Friday, March 6, 2015

Duck Hutch Tutorial

Our friends have a farm that we visit often. And one day I was discussing with Becky, the farmer's wife, about how we were thinking about getting ducklings. She mentioned how her neighbors have a good set up for the ducks using hutches kind of like rabbit hutches. I asked her if she could set up a time for us to go over to see everything. And I'm so thankful that she did!

We went there the next week and met her neighbor, Heather. She was an older lady who was going through the process of learning to raise ducks and although she would tell you right away she wasn't an expert on them she was quick and willing to share what she had learned already. 

She took us to two pairs of ducks first. Each pair was in their own hutch. The pictures below are of the hutches themselves. She had two hutches on either side of a small garden. And I thought it was brilliant how she had a tub that had a plug to drain as their pool. Then whenever their water was dirty she just pulled the plug and the tub drained down a tube into the garden next to the cages. The best fertilized water ever!! 

She also showed us her brooder box for her ducklings, which were quickly growing. She did it all on plastic grate as well so that the poop falls right below and then every once in a while she just scoops it up and uses it as fertilizer for the garden. For the ducklings she did add a box on one side which had wood chips in it so they could keep warm. There were covers on the top of the box that she would put down at night so the lamp in the cafe would keep its warmth in. Otherwise, during the day she would keep them open for fresh air and sunshine.


We had a great time and even saw lots of her chickens too! We walked away with a dozen eggs and lots of knowledge about what our ducklings would need. Thank you Mrs. Heather for all your help!

Needless to say, we went and bought some ducks the next week. We kept them temporarily in the house for two weeks in an old dog crate but the smell started to get pretty bad. So, I pushed my husband a bit and he was able to make us a similar hutch. We still don't have a nesting box for them and since the weather has been a bit chilly we have been keeping them in the dog crate in the garage at night (no water to keep it from getting as smelly) but they are outdoors in their hutch all day. 

I'm writing this a couple weeks after we've had the hutch in effect and I have to say I love it! The only thing we did differently is that because of distance we just have a bucket under the drain to catch the water so no tube is necessary. But the ducks LOVE the water to swim in and their poops falls through pretty good. We used the 1/2 inch plastic fencing as the base and the door cover. We had some old table legs lying around and used those for the legs. The hardest part has been the latches for the door. We used they little key and eye hooks and they seem to work okay, but Ryan had to bend them a little bit to make sure they wouldn't come undone too easily. 

Now, as the ducks are getting older we let them out during the day to walk in the backyard and then we just put them back in their hutch when we go inside. This has been the best and easiest way I have seen to raise ducks in a small area. Hope you have enjoyed seeing what we do here on our residential household farm, ha!

Here are just some pictures of how my awesome husband made the hutch. It's pretty self explanatory but if you have questions just ask below in the comments.




 (Putting the door on. It's laying on it's side right now and the door is being placed on the top. We later had to reinforce the beams of the door to help them hold up to all the opening and closing with metal braces.)

 (Here it is right side up)

(Added legs on)

 (Drilling hole for the drain)

 (Added the sides of wood.)

 (All set up right by our garden.)

*Update: It's been about 5 months since we've had our ducks. Our hutch is holding up good. The thin wood we used has warped a little but we kind of knew that was going to happen. Also, we are trying to be consistent to wash off the table legs because their poop is sticking and looking gross on it. But otherwise, the ducks are doing well. They're trained now that when we open the cage in the morning they fly out for the day and we have a pool they can play in in our backyard. They stay out all day and we put them back in at night.

Heather Joy

Friday, February 27, 2015

Cupcakery Menu

I recently moved around our playroom after our Texas addition. If you haven't seen what we added you should check it out here! In the process of moving things around though we shifted the bakery to the corner near the laundry room entrance. If you remember from before in that same corner we have the book sling I made a while back. Here's the link to that if you want to catch up.

Anyways, after moving the cupcakery in front of the book sling I was tempted to take it off because what kid is going to go in behind the bakery to find a book to read? Well, not me if I was a kid. Then I though about another way I could repurpose the book sling and thus, we created our Sweet Sisters Bakery menu.

I have experience using InDesign since I used to design wedding albums for a photography business. I also still design on occasion for our church. So, I used InDesign and pieced together some graphics and set some easy pricing for the items so they can practice counting dollars here shortly.  I will probably in the sometime future make a menu that actually counts down to the penny that will challenge them a bit more and we can use it as more money practice as they get older.

