Monthly Archives: June 2013

Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

If you guys were around last year, you may recall the cupcake liner wreath I did then:

Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

Cute enough, I guess….but it looks a little sad in my opinion.  I obviously decided not to leave well-enough alone.  As usual.

I have a bit of a cupcake liner collecting problem.  I can’t help it….there are just so many cute ones these days, and when I see them at the store, they are my kryptonite.  I am powerless to resist (in fact, I go out of my way to avoid eye-contact with those aisles in the craft store).  So I had more than enough of these little pretties laying around to contribute to this project.

I decided to use a craft store-bought twig wreath that happened to be, randomly, in an oval shape (I picked it up several months ago because it was so out-of-the-ordinary looking….it may have been an egg shape for Easter wreathes, I don’t know–but hey!  I dig it).  I also, randomly, forgot to get photos of it before I whipped out my glue gun.  Oops.  Incidentally, this project probably would have been a whole lot easier done on a styrofoam wreath form–but I was using what I had, so egg-twig wreath it is!

I started by doubling up my assortment of cupcake liners; flip one inside out, and glue it to the inside of another.

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

One right side out, one right side in.

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

Glue them together so that you’ve got pattern on the inside, and pattern on the outside.

Begin hot-gluing these doubled-up liners, in random color fashion, all over your wreath.  Don’t be shy.  Really nestle those things in there so that they are kind of crowding each other.  They like it that way, I promise.  At a certain point, you’ll want to start making some that are crinkled more into a flower shape:

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

Pinch the bottom of the dual cupcake liner to achieve this ‘blossom’ effect.

These ruffly blossoms can be added to the centers of some of the cupcake liners you’ve already glued onto the wreath, as well, they can be glued in amongst the other ‘blossoms’ as gap-fillers.

Time to bust out the balls (sparkly craft puffballs, that is):

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

I always have a ton of these craft store lovlies laying around….I just like them. A lot.

Use these as centers in some of your blossoms, as well as for filling in gaps.

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

I went a bit crazy with my color selections….had to add in some hot pink puffballs even though they aren’t very Fourth of July-ish. I’m out of control.

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

Fill that sucker in with liners and puffballs–no gaps!  Dang it.  I see a gap in this photo.  Sigh.

DIY Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

Now that is seriously just one happy wreath.

Fourth of July Decor at Farmhouse38

For a look at the rest of our Fourth of July decor, go here.

All Dolled Up for the Fourth

Fourth of July Decor at Farmhouse38I really, really love fourth of July decorating.  This house kind of seems to beg for it, in my opinion.

Fourth of July Decorations at Farmhouse38

Patriotic Garden Plantings from Farmhouse38

Fourth of July Garden from Farmhouse38

I love a little patriotic garden….this one includes red zinnias, blue scabiosa, dark blue petunias, white shasta daisies, purple alyssum, bright green creeping Jenny, and of course red fountain grass (which my mother always warns me will take over but I never listen).

Patriotic Bunting at Farmhouse38

I just can’t not put up some traditional bunting. Someday I might get around to making my own, but so far these basic store-bought deals have done the trick just fine.

American Flag Bunting from Farmhouse38

I did, however, make the American Flag bunting hanging from the pergola and front gate….store-bought craft flags, removed from their stems, and then stapled (with your average, everyday desk stapler) to jute rope (with a little dab of hot glue on each staple to hold it in place).

DIY American Flag Bunting from Farmhouse38

I do love me a good no-sew, DIY bunting project. Oh, yes.

Fourth of July Decor at Farmhouse38

Usually, I swap out my rocker pillows for some theme-y patriotic versions–but I kind of dug how the orange and white chevron played nicely (in my opinion) with the Fourth of July stuff….it’s a little quirky–I’ll take it!

Fourth of July Decor at Farmhouse38

A bouquet of flags anchored in vases of bottle caps. That’s a lot of bottle caps….a lot of work went into the acquisition of those bottle caps.

Fourth of July Decor at Farmhouse38

Again, I kind of went off-topic with my colors in this little front door vignette, but that’s probably what you gotta do when you have an orange front door.

Patriotic Cupcake Liner Wreath from Farmhouse38

My festive cupcake liner wreath….see the DIY here.

4th of July Decorations at Farmhouse38

All dressed up and ready for the festivities.

Happy Fourth of July, people!

Farmhouse38 Fly Control

As seen in the June/July issue of From Scratch magazine:

Pretty DIY Fly Strips from Farmhouse38

Ah, chickens….so much joy in such small, fluffy, feathered packages.  So many eggs, so many antics, so many….flies.  I am well aware that our tiny suburban homestead fly population pales in comparison to that of a real farm, but our tight proximity to our non-chicken-keeping neighbors makes it hugely important to keep them under reasonable control.  And my general, insatiable (possibly pathological) quest for tidiness also dictates that I wage a merciless war on these buzzing, winged, soulless demons.  With one caveat: I want to wage a merciless responsible war….no chemicals, please.

