Posts Tagged‘Tutorial’

Free Standing Bird Feeder

My kitties like to sit at the patio door and sun themselves, and watch the birds and squirrels that come by. The birds don’t come very often though so I thought I’d put a bird feeder.

I then ran into the problem of trying to find a bird feeder that would work in our backyard. I didn’t want to nail anything to our fence or to the outside of our house in case it was against the HOA rules. We don’t have much dirt either so I couldn’t use one of those bird feeders that sits on a stake. What I really needed was a standalone bird feeder that could go on cement. I decided it wouldn’t be that hard to make one, so after a quick Target and Home Depot run, and a couple hours of work, I’d made my own standalone bird feeder.


  • a. 8″ diameter terra cotta pot – any size that looks stable enough to support 3 bowls will work
  • b. 36″ long 3/8″ diameter threaded zinc rod – make sure to get the zinc rode and not the stainless steel one as that one is 3x as expensive
  • c. 3 plastic bowls
  • d. 8  3/8″ wingnuts – these come 3 wingnuts in a bag at Home Depot so I got 3 bags
  • e. 6  3/8″ washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod
  • f. 2  3/8″ x 1-1/2″ Fender Washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod and be big enough to cover the hole in the terra cotta pot
  • g. clear caulking – if you want to turn one of the bowls into a bath

Not pictured: a drill and a 3/8″ drill bit

My total spent on supplies came out to about $26, including getting a 3/8″ drill bit because I didn’t have one of that size already.

Assembly Instructions:

The first step is to drill holes in the 3 bowls. For 2 of the bowls, you want the holes to be in one of the corners and on the 3rd bowl, the hole should be in the middle. You want to make sure there is room for the smaller washer to sit flat so I placed a washer and wingnut in the bowl to figure out positioning and then marked where to drill with a pencil.

Mark 2 of your bowls in the corner.

Mark 1 bowl in the center.

Drill a 3/8″ hole in each bowl where you marked. I find what works best for me is to start with my smallest drill bit and drill a small pilot hole. I then work my way up to the size hole I need, using progressively bigger drill bits. Any method works, as long as you get a 3/8″ hole into each bowl.

Now it’s assembly time!

Start with the base which is the terra cotta pot turned upside down. Wind a wingnut and one of the large washers onto the rod. You want the wingnut to be placed at about the same height as your pot.

Put the rod through the hole in the pot.

Place your pot with the open end down and make sure that it sits flat. Adjust the wingnut if your pot is not sitting flush with the ground.

Now place the other large washer on top of the pot and wind a wingnut down the rod to clamp the rod to the pot. This takes a while because the rod is pretty long, so watch some tv while doing this part. =)

Tighten the wingnuts and make sure the rod is secured to the pot.

Now you need to do the same process to add the bowls. Take a wingnut and wind it down the pole until it is about 10″ above the pot. Make sure your wingnut’s ‘wings’ are facing down. Place a washer on top.

Place one of the bowls with a hole in the corner on top, lay down another washer, and screw on a wingnut to secure the bowl.

And your first bird feeder bowl is now attached.

Repeat the process with the other bowl with a hole in the corner, placing it about 10″ above the first bowl.

At this point, your cat will probably decide he needs to investigate what is going on…

The last bowl, the one with the hole in the center, goes on the very end of the rod. I had to put the bird feeder on the ground at this point because I couldn’t reach the top of the rod.

And here comes the other cat to check out what’s going on…

If you want one of your bowls to be a bird bath, you’ll need to seal the bolts to prevent water from leaking out. Open your caulking tube and cover the bolt above and below with caulking. I used a toothpick to smooth it out a little.

I like to use clear drying caulking because I can tell when it’s completely dry. I would suggest spreading yours a little thinner than I did because mine took forever to dry.

Once the caulk dries, your bird feeder is ready to go!

Place it outside, and fill the bottom 2 bowls with birdseed and the top one with water. Now we just wait and see if any of the local wildlife come by to check it out!

And look: birds!

Magnetic Pin Cushion for a Dressform

I’ve discovered that one of my biggest pain points with historical costumes is trying to have my pins handy while I’m pinning on 12 yards of trim. I try to have my magnetic pin cushion near me while I’m working, usually resting on the edge of the couch, but then Bobo will come along and knock it off. (Yes, gravity still works Bobo… thanks for checking!)

I was joking to D that I needed to hang my magnetic pin cushion on my dressform somehow to make my life easier and her response was something along the lines of, “Well why don’t you?”

… Right!

So today’s post is possibly useful to no one but me, but now I’m excited to try out my new dressform magnetic pin cushion on my next outfit!

I purchased some super strong magnets from Home Depot. (I love Home Depot in case it’s not obvious…)

I measured my dressform neck circumference and added 3″ for how long to make my pin cushion strap. My dressform neck is 13″, so I cut a strip 16″ long and 3.5″ wide out of some leftover quilting fabric.


I folded the strip in half lengthwise and made a tube by sewing along the length of the strip using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then I flipped the tube inside out and ironed it flat.

I folded the strip in half to find the center and marked a line 2 3/4″ from the center.

I stitched along the line, dropped the magnet into the tube, and then marked a vertical line on the other side of the magnet. I sewed along the new line, sealing the magnet in.

I closed the ends by folding the raw edges inside and stitching the tube closed on both sides.

