Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

Tips To Help Encourage Wildlife In To Your Garden

Tips To Help Encourage Wildlife In To Your Garden

These days as our lives get busier more and more of us are opting for less grass and planting in our gardens choosing low maintenance alternatives instead.

Sadly this means that wildlife is struggling to find a place to call home.

Here are some tips to help you encourage the wildlife back in to your garden.

BUTTERFLIES

Butterflies

If you are lucky enough to have room to plant flowers then you can encourage butterflies to your garden with Buddleia (also known as the butterfly bush because it is usually alive with fluttering butterflies), lavender, marjoram, perennial wallflower (also known as Bowles Mauve) and Verbena Bonariensis. These plants provide nectar in the summer which attract butterflies however your choice does not end there.

The Butterfly Conservation site has a wealth of information including a straight forward do and don’t list so it’s worth visiting their site HERE to check out their advise.

To get the best results you need to avoid using pesticides, insecticides and peat compost in your garden and make sure you remove the dead heads off flowers regularly.

Another way to attract butterflies to your garden is using a butterfly feeder which is extremely simple to put together using things you already have around the house.

PLEASE NOTE : This will also be attractive to bees and wasps so if you have children be careful where you put it.

To make your butterfly feeder start with a shallow dish. A heavy weather proof ceramic dish would be best but in the end use what ever you have to hand as long as it’s not your best baking bowl. Just be aware that a light container might blow away so try to anchor it down.

Make a substitute nectar solution using 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water and boil this until the granules of sugar dissolve in the water then make sure it is completely cool before pouring a small amount in to the base of your dish.

Opinion is divided about storing unused homemade nectar. Some say you can freeze it as ice cubes, others say that you can keep it in the fridge for up to a fortnight but some say you should always make it fresh and as it is so simple to do this it is not really a chore.

Finally you just need to add a few pieces of over ripe fruit. Soft fruit like bananas, peaches, strawberries and oranges work well but don’t over do it as other wildlife will love this too and you don’t want to attract the wrong sort.

You can also drizzle a small amount of runny honey over the fruit or some left over beer.

Now sit back and wait for your visitors.

ATTRACT FROGS WITH A MINI POND from Rollercoaster Mum

Attract Frogs With A Mini Pond

Garden ponds need work to maintain them and when you have children they are a safety issue so why not make a mini pond like the one we spotted on Rollercoaster Mum’s website?

This clever lady used a metal tub but you could use one of those shallow plastic orange planters from your garden centre.

For full instructions on how to make the mini pond you can visit Rollercoaster Mum by CLICKING HERE.

Clean water is a must but rain water is preferable as tap water can have high nutrients levels. Don’t worry about the muggy appearance of the water when you first set up your pond as it will settle.

A shady spot can stop the mini pond getting too hot and drying out but make sure too many fallen leaves are not left sitting in it. You don’t need to be over the top about clearing twigs and leaves as they provide habitat and shelter for garden birds and creatures but at the same time you don’t want too many dead leaves turning to sludge in a small pond.

Be patient and let things develop naturally.

Frogs will find their own way to the new home you have made them … but in their own time.

ATTRACT BIRDS – MAKE A NEST BOX

Attract birds with a bird box

To encourage birds in to your garden you can make a simple nest box. Nothing elaborate is needed. In actual fact the box can be constructed from just one piece of wood cut in to sections. It should have a slightly sloping roof to make sure rain drains away and although you might be tempted to make everything lovely and smooth a rough surface helps fledglings to grip.

You can find clear instructions to make a nest box at the Gardeners World website by CLICKING HERE.

Don’t be tempted to paint or stain the box to make it look pretty because the birds might peck the chemical and it could make them ill.

You need to think carefully about where you put the nest box to keep it out of reach of predators like domestic cats or wild foxes. It should be out of direct sun and excessively windy spots.

For more advice making, siting and cleaning nest boxes CLICK HERE to visit the RSPB webiste.

ATTRACT INSECTS WITH A BUG HOTEL

Attract insects with a bug hotel

Insects will provide food for the other members of your wild life family and they will pollinate your plants. They love wiggling in to nooks and crannies.

There are plenty of insect houses on the market but why not pop to your local DIY store and see if they have any waste timber off cuts which you can drill in to and combine with bamboo style poles to create your own creepy crawly des res?

Drilled wood and bamboo canes attract bees and wasps who lay eggs. Drill a variety of different sized holes.

