Sunday, February 27, 2011

Homemade Chicken Brooder

I just ordered a mix of super cute little chicks--all girls, all different breeds. They'll be here next week (there will be pictures, I promise)!
Since they will only be a day or so old, the peeps need a place to keep warm and grow a bit--enter the brooder. This one is made from a big Rubbermaid tub, with the top replaced with some hardware cloth:
Kitty-proof chicken brooder
 We may have been able to use chicken wire, except for one thing...Darby! Darby is our beautiful but evil long haired cat. She was a feral kitten, and still bites if you look at her the wrong way. Cleo is scared to death of her. Darby's specialty is birds--the prettier the better! She isn't interested in  mammals--but we get about a bird a day in the summer--bells, keeping her inside, placing bird feeders up high, nothing works, she just escapes and slips off the collar and goes hunting.

So, back to the chicks--a bunch of small, flightless, helpless puffs of fluff will be too tempting for her--even though we have no intention of letting her near them. Just in case, we made the brooder super strong (and by "we" I mean "Jeff":

Cutting the wire for the lid

Here's what he did to make this one:

Big plastic tub with locking lid
Wire hardware cloth with 3/8" openings
Plastic covered wire

Wire snips
Small hand saw with skinny blade

1. Remove the lid from the plastic bin. Use the drill to cut an opening for the saw.
2. Use the saw to cut out the recessed portion of the lid, leaving a 3" border of plastic all the way around.
3. Us the wire snips to cut the hardware cloth so it covers the opening entirely--it should overlap each edge by at least 2 inches.
4. Drill holes ever 3 inches or so around the lid.
5. Place the wire on top of the lid, and "sew" it into place with the wire. Twist the ends firmly to secure.

I am planning on sticking a treat Darby really likes inside, then putting the lid on--I want to see if she can defeat it!

We already have a heat lamp and feeders, so all we need now is the chicks!

Chicks outgrowing the brooder? It's time for a chicken coop! Click here to get started.

Click Here for easy DIY Chicken Coop Plans!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MIP: Minions in Progress

So, the kids are in love with Despicable Me. We rented it from Red Box and ending up keeping it. Since we don't have TV, I hadn't seen any previews or anything. We've all been so sick recently, they have been watching this once a day --they are minion addicted!

Since this was out a while ago, I haven't had much luck finding them any little toys or minion-y things, so I am making some pocket sized minions!

Here is one little guy in progress. I am writing up the pattern as I go, in case you want to make your own, I'll post it to the blog with some step by step pictures as soon as it is ready.

MIP: Minion in Progress

He is knit in the round with floss, because I wanted him to be shiny--but the cotton and small diameter makes these go sloooooowly! I am adding eyes when all three are done--I think I will crochet the goggles and use googly eyes in the right size...more pix and free pattern later this week!

 You can see more fun projects by visiting Tami's Amis for WIP Wednesday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

THe never-ending kneesocks are moving along. Between being tall and having freakishly large feet, these are taking a while to complete! Here is sock #2, OTN:

So pleased with this yarn, love it!
The yarn is a Zauberball, the newer, almost sport weight version. I like this because it is working up quickly and had a LOT of yardage--I have never been able to get a pair of true knee socks out of a single ball of any other sock yarns!

Other WIPs: 
This cardi has moved to the "complete" pile, though I am not adding buttons--the holes are too low to fit me well. I will use a shawl pin or clasp instead. Finished pix up on FO Friday:
Done! See FO Friday this week for finished pix!
I worked a whole row on this pretty cowl...I ended up getting distracted by the minions I am knitting for a birthday gift (pix and pattern to come).
No progresss...but look, sparkles! And mushrooms!

You'll find more fun WIPs on Tami's Blog, she hosts a WIP Wednesday roundup!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February in Disney World and Universal Orlando

I'm sharing some of my favorite hints and tips for spending February in Disney World and Universal Orlando over on (Hint: avoid water rides like Kali River and Dudley Do-Right unless you want to stay damp and cold the rest of the day!)

© 2010 Samantha McNesby

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Printables: Cutest. Valentines. Ever.

Spooky Pooky Creations has plenty of cute cryptids on display, I've wanted one of her Yeti plushes forever! (He would be a great friend for my seamonster, I think!)

Head over to her blog to download a full-sized version of these super cute (and free!) printable Valentines featuring some of her cutie cryptids ( the Loch Ness Monster is my favorite) :

If you love her work as much as I do, you'll also want to enter this great Yeti-themed giveaway as well!

More fun Valentines Stuff:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentine's Day Crafts Round Up #2!

Only a few more days left to make crafts for Valentine's Day! Whether you are making something wonderful for the special people in your life or mass-producing Valentine's for a party or class, you'll find something on this list of projects. (P.S. Found one you love? There's no rule that says you can't make something lovely for yourself this Valentine's Day!)

First up, these adorable cutout apples, perfect for snack-time (if you already do bento, these will be a snap!) While the original post doesn't have directions, I would suggest pressing a heart-shaped mini cookie cutter into the surface of the apple, then carving the shape with a sharp knife.

