Ugly Christmas Socks!

Whenever my brother-and-sister-in-law host Christmas, it’s always a hoot. They go out of their way to make it interesting with games and competitions – for the little kids and big ones (aka the adults) alike. A few years ago, my B-I-L and S-I-L introduced an ‘ugly sock contest’ to the festivities – a twist on ugly Christmas sweaters. I don’t know how they came up with the idea but I’m always up to a fun challenge so was eager to get started.

I ended up making matching ugly socks for both me and hubs. I started with some festive dollar store toe socks and an empty lip balm container (the one I actually used was shorter than the one shown below).

I used the empty lip balm container combined with the top of a pen sporting a red tip and fastened them together with double-faced tape (don’t use glue if you want the pen back afterwards!). I also used a pen shaped as a lipstick, red tip and all, (like the one shown below) to fashion two rocket-like objects (one for each of us).

In retrospect, the lipstick pen would make a great stocking stuffer – but I chose to use it ‘outside of the stocking’!

SOURCE of Lipstick Shaped Ball Point Pen: Amazon

I sewed a piece of velcro below the first toe on the sock. This is my sock below; the velcro is on the left foot. For hubs, I attached the velcro to his right sock.

I wrapped the lip balm container with glitter vinyl to match the metal of the pen used for the other rocket. To make it even more rocket-like, I also fashioned the burning fuel flare coming out the ends out of more glitter vinyl and added an ID number using Letraset (SN-2 for me and CN-5 for hubs).

Here’s a close up of the ‘rockets’:

On the back of the rockets, glue another piece of velcro (the hook side that corresponds with the fuzzy piece sewn beneath the toe). Knot a piece of thin elastic into a circle and glue it just above the velcro (this will help stabliize the rocket once it’s on the sock).

Wrap the elastic now on the rocket around the big toe. Here, it’s shown from the back.

Flip the rocket around and bring the two pieces of velcro together to connect them.

Here it is once attached. 

A left foot for me and a right foot for hubs is shown below:

I got the smaller rocket because, as hubs always jokes, my feet are like stumps (my toes don’t even fill the socks!). Hubs on the other hand has piano toes so he can sport the bigger one 🙂

Confused? Have you guessed where I’m going with this? If not, all will be clear and you’ll understand when you see the reveal at the very end!

To accompany my ugly socks I upcycled some old leg warmers. Remember those? I can’t believe I still had some tucked away. I found a great graphic on the internet and turned it into a knit pattern. I used my scraps of black, red and white cotton yarn to spell out ‘Bah Humpug’ under a pug wearing a Santa hat! I stitched it onto the front of one of the leg warmers.

I’d like to attribute the original source of the pug graphic, but several different t-shirt companies are using it so I have no idea who the original creator was to link to (if anyone can figure it out, let me know so I can update)!

Getting back to the ugly toe socks, like my late father-in-law always used to say, ‘People have more fun than anyone’! But since I’m such a punny girl myself, I’ve adapted his saying to ‘People have more pun than anyone’!

SPOILER ALERT: if puns drive you crazy, drive the other way now 🙂

CREDIT: Lim Heng Swee aka ilovedoodle

So below is the final ugly toe socks as modeled by me and hubs. If you haven’t already figured it out, it’s ‘missle toe’! Get it? It’s a play on ‘Mistletoe‘.

I’ll get a lot of traction out of this project this Christmas. Don’t tell (shhh), but I’ve turned it into this year’s Christmas card – similar to the final reveal below! I know my husband’s side of the family will appreciate the silly humour in it 🙂

If you found this project amusing, please pin and share!

Did you know the tradition of hanging Mistletoe goes back to the times of the ancient Druids and is supposed to bring good luck to the household? ‘Missile toe’ didn’t bring us luck in the contest however: we came in just a foot or two behind the winner. The grand winner was our hostess’ father who cut off the toes of his socks and bared his naked toes (it was a consensus that nobody could top that for ugly). If this was a humour contest, I’m still not sure if we would have won hands down (or should I say feet down?): those ugly toes peering through the socks for all the world to gaze upon were pretty funny too. I guess I must have been having too much fun at the Christmas party because unfortunately I didn’t photograph the winner and other contenders 🙁

If you feel like being adventurous, why not take the ugly Christmas sock concept one step further: make ugly Christmas stockings to adorn the mantle! Personalize them for each family member and see if everyone can guess which one is theirs!

Check out my other seasonal ideas for both Christmas and Hanukkah:

BYOB Upcycled Gift Bag:

Shot Glass Oil Burning Candles:

Reusable Wicks:

Plastic Clamshell Shrink Art:

This one could be adapted for Christmas; you could hang one on the tree for each family member!

If you enjoyed this wild and wacky post and are curious to see what comes next, you can follow us right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or on Bloglovin’ (button below).

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This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

 

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Hanukkah Menorah: Innovative Wicks for Oil Burning Candles!

My family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas. In this post, I’m showing you how to make my newest and most innovative creation to date! I’m making wicks for oil burning candles that are re-usable, cheap, readily available and burn safely.

