugar Scrub

As we move towards Spring, I keep thinking of citrus, lemon-blueberry muffins, lemonade and sunshine! Unfortunately though, we're not quite there yet...wind chills today in the negative digits! I think it was 4 degrees out when we woke up this morning! Brrr... And let me tell you, this cold weather is not helping the chocolate addiction I acquired over the holidays. So with all that stirring around inside of me, I dreamed up this CHOCOLATE ORANGE SUGAR SCRUB and it is divine!!! Just what I needed today! This would be great to use in the bath or shower!

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp olive oil (almond oil or coconut oil)
~15 drops (1/2 tsp) Sweet Orange oil
1-2 tsp orange zest (optional)

First, mix together the sugars with a fork. If your brown sugar is clumpy, try to mix until most of the clumps are gone.

Mix in the 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder.

Next, stir in the olive oil one Tbsp at a time. Some olive oils are pretty potent...if you have almond or coconut oil on hand you can certainly substitute that for the olive oil. I'm all about using what I already have though...and it turned out great!

Once the olive oil is added, stir in some Sweet Orange Oil. (I found mine in the organics section of our grocery store.) To really bring the aroma up a notch, add about 2 tsp of orange zest to the scrub! Now it is certainly good enough to eat, but even better to exfoliate your skin with in the bathtub! The sugars will scrub away any dry, dead skin and the oil will leave you with just the right amount of moisture. 

Spoon your concoction into 2 for you and one for a friend! Enjoy!!!