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4 Ways to Show Your Plants Some Beer LOVE

There seems to be some serious debate over whether or not beer is good for plants.  Some say it’s a great fertilizer, others say not so much.  However, beer bottles can be very plant friendly!  So with Earth Day approaching, I wanted to share a few ideas for showing your plants some beer love without wasting good beer or killing our oxygen loving friends.

1.  Make a Beer Bottle Plant Watering Globe.   Ever seen those overpriced glass globes that you fill with water and put into the plants for extended drip watering?  Well guess what, beer bottles can serve the same purpose – no money spent, and you’ll be repurposing.

2.  Proven Slug Killer Got Slugs???  Place a small amount of beer in a jar and bury the neck of the jar to drown slugs. Make sure to empty and replace the liquid after a rain since it will be diluted.

3.  Make an Indoor Bottle Garden Great DIY project.  Bring some fresh air and greenery indoors and reuse those bottles!  Visit Design Sponge for a step by step tutorial for creating an indoor garden out of empty beer bottles! .

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Photo by Design Sponge

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4.  Build a Bottle Walkway or Raised Flower Bed

Bury your bottles, bottoms up in the dirt for a interesting border edge to your flower bed. …Or stack them sideways for a raised bed. 

Photos from Apartment Therapy and Pinterest

Have other beer and garden ideas?  Or more creative ways to reuse those beer remnants?   Leave a comment and share!

Happy EarthDay!  Cheers Beers!

Coasters and Bottle Cap Ornaments for the Beer Tree

December 14, 2011 3 comments

Coasters and bottle caps are like small works of art that reflect the individuality of each beer and brewery.  So naturally, they make great ornaments for hanging on the beer tree.  They’re also free AND you’ll be doing the world a favor by up cycling them into something useful.  So put the kiddies to work and start building that beer tree!

COASTERS and BOTTLE CAP ORNAMENTS 

Tools and Materials

Instructions

      • Using the hole punch, punch a hole at the top center of the coaster or CLEAN bottle cap
      • Add a wire ornament hanger.  Voila!  Ready to hang!
Helpful Tips
      • Removing bottle cap liners – For more decorative bottle caps, you can remove the rubber liner using needle nose pliers.  This isn’t always as simple as it sounds.  A trick is to set the bottle cap top side down on a coffee cup warmer or hot plate (set to low-med) for 7-10 seconds.  Hold the cap using a paper towel (the cap will be hot so be careful!) and use your needle nose pliers to lift the liner out of the cap.  Some are easier than others and may require rewarming.
      • Flattening bottle caps – Flattening the caps will give them an interesting curved fringed edge.  Just place the cap tops side up on a surface that can take a beating (metal anvil is perfect).  Hammer the curved raised edge evenly around until the outside edge started to turn upwards.  Flip the cap over and hammer the inside while turning the cap to evenly flatten the center.
      • Adding a Protective Sheen – Using old paint brushes, paint the tops of the bottle caps (including fringed edges) with glue and allow to dry some.  Repeat one or two more times, total of 2-3 coats of glue.  Gives the top a nice shiny durable sheen.

 

Did I mention that bottle caps also make cool, fun, and inexpensive earrings? A great gift for the lady beer lover on your list. Just use ear wires in place of the ornament wires.

 

 

BOTTLE CAP DECOUPAGE

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to take your beer crafts a step further, then use a quarter to trace and cut out some fun images that can be placed on the inside AND outside of the bottle caps.

Materials (in addition to those listed above)

      • Modge Podge or glue that dries transparent.
      • Old paint brush
      • Magazines or other sources for paper images.
      • Quarter and scissors for tracing and cutting out images, or 1 inch round paper punch (look in the scrapbooking section of most chain craft stores)

Instructions

      • Punch or cut out 1 inch round paper images to paste on the inside and/or outside of the bottle caps.
      • Using Modge Podge or another glue that dries transparent, paint the side you’re decorating with a craft glue that dries transparent (recommend Modge Podge).
      • Place your cut out image on top of the glued surface and press evenly to smooth and secure the image.
      • Paint another coat of glue over top.  Allow to dry.
      • Add 2-3 additional coats of glue, allowing for drying time between coats.
      • Punch a hole in the top center and add an ornament wire.

