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Entries in DIY (27)

Wednesday
Feb142018

bird seed hearts for valentine's day

Valentine's Day has never really been that big of a deal in our house, but now that we have littles, it's become one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with the kids.  After all, what could be better than celebrating love?  This is Lydia's first year in preschool, so when it came to Valentine's for her classmates, the learning curve was a little steep.  I wanted to do something other than give out candy and when I saw heart shaped bird seed feeders on Pinterest, I thought it was perfect, since we already had about 300 pounds of seed in the garage (we like to feed our birds). 

The first recipe I tried called for corn syrup and flour and did not turn out well at all. I couldn't get the bird seed to stay together, so I ended up coming up with my own thing and they turned out great!  After having made panna cotta for years, I knew that unflavored gelatin would harden enough to get the bird seed to stay together and they were so, SO cute! Lydia even helped mix everything together and then poke the holes with a chopstick!  Here is the recipe and the steps for how I did it:

What you'll need:

4 cups bird seed

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold water, divided in half

chopstick (or pencil, to poke a hole in the top for string)

baker's twine or ribbon

heart-shaped cookie cutter

How to make:

1.  Sprinkle three packets of gelatin over 1/2 cup very cold water in a mixing bowl.  Let sit for ten minutes until it firms up.

2.  In a sauce pan, heat another 1/2 cup of water until it comes to a boil.  Add the gelatin mixture and mix until it dissolves.

3.  Add gelatin mixture to a large bowl of the bird seed and mix well.

4.  Let the bird seed mixture firm up and cool off a little before making your hearts. (I stuck ours in the fridge for a half hour).

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place your cookie cutter on top.  Spoon the mixture inside and gently push down to make sure it's really packed in. 

6.  With a chopstick or pencil, poke a hole in the top, then carefully remove the cookie cutter.

7.  Once you've finished all your hearts, I put the baking sheet in the fridge to let them firm up overnight.  The next morning, I used a paring knife to cut away the excess birdseed around the hearts and then tied ribbon through and put them in bags with Valentine's tags.  So easy and SO CUTE!!

Definitely chill the mixture before trying to fill the cookie cutters with it; it's so much easier to handle and it doesn't get all over the place!  Also, you can poke the chopstick in again the next morning if it didn't go all the way through when it was in the cutter.  These turned out so stinking cute, that I would definitely consider doing them for favors or even on a rainy day (we love to spread peanut butter on pinecones and roll them in peanut butter, too!).  Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Sunday
Dec102017

how to keep your christmas tree fresh until new year!

 

Picking out our Christmas tree is something we wait all year for!  In a perfect world, I'd get mine the day after Halloween, but living in the South, where it's warm and muggy until right about now, usually means our trees are extra crispy just in time for Christmas itself.  The last three years, though, and so far this year (knock on wood) we've had the best luck keeping ours fresh all the way until New Year - and I'm not just talking about keeping it alive, I mean soaking up water twice a day, smelling amazing and still soft to the touch!  I realize many people are ready to take their tree down the day after Christmas, but there isn't anything I love more than curling up on the sofa with a glass of wine and a movie under the soft glow of white twinkle lights for as long as I can push it!  The secret is two simple steps, but they make such a huge difference! 

First, make a fresh cut at the base.  (I do this even if the vendor says he just did it because I'm a tad OCD and also because I like to keep an inch cut off the base, mark it with the year and keep it with our Christmas stash!) 

Next, I use a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch drill bit to drill two or three holes in the base of the tree, depending on how big the bottom is.  This helps the tree guzzle water like you wouldn't believe!  I had a couple in my toolbox from when I made mini pumpkin taper candle holders; I found mine at Lowe's.

And that's it!  Seriously, it couldn't be any easier.  Just be prepared to check the water level on the tree a couple times a day at first; for the first week, I ended up adding water three times every day.  Now, I fill it up first thing in the morning and then again around dinner.  Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are gearing up for a fabulous week! xx

Thursday
Jun082017

how to clean out your candles

I'm such a sucker for a beautifully scented candle and bonus points for one that looks pretty enough to use again after you've burned through it!  (After all, isn't that the only incentive to fork over the big bucks for Diptyque - so you can stick Q-tips and fresh blooms in them???) 

Park Hill Candles are some of my favorites for this reason; they aren't too pricey, they smell amazing and the wicker and glass they come in make for gorgeous little vases once I've burned through the candles!

