Thursday, December 12, 2013

How to Make Paper Bead Christmas Tree Earrings

Well hello there!  I thought I'd stop by my severely neglected blog today to share a little upcycled DIY project perfect for the holiday season.  If you make a habit of stalking my Etsy shop (and I hope you do), you may have seen these cute little country Christmas tree earrings:

If you're the DIY-type I'm going to show you how to make them yourself...right here in this YouTube video tutorial.  Of course, you still have some time to order them from my shop so stop by soon and pick up a pair or two.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

How to Make a Wine Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

This time of year you can typically find my Etsy shop shelves stocked with a variety of upcycled bird feeders.  And this year I've added a line of Booze Bottle Bird Feeders made from bottles that a local restaurant would have otherwise thrown in the trash.  Recycling isn't as widely accepted where I live as it is in major cities across the country.  Here, waste management services typically charge restaurants (and even some residents) an additional fee for recycling so it's more cost effective just to toss everything in the garbage.  I know, sad, but true.

I thought I'd show you how to make one of my simpler bird feeder styles.  It's a hummingbird feeder made from a wine bottle and I've put together a video tutorial for it.

I go over the tools you'll need to make this bird feeder in the video, but the one thing that you'll likely have a hard time finding are the stoppers with the built in tube feeder.  I can't tell you how many people ask me if I sell just the stoppers when I'm out at Farmer's Markets and other festivals.  So, here are the one's I use:

I hope you'll enjoy making these and share the project with your bird loving friends!

Linking up to Catch As Catch Can on My Repurposed Life

Sunday, July 28, 2013

It's Another DIY Project from Spoon Handles

I'm loving making earrings from spoon and fork handles and you'll find  lots of them in my Etsy shop.  But, if you're the crafty type and want to give it a try for yourself you can see how I make mine in this video tutorial.

Just a word of caution, you will need to use your Dremel on this one and there will likely be a few sparks.  But don't let that stop you, you'll be just fine if you use the proper safety precautions.  And if you're still not so sure about tackling this one on your own, look what you can find in my shop:

So, are you going to give it a go?

Linking up to:

Your Great Idea Linky Party on Or So She Says

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My First Birdhouse...From a Tea Pot

Have you seen those adorable little tea kettle bird houses/nest boxes floating around Pinterest?  I LOVE them and have been seriously watching the thrift stores for months for the perfect tea pot.  I finally found it last weekend and made myself this little beauty:

It really was SO simple to make this project.  I just used my favorite outdoor glue, 100% Silicone, to adhere the kettle to a piece of embellished scrap wood (pallet wood in this case), added two hooks and hung it.  Yeah, that's it!  If you want to see exactly how I did it.  Here's the video for it:

Now all we need is a nest!

Linking up here

Sunday: The Creative HomeAcre Blog Hop, Nifty Thrifty Things:  Nifty Thrify Sunday
Monday:  Skip to My Lou:  Made by You Monday, DIY Showoff:  That DIY Party, Love 2 Upcycle:  Upcycled Linky Party, I Should Be Mopping the Floor: Inspiration Monday
Thursday: Katherine's Korner:  Thursday Favorite Things

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A $4.25 Goodwill Table...Proudly Displayed by My Bedside

I'm super excited about this project...mostly because I made it for me and in only two days.  Look at this beauty:

This is what I paid $4.25 for at Goodwill's 50% off Independence Day sale (in other words, the BEFORE):

The piece itself had very little wrong with it other than the fact that it was severely outdated!  Structurally, it had great bones and only needed a few small nails replaced to keep the back attached.  To make it mine, I grabbed some yellow paint that I had picked up from the "oops table" and added a plaster of paris and water mixture that would give it same texture as chalk paint (chalk, not chalkboard).

Then a bit of sanding all over to smooth out the paint and distress the nightstand, a coat of wax and a "new" handle (really it's an old handle that I picked up at Habitat for Humanity, and is more my style).

And, I could't forget the kitties!  So, I whipped up a pillow that would fit the space puuuurrrfectly!  I couldn't resist and I make no apologies for being so corny!

The finishing touches include a hugely over-sized bunch of garden fresh daisies in a gorgeous thrifted pitcher, some of my favorite books and a homemade soy candle embellished with a piece of broken jewelry.

Now if that's not thrifted, I don't know what is.  Have you refinished a thrift store find lately?