Visit YouTube and search on “bottle cap crafts” to find lots of great how to videos on bottle cap techniques and projects.  The possibilities are endless and kids of all ages will have a blast decorating the beer tree with these simple and creative ornaments!

Happy holidays and Cheers Beers!

Carving and Illuminating Pumpkin Beer Bottles for Halloween

October 31, 2011 8 comments

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed some of the great beer bottle art that’s out on the shelves…especially now that its Halloween.  The beer is pretty good too, but the bottles are downright wicked!  And finding reuses for them totally justifies the price of the bottle.

This year, in lieu of pumpkins, we picked up some great pumpkin beers, popped the the tops off, cleaned out the insides, cut the bottoms off and added a candles to illuminate from within.   They looked awesome!

 

 

Add a tea light directly under the bottle, or for bombers cut the bottom off a smaller bottle and add a votive candle.

The bottles shown below are New Belgium’s KICK (An 8.5% tart fruity beer brewed with cranberry juice and pumpkin and partially aged in wood barrels – much like Sam Adams’ Cranberry Lambic, didn’t taste any pumpkin) and Southern Tier’s Pumking Imperial Pumpkin Beer (Outstanding!).

 

 

The best part is that we can put them away and pull them out again for next year!   This is the start of an ongoing collection!

Cheers beers!

Peanut Butter Dog Cookies from Spent Grain

I’ve been itching to make dog cookies from spent grain since seeing a recipe in one of the hubster’s beer magazines.  Many breweries hand their spent grain over to local farmers for feed, so we know our four legged friends are fans.  After the hubster and his buddy brewed this weekend,  I asked him to set aside of few cups of grain for experimentation purposes.

Below is a basic recipe that seems popular among homebrewers and their canine sidekicks.  I actually halved the original recipe, and as I write this, our kitchen is filled with the yummy aroma of peanut butter dog cookies baking in the oven.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:  Hops are toxic to animals, so do not feed any grain to animals if it has come into contact with hops of any kind.

Peanut Butter and Grain Dog Cookies

Makes 2-1/2 dozen medium sized dog cookies.

Ingredients

    • 2 cups grain
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Roll out dough and press shapes with cookies cutters, cut with knife, or drop cookies using two spoons.
  4. Bake for 30 at 350 degrees, then reduce temperature to 225 degrees and continue baking for 2 hours.  The cookies should be dried out at that point so they won’t spoil when left out.

Cool cookies and share w/ your four-legged friends.

These are rustic looking cookies.  But my dogs don’t seem to mind.  There’s not much they won’t eat and they seem to really enjoy these.

Soft or Hard Cookies.  Since I have older dogs, I prefer cookies that aren’t too hard, and still have some tenderness on the inside, so I don’t overbake them.  Test out times and temps in your oven to determine optimal baking time and texture.  Just keep in mind that if the cookies are soft, then their shelf life won’t be as long.  You can even refrigerate them so they won’t get moldy.

Storage.  I’d store these for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container, much like you would human cookies.  However, if you dry them out completely at a lower temperature for a longer period of time , then they should have a fairly long shelf life.

No Grain?  If you’re just looking for a good dog biscuit recipe but don’t have any spent grain on hand, then  visit SpiceGirlFl’s blog Savoring Every Bite and give her homemade peanut butter dog biscuits a try!

I’ll be testing and posting more recipes and ideas for using for spent grain, so stay tuned!

Cheers beers!

More New Life for Old Beer Bottles – Bottle Melts

All of these are made from used beer bottles that were slumped in my kiln.  I have a large ceramics kiln that’s the perfect size for melting large bottles.  We have lots of ideas for decorating these, like sand blasting and etching.  But the painted bottle labels are the most fun, since the bottles usually retain the painted design when melted.

Flattened bottles make great individual sushi plates, as well a cheese plates, and the smaller bottles work well as spoon rests.

If you’re interested in the actual process of melting bottles (as opposed to using the microwave, campfire or blow torch), check out my Bottle Melts post at Paula’s GlassRoots.

Cheers beers!

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