Do the same shape on a granny smith and a firm red apple like a rome, then just swap the heats--super simple and great results. This project comes to you from Kim at Party Frosting -- go visit her for a great roundup of heart-shaped and Valentine food treats!

These would be adorable for a little one--I am a huge fan of handmade toys for kids (each of mine received painted peg-dolls with rooms for Christmas, they are fun and addictive to make).

You'll find directions and some other great crafty things on 417 Gluesticks blog, stop in and say hi!

Want to give your heart to someone....this knitted one featured on Knitty (free pattern here) certainly makes a statement!

Rose Petal Soaps won't take you a lot of time, and you can whip up a few bags to give as teacher gifts or as Valentines for friends:

These hanging heart cones combine quilting with sustainable crafting, love these! You could make now and re-use each year (kind of like a Valentine's Day stocking), or make and use to store pretty little craft items. Either way, visit the Sun Scholar blog for a wonderful tutorial!

Need more Valentine's Day ideas? 
Valentine Bath Bombs

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday

2 projects on the needles today, hopefully finishing this week!
First up is a pretty and soft cowl for me! I have gotten a ton of use out of cowls this cold winter, and think this one will add a little sparkle to the dreary days we're experiencing:
100 yards of pretty!

The yarn is a gorgeous mohair and silk blend with sequins from Artyarns, called "Beaded Mohair and Sequins" and the pattern is the Yarn Harlot's "Pretty Thing". My third go at this pattern, more detail here.
I hope to be done this one by the weekend, and will start the Breaking Dawn Hoodie next.

Also in progress, a cardi I started last fall, then wandered away from. I want to finish it already! This is Knitty's Mr. Greenjeans made with Noro Taiyo. Love the yarn, it is a non-scratchy cotton blend, and its only taking 3 skeins to make, even accounting for matching the colors. I have to finish the second sleeve, then this one is done! (well, I need buttons, but I have a gazillion of them around the house).

The sleeve I finished!

Detail shot of front and yarn.

Valentines Day in Disney World

I have a guest post up on Hannah Hamilton's JetSet Garment Bags blog today, it's all about my favorite romantic dining spots in Disney World--check it out! While you're there, check out the gorgeous bags she writes about--you may be due for an upgrade!

© Samantha McNesby 2010

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

FO: Crochet Projects

A few finished crochet cuties to share today:
Made by me, stolen by Madeline about a minute after the photo!
This is my favorite, a seamonster in three parts: The middle section is my donut pattern, done in seamonster green :)
Completed a while ago, I even published the pattern, but wanted to share here, too!

Cute blue puppy, gifted to a bloggy friend:
Hat and dress removable--but really, who wants a naked puppy?
Thanks for looking and happy crafting!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Free Polymer Clay Project: Lizard Cachepots

Combine whimsical lizards crafted from polymer clay with simple painted terra-cotta pieces to make cute storage jars for craft supplies and other items. I designed these for Annie's Attic/DRG, find complete directions on their Creative Woman site.

 Detail Shots:

Doesn't everyone need cute jars with lizards on them? I do!

 Want other cute crafts? Try these:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Valentine's Day Crafts Round Up!

Everything I am working on for Valentine's Day is a little too "in progress" to share just yet, but I found these great tutes online and wanted to share! DO check out the blogs for directions other great ideas as well, these ladies are so talented!

First up, handmade Valentine's Day Lipgloss from Bubbly Nature Creations:
Can you believe the containers are from Target?! Cute!
Next, I love these super-cute Love Bugs from Taidye Originals! While this would be a fast and esy project if you already sew (an an addicting one as well), she has provided excellent directions with photos, just click the link and you'll be making your own Love Bugs in no time!
Bet you can't make just one!
While you have the fabric supplies handy, whip up some pretty Fabric Rosettes from AliLilly. She has a full tutorial on her blog, and you can use the finished rosettes as pins, embellishments or to add a special touch to a wrapped gift.
Whip up a bunch of cute rosettes for Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Beginner's Guide to Needlefelting - Needlefelting Tutorial

I covered wet felting a while ago, and wanted to share some info on another form as well--needle felting. I love this craft because it is almost instant gratification--no waiting for a piece to dry, or guessing how it will turn out after you shrink it!

Make a pretty pin or embellishment as you learn.

What is Needle felting?
Needle felting is the art of manipulating wool fibers into a shape, an embellishment, or a three dimensional piece. Unlike traditional felting, which requires the use of soap and hot water, needle felting uses barbed needles and friction to achieve a felted finish.
Needle felting can be used to decorate a base form, like a scarf or handbag, to make a fully formed object, or to make 3 dimensional beads, balls or figures. Needle felting is an inexpensive and portable hobby, and the basic techniques are quick and easy to master.

Use wool roving in different colors for your needlefelting projects

Wool roving: You will need to use 100% wool roving as your fiber. Wool has a tendency to cling to itself, or “felt” when agitated or manipulated. Felted wool is dense and thick, and will retain its shape.
Wool roving is a length of wool that has been washed, combed and carded into a thick rope that is ready for spinning or crafting. Roving is thick and fluffy, with a cotton-candy like appearance. Roving comes in a wide variety of colors and thicknesses, and can be purchased in small amounts or sampler packs for needle felting. You can even dye your own with Kool-aid if you need a specific color.