There is a reason that the over-the-counter tacky (in more ways than one) fly strips are the most commonly used method of fly control; they are totally effective.  They also aren’t completely awful with their ingredients.  But, after watching in horror as one of my chickens fluttered too close to a fly strip and then proceeded to wrap herself, mummy-style, in it….I am not a fan.  Besides, they look so terrible hanging around the garden and house.  I don’t care how efficient they are; they ugly.

So it was with embarrassing enthusiasm that I decided to do some good old-fashioned internet research on what sorts of homemade fly strip recipes people were tossing around out there.  I figured there just had to be a way to build a better mousetrap–er, flytrap….you get what I mean.

The DIY fly paper recipes I came across all called for pretty basic ingredients: strips of paper dipped in a sticky mixture of water and either honey, sugar, corn syrup, molasses or any combination of the four.  I tested and re-tested infinite versions of these things, and you know what?  Disappointingly, I just did not come out with any decent results.  These strips were brilliant at attracting flies, but let me tell you how frustrating it is to watch a big fat bug land on your painstakingly-made sugar-paper, have it leisurely mosey around for a lovely snack, and then fly happily off into the sunset.  It is way beyond frustrating.

I knew there simply had to be a better way, and after going back to the drawing board, I stumbled across an organic over-the-counter product called Tanglefoot.

Tree Tanglefoot

Do you hear angels singing? I hear angels singing.

Bingo.  Listed by the OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) for use in organic gardening, it is an all-natural super-sticky paste made of gum resins, vegetable oil, and wax.  Can I make it at home?  No.  But I can buy it on Amazon, so that’s close enough, right?  Used on homemade fly strips, it works like a darned charm.

Aesthetically, I decided to get a little more creative with this new flypaper attempt.  Instead of paper, I used two pieces of yellow duct tape (sticky sides pressed together) to form strips.  There are three reasons for this choice: the first is that Tanglefoot requires application to a non-porous surface for best results, the second is that I have read several accounts that flying insects are attracted to the color yellow—I’m not sure if this is a scientific fact, but I happen to like the color yellow, so I am willing to take that chance.  (See my notes on other colors below) Secondly, duct tape is inherently durable and weatherproof, and therefore, reusable.

Once I had assembled several strips of double duct-tape, I punched holes in either end of the strips in order to attach both a wire hanger to the top, and a weight to the bottom.

Safe, DIY Fly Strips from Farmhouse38

I decided to cut the ends into points. I don’t know why. This has nothing to do with their fly-trapping success.

For the weights, I decided to use some re-purposed chandelier crystals, because I’m fancy like that.

Fancy Fly Paper Strips from Farmhouse38

If you don’t have any chandelier crystals (or don’t want to be so fancy) just a simple bit of wire works as a hanger, and something slightly heavy to attach to the bottom will help to keep it from fluttering too much in the breeze (try a small ‘chip clip’ or alligator clip).

At this point, I went ahead and hung them, put on a pair of gloves (this stuff is sticky), and painted the Tanglefoot liberally to each side of the duct tape.

Applying Tanglefoot to Fly Strips from Farmhouse38

Because honey had proven to be such good bait, I also went and dabbed some small spots of it along each side to lure those buggers in.  The proof was in the pudding—within one day, those things were ripe with victims.

Safe DIY Fly Strips from Farmhouse38

Muhahahahaha!  The results after just ONE day.

After this article went to print in From Scratch, I got some feedback about my fly strip color choice.  There are lots of conflicting opinions out there about what color attracts flies best; red, blue, and yellow seem to be the most common color choices (although the latest OTC strips from Rescue are a graphic pattern of white, bright green, yellow, and turquoise).  I decided that I wanted to put this concept to a little bit of a test, so I went ahead and made three versions of my fly strips–one in each color.  I hung them relatively close together under the grapefruit tree as I did my original yellow ones, and I also hung up one of the graphic Rescue brand ones, slightly further away (so that the honey attractant on mine wouldn’t skew the results of the Rescue one), just for comparison.

Farmhouse38 Fly Strips

Let the color wars begin!

Farmhouse38 Fly Strips

Here’s a shot that shows the Rescue strip off to the right of the rest.

The results were….interesting.  First of all, we seem to have a lot fewer flies, currently.  I think this is largely due to it being a couple of months further into the season, as well as possibly a result of some of the fly deterring methods we’ve implemented throughout this seek and destroy mission.  So, after one day, the results are as follows:

Farmhouse38 Fly Strips

The yellow strip, front and back, had a total of about a dozen flies (not including a couple of other little unfortunate buggies).

Farmhouse38 Fly Strips

The blue strip had about a half dozen flies (also not including one or two non-fly insects and a bit of dirt).