In my previous post, I showed you how to transform these shot glasses into festive oil burning candles. Here’s how they started out; notice the logo:

At the end of the post you’ll see how pretty they turned out in the final display!

Safety Precautions (Please Read Before Skipping to the Tutorial if you Didn’t See it in My Previous Post!)

In my last post, someone asked, “how do I know if my shotglasses are heat safe”?

The only way I know of telling if glass is tempered or safety glass is to view the glass through polarized lenses in bright light – preferably sunlight. Most people have polarized sunglasses so this is ideal.

If you try to view tempered glass in sunlight with a polarized pair of sunglasses, you will see lines stretching across its surface (and sometimes dark shady spots) – which is a good indicator that the glass is toughened. These are formed during the tempering process. Try this method first on a glass that you already know is heat safe: a Pyrex measuring cup or glass dish for instance that’s marked microwave safe. You should notice the wavy lines I’m taking about.

Note though that even glass that is heat tempered is not guaranteed against breaking or cracking. Two of the most common causes of glass breaking due to the heat from a candle flame is first, a wick that is not centered and allowed to get too close to the side, and second is a flame that gets too close to the bottom.

To combat these potential problems:

  1. Fill the shot glass with enough water before adding the oil. In a traditional wax candle, if the flame reaches the bottom of the container, too much heat may be concentrated at the base of the wick which could cause the glass to crack. Water in an oil burning candle will prevent that from happening because the flame never gets lower than the surface of the water. Along with the water, my DIY wicks (which I’ll post tomorrow) has a binder clip that surrounds 2 metal posts. This design acts as an additional safety precaution to keep the heat from reaching the bottom of the wick/glass – however the water level will snuff out the flame before that happens.
  2. Centre the wick in the glass! The binder clip will help you do this because it is oblong on the bottom which will help you place it better centred than if you use a store bought wick (which tends to be very small and circular).
  3. 3. Proper cautions should be taken when burning oil candles, as with any other style candle. Protect the surface the candle is sitting on by placing it on a heat-resistant holder (I used a metal topped plant stand – Satsumas, made by Ikea which is non combustible).
  4. Keep the candle away from anything flammable (I rolled up my roman shades for instance to keep them out of the way).
  5. These particular candle only burn for just over 1/2 an hour, however, never leave a burning candle unattended. I didn’t check to see whether the shot glasses I used were tempered, however I’ve never had a problem with all the safety precautions outlined above. With proper supervision, a glass oil burning candle will give you beautiful ambient light, so keep all of the above in mind 🙂

On to Making Oil Burning Wicks!

To light up the candles, I experimented with many different materials and came up with TWO sustainable wick designs; last year I showed you a k-cup version. This year’s version is much better: it uses nothing more than a binder clip, some 100% cotton string and the post portion from some garment snaps. If you can find silver binder clips for this project (vs. the traditional black), they blend in better with the shot glasses.

While I used my wicks to create a display for Hanukkah (otherwise known as the Festival of Lights), these will also work to create oil candles any time of year and for any occasion. Try it out for Christmas, New years or even Valentines Day (there’s nothing more romantic than the glow of candle light)!

Making the Wicks with Binder Clips!

Gather up:

  • 100% cotton string
  • Two snaps (you only need the posts)*
  • Small binder clip

* Note: the post should be large enough to feed the string through the hole.

Cut a piece of 100% cotton string. The size will depend on the container you use. I used a shot glass that was 2 1/2″ high so I cut my string to that length.

A silver binder clip is less noticeable in the glass but if all you have is black, go for it!

Soak the string in olive oil. If you are doing a bunch of them, pour the olive oil into a container and soak all the strings until thoroughly saturated. DON’T FORGET TO SOAK THE STRINGS FIRST BEFORE ASSEMBLY – THIS IS INTEGRAL TO KEEPING YOUR CANDLE LIT.

Tie a knot in one end of the string.

Insert the knotted string through the long part of the post portion of a metal snap so the knot cradles under the hole (see the picture below, paying attention to the direction).

Open a binder clip and insert the knotted end of the post, then close the clip again to tighten it against the post.

Thread another metal snap through the string – again the post part, but this time the other side up (like a hat sitting on top).

Remove both binder clip arms.

Fill a shot glass about 1/2 full with water.

Then add 1/2 a heaping teaspoon of olive oil into the water; it will rise to the top and float.

Grab by the string and place the wick into the liquid so it rests on the bottom of the shot glass. It will stand up because the clip has a square bottom. Remember that it’s important to centre the wick in the glass; you want to prevent the wick from hitting the side as described in the safety precautions.

Use a lighter to light the wick to test one out (don’t forget that the entire wick must have been soaked in olive oil first).

Here’s how the test run looks before I made over the all the shot glasses. You’ll notice that I fashioned a Star of David out of blue glass nuggets:

With a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in the shot glass, the oil candle should stay lit for approximately half an hour.

Prepare all shot glasses at once (8 if making for Hanukkah) and transport them to where you will be lighting them (i.e. don’t light first and then transport!).

