Quirky Coconut Suet Feeders DIY Tutorial

I knew I’d be making suet feeders someday after buying our curious grand kids a coconut to sample over a year ago.

I’d never made a coconut feeder, but thought it would be a lot of fun to play around with some scraps from my salvage stash and make something quirky to hang in our front yard tree.

The shells were already dried and had holes, so once I gathered some old springs and wire pieces they went together pretty quick.

I had planned on shaping wire into hangers, but found two wire pieces that had been cut from the top of old lamp shades and popped them into the holes instead.  

Wanting to provide some sort of a perch, I cut the small end off a bed spring, and wired it in with the wire arms of the hanger. 

For suet, I melted a pound of lard (use lard/shortening or fat that will stay solid at room temp) in a saucepan over low heat.  After the lard was melted, I removed it from the heat and stirred in 2 C birdseed, a handful of raisins, ½ C breadcrumbs, and ½ C unsalted peanuts.  Let it cool.

To ready the shells for suet, the outside hole openings were covered with tape, and for a little added measure, the inside holes were plugged with peanut butter. 

Wadded newspaper was used to keep the shell halves level in a shallow pan. 

Fill the shells with cooled suet and let them sit until the suet solidifies.

A super easy hanger was made by attaching a 2” metal ring to a 5” spring, and some bling on a jump ring to catch a little bird’s eye.  

Bring on the birds!

 

 

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Recycled Tin Can Wreath DIY Tutorial

This rusty, country style wreath may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it looks right at home in my rural garden, so I’m sharing it just for fun!

While going through old garden magazines last year, I caught just a glimpse of the side of a tin can wreath hanging in the picture of a garden, so of course I felt the need to make one. I threw a bunch of dog food cans in a tub of water to soak outside for a few weeks and start the rusting process.

After dumping the cans to dry, I creased them in the center with the side of my foot, and drilled a ½” hole through them.

I used twenty eight, 22 oz. cans for my wreath, and a 5 ft. length of heavy fencing wire. Cans are heavy, my wreath still sagged a bit, but the fencing wire helped it hold a circular shape. 

A small loop was bent in one end of the wire to hold the cans as they were threaded on.  I did a pattern of three as I threaded .. two with the crease one way, them flipped the third, but they can be put on any way you want. 

 

After all the cans were threaded on, the wire was cut close to the end, a hook was shaped to go into the loop, and squeezed tight.

That’s it, easy peasy.  

My wreath has been hanging in the garage for the last year, out of sight, out of mind, until now.   An awesome find of a big bird nest, dislodged from one of our pines during a recent thunderstorm, prompted me to adorn my wreath with Mother Nature and hang it in the garden.  A step out to the gravel road provided a few stones for makeshift eggs; a little surprise for my four year old granddaughter when she sneaks a peek … she’ll be delighted!

can wreath 2

 

 

 

Rustic Garden Wreath DIY Tutorial

I love the look of rustic art in the garden, don’t you? Being a collector of lots of glass things, wire scraps, rusty junk, and all kinds of tidbits, I’m excited when I can gather some of my pieces that all work together, and make something eye pleasing for mine.

With salvaged art, there’s no rules, right or wrong, that’s the fun of it. Just do what works best for you.

Duplicating the items I used is not feasible, I know, but, I wanted to share some tips and tricks I used in hopes of spurring inspiration for fellow creatives. 

I asked my husband to save a pile of heavy springs when they showed up as salvage last fall.  I’ve walked past them 100’s of times and always had the same thought; I’m gonna make a wreath out of one of those someday.  I knew there was a metal flower collecting dust in the garage that would look great on one, I just never got going on it. 

 

Recently, I was breaking down some bottles for other projects when the idea of glass leaves popped into my head… that was it, now it was time to make a wreath.

Tackling the heavy spring was the first step. It was about 30 inches long and wouldn’t hold a circular shape on it’s own.  A length of heavy fencing wire was shaped into a circle and inserted inside the spring for support. The ends of the fencing wire were hooked together and squeezed tight to secure.

The funky ends were cut off of the spring.  With the help of a screwdriver, a scrap piece of wire was wedged into the first end rings of the spring so they could be held open for wiring the ends together flush.

 

The barbed wire stem was cut from the flower,  For added interest, a short, chunky spring was wired into the center of the flower.  A long wire was used for this step so it could go through the flower and be used to wire the flower on later.

 

Pieces of a Captain Morgan bottle were used for leaves.  I smoothed the edges of the glass with a glass grinder, but a piece of emery cloth, or a Dremel tool with a diamond grinding bit will work too.

Arrange the leaves and flower on the wreath, covering the wired spring ends.  After deciding placement, wire the leaves on first with a thin pliable wire, then the flower, covering the wired ends of the leaves. 

Take advantage of any small curves in the glass leaves to help hold the wrapped wires tightly.  As an added precaution I glued chunks of glass, or washers, near my wires to prevent any slipping.  Washers can also be glued between the spring and flower/leaf arrangement to tighten or brace an area.

The ends of my heavy wire leaf shapes were difficult to bend.  I opted to attach a thin wire on one end of them, then thread it through under the flower and between other wires.  Secure the wire to the other end of the leaf shape. Arrange and tighten until snug.

Before finishing up, I decided to add another glass leaf, used E6000 to add a couple interesting rusty bits, and tuck in one of my salvaged art blooms.

    

I do believe, this is just what that little corner of my garden needed!

 

 

 

 

Little Upcycled Bucket DIY Tutorial

Well, I’d say its about time I found my way back to my blog!  Its been a year, way too long!

