Paper Pieced Hummingbird

I gave my mom her mother’s day present early because she was in town visiting and I probably won’t see her again until after mother’s day – good thing I got it made early!

Hummingbird Origami Paper Piecing on iPad Sleeve

I’ve been wanting to try paper piecing for ages, but it always seemed so intimidating and  while I’ve found tons of adorable patterns, they’ve never quite been something I was willing to pay for/put in the effort to learn how to paper-piece. Sew Mama Sew to the rescue! The recently did a whole series on paper piecing, including excellent tutorial videos here on how to make your own pattern. I found the videos very helpful and easy to follow. I would definitely suggest checking them it if you’re interested in trying paper piecing – whether from a pattern or from scratch. I followed the video’s lead and used this free font full of origami animals/shapes which are angular and great for paper piecing. I used a hummingbird because a) my mom loves hummingbirds and b) I think its one of the most complicated neatest looking origami animals included in the font package.

Paper Pieced Origami Hummingbird Pattern

Above is the pattern I made. I’m not at all familiar with paper piecing pattern convention. I’m sure in real patterns those numbers are in a meaningful order, but I just did them in a way that made sense to me. I’m just sharing my pattern layout here in case anyone wants to see how I split up the shapes. And to show you how tiny some of those pieces are – look at numbers 5 and 10!  Can you even see them on the finished product?

Hummingbird Origami Paper Piecing

I’m in love with how the fabrics turned out. They’re both ones I had in my stash – the blue was from a garage sale and the green is leftover from a quilt that is still in progress. I managed to keep most of the background fabric going the same direction (using those arrows you see on the paper pattern above), and turned the green print to face the direction I’d picture feathers going. The seams aren’t perfect and the lines between ‘origami pieces’ aren’t all the same width, but I’m still psyched with how it turned out as my first try at paper piecing.

iPad case

The sleeve fit an iPad very snuggly at first, so I sewed the zipper on so that the zipper tab is off to the side when the zipper is open. This keeps the zipper from being in the way of the iPad and lets it slip in perfectly.

iPad case for my Mom

I lined the whole sleeve with a blue fleece that I thought looked nice with the other fabrics. I lined my penguin iPad case with fleece when I made it last summer, and I love how it feels a little more cushioned and protected while having a soft surface against the easy-to-scratch screen and back of the iPad.

DIY Hummingbird Feeder

A while back, Julia expressed interest in a hummingbird feeder, but I wasn’t excited about paying 15+ dollars for some molded plastic.  I told her I would make one instead!  Something that I thought could be pretty complicated turned out to be pretty easy.

DIY hummingbird feeder
The parts I needed for the hummingbird feeder:
-Powerade bottle
-red, shallow, square tupperware container
-thin rope
-cutting utensil (I used a knife)
-hummingbird food (can be bought or made yourself)

First, take the lid off of the powerade bottle (be sure to hold on to it!) and mark the center of the top of the tupperware container (mine is not very well centered).  Now cut a whole in the center of the tupperware top the size of the opening to the powerade bottle.  Once that’s done, check to make sure that the powerade bottle fits through the hole and the lid can be screwed back on.  The hole needs to be small enough so that when the lid is screwed back onto the bottle, the tupperware lid is stuck between the two.

DIY hummingbird feeder

Next, cut four small holes near the corners of the top of the tupperware container for the hummingbirds to drink out of.  Make sure to leave enough of a ledge for the hummingbirds to sit on.

One of the trickier holes to cut is in the top of the powerade bottle.  The hole needs to be big enough so that the hummingbird food fills the tupperware container, but not so big that it overflows.  In the end, the humingbird food should only come up to the level of the powerade lid and won’t actually fill the whole tupperware container.

Put the gatorade bottle through the hole in the tupperware lid (from the top) and fasten the gatorade bottle lid to the bottom of the tupperware lid.

DIY hummingbird feeder side view

Once all of the holes are cut, it’s time to get the feeder ready to hang.  Powerade bottles are shaped nicely such that you can hang them easily with thin rope (I didn’t have a gatorade bottle, it might be the same with them).  I tied two loops around the bottle, one loop for each indentation and then tied the hanging rope from these two sturdy loops.  It is a pretty sturdy hanging method and has already survived a couple of thunderstorms.

DIY hummingbird feeder hanging

Within 3 days I heard hummingbirds near the feeder and saw them on the fourth!  While this is probably because of the large number of hummingbirds in our area, hopefully your homemade hummingbird feeder will attract them too!

DIY hummingbird feeder

DIY hummingbird feeder


SAFETY UPDATE: Some concerns have been raised about our feeder design and hummingbird food dye. While there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that red dye is actually dangerous to hummingbirds, the red color is the food is not necessary to attract hummingbirds as long as your feeder itself is red. We will be using homemade sugar + water with no dye when we put the feeder back out this summer. Also, there appear to be some feeder designs that allow hummingbirds to get stuck in the feeder. Ours actually has quite wide holes in the top (wider than they look in the picture above – maybe hole-punch sized) – so hummingbirds are not required to stick their beaks in straight down. You can see in the picture of one feeding above that it is actually at quite an angle. There is also no gap around the outside for the birds to get stuck in. We had great use of our feeder all last summer with no hummingbirds getting stuck.