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Chickens, Hawks & Reflective Things

Attention anyone with chickens: I’ve been trying to find different ways to keep hawks out. I did research and looked up many different methods of keeping them away. Although, I love to see the hawks, I don’t like it when they attack the flock of chickens and ducks on my yard. My method is anything and everything shiny! They don’t like it and in my research, (I think is was from a post on Backyardchickens.com), I learned reflective stuff confuses hawks. It’s not a fail safe, so always keep an eye out. Vigilance is always best because they can be scared easily by human presence.

After Christmas, I thought it would be great to buy some silver Christmas balls on clearance (nice and cheap) and hang them on the tree where my chickens hang out. Jingle bells work well too because they make noise and are reflective.

I think this works moderately well with a few scare crows thrown in. And, if you’re like me and love a little sparkle in your life, they make nice outdoor decorations. They unfortunately don’t keep foxes away. That’s a story for another day.

Tips:

  • Plastic Christmas balls stand up pretty well to weather. Stay away from anything glass and always pick up broken ones.
  • Move your scare crows and shiny things around. It confuses predators into thinking there are humans around.
  • Always secure them well on anything you hang them off of.
  • Don’t buy the foam ones. Chickens like to eat those. Not good and they are less weather resistant then the plastic ones.
  • My chickens got used to the shiny things, but it’s always a good idea to hang them where they are not easily accessible.
  • CD’s work just as well: I used some decorative Washi tape, Mod Podge clear drying glue as a sealer, punched a hole and added some glow in the dark beads (for the night critters), and used fishing line as string (it’s durable). WARNING: Always dispose of fishing line properly. Cut it into small pieces and throw it away in a bag. Birds can get tangled in them. I don’t like fishing line, but it was the most durable string I had.

Birdhouse Adventures

I love watching birds in all seasons and this property has tons of different kinds of birds everywhere with or without a bird feeder. Even hawks like to hang around, although that could be because of the chickens we have and the mice hanging around in our shed.

In February, I was working on painting some birdhouses. I’ve always loved painting birdhouses, but the cheap one’s from the craft store don’t hold up too well. So this time, I decided to secure them with tiny nails and a glue gun. I also did spray them with a sealer after painting them, which is not an Eco friendly way to go about doing this, but I already had these birdhouses laying around and didn’t want them to go to waste. At the end of March, I finally hung them up.

 

 

For two months, I watched and nothing. No birds would set up house in my colorful creations. This got a little frustrating, but I was also glad the birdhouses held up and any sealer smell would’ve been gone by then. I thought of many factors which could have affected why no feathered friends came for a stay:

Did I place it in the right place? Is there enough tree cover? The leaves were already there at this point. Did this area provide enough housing for them already and I didn’t need birdhouses? There was a perfectly beautiful robins nest right outside my window in a small tree. I couldn’t figure it out even though the problem was obvious. I even provided some nesting material in a bird feeder cage (which they did take).

Then, my mom pointed out, this tree is in a very open area and the houses are too far out. We moved them more into the tree and I even relocated two of them, where there was more cover, and voila! I now have residents in 3 of the 4 birdhouses I hung up. They like to yell at me anytime I pass by the houses now.

My neighborhood birds love bushes as any other bird would. I’m very sure it might have something to do with the amount of predators in our area. I’ve already herd from our neighbors there’s a black bear hanging around, herd a fox cry out at sunset, and have seen a hawk, falcon, or eagle stalking my dads chicken coup. They all love to eat my dads chickens when we’re not looking, so birds are not off the table.

Every habitat is different. The best advice I can give is to pay close attention to your own backyard, and go from there. Because we have an open field and not a lot of tall trees in the area, our birds like a lot of cover with there houses. So, if you don’t have any residents in your own birdhouses, pay close attention to where the others are hanging out. It gives you a great clue to figuring out where to place feeders, birdbaths, and birdhouses. Although birdhouses provide shelter and cover already, sometimes, simple tree cover isn’t enough. Just like some people like to live deep in the woods, so do birds.

 

DIY Outdoor Citronella Candle Holders

 

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A few years ago, I made this for my nieces first birthday party. It was carnival themed, and outdoors. I came up with the idea from the monstrous amounts of mosquitoes on the property where the party was being held. This idea stemmed from a poor college students mind.