Put rotting wood at the bottom of the insect hotel so it stays damp and this will attract millipedes and woodlice which birds will happily munch on. It also encourages centipedes which like to feed on slugs so if you grow your own veg this will be handy.

Make bundles of different sized twigs and sticks which will attract beetles who eat aphids and other pests that damage crops.

Arrange the whole lot in to a wooden packing crate if you can get your hands on one.

An optional extra is to place a wire mesh across the front of your bug hotel to reduce the number of insects that are picked off by hungry birds before they get chance to do their good work.

PLANT FLOWERS

Plant flowers that insects love

Thompson And Morgan have a comprehensive list on their website of which plants are most suitable to attract wildlife.

To visit Thompson And Morgan and have a look at their list CLICK HERE.

You can see at a glance whether the plant attracts bees, butterflies or birds (or any combination of those three) plus there are handy symbols highlighting each plant’s interesting points for example if it offers good shelter for birds or has autumn leaf colour.

MAKE A COMPOST HEAP

Create a compost heap

A compost heap is not the most glamorous of garden features but if you are serious about encouraging wildlife to your garden then this is quite an inexpensive way to do so. Not only will it be a haven for all kinds of creatures but the end result is a great soil improver which will give your plants a better chance to grow.

In it’s most basic form it is a collection of organic kitchen scraps which are taken through the composting process by animals, bacteria and fungi so small the human eye almost can not detect them. The rotting scraps are eaten by passing bugs which in turn attract birds, hedgehogs, toads and frogs who eat them. As the scraps decompose heat is given off and this attracts reptiles. So you can see how having a compost heap in your garden will encourage wildlife visitors to come calling.

If you can bring yourself to have an uncontained heap this will produce the best results, from a wildlife point of view, as there are no access restrictions. Do not use a chemical activator to get your compost heap moving, just let things run their course.

Planet Natural have a great in depth list of things to include and what you should avoid HERE .

If you enter your post code in to the search field on the Get Composting website you will be able to see if your council has joined the scheme to make discounted compost bins available to you … CLICK HERE to enter your post code.

WELCOME HEDGEHOGS

Welcome hedgehogs to your garden

Hedgehogs are very cute but they are not suitable to be kept as domestic pets and it would be cruel to take one from the wild for this purpose. However if you make your garden an attractive proposition you might hear the patter of tiny feet and you can sit quietly and watch as they go about their business.

We mentioned above that hedgehogs will feed off the creatures that live in your compost heap so that is a good place to start. The also like to shelter under wood piles and they will use hedges as cover.

Do not use slug pellets or pesticides on your garden, this is a good rule of thumb in a wildlife garden in general.

Hedgehogs will drink from a garden pond so make sure it has shallow points and easily exited areas.

Keep your dog or cat well away.

To visit The British Hedgehog Preservation Society CLICK HERE… you can find out more and also donate online if you choose to.

** If your kids love animals check out our range of animal themed bedding HERE **

** We also have a section dedicated to butterflies HERE **

Plastic-bottle-featured-image

8 Clever Ways To Re Use Plastic Bottles

12 Fun Things To Do With Cardboard Boxes

12 Fun Things To Do With Cardboard Boxes

This week’s feature is inspired by my brother in law’s recent cardboard box castle,
made with my niece for her school project.
Of course being in the business that we are we have access to plenty of waste boxes but if you are stuck you can call at local shops and ask if they have any used ones going spare …
DIY stores are a good place to try.

8 Clever Ways To Re Use Plastic Bottles

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We go through so many plastic bottles of water, juice, cooking oil and the like
these days and hopefully we are thoughtful enough to put them in to a recycling bin
when we’re finished with them but what else can you do with an empty plastic bottle?

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Jewellery Stand from Epbot
JEWELLERY STAND
from Epbot
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

This example has been left plain but you could use acrylic paint
and add embellishments to match your bedroom

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Transform A Plastic Bottle In To A Butterlfy from DIY Cozy Home
TRANSFORM A PLASTIC BOTTLE INTO A BUTTERFLY
from DIY Cozy Home
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

Alternatively use a permanent ink pad (for example Stazon) and a rubber
stamp to create your butterfly outline then use the nail varnish to fill it in.

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Bottle Bottom Snowflakes from Artesan
BOTTLE BOTTOM SNOWFLAKES
from Artesan
CLICK HERE to visit the original site – PLEASE NOTE it is not in English

Although it is not Christmas and the website that features this project is not in English
it is such an effective idea that we have included it any way.

