In need of some craft projects to keep you busy this winter? Give these a try. A lot of them can be done in just a few hours with minimal supplies!
All you need is a peanut, some paint and a few other supplies to make this darling peanut hummingbird. It doubles as an ornament!
Hummingbird peanut ornament
Search your junk drawers, basements and attics for items you can use to create a sign like this one. You’d be amazed at how many things resemble letters. Spell out a holiday word or a first or last name—they are perfect for gifts!
Sign made out of "junk"
These adorable birds were made with a craft technique called felting. (In other words, take old wool sweaters, shrink them down in the washing machine and then cut and decorate them to look like birds!)
Felt bird ornaments
You can do so much with paint these days, especially with chalkboard paint! We created these chalkboard flower pots in only a few minutes. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of painting your own pots, check out Happy Moose Garden Art on Etsy to purchase gorgeous hand-painted pots.
Flower pots painted with chalkboard paint
Hand-painted pot from Happy Moose Garden Art on Etsy
Buy this handy craft kit and then make and decorate the birds at home! Look for Wild About Crafts on Etsy. The kit comes with felt, a bird pattern and some other accessories and is perfect for a family project you can do in an afternoon!
Shopping season has officially begun! In our December/January issue, we featured some great ideas for holiday stocking stuffers. In fact, we found so many neat things; we couldn’t even fit them all in the magazine. Here are some more great gift ideas for the birder or gardener in your life.
Bird Berry Jelly for orioles
Who doesn’t love orioles? This squeezable plastic container full of grape and blackberry jelly is made just for them and other fruit-loving species. The price is sweet, too. Order it for $5 from barninthesticks.com.
Gardening Record Book
This handy, good-looking gardening record book from Cabin Tiger can be used year after year to remind you of seasonal chores, bloom and frost dates, and so much more. You can even use it to write down bird sightings! Buy it for $19.95 from cabintiger.com.
Grow Bottle Kit
Give the gift of homegrown herbs with the earth-friendly and aesthetically pleasing Grow Bottle. Each hydrogarden is handcrafted from a recycled wine bottle, which serves as the kit’s packaging and as its pot and water reservoir. Buy one for $34.99 from vat19.com.
Thanks to cookie cutters, you can offer birdseed for your feathered friends while decorating at the same time! All you need are unflavored gelatin, water and seed mix. Combine the ingredients, spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet, chill and use cookie cutters to make the shapes. Let dry before putting outside or wrapping. Make them yourself by following the recipe on our website.
We want to know! What else might a birder or gardener like as a gift?
We gathered up a group of co-workers this afternoon to check out The Big Year movie, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. (Let us just say that going to a movie for the sake of job research=totally awesome.)
We had a good mix of hard-core birders (expert George Harrison was there), regular backyard birders (editor Stacy Tornio) and even people who can’t pick out a warbler from a grosbeak (we won’t name names).
So what was the overall impression? We were all in agreement—it gets two thumbs up! The movie is pretty upfront with their intentions from the very first screen:
The Big Year is based on a true story
…just the facts have been changed.
Yes, the movie is inspired by the book, The Big Year. And it had a lot of similarities, cool bird facts, sightings, etc. But in its simplest form, it was also a great story that made us admire birds, embrace nature and appreciate the little things in life.
It also made all of us proud to be associated with such a great group of people—birders. Sure, they’re a little extreme and quirky at times, but who isn’t? We hope you’ll go out and see The Big Year, and let us know what you think of it.
Oh, and as a little fun for our readers, we’re giving away one Big Year movie poster signed by Steve Martin, Jack Black & Owen Wilson. The actors signed only 8 posters total, and we were lucky enough to snag one of them! Enter the giveaway here.
Birds & Blooms Art Director, Sue Myers, shares how she keeps her three dogs out of the garden, and is still able to allow them to share in her flower passion.
I loved Donna Krischan’s article on “garden dogs” (read it in our November 2011 issue); everything she writes about is so true at our house as well.
