Monthly Archives: May 2010

Bird Feeder, Finished!

Remember the bird feeder I started making with just found materials?  I finally was able to finish it this morning.

Pinecone covered in peanut butterI used some cheap-o peanut butter (that’s important, because you’ll use almost the whole jar) and spread it on the pine cones with a knife, filling all the holes.  Try to get the top and bottom.  It can get messy, so hold on to the pinecone at the top, where it is connected to the braided yarn.

peanut butterThen pour your bird seed into a bowl, and roll the sticky-peanut buttery-pinecone in the seed.  I just got a cheap, “no sprout” mix from my local gardening store, but you can choose multiple kinds of seeds tailored to attracting certain birds.

Then hang your completed bird feeder from a tree and enjoy!

Finished bird feeder

If you missed Part 1 of this tutorial, check it out here.

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Carrying Yarn

I read this post about strangers bonding over knitting in a San Francisco park despite age, cultural and language barriers, and thought it was the sweetest thing (I may have even cried, but I’m not telling).  However, the one thing that really stuck with me was the mention of keeping unused colors tightly wrapped around the edge…I realized that I’d never knit with more than one color yarn before!  I had used self-striping, multi-colored yarn but that was the easy way out.  It was time to learn to “carry yarn,” also known as “stranding.”  Luckily, it was easier than I thought!  Basically, you just wrap the color you are switching to around the color you just finished using.

Here is a video from Lion Brand Yarn showing how to simply carry yarn which really helped me.

Ribbed scarf

And this is my scarf so far (I say “so far” because I need to go buy more yarn to make it longer).  It’s knit with a simple ribbed pattern: Row 1&2: K2 P2 (28 stitches) in 1st color.  Row 3&4: K2 P2 in 2nd color. Thats it!  This is the thickest yarn I’ve ever used, and it knits up so quickly.  Sometimes a really quick project with fast results is just what you need to feel accomplished. 🙂

UPDATE: I’m really not exaggerating when I say the cat thinks any craft I do is made just for her.  (Hence her nickname Knitty Kitty…she comes running whenever I start crafting and will watch me knit for hours).  See photo evidence of my one-eyed, cactus-haired little monster below:

Stella's new scarf

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How to Make: Origami Stars

Origami stars are one of the easiest and most fun crafts to make.  Plus they are SUPER KAWAII!  You can buy paper made specifically for this purpose in Japanese stores, but it’s just as easy to make your own (and then you have a bazillion more options for patterns and colors!)

Origami Star SuppliesCut the paper of your choice into strips.  I take 12×12 scrapbook paper and cut it into 1/2 x 11 inch strips using a rotary cutter.  Any paper will work, just as long as it isn’t too thick like cardstock.  Also, you can cut thicker or thinner strips for different sized stars.

origami star knotMake a knot close to one end of your paper.  Pull it tight without overlapping any of the sides, to create a 5 equal sided pentagon.  Fold over/tuck in the short end.

origami star foldBegin folding the remaining strip over and over your pentagon.  The angles will automatically line up along each side of the pentagon.  Fold as crisply as possible.

Flat origami starWhen you have an end that’s too short to fold anymore, tuck it into the previous fold. Now you have a flat pentagon.

Puffing up the origami starHold onto two edges and press the opposite edge in with you fingernail.  Repeat with the remaining sides.  This will puff up your little paper pentagon into a star!

origami starAnd that’s it! Use these cute little stars for whatever you want.  You can write little wishes/compliments on the inside and fill a jar with them as a gift.  I have two long strands of them in my craftroom that are bright and cheery.

Like anything I make, my cat thinks the stars are a toy for her.  Here is a video of her attacking the stars, which no matter how often I clean up, I seem to find in every room of my house.

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Pinecone Bird Feeders-for Adults!

Bird FeederRemember those old-school bird feeders that you made in preschool?  They consisted of a pine cone, peanut butter and birdseed, with maybe some yarn ties around the top.  Recently, I wanted a birdfeeder to hang outside of my front window (to entertain the indoor cat–don’t judge me!).  I looked at nurseries and home improvement stores, but was surprised how expensive the available bird feeders were!  Also I needed a rather large/long birdfeeder since I would have to hang it from a tree branch higher than the top of the window.  Thus, the pinecone/peanut butter method came to mind.  I knew there had to be a way to use the same old technique but make it look fresh and modern.

Bird Feeder simple supplies On a recent walk around our neighborhood, I found 5 pinecones.  I tried to just find ones with open areas so the peanut butter would really stick in there.  I also found a huge stick and had my boyfriend break it over his knee so that it was around 2 1/2 feet long.  (When collecting pine cones it’s useful to have a bf that won’t mind carrying them home in his jacket pockets…even if he does find a colony of earwigs in his jacket after the fact…whoops!)

I used some cheap-o ribbon yarn and braided various lengths (with the idea that the braids would be stronger than a single piece of yarn, but feel free to ignore that step if you’re short on yarn).  Braid not-too-loose, not-too-tight.

Stella's new "toy" Slip the top of the pinecone in thru one end of your braid, and slip the other end over your stick (that’s where the not-too-tight braiding comes in handy).  Lastly, use a long braid over each end of the stick and your structure is complete!  My kitty thinks that this is a new toy for her to bat around.

All that’s left is to coat the pinecones in peanut butter and then bird seed!

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Apron Hanger

Apron HangerThis sweet little guy is one of my favorite belongings.  When my 12 year old sister was visiting, we went to SCRAP (my favorite store in the entire world) together, and I found this plain little wooden hanger there in a bin of scrap wood for 25 cents.  I asked my sis to paint it for me and I just love the way it came out.  I love that the whole project only cost 25 cents since I already had various paints and brushes, and I love how it’s personalized by my sister (and she chose great colors!).   Now it holds my aprons in the kitchen.  Cheap, personalized, and useful: what’s not to love?!

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