"You are so creative!" I have heard that phrase constantly since I was little. DIY, Refashioning, Crafting, Sewing, Woodworking. I love it all! Now I have a place to keep my favorite projects or ideas organized and share them with you!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Olympics Begin!

Tonight for the Olympic Opening Ceremonies we had a little party!
 It was a great evening at home and a great way to get the kids excited about the games!

First we made some silver medals. We took an empty cereal box and traced and cut some circles out.

We wrapped the circles in tin foil.

Then we used tooth picks to draw pictures on them. My son wanted the number 3 on his silver medal.
We used some thick ribbon I had from my grandmother, and used a staple to easily attach the cut ends into place. 

Then they worked together to make some paper plate Olympic rings to hang on our fireplace mantel.

We found this free board game printable and the kids had fun playing this with their Grandma while waiting for the ceremonies to start. The link also has other great free Olympics printables for kids.

We even had a good Olympic themed snack. (No not McDonald's, Wheaties, and Coke Classic.) Grandma picked up some Cheerios snack mix on the way to our house we mixed it with our microwave popcorn we had already planned. So the kids had fun eating the Olympic rings (Cheerios) as well.

It was a great and enjoyable evening at home that I am sure will leave some memories that they can think about the next time the Olympics roll around.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Planting Potatoes in a 20 Gallon Planter

This was our first try at growing potatoes in our 20 gallon planter. We planted the seed potato pieces in the bottom in about two inches of dirt and covered with more dirt, then as they sprouted we kept covering the sprouts each day until they reached the top of the container.

The idea is that the longer the roots the more potatoes and you can grow them vertically instead of them taking up so much space in a yard.

So now they were all dried up. I had read someplace that they keep growing underground, but I also read that once they dry up they are done. I new I had some good potatoes in there since I could see them peeking through the top of the soil, but I was also worried.. One plant died much sooner than the rest, it looked a little sick. You can see it in the first photo on the left side hanging over the pot. I was worried that this one may have some sort of rot that may infect the other potatoes so I decided to dump. Yep it is July still, but we went for it.

My daughter was excited to grab a few she could see from the top of the pot.

Then we dumped the whole pot into a blank spot (thanks to the rabbit issues) in our raised garden. My original plan was to dump it into the garden in the fall once the growing season had ended. But something told me the potatoes couldn't wait that long.
I think I was right.

Yep there was some rot going on on the one plant and the small potatoes that were on it.
It was very smelly.
I noticed that the pot was VERY wet on the bottom. The drip catcher on the bottom of the planter held too much water causing the bottom to always stay wet. Next year I will be drilling multiple holes into the bottom of the pot to prevent this. Potatoes like well drained soil best so I think this will solve our problem.

But we still had plenty of learning and enrichment going on and my daughter and her friend were not afraid to dig into the stinkyness and get their hands dirty.

And we even found a few decent sized potatoes.

They lined them up on the garden edge as they found them.

Here is our harvest, washed and ready to go. I am thinking... Soup!

Pizza Box Solar Cooker

My daughter had a pizza at Subway for lunch and wanted to keep the box for a project. She asked me what she should make and I suggested she try making the pizza box solar cooker.

She lined her box with black construction paper, black absorbs light and helps keep the heat energy from bouncing off.

She cut a square out of the lid and cut a slightly larger square out of a plastic container to make a window.

She wrapped the cardboard square she had cut out with tin foil and taped it in place. This reflects the sunlight into the container. She used a wooden chop stick to hold it at the right angle.

You can adjust the flap to get the light in the right place. If you make your head shadow the box and you can see the marshmallows reflected in the foil, your angle is about right.

The sun soon melted the chocolate. We had gone inside to watch a show and wait, and when we looked back the wind had taken our box and opened it. Our marshmallows were not too melted, but I think they had cooled off since the box had opened. They were still yummy, just a bit hard to eat. I suggest mini marshmallows for this size oven since the large ones touched the top of the box.

