Posts tagged ‘easy project’

Homes that are truly for the birds: how to

So the daily blogging thing comes and goes on here, as you may have noticed. Work has been crazy, life has been crazy, the house is a mess, the computer was under repair …. and to be honest, what I really needed for awhile was to disconnect from the world a bit. I love being connected. I love people. But sometimes, between Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, news feeds, Google Reader, work emails … the amount of information is overwhelming. Sometimes, I just need to disconnect for a bit and recharge.

What better timing and chance than this beautiful Easter weekend? Two full days of sun, warm temperatures, warm soil and a relatively free schedule. I buried myself in the garden, and enjoyed alfresco lunch with my long lost husband who has been overwhelmed with work and grad school. Weeding, pruning, planting herb seeds (slow bolt cilantro, three kinds of basil, dill, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, oregano, lavander), green onion bulbs and wildflowers. Building a partial fence around our back garden so the dogs can’t destroy it now that our backyard is fenced in. Where they previously ran rampant and destroyed, is now a beautiful black iron fence and even better, green things are returning to the garden! (Still much work is needed, so please only look at the fence :))

One dog was particularly glad to accompany me with so much time spent outside:

Back to the main theme, though: birdhouses. I was inspired when reading the April 2010 edition of Country Living and looking at the stunning gardens that were featured. One included four birdhouses, of different shapes, painted the same color and installed on stilts amidst the garden. It was beautiful. I decided I had to have birdhouses, and then about fell over when I saw the price (especially as I was wanting 5 of them).

So, I was determined to semi-make my own. Sure, you could make your own entirely from scratch, but this is much easier.

What you will need:

4 unfinished wooden birdhouses, similar sizes, with different shapes. I found mine at Michaels, where there were about 8 designs to choose from, and all sold for $4.99 regular price. (Though they were on sale for $3.99 when we bought them)

1 can Rustoleum (or similar brand) primer

1 can Rustoleum paint (I used 2 cans because I wanted 2 different colors)

1 can Rustoleum clear gloss sealer paint

1 tube water resistant epoxy glue

2 packages 72-120 inch adjustable closet rods (we found some at Home Depot. For $13, you get 2 6-foot-long poles that can be easily driven into the ground. This was much cheaper than the $15 birdhouse poles we found at WalMart, and saved us about $19 per birdhouse)

Large black trashbags

Layout large black trash bags, forming a safe place to spray paint. Put birdhouses on top of trashbag. Spray first with 1-2 coats of primer paint, thoroughly covering bare wood. Let dry for 45 minutes. Then, spray 2 coats of desired paint color, with 2 minutes of drying time between coats. Then, let houses dry an additional 30 minutes, and spray 2 coats of clear coat, with 2 minutes in between each coat. Let dry for an additional 1-2 hours.

Position poles where you would like your birdhouses to be, with the open end driven into the ground, and the plastic-capped top facing the sky. Your soil and location will depend on how far you want to push down your poles. Mine are implanted 1 foot into the ground, leaving 5 feet of pole out of the ground. With bird houses, the structures measure about 5-feet 8-inches.

After you have your poles positioned where you want them, mix water-resistant epoxy and apply to the plastic capped end of the closet rod, and to the underneath of your birdhouse where it will be attached to the pole. Attach to the pole. It can take up to 5 minutes to set, so stay near the pole for 5 minutes to make sure the house affixes. Repeat with all houses, and voila! You are finished!

(Pardon the terrible lighting in these photos)

April 6, 2010 at 7:49 pm 1 comment

On the button necklace bandwagon

I don’t know if you have noticed, too, but button necklaces have been popping up everywhere. I’d seen them all over Etsy, and in the windows of the fabric store in downtown Maryville. I’ve thought about making them but hadn’t gotten around to it. When I saw it on this blog, I finally decided it was time. It’s the perfect mindless task while watching TV. Plus, I already had all of the supplies – score!

I used white satin ribbon instead of cord, because I had it on hand. I also made a crazy long necklace – I can wear it with one loop down past my waist, or a double loop or a triple loop – the triple loop is my favorite. It would also make a super cute garland for a small tree.

I’m not really sure this necklace was business suit/job appropriate but … meh. You have to have some fun, right?

