My mother-in-law has a raised bed in her backyard where strawberries grow every year (did you know they’re perennial?). I love the small, sweet strawberries that come straight from her garden – and so do the birds! So for Christmas I got her a pile of rocks – strawberry rocks!
The idea is to put the rocks in your garden in the spring, and by the time berries grow in the summer the birds have all learned that the garden is full of rocks and will leave the actual berries alone. It’s kind of the same idea as those fake owls!
To make my rocks I followed the method I found here which is to paint a white base, several coats of red, two-toned leaves and black on white spots. I used acrylic craft paint. The trickiest part is the dots – I used a toothpick dipped in the paint to make them. Do the black dots first, let them dry, then make a white dot that slightly overlaps. The spots take a LONG time but it’s the step that makes them actually look real!
The final step is to put a protective coating on the rocks because they will be exposed to the elements. As an added bonus the clear coat makes the rock look even more like a juicy berry! The instructions said to use varnish but I didn’t have that and didn’t want to spend a ton, so I went to Michael’s and got what I thought was the next best thing – it’s a polyurethane coat meant to finish wood furniture. I’ll let you know how it holds up!
The rocks I was using in a planter, so I just brought them in and washed them (if you don’t have any laying around your local dollar store should have mesh bags of them). The craft paint I already owned. I purchased the polyurethane coating at Michael’s for around $8 after a coupon. To be clever I also got a berry strainer to present them in (that was an extra $15). I wanted her gift to be thoughtful, useful AND affordable, and I feel pretty good about how it turned out.
This is definitely the gift I am most excited to give this year! Do you have a homemade gift you’re looking forward to giving?