Plates would have been helpful. Well now we know for next time, and we still had fun.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to School Fun and Funky Composition Notebooks

Less than a month before school starts, that means School Supplies are out and on sale. It also means that it is time to brush up on handwriting skills that may have gotten rusty over the summer. I needed a way to encourage some summer writing with my kiddos so I purchased two composition notebooks for 29 cents each. Then we got out the craft supplies.

We got out the box of stickers, whenever we have stickers leftover from kits or other things we put them all in one box. It is nice to be able to take this box out for whatever projects we want. We also got out some paper, markers, scissors, packing tape, beads and string. 

Then the kids went to town decorating their notebooks in any way they wanted.

Once they had their decorations on the notebook we used the packing tape to laminate them in place.

We also used the beads and string to make a built in book mark for each notebook.

Two fun and funky notebooks ready to be filled with story ideas, journal entries, lists of what we did this summer and "word family" lists.

Another fun summer afternoon project.

Linking up here:
For the Kids Friday

Masking Tape Negative Painting

We wanted to get out the paints the other day so we took some pieces of cardboard we had on hand and thought we would try out a bit of masking tape negative painting.

We took masking tape and put it on the cardboard where we didn't want paint to be. I wrote some words from a saying I found on Pinterest, and my daughter decided to make a bird and egg.

Then we painted over the tape in whatever pattern we wanted. My daughter kept with the coloring in method and I just painted some cool colors in random patterns.

We were both happy with the finished products.  I love my daughter's little picture, she always has good ideas of what to do.
My piece is going to be making an appearance in my mother-in-law's classroom this fall at a local high school. I love making projects and passing them on. A fun little project for our summer afternoon.

Linking up here:

Linking up here:
For the Kids Friday

Monday, July 9, 2012

I Officially Hate Rabbits! Garden 2012

I have the best garden I have had this year as far as the size of my plants well the plants that survived...  I also have a horrible rabbit problem in my garden that began from the start. I never officially saw a rabbit in there, but whole pepper plants tomato plants and bean plants and corn plants disappeared. I thought the problem had stopped for a while. I think what happened is the baby bunnies got too big to fit though my chicken wire fence so they stopped getting into my garden. But yesterday I went out to check my veggies and saw him! A rabbit in the raised garden, he just jumped over the fence when he saw me and hopped into another yard.

brown rabbit

I have named one of the rabbits in my yard Houdini for this reason, I had never seen him in there, and also various times I would bait my live trap, he would somehow get in eat the yummy treats I left him and get out without springing the trap. We also do the human hair thing when our kids and hubby get their haircuts at home. But that only is said to work until it rains or there is a dew.

I have had two monstrous tomatoes in my garden for weeks. They have not reddened up since the weather has been too hot for them to do so. So I was patiently waiting and was going to pick them as soon as I saw any blush to them because I was pretty sure these monsters were keeping all other tomato production from happening on those two plants.

Here are my monsters. Yes they are HUGE. If I put two of my fists together it is about the size of one of these tomatoes. I can't tell you what kind they are, my sister-in-law gave me the seeds. They are some sort of Heirloom variety. Yep grew these babies from seeds all myself. But here is the aftermath of my furry friends.

I have been trying to outsmart those "waskally wabbits" from the start this year. Last year my short chicken wire fence did the trick, they kept out. This year however they were able to get in from the start making me resort to other measures to protect my plants.  I started by cutting the tops and bottoms off milk jugs so I could transplant my plants outside without them being eaten. I lost a few plants before I started this method.

(You can see my low chicken wire fence here as well. Next year we are going higher!)

 The milk jugs seem to work fairly well and I will be using them again next year. The rabbits stayed away from my remaining tomato plants and this worked great for the other plants as well. Until the beans grew taller then the rabbits treated the jugs as a feeding trough yet they never did kill the plant, since they couldn't get to the stem. I did decide to keep them on the tomatoes since it does keep the rabbits from eating the main shoot and they only were able to eat the top leaves. Once the tomato plants were larger the rabbits didn't eat the plants.  This was able to protect my summer squash plants too when they were small. I recommend the milk jugs. They worked really well as a mini green house for my little seedlings and did deter the rabbits a bit.

