Welcome To Handmade Happy

This site is about handmade and homemade everything.  I am (and always have been) passionate about all things handmade.  I love the genius and uniqueness of things people make with love and care and know personally what it feels like to bring something to life that only lived in your head moments before.  It’s all about creating something by the sweat of your brow and your own hands.  It’s love of the craft plain and simple.

I live in beautiful Panama City, Florida and hope to showcase some of our local crafting talent.  I love being amazed by the things only a crafter can come up with.  Thanks for looking!


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Getting Crafty w/Birdfeeders

I have a love of birds that I inherited from my dad. We had a huge window behind our kitchen table in the house I grew up in.  My dad would sit there every morning having his breakfast and watch the birds.  Now that he is gone, I think he visits me as a bright red cardinal.  I know that sounds weird, but it’s comforting to think that he is always near.  I’m an outdoors type of person and love seeing all the feathered visitors in my yard.  I do have cats, so I don’t want to attract birds for the cats to eat.  I usually have my feeders up high, but this particular feeder is sitting on the ground, so I placed the feeder near big bushes and trees for the birds to be able to protect themselves quickly.
This feeder started life as a lamp. When I got the lamp, it was just a broken lamp that my neighbor was putting on the curb for garbage.  I have no shame taking her garbage, in fact, I do it so much to this particular neighbor that she brings stuff to my carport and leaves it if she thinks I might use it.  In other words, she knows what things I like to use because I’ve been doing it to her for years.  She’s a good neighbor.
So this lamp looks good from the front, but broken on the back, but who is going to see the back, right?  Plus, I really liked the vintage vibe with the swan.  Mister took all the lamp parts out and affixed a plastic charger to the top of the lamp for a feeder.  Doesn’t it look great!  Living so close to the beach, I tend to like beachy looking things, and I’m crazy for flamingos, but still the swan is fine for me, because I saved 1 item from the landfill.
I get so much satisfaction from re-purposing and re-using things.  Saving the earth one broken lamp at time!  I have more lamps (same neighbor) that I’m saving for a garden totem.  I have seen some amazing totems from old lamps and vases on Pinterest, and I have been lucky curb shopping lately (I need a truck), and have lots of old flower vases that I plan on using on the totem.  I have to color them first.  I’ve seen several DIY posts about tinting mason jars, so I’m going to try the Rit Dye and Elmer’s glue version.  I will let you know how that turns out.
I’m stuck indoors today because it is raining here.  Thank you Lord for the rain we needed so bad.  At least I don’t have to water my yard and beds today, so I will have time to sew, and screen print, Mister’s and my bleacher box cushions that have been put off since the end of volleyball season last year and here it is again!  Those bleachers are hard to sit on for long.     Rain = crafts





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Backyard Garden

I know that gardening is not exactly “handmade”, but the time and care that is put into them and when they do deliver, it’s sort of that handmade/homemade blurred line.  Anyway, I have a few pictures to share of our small (but oh so time consuming) garden.  We’ve had to get even more creative this year with pest control because the chickens are the worst sort of pest! 

Hubby usually starts off spring by making me some small trellis’.  I like big ones too, but he makes these that are about half the full size wooden garden trellis like they sell at home depot.  The cheapies.  Yeah those.  Hubby makes them for me now because (I’ve been told) I’m picky.  I like the small size trellis by my miniature roses, that are not really miniature at all anymore.  I get full beautiful long stem roses, that the flower shop would die for, off this morphed miniature rose bush we got for Mother’s Day one year.  Garden ScarecatBut I digress!  This is our smallish garden that is being overrun by peas that the garden center said were like our Lady Peas we always grew in Tennessee.  These peas are trailing, climbing, choking the life from everything else in the garden type.  I think they were called “white acre” peas.  Anyway, these peas, when picked green, are like chicken “crack cocaine”!  My chickens turn into maniacal beasts when they see me coming with a handful of pea pods.  I had one fly up and land on my head!  They go insane for these peas!  So I’ve had to put up this black landscaping fence (pretty cheap about $15.00 for 100′ roll with the stakes already attached).  The fence was not helpful at all.  The chickens fly right over, thus ScareCat came to be.  This was actually a vacuum cleaner cover.  Remember those from the 60’s?  The thing was in some yard sale stuff someone donated to our cause.  So it was stuffed with hay and put up to scare the chickens away and it worked for a while.

