I have an upcoming market at the end of October, and I am so incredibly excited! Twelve artists in a two-day event, with a huge raffle donating 100% of its proceeds to a local women’s shelter. All of the ladies are super talented, with painters, felters, and various crafters. But the most exciting part is, for the first time, I will get to meet my customers. I will be able to see their expressions while they look at my work, and will hopefully get plenty of comments on what they would like to see.
So I’m crafting, crafting, crafting. I want to bring as many fairy homes to the event as possible, mainly for the above feedback. I also wanted to create a fairly large focal point, in the from of a dollhouse. Here what I’ve made…
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I adore combing antique stores for vintage items as a base for my fairy houses. In the spirit of handmade, I hate to purchase wood or framing from craft stores that buy in bulk overseas. It seems like the wrong way to start a project. One glorious Saturday I happened to stop by one of my favorite haunts, Carriage House Antiques, as they happened to be having a garden sale. Sitting in front of all these glorious flower pots, sections of fencing, and various baskets was a lonely, faded, unopened box housing a vintage Duracraft dollhouse. The box was pathetic and looked like it may have seen some water, so no one would touch it. It looked like this…I saw an opportunity, and snatched it up right away. I told one of the owners I was going to go home and assemble it today, and I believe she sort of snickered. Rightly so, because there was a lot of sanding and trimming involved. But the wood was in perfect condition, and was of a higher quality than any of the other dollhouses I had worked with.
I started thinking about the ideal fairy mansion, rich with detail and warm in color. I painted the outside a lovely chocolate, and papered the ground floor in brown leather. This awesome kit came with an unexpected bay window, a flower box, front steps, and detailed windows. These are things I didn’t even notice on the box, and was delighted to find! I deconstructed a vintage basket to replace some of the trim with (to give it a more authentic, woodland feel.
The result is something I am extremely proud of! It was painstakingly time consuming, but hopefully will be well loved and become a family heirloom. I know that my daughter was eyeing it, but is a little to young to keep this fairy dream house. Whomever gets to choose the furnishings will be in for a treat:)
This home is for sale in my Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/listing/242610307/cottage
My business started because of my daughter, but my first few customers were undeniably granny’s, purchasing for themselves. I have had a lot of eighty year olds tell me stories about childhood fairy villages, memories and feelings of childhood magic, and having troubles with their computer:) I assumed this was my target market, and it wasn’t until the first Christmas season that I discovered parents, aunts, and uncles buying for girl’s. Girl’s that love dollhouses, fairies, Coraline, and all things Tim Burton. Girl’s with rich imaginations, ripe for something other that the usual Toy R Us fare.. Here are two items pandering specifically to that audience…
This box was made for the light sleeper/true believer in mind! And because I’ve worried about how I will ever slip anything under my own poor sleeper’s pillow:) The box is first painted lavender, then brushed with purple glitter, and adorned with a fairy cameo and flowers. The shell within is secured to the lining, and is where a tiny tooth may be placed. https://www.etsy.com/listing/241618972/tooth
This surprise fairy dwelling looks like a pretty, feminine box that any girl would love to own. But the real gift is the detailed fairy home within, with three levels on the left hand side, and four on the left. I imagine a girl of six or seven displaying this creation in her bedroom, and then folding it like a suitcase and taking it to Grandma’s for the weekend. https://www.etsy.com/listing/241689453/box
Hopefully I have my finger on the pulse of every little girl’s dream…
A friend of mine write books in his rarely found spare time at his new gig, Mr. Mom. They are all children’s books, and I imagine they are the kind of humorous fare he wishes was readily available to his two gorgeous girls. Recently, he asked me to participate in the creation of one of these gems, using pictures of my fairy homes as illustrations.
The book is about a young fairy girl with a bum wing, a subtle disability with a difficult side effect. She is a fairy that just can’t fly. Throughout the book this fairy girl is teased and excluded, until one of her fairy “friends” walks a mile in her shoes. Literally. Then things change dramatically for her.
I’m very excited to possibly become part of this project, but also a bit nervous because I’ve never been involved in anything like this. And although heavy, the subject matter is important and I’d want the book to be engaging visually as well as through the storyline. Here is one of the fairy houses that may be featured. Critiques are welcome!
I’ve been planting this year’s fairy garden with the help of the most instructional, demanding, and opinionated partner you could imagine, one so particular that almost no decision regarding the space has been mine. Placement, color, flow, are all very important to her, and must be done exactly her way. I concede because my partner is my daughter and because, well, she is… three. So, right now planning our garden is not the most relaxing thing. My solace has been in creating a new line of garden doo dads, tiny stuff that I took great pleasure in crafting and would place perfectly if, in fact, my garden were actually my own:)
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:)
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?