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I tried to make a homemade bird feeder.

It sounds easy, right? You need a container to hold the food, a perch for them to stand on, and a hole to get to the food. I thought the hardest part would be waiting for payday to buy some dang bird seed.

My son watches a PBS show called Nature Cat. Which, if you look it up, has the most awesome voice cast ever. (Well, I guess aside from maybe Futurama.)

Nature Cat was all like, “Ya, it’s easy. If you build it, they will come.”

Except, well, mine didn’t work out that well.

My Pinterest Fail

At first glance, everyone says it is because of the cats. You see, I put one set of holes too high, so I lowered it. But then I had to cover the top holes with something. I knew bacon duct tape would be more appropriate, but I of course I could not find it at that juncture. So I had to use Hello Kitty duct tape.

Everyone finds this amusing, but I am pretty sure the birds don’t care about pictures of a cartoon cat.

Then, well, I didn’t have a pop bottle as the original image showed. The only plastic bottle I had handy was for vinegar, so I emptied and rinsed it out and used that.

But, apparently, the birds like to actually SEE their food before they eat it? And maybe they don’t like the smell of vinegar.

Then I was worried that the food would fall out of the feeding holes, so I made them small. But then I was afraid the birds weren’t using it because they were too small, so I made them bigger.

But then it rained all week and I could tell the food was getting wet, so I poked some holes in the bottom so that it could drain.

But the wind kicked up and the screw holder I originally put in the top came out, so I had to hang it from the handle.

I left it up for 1-2 weeks. In that time, I never saw a bird eat from it. (My husband saw one small bird.)

Realizing that the birds hated my creation, I gave up and chucked it and got an inexpensive store bought one. Because, of course, now I have 10 lbs of bird feed I need to use up.

That was less than a week ago, and I have already seen several birds (or maybe it is just one bird who overeats) partake from the new one. I even have photographic evidence.

A bird actually eating from my store-bought feeder!

The same bird still eating at my feeder.

Hey, just a cotton-picking minute there. What is that I see? The food is not intended for HIM.

Unwanted guest


This is so totally against my anti-squirrel propaganda agenda. I want to selectively feed the wildlife.

Don’t forget, if you sign up for my newsletter during the month of April you will have a chance to win TWO ROCK STAR PASSES to the Great Lakes Books Bash, October 27 & 28th! The two passes cover admission to the signing & panels Friday as well as early admission to the signing on Saturday and panels on Saturday.

Click here to sign up.

From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom

The Fifteen-Year Quilt

Before I had a kid and before I devoted all my free time to creating physical manifestations of my colorful imagination on pulverized trees (i.e. books), I used to have this crazy thing called free time. Ya, it didn’t seem like it then, but I did. I tried my hand at many crafts during that time: wood-burning, cross-stitch, hot glue creations, latch-hook. One of my more daring projects was when I decided to make a quilt.

I had never made one before, didn’t know anyone who had, didn’t know how to do it. Like most everything, I researched the right way to do it…

…And then threw that out the window and made up my own way.

I started with some old clothes I cut up into squares. But I needed more material. So I went to JoAnn’s and bought all the cheap scraps of material I could find. I would probably pick different ones today. The overall theme of my quilt?

“Making a quilt.”

That’s it. There are tractors and stars and chefs and flowers, all sharing the same space. At some point, my future husband and I knew that we were going to buy a queen size bed. I decided to make it big enough to fit the bed.


I must have been crazy, you say?

Annnd you would be correct.

First time quilters out there–> do not make your first one queen-sized. (You will NEVER want to ever attempt another ever again.)

A close-up of the swirly quilting pattern I created myself.

A close-up of the swirly quilting pattern I created myself.

I don’t remember what kind of batting I bought, but I know it is fairly thick. Many of the top squares are flannel or sweatshirt material. I decided the back should be fleece. I know, not a traditional quilt backing. Just the other day I found the original receipt for it in the scraps. $72.23. $72.23! JUST FOR THE FLEECE ALONE! I could buy a quilt made by children in China cheaper. Oh, the date on the receipt? September 24,2002.

You see, I put all the layers together, basting and safety pinning them. Then I threw it in a garbage bag (to keep the dust off) and neglected it for 15 years. It had been so long since I worked on it that my husband said he didn’t even remember me starting it. That is, until I reminded him about when I had it spread out across our entire living room floor in my apartment and he walked on it, getting a needle in his foot in the process. That he does remember.

A close-up of the borders.

A close-up of the borders.

All those intervening years, I had anxiety over it. I kept adding it to To-Do lists, but it never got To-Done. We moved into our house. I designated a whole bedroom as a craft room with a vision of finishing that project. But we changed it into a railroad station bedroom for my son before the quilt was ever completed.

So, after finishing Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom, then getting through Christmas, New Year’s, and birthdays, I told myself I would not work on another book until I finished that quilt. It took about a month to quilt the layers together and sew the edge. Bear in mind, I own a sewing machine. but I have a mental block where I cannot for the life of me remember how to thread the blasted thing. So, a majority of the quilt was done by hand. Using the machine makes it a stressful experience, where as sewing it by hand is relaxing. A big bonus? You can binge Netflix while sewing, unlike when writing. Hello, Nikita & Birkhoff.

It is bigger than my couch!

It is bigger than my couch!

So, I did it. I finished it just this week. I’ve included pictures of the final product . I see why it took so long–>it is ginormous! I am afraid to wash it, because I am afraid it will fall apart. We slept under it. It may not have exactly the right dimensions, but it is totally warm.

I guess now I can add “quilter” to my resume of achievements. Not that I will be starting another one anytime soon.

Completed quilt on the bed.

Completed quilt on the bed.


From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom



FOTO PHRIDAY: Happy New Year!


Try for the things you only let yourself dream of before.

(Mr. Ugly-Man is taking my advice!)

Mr. Ugly-Man puts the moves on Harley Quinn. But she ain't havin' it. Watch out for that bat.

Mr. Ugly-Man puts the moves on Harley Quinn. But she ain’t havin’ it. Watch out for that bat.



From the broken mind of Jennifer Friess, the joining of hearts & souls…
NOW AVAILABLE! Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom




FOTO PHRIDAY: Galtinburg

To be perfectly honest, I wanted this post to have a holiday feel. I was searching for a picture of my gramma sitting in the rocking chair in our house, with Christmas bows stuck in her hair. But, well, apparently that picture doesn’t exist.

In the search, I instead found pictures of my most recent trip to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. I went with my future husband.

Gatlinburg Attractions, circa 2001

Gatlinburg Attractions, circa 2001

I know it was big news that Dolly just raised $9 million dollars for the victims of the recent wildfire victims in the Gatlinburg area with a country music telethon. But I am sure they can always use more. I know what it is like to struggle to pay my utility and mortgage payment. I can’t imagine how I would cope if my car, house, and everything in it was gone in an instant. If you can spare a few dollars, won’t you please contribute:

I believe Dolly Parton is one of the greatest human beings that ever lived. I can’t wait to meet her one day and tell her that in person.

I guess this post is holiday-themed after all, in the spirit of giving and such.

I can’t believe it has been 15 years since I was last there. We will have to plan a return trip. I recommend you do too.

COMING SOON: Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom!!!



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