I am thrilled to welcome the very excellent Anna of Miss Beatrix as my guest blogger for April. Anna is the mastermind behind Creatives Unite and #PostCircle and owner of the very pretty Beatrix. Welcome, Anna!
Hello, and very nice to meet you! I'm Anna and I blog at Miss Beatrix.
I have always loved animals, and when I was about seven years old I remember skewering an envelope on a chopstick and pleading with my dad to draw a squirrel on it. Slightly bemused, he did so, and I then popped a hazelnut inside (pilfered at Christmas) and proudly staked the envelope-on-a-stick in my back garden. I thought that a passing squirrel would spot my little sign, see his likeness in my dad's drawing, and come visiting.
I'm sad to say that I never did see a squirrel in that garden, but these days, in my Yorkshire habitat of quite a number of years I see them daily. And now I prefer to come up with ways to invite birds into my garden instead of rodents. I try to help out the birdies whenever I can because, let's face it, it's a tough life for the little things. This cold spring has meant they have had to fight constantly to stay warm and find enough food every day, as well build nests and find the perfect mate (aww). I have a great array of birds in my garden, from wrens to bluetits, pheasants to goldfinches, and they reward me with their cheery tunes and lots of photography opportunities.
So this quick and easy make is the new version of my squirrel tempter and it has a two-fold purpose; it allows you to help our feathered friends, and if you have a pet like me, make use of the fur we pet-owners are constantly having to deal with.
You will need:
Some form of waterproof container. I decided on a large yogurt pot, and it already had a handle.
Acrylic paints in your chosen colours
A paintbrush and a sponge - I used an old washing up sponge
A can of clear, spray varnish, suitable for outdoors
String or wire if your container doesn't have a handle
First, take your clean container and give it a really quick rough scratching all over with your sandpaper. This is just to help the paint to stick properly. Then give it a wash and dry.
This is the fun bit. Use your sponge to dab a thick layer of acrylic paint all over your container. I needed three coats to get full coverage, but it didn't take long as acrylic dries really quickly. Or you can cheat and give it a blast with a hairdryer between coats!
Any splodges you get on the rim will just scratch off - no problem.
Now choose your design. Reminiscent of my little squirrel envelope, I decided to paint a simple bird shape on mine. Just don't make it anything too mammal-like or you might scare the birds away! Draw it on with pencil first, then 'colour in'. Have fun with this, the birds don't care what your design looks like, after all! (Mind you, a very snooty wood pigeon often sits of my fence looking pompous, but I don't care what he thinks of my artistic efforts).
When your paint is dry give your container two to three coats with the spray varnish. Again, it dries fairly quickly. Add a handle if you need to.
Now all you have to do is groom your furry friend... or if you're like me and have long hair this is probably the right time to de-fur your hairbrush. Sigh. I also de-fluffed the filters in my tumble drier.
Pop all your gathered fur in your container and hang it in a tree, or where your birdie friends feed. They can help themselves and build lovely, cosy nests. To tempt them in you may want to add a few seeds to your pot as well. We all need snacks during the working day.
Ah, home sweet home...
Alternatives to the pot-painting method include using old crockery or small wicker baskets. I even know of one really determined man who asks his local dog groomer for the carrier bags of fur they would put into landfill and takes a mad dash around his local park - it's like yarn bombing for birds!
Thank you very much to Michaela for letting me visit her charming blog today!
Thank you Anna for a fabulous post, I'm sure the lady blackbird I saw yesterday with a face full of moss and grass would appreciate a pot fluff, perhaps short scraps of fluffy yarn could go in too.
If you enjoyed this super DIY, why not skip on over to Handmade Monday where you'll find a host of creative bloggy goodness!