Monday, November 25, 2013

Decking the Halls with Nature

Here are some more sticks:)
I little different then the last 
I posted about.
They aren't difficult,
just a little messy.

You will need 5 sticks
roughly the same size,
some craft wire (or strip those little twist ties,)
and some needle-nosed pliers.
(Never mind my tea)
I chose mossy sticks for this star.
You could spray them white or silver etc.
to suit your decor.
Again, I prefer natural.
Lay them out in a star shape
before wiring anything.
You might need to put one over or under
another because they aren't perfectly straight.
Then wire the points together (using the needle-nose pliers) 
wrapping any of the wire tails to the back.
Once you have all five points wired,
wire at least a couple of the places
'in the star' where the sticks cross.
I made two different sized.
The taller one is about 16 inches tall.
The smaller one is about 8 inches tall.
I might have to do a really big one.
We'll see how ambitious I am.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Company Coming for Thanksgiving? Inexpensive Memento Idea

These are simple and add a bit of sparkle to the season.
All you need is:
Borax, boiling water, pipe-cleaners, and a jar.
(oh and a pencil and scissors)
If you have company spending the night,
you could have them twist up their snowflake
of pipe-cleaners at night.
There are a ton of possibilities:
a simple asterisk, a star, or something more detailed
like the one above.
Hang the snowflakes in a jar
supported by the pencil across the top.
Boil water.
Add about 3 tablespoons of borax to each cup of boiling water.
I like peanut butter jars, because they have a wide mouth.
I let my borax solution cool for about 10 min.
so it wouldn't melt the jar.
If you are using a glass jar,
you don't have to wait.
Just pour the borax solution over the snowflakes.
Now... go to bed.
When you awake~
A couple of notes:
*You can use colored pipe-cleaners & it will add
a little tint to them.
*You can add a few drops of food coloring to the borax solution.
*Be sure that they are not touching the bottom
of the jar (they'll stick.)
*And lastly, be sure that the jar is filled to the top of
the snowflake.
Or it will turn out like this one - oops
I almost didn't show you,
but sometimes it's as helpful to know
what not to do as it is to know
what TO do.
I like this one, but the top wasn't submerged.
They are fun and sturdy for what they are.
Kids (& adults too) can take them home
with them and hang them on their tree.

Fun for the whole family.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gift Idea for Next to Nothing

I guess sometimes I get a little
not sure what word to use,
but let's just say not very merry
when I hear children wanting lists of
very big expensive items for Christmas.

The sad part is that often times
they don't know about some
smaller items that can bring
possibly even more fun
if the grown-ups would spend time
teaching them how to enjoy simple things.

all that said,
over the next month-ish
I will be posting some very
inexpensive gift ideas
for young and young at heart.

Today's Featured Toy~

Wooden Pick-up Sticks
There are only a few items needed
to make these:
25 Wooden Skewers
Food Coloring with a smidgen of Vinegar
(blue, green, yellow, & red,)
Black Permanent Marker
These are the longer ones, but I found them at
the thrift store for 89 cents.  Pick-up sticks
are only about 7 inches long so I just used
a pair of angle cutters to shorten these.
At the store, there are shorter ones available.
If you think the points are a little too sharp,
just use a pair of fingernail clippers to nip the ends.
Then, with just enough vinegar to make enough dye
to cover the sticks,
mix several drops of food coloring and vinegar
and roll sticks in it.
You should have 6 of each color.
I did this on a long serving plate,
then set them on news paper to dry.
I didn't use gloves so my fingers looked like Easter eggs,
but after doing up some dishes,
you can hardly tell:)
The last one is the pointer.
Using the permanent marker, color it black.
I used a rubber-band then
tied them with red jute and a little points tag.
Believe it or not,
until just a couple years ago,
Mr. LB had never played pick-up sticks.
The kids and I taught him how.
He was pretty good at it.
We talked, laughed, and tormented for over an hour.
Family time is a real gift. 

In case you too have never played:
Keep the black stick out (this is the pick up stick.)
Hold the others together &
let them fall in 'a pile' on a table or flat surface.
Usually, the youngest player starts & play
moves to the left.
The player uses the black stick to try to pick-up
another stick without moving any others in the pile
(so only the targeted stick should move.)
If any other sticks move, play goes to the next person.
If the stick is moved away from the others successfully,
then that player gets another turn.
When all the sticks are picked up,
add up the points as follows:
Yellow 10
Red 25
Green 40
Blue 50
The player with the most point wins.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Eating in Nature: Do's and Don'ts

I will state right away
that I am not a pro at knowing
all the 'foods' of the wild;
however, there are some basics that
I think it would be wise to know
even if you were just traveling.
Last weekend, Mr. LB went
motorcycling with a friend.
I went along, dropped him off, then
went into town to get some groceries.

I returned way before they were back
so I began to get my camera and walk around.
I found a bush full of beautiful rose-hips
so I went back to the pick-up and got
a cup so I could pick some.


As I was picking,
there were several people who
asked what kind of berries they were.
One fella even said, after I had answered him,
"Are they edible?"
I told him they were.

I didn't think rose-hips were anything weird,
but evidently a lot of folks
don't even know what they are.
And just for your knowledge,
you are supposed to wait until after the
first frost to pick them.

So I decided to show just a couple
very common things.

Elderberries can be eaten just as they are
or made into such things as:
jelly, syrup, or of course wine.
They are a little seedy if you eat them just plain,
but the juice is very flavorful.


I only know these as coyote berries.
Do Not eat these!
They are poisonous.

Blackberries are common; however, 
there are two kinds around here.
The ones with the big fat leaves are good.
The ones with the skinny pointy leaves are bitter.
The berries look the same, 
but the flavor is reeeealllly different.

These aren't uncommon things,
but I sure get the questions
when I am picking them.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches