Make Your Own Stick Star Ornaments

How to:
Use a good pair of garden shears to cut some straight branches. From these branches, cut 5 stick pieces the same length and approximately the same diameter. Cut the first stick (whatever looks right) and use that stick to mark the length of the remaining sticks. I used sticks that were about 6 ¼ inches long and ¼ to nearly ½ inch wide. The exact size doesn’t matter as long as it appeals to your sense of proportion and all the sticks are the same length. Keep in mind; thinner sticks are easier to bend into place.

Tie two sticks together than tie another two sticks together near the end (see X and Y in photo).
Spread out the non-tied ends and overlay as in photo and tie top of star (see Z in photo).

Tie on the last stick. Play with the sticks a little; some go over, some under. Do whatever works for that star.

Party Craft
I prepared enough for my daughter’s whole class. I made bundles and tied them together with nice red yarn that was used to hang the star ornament after the star was constructed. The ball of wool yarn was used to tie all the sticks together.

How To Make Adorable Polar Bear Ornaments Out Of An Old Wool Sweater

polar bear stencil PDF

1. Print out the polar bear stencil that I made or make your own.
2. Felt a white second -hand sweater. I was at a thrift store recently and found a white wool sweater that someone accidently felted. That sweater was the inspiration for this project.
Felting Wool Sweaters
You can intentionally felt a wool sweater by putting it in the washing machine and washing with hot water and detergent. Drying in a hot dryer will continue the felting process.
3. Trace the bear with a fine point washable marker. You will be able to quickly rinse the ink off when done cutting and then pat dry.


4. Add any embellishments you want. A single black glass bead looks nice. Insert the needle in the back and out the front. Thread the bead on the needle and then pass the needle back through in the same place. Knot in the back. Use a little embroidery floss for the nose and the mouth or keep it simple.


I added a smile to this one for fun.
5. Add a hook or ribbon for hanging.

Alternatively, send as a holiday card with a removable ornament on the front and a message on the inside. I put a little tape to hold the bear onto a piece of cardstock.

How To Make A Greener Pet Bed: Use Reclaimed Fabric And Recycled Fiber Stuffing

Try creating a pet bed out of a stained coat, damaged drapes, unwanted jeans, or an old wool blanket. Avoid the damaged areas when cutting out your pieces. Alternately you could use fabric remnants from fabric retailers. These scraps are usually sold at a discount. I made this bed out of a second hand curtain. The thick, neutral color fabric was perfect for the job. It is a good idea to pick sturdy fabric if making a dog bed. Make one for your cat too and she will shed on it instead of on your favorite chair. This project is easy enough for beginner sewers.

How to:
Determine the size you would like to make your pet bed. I started by cutting two squares of fabric 29 by 29 inches. With right sides together, sew around three sides (as indicated by the blue line) leaving one side open. Use a ½ inch seam allowance. Trim the corners off (also shown in blue) but be sure you do not cut your stitching. Turn your pet bed right side out. Now fold in the raw edges of the opening (about a half inch) and iron. You must do this before you sew the tunnels.

You could measure your pillow and do some division and re-measure and mark your tunnels… or fold your pillow in half and make a nice crease. Open it out flat. Fold the sides to the center this time (see photo) and crease. Use some pins to hold things in place then sew using the creases as your sewing guide lines. Depending on the size of your pet bed, you may have to do more folding first.

This is what mine looked like after I sewed the tunnels.

Stuff the tunnels. I filled mine with a soft recycled fiber stuffing (made from industrial textile waste). You might want to recycle the stuffing from an old pillow or stuff with scrap fabric pieces (collect the pieces that are too small to do anything else with.

All that is left to do is sew up the open side.
Because pet beds are so large I recommend you spot clean only. A carpet cleaner with an upholstery attachment works great!

To make a pet bed out of jeans, see my post on how to make recycled jean pillow covers.

Only a few modifications to those directions are needed. You will need to leave one end of the tunnels open for stuffing. Also, make the strips 6 to 8 inches wide for medium to large beds.

Bag Of Nest Building Material, Great Gift For Birds Or Bird Lovers

Help make a bird’s job of nest building a little easier by providing it with wonderful nest building materials. After you make it, hang outside in early spring for the birds to discover. Then keep your eyes out for nearby bird’s nests: you might spot some of your offerings.

How to: Save a plastic mesh produce bag: they are the bags that oranges and onions usually come in at the grocery store. Loosely stuff your mesh produce bag with any of the following:
bits of left-over yarn, sheep’s wool , wool roving (ask a spinner), dryer lint (especially when you are drying a wool blanket or are felting a wool sweater ; but I wouldn’t recommend using fabric softeners, because the birds don’t need the added chemicals.) You can also use: fur, human hair, horse hair, snake skins(sure why not), leaves, feathers, plant fluff from a cattail plant or from a milkweed pod, straw, tree bark, pine needles, moss… For fun add: small colorful pieces of scrap yarn (5 inches more or less), strips of cloth, shredded paper… Experiment and see what happens.
Quick gift for nature lovers of all ages.

Fun To Make Autumn Leaf Mobile

Fall is such a pleasant time for me. I really enjoy the cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the foliage. When a gust of wind comes along and the leaves rain down, I smile. I guess that is why I like these mobiles so much. It is like being outside even when I have to be inside.

Try using the leaf stem called the petiole (if long enough) to tie the leaf to the branch.

Salvaged copper wire can be used to hang your mobile or use whatever you have on hand.
How to: Spend a pleasant afternoon collecting your favorite leaves. Take a walk perhaps with your son or daughter and search for the best specimens. Your theme could be one kind of tree or a variety of trees and colors. Also, find a small branch from which you will hang your leaves.
During your walk you could introduce a few vocabulary words and a bit of science. Mention deciduous plants are the plants that drop their leaves in preparation of the coming winter. Evergreen plants like pine trees and hollies stay green throughout the winter: they lose leaves too but not all at once. Abscission is the process by which leaves are shed.
When you get home, and if the leaf isn’t completely dried out, you can use the leaf’s petiole (the stem part) to tie the leaf to the branch. Alternatively, glue the leaves directly onto the branch. Clamp with a cloths pin until the glue dries.

These ginkgo leaves are so beautiful. On that day the ground was painted yellow from fallen ginkgo leaves. The shadows are beautiful too.
Another option is to hang the leaves from pieces of string, thread or fishing line.  You might be able to salvage some fishing line. I’ve found some in the past near fishing spots and saved it for projects. Plus, I feel good about picking up litter.

I wish I had made this ginkgo leaf mobile with thread instead of this string because the thread would be almost invisible.