Late Summer Garden     Tomato Plants

We have squash, okra, cucumbers and pickling cucumbers (they are so good in salads), peas, assorted peppers for Hubby’s famous Hot Pepper Sauce he gives away at Christmas.  You can’t have a mess of greens without hot pepper sauce!  I’m also trying to grow pumpkins and watermelons, but so far, I thinks it’s been too hot for them to pollinate.  Our tomatoes have been delicious just sliced up on a plate at dinner and we’ve had fried green tomatoes too and cherry tomatoes that are so sweet.

Tomatoes from garden

We also grew some potatoes for the first time ever, and let me tell you, there is no comparison to the store bought kind.  My daughter and I both like to slice a potato raw and lightly salt and pepper it…yummy when you need the salt fix and probably healthier than a potato chip.  Here in NW Florida the Red Pontiac potatoes were recommended for our climate and sand.  Yes I said sand.  No dirt, no clay, just dry sand….growing anything here should be held in a prestigious way. 

We love spending time in our backyard with our chickens and cats and garden.  It’s nice when the afternoon sea breeze blows through, but not so good during the blazing sun of the day.  You can fry up in 10 minutes most days.  Literally the morning weather forecast will tell you “burn time” as in 10 minute burn time means it takes 10 minutes in the sun to start burning.  We’ve got our chicken coop in the shadiest spot in the yard.  It gets full sun in the mornings from about 9:30 – 11:30.  I’ve planted pots of Nasturium that are pretty orange (favorite UT color!) and are supposed to be a natural wormer for the chickens. 

Coop       Backyard Bliss

Thanks for letting me get “off topic” with my sort of handmade/homemade garden stuff.  I did have to dig out some Halloween vultures and decorations to help scare the chickens away.  Getting creative to solve everyday problems or issues is what keeps our brains thinking and active and your creativity comes from the right side of your brain and we don’t work that side of our brains nearly the way we did when we were kids.  Now we are just old stuck in the muds, living inside the box that we don’t dare go outside of.  Work that brain people!  Gosh, I really missed my calling of soap box preaching.  I do go off on tangents now and again.

Hope your week is as sunny as mine!

                                   Chickens in Banana Trees

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Filed under Backyard Garden, chicken coop, chickens, DIY, garden junk, Handmade

T-Shirt Quilt

My 15-year-old daughter plays volleyball for her high school.  She loves the sport.  It is such a good, fun sport for girls.  I like it because so many type girls can play it.  You don’t have to be athletically built, skinny, tall, or a certain shape or size.  Usually the girls play the regular high school season with a tournament or two in the mix.  Then club volleyball starts just 2 months or so later and they play all tournaments.  So the girls always want a shirt from all the different venues, and I can see where the t-shirts can stack up.  I also figured I can get my first one out of the way, knowing how many volleyball t-shirts my daughter already has, but will have by the time she graduates in 2017.

One of our seniors was graduating and as always, I just can’t make myself buy a generic gift or a money card and be done.  I love handmade gifts and love giving them.  This girl had bags of t-shirts from different volleyball clubs, tournaments, and school uniforms.  I had been toying with the idea of making a t-shirt quilt for some time.  I saw a beautiful one on Pinterest, and knew that I wanted to do it.

I figured out my finished measurements (Volleyball girls are tall) and knew that I wanted it to be long enough.  My daughter is 5′ 10″ and the throws I’ve bought from the store are never long enough.  So I decided on a finished size of 12″ squares because most of the graphics on the t-shirts were that big.  I had hubby make me a perfectly square template 1″ bigger that my finished 12″ squares.  And from there it was easy peasy.  I used my rotary cutter and cut 15 t-shirts and used graphics from the one side and a blank square from the other side of the t-shirt.  I think it may have been too much with a graphic on every one of the 30 squares.  I wanted my finished measurements to be 5′ wide and 7′ long (because girlfriend is real tall).  I cut the 30 squares and laid them out the way I wanted each row.  I stacked up the rows and yes I tag them row 1 or 2 and so on.  I sewed the 5 squares in each row together.  I then sewed the rows together.  I elected not to use batting because I bought really awesome microfiber soft and snuggle fleece  for the back and I had the idea that the t-shirts would just sort of grab the fleece, but I ended up having to tie the corners of each square to finish the quilting.   I threaded an embroidery needle with embroidery thread and tied small knots then bows on top of the knots.  I ironed the seams really good before attaching the backing.  I put right sides together and pinned the crap out of it because I also elected not to cut 30 squares of interfacing for each t-shirt square.  Gosh I am impatient, and I usually pay the price for it.  I sewed around the entire quilt except one 12″ square left open for pulling the fabric back through.  Once I pulled it through, I sewed around the entire thing again.  Top-stitching heaven!  A couple of my squares grew bigger than 12″, but not many.  It is nerve-racking  trying to match up the corners. I could see every last flaw and really had second thoughts about giving this graduate a shoddy quilt that had a couple of corners that didn’t match up.  At the end of the day, the graduate loved, LOVED her quilt and she never saw anything wrong with it.  We are our own harshest critics, aren’t we?  Here are a few pictures of the quilt, honestly it was so simple.