I also use a buried upside down bottle to water my tomatoes like a good friend taught me. This gives water to the roots and avoids getting the leaves wet which tomatoes are not too fond of. I have found this works great and this is my third year of watering this way. One bottle full a day is the perfect amount to keep your plant producing.

So onto protecting my other tomatoes which is my current issue. Lucky many of my fruits are higher than a rabbit can reach on the plant, or so I assume at this point, unless they figure out how to use stilts which I wouldn't doubt they could. But I do currently have three that are lower in the danger zone. So I again turned to some plastic I had nearby.

I stuck plastic bottles around the fruit. I am hoping that this will keep the rabbits from nibbling them. Got to keep thinking on my toes. The bottles just stay in place by being held by friction between the fruit and nearby vines. I am hoping that this may up my gas levels making the fruit turn red faster since it may keep the gas that is responsible for turning ripe mature green tomatoes red from blowing away if it is windy. Yes there is a gas the plant produces that turns them red, that is why you can put green mature tomatoes in a paper bag to make them turn red if they don't turn red on the vine. It helps to concentrate that gas in the bag. Amazing what you can learn online. We will see if my bunny deterrent works and has this added benefit.

In other garden news.

This is all that is left of my pepper plants and one green bean plant. The rabbits have wiped them out. The roll cages work ok, but bunnies can get their tongue in there and nibble leaves. I did however have a good result using these on my starting cucumbers to protect them. But you need to remove them before the plant starts to send out climbers, or you will find yourself needing to cut them off.
I have not had any luck with peppers the last couple years, even with no rabbits, so I am not too disappointed.

Cucumbers and Mini Pumpkins Climbing up!

I decided to use a different method for my cucumbers this year. I removed my metal coffee cans from around the tee-pee and replaced them with a little wooden trench  that I filled with good soil. The cucumbers are climbing like crazy and are happy in their new home. I did cover the bottom with the little rolled cages to start but once they got to the climbing stage I removed them. It has been fun teaching them to climb up where I want them, relaxing sitting and wrapping their little climber shoots around the supports. I have many little cucumbers starting but have not picked a mature one yet. A few more days and I think my first one will be ready.

I planted mini pumpkins on the other side again this year. We only got one little pumpkin last year so I am hoping we will get at least three out of our two plants that made it this year. They are climbing up too but not nearly as fast as the cucumbers.

Summer Squash

Gigantic huh!
These were started early inside. These two summer squash plants made it when transplanted outside. They are staked nicely on this metal thing someone left behind at our house under the deck. Works good. No squash vine borers yet this year YIPPEE!!!

The zucchini didn't make the transition outside and I thought it was the summer squash that didn't, so I tossed more summer squash seeds down. This means I will have plenty of yellow summer squash this year and no zucchini. Oh well.
I have picked one yellow squash so far. I had a couple shrivel up on me when we were on a two day summer trip. Too hot while we were gone. But MAN is that suash plant huge! 


This is a 20 gallon planter that happened to be left at my house by the previous owners. I added the label myself with some paint pens. Then I planted the potatoes at the bottom and filled in dirt as they grew. They were growing really well, then one turned yellow and died, the rest are getting a bit yellow but I think it is due to the hot weather. We will see if this fill method ends up working when we dump it out this fall. No worries if it is a bust. We don't have the garden space for potatoes otherwise and we had the pot, so we wanted to try.

Herbs and Strawberries

Our little herb garden blocks I say are working well. I only planted the three plants. I was not sure what other things I wanted to plant to be honest.  We have had a few good sized strawberries out of the tiny strawberry plant. My youngest son was thrilled! But do realize that when you fill your planter that the dirt will settle. It will settle a lot! You need to fill then wait a week then refill before planting. My dirt level is a bit lower than I would like, but I haven't gotten around to getting more soil for them.

Well that is the garden so far this year. The giant sunflowers that we have had in past years bit the dust right away, the rabbits couldn't leave them alone. We planted them twice.

To see our garden in years past check out these links

Do you have any other cleaver ways to keep your bunnies away from your plants?