Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cabin Fever and Rainbow Ice Crafts

Last week we were hit with a pretty big winter storm.  See that little isolated dark purple area on the map that was lucky enough to get 25+ inches?  Yep, that's where we live. 

i'm not sure the actual snow total for our area, but it was close to 30 inches.  It came down really fast and was beautiful to watch. The kids were released from school 3 hours early on Tues before the storm hit and school was canceled for the rest of the week.  
Now it's Tue and we still haven't been back to school. Many of the back roads have not been plowed, so the buses are unable to get down them.  There is a good chance they won't be back to school until Wed.  So we are snowed in, dealing with bored kids and some serious cabin fever. We haven't been to the store in quite a while, so our supplies are quite limited.

i find that brightly colored ice crafts are the best way to combat the winter blues and cabin fever boredom.  They require very little materials. Water, food coloring, plastic yogurt tubs, bowls, ice cube trays, molds what ever you can find .  They're are so many different projects you can do just using these basic materials.
 Rainbow ice lanterns are one of my favorite projects. They are easy, but time consuming as you have to wait for each layer of ice to freeze before adding the next color. You can find the directions in this post. We use those plastic yogurt tubs for these, and a small tin can in the inside.

We also made a bunch of rainbow colored ice hearts  These are fast and easy and look fabulous hanging from the trees when everything outside is white.  You can find the directions here.   All you need is an heart shaped pan/mold, water, food coloring and some string.  Since Valentine's day is over, right now is a great time to snag a heart pan at a great price if you don't already have one. We use ours for all kinds of things. If you don't have a heart shaped pan, you can use an ice cube tray or muffin tin to make colored ice to decorate the trees with.

We turned some of our ice hearts into a rainbow heart mobile. The individual hearts spin, and the bottom branch spins as well. It's fun to watch it move as the wind blows it gently. The bright colors bring some much needed color to the dark days of winter. 

We also used the heart shaped mold to make treats for the birds. We use this recipe .  Attracting different birds brings lots of color to winter as well. We've spotted bluejays, cardinals, titmice, nut hatch, pine siskin, fox sparrows and a woodpecker so far.

Over at twig and toadstool blog we came across the coolest idea for rainbow ice bird feeders. We didn't have any balloons, so i just used what we had on hand which was plastic bowls/dishes. The first one i made was a 'test feeder' so i didn't use any food coloring.  It was very popular with the birds, so i knew i had to make some more. Since our temperatures have been above freezing, i've had to keep all of our ice crafts in the freezer during the warmer parts of the day, so i just didn't have enough room to freeze feeders in every color of the rainbow.

So i combined the ice feeder project with my rainbow ice lanterns and created a rainbow ice feeder.:)  i love when i come across a fabulous idea online that inspires and evolves into something new. There are just so many fantastic ideas out there, it amazing to see what each of us can create with just a spark of inspiration.

 For this i used a plastic yogurt tub, and froze each colored layer individually. For the top i used a plastic storage container that had a flat bottom. i decided to leave it uncolored, since as the ice melts it pools slightly and i noticed many of the birds drinking it.  Once the pieces were frozen solid i ran hot water over the back of the plastic, until the pieces slid out.  Then i wet the end  of rainbow ice base and set the clear top on it. It only took a few seconds for it to stick together. Then i placed it back into the freezer so it would freeze even more. If the temps outside are below freezing you could set it right outside, but it was just above freezing here. Once it was frozen solid we were able to place some bird feed on it and enjoy the variety of colorful birds that came to feed.

As eager as i am for spring to arrive, i'm almost a little sad to see the snow and ice melt away. Although these days can be a little challenging, time seems to slow down on these days. It's as if the world is frozen in time, encased in a layer of snow and ice.  i cherish these slow moments, as i know all to well how quickly life can pass us by.

The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination. ~Terri Guillemets

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