Don’t forget to soak the wicks in oil first before you light them and only use a metal snap and binder clip to make these (i.e. no plastic!).

For a menorah, you’ll need one more shot glass for the lead candle. It’s easier to have a real candle for this purpose so you can easily light the other oil burning candles. I put blue aquarium gravel in the base to hold the candle straight up.

I cut the lid from a K-cup and poked a bigger hole through the middle of the foil to accommodate the candle.

Then I inserted the candle through the hole (1/4 sticking through the bottom and the rest on top). Just make sure you have the foil side, and not the advertising, facing up. This serves two purposes: it keeps melted candle wax from burning your hand (a pet peeve of mine). The foil ‘shield’ of the K-cup collar catches any of the hot wax drippings as you light the other candles! It also allows the candle to sit on top of the shot glass without chance of it tipping over (remember to push the bottom of the candle firmly into the aquarium gravel). As an added bonus, the candle light will bounce off the foil and give additional ambient light. One more precaution; if your K-cup lid is made of a paper/plastic combination instead of foil, I don’t think I would trust it with hot wax (even if it is meant to come in contact with hot water). Either don’t use a collar (you can still secure the candle deeper into the gravel – or even sand – without it), or remove the paper from the rim of the K-cup and then hot glue your own piece of foil around the rim.

To clean these reusable wicks, take apart the posts from the binder clips. Toss them into a mesh bag as shown below and pop them into the dishwasher where you would normally load your cutlery.

When they come out, they’ll be clean, degreased and ready to use again with fresh pieces of cotton.

Here’s how they look lit up on the last day of Hanukkah:

Look how beautifully they glow; you’ll appreciate it even more if you watch this video below:

This is an upcycle that you can use over and over in conjunction with the shot glasses (but of course, you’ll need to replace the cotton string for the wick each time you do).

Now that you’ve seen how to make the wicks, if you missed it, head on over to the tutorial that shows you how I upcycled the shot glasses for this project.

If you’re interested in seeing the K-cup version of the wicks, see my previous holiday post (you’ll find it starts about half way down the page).

Of all my sustainable innovations, the oil burning wick is high on my list of favourites. Check out these other recent innovations on Birdz of a Feather (the first one is a Christmas gift idea):

BYOB Upcycled Gift Bag:

This one could be adapted for Christmas too; you could hang one on the tree for each family member!

Plastic Clamshell Shrink Art:

CO2 Detector Wall Safe:

If you enjoyed learning how to make your own sustainable wicks, please pin and share! You can follow us right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or on Bloglovin’ (button below).

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This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

 

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Shot Glass Oil Burning Candles

Some of you may remember this oil burning candle project from last December. I’m bringing it back again because I posted it too late last year. With Hanukkah just a month away and Christmas around the corner, there’s plenty of time to try these – whether you make them for Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years or even Valentines day!

One big improvement over last year: I’ve come up with brand new and innovative reusable wicks for these oil burning candles. I can’t wait to show you how easy they are in my next post!

Below is an entire box of shot glasses my husband found in the garbage. I interecepted them just before he donated them because shot glasses are perfect to upcycle for this project! Although they had advertising on them, I found a beautiful way to make them look festive for the season!

Hanukkah 001_bof.jpg

I used 9 glasses in total for my holiday display. If you’re going to do this project, and you don’t already have some shot glasses on hand, pick some up from your local thrift store. Don’t forget that it doesn’t matter what they look like, because we are going to fix that!

Decorating the Shot Glasses

To add sparkle, I incorporated a metallic design onto the glass – and hid the advertising in the process! You’ll need to gather:

  • Shot glasses (9 if making this for Hanukkah)
  • Clear double-sided tape
  • Rub-on silver and gold foil
  • Painters tape
  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paper cutter
  • Candles (for the lead candle)
  • Aquarium gravel (I used blue)
  • Recycled K-cup
  • The glossy paper backing from a sheet of labels or self laminating cards
  • A towel or curved piece of wood (as shown below) to help keep the shot glasses steady as you work.

Add alternating squares of silver and gold. Place a piece of 1/2″ painters tape over the glossy side of the lable backing and mark 1/2″ increments on the tape with a pencil. The green tape is only there to help see the marks clearly since the glossy side is too slick to mark without it (and the reverse side is too busy to see them).

hanukkah-108_bof

Cut the strip of tape into 1/2″ squares with the paper cutter.

Hanukkah 111_bof.jpg

Peel off the green tape and you’ll end up with the white squares shown below. Use the scissors or the paper cutter to cut some strips of silver and gold foil slightly wider than 1/2″:

Hanukkah 113_bof.jpg

To prevent the glass from rolling as I worked, I used a curved piece of wood I already had, but you could also nestle it into a towel to keep it steady.

Measure a piece of  the double-sided tape to the length of the graphic you want to cover; 2″ was perfect for my shot glasses so I could create four 1/2″ squares with the foil. Apply the double sided tape right over the graphic on the glass. If your piece is too long, trim it back to 2″ using an X-acto knife.

You can see right through the tape, but not for long!