Linking up here:

The Creative HomeAcre Blog Hop
Start at Home:  Paint Party!!
Katherine's Korner:  Thursday Favorite Things

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Squirrel vs. A Car, A Sad But True Story

I had my day laid out like this for today:

1.  Go feed the parrots that I'm sitting for this week
2.  Go get coffee
3.  Go to the grocery store
4.  Go to the flea Market searching for abused silverware
5.  Home to write this week's blog posts
6.  Work on pet toys to donate to 1 Day Ranch for animals displaced by the Shawnee, OK tornadoes.
7.  Go to the Gym

In reality, I only checked off number 1 on my list by noon time today!  You see, as I was about to round the last corner before Starbucks when I saw a squirrel in the road.  As I moved more to the center of the road to avoid hitting him, I realized that he wasn't able to move his back legs and was desperately trying to drag himself to the side of the road.  Sadly, he could do nothing more than spin himself around in circles.  I watched the cars behind me drive passed him as I rounded the corner and then turned myself  around. 

Photo Credit:  Wildlife Rehab of Greenville...this is not the squirrel I found!
Ugh!  Now what?  Lucky for me, Lowe's is directly across the street from the Starbucks that I was heading for and they had just dispatched a delivery truck with two fine gentlemen who were headed in my direction.  THEY were the only ones to stop and see if everything was okay.  As I started to say, "yeah, yeah, thanks for asking,"  I realized they probably had what I needed in the truck.  Turns out they were willing to part with a big ole Lowe's blanket and had gloves in the truck, mind you they weren't leather but it was something to protect my fingers from those painful rodent teeth.  Not only did they have what I needed, they picked up the squirrel and helped me wrap him up. 

So, feisty squirrel wrapped up in the car and I'm headed to the emergency vet secretly wishing that when I get there they'll reward my bravery with free vet care that will save this little guy.  Although, my realistic side knows better than that, but a girl can dream right?  As I'm driving to the vet who is about 15 minutes away I'm thinking about what just happened and realize that I didn't properly thank these two Lowe's employees who went way above and beyond the call of duty, so I called the store.  I didn't even know their names.  Now I know that I can thank Ken and Blake from the Greer, SC Lowe's Store!  Thanks guys, really!  You knew the fate of this little tiny creature and yet you stopped to help anyway.  Your compassion is something to be admired.

Sadly, our squirrel passed away on the way to the vet.  But at least he was in a quiet and calm setting rather than stressing out on the side of the road.  No living creature deserves to die like that.

Do you have your local rescue on speed dial? No?  Now would be a great time to do a little research and find the folks closest to you who can handle animal emergencies such as this one.  It might take a few moments or even a few hours of your day, but don't the animals that we share the planet with deserve that?  With all of our fancy houses and lawns stealing habitat from them and our fast cars running into them constantly, isn't it the least we can do?  And now, I'll step down from my soapbox and let you ponder the message.

We'll return to our regularly scheduled dumpster diving tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It's a Toy Drive - for Animals in Oklahoma

Doesn't it seem like Mother Nature's just kicking us in the pants lately?  All these super storms and tornadoes come sweeping through the country and displace thousands of people...and their pets.  If you remember when the levees broke in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, so many people refused to vacate their homes because they didn't want to leave their pets behind and shelters were refusing to take them.  Thankfully, we learned a thing or two from that experience and shelters stepped up their game by the time Sandy hit.

But what about for the long term?  Some animals need to stay in shelters for extended periods of time, separated from their human families and surrounded by strangers.  A few weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit New England a fabulous team of animal lovers from Etsy, aptly named Etsy For Animals started crafting all sorts of toys and what-nots for animals in that very situation.  Remember my stash?  Well, we're at it again.  And here is where I ask for your help!

There are a couple of ways you can help out:

1. Please read about how Etsy Artists are helping a fabulous rescue called 1 Day Ranch and then shop 'til you drop in the shops who are donating a portion of their sales to this organization.  But hurry, the team chooses another well deserving animal charity in July.

2. Check out 1 Day Ranch's wishlist and donate if you can.  And be sure to follow @Maeghan on Twitter for updates on the rescue efforts.

3.  Support the Upcycled Stuff Toy Drive for 1 Day Ranch.  During the month of June, I will donate 2 toys for every one purchased through my Etsy shop or at a Farmer's Market. You can choose to have the toy sent to your home for your pet to enjoy or you can ask that I send it along to animals displaced by the tornadoes.  If you're donating your toy, please use the Coupon Code TOYDRIVE at Checkout to avoid paying for shipping (I will ship one large package).  Please use the following shipping address; 1 Day Ranch, 16704 Bethel Road - Shawnee, Oklahoma 74801

Toys in the shop include:

Braided T-shirt Tug Toys

Scrappy Rats with Catnip

Kitty Kick Sticks Made from Hideous Ladies Pants
Purchase any pet bed and I'll send three toys as well!