(Crease before you laminate)

Here are a couple pictures of how the menu's turned out.  As you'll see I used my EZ Laminator (which I love!) and laminated them to help them hold up to the rough play of kids.

We put them in the temporarily unused book sling behind the bakery. So, now when you visit the Sweet Sisters Bakery they will turn around and grab you a menu to look through before you order.

I hope you enjoy!

Heather Joy

Friday, February 20, 2015

Ryan's 30th Mustache Bash

This February my honey turned the big 3-0! I recently made that right of passage myself and he did such a good job at pulling off a surprise party I knew I had to do something special. So, I decided to go with the ever popular and very trendy mustache theme.

I created this invite to send out to all of his friends. He knew of his party but had no idea what the theme was to keep it more fun for him.

I created all the graphics that you'll see in this post. If you're interested in purchasing them skip on down to the bottom and you'll find a link to my etsy store. Thanks and I hope you enjoy all the photos!

I want to keep this post simple and so I'm not going to do much writing but I'm mostly going to post pictures because when push comes to shove, that's what we want to see! You don't want to here me blab about how I had so much fun making this invitation or how I can't believe I was able to find some candy cigarettes and fake mustaches to buy for the party, or how I made mustache brownie bites and a photos booth area with props...etc. You want to see the photos, right?! So, here you have it:

We honestly didn't use the camera, but it was there just in case so I didn't miss any photos of our guests. I ended up just running over with my phone every time. It was pretty funny though!

 Everyone upon entering grabbed their own 'stache and signed our big chalkboard guestbook.

 I used all old, childhood photos and just turned them all black and white and put them on the doors in the big 3-0. Always plan more than what you think!! I used 80 on here and I could have used a lot more!

I kept the menu pretty simple: hummus, pita chips, carrots sticks and broccoli, pizza, cheese cubes, chips, and of course my favorite thing was the candy cigarettes!!

Here's our Name that Stache Game. I gave them 3 minutes to complete the list and there were bonus points awarded if they could name the movie/show that the actor was in (if applicable). That's what all those little stars are for.

My old husband, ha! Just kidding. He's still as young and cute as the day I met him, when we were 3. I love this guy! Happy birthday honey!

Well, if you like what you saw and are interested in having a mustache party of your own, I can save you a lot of time because I am offering all the printables you see here on my etsy store! That includes a customized invitation, grab a stache sign, and the form and sign for the Name that Stache Game. Check it out here!

Well, I hope you guys have a good one! Until next time!

God Bless!

Heather Garcia

Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Sling

I finally make one of those book slings that everybody seems to have.  At first I thought that it would be a lot cheaper than investing in another bookshelf, but come time to buy those double curtain rod holders, I might be second guessing that.  But either way it is a super cute and easy way for books not to get destroyed in our house. 

What you'll need to make your own: 
-2 dowel rods, that are pretty thick to support the weight.
-Canvas material, however long you want it to be, but cant be longer than your dowel rods)
-Ribbon, if you want to spruce it up a bit.

I actually had some random couch cushion pillow covers that my mother-in-law gave me and they are a canvas material of some type, so I thought I could finally use them up.  I just cut the largest rectangle I could out of one side.

Then you need to have some test books and figure out how high you want the books poking out.  I didn't want my small books to disappear too.  It's hard to get those little suckers out sometimes when they fall down!

Measure how tall you want it. Remember this number.  Add about 3 inches (which will become the casing for the dowels to go through) Cut off any excess fabric you're going to have.

Fold down and pin the short sides. Sew. Then fold down and pin the long sides (not necessary as this will be turned inside but it still makes it cleaner inside for books not to snag on) and sew.

Here's what it will look like:

Then taking that measurement from earlier, make sure you fold down the long edges enough that when you fold it in half (as if it were hanging) your books will sit as tall as you want them.  If it's too short, fold it in more, if too high then let more out (making sure you still have enough room for the dowel to go through).

Simple sew on the edges, leaving an opening in the middle. Place the dowels through and let your toddler test it out.

"Wow Mom, this is awesome!"

You can add a large ribbon under the casing if you want to and then buy the double curtain rod holders at Lowe's or Home Depot. Hang it up and now you have the perfect reading center for your kiddos!  Now I just need to have my hubby cut down the dowels and it's prefect. Happy book reading and 
God Bless!