I basically wanted to find a cheap way to have anti bug candles without spending loads of money. You can buy citronella candles online in bulk for pretty cheap, so that’s exactly what I did. It’s less expensive then buying an already made candle, which can run anywhere from $5 and up.For this project, I ended up buying tea lights and votive citronella candles because I had different sized jars. I ended up spending only about $30 because I’m a crafter, and of course, had all the other supplies on hand. I collected jars over a couple of weeks and asked my family to save them for me. I used pickle jars, canning jars, baby food jars; basically any jars available. I made about 10-15 jars. 

A couple of things to remember:

  • Make sure the candles have citronella oil or scent in them. If they don’t, they will not repel bugs. Other scents such as mint, rosemary, or lemon work, but are not as effective.
  • Never spend more than 25 cents per tea light candles. They should be cheap and you should be able to get a whole bunch for under $10.
  • Votive candle are a little more costly, but last longer when lit. Look for one’s that last a a good number of hours. Mine last 10 hours.
  • Shop around online! Don’t look in one place! Make sure you’re getting a good price.
  • I’ve only had to change my candles once in the last 3 years and used them a fair number of times, so be aware, you will have left over candles for a while. 
  • My votive candles came molded together in squares because they melt in low heat. They’ll still be effective. I ordered them in July, so they melted for obvious reasons. This shouldn’t be an issue. Just break each off or grab a knife and cut them apart (always BE CAREFUL when using a sharp object and cut away from your body and fingers). 
  • If you so desire, and want to use these as a regular candle holder, you can. Just buy any scented candle or non scented you want and it works just as well. 

Warnings: 

  • Always use care when lighting candles. Fire is HOT and can BURN you. Melted wax is also HOT and can BURN you.
  • Although a lot packages say indoor/outdoor use. Citronella has an extremely strong scent, so I DO NOT recommend lighting them indoors if you are sensitive to strong smells. These candles are better used outdoors.
  • DO NOT leave the finished product in the rain. Always store in a dry place. If the wick gets wet, it’s hard to light and you don’t want a jar full of water. 
  • The ribbon around the candles in the photo is for DECORATIVE use only. It will MELT if left on. You can use fake, battery operated candles if you want to make these for decoration. 

Now that all the warnings are out of the way, we can get to the fun part. 

Clean your jars with soap and water to get rid of any debris or sticky stuff from the label. Use oil or De-Solv-it (it works great) if necessary to get rid of the label sticky stuff. 

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Supplies: Strong double stick tape (1/2 inch size), glitter, paint and paint brush, scissors, large paper (for catching glitter), and clear drying glue. Because I wanted a vintage carnival look, I used acrylic paint. Acrylic paint scratches off of glass easily, so I had no problem creating the look I wanted. If you want a more solid look, I suggest using a paint geared toward glass or using a liquid sealer over the acrylic paint. All these supplies can be found in any craft store. Frost king makes strong tape. You can find it in a hardware store if your craft store doesn’t carry it.

 

You can start with Step 1 or 2 first. Whatever your comfort level is, either one can be done 1st. 

Step 1 (or 2): Paint the lines on the jar, skipping spaces, creating a striped pattern. 2 coats if desired. Allow time to dry, about 20-30 min. If you paint the entire thing, the tape doesn’t stick. Alternately, you can do Step 2 first, then paint the jar for straighter lines.

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Step 2 (or 1): Add the double stick tape to the areas not painted. The best way to do this, is to not cut and guess what size you need. Just start at the bottom of the jar, leaving about a half an inch over the edge (as in the picture below) and work your way to the mouth, with the tape still on the roll. At the mouth, cut the tape to the edge of the glass. Fold the tape to the bottom of the jar. Alternately, you can cut against the edge of the bottom to get rid of the excess tape. If the tape doesn’t stick well in some places, just add a little bit of glue to keep it on.

Step 3: Peel off the tape protector. If desired and you started with Step 2 first, after you peel the protector off, you can paint the lines and the bottom of the jar to hide the tape. Allow the paint to dry before moving on to Step 4.

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Step 4: Get your glitter on! Add glitter to the tape. Don’t roll the jar in glitter, as this can cause your tape to stick to whatever is under the glitter, such as the paper. Pour or sprinkle it on. Brush off an excess with your fingers or a soft brush.