I'm probably the last person on the planet to figure out how to get the residual wax out of the bottom of the candle, but I'm going to post it anyway just in case there are still a few of you who, like me, have tried busting it out with a butter knife or freezing it, etc.  It's super easy and takes no time at all.  Here's how I did it:

-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

-Spread aluminum foil over a baking sheet and fold the edges up to prevent wax getting on the sheet.

-Place the candle upside down on the foil and bake for 5-7 minutes.  Watch carefully for the wick to fall out and take the whole thing out of the oven as soon as it does so it doesn't burn (trust me, you're kitchen will fill with smoke)

-Let it cool (I took mine outside on the deck) and then wash it out with soap and water and you're good to go!

How amazing are these "mermaid" alstromeria, by the way?  They've moved around the house more than I have the last three weeks, but they're the best five bucks I've ever spent on blooms, that's for sure!

Wednesday
Apr122017

new lantern lighting for my kitchen

 

This post is a LONG time coming - and not just because it's been forever since I've blogged!  It's taken me seven years to make up my mind on a chandelier for my breakfast nook and then find one I won't get tired of as soon as it's installed, but I'm excited to say I've found the perfect, linear, oversize lantern and I'm OBSESSED!  If you guys have been reading along here for a while you know I've had my heart set on finding an oversized lantern light for over my breakfast table but the search has been ridiculous because everything I found was either dwarfed by my vaulted ceilings or cost a couple month's worth of mortgage payments.  Seriously...it's much harder than you might think to find a ginormous lantern chandelier for less than a down payment on a car!

I had seen the Sheffield 8-light lantern chandelier by Ballard Designs before but it wasn't until a few weeks ago when another catalogue landed in my mailbox that I thought it just might work in my space.  It was also on major sale so I bit the bullet and ordered it and you know what?  I LOVE IT!  It's just what the space needed; it's the perfect size, the finish is beautiful and the guy who installed it said he was amazed at the quality. 

The only thing I will say I wasn't crazy about was the fake wax drip candle sleeves (sorry, Ballard), but that was a quick and easy fix.  I ordered a pack of plain white plastic sleeves from Amazon and gave them a few light coats of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint, which matches the finish so perfectly.  This is a great way to modernize a chandelier on the cheap!

I finally feel like this space is finished, which is really saying a lot because I've constantly been changing things up to compensate for the fact that I had the wrong size lighting in here for so long. It adds just the right amount of drama and the prettiest, softest light (I used 15 watt bulbs).  I highly, highly recommend this fixture if you're looking for an oversize lantern light.  Thank you, Ballard...from the bottom of my oversize lantern loving, indecisive heart, thank you!

Friday
Feb032017

new foyer lamps + how to create a "zinc" finish

Three blog posts in one week, can you believe it?  I'm still behind on laundry by three loads, but I have to say, it feels soooooo good to be back to blogging on what I hope I can make a regular basis!  On the heels of Wednesday's post, I still have lighting on the brain, this time in the form of new pair of huge table lamps for my foyer!  If you follow me on Instagram (@bungalowblue) you may remember me posting a while back about how one of the lamps in my foyer mysteriously broke into one hundred pieces while we were watching Game of Thrones last season.  I've had such a hard time findinganother pair  that I like that are also big enough; the last set was 31 inches high which is perfect for us because both the hubby and I are tall and I hate walking by and being able to see over the lamp and seeing the bulb.  Coming off of the upstairs addition, I also didn't want to spend a fortune,either.  So, when a friend called from a trip to Pottery Barn a few weeks ago and said a pair of Estelle stacked glass table lamps were on clearance for more than half off, I couldn't say no!

These pictures just don't do the lamps justice, they are so beautiful.  And they are HUGE - 33 inches to the tip of the finial, to be exact.  When it comes to lighting, I tend to find bigger is better for a dramatic impact and these lamps definitely deliver.  And if you really want to dial up the drama, a large scale mirror will do the trick!

I found this one a few years back at HomeGoods but it had a yellowed finish that looked like it had spend half a century inside a chain smoker's house.  So, I gave it a little refreshing with a "zinc" paint treatment and I LOVE how it turned out.  Here are the step-by-step instructions on how I created the finish - it's so easy and one of my favorite paint treatments, mostly because the messier the better!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!