20 September 2011

Fairy Garden: Expand and Furnish

(Edit: You can now see the finished garden here!)
   
    So, this should really probably be, at the very least, two posts. However, time is short, so instead it is one quite long post. Sorry! The first halfish of the post is about the growth of the faerie garden itself, and the second halfish is about a handful more furnishing type things that we've more recently added to it, including a couple semi-tutorials. Tomorrow I'll post a tour of the finished (for now!) garden, where everything can been seen in its element, which is much more fun.

When I saw the faerie garden at The Magic Onions, I knew we needed to have our own. It just looked like too much fun, and when I showed it to Kaia, we couldn't put one together fast enough! It has been almost 2 years since we began our miniature garden journey, and it has been fun. Lots of fun. And definitely a journey. It is great to look at our garden now, and look back at where we started. Our garden has grown so much, and the time Kaia and I have spent working on it together has been amazing. It is so deeply satisfying to go from one of Kaia's whimseys, to trying to figure out how to bring it to life, and then to either create it with her, or present to her what she saw in her head, now in physical form for her to touch and hold. 


We started with a rather small, (it seemed big enough then!) rather ugly, rather grubby, little pot, to which we added some moss, lichen, a couple other small plants from around the yard, and a path. We planned to finish it all off with a house and pond. Ohhh, little did we know. We made the house, but at our attempts to create a pond out of dried watermelon rind or coconut shell we failed. We filled it in with a little more moss, and more or less thought we were complete. Actually, I thought we were complete. This is what our garden looked like this Spring, after being buried under snow, and as we cleared it out, Kaia had big ideas. She likes to announce them with a cry of, "Mama! I have a BIG idea."


I made the furniture she had been asking for, and it was obvious that we were going to need more room. We began the process of transplanting the garden. Kaia carefully removed everything that we wanted to keep, and collected some large rocks and pine cones to throw in the bottom of our new pot. (For drainage.)


Then she shoveled in a good layer of sand, (also for drainage,) and Katalin and I helped her move the dirt from her old pot to the new one.


She replaced the house, the little tree, her mushroom, the old plants that made it through the Winter, and then added some new plants from around our house and collected on hikes.


We collected more rocks, and put down a new path.


She moved in the new furniture, and then I made all the little clay things, and we added those as well. It looked like this. It's not a terribly good picture, but it is the only one I have of the garden at this stage, I'm afraid. The path split to lead to a sitting area on one end, and the well (not yet completed in this picture, just the base is there,) on the other, circling around a dining area. Everything looked kind of jumbled, though, and what's more, Kaia still had plans.


She is nearly incapable of leaving the house without finding something else she wants to put into the faerie garden, or thinking of something else she knows the faeries would really like. She is constantly picking things up, declaring them perfect for her garden, and carrying them home. Lichen. Moss. Mushrooms. Trees. A little vine we found out in the woods. Even a miniature variety of Sedum that she found growing in a crack in the sidewalk while we were on a walk.





And then there is my Mum, who also likes to bring tiny plants for Kaia's garden. Kaia got two more varieties of miniature Sedum, and some tiny Hostas from her. I even gave up my so-called bonsai plant for the cause, it's the one in the round, green pot. (Okay, fine, it wasn't doing very well inside. The move to Kaia's garden has helped it considerably.) She found a little chunk of granite in her Grandfather's scrap pile, blue glass stones at the grocery store for the stream she's been wanting, and a small pet water dish at the feed store to finally make a pond with.


Except.. this was not all going to fit in the new pot we had just finished moving everything into. I remembered the huge, shallow pot we dug out of the barn when we made their mud pie kitchen. It was a fun big pot, Kaia had cleaned it, but we hadn't ended up using it. So here we were, a scant week or so after transplanting the whole garden, and we started to move again. It felt a bit like my college years all over again.


Again, layers of rocks, pine cones, sand, and dirt.


We placed our new plants and main attractions. We had so much space! Kaia drew in the dirt with her fingers where she wanted us to put in paths, where she wanted the faeries' food garden, the stream, and so forth.


Kaia and I moved in all the other mosses, lichens, and plants. She laid down her stream of glass stones, (no, it was not cold, it was extremely hot, she just wanted to wear her "new" coat and hat, I don't know how she survived,) more tiny rocks were collected.


We laid the paths where she'd drawn them out, and she moved all of the the other little faerie paraphernalia in.


I told her as kindly as I could that we were not doing this again this year. I wasn't sure if the plants could take it, but I was pretty certain I couldn't. So far though, we have had enough space for everything she has wanted to add since then. We found a little naked wood wheelbarrow at the thrift store that she went ballistic over and I painted it up red and gold.


I made the bassinet we were planning on for the faerie family baby, a very simple affair consisting of gluing sticks into two 'X's, gluing those under a large acorn cap, and filling the cap with some craft moss.



I made a ladder for up the side of the pot by knotting sticks to twine. I tried hard to knot each side of the sticks at approximately the same height, something I did better in some places than others, but I think the most important bit is making sure that all your knots are on the same side of the ladder, or it goes all wobbly. More wobbly than it turned out, anyway. I cut two 'T' shaped sections of branch to knot the ends to and use as pegs to drive into the ground, and Kaia picked a place to hang it.