If you are unable to donate, that's okay, you can still help out.  Please tweet and share this post so that others can learn of ways they can help.  Thanks for helping me help our furry little family members!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A DIY Lighting Parts Bird Bath

Are you ready for another Mother's Day Patio Makeover Project?  I sure hope so, only two more after this one.  So today, it's an  upcycled lighting parts bird bath:

I love this bird bath!  It reminds me of one of those fancy tulips. If you decide to upcycle yourself one of these bad boys, keep in mind that every piece is going to be different.  The way you attach things is going to be different.  You're going to have to wing it some of the time.  Let me show you how I did mine.  Er, tell you most of the time.  I wasn't very good about taking pictures for this one.

First, the basics.  You'll need an old or thrifted lamp base, some kind of bowl shaped object with a hole in the center (or be willing to drill one) and you'll need some silicone for sealing around the hole to make sure the water stays in.  Optionally, you may want to use some spray paint - I did!  And you may want to add some kind of embellishment to the center of the bowl to hide the silicone blob - I did!

To get started rip your lamp apart, if you're good with wiring lights then hang on to those parts and reuse them in another project.  Paint your lamp base if desired.  Mine was a pretty simple black base with a golden faux sponge finish.  It was pretty yucky, so I pulled out the bright pink spray paint and coated the entire lamp base a couple of times.

Before you attach the bowl consider where your bath will be? Is the bowl in danger of breaking easily?  My bowl is actually a ceiling light cover and is very fragile so I pulled out my drill and drilled a hole in each of the feet.  Make the holes large enough to accommodate a very long carriage bolt if it is to be "attached" to softer earth or screws if it will be screwed into a deck, like mine.

With that done, time to attach the bowl. When you pulled your lamp apart you should have been left with a threaded bit of rod at the top.  This is where you'll attach your bowl.  I didn't want it to snap when the glass hit the threaded rod so I slid on a rubber washer in just the right size to wiggle in between the two pieces, protecting the glass from shattering. Then I added a nut to the threaded rod to keep everything in place.

To make sure there was no leaking I added a blob of silicone (this is my favorite adhesive!) to the threaded rod and nut.  You can imagine it was pretty ugly so added more silicone and then took a clear votive holder and flipped it upside down on top of the blob.  Perfect!  Let that cure for a minimum of three hours and you're ready to bust out the bubble bath for the birds.

Yep, that's all there is to it!  You're going to try it right?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to Make a Flower Pot out of Thrifty Kitchen Stuff

I think my Mother's Day Patio Makeover could keep me writing fresh new posts well into the summer!  Here's another such post....

The first thing my mom said when she saw this was, "Is that from my cupboard?"  Of course the answer was, "No!"  But then I thought, "maybe I should have grabbed that one because the last time she used it, I think I was a kid."  Oh well, so here's my thrifted Bundt pan planter:

The supplies are few.  You will need a pan of some sort, some sisal, a drill and a 1/4" and 5/8" drill bits.  If the kitchen item you choose is a heavy duty piece of metal, you'll want to consider drill bits made from Titanium or, even better....Cobalt.

With your 1/4" drill bit, drill several holes in the bottom for drainage.  Then use your 5/8" drill bit to drill four equally spaced holes for the sisal rope to be threaded through.

Now cut two equal lengths of sisal to the size you'll need to hang from your favorite spot on the patio and tie them together in a knot that forms a loop for hanging.  As a side note, even my sisal is upcycled.  You know mom and dad have a pet store right?  Well dad makes all the cat trees in the store from pre-assembled parts.  He had all these obsolete sisal covered scratching posts that didn't work anymore...guess who inherited them!

Now feed the resulting four pieces of sisal through the the holes from the inside of the pan and tie a knot on the outside:

All that's left now is to trim the tails from the knots and plant your pan.  Easy Peasy, right?

Your local thrift store is just filled with old unwanted stuff just waiting to be transformed into something pretty and useful, so head out now!  Get that patio oasis started today.

Monday, May 27, 2013

If It's Broke....Fix It

You know the old saying, "if it ain't broke then don't fix it," right?  Well the opposite is also true in my book...if it's broke, fix it.  You know instead of heaving it into the landfill and buying new!  Much of my Mother's Day Patio Makeover had to do with cleaning up and fixing some of the existing pieces that she had in the yard already.  For instance the patio set that she had:

Oh wait, you need a closer look at this....

