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UpCycled CD Spinners

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Use up old CDs with this fun rainy day craft project. Easy enough for a three year old and pretty enough to decorate any gardenI’ve been a pretty dark place recently. Dealing with post-partum depression/anxiety and the end of my marriage has left me drained and with a creative block. I was cleaning out my over stuffed craft room when my three year old found a bag of beads I had stored away for ‘someday’. She loves making things and aside from painting & ‘key-dough’ we haven’t done much recently. I’ve called them CD spinners because they’re made of CDs and they spin but Mary likes to call them ‘tree jewelry’. Whatever you call them, it’s a quick from project to do with the kids. They won’t even notice they’re working on their fine motor skills!

Tree Spinner Supplies:Use up old CDs with this fun rainy day craft project. Easy enough for a three year old and pretty enough to decorate any garden

  • 2 CDs – I felt bad about using brand new blank CDs but I don’t even own a computer with a disk drive anymore so they were just gathering dust
  • Fishing Line – I used left overs from my Spooky Halloween Ghosts so it was pretty thick and sturdy
  • Beads – I think these were a necklace or two at one point. I’ve had them for years, even before I bought the house
  • Scissors
  • Optional – Tape – If you’re doing this with kids do yourself a favor and find some tape!

Instructions:

  1. Cut a long piece of fishing line
  2. Hold two CDs together with the shiny side outUse up old CDs with this fun rainy day craft project. Easy enough for a three year old and pretty enough to decorate any garden
  3. Stick the fishing line through the hole and bring the ends together, tape them if neededUse up old CDs with this fun rainy day craft project. Easy enough for a three year old and pretty enough to decorate any garden
  4. String on beads until you run out, your helpers take off to pet a duck or you get within 5 inches of the endUse up old CDs with this fun rainy day craft project. Easy enough for a three year old and pretty enough to decorate any garden
  5. Separate the two strings and run one through a final bead. Put the other string through the opposite wayUse up old CDs with this fun rainy day craft project. Easy enough for a three year old and pretty enough to decorate any garden
  6. Tie lots of knots
  7. Hang them up where the wind can catch them

I used large S hooks that I bought to hang bird feeders (that were almost immediately destroyed by  the wind) to hang them in the tree outside the girls window. Mary likes to point out her tree jewelry when we’re reading in her bed. They spin in the breeze and I’m sure the neighbors are confused. I probably confuse them a lot but they’re very nice and don’t ask a lot of questions. I think I might take ours down and doodle some designs on the CDs to make them a little more interesting but that’s going to have to wait for the garden to give me a break. We’ve had so much rain and heat that the weeds are going crazy! I’m, as always, way behind but things are moving in the right direction.Use up old CDs with this fun rainy day craft project. Easy enough for a three year old and pretty enough to decorate any garden

If you make your own CD tree spinners I’d love to see pictures! I occasionally get messages from people (usually making my ladybug vs bumble bee tic-tac-toe game) and it always makes my week. You can find me on facebook or tag me on instagram with the hashtag #chickenscratchny

 

DIY Spring Farm Wreath

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A lot has been going on in my life lately and I’ve been completely absent from this little corner of the internet I’ve created. In late January my grandfather died. He was sick and in the end it was what he wanted but it was still hard even though it wasn’t unexpected. He, his wife and his sister (my great aunt who is still kicking and will be forever) were the ones that taught me how to grow things and how to raise chickens. I don’t know if I’ll really come to terms with the loss until spring planting. I always have delayed grief like that.

