Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat.
It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you can just forget about your garden in winter.
Keep all of your tools performing at their best.
It sounds good, but don’t bring that living evergreen indoors; or, after the last glass of eggnog, a pile of needles on the living room floor will be all that’s left of your tree. Conifers and other evergreens like cold weather, and bringing one into an overheated house is a death warrant.
Instead, why not create a Christmas tree for the birds out on your deck or patio? By spreading peanut butter or another edible sticky substance on pinecones and rolling them in birdseed, you’ve created easy and frugal ornaments for birds and other wildlife. Our feathered friends work hard to maintain their body weight in winter so helping them will make you feel great, and you’ll get to watch them enjoy your present. Later, when others are hauling their dead sticks to the curb, you can instead grab a shovel and plant your tree.
Children especially love this project, and it’s very easy even for young ones.
What you’ll need:
One evergreen tree of your choice. I would normally suggest some type of pine tree because they tend to be less expensive, but in Oklahoma where I live, and many other states including much of the Midwest, Missouri and North Carolina, pines are suddenly turning brown and dying from pine wilt. The carnage has become so rampant in Oklahoma that dead pine trees are everywhere. Pine wilt is caused by the pinewood nematode and pine sawyer beetle which work in concert to spread the disease. Although the disease seems to strike older trees more often than young ones, trees are an investment which we don’t want to waste. If you live in an area not afflicted by pine wilt, go ahead and choose a pine if you like. Pick a variety with stiff limbs because the pine cone ornaments are heavy. I purchased a four foot dwarf blue spruce, Picea pungens ‘Hoopsii’. Another good option would be a Cupressus arizonica var. glabra, Arizona cypress, like ‘Carolina Sapphire’ or ‘Blue Pyramid’ a/k/a ‘Blue Ice.’ I have a specimen of ‘Blue Ice,’ and I can attest to its beauty in the landscape.
Something festive or natural to wrap the tree’s container. My tree is in a green plastic pot. In keeping with the blue/silver theme, I used a pearly white wrap. Burlap would also work. If you use plastic and cover the entire container, be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage.
Pinecones (try to find ones which aren’t perfumed). Although birds can’t smell the cinnamon scent, the pinecones might be dipped in something toxic. If you live where you can pick up pinecones off the ground, even better.
Peanut butter. If you or the child you’re doing this craft with is allergic to peanut butter, try using almond or cashew.
Suet will also work.
Good quality bird seed.
Fishing line or heavy industrial thread or jute to hang the pinecones.
A jelly roll pan to roll the pinecones in the bird seed and a spatula to spread the peanut butter.
Optional: other unbreakable decorations without glitter (which might hurt the birds) to finish your tree’s adornment.
Wrap the container of the tree in something pretty, or if you’re going for more of a rustic look, use burlap and tie it to the trunk with jute. Tie fishing line, heavy thread or jute to the top of the pinecone. If you are having children help you, do this beforehand as it is the most difficult part of the project. While holding the thread aside, spread peanut butter onto the pinecones and roll them in birdseed. As they are finished, gently hang these natural ornaments onto the tree, being careful not to damage any branches. Place other unbreakable decorations on the tree if desired, but keep in mind garlands or ribbon may be destroyed by birds or other wildlife.
As the birds consume the birdseed and peanut butter, the pinecones will remain. Remember to the check your tree occasionally for dryness by sticking your finger into the soil an inch or two. If the soil is dry, water, but don’t overwater.
Once the holidays are over, remove any remaining decorations and plant the tree in a suitable spot. Just think if this becomes a holiday tradition, each year a new tree will be planted in your yard or others. Plus, you won’t add any trees from your family to existing landfills.
It’s a nice thought isn’t it?