Yep, That's her white table!  All it really needed was a REALLY good scrubbing and some new paint.  And then, LOOK, nearly good as new! 

If you are planning to paint your plastic patio furniture, be sure to check out my tips section below before you get started.  It could save you a bit of time.  And speaking of painting patio furniture...

This fabulous little seating area was created using two chairs that were rusting and looking nearly abandoned down by the pond that my dad built years ago, stone by stone.  Check these bad boys out:

That's not dirt on the arm rest.  Yes, I went to the painstaking process of taping these off in preparation for repainting them - check it out below.

And then there's this Mosquito Breeding Pond:

At one time this was an actual flower pot with real living plants in it.  But over time it became a mosquito breeding pond that mom would go out and empty after each rain storm...sometimes.  It really only needed to be emptied one last time and then drilled with water drainage holes, like this:

Easy Peasy, right?  All that was left was to add some soil (of course, I tossed in some plastic water bottles and pill bottles to the bottom to lighten the load a bit) and pretty flowers:

Much better than before and it only took a few minutes!

Okay, if you're going to tackle some outdoor furniture painting, let me share a few pearls of wisdom with you.  Just to save you a whole lot of time and frustration.

First of all, set aside some time to clean your furniture really well.  I didn't expect it to take me two hours to clean that plastic furniture but it did.  Nothing is more frustrating to me than a project that takes WAY longer than I expected.

One Down and Three to Go...Plus a Table!
Once you've removed as much of the grime that you can (and you won't get it all) pick a color darker than the original.  I used way too much spray paint to take these tan (not to mention still dirty) chairs to white.  Save yourself the grief, I should have gone with a sunny yellow or purple (mom's favorite colors).

If you're painting chairs that have any sort of fabric on them, you'll need to fully protect and tape off those parts of the furniture.  Check out my masterpiece:

I found it easier to apply a border of tape around the perimeter of the fabric in every spot that it met up with metal that needed painting BEFORE applying any paper.  Then I was sure that there wouldn't be any accidents before laying the paper down.  Once you've covered your fabric with paper, be sure to seal any spots where two sheets of paper meet.  If you're using spray paint and you skip this step you're sure to be disappointed when you see that the over spray discolored your fabric.

And my final tip....have a pop up tent handy in case of rain.  My painting projects kept getting delayed due to rain in the forecast.  Then finally, only 4 days until Mother's Day we had a beautiful sunny day without a stitch of rain in the forecast.  So, what do you think happened as the paint for my last coat on the plastic chairs was coming out of the can?  Yep, it started to rain threatening to ruin my still wet paint job.  I scurried to the garage to grab the not so easy up tent that I use for fairs and festivals just in time to save the day's work from the brief rain shower as it passed through my back yard.

It may sound like a lot of work and I'm not going to lie it can be a pain in the rear but just think of the landfill material you just saved.  Not only that but you saved a whole lot of natural resources by not buying new.  So have at it, go fix some stuff!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fast Fix Friday: How To Remove a Stubborn Nail

So, I've been messing around with pallets quite a bit lately.  Soon I will post some of my projects and show you how I made them.  You'll be tempted, of course, to take on the projects yourself!  This is one Fast Fix Friday you won't want to miss when you do decide to take on a pallet project, whether one of mine or someone else.

Ah, pallet wood, glorious pallet wood!
I'm going to show you how to remove a stubborn nail that has been cut in half with a sawzall.  But you can apply this method to other projects as well.  Here is what the board looks like after I've separated it from the pallet with my sawzall:

The nail heads are on the other side and pounded in beneath the surface of the wood plank. So the traditional method of pulling it out with a hammer is out.  You'll notice that the bottom nail is actually flush with the plank and the top nail, not so much.  It is actually crooked and buried under the surface of the plank.  To remedy this situation you'll need two things; a hammer and some kind of small screwdriver....okay, okay, there is actually a tool that you can use for this purpose.  It looks like an ice pick with a screw driver handle, please don't ask me to tell you what it's called because I don't know.  But I happen to have this el cheapo, tiny flat head screwdriver kicking around and it works just fine.  And since I've never used it for anything else, I'm using it for this!

Okay, ready?  Place your ice pick thingy (or tiny screwdriver) on the tip end of the nail and give it a couple of love taps with the hammer.  When you flip your board over you'll see that the nail head is now exposed and you can slide your hammer underneath it and pry it out of the plank.