My breed of choice is English Springer Spaniels. We have three right now and train them for hunting tests and field trials. Some agility and obedience work gets mixed into the agenda too. Plenty of exercise and some mental stimulation will keep most dogs from being destructive in general. Walks in the garden with the pack, even when paired with some, “HEY – GET OUT OF THERE!!!” fit right into that activity plan.
Garden paths are really effective. Unless your pup is on the hunt for a critter that roots itself deeply into the thick of your garden, most dogs will take the path of least resistance and move in-between the plants. Some tips when creating garden paths:
Use container plants as traffic diverts and barriers
Place a few containers in the flower bed too; hard objects hidden in the foliage can slow down or redirect the path of your dog
Containers also make quick repairs to a bed that did have a dog-related casualty. Just pop that nice mum plant where the marigold, Rover recently transplanted to the driveway, used to be. I always seem to have a grouping of potted plants that never got planted in the spring so patch material is no problem at our house.
This coming week my guys will be helping me un-do the vegetable garden. If I am not careful, one of the dogs will eat too many green tomatoes, one of my gloves will disappear and the rake will get dragged out of my reach
They love to keep me moving!
Readers, what are your best tips for keeping dogs out of the garden, while still allowing them to help?
Thanks to Stacy and everyone at Birds & Blooms for inviting the Cornell Lab of Ornithology onto this blog. I’m Hugh Powell, Science Editor at the Cornell Lab. I’ve been watching birds since I was about 6 thanks to my dad, an obsessed birder. He used to get me up at 5 a.m., throw a [...]
Every Friday we feature a blog we adore as our Blog of the Week. This week we introduce you to Shawna Coronado of The Casual Gardener. Shawna maintains her garden in the suburbs of Chicago. She is focused on teaching about and living a green lifestyle. 1. What’s the inspiration behind your blog? I have [...]
Every Friday we feature a blog we adore as our Blog of the Week. This week we introduce you to Fern Richardson from Life on the Balcony. Fern lives in Southern California and gardens on her balcony and front porch where she grows herbs, peaches, nectarines, figs, blueberries, flowers and succulents. 1. What’s the inspiration [...]
Every Friday we feature a new site for our Blog of the Week, and this week we introduce you to Corey Finger of 10,000 Birds. Corey lives in New York with his family. He’s only been birding since 2005, but by birding in his spare time he has acquired quite a life list. More specifically, [...]
Every Friday we feature a new site for our Blog of the Week, and this week we introduce you to Willi Galloway of DigginFood. Willi lives in Portland, Oregon and has been gardening her whole life. Willi and her husband grow vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers in their neighborhood community garden and in their backyard, [...]
Every Friday we feature a new site for our Blog of the Week, and this week we introduce you to Eric Eaton of Bug Eric. He is a writer and entomologist. He maintains his blog and does volunteer work for AllExperts.com and other bug-related websites. 1. What’s the inspiration behind your blog? I have a [...]
By Kirsten Sweet One of the best parts of my job is looking at gorgeous photos of birds and flowers. I think I could spend hours just “oohing and aahing” over the stunning photos our readers capture on film. If you’re like me, there’s a certain scene that always makes you swoon. I am such [...]
If you’re like me, you enjoy an occasional glass of wine. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but wine bottles are actually pretty. They come in different shapes, sizes and colors; even the labels are often uniquely designed. Instead of tossing the bottles in the recycle bin, you can recycle them yourself. They make [...]
The #1 Bird & Garden Magazine in America, Birds & Blooms, offers up great tips, ideas and solutions for birding and gardening in the backyard. Our blog is just another outlet for us to share the information readers like you want to read. Also, check out our Birds & Blooms website.
Meet Rob Ripma, our newest featured blogger. The Birds & Blooms staff was able to meet Rob at The Biggest Week in American Birding. Rob, along with his brother Eric, write the Nutty Birder blog where they share photos from their birding adventures both near and far. Check it out: Nutty Birder.