Add some rural charm to your front door with a DIY Spring Farm Wreath featuring a straw wreath, bailing twine and cows with this quick & easy tutorial [Read more…]

Growing a Seed Mix Garden – Selection, Planting and Growing Tips

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Happy Spring everyone! Despite our run in with Stella I’ve got gardening on the brain. This time seed mixes have grabbed my attention. What’s not to love? A location or purpose specific selection of seeds available in a single pack? I’ve tried a few over the years (usually those generic ‘wildflower’ mixes that come in giant tubs at landscape stores) and I’ve never been impressed. Until last year when I picked up a few packets from Botanical Interests. My first successful seed mix garden was with their Bring Home the Butterflies Mix. Seed mixes can cover a lot of ground for a little cash so if you’ve got a chunk of land to sacrifice to the bees this is a  good way to do it. (This post is not sponsored but does contain affiliate links, I’m talking about Botanical Interests because I like them, I bought all my seeds from them with my own money and everything grew beautifully)Grow a beautiful flower garden from a single seed packet. I'm sharing my tips and tricks for selecting the best mix and getting the most out of it [Read more…]

Taste & Technique Book Review

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Taste & Technique was the first book I used for the cookbook challenge. I’ve had it a while, I received a free copy from Blogging for Books to review a few months ago (ok a lot of months ago…). It’s really a stunning book, it’s big and the pictures are all gorgeous. The recipes are well planned and cover a lot of ground and many techniques.

As a fan of creative cookery I was drawn to the detailed recipe instructions and sometimes elaborate techniques. This isn’t the book you want if you’re looking for quick and easy dinners on the table with one pot and one knife to wash. It is however perfect if you’re looking to improve your cooking technique and become a better home chef vs someone who just follows recipes. Not that there is anything wrong with cooking that way, I’m just a terrible planner and the better I am at cooking the more likely I am to get a meal on the table with the random odds and ends I find in my kitchen.

During the first week of the cookbook challenge we cooked several dishes from Taste & Technique:

  • Cabbage Veloute – we left off the fancy garnish but oh man… When you think sexy soupy goodness I know cabbage isn’t even close to the first thing on your mind. But the steaming process turns the cabbage and onion into a sweet soup base and the lemon and sour cream…. This is definitely on the list of dishes to make again
  • Escarole Caesar Salad – I’m not a rookie to the raw egg – homemade Caesar dressing but this was the first time I did it by hand. I think it was a touch to rich for me but it was good and I’m sure we’ll make this again with a little less cheese
  • Blistered Cauliflower with Anchovy, Garlic and Chili Flakes – Oh. My. Goodness. Hands down this is the favorite dish. I’ve even made it a second time already. Cauliflower is one of my true loves and when it’s browned under the broiler until it’s soft and sweet I practically swoon. The best part of this is the spicy paste you top the broiled cauliflower. My husband and I finished it off (literally 2 heads of cauliflower) with no leftovers and he doesn’t even like vegetables
  • Porcini Braised Chicken Thighs – Recipes like this really show off the true value of this book. The skin down searing followed by the slow braise in flavorful broth is a great way to turn chicken thighs into a fancy meal. As a family that buys chicken quarters by the 40 pound case having a new technique to cook them is a God send.While we won’t be following this recipe verbatim again we’ve already modified it once to cook up some chicken I accidentally bought.
  • Olive Oil & Black Pepper Crackers – I have a pasta roller, got it at my bridal shower. I’ve used it… three times? But now I can use it to make crackers. And make craskers I will. There is a bit of a break in the middle (there is yeast) but other than that they whip of quickly and bake into delightly crunchy, spicey morsels that disappear too quickly. Especially sereved with a nice cranberry sharp white cheddar

The Cookbook Challenge

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Happy New Year! January is all about pretending to be better than you are and changing your life in positive ways. So what better time to start a fun challenge? I’m a hoarder collector of cookbooks. I have many dozens of them, I read cookbooks the way regular people read novels. Part of it is my love for strange foods (it’s not easy to find recipes for fresh currants or pawpaws) and the rest is my burning desire to read everything while not making myself sad (I take it hard when characters I love die, I’m still not over The Green Mile and Mr. Jingles). I’ve always been this way, I was the kid that read the cereal box 3x during breakfast. Anyway, if you’re here it’s probably not because you’re interested in my childhood idiosyncrasies but because you too have too many cookbooks hanging around so let’s get into the challenge.

Declutter your bookshelves and diversify your meal plan while having fun in the kitchen with the 2017 Cookbook Challenge! [Read more…]