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Archive for December, 2013

DSC_0410We made these ornaments to decorate our tree, outside still growing in our yard.  This was the first time we had done this sort of thing, so we are still working on the outdoor decorations.  I am tired of wasting $50 every year to buy a tree that will be pretty for a few weeks and then just die.  This falls right into the consumerism that we are trying so hard to get away from.  I much more enjoy going outside and feeding the birds while decorating our tree.  We are going to have to find some more ornament ideas for next year though.

I really liked these ornaments because they are pretty and mini bird feeders.  My little girl (2) was able to help me make these decorations without any trouble.  We also made salt dough ornaments, but these were more fun to share.

DSC_0185a

All you need is molds (I used my silicone soap molds), straws, string, birdseed, and shortening.  First you melt the shortening and mix in the birdseed.  I don’t know how much I used of each, but next time I will use more shortening.  The ornaments weren’t sturdy as I would

have liked them to be so we ended up just freezing them right before we hung them.  Pour the mixture into the molds and put a straw through where you want the string.  Put them in the freezer overnight.  DSC_0186Once they are frozen, pop them out of the molds, pull the straws out, thread the strings and you’re done.  Beautiful and tasty treats for the birds!

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The house I am currently living in is rather expensive to keep warm enough for my taste so I have been looking for other ways to help warm the house a little cheaper.  I came across this terra cotta pot heater and figured I would give it a try.  It is really easy to put together and not so expensive that it is money wasted if it doesn’t do much.

What you need to build the heater I made is: three terra cotta pots in three different sizes (not too big), a candle in a glass jar, a bolt about six inches long, nuts to fit the bolt, washers that are bigger than the holes in the pots but smaller than the nuts, and bricks or something to prop up the pots.  I will attempt to explain how to put it together, but here is a site with a great cutaway view of the heater.  Take the large pot and put a washer on the outside of the bottom of the pot and thread the bolt through so that all the length is DSC_0176on the inside.  Turn the pot right side up and put another washer on the bolt.  Follow with a nut, another washer, and then the next smaller pot.  Repeat these steps for the smallest pot.  The picture to the left is what mine looked like when it was done.  Then we arranged the pots on the bricks over the candle like in the picture above.  Light the candle and wait for the heat!

It has been about an hour and it is starting to get warm.  It seems that while it may help keep the room a little warmer, it likely wouldn’t warm a house very well.

Please visit my new blog at homesteadhouligan.com!

 

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DIY Sugar Handscrub

While there is less outside work to do over the winter, I will be working on my homemade products list.  Right now, I am working on filling the bathroom with lots of goodies, all homemade, using as many of the essential oils we have made as possible.  I would like to add that these products also make lovely gifts this holiday season.  I have recently converted to making all the gifts I give except maybe some of the kids toys.  I will get there with the toys, but not this year.

DSC_0091I will start off with the easiest of the bathroom products, sugar scrub.  This is for when you have been working outside so long that soap just is not going to get that dirt off of your hands.  You need something to scrub your hands clean.  It has two simple ingredients: liquid soap and sugar.  I took an empty food container and filled it about 3/4 full.  Then I added a layer of soap, leaving just enough room to mix.  I used a butter knife to mix it up.  The sugar will dissolve some in the soap, so I added a little more sugar and a little tiny bit more soap and mixed it until I liked the consistency.  That’s it, homemade hand scrub.  I didn’t bother to scent it because you will end up washing with soap after you scrub because the sugar is sticky.  Be sure to store in a cool, dry place; sugar is perishable!

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