Tuesday, April 10, 2012

For the Birds

This one really is for the birds. Daniel and I bought a bottle of wine, based on one of my coworker's recommendations (and against our better judgement, as neither of us even enjoy the taste of wine). We actually drank maybe 1/2 cup of the wine, and of course decided we didn't like the taste of wine. (Again.) Since that day, we've used about 1/2 cup more of the wine in a really delicious homemade marinara sauce, and the rest has sat untouched in the bottle on the counter, no doubt getting nastier and nastier by the day. (Sorry for all of you wine-drinkers--- I know this is a total disgrace for a "fancy" $14 bottle of wine. Ha. Don't worry, it's also a disgrace to the bargain shopper in me, so we're even.")
We've probably had that same bottle of wine for going on 2 years, so I decided it was time to say goodbye. The cheap side of me cringed as I poured almost an entire bottle of VERY pungent wine down the sink. Then, I had an AHA! moment. "I know, I'll do something amazingly crafty with this!" So, off to Pinterest I went.
You know what? I came up empty-handed. SO this idea came straight from me. Sort of. After I looked on Pinterest, we had to make a quick trip to Lowe's to pick up some mulch and weed killer. Of course, I wandered off and started looking at pretty things. I ran across the section of hummingbird feeders. That's when I had my second AHA! moment.
Fast forward to my last weekend project: my wine bottle hummingbird feeder.
I gathered my supplies and headed outside.

old wine bottle (washed, dried, and stripped of the labels)
feeder tube (I found mine on Amazon--Got 12 for about $10)
14-gauge aluminum wire
wire cutters
spray paint
painters tape
trash bag (or tarp)
Step 1: Wash, dry and remove labels from the wine bottle. I always remove stickers and labels using cooking oil-- I've found it works even better than Goo Gone (which is also awesome.) I just rub some oil on and around the sticker, let it soak for about 15 seconds, then peel/scrape off. Most of the time, the stickers peel right off.
Step 2: Wrap your bottle with the painters tape, in the design you want on your bottle. I did this one very plain, but on the next one I make, I think I'll do some fun designs. I'm sure you could paint the entire bottle, and leave off the tape, but I wanted to see the natural glass color, and also be able to see when I need to refill the feeder.

Step 3: Spray paint the bottle the color(s) of your choice. I chose red, you know, because hummingbirds (supposedly) like red. And because that's the only can of spray paint I had in the house. Then go find something else to do while the paint dries. (This may be a good time to make your nectar.)

Step 4: After the paint is dry, SLOWLY peel off the painters tape. Reveal your masterpiece.

Step 5: Here's the tricky part. (Or it was for me, hopefully, I can make this easier on you. Or maybe you're just smarter than I am, and could figure this out on your own.) Go ahead and cut your wire to the length you need, I cut about 2 1/2-3 feet of wire for mine. I estimated by pulling the wire out to the height I wanted the loop to hang, and doubled that. (And then added just a few more inches for good measure.)
I started at the bottom of the bottle, slightly bent the wire in half, made a loop with the wire, and twisted it, then took the bottle and placed right on top of the twist. then flip over the bottle and wire, and wrap one end of the wire at a time down the side of the bottle, and around the bottle neck a few times. Repeat with the other end of the wire. Here's a closer picture so you can somewhat see what all of the babbling above means:

Step 6: Make your homemade nectar, fill, put in stopper and hang!
Homemade nectar recipe:
1 part sugar 1/4 cup
4 parts water 1 cup
Boil 1/2 of the water and add sugar to dissolve. Add the rest of the water, stir, and cool before filling your feeder.
Here's my final product:

I picked up some more wine bottles today, and I'm going to make a couple more of these for the back yard, since I have 3 hooks. The only thing I've had to purchase was the feeding tubes--- everything else I had around the house.
I'm going to try to do a couple more this weekend. I'm going to be a bit more adventurous with those, and pretty them up a little. Maybe add some beading and/or designs with the paint.
What have you been working on? Do you have an awesome trick for manipulating that wire? Do you have some old wine (or sparkling cider) bottles you don't want that you wanna send my way? :)