We had an extra nest from when Kaia made them as ornaments for Christmas last year, and we got one out to put in the tree.


I found a small needle felting kit at a garage sale a couple weeks ago, so I had a go at making a campfire. It is not the best needle felted campfire I have ever seen. To say the least. But hey, I've not needle felted before, and I only got one horrific jab in my finger while making it, so I am calling it a win. Kaia doesn't know any better, so she's thinks it's the bees knees, and is delighted with it. (Shhh, no one tell her!) Kaia sprinkled sand around her pond to make it a "beach" and added a little shell. She dropped some glass stones and little pebbles into the bottom, and one of the clay flowers floats on top. It had been raining when I took these pictures, so the beach and campfire are not exactly at their best.


Then Kaia decided the faeries needed a swing. I actually lay awake one night trying to figure out how to do this. The problem wasn't how to make a swing, but where to put it. Because, amazingly, we were out of space. Again. There was no way I was moving the garden again this Summer, and I finally decided that the only way we could fit anything else in was to make use of the tiny sliver of land that stood as an island across the stream. Which would need a bridge, obviously. We went on a hike and collected some scraps of bark to bring home. I cut one rectangle out to make the seat of the swing, drilled a hole on either end and threaded twine through them, knotting it on the bottom.


Then I cut four longer "poles" to make the sides of the swing, a shorter stick to go across the top, and a couple more short pieces to brace the sides. I glued them all together, and tied the swing to the top stick. I hadn't painted over the glue yet when I took this picture, so you will have to excuse that.


I cut another piece of bark that we'd pulled off a fallen log to make the bridge, it had a nice curve to it and crossed the stream perfectly. The swing ended up not fitting, so we shuffled things around a little bit and moved the well to the island instead.


We are definitely out of room now. I think next year we are going to have to do away with a pot entirely, and find a nice plot of land to make our faerie garden home instead. It would be nice to have plenty of space to expand whenever Kaia thinks up something else her garden needs, without cramming everything in, or having to move everything repeatedly. I am hoping to start a children's garden for the girls next year, Kaia especially wants a butterfly garden, and a faerie garden section would be just divine.  

Don't forget to check back in tomorrow to see the entire finished garden, and do take a look at all the wonderful faerie gardens entered into The Magic Onions competition. The last day to enter is the 21st of this month, so I assume voting will take place soon after.


42 comments:

  1. I bought tiny cactus once from a man outside of the bakery and desperately wish I could send it to you...;) it would look so awesome!

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  2. Your faerie garden is amazing! I really want to make one for my little but I think I'll be holding yours up as the ideal-it's so complex and really beautiful. It's something your children will remember I know that.

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  3. Esperanzita, That would be fun if it weren't pointy! Otherwise I would just have to make my own tiny garden that wasn't for playing in. :)

    Lydia, Thank you so much! You give me too much credit, though, you can totally do it! Just remember that the finished garden pictures that I put up on the linked final post are of the end product, after adding to it all season and having started it the season before. We certainly didn't do it all overnight! :)

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  4. Will you please adopt me?
    I have been wanting to make a miniature garden for a long time, but you have inspired me! The ladder and swing are brilliant.

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  5. A lovely garden fit for faeries! Thanks for the photos and the ideas! I have a fairy garden on the farm and was looking for furnishings. Yours are wonderful.

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  6. Started my fairy garden a few weeks ago and you really gave me a lot of ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. I painted with glow paint flat shells for stepping stones you can also use rocks. You need to put 3 coats of best glow. I can't wait for my grandkids to see them glowing!

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  7. Thank you! And so glad I could help inspire. That glowing path sounds awesome!

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  8. Oh my! I was thinking about doing something like this..because I adore miniture anythings! And I have this wonderfully large front Flower garden to play in with a pondless waterfall.

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  9. What a beautiful fairy garden you and your daughter have! I have a fairy garden tucked into a small existing flower bed. (I might switch to a pot this year) I have people at my local secondhand store keeping an eye out for miniature items and my boyfriend came home from there yesterday with a small pack of ceramic animals. Your twig fairy house is adorable and I feel inspired to make some things this year.

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  10. I love your blog! I built my first fairy house and I'm making a fairy garden to put it in. Now I know I need a much bigger pot! Thanks for all the great ideas.

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  11. What kind of glue did you use for the swing and other things made with twigs? I made a table, chair and swing out of twigs and used e6000 craft glue for my fairy garden. They turned out wonderful but fell apart after about the 2nd good rain.

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    1. I used a glue gun. It's been about a month and two whopping storms and still holding up.

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    2. I used a glue gun. It's been about a month and two whopping storms and still holding up.

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  12. I love the garden, it's awesome. But what I love most is the memory's you are making with your daughter. Some of my best memory's are in the flower beds with my gram, I all I know I learned from her. I was about 4 when I started, even after I was married I still help, we would talk, laughed and had a ball. I'm smiling just thinking about it.

