Monday, May 26, 2014

Make a Bird Feeder for Under $2

I have been trying to attract more birds. I built and put up some more birdhouses, added a bird bath, and wanted to add some more feeders. I found this quick and easy plan on Ana White's website.

This plan uses just one 6 foot cedar fence picket and took me less than an hour to build. I bought my picket from Menards when it was on sale for $1.18. That's not a bad price for a bird feeder!

For more details about the plan, please visit Ana White's website, but here are the steps that I took to build mine.

Needed Supplies:
6' cedar picket at 5 1/2" wide. The thickness may vary from board to board. (My plan is based off a 5/8" thickness.)
Saw (I used my miter saw, but any kind of saw that you have will work.)
1 1/4" nails, suitable for exterior use.
Wood glue, suitable for exterior use.
Screw Eye or Post

Step 1: Using a 6' x 5 1/2" cedar picket, cut the following pieces:

1 at 7" (bottom)
2 at 7 3/4" cut one end to a gable point at 45 degrees. (sides)
2 at 10" (roof)

Step 2: Connect the bottom to the sides. I first used wood glue for the initial connection. Then I pre-drilled nail holes and used galvanized 3D 1 1/4" nails that I had left over from another project. If you are going for looks, you may want to use stainless steel finishing nails.

Step 3: Measure the thickness of your board. Cut the thickness of your board off one of the roof board edges. My board was 5/8" thick, so I cut 5/8" off of one board so it measured 10" x 4 7/8".

Step 4: Connect the shorter roof to the sides. Again, I used wood glue and the 1 1/4" nails.

Step 5: Connect the longer roof to the sides and the top of the other roof.

Step 6: Measure the length from the outer edge of the side to the outer edge of the other side. This should be the length of the bottom plus the width of the two boards. In my case, it was 7" + 5/8" + 5/8" = 8 1/4".

Step 7: Cut the cedar picket at the length that you just measured. Then cut two 1 1/2" widths out of this board. You will have 2 pieces at 8 1/4" x 1 1/2" (side rails). You can discard the leftover piece.

Step 8: Connect the side rails to the bottom and the sides.

Step 9: Attach a screw eye if you want to hang it. If you prefer, you could attach it to the top of a post.

Step 10: Add bird food and wait for the birds to come.

This plan does not use the entire 6 foot picket. I had about 20" left. If you wanted to, you could make the feeder larger by extending the length and/or increasing the height. I would not make it much higher, as this feeder is open on the sides and the shorter height prevents too much precipitation from getting into the feeder.

This fast and easy plan would be a great project for kids to do and it is just in time for Father's Day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Knit Booties for a Baby Boy

My new nephew was born on Wednesday. My brother and sister-in-law did not find out the gender prior to the birth, so I couldn't make anything for the baby until afterwards.

I have found a few possibilities for some projects, but I wanted to give him something right away. I knit up this cute pair of booties. They lace up with a ribbon, just like tennis shoes, so they are not too pansy looking.

I found the pattern for these in Leisure Arts #75019, Baby Booties to Knit and Crochet
by Leisure Arts. I've had the booklet for 10 years. 
I think I made a few pairs of booties over the years, but this was the first time I used this pattern. They are cute, but they knit up bigger than what I expected. I can't wait to see them on little Zachary.
You can see more details for these booties and more of my projects on my Ravelry projects list.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

End of the School Year Student and Volunteer Gifts

I volunteer as a Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor at the local elementary school once a week. Tomorrow is our last day of Mentoring for this school year.

I put together a small gift for each of the kids in the program, as well as a gift for each adult Mentor. I needed 24 of these, so I needed them to be inexpensive, but still look cute.

For each of the kids, I took an individual package of Goldfish Crackers, a Kool-Aid Kool Burst, and a crazy straw.

I then made a little tag for each and attached it to the straw. The tag that I made says, "It's oFISHally summer. I hope it's CRAZY and KOOL!"

I put everything in a cute little cup. I think they turned out pretty cute and they cost less than $1.00 each to make! I hope the kids like them!

I also wanted to give something small to each of the other Mentors to show my appreciation for them participating in the program.

I bought some individual-sized Chips Ahoy cookies.

I made a tag that says, "Thanks for Chippin' in this year!"

I just used a piece of double-sided tape to attach it to the package.

These were extremely easy to make and they cost me only $.40 each to make. I like how they turned out and I hope the Mentors know that I appreciate them.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Knit Pee Pee Teepees

My brother and sister-in-law just had a baby boy. Until now, I have only had nieces, so I am excited to finally have a boy to make things for! Here is my first project for baby Zachary.

On Zachary's first day, my brother experienced what it was like to change a boy when Zach peed all over during the diaper change. I had used pee pee covers years ago when I babysat for a little boy. I went out on Ravelry and found a pattern for a Pee Pee Teepee. These little covers can be used to cover Zachary during diaper changes to prevent pee from going anywhere, while the diaper is off.

These knit up super quickly and were very easy to make. Although the pattern recommends wool yarn, I chose to use cotton yarn. That way it can be easily washed and dried, yet will be soft on Zachary's skin. 

