Birds Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,730 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,037 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Garden Gate/Birds Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I was inspired by a few different things:


the stash of freebies I’ve collected from tag sales, curbs, and craigslist,

and our fine, feathered friends.

Now that the weather outside isn’t so frightful, I’ve been longing for more time out in my garden. And with that longing comes an intense need to decorate. I’m sure you’re familiar with the emotion; it’s usually what hits us after an afternoon of weeding or planting, or just lounging on your favorite porch swing. Pillows, you think. Or a DIY walkway. Or an arch over that spot of begonias. Or perhaps more twinkle lights? There’s always room for more twinkle lights, let’s be honest.

And while making your garden or lawn the cutest on the block, you can also make some winged creatures pretty happy (and well hydrated, to boot). After all, I don’t know exactly how much energy it takes to fly, but I’m guessing it’s more than your average stroll through the park. So … properly hydrated fowl and an adorable way to decorate? Two birds with one stone! Ha! I love it when I get a bit punny during merit badge time.

I lugged out my collection of things that needed some TLC.

MBA Jane’s DIY with TLC, that’s me.

Inspired by the creative muse that resided within me (and several Pinterest tutorials), I lined up my eclectic collection. Turns out, making bird baths or bird houses is limited only by your own imagination. You can use everything AND the kitchen sink! My kitchen sink was currently at work in the kitchen (I know, how mundane of me), but I did have other options, including:

• two teapots with broken and/or missing lids
• several teacups with chipped saucers
• cereal bowls from the dollar store
• a large silver ladle
• a few old license plates from other states
• a bundt pan
• a lighting sconce
• some candlesticks that weren’t a matched set
• a plant stand
• clay pots
• a broken, but sweet-looking decorative water fountain

Also, I had: Gorilla glue, hammers and nails, and several half-full containers of spray paint in a lovely shade of Robin’s Egg Blue (appropriate, no?)

My whimsy and imagination took hold. I like to think blue jays and sparrows and hummingbirds flew around, alighting on my shoulder as I worked, singing with me like a Disney princess, but I’m pretty sure it was just me. No matter—after they see what I’ve done with the place, they’ll be back and they’ll tell their friends. I’ll be the busiest bird hotel and spa in town. I considered hanging a Vacancy/No Vacancy sign up on my cutest mini house: a three-level Victorian, made out of my leftover roof shingles. I contented myself with washing up in my newest bath (made from the candlesticks and bundt pan) and straightened my second favorite bird house (a tipped over teapot hanging from the branches) before going inside my own home.

The birds in my neighborhood have it made in the shade.

I hope they like spending time there as much as I do.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Can you take some photos of these birdhouse originals? I am intrigued about the teapot one@! I hope they all get occupants this coming year.

  2. Rats, would have loved to see some of your bird houses! Please post a picture to inspire all of us. I make most of my birdhouses out of , you guessed it, birdhouse gourds. And 2 are built of wood to Audubon guideline/standards for the bluebirds. As for repurposing , I use broken flowered design plates as edging in beds. They make a pretty scalloped design.I have a devilish cat who is death to my vintage china, ( he “noses ” them off the table ) so I always have lots of broken dishes to work with.

  3. Karlyne says:

    I was just going to say that this article makes me want to see pictures!

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