MonthDecember 2013

‘For the Birds’ Wreaths

I did another project I’ve been eyeing on Pinterest lately (shocker, huh). I made bird seed wreaths. Unlike my advent calendars, I’m very pleased with how these turned out! They were super easy to make, too. In fact, I made four batches, and we included them with our goodie plates for our neighbors with a “for the birds” tag.

    Here’s the recipe I used:
    4 cups bird seed
    3/4 cup flour
    1/2 cup hot water
    3 T. corn syrup
    1 package of plain gelatin
    cooking spray

    Using a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of hot water and gelatin. Mix in the corn syrup and flour to make a paste. Add 4 cups of the bird seed, and stir until it’s all coated.

    Spray the molds well with cooking spray. Spoon in the mixture and press it in evenly and firmly. Place in the frig overnight to set.

This recipe was great because unlike rice crispies, you have a little time to work with these. Kids could definitely help mix and smash into the molds.

When I was looking into this project, I saw lots of cute versions done with cookie cutters. But, I don’t have that many big cookie cutters, and I was guessing it would need to dry in the cookie cutter for awhile. So, I went with an easy option, a mini bundt pan. One batch perfectly made six mini wreaths.

I will say that these need some drying time. I did 24 hours in the frig, and then turned them out on a cookie sheet to continue drying for another 24-48 hours.

Of course I had a little fun making a “For the Birds” tag for these. Here’s a printable version of my “for the birds” tags. You’re welcome to download and print it for your own use. I printed on cardstock.


Open the PDF of the “For the Birds” tags

After I made all the mini bundt versions, I went for a big bundt pan version for us. It’s great! Now we’ll see what our feathered friends think.

My designer takeaway: Keep trying new things because sometimes they turn out wonderfully!

Punch Out Advent Calendars

I made some simple advent calendars for the kids again this year. This time, I tried a new kind that I kept seeing on Pinterest. I used small cups covered with tissue paper that the kids could punch through (okay, more like poke through).

I found some small disposable cups and glued them to a piece of cardboard covered in red paper. Then I filled them with little goodies (I alternated treats and toys):

    – chocolate gold coins (a big hit with my kids)
    – chocolate snowman heads
    – lego figures
    – plastic bugs from Toobs
    – plastic fish from Toobs
Filling the cups

Filling the cups

Then I took little squares of tissue paper (about an inch larger than my cups), wrote the numbers on them and used rubber bands to hook them over the cups. This was actually much harder than I anticipated. While trying to get the rubber bands around the cups, I popped a few loose and had to glue them again. I think that if I make these again, I would cover the cups before gluing them down or instead of gluing them, I’d attach them with brads.

Covering the cups

Covering the cups

I’d love to have nicer numbers, but I was afraid a sticker would make it too hard to poke through. In fact, one tutorial I read said to use two sheets of tissue to cover the cups. I can tell you that on sheet is perfect. I guess I’ll have to take up calligraphy to get those beautiful numbers. 🙂

Regardless of how they look, my kids are still excited to see what they get each morning, and the countdown to Christmas is on! Mission accomplished.

While these are fun, I think I may go back to the mini muffin tins for the future. They are less work, more sturdy, and just as much fun.

My designer takeaway: Some times you have to try something new to learn that the old way is still a good way to go.

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