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I swore, in a previous post, that I would never again put another dollhouse together from scratch. It was complicated, messy, challenging… And yet here it is, inspired by the tiny fairy I am lucky enough to spend my days raising:)
It’s interesting to watch the trends in any artistic field, whether it be painting, clothing, or crafting. Although I’m not very trendy myself, it has not escaped my attention that certain online items seem to be selling over and over. I can completely understand coming up with a formula for any website or craft store and sticking to what sells. It’s very tempting. But I’m not a very good businesswoman, and I tend to find happiness only when stepping outside my comfort zone. That’s exactly what this new piece did for me, and as I’m writing, I’m hoping someone will love it as much as I do.
This all started out with my incorrect assumption that I’m great at puzzles. They stretch your brain, and all creative types are able to put them together with ease, right? Um, no. Rated for ages 6+, these were the instructions.
It took forever. And I had to get past the fact that I’m only slightly brighter than a six year old.
I did a dry fit, some painting in a pretty dark grey, and then glued the pieces together. I opted to leave some of the chimney and gingerbread-type details off, because I knew they wouldn’t visually fit or be as welcoming to the woodland creature this home is designed to attract:) I also opted not to build stairs, and instead crafted a twig ladder leading to the second floor loft. It took much longer than I anticipated to finally get into the fun parts of decorating my new fairy house and crafting furniture- I could have created several smaller pieces in that time frame! But I loved squinting my eyes and imagining what this new gem could become.
Next, the entire ground floor got a mother of pearl shell tiling and fairy dust grout. This fantasy house has four rooms and a loft, and I wanted each room to have its own distinctive look and purpose. The first room became an apothecary, and I crafted three tables for it out of bark and acorns. I love the rustic look of natural materials rubbed with gold accent to make it glitter and shine! (I think a little glimmer attracts the fae.)Then I filled tiny bottles with multiple colors of fairy dust. In all, this house ended up with 15 bottles of fairy potions.
The other ground floor room ended up as a dining area/mixing station, with a twig table, acorn bowls, more bottles, and acorn and spool stools. I added art and mirrors to both rooms, and then moved on to the second level.
The second floor boasts a twig and flower bed upon a carpet of moss and fairy dust, located in the loft portion of this level. The other room became the “library”, with twelve miniature books, a twig couch with hand sewn cushions, and a sweet, tiny cup of coffee.
Finally the attic room was carpeted with a bed of wheat and fairy dust. There are three hand sewn cushions for lounging lying about the floor, bottles of fairy dust on the windowsill, and a tiny copy of Robin Hood. (I’ve heard fairies love fairy tales.)
All in all, this beauty turned out better than I expected. I’m not sure I would build another house from a puzzle kit, it was very confusing and time consuming. But the level of detail this kit allowed for left me with enough satisfaction that made the experiment worth it. In the end, this is what the fairy house looked like from the back.
And the front…
There are lots of new creations coming out of Tinkerwhims, I’m feeling happy, inspired and glittery. All of this creating has my two and a half year old daughter talking about things “made entirely out of crafts” and how mommy is “good at mending things”. I have no idea where she got the word mending from, but I roll with it.
It’s funny how my crafting intertwines with what I see in our daily lives, and in my sweet girl’s development. While I had a week of applying wallpaper to paper houses, D had a week of classes and playgroups. It was within these playgroups that I noticed something very interesting, and subsequently felt proud of how I’m raising my little fairy.
Many of our playgroups gather at parks with surrounding nature preserves. Lush and amazing, I’ve seen more beauty since I’ve been visiting these sites then in my whole hiking life. There is so much out there, so many patterns and changes and subtleties. It’s hard to notice these things when your intention is to cover ground and conquer, but when you move at the snails pace of a two year old it’s impossible not to notice. And it saves you.
So many of the parents I’ve met and spoken with, fear nature. They think its dirty, and wild, and will cause their progeny to fall ill. They hover on playgrounds, man-made structures covered in saliva and mucous and think their children are experiencing glory. Yet some, although not all, of these kids can’t relax on a simple hike. They rush, speed, and run, looking for the next opportunity to play. When play is all around them.
I’ve noticed D and her best friend have a fondness for trees. Chasing each other around them, over and over and over. It’s great fun. They also like “play fishing” in scummy ponds, and feeding frogs and turtles. D sometimes chews on grass, but I’m not proud of that. What’s remarkable, however, is that they never rush through a hike- they slow down. Moving more and more slowly, until we are stopped! They don’t want to leave, when they are in the midst of an environment where nothing is going on. Except they see it all.
I have considered sneaking into parks and putting inexpensively crafted fairy doors on trees. Making huts out of houses and creating ruins. Just to give pause to these kids that can’t see the forest for the trees. But really, wouldn’t it be amazing for a child to discover a fairy door, not in a museum, or in a display but rather, in the middle of nowhere? Would it occur to them to pay closer attention?
I didn’t start crafting, or “making art”, until much later in age. After 15 years in the medical field, serving others clinically but not nurturing my spirit, I became a mom, and everything changed. The world became clearer, the colors brighter, and I needed to take a break from the sickness and grief that intertwined my patients daily lives. It’s not that the work wasn’t important, it simply left me with nothing at the end of the day. Although I was giving, I certainly wasn’t growing.
After my daughter’s birth, it shocked me to wake up to her smiling face- EVERY DAY. I hadn’t realized how much I had lost within my profession; the joy in new experiences, the beauty of the novel, the fact that so many things were still… unknown. I had lost my verve, my perception was skewed, and I decided it was time to take a much needed break.
I believe EVERYONE has the ability to create art. And I believe that everyone would be just a little bit happier if they let themselves return to childlike play and create… something. The satisfaction is unparalleled.
As an “older, new artist”, or crafter, or struggling mom… my goal with Tinkerwhims is to share my whims with others. And to inspire and empower them to follow their own.