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  13. Great garden. Very lucky little angels to have a mom so ingenius!!

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  14. I just ran across your site through Pinterest, I love your fairy garden. I just gotta make one. I have just finished making my flower bed and think a fairy garden would be so nice in it. Can't wait to get started. Wish I had a daughter to share the activity with...lol I'm 58 and I don't wanna grow up... Think this keeps me young. :o)

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    1. Sue you will always stay young wgen u Believe in fairy. Im 55 n my boyfriend thinks im childish because i Believe, but i dont care what he think, cos i believe they r real. I have about 200 fairy in the house, my living room looks like pixie land. Stay young n beautiful. Luz

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    1. I made mine in a old wheel barrel lots of room

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  16. If nobody else has suggested this -- please please go to the public library and find (or order) an old children's book called "The Fairy Doll" by Rumer Godden....so much of this in the book. I read and re-read this as a child, one of my favorites. Your little girls will adore this.

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  17. This is a great post with some really nice fairy garden crafts! I was wondering if I could steal some of your ideas for a DIY fairy garden crafting blog post for my blog? I'm putting together a fairy gardening workshop at the greenhouse where I've worked for the past seven years, and on our new blog, we're trying to give our customers ideas for crafts they can do on their own to save money by not having to buy all the accessories pre-made. You have some great ideas here, and I would post a link to your blog in my post so that people would know where I've gotten the ideas from.

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    1. Please do this . I am afraid I don't have that kind of creativity. My friend has gone wild with it. I envy her

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  18. Love this idea and your tiny nest is just so sweet. Great for the little ones.

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  19. In the 60's I was a Camp Fire Girl. At camp we would make fairy gardens and houses in the forest. The next day there was fairy dust (glitter) lightly sprinkled around where the fairies had visited. Oh to be a little girl once again! I will have to make a fairy garden with my granddaughter, Eva, soon!

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  20. Darling Fairy Garden. I have tried to figure out how you do the needle felt for the campfire. Could you please explain your technique? Thank you.

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  21. Needing more space still? My fairyland is around the small pond we placed in the flower garden. A small black plastic pond from a yard sale. You could also use a small child's pool. We raised the pond up to sit higher than the ground and built up to the pond level with dirt fill-in. Now, as I see small items while out, I have room to place them.

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  22. What a great Mom! So sweet.

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  23. I wanted to see the final product but it says the page doesn't exist :'(

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  24. You could use several pots and link them with bridges and ladders

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  25. No need to transplant. B I love entirely new homesteads so the fairies can go visiting their friends and relatives.

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  26. Can't wait to start one next year! I have all winter to put together the things we'll need.

    My question, where did you find the coat an hat set that your daughter is wearing?????

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  27. Haha I myself was just as bad about always adding, So I turned one of my flower beds into a fairy village. Last year each of the youngest grandchildren got to decorate a house and set it up as they liked. This year I'm on my own since they won't be visiting before it gets planted, but they can always play.

    Also, kudos to you. You're a GREAT mom!!

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  28. Haha I myself was just as bad about always adding, So I turned one of my flower beds into a fairy village. Last year each of the youngest grandchildren got to decorate a house and set it up as they liked. This year I'm on my own since they won't be visiting before it gets planted, but they can always play.

    Also, kudos to you. You're a GREAT mom!!

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  29. Hi-I love your fairy garden and want to make a similar one with my granddaughter who is 5. I wondered what kind of clay you used. I looked on Amazon, and all I can find is stuff that hardens, but cannot get wet.
    Thanks,
    Karen

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  30. Karen, I use original sculpey. I use the white and paint with craft paints and spray with clear spray paint. They have held up through to big storms and daily watering for a month so far. It is super easy to mold but after working it a while it's very soft. I would just work it to the shape I wanted and leave it to cool to room temp and finish working after it hardened up a little. But as soon as you put in the oven they start drying right away and don't lose shape. Hope that helps. Have fun!

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  31. Karen, I use original sculpey. I use the white and paint with craft paints and spray with clear spray paint. They have held up through to big storms and daily watering for a month so far. It is super easy to mold but after working it a while it's very soft. I would just work it to the shape I wanted and leave it to cool to room temp and finish working after it hardened up a little. But as soon as you put in the oven they start drying right away and don't lose shape. Hope that helps. Have fun!

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  32. That is so fun! My daughters (who are now 16 and 10) enjoy making fairy gardens too but we haven't ever made one this fancy. I am thinking this might be a fun project with my kid's class at church.

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  33. Rather than do away with the pot altogether, to expand you can just site the pot somewhere suitable and then build a little 'village' around it with all the extras. Possibly you could even build up soil around the pot to make it atop a hill with all sorts of fun things around it.
    I love your creation.

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  34. I will definitely be appropriating some of your ideas! I just want to encourage people to include their male relatives in this process. My 6 yo grandson loves doing some of the building with me as well as collecting materials to build with. thanks for doing this. j

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  35. Love your daughter's enthusiasm and creativity. Wonderful story. Thank you.

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