Make, Do, and Mend

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This Christmas I’ve tried to make a few of the presents I’ll be giving. One of my motivations for this has been a financial one; it’s often cheaper to create your own and the extra effort is always appreciated. However, the main reason for making things comes from a quote I came across a while back when thinking about ways to improve my happiness.

Time set aside for making good things for family and friends becomes a luxury in itself.

The great people at Action for Happiness have a ten keys to happier living, and the first item is giving; scientific research suggests that helping and giving to others boosts happiness and life satisfaction. Since discovering this idea I’ve looked at making things for others slightly differently; recognising the benefit it is giving me, as well as those I’ve made things for or shared things with. So look out for some homemade gifts making their way onto the blog and under your Christmas trees; and remember that by receiving them, you’re helping me to be happier.

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A Festive Bird Feeding Wreath

According to the weather sites, Britain is due to have a really cold winter this year; and as the temperatures lower, my thoughts turn to the birds at the allotment. Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that the feeders I have there are needing refilling regularly. So I decided to increase the number of sources of food for our avian friends, and as we entered Advent last weekend the allotment clearly needed a wreath.20131203-204559.jpg

You will need
Thin galvanized wire, enough to make a wreath sized ring (about 40cm long)
Cutting tool for wire
Round-nosed pliers
Fresh unshelled peanuts, lots

Make a small loop at one end of the wire to prevent the peanuts from sliding off. Either do this by hand or use round-nosed pliers. Thread the unshelled peanuts onto the wire. Aim for the middle of each unshelled peanut, the thinnest part of it and also the best place to ensure balance and ease of access for the birds. Once you have threaded on enough peanuts, shape the wire into a circle. Thread the end piece of the wire through the loop made in the second step and bend around to secure. At this point you can use the end of the wire to form a hook, or tie some twine around the top of the wreath to create a hanger. Hang in a spot of the garden where you’re able to see the birds enjoy their peanut feast.