Hanukkah 119_bof.jpg

Take the square pieces cut earlier and apply two of them to the clear tape – glossy side down – leaving a 1/2″ space in between (you can use one of the squares as a spacer as shown below). The squares will stick temporarily to the tape and act as a mask where you don’t want the foil.

Hanukkah 130_bof.jpg

Apply the silver foil (dull side down) to the first exposed square and rub it well to adhere it to the tape. Carefully peel it back to expose the foil that’s stuck to the double-sided tape. Move on to the next exposed square with the same colour of foil and adhere it in the same way. If there are any spots that were missed, you can rub a fresh piece of foil onto those areas to fill in, but it doesn’t have to be perfect!

Hanukkah 103_bof2.jpg

1st square receives silver coloured foil

Once the first two squares are done, remove the white squares that are still covering the tape. Apply the gold foil to those remaining squares. You’ll end up with alternating silver and gold metallic squares.

Hanukkah 132_bof.jpg

Gold being applied to 2nd square

Alternating squares of silver and gold are complete!

Hanukkah 106_bof.jpg

If you have a straight glass, you could do this foil treatment all the way around if you wish. My shot glasses are angled so I couldn’t apply the tape in a straight line around the entire glass without wrinkling it.

A big advantage with this method (especially if you opt for cheap double-sided tape from the dollar store) is that the metallic feature can easily be removed to restore the glass just by removing the tape. You could switch up the design every year if you get bored of the look. Try using a decorative washi tape, for instance, instead!

Below you can see a side-by-side comparison of the before and after. With candle light glowing from within, they are going to look phenomenal!

Festival of Lights 027_bof.jpg

Here’s how my final display looked last holiday season right before I spray painted the letters that spell out Hanukkah. The glow of the oil burning candles really takes it to a whole different level at nightfall, so be sure to check out my next post for the full reveal celebrating the Festival of Lights!

In the end, I came up with a better way to make the lead candle. I didn’t use the oil burning method; I used a regular Hanukkah candle and made a collar for it out of the K-cup lid which I sunk into some aquarium gravel in the shot glass. It will all make sense when you see the next post on how to light them up, I promise!

Here’s a before shot to compare without the gold/silver makeover. The metallic finish on the shot glasses really does snazz them up!

Blue glass nuggets form a Star of David around the lead candle. The centre shot glass is also raised by an emply glass wax candle holder.

Since the top of our Ikea Satsumas plant stand is metal, I used fridge magnets for the letters spelling out ‘Hanukkah’; they look much more elegant once they’re sprayed in silver but you can keep them colourful for the kids. It’s the finishing touch to tie it all together!

Silver spray-painted letters are the finishing touch!

Of course, you could spell out any festive word (s) for any occasion: Comfort and Joy, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year etc. Like I mentioned earlier, these oil burning candles would be stunning for Valentines Day too; you could arrange your shot glasses into a heart shape on a large tray and put them on a table!

After the glasses are decorated, you’ll fill them half way with water, add a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and then a floating wick. I show you how to do that and make my innovative reusable DIY wicks in Part 2, so be sure to check that out to complete this project!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share!

In the meantime, if you are looking for other seasonal ideas, like a hostess gift – or even for someone who love to wine and dine – look no further! Make this seasonal BYOB gift bag:

If you’re not a subscriber, you can follow right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (button below):

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This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

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CO Detector Wall Safe: Hidden in Plain Sight!

Sunday marked the first day of daylight saving time. In addition to turning back the clock an hour, it’s a great time to change the batteries on your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and also check to see if they need to be replaced! Our CO detector was getting close to 10 years old, so we replaced it with a new one.

Birdz of a Feather has always focused on upcycling whatever we can, so instead of throwing the old CO detector away I had an epiphany about using it to create a place to hide my valuables in plain sight! Sometimes necessity – and a penchant for upcycling – is the mother of invention!

The Back Story

When I was a teenager, my dad took me out to pick up a prescription at the drugstore leaving my Mom and the dog at home. In the span of no time at all an intruder kicked down the door and made off with all my Mom’s jewelry (including my grandmother’s jewelry which my Mom inherited when she passed away). Luckily my Mom had let the dog out and kept her company in the backyard just before it happened. Thank goodness for small favours; I shudder to think what would’ve happened if the intruder found my mom still in the house with the dog going nuts outside!

Since then I’ve always been wary about leaving valuables and sentimental objects around the house. Instead I put all my stuff in a safety deposit box which kind of defeats the purpose of having it in the first place. It’s an inconvenience to have to go get something when I want it, so I rarely wear and enjoy my nicer pieces of jewelry.

My epiphany about creating a secret hiding place was a long time coming. I think it’s a great solution for keeping some of those pieces near yet safely out of sight (and reach) from those they don’t belong to! When intruders have precious little time to ransack, they probably aren’t going to inspect all the CO detectors and fire alarms while they’re busy searching all the obvious places in the house first! And sometimes it isn’t even strangers that make off with our prized possessions; my sister once had something taken during a get together at her home. That instance had a happier ending: she confronted the person after the fact and got back what was taken.