Such a long break was never planned.  Initially, my sister, who was newly retired last year, and I, began going to a lot of flea markets and sales last spring. I think we’re guilty of having had so much fun hanging out, and shopping for awesome stuff, that we didn’t leave much time for creating.  Before I knew it, it was time to start working on fused glass Christmas ornaments. which kept me busy until after the first of the year, and then it was time to make inventory for a June vintage market event.  Anyway, I’m back, and ready to get back in the groove of making things!

Several new pieces were made for the market we participated in.  I’ll post some pictures of them later, but first, I’d like to begin by sharing a favorite … an upcycled, little, bent galvanized bucket that was almost headed to the scrap yard.  I’ve just fallen in love with it, and it was so easy.  All it took was two sample sized colors of exterior water based paint, hide glue or crackle medium, J-B Weld, a small metal flower, one button, and a fan (opt).  I’m impatient, the fan speeds up drying times.

Just a little note about crackle mediums before we get started.  They are readily available in just about all home improvement and craft stores, and easy to use.  Hide glue is my choice for crackling.  You can find it in hardware stores for around $9.  Always painting something, I usually have some mixed and ready to use.

For a crackle medium, mix 1/2 C hide glue with 1/3 C of very hot water, stirring well.  Store unused medium in an airtight container.  As a rule, the thinner the crackle medium, the thinner the cracks.  If bigger cracks are wanted, use less hot water.  Regardless, the mixture will be watery thin, and splatter easily.  Make sure your floor and work area are protected well.  Crackling is a lot of fun, but can be touchy.  It doesn’t like to be re-brushed as you put it on, single strokes are needed. If you’ve never tried it before, you may want to play around with it on scrap wood first to get the feel for it, or catch a video on YouTube.

After giving the bucket a good wash, it was wiped down with a little rubbing alcohol to remove any oils left on it’s surface.  I began with a base coat of red, let dry.

Next, the crackle glue.  Let the crackle glue dry until it is still slightly sticky to the touch, approximately 45 minutes, sooner with a fan.  Top with light blue paint, let dry completely.

Sprigs of metal flowers are something I keep my eye out for at garage sales and flea markets.  Their flowers and leaves are easily snipped off to incorporate in crafting projects.

Lightly burnish the metal flower with steel wool before painting.  I used the light blue as a base color, and the red as the top coat, with crackle in between.

J-B Weld is a two part epoxy, and a wonderful product.  Please read and follow the manufacturer’s directions on the package.  Per directions, the surfaces to be glued must be free of paint.

After deciding the placement of the flower, I scratched a small circle of paint off of the bucket, and also made sure the bottom of the flower was paint free.  I used a wooden skewer to stir a small amount of epoxy together on wax paper, and let it rest about five minutes to set up a little.

With the bucket on it’s side, I laid a small mound of epoxy over the cleared area, then sit the flower on, propping it in place to dry for 24 hours.

  jb weld

After the epoxy was completely dry, a metal button was added to the center of the flower with a small dab of E6000.  I finished with a spray of clear sealer, which is optional.

What do you think?  I had garden art in mind as it was being made, but now, I think it would be cuter than the dickens lined with a red and white checkered napkin and holding tableware at a barbecue!

Hope we are all blessed with sunshine and beautiful weather for the upcoming holiday.  Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

 

 

 

Garden Cloche DIY Tutorial

I’m sure I’m not the only one using tomato cages, or garden fencing, to protect plants and new sprouts in the garden and yard.  Rather they’re protecting from animals, grand kids, or an inattentive mower, they can sometimes stay put most of the summer. That’s what made me think of a large garden cloche; if you’re going to look at it for months, why not make it more attractive? And, no one else will have one like it … that’s always a bonus, right?

My garden cloche design got a jump start when I stumbled upon a pair of wire planter baskets at a local thrift shop for a dollar. The wire spacing on them was similar to a discarded air conditioner guard I had tucked away at home.

I quickly realized I could not bend and shape the steel AC guard to match the 14″dia. of the planter basket with just my hands. After searching around, I finally found an old milk can of that size to roll, wrap, and shape it around. I used bolt cutters to cut the length of guard needed, then connected the ends together by wrapping the entire length of the seam with thin wire, crisscrossing the wire at the intersections, for a smooth seam and firm connection.  Cut the wires from bottom ring, leaving prongs to push into the ground.

  

Cut and remove the crossbars from the bottom of the basket. Once I cut them in the center, they just snapped off.

Spray both of the wire pieces black with an exterior paint recommended for metal. Let dry completely.

    

I gathered some odd lamp pieces and a short piece of threaded rod to stack and build a large finial to adorn the top of the upturned basket. One lamp piece (the base piece) will need to fit nicely inside the basket below where the crossbars were.

Spray paint the base lamp pieces black, let dry.

  

Beginning with the painted base pieces on the threaded rod, stack and build the lamp pieces. Leaving room for a small finial, use tape to mark where the threaded rod will need to be cut. Remove the rod to cut, restack the pieces, add a dab of E6000 to the tip of the rod, and twist the small finial on to tighten your pieces together firmly.

  

 

  

 

    

Cut back all but 6 or 7 of the wires on the top ring of the AC guard, these will be used to bend over the wire ring of the basket and hold it in place. Touch up the cut wires with black spray paint. Attach the basket to the top and its ready for the garden.

   

Kind of gives the garden a little majestic touch, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large Decorative Finial with Repurposed Lamp Pieces

Just a quick share ……

Do you like large decorative finials? What do you think of this one? Yep, I’m using those salt shakers again.  Want to make your own? You can. Follow the easy steps in my August 2016 blog post, substituting a short piece of threaded lamp rod for the 5/16″ rod.

I’d love to see what you create … please share. 🙂