MYO Aluminum Can Butterfly Decorated Candle Holder

Home Made Can Butterfly candle holder

Can Butterfly Decorated Lamp Make your own fun fluttery butterfly candle holder this summer. I love the way the aluminum can butterflies create shadows on the table or walls. I’m really pleased how well this project turned out. What do you think? I used aluminum cans found during one of our local roadside clean-ups. I see possibilities in trash.

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Wash your aluminum cans. Cut the bottom and top off. Also cut along the side so you can lay the metal flat.CuttingCanO

(Older children can do this project. My 13 year old, in the photo above, was able to make very nice butteries on her own.)

Next, gently fold the metal to accommodate a stencil or to draw on a butterfly the desired size. Keep in mind that if you fold with the color on the inside, then you will have the color on the top side of the butterfly like in the picture.

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Cut out the butterfly; I designated an old pair of scissors for this job. You can also get metal cutting shears from the hardware store. Don’t use your favorite pair of paper scissors!

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Gently unfold the metal. Be careful because this seam has a tendency to break if you over work this edge. These can be painted if desired.

 

Raise Your Own Caterpillars For The Fun Of It: Snowberry Clearwing Moths

I found this snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) caterpillar on my deck last fall (the end of August). It had been feeding on my native honeysuckle plant (Lonicera sempervirens). It soon pupated. To simulate winter, I put it (the cocoon) in a jar in my refrigerator. In the spring I took it out. In early April it emerged! Snowberry Clearwing on Honeysuckle plant

feeding on my native honeysuckle plant (Lonicera sempervirens)

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I love the way its back end looks like a dog!SnowberryClearwingStretchO

all stretched out!SnowberryClearwingCaterpillarPupaO

This is how it survives the winter.

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Here it is getting its wings ready for first flight.

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Almost ready to fly!SnowberryClearwingMothSizeO

This picture gives a size reference. Amazing!

Table Cloth For Two With Matching Napkins Made From Dad Button Down Shirts

Make a handsome reversible table cloth and two napkins from two of dad’s old button down shirts. Or choose a variety of red white and blue shirts to make Fourth of July placemats and napkins.

Dad Shirt Table cloth and napkins for two

This little table cloth with matching napkins is a perfect beginner project for those new to using a sewing machine or a quick project for experienced sewers. It would make a terrific Father’s Day gift from his little girl. Then celebrate with tea for two.

Supplies: two dad button down t-shirts or one dad button down t-shirt and a piece of scrap fabric of a complimentary color and approximate size. This should be a shirt that dad doesn’t want anymore. Often stains can be worked around. Alternatively, substitute a large second-hand shirt. Bigger shirts make bigger table cloths so the bigger the better.

1. Cut up the shirt and Iron the pieces.

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2. Cut the squares out for the table cloth and napkins. Make the largest squares that your shirt will make. Save the back of the shirts to use for the table cloth or placemats.

3. With good sides facing, sew the two sides of the tablecloth together. Make sure the good sides are touching. If making placemats, you will want to cut your fabric into rectangles instead of squares. Sew almost all the way around. You need to leave a hole in which to turn your cloth right side out again.

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4. Clip the corners off.Clip Corners

5. Turn right side out and Iron flat.

6. If desired, sew a few strips. This task is a lot easier if the fabric is striped or plaid and you can follow the lines on the fabric.

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7. Hand or machine stitch the hole closed.

To make the napkins, simply fold over the fabric twice and pin. Ironing the folds now is helpful but not necessary. Use a sewing machine to sew down the folds.One side should already have a hemmed edge from the shirt.

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My daughter sewing the hem.Sewing button down shirt napkins

You may have fabric left-over from your shirt to make a pouch to carry your tablecloth.

 

Tips to Successfully Raise Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillars Or Any Others You Can Find

Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar

I think it is so much fun to find an interesting caterpillar especially one I’ve never seen before. Equally fun is seeing what it will turn into. I started raising caterpillars when my kids were small but have been doing it much more frequently in the last few years.

Here are some tips that might help you.

First you have to find a caterpillar. Go on: go out and look.

See my post: http://www.funinthemaking.net/2013/06/09/hunting-zebra-swallowtail-eggs-caterpillars/

Here is a Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar that I found and successfully raised.

You might want to know what you have found. I use -Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David Wagner.

Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar with Osmeterium extended

The Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar in this picture has its osmeterium extended. It is supposed to deter predators.

It is best when you find the caterpillar munching on a leaf: that way you know exactly what to feed it. If not, you will have to identify it then do some research to find out what food to supply it. (See suggested book above or search the internet).

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Provide fresh food as needed. I like to place a branch or some leaves in a jar of water to keep the plant fresh.

Prevent drowning. Believe it or not, caterpillars aren’t water smart. They will walk right down a stem into a vase of water and drown. I don’t know why they just don’t walk backwards up the stem and out of the water. To prevent this tragedy, you will need to choose small necked jars and fill the opening with stems, plastic wrap or even a bit of cork. I find that spice jars work really well. Fill the holes with leaves or branches of the host plant. I’ve been able to reuse spice jars that have different sized holes. Some tops have small holes and others have larger holes. Choose what works for the plant you are providing.

Zebra Swallowtail begins to Pupate

Here it is forming it’s chrysalis.

Zebra Swallowtail Chrysalis

Zebra Swallowtail Chrysalis other side

I think the chrysalis of a Zebra Swallowtail looks like a mummified cat.

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly in Cage

Here it is the day it came out of the chrysalis.

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly Free

Here it is high in a tree after we set it free. I had to use a ladder to get this picture but it was worth it.

Insectabox With Luna Moth Caterpillars

Rearing box with Luna moth caterpillars.

Use a rearing cage. It is important that you keep your caterpillar friend in a cage of some sort. I’ve had caterpillars venture off somewhere in my house never to be seen again. I like to think that they metamorphosed and eventually flew away.

Recently I bought an Insectabox and love it. It is very well designed. Here is a link. http://www.insectabox.com/

Here is the link for my homemade box that I’ve used for over 10 years. http://www.funinthemaking.net/2009/07/08/myo-butterfly-metamorphosis-observatory-out-of-a-cardboard-box/

You might also be interested in this post:

http://www.funinthemaking.net/2010/08/26/raise-your-own-caterpillars-for-the-fun-of-it-fritillary-butterflies/