If you are starting with a crooked nail tip simply slide your tool under the nail at about a 45 degree angle and tap it with your hammer until it is standing straight up.  Now you can use the hammer to bang it out.

And SUCCESS!  Now I'm left with nothing more than these charming holes in the plank that will add some character to my final piece.

Fill the holes you say? Never!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Come and Strut Your Stuff - I'm Co-hosting a Blog Hop!

I'm super excited to be co-hosting a Blog Hop today, Thursday Favorite Things over on Katherine's Corner to be more precise!  I'm teaming up with Katherine from Katherine's Corner to meet up with other bloggers and see what some of their favorite things are.  I've seen lots of great things on the hop, like great recipes, pictures of beautiful places, great DIY name it and it's probably been linked up to Thursday Favorite Things!

Right about now you're probably wondering, "Tricia, what is YOUR favorite thing?"  Well, I'm going to tell you.  You probably already know that I like to play with trash, turn it into something new...useful, anything to keep it from the landfill.  And you probably already know that I love to work in the garden!  I know, I know someone out there is yelling, "But I thought you loved animals!"  That, too, is true.  But my absolute favorite thing is showing others how to do what I do, how they too can make a difference. It is the reason that I blog at all.  So, without further ado...

Its Time For Thursday Favorite Things! Thursday favorite things is where you can link your favorite post or write a post about your favorite things and share it with old and new followers. You gain visibility for your blog and make bloggy friends too!

Please share the hop with your readers and let Katherine know if you would like to co-host with her. 
Remember to leave her a comment if you are a new follower so she can follow you back. Here are the rules, yes there are rules. But just a few: Please DO NOT link and run...visit a few of the wonderful blogs that are sharing at the hop.
  • Follow Katherines Corner preferably through Email it’s on her right sidebar (or facebook twitterbloglovin, etc. they are on her sidebar too) And My Blog too
  • Visit as many blogs in the list as you can, please leave a comment so they know you stopped by!
  • Share the button or a linklback on your post. Grab the hop button code from Katherines button page It’s always nice to have the hop button on your post. It IS NOT mandatory; but a Link back to Katherines Corner is always appreciated 
  • No adult content blogs or links directly to your shops please
  • Yes you can link giveaways ( they are everyone's favorite thing) Add your giveaways to the Win It Page at Katherines Corner too!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How To Make a Butterfly Feeder from Thrifted Stuff

My Mother's Day Patio Makeover included lots of fun little feeders for birds and butterflies.  Mom loves Hummingbirds so, of course, I added one of my wine bottle hummingbird feeders to the mix:

And tucked away in the same photo is a small butterfly feeder made from a thrifted salad plate and a glass sundae dish.

If you'd like a closer look at the butterfly feeder or want to know how to make one of your own, you can check out this YouTube video or even jump back to a post I wrote last year on how to make a bird bath.  It's the same concept.  And so is this bird seed feeder.  I simply glued a large ceramic candle holder to a fancy flower pot and viola! we have ourselves a colorful bird (and squirrel) seed feeder.

It really doesn't take much to add some color to your gardens, not to mention functional art.  So head out to the thrift store and then pick up some silicone...and get busy.  Make some for your mom and then make some for you.  Everyone needs a beautiful song in the garden, don't they?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Mother's Day Patio Redo

Last weekend I surprised my mom with a Mother's Day patio makeover. I think you'll agree it was a pretty sad state of affairs before I got my hands on it.  This was pretty much all the patio consisted of:

Pretty sad, right?  The patio furniture all stacked up in the corner was in desperate need of a cleaning.  There was also a broken down old hummingbird feeder (with nectar from last season none-the-less), a worn out bird seed feeder and a colorless child's chair that my 5'4" niece used to sit in...years ago.  With everything that my parents are up to they haven't had the time to put into the yard and patio spaces.  So, for Mother's Day, I added some life to the patio.

Here is the after:

And, I added a little bird garden over here:

This is mom's favorite space because when she raises the bedroom blinds in the morning this is what she sees.  Here are a few more closeups, I'll show you how I did each of these projects over the next couple of weeks.

A cleaned and refinished patio set - almost like new, a planter made from a Bundt pan, and a large planter with an upcyled seed feeder.

A little seating area that includes a couple of refinished chairs that were rusting out in the yard, a table made of pallets and a planter made from a chandelier.

Oh so many projects and oh so little time.  Can't wait to share these DIY project specifics with you!

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