Disclaimer

Do not, under any circumstances, leave wires connected to the circuit board and/or plug it into a live outlet if you plan to make this project and stow your valuables inside the unit. You could cause a fire!

Once everything is stripped off the circuit board (the canister, alarm, power adapter and battery connection) it’s perfectly safe to use because it’s effectively dead. I put the circuit board back into the shell because it holds the display and tester buttons and helps make my CO detector upcycle look like an authentic working unit. The goal here is to fool intruders… not burn down the house where you, your loved ones and your valuables reside!

Watch the Video

In under 2 minutes, you can watch the video to see how it’s done and subscribe to my YouTube channel while you’re at it 🙂

You Will Need:

Step 1: Remove Battery Cover

Turn the CO detector over and remove the battery cover.

Take out the adapter plug by depressing the clips holding it in place.

I find that holding it upside down while depressing the clips is the easiest way to get it out (gravity does most of the work).

Step 2: Separate Front and Back

Locate the screw that’s holding the centre post; you may have to punch a hole through the lable to expose it.

Remove the screw then pull apart the front and back so you now have two pieces.

As you may notice, I actually got ahead of myself and pried the front off the back BEFORE I removed the screw. It was held in place by four posts on the corner and one in the middle (which I didn’t realize until after I ended up breaking off the centre post which was permanently attached to the front).

In the picture below, you can see the crack and small hole left on the front in between where the buttons go.

If that ever happens to you, just remove the screw from the post to release it, then glue it back onto the front with an industrial strength glue such as E6000 (I didn’t glue mine back together until after most of the video was shot).

Step 3: Remove Circuit Board

Remove the circuit board so you can desolder the joints holding the canister and alarm onto it.

Step 4: Prepare Work Surface to Desolder

Place a sheet metal pan on your work surface (ideally outdoors if you can) and gather up the soldering iron, solder pump and circuit board (solder side facing up). Heat up the soldering iron.

On the back of the circuit board, determine which connections you need to remove the solder from.

Step 5: Heat Solder Joints

Do this step in a well ventilated area!

Depress the solder pump to prepare it and keep it in your other hand. Place the soldering iron over one of the solder joints to melt it.

Quickly move the solder pump into place over the melted solder and squeeze the trigger. It should suck the solder out of the connector.

Once all the solder has been removed from the connections, you’ll be able to lift off the canister and the alarm (you won’t need these pieces).

I got tired of removing solder so didn’t end up removing the wire holding down the canister. No biggie: I merely bent it out of the way after removing the canister and flattened it. There was some foam tape under the canister holding it down, so I removed it.

Step 6: Cut ALL Wires

After the canister and alarm are removed, you can continue to desolder the wires for the power adapter/plug and battery, but an easier and faster way to remove the wires is to cut them off with wire cutters.

As I mentioned in the disclaimer, don’t leave any wires connected.

Step 7: Empty Shell

Remove the power adapter so you have nothing but an empty shell. At this point, you can reinsert the fully stripped out circuit board.

You can replace the tester buttons onto their posts too – or leave them until after the new digital display has been attached in the next few steps.

Step 8: Print New Number Display

I measured the size of the digital display on the CO detector then used Photoshop to design a new red-on-black print display with 0.0.0 instead of 8.8.8. I printed and then cut it out.

Step 9: Gather Up Valuables and Tape on New Display

Gather up all the items needed for reassembly: C02 detector body, film to cover the alarm sounder, your valuables, and some metal shutters removed from two floppy disks (these will serve as money clips to hold the bills inside the largest compartment – over the circuit board).

Step 10: Cover Alarm Sounder Window on Front

Since the canister is now gone and you don’t want to see into the space when your valuables are going to be hidden, use a piece of red film to cover the alarm sound window (shaped as an ‘N’) on the back of the front cover.

I used double sided tape to hold the film in place. You could also use something black (like a piece of cardboard), the colour of the canister. I just used what I had on hand and thought it would look nice to coordinate with the red CO detector display window instead.

Use double sided tape to stick the new display over the old one.

Here’s how it will look with the front in place:

Step 11: Dry Run to Test It Out

As shown on the video, I put the circuit board back into place, but before reassembling everything permanently, I rolled up some money and did a dry run to make sure it would fit inside. I used the metal shutters from the floppy disks to hold the folds of the money on both ends after I rolled it. You could substitute paper clips if you like or use nothing at all and just pop the lid on to hold it in place.

I then took it all apart again so I could make use of every inch of space and store some jewelry in the compartments too.

Step 12: Add Jewelry Storage

I removed the ring holder from an old jewelry box.

I found that it fit perfectly into the compartment that used to hold the power adapter plug.

For demonstration purposes on the video, I put a necklace into a plastic Ziploc and rolled it up; it fit into the compartment once used by the battery. There’s another compartment just like it on the opposite side that you could make use of too.

Step 13: Reassemble Front and Back

Once everything is placed, pop the front on and snap it shut.

Turn the unit over and replace the battery cover. You’ll find there is a gap where the power adapter used to be and see the back of your ring holder.

You can cover this opening with some cardboard – either before or after you insert the ring holder – just to keep the dust out (glue or tape it down).

