What do you get when you combine a couple of nature lovers, a few basic ingredients, and some holiday cheer? Christmas decor that’s good enough to eat (for the birds, that is!) Since the bio-degradable bird feeder we made a while back was such a hit, I’d been on the lookout for similar nature projects to do with Cragbaby, especially for cold, rainy days. Well our days of late haven’t been very rainy, and have been ANYTHING but cold, but our yard sure does look festive, thanks to all of these great ideas!
CHEERY CHEERI-ORNAMENTS: Simple enough for even the smallest kiddos to be able to enjoy, this bird feeder activity from Preschool Alphabet is a great way to involve the whole family! (Not to mention it’s a GREAT fine-motor skill exercise for toddlers!) Grab a box of Cheerios and some pipe cleaners, and get stringing! Speaking of string, we actually took a cue from the Yarn Ball Ornaments (described below), and incorporated some nest-building materials into the bottom loop of our Cheeri-Ornaments.
BIRDIE COOKIES: I’d always seen these in various places, but never knew how to make them until I stumbled upon this site. These are the most work intensive of the crafts I’ve listed, but still something that you can tackle in under an hour. You’ll need an envelope of gelatin and 1/4 cup of water for every 3/4 cup of birdseed, as well as some twine for hanging your ornaments. Simmer the gelatin until it is dissolved in the water, then stir in the birdseed (be ready, this can get real messy, real fast!) Lay out some wax paper and fill up some cookie cutters with your mixture (don’t forget to add your twine in!), then let the dry overnight…Voila! Spectacular decor that your feathered friends will be “tweeting” about all season! Since we have holly growing in our front yard, we decided to incorporate some of the berries into our “cookies.” It’s worth noting that if you go this route, you’ll need to be VERY careful pressing them into the cookie cutters, as they bruise VERY easily. (The next morning our berries looked like they’d been in a bar fight.) I’m sure the birds won’t mind a bit, but if you’re planning to use them as gifts, dried fruit might be a better bet.
POM POM PINE CONES: These are cute enough to put on your indoor tree, but hardy enough to go on an outdoor tree. Better yet, make a few for each! I got the idea here. I was originally planning on helping C glue all our pom poms in place, but they seemed to stay in place quite nicely without it, so we opted to bypass the messy glue option. C just stuffed the pom poms in wherever he could, hubby and I strung them up with fishing line, and behold, some colorful eye candy on the tree by our front door. The birds understandably didn’t like this one as much…maybe if we added some dollops of peanut butter. I’m wondering however, if we were to leave them up until spring time, if the birds would enjoy using the pom poms as a nesting material…
BIRDSEED WREATH: We actually didn’t get a chance to try this idea yet (instructions here). It seems easy enough, but there’s a warning about making sure to keep your wreath cold and out of the sun or else it will melt – and considering all the freakishly warm temperatures we’ve been having here of late in the Southeast, it seemed like this one might be a a better idea in January…
YARN BALL ORNAMENTS: When I saw this idea posted here, the first thought that popped into my head was, “Great, now I can finally do something with the yarn leftover from my feeble attempts at crocheting in years past!” This one is still on our to-do list as well, but it appears simple in concept and execution – just get a styrofoam ball (or any shape, for that matter), and get wrapping!
We hung all of our homemade ornaments on a crepe myrtle tree just in front of our house, interspersing them amidst the store-bought snowflakes and balls we already had up. And the results? Stunning, and sure to bring a smile…so I’d say you can call our project a success! C is so proud of his efforts, grinning from ear to ear every time he comes around the corner and catches a glimpse of his handiwork. Anyone who stops by (friends, neighbors, etc) simply MUST see those decorations before going inside the house! Does anyone else put decorations on OUTDOOR trees? I’d love to hear some more ideas so we can add them to our queue for next year!