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Wednesday, January 16

Winter Craft: Birdseed Ornaments



Earlier this winter, I got to prepare an article for the latest issue of Columbia Home Magazine-- a crafty project detailing how to make simple, cute birdseed ornaments. Since this is just about the time of year when we all get a bit restless and the winter blahs start to show up, it seemed a good time to share the craft here--- maybe one cold, stuck-inside afternoon, you and the kiddos can whip up a batch of these and head outside to give them to your neighborhood birds as a way to shake up your routine. They're simple--- and really, the main two things you need that you might have to go out and purchase are birdseed and unflavored gelatin.

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Your supply list---

Between ¾ C. and 1 C. small birdseed (parakeet food from the pet aisle works great!)
¼ C. water
1 packet of Knox gelatine (this can be found in the canning section of your grocery store or Walmart)
Wax Paper
Cookie cutters or Mason Jar rings
Twine or yarn
(The peanut butter, TP tubes, and fruit come in later)

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How To:
Pour the water and the packet of gelatine into a small sauce pan. Heat on medium until the water simmers, stirring the gelatine until the clumps smooth out and dissolve. Once it is dissolved, pour the birdseed into the mix and stir. If you think the liquid could manage more seed to soak it up, add a little at a time- probably no more than one cup total when all is said and done. Turn off the heat and let the mix cool for a few minutes.

Lay out a sheet of wax paper and set out your cookie cutters. Once the mix is lukewarm, you can begin spooning the birdseed mix into the cookie cutters. You’ll want to use your fingers or the edge of your spoon to press it into the corners and to get it firm. A note—this stuff will stick to your fingers like crazy. Just be ready for it to be a seedy little mess for a while. It may help to contain it by working on your wax paper within a cookie sheet. It does clean up easily, though, so don’t worry about it too much.

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There are two different tricks to getting the string into your ornaments. The first technique happens as you’re pressing the seed into the cutters—take a loop of string and knot it, then push the knot into the seed mix as you are forming the ornaments. Add some seed on top of the string to anchor it.

The second trick, my preferred method, can be done once the cookie cutters are full. Take a straw and clip an inch-length off of it. Stick this into the birdseed at the appropriate spot and let it stay there. Once the seed has firmed up, you can twist this straw piece out and you’ll have a tidy hole to thread string through. Repeat with all your ornaments.

Once your cookie cutters are packed to the brim with seed mixture, you’ll let it set overnight. It might help it set a bit faster if you flip them every hour or so, but you don’t have to. When they are ready the next day, you will just need to gently nudge them out of their cookie cutters and they are ready to hang.

And if you want something even easier--- to do instead or in addition to the above ornaments, here is a SUPER simple and satisfying birdseed ornament that only needs peanut butter, string, seed, and a toilet paper tube. I'll let the photos tell you how to do it:

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And a few photos of the finished ornaments: Photobucket Photobucket 

The fruit is just an extra way you can treat your neighborhood birds and add some color to your bare trees: 

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So there ya go-- something to do to beat the winter blahs AND give a treat to your feathered friends. 

(Many thanks to the folks at Columbia Home for letting me work with them on fun projects like this....)

*

Meanwhile, we're still here, still pluggin' along... Baby seems more likely to want out today, as I've been having contractions all day long. I finally took them seriously enough to pack my bags tonight, which of course means they'll slow down or completely stop. Ha. But til then, at least I'm a bit more prepared for the time when it does happen. 

Guess I should go to bed.... 

2 comments:

  1. Those look great!! I tried the gelatin type ones, but they never hardened up - you've inspired me to try again.

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  2. Found you through a friend who shared this post on her blog the other day. These ornaments are gonna make some backyard songbirds very happy here tomorrow! Thanks for sharing :)

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