February 22, 2010 at 6:40 am 3 comments

Quick pot holders/hot pads how to

There are fancier, prettier pot holder patterns out there. But probably not any easier ones. These are made with material that makes them safe enough to use to pull something out of the oven, and heat-insulated enough to protect your countertops from hot pots and pans. You can crank several of these out in an hour, and they make great gifts. Plus, they are the perfect project to use up your fabric remnants.

Easy, practical

Items you will need: Sewing machine, fabric, insul-bright, quilt batting.

First, decide how large you want your potholders to be. It depends on what you want to use them for. I’ve made some that are about 5 inches square, with the intent to use them to protect countertops from hot plates. I have also made them 9 inches square to use to pull things out of the oven.

Cut your fabric, insul-bright (special fabric that is heat resistant), and quilt batting to the same size, between 5-10 inches square.

For each pot holder, you will need 2 squares of fabric, 1 square of insul-bright and 1 square of  batting. (I used warm and natural all cotton batting)

Put one of the fabric squares, right side down, in front of you. Layer one batting square on top, followed by one insul-bright square. Sew around all edges. When finished, lay second fabric square right side up, and place new layered square on top, fabric side down. Sew around all edges, leaving about 1.5 inches to turn the project right side out. Turn right side out, sew closed. Add additional quilting to the outside – either a second square around the perimeter, an X, lines – whatever your heart desires.

And you’re done!

February 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm 5 comments

Some day, I will really learn how to embroider

Until then, I will pretend I know how. I had a bit of leftover cream-colored felt, and lots of embroidery floss.

I freehand drew a bird onto the felt and hand-stitched over the top. I thought it turned out pretty cute. Then I sewed on a colorful fabric back and a little piece of ribbon on top, and stuffed. It can be an ornament, a plushy toy, or sit happily on a shelf.

I need to learn proper embroidery stitches, and want to explore more of this art form. Quilting is expensive – I need to include cheap projects like this to satisfy my creative itch, too. 🙂

February 18, 2010 at 6:17 am 2 comments

Quick, cute baby gift project

Have you ever had a baby shower to go to and needed a gift really quickly? Or just a little something to add a homemade touch to a baby gift? This is the perfect project for a situation like this. If you craft on a regular basis, you probably have everything you need already. The project takes fewer than 30 minutes, and best of all – babies actually love them.

Cute, easy and practical - can you beat that?

First of all, can we mention how cute the fairytale flannel fabric is??

OK. This is a taggie-style little blanket, perfectly sized for baby’s pincher grasps and small enough to stick into a diaper bag, tuck into a stroller pocket or comfort a baby in a baby carrier. Making these is super easy. Cut out two equal sized squares from flannel fabric. This project had 6X6 inch squares. Cut out a variety of different satin ribbons – about 2.5-3 inches long.

Place flannel fabric squares right sides together. Insert satin ribbon, folded in half, between the two pieces of flannel, with tails of ribbon sticking out. Pin into place. Repeat until you have enough ribbon ‘taggies’. Sew 1/4 inch seam around the entire square, leaving about 1.5 inches unsewn in order to flip the blanket right side out. Flip right side out, sew remaining space closed. Then, sew a second time around the completed blanket on the right side, half an inch in, securing ribbons in place so that ribbons do not detach when baby plays/sucks on the tags. And that’s it, you’re done!

February 17, 2010 at 6:30 am 9 comments

Another Martha Stewart project – what can I say, I love her.

This is a super sweet project, and you may already have everything you need to complete it.

– Pair of gloves

– needle and thread

– Polyfill

– Buttons

– Ribbons

This project, from start to finish, takes about 20 minutes. Project found here.

February 13, 2010 at 7:22 am 2 comments


About me

My name is Mallory Murray and I have a love of all things oldfashioned. I'm a modern day feminist who also adores Martha Stewart. Read on for my sewing, crochet, cooking, gardening, quilting and crafting projects. I am the chief officer of marketing and design at Northwest Missouri State University, so expect the occasional random post about marketing/universities/design. I dream of a hobby farm with baby doll sheep, a sheep dog, a small flock of chickens, and other animals to be announced. I'm also a Pitt State grad, football lover, HGTV addict and obsessed with the color aqua.

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