After putting the battery cover on, you can replace the screw on the back which holds the centre post. However, the screw isn’t really necessary because the cover fits tightly anyway; leaving it off will give you quicker access since you won’t need a screw driver to get into your hiding place!

Step 14: Some Options for Hanging Your CO Safe

There are various options for mounting the unit.

Option 1 – Hang on a Screw

The back has two keyhole slots that allow you to hang it on a wall.

However, I find that one screw will suffice to hold it because there is also a slide support that helps hold it out from the wall to keep it plumb.

You can install a wall anchor before you put in the screw, but because it’s light I didn’t bother. The pictures below show further detail on installing a screw and using the slide support.

Option 2

With the particular unit I had, it can also be used on a table top. Just pull out the slide support and place it in a location of your choosing.

I’ve saved the best option for last in the next step!

Step 15: The Best Option

Option 3 – Create a Hidden Secret Safe with a Fake Wall Outlet

You could construct a FAKE wall outlet, pull the slide support out on the CO detector and hang it on the lower screw of the outlet to make it look like it’s actually plugged in. Just make sure that you use a longer screw for the bottom so it sticks out of the wall enough that it can catch the keyhole slot in the back of the unit.

An additional secret wall outlet safe is more work, but has two advantages: it will double up your storage space and look even more convincing! There are lots of how-to’s that you can search for online; you can see how to construct one in this post. Do not plug the unit into a live outlet (or even a switched outlet that could accidentally be turned on). The picture below shows the unit without its cover.

Whether you hang it on the wall…..

…..or the lower screw of a fake outlet, you’ll be keeping your money safe and close at hand for a rainy day! When you need access to your valuables, just remove it from where you’ve placed it and pop off the front.

Please Pin and Share!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share.

Check out these other recent innovations on Birdz of a Feather.

BYOB Upcycled Gift Bag:

This is great Christmas gift idea that’s made from a free reusable grocery bag; we probably all have extras lying around the home!

Plastic Clamshell Shrink Art:

This is a project that could be adapted for Christmas too; you could hang one on the tree for each family member!

In addition to home and garden DIYs, you’ll also find  crafts and recipes on Birdz of a Feather.

Shown below are a few DIYs, Crafts and Recipes on the site:

At Craft Rehab, I’m all about upcycling and crafting using unexpected materials:

Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab

At The Unknown Chef, I’ll show you how to ferment your own Sauerkraut, make a chicken soup that rivals any grandmother’s and cook BBQ chicken using a rotisserie:

Birdz of a Feather ~ The Unknown Chef

You can follow right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (button below):

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

 

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BYOB Upcycled Gift Bag: Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

You may have heard the joke about the secret to enjoying good wine: open the bottle to allow it to breathe; if it isn’t breathing, give it mouth to mouth!

We always seem to have more reusable shopping bags than we know what to do with so today I’m showing you how to upcycle one into a  Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) bag. With the holidays right around the corner, it’s handy to have a bag to carry some spirits to get into the spirit!

Whether you make this for yourself, for your host or as a holiday gift to celebrate the season or New Years, you can customize it with any graphic or holiday message you desire. All you need is a home printer!

For the holiday season, I’ve done a version with a graphic that would be ideal to use for gift giving 🙂 In keeping with the ‘Eat, Drink and Be Merry’ theme, I sewed the graphic onto the front of the bag leaving an opening at the top. The opening makes a pocket that holds a dining gift card to a local restaurant:

Of course, for our BYOB bag, I couldn’t resist using my own Birdz of a Feather logo (as shown below and in the uncut version of the video):

IMG_6391_bof.jpg

Watch the Video!

The video gives you a  snapshot of all the steps to complete your own BYOB bag. Keep in mind as you watch the video that I’ve used my own logo to demonstrate how it’s done (and subscribe to my YouTube channel while you’re at it)!

I used two bags for this project: one reusable grocery bag and a reusable plastic bag from which I salvaged the cord handle.

You Will Need

  • Reusable shopping bag
  • Cord from a second shopping bag
  • Iron
  • Pressing cloth
  • Chalk pencil
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Cotton scrap (to print graphic)
  • Freezer paper
  • Printer
  • Sewing machine
  • Cord lock
  • Grommet (wide enough for cord)
  • Bodkin
  • Ruler
  • Bottle of wine and gift card

Step 1: Take Apart Your Upcycled Bags and Harvest the Pieces

To start, use a stitch ripper to undo the trim and side seams from the reusable grocery bag.

IMG_6124_bof.jpg

Untie the knot in the cord handle on the plastic bag. We’ll only need one of them, so set one aside for another project – or use both if you’re making two bags!

BYOB Bag 16_BOF.jpg

Step 2: Smooth Out the Fabric

Take the fabric pieces to an ironing board and set the iron on the lowest setting (any higher and you run the risk of melting whatever the bag is made of). Place an ironing press cloth over the fabric and run the iron over it to smooth out any creases in the fabric.

BYOB Bag 18_BOF.jpg

Step 3: Incorporate a Decorative Element!

