Friday, May 9, 2014

The Search For A Real American Birdhouse

I love to decorate birdhouses. I don't know why, I just do. As for birds, well, that's up for another discussion. I do know that there are many, MANY bird lovers out there, my Opa being one.

His pity on the poor birds was amazing. He would buy stale or day old white bread (he would never eat the stuff) and around noon everyday would go out near his birdbath and tear up the bread and spread it all around, at least a loaf at a time. There had to be nearly 1,000 birds waiting, in every color and shape. It was gone in the blink of an eye.

Years later, maybe it was those memories, wanting to create something, who knows what, that got me turn to a simple birdhouse. In most cases they give you a large blank space on four sides to decorate. Anyway visiting my Etsy store knows what I can do with those sides!

The conundrum though has been to find birdhouses that can go outdoors! It has been a search for several years now and while I did find a supplier in China, I just couldn't justify the cost and the quantity! If I tried to wholesale them that would take even more time than decorating them.

One day not long ago I discovered on Etsy a guy in Mississippi who was making birdhouses from recycled wood. The cost was perfect but the freight was a killer. As much to buy the birdhouse as to ship it. We went back and forth and he agreed if I bought 5 or so at a time, he could get the price down a bit. I bought them. I'm glad I did too!

As you can see, they are nice thick pieces of cedar wood nailed and glued with a front opening to clean them out. The wood was a little rough but after sanding I was good to go. I started it right after we returned from our Spring Break.

Our Danish friends had sent me a book (in Danish of course) about a painting tradition called Kellinghusen. Popular in the 17th and 18th centuries in Northern Germany and Jutland it was different than the other styles prevailing at the time. I was intrigued and playing with the motifs created a new birdhouse with my bona fide outdoor suitable birdhouses!

The surprise though was that finishing it last Sunday I posted it on my Etsy store Monday morning and before the day was done it was sold. WOW! Either my timing was right or there really is a desire for decorated birdhouses you can use outdoors. Needless to say, I am beginning my second version with these birdhouses and using variations of the Kellinghusen motifs. Maybe the second time can be a charm too!

I do want to offer a word of warning though to people who buy such things. No matter how good the paints and various varnishes are, to protect your outdoor items, you will need to re-coat them with Varathane or whatever is recommended to protect them. Weather is tough on finishes. Heat, cold, rain and snow all take their toll. At the first sign of flaking, sand the area and re-coat. Doing it when this process starts will protect the underlying paint and keep it looking just like new! In fact, I am now offering a service to re-paint birdhouses I have sold for outdoor use. For $60 I will re-paint and re-seal the birdhouse. Freight to and from me is the customer's expense too.

Please visit for a wonderful selection of birdhouses and craft items. They are offered in every price range and make wonderful gifts for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and the holidays!

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