I took my magnet necklace to my dressform and pinned it on and marked where the ends overlapped. I used a pin to mark where the overlap is, but you can also use chalk or a fabric pen.

Then I took the magnetic necklace off the dummy to sew a closure on. I prefer hooks and snaps over velcro because velcro can tear up fragile materials that I might be draping, but whatever you have on hand will work. I went with a huge snap because I have a ton of these.

And here is the finished magnet pin cushion necklace!

Using Manila Envelopes for Pattern Storage

Once upon a time, I tried to store my used patterns back in the tiny envelope they came in. Talk about an exercise in futility. It was never a pretty scene trying to cram all that tissue paper back in. Then Judy showed me how she stores her patterns in manila envelopes. It was a life-changing moment and I never had pattern storage issues again.

I pull out the pattern pieces and instructions from the pattern envelope, and then I cut up the envelope.

I have a stack of 9″ x 12″ manila envelopes just for patterns. I tape the cut up pattern envelope to the outside of the manila envelope, and then I stick all the pattern pieces and instructions inside. And now, even after I’ve opened up the nicely folded tissue paper pattern and made a big mess of folding it back up, I will still have a nice roomy envelope to put everything back into.

The best part is that the manila envelopes can be stored in filing boxes. I got these boxes from Target and use filing folders to categorize my patterns so it’s easy to find what I need.

My house is really small so I have to put my pattern boxes in the garage. I might have a few too many patterns…

I’ve also seen people store patterns in large ziplock bags, so that’s another option if you don’t want to use manila envelopes.

Anyone else have any good pattern storage suggestions? I’d love to see/hear about them!

Interfacing Tissue Paper Patterns

If you have pattern you really like and will be using a lot, backing it with fusible interfacing is a good way to preserve the tissue paper. Interfacing isn’t cheap though so I only do this for patterns I know I will be using a lot.

(And if you own cats, this is also a good way to rescue pattern pieces they’ve turned into cat toys…)

So here is Yoyo demonstrating his amazing pattern destruction abilities…  Thanks Yoyo!

Rescue your pattern piece from your fuzzy monster and lay it out as flat as you can on your ironing board.

After assessing the damage, this pattern doesn’t look too bad actually. If the pattern just has some crumpling and tearing, we can save it. If it’s been completely destroyed (like your cat used it for a chew toy as well as a scratching toy), it’s probably time to start stalking Joanns for the next 99 cent pattern sale, and just replace the pattern.

Set your iron to the lowest setting and start ironing your pattern. You want to go gently and lift up your iron in places where there are tears so you don’t tear the pattern farther. If the iron isn’t hot enough to press your pattern flat, turn it up a little. You don’t want to get too hot though as that will cause the tissue paper to warp.

Now get a piece of interfacing big enough to fit your pattern piece.

I like to wait for interfacing to go on sale at Joanns for 50% and then buy an entire bolt of the lightweight fusible interfacing. Always having interfacing around is pretty handy.

Lay your interfacing on the ironing board so the fusible side is facing up. Lay your pattern piece on top.

Now grab a scrap piece of fabric to use as a press cloth. I used a scrap piece of muslin. Lay the press cloth on top of the pattern and fusible interfacing, making sure you cover the areas where the fusible surface is exposed. The press cloth is to protect your iron from getting fusible gunk on it as you iron. You’ll probably want to throw it out after you’re done as it will have sticky residue on it.

Start ironing your pattern. You might need to turn the iron a bit hotter to make sure the fusible melts and attaches to the pattern.

Iron down your entire pattern and when you’re done, trim around the pattern piece.

And now you have a sturdy interface-backed pattern piece that will last a very long time!

Photo Magnets

We needed some more fridge magnets and I thought it’d be fun to make some glass tile photo magnets of my fuzzy kids.

You can find a lot of tutorials for making glass tile magnets on Pinterest, and they’re all variations on the same theme. Here’s how I make photo magnets…


First step is to print out photos that you want to use for your magnets and make sure they will fit in the tiles you have.

I’ve discovered that printing on regular paper or cardstock works better than printing on photo paper. Photo paper smears very easily and gets blurry when Diamond Glaze is applied to it.

Trace the tile onto your photo.

Cut out the traced shape. I’ve seen people use an x-acto knife for this step which might work better for you. I’m a little terrified of knives because I’m extremely accident prone so I try to stay away from them.

Put a dab of Diamond Glaze on the glass piece and spread it across the entire tile with a toothpick.

Place the photo facedown onto the glaze. Press down to make sure all the air bubbles are out.

You can also flip it over and press down to make sure all the air bubbles are out. Wipe away any excess that leaks out.

Diamond Glaze is water soluble so you can clean up any messes with a damp towel.

Repeat for all your photos. Wait 10-15 minutes for the glaze to dry.

Flip the tile over and put another layer of Diamond Glaze on top of the photo. Spread the glaze out with a toothpick, sealing the photo in.

Wait another 10-15 minutes for the glaze to dry.

Put a dab of superglue onto the back and drop the magnet on.

And that’s it!

Once your glue is dry, you can put your photo magnets on the fridge.

You can use the same technique with other printed materials like stationary or a design you print out yourself. If you don’t want to purchase resin tiles, you can also use flat backed marbles that are found in most crafts stores.

Here are some other magnets I’ve made over the year. Anyone else out there a World of Warcraft fan? =D