Thursday, March 20, 2014

If a Bird Can Build a Nest, Then So Can I

Birds just have their beaks assisted by basic instinct to guide them when building a nest. I've got two hands, opposable thumbs and a lawn filled with birch branches blown down by the last windstorm--how hard can it be?
Since I had to gather up all the twigs anyway, I kept some to weave into a nest.

First I took all the wispiest pieces--some were already off the ends of larger branches, some I clipped off  if they were attached to pieces to thick to weave together.

Then I circled them all in my big soup pot, covered them with hot water and heated it to a boil before I turned off the burner and let them soak for thirty minutes.  The branches in springtime are usually alive and pliable anyway (as opposed to dead branches in the fall), but the heat makes them extra springy and less likely to break as I work with them.

Then I bent a few into a circle and spiraled both ends into a wreath shape.  Perfection isn't required--lots of ends stick out but we'll deal with them late.  Keep adding twigs until you have a nice hefty little wreath.  
Make one large wreath, one medium and one bitty.  My large was less than four inches in diameter and each smaller one was about an inch smaller.  The sizes aren't exact.  They just need to be graduated so that the next littlest one is smaller than the one above but still overlaps the inner diameter a bit.  You can see I made the littlest one nice and full--it'll be on the bottom and you don't want your eggs to fall through.  I had enough twigs for a second nest and my top was almost six inches, so you can make them as big or little as you'd like.

Then stack them up--can you see the spaces showing between the layers?

I saved some fine and very pliable twiglets to use as "thread" to sew the layers together.  I just wove them in and out, using areas that were open, until I had a more-or-less unified look.

Then I basically gave it a haircut--I clipped off the spikiest stems that stuck out before I glued on some moss.  When you hot glue a very thin layer of moss (Dollar Store or craft store) on top you camouflage any flaws as well as make it an softly inviting place to lay a few eggs.

I shaped a piece of wire about six inches long like a hairpin and stuck in through the bottom of the nest so I could easily attach it to my grapevine wreath and remove it as needed.  If you're displaying your wreath atop an old trophy or on a shelf, you obviously can just lay it in place without wiring it.

I'm an Offical Craft Hoarder so of course I've had a little bag of speckled eggs laying around for years just waiting for a project.  I squirted together a bit of light blue, ironically named Blue Jay, and added a dollop of a lime green acrylic paint to get just the exact shade of robins egg blue that my brain was visualizing, painted one side at a time and patiently waiting until it was dry before carefully painting the other side.

(And if you believe that I have some tropical acreage here in Northern Nevada that I'd like to sell you!)

Paint at here at Meadowsweet doesn't have much of a chance to dry before I'm ready to put on a second coat.  I have a system dedicated to my impatience now--an index card with thumb tacks pushed through that I use as a little drying rack.  It keeps the eggs from rolling around and the little points support the eggs but allow the paint to dry without needed a repaint to cover places where wet paint stuck to whatever I previously set them on.

A bit of hot glue--making sure that your eggs are attached to the twigs beneath the moss rather than the moss itself--and nestle your little robin's eggs in place.

Voila! You're ready to attach your nest to a wreath

or place it in an old trophy, 

or set it on a china plate.

  Nothing says springtime like a bird's nest filled with eggs!

More wonderful springtime lovelies at My Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday!


  1. Oh thank spelled voila correctly! Nothing gets me screeching more than to see waalllaah.
    Anywho, you ARE miss crafty girl. Love your little nests. I always leave out a little hasket filled with dryer lint, ribbon, string, etc for the birds to use when building their nests. Now I'll have to make a few of my own...we've got plenty of trees. So glad spring is here, well not here, but on the calendar at least!

    1. Me too (on voila), Joanne! Sigh. I'm glad I have some French to fall back on.

      My favorite nest is a robins nest lined with horse hair from my cousin's ranch!

  2. Those nests are just exquisite! I love them. Last year I gathered some mown grass that had been quite long and had dried to a nice brown shade. I formed bunches of it into nests and you would never know they'd not been made by a bird. But yours are even nicer!

    1. Thanks, Jeri, but all I did was weave a few twigs together. Mother Nature provided the glorious colors and inspiration! And a certain friend in Tennessee has taught me to see the potential for art in everything around me. Love ya!

  3. You are creative, love those wreaths and I really didn't know to boil them. Thank you for stopping by my blog, catching up on my comments.:)