Baby it’s cold outside! February can be a really harsh month, with biting winds and ice even on the brightest of days and so if you’re feeling the cold in all those layers, just think of all the wildlife braving it outside, day and night!
So as Valentines day approaches, we thought we’d spread the love to all those little birdies out there with these really super, easy to make and nutritious (for birds ONLY you understand!) Seed Heart Bird Feeders.
Now we do warn you, they are a bit messy to make but it’s well worth it and don’t worry if you don’t have heart shaped cookie cutters in the cupboard, other shapes work just as well . (Unless it’s like a big eagle shape…or a scarecrow…Mmmn yes perhaps you might want to avoid them!) Read on for our ‘how to’ guide and…Enjoy making!
We used: Approx 275g to 300g of Bird Seed – 250g of Lard (or animal suet if you prefer) – Cookie cutters (or make your own shape from tin foil) – A Pan – A Tray – Tin Foil or Clingfilm – A Spoon – A Skewer (or pencil), Ribbon (or Twine). Oh you might want to have some soapy water and a towel handy too! (well I did say it might be a bit messy!)
Firstly, preparation is key so line a tray with some clingfilm or tin foil and place your cutters on there ready.
Carefully heat the Lard in a pan until it’s just melted and then remove from the heat. (Note that the lard can be quite hot at this stage so be careful not to burn yourself!) Stir your birdseed into the fat a bit at a time until you feel you’re happy with the consistency of the mixture. (Don’t worry if you have a small amount of birdseed left over you can always add it in at a later stage). As a general rule you should be able to see approximately a couple of mm of melted lard sitting above the seeds in the pan.
Before you can start to fill your cookie cutters, allow your mixture to cool down by placing it outside or somewhere away from room temperature until it is at a temperature where the Lard begins to go white (but just before it solidifies.)
When the fat has whitened (but you can still stir it), this is the perfect time to fill your shapes with the mixture. (Note that if the liquid has not solidified enough, it will seep out of the bottom of your cutters!). It’s also the best time to decide if you need to add more birdseed. You need just enough lard to hold the seeds together and so if you need to add more, do so now. Then use the spoon to fill the cutters with the mixture, pushing it down firmly and ensuring you fill any corners or edges well to ensure you take on the shape of the cutter.
Once you’re happy they are filled enough, take a skewer or pencil and form a decent size hole (this will be to thread your ribbon/twine through at a later date).
Next, place them (whilst still in the cookie cutter) in a cool place or fridge until they’re as solid as they can be….As lard will only go so hard.
Finally….Gently press out the hardened mixture with your fingers (yep that’s the most messy bit!) and thread the Ribbon or Twine through the hole. Hang them in the garden and stand back and admire! (Preferably in the warmth of the house with a nice cup of hot tea whilst humming “feed the birds”) Nice work …Mary Poppins has nothing on you!
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In my line of work I have the pleasure of meeting lots of wonderful people, many of them very creative! This week was no exception and I was thrilled to stumble upon the very talented Artist and Illustrator, Iona Buchanan.
Iona has designed a fabulous collection of homewares ranging from a rather gorgeous artichoke apron to a really delightful wren tea towel…Ooh and a lovely lobster cushion that caught my eye… I have just the place for that!
Lots of lovely things there were but you can imagine my delight can’t you when Iona introduced me to her gorgeous gift wrap! It didn’t take me long before the scissors were out and I was wrapping with it…
Not just for twitchers this fabulous Sea Birds Paper is an instant reminder of the seaside and perfect for anyone with a love of nature. It’s sold in a pack of 2 sheets with matching tags and is currently available to purchase along with another lovely gift wrap pack (called ‘garden birds’) as well as Iona’s full range of products on her website www.ionabuchanan.com
Our wrapping tips: From a practical point of view (for storage/posting out etc) wrapping papers can often be sold flat packed and invariably this will mean you have some creases to contend with. Before starting to wrap have a look at the paper and try to line up the creases with the edges of the object you’re wrapping. This will help to disguise them as a natural folding line and give a neater look. Also, when choosing a lovely paper like this which is full of fabulous detail that would be a shame to hide, tie your ribbon in an off centre position that will show it off at its best (as we’ve done) and pick a ribbon colour that will bring out the colour in the wrap. We’ve chosen this lovely sunny yellow, inspired by the Eider Ducks beak!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this months blog and if so … Please do pass on the gift wrapping love by sharing with your friends!
For more information on our gift wrapping workshops or demonstrations find us at www.moreprettythings.co.uk or contact us on 01226 492770 for more details.
Hello to Spring and to everyone with a Spring Birthday! What a lovely time of year to have one …With days growing warmer and sunnier and flashes of colour starting to appear in the garden it truly is a beautiful time of year.
It’s also a time of year our Creative Spring Gift Wrapping demonstrations are in full swing and it’s such a pleasure to tour around the UK meeting different groups, teaching them lots of new gift wrapping skills and bringing the outside in with the beautiful spring feel gift wrap and ribbons we’ve sourced.
One of the wrapping papers we simply love and have been using for our personal
wrapping and in our demonstrations is this gorgeous ‘Bold Roses and Garden Ditsy’ double sided paper. Doesn’t it just shout springtime?!
And being a double sided wrapping paper too this means you can wrap with it ….
Or….(Should the urge take your fancy) you could get creative and make some pretty spring decorations to adorn your house or garden with instead. How lovely!