This is the pattern I used. You can find the entire pattern and more details Twenty One Days blog.
Cast on 3 stitches
R1: Knit as I-cord (3 stitches)
R2: K1 as I-cord, k1m1, K1. (4 stitches)
R3: K1 as I-cord, k1m1, k1, k1m1 (6 stitches)
R4: Knit all as I-cord (6 stitches)
R5: Join in the round and knit all stitches. (6 stitches)
R6: K1M1 around (12 stitches)
R7: Knit all.
R8: (K2, K1M1)* repeat 3 times, k1. (15 stitches)
R9: Knit around.
R10: K1M1 around (30 stitches)
R11: Knit around.
R12: (K6, K1M1)* repeat 4 times, knit to end. (34 stitches)
R13-22 Knit around.

Bind off in knit loosely. Weave in the ends.

I made two of these. More details about this project, as well as my other knitting and crocheting projects, can be found on my Ravelry Project Page. Hopefully, these will come in handy and will keep everyone changing his diaper dry and clean!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Make a Birdhouse for under $1

I wanted to build some quick bird houses. I found this pattern on Ana White's Website. This pattern uses just one cedar fence picket to make two birdhouses. I bought a couple cedar fence pickets at Menards. The pickets were on sale for $1.18. That means only $.59 a birdhouse!

The project plan on Ana White's website is very detailed, but here are the steps that I took to make mine.

Needed Supplies:
6' cedar picket at 5 1/2" wide and 1/2" thick. (this will make 2 houses)
1 1/4" nails and screws, suitable for exterior use.
Wood glue, suitable for exterior use.

Step 1: Using a 5 1/2 inch wide x 6 foot cedar picket, cut the following pieces.
1 at 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"  (back)
2 at 5 1/2" x 5 1/2"  (top and bottom)
1 at 5 1/2" x 5"  (front)
2 at 5 1/2" x 4 3/4"  (sides)

Step 2: Connect the sides to the front. I used wood glue to initially connect them.

Step 3: I then used 1 1/4" nails to attach the sides to the front.

Step 4: Attach the back to the bottom.

Step 5: Attach the front and sides to the bottom.

Step 6: Attach the back to the sides.

Step 7: Attach the top to the sides. I used 1 1/4" screws for this step. When the birdhouse needs cleaning, I can easily remove the top using the screws.

Step 8: Drill a hole in the house. If you chose to add a perch you can, I chose not to add one to prevent any predators from trying to enter the house.

I made two birdhouses. Now, I just need to attach them to a tree or a post and wait for the birds to move in.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Last Minute First Communion or Mother's Day Gift

Do you need a last minute gift for a First Communion or Mother's Day? You can quickly and easily make this cute jewelry stand.

One of my nieces has First Communion tomorrow. I know she will be getting the traditional gifts from other people, so I wanted to give her something different. While looking at something else, I noticed the Jewelry Stand on the that's my letter blog. I know that my niece will probably be getting some jewelry, so I think this will be a perfect gift.

This is a quick, easy, and fairly cheap project. I did not follow the project plan on that's my letter exactly, but I did use it as a guide. Be sure to check out the blog, I've made other plan from her blog and she has lots of great ideas!

Step 1.
Cut your pieces.
You need the following:
2 - 1/4" x 1 1/2" cut at 6 1/2" (frame)
2 - 1/4" x 1 1/2" cut at 8" (frame)
2 - 1/2" dowel cut at 7 1/2" (cross dowels)
1 - 1" dowel cut at 13" (main dowel)
1 - 1/2" panel cut at 7 1/2" x 8 1/2" (base)

Step 2.
Make the frame. This part is easy. Just use some wood glue and clamp it together. Be sure to wipe up any excess glue. If you want, you can also secure it with finishing nails. I thought it was strong enough with just the glue, so I did not use any nails.

Step 3.
Glue the frame onto the base and clamp it down. Again, you can use finishing nails through the bottom of the base if you choose to further secure it, but I just used wood glue.

Step 4.
Using a 1/2" Spade drill bit, make two holes in the 1" dowel. You can put these holes wherever you want on the dowel.

Step 5.
Slide the 1/2" dowels into the holes that you just drilled.

Step 6.
I then made a small indent into the base of the stand using the spade bit. This is not necessary, but does help to keep the dowel steady when you attach it to the base. Now that you have both the base and the post completed, you will want to fill any imperfections in the wood with wood filler and sand any rough spots.

Step 7.

Paint. I used spray paint that I had left over from another project.

Step 8.
Glue in a felt bottom. I used adhesive spray to do this.

Step 9.
Attach the main dowel to the base. I used a 1 5/8" screw to do this.

Step 10.
I found some cute beads and some wood letters that were on clearance. I used craft tacky glue to attach the beads to each end of the dowels. I then painted the wood letters using craft paint and glued them to the base. When looking for beads, keep in mind that the main dowel is 1" and the cross dowels are 1/2" so the beads have to be on the large side. You can personalize your stand anyway that you want.

Step 11. Hang your necklaces and bracelets. You can put your rings and earrings in the base. Enjoy your jewelry stand!