You can buy the small metal jump rings from craft shops and also hardware stores like B&Q.
Use metallic acrylic paint to do your snowflake detail on the plastic bottle.

Take care if you have children as the edge where you have cut the bottom away
from the bottle may have sharp bits.

Garden centres sell metal trees at Christmas time that would look fabulous with these
snowflakes hanging from them but I particularly love the wooden version in the picture.

I really must make the effort to make this for Christmas.

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Plastic Bottle Broom from Wonder How To
SODA BOTTLE BROOM
from Wonder How To
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

Here’s a clever idea.
I wonder if the brush would be quite static and attract more dust?
I will have to try it and find out.

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Wedding Dress by Michelle Brand from Ecouterre
WEDDING DRESS by MICHELLE BRAND
from Ecouterre
CLICK HERE to see more photos

Just when you think you’ve seen everything …
Although this picture doesn’t really do this wonderful creation justice.

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Fairy House from Filth Wizardry
FAIRY HOUSE
from Filth Wizardry
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

This is a really sweet idea.

Make sure you get rid of any sharp edges before you give them to the kids.

*BONUS* Find out how to make fairy wings for mini dolls too.

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Phone Charger Station from Make It Love It
PHONE CHARGER STATION
from Make It Love It
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

This is a brilliant idea but use common sense here
DO NOT leave your phone in this over night or when you leave the house
as a charging phone can get hot.

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Hanging Storage Area from Make It Love It
HANGING STORAGE AREA
from Make It Love It
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

The same lady has expanded on the phone charger station idea
and come up with this useful hanging storage area.

I quite fancy one of these for my craft room.

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Vases Made By Erika Gadd
VASES made by ERIKA GADD
from Planting Happiness
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

This is quite simply on another level!

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12 Fun Things To Do With Cardboard Boxes

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Giant Castle
GIANT CASTLE – For Princesses Or Knights
from The Busy Budgeting Mama
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Super Hero Car
SUPER HERO CAR
from So You Think You’re Crafty
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Princess Bed
PRINCESS BED
from The Pursuit Of Craft
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Pirate Ship
PIRATE SHIP
from ikatbag
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Collapsible Play House
COLLAPSIBLE PLAY HOUSE
from Bambino Goodies
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Cardboard Train
CARDBOARD TRAIN
from Apartment Therapy
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Icecream Shop
ICECREAM SHOP
from Childhood 101
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Aeroplane
AEROPLANE – With Video Tutorial
from Salsa Pie
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Car
CAR
from Craftulate
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Play Kitchen
PLAY KITCHEN
from Willary Blogspot
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Rocket Kitchen
ROCKET
from Cardboard Rocket
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Dinosaur
DINOSAUR
from Rainy Day Mum
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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10 Fun Ways To Re Use Your Empty Plastic Milk Cartons

I have to be honest I started researching this post purely because I saw a photo on Pinterest of the igloo and thought it was really cool but I didn’t have any idea just how many clever things you can do with your empty plastic milk cartons. I love the hanging storage idea … our house is stuffed with craft goodies that this would be perfect for and it would be really useful in hubby’s allotment shed too. There are too many fab things to feature so here are ten of my favourite …

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 Plastic Milk Carton Igloo
 PLASTIC MILK CARTON IGLOO
from Earth Wise Harmony
More information …

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 Plastic Milk Carton Storage
 PLASTIC MILK CARTON STORAGE
from Sew many Ways
More information …

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 Plastic Milk Carton Window Decorations
 WINDOW DECORATIONS MADE FROM PLASTIC MILK CARTONS
from Alpha Mom
More information …

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 Plastic Milk Carton Bird Feeder
 BIRD FEEDER MADE WITH A PLASTIC MILK BOTTLE
from She Knows
More information …

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 DIY lunch box
 DIY LUNCH BOX – UNEXPECTED USE FOR A PLASTIC MILK BOTTLE
from Creme De la Craft
More information …

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 Craft Storage
 CRAFT STORAGE USING PLASTIC MILK CONTAINERS
from Crowd Formers
More information …

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 Toy Scoop
 TOY SCOOP
from Crafty Journal
More information …

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 Plant Labels
 PLANT LABELS
from Mr Brown Thumb
More information …

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 Plastic Milk Jug Watering Can
 PLASTIC MILK JUG WATERING CAN
from Karimas Crafts
More information …

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 Plastic Milk Jug Monsters
 PLASTIC MILK JUG MONSTERS
from Danielle’s Place
More information …