Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fun Printed Lunch Bags

As boring as a brown paper bag?  Not in my world.


I've been making my brown paper bag baskets and delivering eggs in them for a couple of years.  For a more personalized look (and to identify who they're from when left on someones front steps) I thought about stamping me some but then decided to try printing them on my printer instead. 

And why not add a little something fun to the lunch hour as well? 

Oh my gosh -- I love this idea.  Karen at The Graphics Fairy has a million crazy cute graphics (for free) that would make perfect lunch companions.  I picked one of these...

...and made this adorable lunch bag for my someone special.

It wasn't too hard, either.  I changed my paper setting to 5"x10.5" -- the same as the bag.  The printer ate the first three.  Then I got brave enough to stick my hand in with the bag to guide it and, snap, it worked.  I still lost a few but for the most part, they came out perfect.  Just hand feed them, one at a time.

I'm not really telling you to stick your hand in your printer -- I'm just telling you I did and I didn't feel a thing.


Here's how I make my little egg baskets...

So, how fun are these?

I can think of a million ways to use this idea -- how about you?

Come join the party @

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So you want to talk about Chicken Tractors...

I can do that.  I just hope I can stop once I get started.  

I have 13 chickens -- 5 assorted bantams and 8 Welsummers.  I love them all.  Even when they give me a little grief...

We keep them in a (somewhat) traditional chicken coop I made using an old satellite dish for the roof.  

But, I also keep a chicken tractor in the garden.  I rotate 2-3 of the girls into it every couple of weeks except for the coldest months --  January and February. 

What is a chicken tractor?  Chicken tractors are portable chicken coops without bottoms.  They are one of the top 10 inventions of all time.  I made that part up, but honestly, they are one of my top 10.

The chicken tractor provides shelter and protection while allowing the chickens to forage.  Tractors can be used on the lawn, in which case you'll want to move it daily, or in the garden, where it can be left for longer periods of time.

The size of chicken tractor can vary greatly as can their design. However, most urban tractors are small-ish and hold 3-4 chickens.

The advantage of chicken tractors to the gardener is a sustainable source of eggs, meat (not me), and nitrogen. Chickens excrete a high percentage of the nitrogen they consume. Raising chickens on green forage in tractors will also reduce your feed bill by as much as 30%.

This is how it works in my garden... 

Earlier picture of garden design
 I have 10 beds in my garden, each 3'x8' (the exact size of the bottom of my tractor) and each separated by a row of bricks.  When one of the beds is not in use, such as before planting or after a section is harvested, I move my tractor, sitting it down over the area where the girls can do their thing.  They defoliate, de-bug, till, weed and fertilize the spot in just a couple of days.  I will sometimes leave the tractor in one spot for 2 to 3 weeks but not too long so as not to overdo the nitrogen.  I might leave it longer for a bed where I'd be planting potatoes (they love nitrogen) and move it sooner for a bed of peas -- they don't like too much of the good stuff.

Chicken Tractor Design

Chicken tractor designs are pretty basic and can be made from scrap lumber. Our chicken tractor was made to fit 3 laying hens. One end contains three nesting boxes (with a hatch to gather eggs) that provide shelter and nesting space.

This design works great for people in town that want 3-4 laying hens and have a small to medium sized yard. Those living in the country need a more predator resistant and slightly heavier model than those living in town.

I like these designs but there are hundreds on the internet...


On average, chickens lay two eggs every three days and do not need a rooster to lay eggs.  There are a couple of winter months when they stop laying due to shorter days but except for that, they are little laying machines.  Our eggs have large, rich, almost orange yolks and they taste delicious.   There really is a difference. 

I love my chicken tractor.  And who wouldn't?  A true chicken tractor is portable and gets moved around but even if you don't need (or want) your chickens to be mobile, chicken tractors are the perfect solution to house your backyard chickens.

You'll be surprised but many town and cities allow chickens (with some restrictions, of course) so check it out.


Let's party here...

Hope Sudios
Craft Edition

Dittle Dattle
Making The World Cuter
 The Girl Creative

*Under the Table and Dreaming
The Tablescaper - Seasonal Sunday

I heart Naptime

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Super Simple Garden Bench

This super simple garden bench was made from lumber 
I pulled from my scrap pile. 

 The 4X4's were pressure treated.  The seat was a true 1X10x43 piece of cypress.  My only purchase was the two inexpensive plant hangers -- turned upside down.

You can do this...

You'll need two 32" long 4x4's.  Using post hole diggers dig holes about 16" deep and 24" apart.  Thank goodness I don't do this for a living -- I'd starve slam to death.  In fact, this might be a good time to appear helpless in order to attract some help.

Insert and test the posts to adjust the depth until the posts are the same height.  You want have 16 inches above ground and 16 inches below ground.  I used a level and laid it across the two posts to get them level.

 BTW, If you haven't been rescued by now, forget it, you're home free. 

Now, straighten the posts and pack the dirt back in around them.  You can use the handle of your shovel to pound the dirt in around the posts as you go.

Center the seat on top of the posts.  Screw down through the seat into the top of the two posts.  Use four screws in each post.


 Recycled sidewalk concrete was used to make the path and edging.

Now add your "brackets", stand back, and take a bow. 


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Hand Stenciled Zebra Print Fabric

Even though spray paint was technically invented in 1949 by a man, Edward Seymour, it was his wife Bonnie who asked him to come up with it. 

It wasn't clear what she hoped to do with her paint in a can but my guess is it wasn't painting fabric for her dining room chairs.  

But, why not?  I was tired of the fabric on my dining room chairs.  I paid $50 a yard for it so I've had to 
live with it (and myself) for a long time.  

I was in love with a fabric and a color that existed only in my head.  I'd have to create it myself.  

I'm lovin' my new look...

And, what's not to love?  The new fabric was cheap (painted on drop cloth fabric with 2 cans of spray paint) and easy.

The zebra like stencil pattern was cut from poster board and the back side was coated with spray adhesive.

The stencil was pressed onto the fabric.

 I used the darker bronze color first.  It's a metallic but it doesn't look metallic on fabric, thank goodness.  I sprayed it on lightly -- not saturating the fabric so it wouldn't be stiff. 

Then, I used the avocado paint to get the illusive color I was looking for.

 Hot dog!

I'm showing this project off here...

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