Tag Archives: garden

Crochet – Coaster / Cover for alfresco dinning – Quick project

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Stash Buster Project

Beaded Coaster or Cover

So, I was given a free book of crochet patterns. It was from the May 2010 ‘Let’s Knit’ Issue. I hadn’t picked up a crochet hook for a long time. Since I struggled to complete a blanket for my unborn son at the time. But as this seemed quite quick, I referred to my ‘how to’ book of crocheting and finished it in a flash! These would make excellent stocking fillers. You could easily convert them to look Christmas-ee. Sorry I mentioned the ‘C’ word already. But hey, you gotta be prepared. So many crafting options, so little time.

The beads I used were glass, but I should have used more or chosen a heavier bead so that they would weigh it down to bring out the shape better. You could, of course, use any colour combination. I just used what I had, and I just happened to only have white in 4 ply. The suggest you can use ribbon, but you could use any yarn you like. Just choose an appropriate hook and if your yarn or yarn substitute  is much thicker then make reduce the amount of rounds you make.

If you missed this issue and would like to get this pattern. It can be found in the book ‘Two Balls or Less’ by Jenny Hill. It’s RRP is about £12.99 and has over 30 simple crochet and knitting projects.

As an added note, the hook used is 3.5mm.

Winter Bird Feeding – bird cakes

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bird food

Make your own bird food hangers

Make those little feathery friends happy with a tasty treat…

I made these little bird fat balls by using leftover ingredients from baking and food I had in the store cupboard.  They are really easy to make and very rewarding once you see those little birds pecking away!

Firstly I’d like to note that I havn’t specified quantities on the dried ingredients as these may vary from cupboard to cupboard. Use what you have, don’t worry if all you have are fruit or oats and nuts. The birds will still love every morsel. Just stay true to the lard to dry mix ratio.

For advice on what is recommended to feed your garden birds please visit
http://www.rspb.org.uk/ as I am not an expert on wildlife and have taken my recipe from their guidance.

What you’ll need:

+ Thick String or any stringing material (I used ribbon as I didn’t have any string)
+ Mixed Nuts (i.e peanuts, walnuts and pecans etc)
+ Dried Fruit ( i.e apple, apricot, raisins and berries etc)
+ Uncooked porridge oats and/or bran flakes
+ Lard, you will need approx one third volume in lard to the dried food.
+ Small saucepan
+ Silicone Cupcake Moulds (or any easy release moulds that are at least cupcake size)

Directions:

Chop all fruit, nuts and oats and cereal into small pieces and reserve into a bowl.

Cut strings into approx 10in lengths, you can always cut more if you run out as the lard takes a couple hours in the refrigerator to set. Tie each of the strings ends together to form a circle and double/triple knot them to form an anchor in which the lard mixture will eventually stick to.

Next you will want to melt the lard on the hob on a low heat. Once just melted, add your lard to your dry mix until everything is well coated, you may want to be generous as this will help it all stick together.

Place your strings, knot first, into your silicone/easy release moulds. Scoop your mixture into the individual moulds making sure that the knot is well placed in the centre of the cake. Push the mixture so that it is tightly packed.

Now place the tray of bird cakes into the fridge for at least 2.5-3 hours, longer if you can as they will only benefit from the setting process. Once rock hard, pop out your little birdy cupcakes and hang high on the nearest tree.

Note: If you don’t fancy stringing these up you can always omit the stringing process and place on clean trays on the ground or on bird tables. They will still be enjoyed!