Farmhouse38 Fly Strips

Ah, the red strip….it got nothing. Maybe one or two little tiny bugs of some variety–but zero flies.

Farmhouse38 Fly Strip Testing

The Rescue brand fly strip? Two small flies and that’s about it.

Obviously, the best way to thoroughly test these involves a lot more time and several varied testing scenarios–so I will continue to investigate and post my findings later.  For now, it kind of seems like a close call between yellow and blue (at least as far as the flies in my yard go).  I’d be curious to hear what has worked for others.

Suffice it to say, I’ve had pretty decent success with these fly strips.  I like them better than the store bought, not only for the aesthetics, but for the fact that I can make them a bit shorter in length (or longer, if I really wanted to), which means I can keep them out of the reach of fluttering chickens (and if a bird does happen to get too close, there isn’t so much sticky surface area for her to get completely wrapped up in).

In addition to the fly strips, I also believe in tucking a lot of insect-repelling plants into my garden.  Lavender, mint, basil, marigolds, amongst others, really seem to do the trick.  I may have gone overboard with the basil and marigolds….I like them a little bit more than is necessary.

Natural Fly Control from Farmhouse38

The chicken garden is chock-full of anti-fly plants. It doesn’t hurt that my hens seem wholly uninterested in messing with these plants, as well.

To be totally honest, the moment when I realized there was a noticeable decrease in flies was when the bulk of these plants went in.

Finally, we have come to the poop portion of the proceedings.  It’s pretty logical that poop=flies.  The more you can keep up with cleaning the poop, the fewer flies you’re gonna have.  I pick up both dog poop and chicken poop daily, and put them in designated poop bins (some of the chicken poop goes into compost bins, some goes in its own container to give away to composting neighbors and friends).

Natural Fly Control Methods from Farmhouse38

Labeled, in case there is any confusion.

In addition to keeping things clean, I do dust occasionally with diatomaceous earth, especially in and around the coop.  Another thing I like to do (it’s a bit gross, sorry–at least I didn’t insert a photo), is to leave a bit of dog poop in the pooper-scooper (in an out-of-the-way place), and sprinkle it liberally with DE as a little fly lure.  They won’t die immediately, but they certainly will get the DE on them when they land there, and it will eventually do its glorious dirty work.

All in all, we seem to be managing just fine, but then again, we’ve only got just the four hens, and we’ve got some pretty un-impressively-sized flies in our little suburban backyard.  I’m sure I have no clue what a real fly problem is….I have heard some horror stories, and while I find ours annoying, at least they don’t bite and don’t carry off small children.  Gotta count my blessings.

Buff Up on Your Farmhouse Style- A Giveaway!

I am so, so thrilled about this giveaway, people!  I just get really excited when I stumble across a truly talented artist, and Katja over at Shift Ctrl Art is that in spades.  And it isn’t just art over there, either; she is an incredible designer, a crafty crafter, and an impressively all-around creative soul.  On top of being a completely entertaining blogger.  I just fell in love with her gorgeous pastel animal portraits, and decided to see if she might be interested in doing one (of course!) of a chicken.  I may or may not know the model.

So here is the incredible result:

Chicken portrait by Shift Ctrl Art

Buff Orpington Print from Shift Ctrl Art

We are giving away an 8×10 framed, matted, and signed fine-art print of this adorable creation to one very lucky winner.  The contest begins today, June 13th, and ends Monday, June 17th, at midnight, and you can enter through the following link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy National Doughnut Day

Powdered Sugar Donut Cocktail from Farmhouse38Some of you may remember this from last year.  It’s good.  It’s really, stupidly good.  Who needs a Bloody Mary when you’ve got one of these?

The Powdered Sugar Doughnut Cocktail:

Ingredients….

–1 tbs. dark brown sugar

–1/2 oz. cake-flavored vodka

–1/2 oz. vanilla vodka

–1.5 oz. plain old vodka (TITO’S!!!)

–1.5 oz. heavy cream

–3 dashes of cinnamon

–1.5 oz. Dr. Pepper

–mini doughnut to garnish

Pour your trifecta of vodkas into a shaker.  Add your brown sugar and mix with a spoon until well-dissolved.  Add your cream and cinnamon, some ice, and shake it like you mean it.  Pour chilled, mixed cocktail into your glass through a strainer. Add the Dr. P and stir. Garnish, and drink your doughnut.

Cheers!

 

Summer Sweet Corn Moonjito

Summer Sweet Corn Moonjito from Farmhouse38Fresh corn, mint, lime and OH YES, moonshine.  Have you all checked out my recipe in the latest issue of the awesome From Scratch online magazine (pg. 88)?  The subscription is free!  You simply must see how gorgeous this magazine is; chock-full of homesteading information, craft and recipe goodness, and farmy eye-candy.  I’m obsessed.

June/July Issue of From Scratch Mag

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