Needle felting requires a felting needle—a long needle that is barbed like a fishhook and extremely sharp. Felting needles need to be handled with care to avoid injury. The simplest needles look like a nail with a very pointed tip.
While there are many styles of felting needles available, from complex, multi needle pieces to needles with designer handles, you should choose a simple single needle for your first attempts. A single needle lets you have a lot of control over your work, and will help you avoid injury while you are learning the basics.

Upholstery foam:  A good quality block of upholstery foam will make a great needle felting work surface that will last through many projects. Upholstery foam should be at least 1 ½” thick, and preferably more than 2”. You will be punching the needle through your wool roving and into the foam, and you will not want to damage the surface you are working on.  Choosing a good quality piece of upholstery foam will make your project go much more smoothly. Try to find foam that is dense and heavy for its size, and make sure it is labeled “upholstery foam”, regular padding or batting won’t work for needle felting.
Have a few pieces of foam on hand in various sizes. A 6x6” square is perfect for felting small pieces, and is great for a beginner. For larger pieces or more advanced projects, select a slightly larger foam piece—12”x 12” is ideal for most large projects.


For your first needle felting project, make a simple shape. Decide what shape you wish to make, and use a water soluble or temporary marker to draw the shape directly onto the foam. If you prefer, you can make a simple paper pattern and place on top of the foam.

"Round" is the easiest shape to start with!
Add the wool:
Pull off a piece of wool roving (you should never cut roving—simply pull gently to separate). Lay the roving on top of the foam, following your pattern. The piece shown at right will become a circle, so the roving is laid out in a rough circular shape.
Start felting:
Begin jabbing the wool roving with the felting needle. You will punch through the roving, and into the foam. The entire barbed tip of the needle should go through the roving and into the foam.  This will cause the wool roving fibers to lock together, and form your felted shape.
Jab repeatedly and quickly through the roving and into the foam.

Be careful not to jab your fingers—the needle is sharp!
                                (ask me how I know)

The roving fibers will mat together, and become a dense single piece. Remove the shape from the foam to see if there are any areas you need to go over again. If you do, simply place it back on the foam and continue jabbing until you are satisfied. Flip it over and jab from the back as well, to be sure it is fully felted  Once you have felted a simple shape, you can embellish it with a second color:

Use different colors to add decorative elements
Add embellishments:
You can embellish your felted piece (or many other surfaces), by adding designs and borders. Use the same techniques outlined above to add designs to your shape.

Here a simple heart has been added (you can use an air-dry or water soluble marker to draw a pattern directly on the felted base). Use contrasting colors of roving so your design will stand out.

To add a border, tear off a long, thin piece of roving, and use the needle to felt it around the edges of the piece.The border here is brown.

Whatever embellishment you choose, the layers of fibers will become permanently bonded, so be certain of your design before starting.

Finishing and caring for your work:
No special finishing is required. When you are happy with the look of your felted piece, simply lift it from the foam. Finished pieces can be made into jewelry, ornaments, or used to embellish larger pieces.
Your finished felted wool pieces will be durable and long lasting, and will not require any special care to maintain their appearance.
You may add more details to your piece at any time.
Finished? Just pull it off the foam!

Note: Someone on Ravelry was kind enough to snap these photos for me, but I can't find her name! If it was you, let me know so I can give you the credit you deserve for the great pix! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Disney Star Wars Weekends 2011 Announced

I have been waiting for these to be announced, I will be taking one of the girls and a "Star Wars" expert nephew along!
He'll be there....will you?
 Star Wars Weekends will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 20 -June 12, 2011 Guessing this is when the new "Star Tours" will be unveiled as well.
So far this year's guests include Anthony Daniels (C3PO), with more announcements on the way.
What's Disney like in May? Click here for details
What's Disney like in June? Click here for details

Contest / Knitting Project: Breaking Dawn Hoodie

Up next on the needles after I finish a beaded version of Pretty Thing by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (who am I kidding, I am going to cast on right after I finish writing this and work on both at the same time):

I won the pattern and yarn to make this pretty hood!Yay!
This is the Breaking Dawn Chunky Heels Hood, by the wonderful Patricia Bishop of Knits4UDesigns. I love everything about it--from the clever, sock-inspired construction to the hefty gauge (which for you muggles, means it is a super fast knit). I have been walking Cleo in the cold morning, and at night, too, so the fact that this covers my ears is a plus, too!

I entered the contest on her blog (which you must visit, especially if you like to knit!) and actually won! Look at the pretty package she sent me:
Something quick and fun to knit away the dreary winter days!

Jealous yet? Don't be! You can get  your own copy of this pretty pattern on Ravelry (you can check the progress of my hoodie there as well).

Boring disclosure stuff here! 
 I don't work for Patricia or her blog and did not receive any type of compensation...
though I did enter the contest  & was thrilled to win!!