Although I chose to use my Birdz of a Feather logo to adorn our bag, you could choose the ‘Eat, Drink and Be Merry’ image shown below – or any other graphic/text combo to embellish yours and make it unique! See this post for more info on printing with a home computer (look under the heading ‘Printing your Images to Canvas’.

Step 4: Binding the Raw Edge

As seen in the video, I cut one of my logos from the printed fabric, leaving 1/4″ all around. Then I used the seam binding trim I saved earlier from the shopping bag and pinned it around the edge. I took it to the sewing machine and stitched it on, cutting off any excess.

Here’s how the holiday version looks:

Step 5: Cut the Main Body

Cut the BYOB bag from the main body piece taken apart earlier. I used the full width of the bag – handle and all. The handle is going to be an integral part of the bag, so be sure to keep it on and incorporate it as a shoulder strap.

BYOB Bag 43_BOF

BYOB Bag 45_BOF

Step 6: Making the Bottom of the Bag

For the bottom of the bag, use the side pieces from the grocery bag. The cardboard from my Duck tape was perfectly sized to use as a pattern for the bottom of my bag. Double up the fabric, one on top of the other, and then trace a circle using a chalk pencil.

BYOB Bag 28_BOF

Pin the pieces together and cut out the circle.

Stitch directly onto the chalk line, then trim the seam allowance leaving 1/4″.

BYOB Bag 30_BOF

Step 7: Add Your Decorative Element

I placed my design onto the front of the bag, pinned and then stitched around it.

Be sure to leave an opening in the top if you want to create a pocket to hold a gift card! I didn’t do that for the version I made with my own logo, but I wish I had!

Fold the sides of the bag together, right side out. Stitch a 1/4″ seam down the side.

Using another piece of the trim that was saved earlier, fold it around the raw edges of the sides of the bag and stitch it down using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Cut away the excess length of trim.

BYOB Bag 50_BOF.jpg

Step 8: Stitch Bottom of Bag

Pin the circle onto the bottom of the bag, wrong sides together, and stitch around the perimeter using 1/4″ seam allowance.

BYOB Bag 52_BOF

Use another piece of trim and stitch it on the same way as you did the side seam. Cut away the excess length.

BYOB Bag 53_BOF.jpg

Step 9: Make a Casing/Hole for Grommet

Now you’ll need a casing for the top of the bag to add a drawstring closure. I used the scrap of fabric I previously cut the bottom from for the casing.

Cut a strip that’s 2″ wide; don’t worry about the length as any excess will be cut away at the sewing machine.

BYOB Bag 57_BOF.jpg

At one end of the strip you just cut, there may already be a fold; if not, create one to accommodate the grommet. This double fabric is ideal for stabilizing the grommet.

Step 10: Add a Grommet

Use pointy scissors to make a starter hole. Don’t be tempted to actually cut a hole or it will weaken the grommet; the goal is to stretch the fabric.

TIP: as shown in the video, insert a pencil into the starter hole to stretch it wide enough to fit over the post of the grommet.

BYOB Bag 68_BOF

Place the other side of the grommet over the post, then use a grommet plier to squeeze the two pieces of metal together.

BYOB Bag 69_BOF.jpg

Fold the ends under along the length (pin or press it):

BYOB Bag 70_BOF

Step 11: Stitch Casing Around Opening of Bag

Take the casing to the sewing machine and stitch it around the top opening of the bag on both edges to make a casing for the cord.

BYOB Bag 39_BOF

Step 12: Thread Cord Into Casing

Thread one end of the cord saved from the plastic shopping bag through the eye of a bodkin.

Insert it into the grommet and thread it all the way around the casing and back out the other side.

Step 13: Add the Cord Lock Onto the Cord

Squeeze the plastic cord lock to open it, thread the two ends of the cord through and release the lock. Tie each end of the cord into a knot (if the ends are frayed, you can trim them or carefully pass a lighter over them to fuse and seal the edges together).

Step 14: Enjoy!

Now, all that’s left is to slip your favourite bottle of wine into the bag, cinch up the cord and away you go. The original bag handle still serves as a shoulder strap to carry it!

Here’s a few closeups of the back:

Step 16: A Useful and Sustainable Upcycle: Make One As a Gift!

With more more reusable bags than we need, this was the perfect way to transform them. The two bags combined together made them into something even more useful than they were originally. I had just enough left over from both bags to make another one; so I made the other one as a holiday gift!

As a finishing touch, why not add a restaurant gift card in the front pocket?

If you can sew a straight line, I hope you’ll give my BYOB bag a try!! You’ll be all set for gift giving this holiday season!

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share 🙂

You can follow right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (button below):

Vintage Mirror Update | Birdz of a Feather

Vintage Mirror Update | Birdz of a Feather

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

 

 

 

 

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Vintage Mirror Update

If you read the posts on our powder room transformation and the decoupage medicine cabinet, you probably couldn’t help but notice the mirror that we refurbished and brought back to life. This is how it looked after we carefully removed the mirror glass from the frame.