Filed under DIY, fleece, Handmade, handmade fleece blankets, quilts, recycled/repurposed

Recycled Chicken Coop

That’s right, I have started to raise a few backyard chickens for laying eggs only.  I really love fresh eggs and the idea of controlling what chemicals, or antibiotics, or Lord knows what else that my chickens eat.  I am really interested in the “fertilizer” for my composting too.  The extra added bonus is that the chickens eat weeds and bugs and I’ve got plenty.

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while now.   We live in the county, and after talking to a neighbor about her chickens, I’ve been researching everything I can find about raising them.   All of this started last fall, and here it is spring  I also love recycling and am an avid curb shopper.  I’ll just put that out there right now.  I do curb shop and frequently, and am shameless about it.  During the mulling things over stage I happened on a curb pile that had an old wooden playhouse.  Perfect roof and 1 complete side AND it was the side with the little wooden shutters and a little door cutout.  How perfect was that for the start of a coop?  Of course it was a sign (with my family, everything starts with a “sign”) that raising chickens was meant to be, why else would someone throw out a perfectly good roof and 1 wall?   That’s when things started moving a little faster.  I say a “little” faster because when you curb shop, it takes a while to find all the things you need, and you end up taking all kinds of junk from the curb because you aren’t sure if you may need it down the line.  I think you can imagine where this is all going.  I do tend to look like a hoarder, at least from my carport I do.  Here is a pictorial to bring us more up to date.

The 1st curb find and most important!  Nice and sturdy too.

The 1st curb find and most important! Nice and sturdy too.

This is the only wall that was with the roof, but a real score with the shutters and door.

This is the only wall that was with the roof, but a real score with the shutters and door.

These legs were on the curb with a tabletop that was not in good condition.

These legs were on the curb with a tabletop that was not in good condition.

remade the wall with the shutters.

remade the wall with the shutters.

Pallet wood was used to build the walls and some old fence pickets.

Pallet wood was used to build the walls and some old fence pickets.

Had some old paint from previous projects.

Had some old paint from previous projects.

Floor was made from old fence pickets we found.

Finished painting the coop!

The entire coop, sans chicken wire, cost me about $6.00 for a couple of hinges.  One whole side wall opens outwards for easy cleaning.  Oh and I found a couple of thrown out cabinets.  Not big kitchen cabinets, but smaller and there was just this one piece with two doors that are maybe 2- 1/2′ W x 15″ H.  Perfect for nesting boxes, you’ll see.  The mister had to attach that off the back.  We actually found an old piano hinge on something on the curb (these sell for about $20 bucks at the hardware store) and removed it.  We used it on the nesting box lid that opens from the top of the nesting boxes for removing eggs from outside the coop.  The front cabinet doors will be used for easier cleaning from the outside.

I will post more pictures later, and introduce you to all my “girls”.   I hope everyone is happy in whatever they choose to do in their personal time.  I just happen to like making my own stuff, but you may be happy reading old comic books.  I wish for all people to have some escape and happiness while doing it.  It is therapy for the soul.



