Bottle bird feeder

Today we set out to make a bottle bird feeder. Wildlife Kate has set a challenge to make your own bird feeder. There are suggestions of making it from materials you already have such as Lego or Duplo but as we have particularly aggressive seagulls currently I didn’t think these would last long. The seagulls shredded a metal feeder last week so being a bit careful where I place them so they don’t hurt themselves or others. We have previously made Cheerio feeders and pine feeders so I thought we’d look at doing a different one. I try to do craft activities where Alice can do most of the making otherwise it isn’t really hers and she won’t have the interest in using it after. So after a google search, she decided to go with a basic bottle feeder today. Glad she didn’t test my woodwork skills.

All that is needed for one of these is a bottle string and scissors. We’ve wrapped it in masking tape as Alice said she wanted to draw a flower on it. Masking tape works wonders for craft activities for wrapping things that would be difficult for a three-year-old to draw on.

Then we did two holes opposite each other lower down. This was one of the few bits I did more of. She did the stabbing to make the hole, then I’ve cut it a bit neater and smoothed it a bit to avoid casualties. The holes are probably a bit too big but these are what she marked out.

She wanted to draw a flower, write her name and draw our house on.

A little fiddly filling as our usual funnel is slightly bigger than the bottle.

Then hung up ready for the birds.

Then she asked for her camera and sat patiently waiting to see if she could snap a picture.

Before deciding the birds would like a song. She has also decided her hat is a cowboy hat, so lots of shouting yee-haw and hot dog may have put the birds off a bit.

Butter wouldn’t melt.

Now to wait and see if it attracts any birds. They are peering out from lilac but they always take a little while before they’ll risk a new feeder.

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Update: we got some visitors.

Plot on a plate

With the lack of show gardens as the garden shows are cancelled Chelsea Physic Gardens have set a challenge to create a plot on a plate. The general gist is to make a garden or a landscape on a plate. You can use any plate up to 35cm and 6cm depth. People can enter as many times as they like, so you can carry on making as many gardens as you’d like. These can become a bit addictive making. We may end up a whole load sat around a bit like my kokedama craze.

The categories are as follows:

  • General
  • The Professionals
  • Children aged 5-9
  • Children aged 10-15
  • Peoples vote (all entries)

Now, Alice is only 3 so she missed out on the children’s category so she may have to go in the pros instead. Alice had a plate left from a fairy garden she’d previously made that was in need of a freshen up. I scraped a section of mind-your-own-business up to use as the grass base for both plates. While some people see it as an annoying weed it’s quite nice for these projects. Alternatively, moss works well or you can sow grass seed into compost but this means you have to keep cutting it. It’s enough of a hassle mowing the lawn without having to take scissors to the fairy lawn as well.

The fairy house came with the set. We collected up a few glass beads for a path. Glass beads form a large part of Alice’s gardens. They are used much like fake grass but a lot prettier.

Our florist bits box was raided for some trees.

And a few Muscari were snipped for “trees”.

I drilled a drainage hole in a dish that’s been sat outside the back door for a good while as a plant saucer. I’d get in trouble if I claim a plate from the kitchen cupboard. I’m going for a basic landscape

A few slate chippings have been employed for a path.

I’ve snipped a few Ilex crenata branches to give me some trees. I put a bit of rooting hormone on. If I keep it moist I might get lucky and end up with some extra plants or some I can use for bonsai.

Gemstones have been employed for water.

I’ve tried to do it as a living landscape so it will need to be kept moist and shaded for the mind-your-own-business and to see if the cuttings can root. It was a nice little craft project. I may try another, maybe a little moss garden to place amongst the already mentioned kokedama. For those parents looking at something to fill the time during lockdown, it makes for a fun activity to do with the kids. Alice says hers isn’t finished so she’ll keep going back and adding to it and moving bits round for further entertainment.

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7 Days of Wild Christmas Day 4

Today saw another early start with Alice up at 6. She wanted to watch the TV version of we’re going on a bear hunt. She hasn’t been that bothered for this story so far. She generally chooses Julia Donaldson stories or Burglar Bill for bedtime. But now she’s starting to enjoy bear hunt we can get out to enjoy some hunting. While not that wild watching TV she sat entranced by the snowman. It’s nice to see this nice gentle viewing still engages.

Second Hand Christmas

Much of Alice’s presents were bought second hand from eBay and Facebook marketplace. One of the main toys Alice likes is her trains. We managed to win several bundles giving her a really amazing train set now. Modern Christmas involves a lot of disposable commercialism. Presents people and particularly children will play with for one day and discard. These toys are good solid wood, metal and a small amount of plastic that should last and be able to be passed onto another child after Alice. She doesn’t know or care that someone else has played with it first. A little less waste at the busiest time of year for landfill.

Tree pruning

I put one of my Christmas presents to use and pruned the Acer today. I’ve spent most of the morning pruning and clearing away in some of the borders. I feel a lot better for the time outside and the garden looks a bit better for it.

The whole time I was working the birds were watching. The second I left they returned to the claim the fresh food put out.


I saved a few branches to make Alice one of her favourite book characters. Two sticks, a few grooves cut in and some string and we had a stickman. She’s held onto tightly and has got annoyed with other people touching it. Not bad for an almost free creation.


This story in the Guardian caught my eye. It makes for quite interesting reading examining many beliefs about sustainable eating.



Following on from the open bottle terrarium and blogs looking at houseplants I’ve had a go at another mini-project. A mossarium works much the same as the open bottle of terrarium. For a how-to guide read here. People make really fun mossariums using items like toy dinosaurs and fairies. I am just aiming for a fairly closed system that keeps the moss alive.

Moss is an amazing plant. It acts as a wonderful sponge for carbon and it has been suggested it may hold the key to lowering the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to combat climate change. At the Chelsea Flower Show moss featured in a number of gardens for this reason. A section of moss being more effective at absorbing carbon than an oak tree of a much larger size. So, I quite a fancy a little desktop reminder of the power of moss. I would also like a Japanese style moss garden, but I don’t have the time to build or maintain one. A mini moss patch will suffice for now. Alice helped put the layers in, so the distribution is a bit higgledy-piggledy. But she likes to help and I like to encourage an interest.

I’ve used a medium sized mason jar. The smaller ones don’t give space for the layers. The first layer is a layer of grit or pebbles for drainage.

Activated charcoal stops fungi growing.

A layer of soil.

Then the moss on the top. I’ve added to varieties of moss scraped from rocks under the hebes in the front garden. Then a spray with the mister.

The end result is quite nice. I may try a larger one with a few features in if I keep this going. I quite fancy a stuppa surrounded my moss or an ewok home.

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