Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DIY Bird Feeder

Something tells me we aren't quite home free yet for nice weather in Arkansas...it was probably going to sleep with the windows open in my home last night and waking up this morning to the stark, 38-degree reality that IT'S STILL WINTER.

I created this homemade bird feeder for AY's "How To" feature a couple of years ago and thought I would post it here as a fun "almost-springtime" project to do with kids, or just for yourself if you really like birds. It's cold out, they are hungry.

1 block of floral foam
package of wire wood picks
a bouquet of evergreen branches
1 package of cranberries
popped popcorn
1 orange
1 bag of birdseed
pine cones
peanut butter
needle and thread
  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and collect cedar, fir, magnolia, holly, pine, spruce or juniper to name a few. Cut branches down to 2 to 6 inches.  
  • Attach branches to wire wood picks by wrapping end of branch to top of wood pick, letting the two overlap for added strength. Wrap wire around branch and insert wood pick into floral foam.
  • Go around the outside edges of the foam; first with longer branches, and work your way to the top of foam with shorter, thicker branches alternating plant types for variation until foam is mostly hidden.
  • Double-thread your needle and begin stringing cranberries on about three feet of thread. Repeat using popped popcorn or alternate for variation. Drape cranberry and popcorn strings around branches. Slice orange into a few round slices and coat edges in peanut butter.
  • Cover pine cones in peanut butter and roll in a birdseed mix. Roll peanut butter-covered edges of orange slices in birdseed.
  • Place oranges and pine cones in the arrangement using wood picks if necessary.
  • Place arrangement on a patio table, porch banister or in a hanging basket to attract beautiful winter birds to your yard. Spray evergreens with water to help them last longer and replenish your birdseed and fruits when necessary. Happy birding!

-From AY Magazine, January 2008

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Gifts

If you are a last minute shopper (and shame on you for that) here are a few fun ideas for Valentine's gifts that you can find locally around Arkansas. Happy Valentine's Day!

 The perfect promise ring. Box Turtle $42 shopboxturtle.com

50 percent of proceeds from this love-themed tunic go to Women and Children First. Only a few are left so hurry to Ember Shop to pick one up. $36

Declare your love loud and clear with these statement throw pillows from Now and Then Shoppe in Fort Smith.

These pocket mirrors at Creative Kitchen in Fort Smith are a great tiny token of affection.

Former Arkansan, Hayes Carll's new album (officially released tomorrow) is a great gift for the music lover in your life. $10 on iTunes.

 Make the first move when you give this lovely print from Roll and Tumble Press. $20

 Don't forget everyone's first love... Mom. Pick up this screen-printed onesie by Brittany McDonald at Gallery 26. $18

 These are two of my favorite hand-printed, Valentine's-inspired cards from Betty Pearl. Find more at shops around Little Rock including Box Turtle, Freckled Frog, Gallery 26 and Haus Werk.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Steel, Pack and Party.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank FOOTBALL again for providing so many occasions for us to shamelessly over-indulge, and also to congratulate it on creating an event where tickets are being resold for $3,000 apiece and air time is going for $6 million per minute. With Sugar Bowl pains behind us, and no real connections to either Packers or Steelers, I am confident that the Arkansas masses should be able to lightheartedly and wholeheartedly enjoy Super Bowl XLV. Here are some Super Bowl-worthy recipes I am dying to try — or try again.

Cooking wings has always seemed pretty intimidating, but this website gives great directions and even includes step-by-step instructions with PICTURES for those who can't function without visual explanations (like me). And you just can't have a Super Bowl party without wings, people might turn on you.

These are great because 1. spring rolls are always amazing, 2. dipping sauces are always amazing, and 3. because people can eat them with their fingers and you don't have to dirty up a bunch of dishes.  

These delicious hamburger cupcakes were introduced to me by my friend Autumn Hall with Avant Tarte. They are easy to make and always create quite a commotion. All you do is: Make yellow cupcakes from a mix, let them cool, cut them in half. Make brownies from a mix, let them cool, cut them into circles with a cookie cutter. Layer green, yellow and red icing and build a burger. It's really cute if you finish it off with a colored sandwich toothpick.

If you are tired of cooking by this point — and I don't blame you — then just open up a bag of Gardetto's because snack mix really just doesn't get any better. If you insist on getting fancy they come in different flavors like Italian Cheese Blend and a Deli-Style Mustard. 

Anheuser-Busch is the official beer sponsor for Super Bowl XLV, and it just so happens that my favorite beer — Stella Artois — is somehow in the Anheuser-Busch family. Stock the fridge, wear something festive and enjoy!