Filed under chicken coop, chickens, DIY, Handmade

Bottle Cap Backsplash

I have been playing catch-up with some long over-due projects, and really wanted to share this oh so simple DIY.  Back at Thanksgiving we were going to have out-of-town guests visiting, and in the true spirit of the holidays, we were scrambling to get last minute groceries and sprucing up the new digs because this was the first time the old friends had seen it.  I had been saving picture frames for a while, because there are so many awesome crafts and DIYs out there and especially since everything now is so, you know, digital.  I had re-purposed some old picture frames into jewelry hangers by removing the glass, and stretching burlap around the opening and stapled.  Attach a pretty ribbon to hang it by and you have a quick and easy handmade earring display.  The burlap is pretty easy to stencil or screen print on for a more personalized gift.  So, company is coming and the kitchen is blah beyond blah when I realized there was just too much blah wall space.  So to break up the ginormous expanse of blahness, I decided I needed a fast fix for a back-splash.  I remembered this rectangle shaped frame that would be the perfect size, and decided to use painted bottle caps.  We are literally talking about 30 minutes total with gluing the caps on!  I already had the frame with the burlap and ribbon hanger that was a left-over jewelry hanger.  So I randomly painted and glued the bottle caps to the burlap and hung it sideways over the stove.  What do you think?  Not bad for a fast, practically free (yard sale frame .50 cents) practical back-splash.  Practical in being disposable when nasty.  I can replace the piece of burlap, add new caps, change up colors and designs on a whim.



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Birding Station Progress

I have been a very busy girl, in case you notice that it has been about 6 months since I have posted anything.  Life throws you some hard balls sometimes, and gosh, I feel like I am just coming out of the dirt like a seedling.  I was buried beneath the dirt, it seems, all winter.  Then things have slowly gotten a little better and life is calming down again (Thank you, Jesus!), and I realize that it is Spring.   I do feel like I was cut down in the fall, and frozen all winter, and I’m just realizing that I’m coming back, and have a new start and even though I have to start again from a mere seedling, I am going to emerge stronger and better for it.  Okay, So I really did finish my birding station project and wanted to share some pictures of my dead tree limb with a couple of birdhouses hubby made.  Just so you know I’m not finished with it (more is better and I want lots more) and will be adding a couple of smaller birdhouses I’ve almost finished.

Birding station1 iphone pics 2013 079There is also a really dead bush to the right of this spot, that is going to be incorporated somehow.  Just give me time and there’s no telling what it will be.   Hope you’re all enjoying your Spring!






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Filed under Birdhouses, DIY, garden junk, Handmade, handmade birdhouse

Reclaimed Wood Birding Station

I am using the word “reclaimed” quite literally.  We had a storm pass through a couple of weeks ago that broke a pretty decent size limb off the tree next door (dang popcorn tree).  The limb landed on my fence where my passion-flower vine grows.  So as I was dragging the limb down to the road, I realized that I had been looking for something sturdy to use to hang some birdhouses or feeders from.  So when I asked hubby if he would plant the limb in the ground so it would stand up, he gives me his “Geez, can she get any crazier” look.  He does not ask questions anymore.  I hate to say it, but it’s not my first time planting dead trees.  I did it last year for Halloween…spooky trees lining the walkway.  Hey, that box of 4 lighted trees is $15 or $20 bucks at Big Lots!

So I’ve been trying to find some creative ideas online about my dead tree (and a bush) being used as a birding station.  Can you believe there is not a lot out there on this subject?  Well, I’m on my own here.  Left to my own devices.  The problem is that I really have this “style” (for lack of a better word) that not a lot of people get.  But, since I’m over 50 now, I don’t have to worry if people “get it”.  Really, when you turn 50, you get to start saying exactly what you think, and do what you want about things.  People just laugh it off and think you’re old and eccentric.   I know 50 isn’t old, but it is to younger people.  My 15-year-old thinks I am the crypt keeper.  I am older than a lot of her friend’s moms.  Being 50 years old is ancient in her opinion.  I am only trying to say that saying what YOU think and doing what YOU like is freeing.

So hubby is somehow attaching the large tree branch standing up at the end of my fence and then i will have a perfect birding station between the tree branch and the dead bush that are the key elements of my design.  I use the term “design” loosely.

Here is a picture of the fallen branch.  My neighbors, I’m pretty sure, think I’m nuts anyway, so I may paint my tree branch.  I haven’t decided, but I am thinking that the dead tree branch will look like a decoration, or yard art if it is painted.  But the natural looks good too.  I’ll have to wait til installation before deciding.

tree stump 001

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Filed under Birdhouses, DIY, Handmade, handmade birdhouse