 

Step 5: Add the candles. For the big jars I added at least 3 votive candles because that’s how many fit (make sure they sit flat to the bottom of the jar and not on top of each other). They melt together nicely to create 1 giant candle. For the baby jars, I used the tea lights. For the mediums, I used 1 votive.

Again: Don’t leave the ribbon on, it melts. 

Fairy Gardens and Bad Placement (Part 3)

The last time I posted about my super cool fairy garden, I didn’t have too many things going on around fairy land. These pictures are a bit out dated because I’ve updated the garden since. I’ll show these updates from a couple of months ago first.

I definitely underestimated the amount of work that needs to be done to maintain a fairy garden. As of right now, before I post current pictures, I need to do a little bit of cleaning. There are a lot of webs, leaves, and debris that needs clearing before pictures can be taken.

Some things I learned in fairy land:

  1. If you decide to do a fairy garden, treat it like real estate. Location, location, location! It matters where you place it. If you put it under a tree, choose one that doesn’t release a lot of debris. Flowers, pollen, fruit or leaves can make a big mess. I placed mine under a tree with all that not so fun stuff.
  2. Mulch! It’s your best friend. It makes your fairy garden look tidy and all the bright colors pop.
  3. Maintenance is required! I let mine go and it got bad. Every few days, webs should be cleared, and any stray objects/debris should be picked up.
  4. Have fun! Nothing can be perfect, so don’t stress it!

 

A little help from my friends:

Which way should we go?

Oh well!

 

This is where my inspiration came from for the well:

 

This image is NOT mine. I found some great ideas here via Pinterest (It’s in a language I don’t comprehend, but has some great ideas and google translate helped):

http://ambientebariri.blogspot.com/2015/05/mini-jardim-ou-fairy-garden.html

Glitter Rose

A while ago I posted about some roses I got from a wedding. This is a glitter rose I created. It’s a cool craft project if you have some roses to dry. You can use it for decoration for a party, decor in your house, or as a cool gift. It’s very easy and not too messy.

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What you need: Glue, sponge brush, glitter and of course a dry rose.

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Dry the rose for about a week, upside down, out of direct sunlight. I tied a string to the end of the stem and hung it off of a metal shelf.

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Take the sponge and add some glue. You don’t have to slather the entire rose in glue; just enough to give it a cool effect. This glue dries clear, so you don’t see the white after it’s dry.

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I chose colors similar to the rose, but you can use your imagination and use any color you want.

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I added some green for the stem. Don’t worry about getting the colors mixed at the bottom of the rose. It gives it a cool look when they’re mixed.

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To preserve glitter, I always use a paper under my glitter area. This way you don’t waste or make a huge glittery mess on your table or wherever you make your crafts. It’s also easier to get the glitter back in the bottle this way.

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And the finished product! I left the end of the stem clean so I could tape the bottom to something to let it dry. I used the shelf above my craft table. If you want to, you can cut that end off after it dries.

Roses are Pink, Violets are…

Last Sunday, I attended a wedding, and snatched some of these beautiful pink roses. In my family’s culture (Eastern European), that’s what you do at the end of a wedding. You take the flowers. I don’t know why, but who really cares. They’re beautiful and going to be tossed out eventually anyway. I saw it as a great opportunity to do something cool with them. Some I let dry out whole, some I kept in a vase, and some I took apart to dry so I could make some potpourri out of. I want to try adding some Mod Podge glue and glitter to a whole rose and see what happens. I saw glue being added as a preserver when I was doing some research on how to dry roses. I thought it was interesting, so lets see what happens with mine.  DSC01205

Oh, Those Rainy Days!

This is what happens when you mix a rainy day, a crafty person, and scrap wood. I’m adding this sign to my fairy garden. It’s a dedication to some of my favorites. I got the idea from pictures I’ve seen and made it original of course (The movies, books, names, etc. are not owned by me). The green pole is a wooden candle stick. A treasure from my garage. The Hobbit was on last night and I just couldn’t help myself today. It was a rainy day anyway. We all get a break from the sun in the northeast for a few days. I didn’t take a picture, but there are little bees I painted on the back of each piece of wood, heading in the direction the sign is pointing

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