It was something we found amongst the piles of stuff in our own basement; it had belonged to my husband’s great grandmother and somehow he ended up with it.

Our mirror had lost some of the crisp detail of the carving with all the layers of paint and the paint was also chipping. Because of those issues, even though were repainting it, we decided to take it down to bare wood and remove the actrocious green paint.

Although my husband is a ‘Jack of All Trades’, stripping is something he was professionally trained to do (I’m talking about wood here folks!), so he gladly took this project on. I guess that makes him a ‘Jack, the Stripper’ in this case!

To start, he laid a few layers of heavy brown paper over his worktable to protect it:

Here’s one of his professional tips: he propped the frame up on the ‘V’ of some metal L-brackets so the mirror was lifted off the table. This way, he could get the stripper on the front and around the inside and outside edges.  He applied masking tape to the metal L-brackets first so that when he was done, he could remove the tape along with the mess. That way, your metal pieces will be ready again for the next job!

Whenever you’re applying stripper, follow the directions on the lable and take safety precautions (use a cheap brush to apply). This stuff is toxic, so cover up all bare skin and wear both a respirator and googles. Be patient and allow it to sit on the surface for the time suggested before trying to remove the paint; let it do it’s thing! Hubs advises to apply Saran wrap over the piece being stripped to keep the stripper from evaporating and drying out while it’s working hard to lift the paint. This will save time and product!

The detail work needed a lot of attention and a few applications of stripper before he was able to get it all cleaned up. One way of getting into the detail work to remove paint is a fine steel wool pad. You can dip it right into the stripper and scrub away to help lift the stubborn bits. Another way is a brass brush; however even though brass is a soft metal, it can still leave marks on your beautiful detail.

For tighter areas that steel wool just can’t reach, Hubs has a better secret weapon: he cuts down a very stiff bristle brush to about half an inch or so. Again, he dips it into extra paint remover then pounces the bristles into the finer details. It’s both a gentle and effective way of removing paint. It also prevents scratching which you have to avoid at all costs because it’s almost impossible to sand carved detals smooth once they are nicked or damaged from harsher tools.

Here’s a look at the before and after.

BEFORE

Look at how beautiful the wood came up!

Hubs applied some wood filler into the cracks and sanded them smooth.

AFTER

If we were going for a farmhouse look, I would have blended the wood filler into the wood and left it in its natural state, just sealed it with varnish. I love the blond wood!

However, I wanted the frame to recede into our walls so with a blank slate, hubs primed it and then gave it two coats of the same grey paint that we used on the walls of our powder room.

He reinserted the mirror in the frame. The mirror itself was beautifully aged and had a lot of character. Many people now try to recreate that mercury glass look, but we were lucky to have the real deal!

Here’s a reminder of how it started out:

Here’s how it looks painted and hung on the wall of our powder room.

Although it’s understated and blends in with the walls, I think the detail is still front and centre. Also, the pop of colour reflected in it from the decoupaged medicine cabinet really helps the powder room shine like a jewel.

With the shell details on the mirror, ceramic starfish wall decor, handmade glass light fixture and egg dart crown molding looking like scallops, the finished look sports a subtle beachy vibe (without the watery colours that would seem displaced in Canada’s cold climate). You can see the full bathroom makeover here.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin and share.

In addition to home and garden DIYS, you’ll also find recipes and crafts on the site.

Shown below are a few DIYs, Crafts and Recipes you’ll find on Birdz of a Feather:

At Craft Rehab, I’m all about upcycling and crafting using unexpected materials:

Birdz of a Feather ~ Craft Rehab

At The Unknown Chef, I’ll show you how to ferment your own Sauerkraut, make a chicken soup that rivals any grandmother’s and cook BBQ chicken using a rotisserie:

Birdz of a Feather ~ The Unknown Chef

You can follow right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (button below):

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

 

 

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Fudgy Brownie Batter Dessert Hummus

The other night I was watching Shark Tank on TV and someone was pitching a dessert hummus in flavours such as brownie batter, choc-o-mint, vanilla bean, snickerdoodle and chocolate chip cookie batter. Wow; I didn’t even know dessert hummus existed! Hubs and I are huge consumers of regular hummus so dessert hummus sounded like something I had to try.

All the sharks were raving about it, so the next day I went online to find it, only to discover that it’s not even available for sale in Canada. Not a problem when you love to cook; I decided to whip some up at home!

I haven’t had apples for ages, but I just started a new diet to lose some weight so fudgy brownie batter dessert hummus was going to be a great accompaniment to my daily snack. And let’s face it, who’s going to stick to a diet unless there’s tasty snacks, right?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 oz of canned chickpeas (I use Yves organic)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I use Camino organic)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I use Simply Organic)
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup (I use Uncle Luke’s organic)*
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter (I use organic sunflower seed butter)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I use Natrel 0% lactose-free)**
  • 1/2 tsp himalayan pink sea salt (sea salt is fine too)
  • Food processor (I used my Cuisinart Mini-Prep)

*Notes: I don’t use sugar, so the amount of syrup I used isn’t overly sweet. You might want to double the syrup or add in some other form of low-cal s